ATLANTA -- The winner of the Masters gets a green jacket. The winning coach of the Georgia Tech spring game should get a poncho.
Once again, the rain ruined what could have been a nice evening for Georgia Tech fans. A pregame concert, food trucks and inflatables are a bit less enjoyable when the rain is coming down.
Still, a hardy group of fans turned out and hid below the overhangs to watch the band of spring camp survivors slip and slide on the grass at Bobby Dodd Stadium. In the end, the rain stopped and it was the Gold team that prevailed 21-0.
“It was a typical spring game,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “The good thing was that nobody got hurt, that I know of.”
Starting quarterback Justin Thomas played only a couple of series, long enough to show he was still the generator for the team’s offense. He was nattily attired in a blue “no touching” jersey with a No. 5 on the back. Nobody bothered him, the Yellow Jackets avoided any midline plays, and Thomas spent the final 3½ quarters standing on the sideline with a towel over his head and staying out of the way when a pile of players approached the sideline.
“Coming out and starting out fast was good,” Thomas said.
No. 2 quarterback Tim Byerly spent the night working with the White team and the first-unit offense. He threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Micheal Summers.
“The second half, we were trying to keep (Justin) and Byerly from getting hurt,” Johnson said.
The Gold team had most of the first-unit defensive players. That group got some nice efforts from transplanted end Jabari Hunt-Days and returning end KeShun Freeman, as well as interior linemen Adam Gotsis and Pat Gamble.
The defense had some nice plays made by defensive back Chris Milton (batted down pass), reserve Shaun Kagawa (interception) and lineman Kendarius Whitehead, who was singled out after the game by Johnson.
Whitehead started the game working with the second unit, but played well enough to get time with the first unit and made a couple of stops.
There was no apparent answer for the questions about B-back, which became muddled when redshirt freshman C.J. Leggett tore his ACL earlier this week and was unable to go. Leggett announced on social media that he had an MRI that didn’t turn out positively and Johnson confirmed that his B-back would miss the season.
That leaves the B-back in the hands of inexperienced players like Marcus Allen, who had been playing A-back until a week ago, and Brady Swilling, a transplanted quarterback.
Allen played well on Friday night and scored the first touchdown of the game on a 1-yard dive.
“He ran hard, he broke some tackles, he didn’t go down,” Johnson said. “It was good to see. The biggest thing he did was run hard.”
The A-back puzzle wasn’t really solved, either. Dennis Andrews scored on a 24-yard run and didn’t hurt his cause. Clinton Lynch and Isaiah Willis got plenty of carries, too. Broderick Snoddy, still recovering from a broken leg, watched from the sidelines.
It was hard to get a grip on the competition among receivers, with the wet football difficult to throw. But Antonio Messick dropped what would have been a wide-open touchdown on a seam route and Andrews dropped a difficult catch in the end zone.
“Conditions weren’t great, but we’ve got to catch some of those balls,” Johnson said.