1. Freshman B-back C.J. Leggett is not expected to play against Tulane. Coach Paul Johnson and quarterbacks and B-backs coach Bryan Cook are trying to determine if it’s worthwhile to play him this season or to preserve his redshirt. Johnson said the determining factor will be whether or not Leggett can help the team win this season.
“You don’t want to play him and put him out there for five reps, and he’s not really a factor,” Johnson said.
He would have to be able to move at least past Synjyn Days on the depth chart.
After Wednesday’s practice, Johnson said that he wasn’t quite ready and needed to know the offense better, “who to block, which hole to run in, all that stuff.”
The decision is not final.
Johnson also said that backup quarterback Tim Byerly will probably play if there are enough possessions and plays in the game. In last week’s game, Tech had nine possessions and 59 snaps.
2. In the Wofford game, Tech didn’t run a single triple-option play, Johnson said. His reasoning was that “we just didn’t feel like it.”
Wofford was crowding the line, he said, and left wide receiver DeAndre Smelter one on one, which resulted in a higher percentage of pass plays (17 out of 59, 29 percent) than usual. Tech was 78/22 run/pass last year, which was the highest percentage of pass plays in Johnson’s tenure.
“It just wasn’t a big thing that we were dialed in on,” he said. “We practiced it a lot (in preseason). I’m sure you’ll see it on Saturday.”
3. For the inaugural game at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium, the Green Wave will take the field that, according to the Tulane game notes, “will feature video, special effects, three-dimensional video mapping synced with pyrotechnics and cryogenics.”
I’m guessing the last part is referring to a smoke machine.
When Johnson was at Navy, the Midshipmen were the visiting team for the opening of Stanford’s re-built stadium in 2006. Navy won 37-9.
4. Tech sold 2,400 tickets to the game out of its ticket office. The athletic department contracted for an allotment of 2,000 tickets for the game, which it sold out, and went back twice to Tulane for more. Associate athletic director Rick Thorpe, who oversees ticket sales, said it was one of the largest distributions for a Tech non-conference road-game (not counting Georgia) since the 2005 game at Auburn.
(I think that would include Notre Dame 2007, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in 2009, Kansas in 2010 and Middle Tennessee State in 2011.)
The 2,400 does not include Tech fans who bought tickets through Tulane or on secondary markets. On Stubhub, tickets were selling for a minimum of $107 on Friday morning.
5. Special-teams coach Ray Rychleski said that it appeared Chris Milton blocked Wofford’s extra-point try at the end of the first half, followed by Shawn Green. Milton came off the corner and lay out to tip the kick. Green was officially given credit. If credit is switched, it would be Milton’s fourth career block of a punt, field goal or extra point. He blocked three punts last season.
Neither Tech nor the ACC keep record for blocks. The NCAA record for career blocks is 19, held by James Ferebee of New Mexico State.
My search of the ACC record book did uncover this nugget. Of the top 10 all-time leaders in career yards per carry (minimum 1,000 yards), four of the top five are former A-backs, Orwin Smith (first at 9.19), Robbie Godhigh (second at 8.82), Roddy Jones (fourth at 7.49) and Embry Peeples (fifth at 7.32). Anthony Allen is eighth (6.26) and Jonathan Dwyer is ninth (6.24). Dorsey Levens is 11th (6.13).
Of the senior A-backs, I don’t suspect any will have a great chance to make 1,000 yards. B.J. Bostic has 472 career yards and a 7.2 yards-per-carry average.
6. Johnson on his players’ emotions in advance of playing in the first game at Tulane’s stadium: “They’ll be excited. They read the paper. They know. Or, I should say, read the Internet, I guess.”
7. Sophomore defensive tackle Francis Kallon made strides in the preseason, but still has a ways to go to make the rotation, according to defensive line coach Mike Pelton. He was not particularly interested in talking about Kallon when asked on Tuesday. It’s another reason why keeping starting tackles Adam Gotsis and Green is important.
Pelton on end KeShun Freeman’s debut: “He looked like a typical freshman. He did some good things, but, like I said, a freshman goes in, they kind of stand around and watch the game, so you’ve got to get them out of that mode, and you want to get them in the mode of, Hey, I’ve got to go in and do my job. I think once we got all the jitters out of the way and (Freeman and the other freshmen linemen) got over the hype of being in my first college game, I think they settled down and tried to do what we asked them to do.”
8. The forecast for Saturday in New Orleans is high of 88 with a 50 percent chance of rain (scattered thunderstorms) and 72 percent humidity. (If you’re wondering, the moon is waxing gibbous.)
Players were instructed constantly this week, as they often are, to hydrate.
“They don’t call it ‘504 hot’ for nothing,” Green said.
(I’m going to take Green’s word on this. My knowledge of current colloquialisms is woefully inadequate. I know what Dora the Explorer says. That’s about it.)
Green said he can lose five to seven pounds in a practice and tries to drink a gallon of water a day.
9. Tech is expecting plenty of balls in the air, including deep shots. Twice weekly, defensive coordinator Ted Roof said, the secondary finishes practice with a drill in which backs defend 40- and 50-yard passes.
“It’s something we’ve got to get better at,” Roof said. “Those plays turn games or turn seasons, so when the ball’s in the air, we’ve got to go get it. We’ve got to win those battles.”
Among those taking turns going deep: Joe Hamilton and receivers coach Buzz Preston.
“Whoever’s arm is healthy, we break ’em out and (have them) chunk it for us,” he said.
Roof has abstained.
“I can throw it,” he said. “I have chosen not to at this point in my career.”
10. Saturday’s game will be the first time that Tech has appeared on ESPNews. According to the website zap2it, 65 percent of all households received the channel as of Aug. 2013.
Tulane is an ideal opponent for this momentous occasion. Tech played Tulane in its first-ever televised game, a 13-7 win in 1948 on WSB.
Joel Meyers (play by play) and Brian Kinchen (color) will call the game. Meyers does play-by-play for the New Orleans Pelicans, although he has done football previously. Kinchen played at LSU and then the NFL as a long snapper.