4 notes from Johnson news conference

Notes from Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s Tuesday news conference:

1. After mentioning his plan to take a close look at first-year freshman B-back C.J. Leggett Monday night on his radio show, which caused a small stir on message boards, Johnson tried to throw water on it.

“You have to be careful now when you say anything, because everybody just takes it and runs with it,” he said. “I think basically what I said was that we were going to take a good look at C.J. this week and see if he was a little better at knowing where to go and what to do, because I think he can be a really good player.”

Johnson did say he would be willing to take off the redshirt if he believes Leggett can contribute. An element of the decision is that running back Synjyn Days, who has been practicing at B-back and receiving some snaps but there but has increasingly been getting more time back at A-back, is going to go back to A-back.

“I think we’ve hurt (Days) by not practicing (him) there because he hasn’t been as good as he was when he practiced there every day,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he told backup B-back Matt Connors that he’ll get snaps this week against North Carolina with a good week of practice. Connors and Leggett have been practicing with the second team, Zach Laskey and Days with the first team. With Days back over at A-back, Johnson said he may spilt up the snaps three ways between Laskey, Connors and Leggett.

2. Johnson was unequivocal in his support of quarterback Justin Thomas after his two interceptions (and 119 rushing yards) against Duke. While critical of the second interception that he threw – on the sideline, to Duke safety Jeremy Cash – he was willing to attribute the first – a short-armed pass near the goal line to A-back Tony Zenon – to the ankle injury he suffered in the first half.

“That’s not him,” Johnson said.

As for the other interception, “I don’t think you’ll see it again. He knows better than that.”

Johnson said that Thomas was disappointed in his play, “but he’s fine. He’ll bounce back. It’s like I told him (Monday). I’ve got all the confidence in the world (in him). He’s helped us win five games. He’s our quarterback and he’ll be fine.”

3. Johnson addressed again the team’s challenge in playing a full four quarters, a problem in the Duke game and every other game except Miami.

“We’ve got to go in and right from the start, pick it up and correct a lot of the mistakes that we made in the last game,” he said. “We’ve done it a little bit this year where we kind of go in a coma for a little bit, and we were able to overcome it (in previous games), but this time, we weren’t. We dug ourselves too deep a hole.”

4. Johnson on backup left guard Shamire Devine: “He played about like everybody else. There was some good and bad. He was a little late getting off the ball. He’s got to get that corrected. But he can do some things. I looked out there at times on Saturday and we had three freshmen and a sophomore on the offensive line in for a large part of the game.”

That would be left tackle Eason Fromayan (freshman), Devine (freshman) at left guard, center Freddie Burden (sophomore), right guard Shaquille Mason (senior) and right tackle Chris Griffin (freshman).


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