ATLANTA — If there was any position group that drew a double-take when last weekend’s initial Georgia Tech two-deep depth chart was released, it was at defensive tackle.
Apparently, the exclusion of Logan Walls at that spot and the insertion of T.J. Barnes in the starting position there was incorrect.
“He’s (Barnes) done some things, but Logan Walls is clearly the starter,” Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson said following Monday’s practice.
Walls was held out of last Friday’s scrimmage, donning a red no-contact jersey. With him missing from action and listed as injured, it seemed to make sense that Barnes — long the presumed No. 2 — would be starting.
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Following Monday’s practice, however, Walls was seen back in his usual blue practice top.
The depth chart also featured the inclusion of true freshman safety Isaiah Johnson. Paul Johnson said he wasn’t sure how often he had started a true freshman during season-openers throughout his career, but admitted he is as curious as anyone to see how Isaiah Johnson will fare.
“It’s probably not real common for any true freshman to start anywhere, I wouldn’t think,” Paul Johnson said.
He was then asked what that meant about his young safety.
With a swig of Powerade and a smile, the head coach added: “We hope he’s going to be a good player.”
Cone to start
Another name that jumped off the two-deep this weekend was that of Kevin Cone’s.
The senior receiver and son of a former Yellow Jackets player, Cone has seen limited action at Georgia Tech since his arrival from Shorter in 2008. Because of the transfer, 2009 was his first season with the Yellow Jackets, and it came under limited circumstances.
“Last year, I came out and started and after three games, I didn’t even play anymore,” Cone said.
He missed the latter half of the season after breaking an ankle.
But even before the injury, he believed something else contributed to him watching much of the year from the sidelines. He has vowed to not let it happen again.
“I got a little complacent,” Cone said of starting the first three games last year. “But you learn from your mistakes and I’ve refocused my mind and I’m ready to go.”
Cone’s start opposite sophomore Stephen Hill comes, in part, due to the amount of time junior Tyler Melton has missed due to injury. For much of the last two weeks, Melton has been sidelined for unspecified reasons. Monday, however, Melton practiced.
“He’s just been out there practicing every day, and it’s only fair for a guy,” Paul Johnson said of Cone. “He’s taken most of the reps. It doesn’t mean that Tyler’s not going to play a lot or more play. It’s only fair to him to start.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Georgia Tech will officially begin its “Nesbitt4Heisman” campaign by unveiling a multi-pronged plan to promote Yellow Jackets starting quarterback Joshua Nesbitt for consideration for the coveted national trophy.
At 2 p.m., the website Nesbitt4Heisman.com goes live, and it will serve as a one-stop shop for fans and curious visitors to see the All-ACC quarterback state his case for the Heisman race.
As part of the festivities, school officials are expected to unveil a campaign video during Johnson’s news conference earlier in the day. The morning presser will be Johnson’s first of the 2010 season.
To most pundits, Nesbitt has been considered a relative darkhorse in the Heisman race, with defending Heisman winner Mark Ingram (Alabama) and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor headlining most lists. The online poll, heismanpundit.com, a collection of sports journalists, doesn’t even have Nesbitt in its top 10.
Last season, as a junior, Nesbitt rushed for 1,067 yards. In the process, he became Georgia Tech’s first-ever 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard passer in a season. He and B-back Jonathan Dwyer also became the first quarterback-running back duo to rush for 1,000 yards each in a season.
South Carolina State’s roster features 10 players from Georgia, including two who some Middle Georgians may remember from their high school playing days.
Former Baldwin linebacker Cortney Ingram is listed on the Bulldogs’ two-deep depth chart, while Dublin native Trent Barnes plays defensive end. Ingram is a sophomore, while Barnes, who played briefly at Dublin with Yellow Jackets offensive guard Nick McRae, is a true freshman.