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Jackets quarterbacks impress at T-Day

POSTED: April 20, 2012 10:46 p.m.

ATLANTA — Friday’s T-Day scrimmage at Georgia Tech didn’t have quite the same energy and flair as the fireworks that went off outside Bobby Dodd Stadium following the Friday Night On The Flats.

The first points of the game didn’t come until fourth-year junior David Scully, a Dawson County High grad, hit a 42-yard field goal for the White squad on the final play of the first quarter.

The first touchdown was scored in the first minute of the second half when sophomore Corey Dennis scooped a fumble and scored on a 28-yard run, also for the White, which won 31-7 over the Gold. The game drew 18,125 fans.

“I saw positives on both sides of the ball tonight,” Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson said. “This was just one of 15 practices we had during the spring, but we still saw some things we liked.”

As intended, the play calling was conservative and contact, especially on the quarterbacks, was kept at a minimum as to avoid any serious injuries heading into the summer.

“We got out of the game with no injuries, which is the biggest thing,” Johnson added.

Fifth-year senior Tevin Washington is the man to beat for the starting job in the fall at quarterback for the Yellow Jackets. He did nothing that would hurt that status from his performance as the man in charge of the first-team offense of the White squad. He finished the game with a modest, but steady, 67 rushing yards and 46 passing.

“If we opened the season tomorrow, Tevin would be our starter,” Johnson said. “But we have all summer and 33 practices as a team before opening day to let it all play out.”

He scored on a run from the 2 with 4:48 left to play in the third quarter. Three plays before scoring, Washington had his longest run of the game, covering 16 yards.

Even though he put the ball on the ground on the game’s first series, he followed it up with a pass to Deon Hill for a gain of 10, followed by a keeper for a gain of 9.

Georgia Tech back-up quarterbacks Synjyn Days, a redshirt sophomore, and redshirt freshman Vad Lee both had some productive plays, even though both struggled a bit at times throwing the ball.

“Right now, we have three quarterbacks that are all different and all bring different things to the team,” Johnson said. “One is a better passer, one is better running the option, and one is more experienced.”

On Days’ first chance behind center for the White offense, he picked on 21 yards on a keeper late in the first quarter, followed by a 12-yard gain up the middle with 3:10 left to play in the first. His numbers were the best among quarterbacks with 71 passing and 79 rushing yards.

“Overall, I think we all got better this spring,” Days said. “But there’s always room to improve.”

He also showed great athleticism by avoiding the pressure of two defenders and getting rid of the ball before taking a sack.

Then, on the field goal drive at the end of the first half, Days set it up with a 28-yard connection with Tony Zenon. His run down to the Gold 24 put it in position for Scully’s kick as time expired in the first half.

Lee’s best plays came when he connected with Hill for a 37-yard pass play, the longest play of the game, at the end of the third quarter. He finished the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Zenon (three catches, 52 yards). Lee completed 9 of 17 passes for 120 yards and two scores.

On defense, the starting linebackers of the Gold squad, the first-team defenders, put on the best performance on that side of the ball. Junior Jeremiah Attaochu had sacks on consecutive plays in the first half. Third-year sophomore Quayshawn Nealy (a team-high five tackles) also had a pair of first half sacks.

Both linebackers are competing for playing time with Flowery Branch grad Daniel Drummond, who was suspended for T-Day and the first 1½ games of the regular season following Wednesday’s guilty plea in Hall County for a boating under the influence arrest that took place last summer on Lake Lanier.

On the defensive line, returning starter Izaan Cross, a Flowery Branch grad, finished the game second on the team with four tackles.

Georgia Tech opens the season at 8 p.m. Sept. 3 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.


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