College Sports

Pigskin Preview notebook: B-back one of few worries for Johnson as summer begins

The quarterback position is as set as it has ever been for Georgia Tech under head coach Paul Johnson.

Usually, the B-back position is in good shape. But it’s one of the few question marks the Yellow Jackets will sit with until preseason practice begins.

Georgia Tech will open practice without a proven player at the position. The two Yellow Jackets who started last year, Zach Laskey and Synjyn Days, have graduated.

Of the five players listed at B-back on the spring roster, none have carried the ball in a game. And two of those candidates, C.J. Leggett and Quaide Weimerskirch, suffered injuries that have eliminated them from consideration.

Johnson doesn’t think the B-back cupboard is bare,

The fall roster will include Stanford transfer Patrick Scove, who had 12 carries at fullback for the Cardinal in 2014 but did score four touchdowns. As a graduate, he is immediately eligible.

“We’ll give him an opportunity to see what he can do,” Johnson said.

And there’s Marcus Allen, who has gone through position changes before settling in at B-back.

“We’ve kind of moved Marcus around,” Johnson said. “He had a really good spring game.’

And Johnson noted the potential of incoming freshmen Mikell Lands-Davis and Marcus Marshall.

“So, we’ve got some bodies there,” Johnson said. “We’ll see how it all (unfolds).”


GMC coaches were excited when it appeared that football was to be played at West Georgia Tech in Douglas.

The Bulldogs even had the Golden Knights on the schedule, which meant one fewer long cross-many-state-lines bus ride for a road game.

Then the school dropped the plans to play football. But there is a little hope for GMC’s travel itinerary with the addition of ASA-Miami, which is part of ASA-Brooklyn, a recent GMC opponent.

“They’re just starting up,” said GMC defensive coordinator Rob Manchester, filling in at the Pigskin Preview for head coach Bert Williams. “You would think they would end up being loaded with talent.”

GMC has been able to decrease the length of some road trips by playing opponents at neutral sites, like when the Bulldogs played ASA at West Virginia’s Mountaineer Field. They’ll do that again Sept. 14.

The closest college opponent’s campus on this year’s schedule is Arkansas Baptist in Little Rock, about the same distance from Milledgeville as is Miami, about 620 miles.

Regardless, the Bulldogs will still have as tough a schedule as anybody.

“Bert’s always going to want to have the tough schedule,” Manchester said. “I think it helps the kids get recruited in the long run. And we’ve got another tough one this year.”


A 6-4 season isn’t bad, but Fort Valley State still wasn’t happy that mark in 2014.

But winning records are getting tougher to come by at FVSU with a constantly dwindling staff.

The Wildcats are down to two full-time paid coaches, and one of them was at the Pigskin Preview.

Offensive line coach Keith DeGrate went to FVSU with head coach Donald Pittman, and while they no doubt expected to stay colleagues, they no doubt expected to have more than each other.

“Get up earlier,” DeGrate said, “and go home later.”

The Wildcats have made do with a list of volunteer coaches since the cuts started in full less than two months after FVSU’s playoff season of 2012 had ended. Finances haven’t been good on campus for years, and the school is yet again looking for a president.

The football staff lost one of its veterans when longtime defensive coach Terry Jones left to take a high school head coaching position in his home state of Oklahoma.

DeGrate said there are six bodies working with the team, but those volunteers aren’t fully vested in the other parts of the job, like recruiting, strength and conditioning, academics and player development.

Still, DeGrate thinks the Wildcats let two or three games get a away last season.

“We shouldn’t have lost three football games, that’s for sure,” he said. “Those four turnovers against Albany State killed us.

“But injuries played a big part on the last three ballgames. We don’t have the depth because we don’t have the funds to go get the kids.”


The SEC enacted a rule last week banning transfers to the conference of players who had been disciplined by their previous school.

Would the ACC consider such a rule?

“We don’t have that problem, I don’t think,” Johnson said of his own school. “We can’t get them in school anyway.”