By Matt Winkeljohn
Not long after Georgia Tech racked up 712 yards of offense in Saturday night’s 59-3 win over Presbyterian, head coach Paul Johnson said more good came of the game then one might think.
Chiefly, a whole lot of very young players got playing experience, much of that going to student-athletes who saw their first college action.
“A lot of freshmen played,” Johnson said. “It was good to get those guys out there so the next time they won’t be so wide-eyed and doing silly things.”
Any game that ends 59-3 in Tech’s favor, even though Orwin Smith lost two yards on his only touch, includes a whole lot of other superlatives. Fourteen Yellow Jackets got at least one carry Saturday night, and wide receivers Greene and Jeremy Moore each caught three passes. Those are the first collegiate receptions by ANY wide receiver on Tech’s roster.
Tech rushed for 469 yards on 58 carries, and passed for another 243. The Jackets’ 712 combined yards were second-most in school history, trailing only the 768 they had last season against Kansas.
“Their guys get out there and they’re so fast you can’t catch them,” said Presbyterian coach Harold Nichols. “You’ve got to give them credit. They’re a big-play offense and they took advantage of some matchups.”
Zach Laskey’s first career start was a beauty. Tech’s B-back rushed 12 times for 116 yards, including a 56-yard score in the first quarter. “It kind of happened really quickly,” he said. “I think the safety might have overran it and it was wide open. I just had to pick my legs up and grind it out.”
Potential starters Louis Young and Daniel Drummond saw their first action of the season after suspensions kept them out of the opener at Virginia Tech on Monday. Drummond, though, aggravated a previous leg injury. His status is unclear, as is that of potential starting safety Fred Holton and offensive lineman Morgan Bailey. They’ve missed both games so far.
Holton’s absence and the return of Young prompted the move of sophomore Jamal Golden from cornerback to safety.
“Playing safety doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I had no idea I was going to be playing safety coming into this year. But it happened and now I’ve got to run with it. Any time you get experience it’s good, no matter who you are playing.”
There’s no changing the Virginia Tech result, but it was somewhat uplifting to hear junior linebacker Brandon Watts’ response when asked if it was difficult to get up for a Saturday game just five days after the overtime loss in Blacksburg, Va. After leading the Jackets with six combined tackles and assists, he said, “Not really. We’re still young. We are college kids.”