ATLANTA -- One of the most competitive areas for Georgia Tech this spring has been A-back, where four of the top five players from last year have graduated. That leaves the two spots almost wide open. But going into Friday’s spring game, there hasn’t been much clarity involving the situation.
“It’s an ongoing deal,” head coach Paul Johnson said.
Gone are Charles Perkins (443 yards), Tony Zenon (293 yards), Deon Hill (232 yards) and B.J. Bostic (134 yards). All combined, that’s more than 1,000 yards of senior leadership and dependability.
That leaves a lot of open snaps for players who are able to step up and grab the time.
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“We’ve got to get better there, just like everywhere else,” Johnson said.
Chances are good that Broderick Snoddy will be fully recovered from the broken leg suffered against Clemson that robbed him of his final four games. Snoddy was starting to emerge as the breakaway threat that has been missing on the outside for the team. He rushed for 283 yards (10.1 yards per carry) and had 82 yards against Pittsburgh.
The other returnee is Dennis Andrews, who Johnson said has been “rusty.” Andrews carried 16 times for 106 yards in 2014 but never got more than three carries in a game.
The other A-back candidates, primarily redshirt freshmen Qua Searcy, from Lamar County, and Clinton Lynch and junior Isaiah Willis, all have shown flashes this spring and in scrimmages. Unless someone emerges in the spring game, it appears the jobs will be wide open when preseason practice begins in August.
“Qua Searcy and Clinton Lynch have both done some good things,” Johnson said. “They’ve been hurt a little and missed some time. (Willis) knows where to go.”
This area is in good hands with place-kicker Harrison Butker and punter Ryan Rodwell returning.
Butker, a hero in the win over Georgia in November, has looked stronger this spring. He kicked three field goals in a recent scrimmage and appears ready to challenge for conference honors. The junior made 11-of-18 field goals and put 52 of his 87 kickoffs in the end zone for a touchback.
“We know what he can do,” Johnson said. “He’s gotten a lot of work in this spring, so that’s good.”
Rodwell, a junior, averaged 40.2 yards per punt last season and was consistently good. He has token competition this spring.
“There’s other guys kick, but Rodwell’s the punter by a mile,” Johnson said.
The annual spring game will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday. There is no admission fee for the game. The Wreckfest begins on Bobby Dodd Way at 5 p.m. with a free concert, featuring the Van Leers starting at 5:30 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. A fireworks show will follow the game.