Tech opened up spring football practice on Monday. Here are a few key storylines to look out for this year.
With Tevin Washington gone, there will definitely be a newQuarterback battle: With Tevin Washington gone, there will definitely be a new starting quarterback next season. The obvious front-runner is redshirt sophomore Vad Lee who was the backup last season, but redshirt freshman Justin Thomas will be on Lee’s heels. Lee played in twelve games last season and seemed to make progress as the season went on. He rushed for 544 yards on 96 attempts and was 27-56 through the air for the season. Lee showed the ability to make big time plays and had a huge breakout game against North Carolina when he threw for 169 yards and rushed for 112 yards.
starting quarterback next season.
Justin Thomas was a four star recruit out of Prattville High School where he led his team to the state championship. Thomas has great speed, especially for a quarterback, and is suited well for Coach Johnson’s triple option. Although his speed is what makes him a real threat, Coach Johnson has commented that Thomas also has a strong arm. One knock on Thomas is his size. Thomas is listed as only 5’11” and weighs 169 pounds, compared to Vad at 6’1” and 213 pounds. The lack of game experience may hurt Thomas as he competes for the starting job.
Coach Johnson will definitely have an eye on the competition, as he will be coaching the quarterbacks this spring after the departure of quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon.
New defensive coordinator: Ted Roof is back at Tech for his second stint as defensive coordinator. Spring practice will be Roof’s first chance to see his defense and try to implement his 4-3 system to players that were recruited to play in Al Groh’s 3-4. After the firing of Al Groh last season, Tech used the 4-3 a lot under interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and it seemed to suit Tech’s personnel as the defense performed much better during the second half of the season. Senior Jeremiah Attouchu will be moving from linebacker to defensive end in the new 4-3 scheme.
Unfortunately for Roof, there will be a few key defensive players who are out for spring practice due to injury including starting senior safety Isaiah Johnson, starting redshirt sophomore linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days and redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Watts.
Replacing Orwin: With the departure of do it all A-Back Orwin Smith, it is unclear who will start opposite of senior A-back Robbie Godhigh. Smith’s shoes will be tough to fill. Last season Smith averaged 8.6 yards per carry and led the team in receiving with 18 receptions and 288 yards.
A few possible candidates are redshirt junior Synjyn Days, redshirt junior B.J. Bostic, redshirt junior Deon Hill and redshirt junior Tony Zenon. Days, who was a quarterback before switching to A-Back last year, showed some promise at the end of last season with his tough running and perimeter blocking. Bostic may be the favorite to get the starting job. Bostic played in twelve games last season, he missed the Clemson game due to injury, and started two of them.
Bostic averaged 6.9 yards per carry last season and was a dynamic receiving threat out of the backfield averaging 19.9 yards per catch.
Zenon is probably the fastest A-Back. He played in all fourteen games last season and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
Tech will conclude spring practice with an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m.