Georgia Tech released its depth chart for the Boston College game Monday. Not many surprises, if any, but here’s the chart, with notes below.
Matthew Jordan or TaQuon Marshall
Marcus Marshall or Dedrick Mills
Isiah Willis or J.J. Green
Corey Griffin or Lawrence Austin
Lamont Simmons or Step Durham
Quarterback: Coach Paul Johnson said that the backup position would be situational, and he’s evidently sticking to it. Justin Thomas will make his 27th consecutive start. I don’t know if Tech keeps a record for most consecutive starts by a quarterback, but Thomas could pass Joe Hamilton, who started 36 consecutive games.
Running backs: Likewise, falling back again to what Johnson said earlier in the preseason that Marcus Marshall and Dedrick Mills are “1A and 1B.” I’ll be curious to see how the series get divided between the two. They might alternate and then wait for one to get hot.
J.J. Green, the transfer from Georgia, is a player I’ve heard good things about in the preseason. Him sharing the top line would seem means he’s in the top three with Clinton Lynch and Isiah Willis, meaning he should get plenty of playing time in the A-back rotation.
Wide receivers: I’m not sure how much confidence Johnson has in the backups at this point. Mikell Lands-Davis played some last year and Harland Howell is a redshirt freshman. Either or both will see some playing time Saturday, I’d think. Curious to know who is after these four, Christian Philpott, Antonio Messick or Jalen Camp, the first-year freshman who made an impression on Johnson in camp.
Offensive line: I think the starting line should be better than expected. I am of the opinion that the program to lose body fat will be impactful. However, two first-year freshmen as backups (Parker Braun and Kenny Cooper) and a third who’s a redshirt freshman (Brad Morgan) is a bit precarious, although most likely Andrew Marshall is Burden’s de facto backup. A fourth (Stickler) has played two games in his career. It’s an athletic group with potential, but probably not one that could easily withstand a long-term injury or two (not that many other groups are).
Defensive line: Francis Kallon will be making his first career start in Ireland in front of several family and friends flying from London, where he grew up. I think Freeman is one of the biggest variables in the lineup. If he can take a step forward in productivity as a pass rusher, it would make a big difference, I think.
Like the offensive line, not the most experienced group on the second string. Saint-Amour and Cerge-Henderson mostly played backup roles as first-year freshmen last year. Glanton is a redshirt freshman. Simmons, at least, has reasonable experience for a backup. Alford sang Simmons’ praises on Monday for the work he has done this preseason.
Linebackers: Tech played about 80 percent of its defensive snaps in its 4-2-5 alignment (four down linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs) last season against offenses that went with one or no running backs and three or more wide receivers.
However, the Jackets should be in the 4-3 more against Boston College, as the Eagles often play with two backs and a tight end. That should mean staring outside linebacker Terrell Lewis should be on the field more along with P.J. Davis and Chase Alford.
Secondary: Roof is reserving judgement on starters at strong safety and one of the cornerback spots. When Tech goes to 4-2-5, Lawrence Austin is the likely nickel back. He’s the only defensive back with significant starting experience; he started nine games last season at nickel. Step Durham started one game last year in place of D.J. White.
Cornerbacks coach Joe Speed said Monday that he expects to have to give backups playing time on Saturday, meaning redshirt freshman Dorian Walker and possibly Meiko Dotson will see their first action.
Mills and Qua Searcy will have the honor of replacing Jamal Golden, who ran back punts and kickoffs for the better part of the past four seasons. Going by what Johnson has said, a primary attribute has been their ability to catch and hold onto the ball. Coaches have mentioned Mills’ vision, another valuable asset for a kick returner. One of them may be the first player to handle the ball for Tech this season.