Georgia Tech

Defense steps up in Georgia Tech scrimmage

ATLANTA -- Throughout spring practice, the Georgia Tech offense and defense have taken their turns to shine. One day, the offense looks great, the next day the defense looks great. It has been back and forth since camp started two weeks ago.

On Saturday, it was the defense’s day.

Head coach Paul Johnson said the Georgia Tech defense got the better of its counterpart when the team had its second scrimmage of the spring.

“The defense definitely, it was their day,” Johnson said. “They outhit the offense and played better than the offense.”

Sounds like the same theme that has run through camp. The other day, it was the offense that left tire marks on the backs of the defense.

“It’s going to go back and forth,” Johnson said. “(Saturday) they clearly did better than they’ve done in a while.”

Johnson said that quarterback Justin Thomas played a couple of series, with Tim Byerly getting the remainder of snaps with the first unit. Redshirt freshman Chase Martenson also got plenty of snaps with the second unit since third-stringer Matthew Jordan was out with an injury.

“The offense created a lot of their own problems,” Johnson said. “Fumbling the ball, dropping passes, doing those kinds of things.”

The defense forced numerous turnovers and made a stop on fourth-and-goal early in the 11-on-11 drills.

Johnson said linebacker P.J. Davis made several big plays and linebacker Terrell Lewis had a big hit in the backfield. The defensive line was also able to impose its will on the offensive line.

“The interior guys, they have a hard time blocking them,” Johnson said. “Especially the second group. They can’t get in the way right now.”

The offensive line continues to be banged up.

Guard Shamire Devine was unable to return for the scrimmage; he had been sidelined by an injury. Still out on the offensive line were center Freddie Burden, center Andrew Marshall and tackle Chris Griffin. Devine played 12 games last year, primarily as Trey Braun’s backup at left guard. He could slide into the right guard slot left vacant by the graduation of Shaq Mason.

Nick Brigham, a fourth-year junior, is getting some time at center. Brigham was Mason’s backup at guard last year and can play all positions, which will help him in the quest to get on the field.

The Yellow Jackets continue to try to gauge the progress of their younger players, but most have been slow to catch up.

“(Saturday), they changed up some stuff on them and they didn’t know where to go, they didn’t know what to do,” Johnson said.

Georgia Tech will resume practice Monday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets will work again Wednesday and Friday, with another scrimmage scheduled for Saturday. The spring game will be April 17.