As spring games go, Georgia Tech’s was actually not awful

Paul Johnson, outstanding in his field. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

The first play of Georgia Tech’s first spring game under Paul Johnson yielded a fumble. I mention this because … well, I feel compelled to mention it every time I attend a Georgia Tech spring game, and I’m pretty sure I’m on the high side of a half-dozen now. So: tradition.

I also mention it as a public-service reminder: Spring games mean less than nothing. Johnson’s first team wound up going 9-4 and beating Georgia, which had begun the season No. 1.

Apologies if you knew all of the above already, but sometimes in this world of College Football 24-7-365/6, we lose a bit of, shall we say, perspective. Doesn’t matter how good somebody looks in April. Doesn’t matter who’s televising the thing – I recall a time when spring games weren’t televised by any conference’s network, there being no conference networks – or how many fans show up or how many condoms the halftime act requires. Spring games don’t count.

Because, you know, a spring game is a team playing itself. A spring game isn’t the equivalent of the NFL preseason, which in and of itself is meaningless. A spring game is a scrimmage, of which every program has periodically in both spring and fall practice. Difference is, the alums – and the media – get to come watch this one. Aren’t we lucky?

As Tech spring games go, Friday night’s was about as entertaining as it gets. The Gold team — the one with the No. 2 offense — scored on a 61-yard pass from Chase Martenson to Brady Swilling with 1:32 remaining to shade the White 21-16. But before you start yelling at Ted Roof, be advised that the White was working with the No. 2 defense. In spring games as in life, all things are relative.

Matthew Jordan, considered the likely replacement for the excellent Justin Thomas, didn’t play, having sustained a foot injury in spring drills. Not until the final minute of the third quarter did the White team – the one with the No. 1 offense – score a touchdown, which was a little weird given that the Gold team managed one on its second snap, which was a bit weird itself.

Lucas Johnson, not usually mentioned among viable contenders to be the starting quarterback, scored on a 70-yard keeper. We note that Johnson, a redshirt freshman from San Diego, is considered a better passer than runner. (So why’s he at Tech, huh?)

Jay Jones, the No. 2 quarterback on the No. 1 offense – got that? – had better running stats than TaQuon Marshall, who got the first-string nod in Jordan’s absence. But there’s a real chance that none of quarterbacks who played Friday will see the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (assuming it’s open) against Tennessee on Labor Day. If we’ve learned anything from  Johnson’s time at Tech, it’s that he usually taps the quarterback you figure he’ll tap, which in this case is Jordan.

Still, it was a nice enough scrimmage. It ended with the Gold team preserving victory with an end-zone interception, so that was fun, kind of. The band played. (No halftime show at the Flats.) In a departure from previous springs, it didn’t rain. A smallish crowd gathered, which is in no way meant as a criticism. Life’s short and this is Atlanta. There are other entertainment options on a Friday night.

And if you’re asking, “What will you recall most from this exercise?”, the answer is that Johnson, not often in a good post-spring-game mood in years past, seemed almost giddy — well, as giddy as he  gets — after this one. Make of that what you will.

Reader Comments 0

33 comments
warrenet
warrenet

Unfortunately, even though I have been a Tech fan since 1955, and I am Tech class of 1962, there are some things that dawg fan says that I actually agree with. I've been through the ups, and downs, with the Tech program and I honestly feel that Tech will never be more than a mediocre football team. Tech may have moments where they play decent football, but they will also have moments where they will look terrible. There is a problem with Paul Johnson's inability to recruit top level talent, but a lot of this stems from the fact that there is no program in the overall curriculum,  that allows a recruit to get away from the huge math requirements that a Tech student must face. I blame a lot of this on the Tech President. And before all of you start harping  with,"We can't lower the Tech standards for football players," please note that most other institutions of higher learning have these easier courses for athletes, and not a single one of those schools have collapsed in total disarray because of this.

I'm 77 years old, and I would like to see a few more really good Tech football teams before I die, but I'm won't bet any money on it because of the overall attitude of the Tech President, and many of the faculty. I was at the Gator Bowl in 1990 and I still remember the elation when Tech beat Nebraska. I would like to feel that emotion again. Paul Johnson has been heavily criticized because of the 1960's offense that he runs, but the truth is, with the lack of overall ability on the Tech team compared to most opponents, his offense is the only thing that keeps Tech in the games.You guys gripe about dawg fan and his posts, and you respond every time he leaves a post. That is exactly what a person like that thrives on. He wants you to respond. He loves it when you try to joust with him. Because most of you seem to be so ignorant that you don't understand that, he wins! Ignore him and eventually he will go away.

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

I was actually amazed that about 7,500 us braved the Atlanta traffic at 5:30 on a Friday, with half of the interstates closed or under repair.


Very nice evening, I just hope none of the injuries carry over into training camp.

dawg fan
dawg fan

Georgia Tech football is treading water under Fish Fry with little gumption to accomplish more.  It's a very boring program.  Every year it's the same thing pretty much.  7 wins or so.  Turnovers galore.  Bad defense.  Very little has changed since he came on in 2008.  At some point you'd think Tech fans would ask themselves where they are going.  What is the direction of their program?  They don't care to ask those questions though.  They are happy being average.  Not only that, they take pride in it.  It's so pathetic. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@bobbyross1990 Last I looked UGA has a little thing called balls and is working on changing that.  Last I looked Tech fans are happy with their 8 wins, fluke wins over UGA and academic excuses.  Last I looked I have absolutely no respect for that.  Georgia Tech=JOKE.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@ToeMeetsLeather What about winning75% of the time like we've done for 3 decades?  That doesn't seem to matter much to you idiots.  You still talk schitt.  So why am I supposed to care about this 2 of 3 bullschitt?  You'll be hiding like cowards behind all your excuses once Kirby's recruits start taking over and you know it.  The same recruiting classes that you idiots mock in February will all of the sudden be too much for you little pizz ant program to handle.  That's how you Techies have always been.  You are a freaking disgrace. 

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

@dawg fan


Recent past is more relevant big guy. We one more in the leather helmet era. Who cares though.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@dawg fan Listen to the weak dog fan..GT will beat you again as the dogs will again under achieve.. It is a

pathetic program in Athens and they have no head coach.. Leghumpers may win 7 games, maybe!!!

Harvey
Harvey

mention lack of respect, and first thing comes to mind is YOU. Just do everyone a favor and go elsewhere. . . leave the GT posts to GT folk.

Pub Heaven
Pub Heaven

A giddy Paul Johnson.

Brace yourself, ACC.

Or at least ACC scribes...

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Pub Heaven  Brace yourself, ACC?  Paul Johnson is barely cracking .500 in the ACC the past five seasons at 21-19.  Please tell me you are joking nerd. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@bobbyross1990 Then he is a freaking moron.  No one in the ACC is bracing themselves for your redneck coach.  The only thing they might be bracing themselves for is seeing his ugly mug in their stadium every other year.  The man is a very average football coach.  You Techies are way beyond delusional. 

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

@dawg fan


Just one question for you?


How long were you in the fetal position after "Searcy's Soar" in to the endzone in mutt land last year?

dawg fan
dawg fan

@ToeMeetsLeather Not very long.  Our offense was horrible last year and we had a very young team.  I thought a loss was a distinct possibility because we were not very good last year.  You Tech fans have manufactured this David and Goliath narrative about this series because you are pathetic.  You are a FBS level team playing in a Power 5 conference just like we are.  No one thinks its App State v. Michigan when you beat us.  Only you do.  I expect to improve though and I expect Tech fans will be the ones in the fetal position making crybaby excuses soon, just like always. 

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Anyway you can find it in your heart to maybe spreading your condescension around to, let's just say, maybe the Hawks/Braves/Bulldogs where it truly could do a service? Of those three teams, you heap nothing but hope and praise despite two of the three caring nothing about winning a championship and the third being "dawged" by the nature of their sport. The Falcons are to be doubted in your eyes, their far more complicated and potentially far more prosperous stadium is to be mocked. The soccer team isn't worth a positive mention because, lets face it, you don't get why it's the most popular sport in the world (I don't either, even though I played it through college I have no clue why anyone would watch it). But we have a team and it will be successful because Arthur is involved. You not so subtlety kick Tech around because it's easy to kick the slow kid on the playground. At least Tech knows what it is and what challenges it can conquer (like beating Georgia on its home turf every other season and occasionally winning the ACC). For once, try to actually be real about what you see.

dawg fan
dawg fan


@FineousMcDirtyBird  "At least Tech  knows what it is . . ." Translation:  We're happy being average and take pot shots at UGA from the cheap seats for aspiring for more.  Why on Earth you coward Techies are so proud of this I have no idea.  It's pretty pathetic.   UGA may never win a national title again but at least we're trying instead of sitting around half azzing our program content with excuses like you cowards are.  My God you Tech fans are an embarrassing joke.


bobbyross1990
bobbyross1990

@dawg fan @FineousMcDirtyBird My God you really must be a miserable human being. No Tech fans cares about your opinion. And for someone who loathes Tech, you sure do find your way to the Tech blog quite often. And don't give me this crap that " I'm only here because other tech people are on our blog." Bullcrap! Grow up!

dawg fan
dawg fan

@bobbyross1990 "No Tech fans care about your opinion . . ."  Your three responses and counting to my opinions tell a different story.  I'm  here for one reason and one reason only:  Because I don't like you and I want to make sure you know why.  You idiots can't discuss your own team without trying to drag ours down.  See the comments below before I ever got here.  You talk schitt and then cry to mommy when someone throws it back at you.  You are a joke. 

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

@dawg fan


Don't you need to get on the road dude?

I thought you were in charge of rounding up the condoms for this year's halftime act at the spring game.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@ToeMeetsLeather Your joke marketing department would give up a nut to have Ludacris perform at your spring game.  Please deny that so I can laugh in your face at what a joke you are.  Your athletic programs are so desperate for attention they'd probably let the Village People perform at your spring game if they wanted to. 

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

@dawg fan


I would hope my marketing department would never use my athletic donation to pay some dude with no connection to sports to perform at the spring game.


And nuts are valuable, I don't value them that lightly. National Championship may get some consideration though. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@ToeMeetsLeather I guess you missed where Big Boi from Outkast performed at one of your games a while back.  Boy you sure are stupid nerd.   

bobbyross1990
bobbyross1990

@dawg fan @bobbyross1990 " Your three responses and counting to my opinions tell a different story." No they don't. You talk a big game on the internet, big boy. I would love to see you say that to me, man to man. I'm not sure you want any. I've been around the block a time or two, junior. Don't come on here talking crap just because you hate Tech. You take things too personal. I hate uga but I don't go on their blogs and bother them. You know why? I could care less! 

THWG
THWG

Thanks Mark. That was mildly entertaining and you're right, it doesn't matter anyway. We'll wait for the real reporting to come out of the spring event in Athens when 93,000 grown men take their families and bark out loud while watching a bunch of kids practice. 

Now I'll go look for Ken S.'s report, which will actually be informative about Tech football. Even if it was a practice.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Mark will blow a load about Georgia anything. The fact that Tech was in the title was an instant clue that there was a spoof piece coming.