ATLANTA -- It’s almost an impossible situation for Tim Byerly.
He understands that there’s no conceivable way he can win the starting quarterback job at Georgia Tech, but it hasn’t slowed him from becoming the best possible backup.
The fifth-year senior from Chattahoochee in Alpharetta will start his second season as the backup behind Justin Thomas.
Byerly, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State, has proven to be good enough to contend for a starting spot at many schools -- just not Georgia Tech, where Thomas is firmly entrenched.
Rather that become frustrated by the glass ceiling he faces, Byerly has gone about preparing himself in case something happens that requires him to step in.
“I’ve made some strides here and there,” he said. “A lot more is expected of me. Anytime I get a snap, I think a lot of production is to be expected and big plays to be produced at some point.”
Byerly has spent time working on his technique, both running the option and throwing the ball.
“Whether tucking and running or being more efficient in the passing game or being more efficient with my footwork, it all helps itself out,” he said. “I wouldn’t point to any specific area. In the spring, I get to work on everything.”
That includes getting used to the nuances that come with a different crew of running backs. Georgia Tech lost three experienced B-backs and four veteran A-backs. Byerly sees the spring as an opportunity to become familiar with the new faces.
“Different A-backs run at different speeds, so the pitch motion may be different for a few guys and I think that’s what the spring is about, to figure out if I have to lead this A-back a little more upfield or catch up with them,” he said. “The same about the B-backs.”
Byerly had a productive 2014 season. He got a chance to play regularly on short-and-goal situations and delivered; Byerly rushed 45 times for 204 yards and seven touchdowns in six games. He also completed 9-of-13 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown.