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Off week comes at a good time for Tech QB Nesbitt

Shaw taking snaps in starter's absence

POSTED: September 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.
John Bazemore/The Associated Press

Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt (9) fends off Mississippi State's K.J. Wright during the first quarter of last Saturday's game in Atlanta. Nesbitt was injured in the game and did not return.

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ATLANTA - Josh Nesbitt did not practice Tuesday and would not be able to play if Georgia Tech had a game this week, according to coach Paul Johnson.

Nesbitt suffered a strained right hamstring on Georgia Tech's opening drive and sat out the rest of the Yellow Jackets' 38-7 win over Mississippi State on Saturday.

Georgia Tech (3-1) is off this week and will play Duke on Oct. 4.

Nesbitt's status for the Duke game remains uncertain.

"I don't have any idea," Johnson said. "We'll know better by the start of next week."

Nesbitt normally shares practice snaps on a near-equal basis with top backup Jaybo Shaw, a freshman from Flowery Branch.

With Nesbitt out, Shaw took all the first-team snaps on Tuesday, according to Johnson, who said Bryce Dykes and Calvin Booker shared the playing time with the second-team offense. The practice is closed to the public.

Nesbitt and Shaw have combined to rush for 402 yards and six touchdowns in the first four games.

Nesbitt, a sophomore, is 16-for-33 passing for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Shaw is 6-for-10 passing for 91 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

With Shaw playing most of the game against Mississippi State, Georgia Tech had its first turnover-free game of the season.

Georgia Tech had a season-high 500 total yards, including 438 yards rushing, the fifth-highest total in school history. Shaw took over for Nesbitt on the team's first touchdown drive. He threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the next possession and added a 25-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Nesbitt distributed the ball to four running backs on Georgia Tech's opening drive before he fooled Mississippi State's defense by keeping the ball and running around the right end for a 21-yard gain.

Then, even before Nesbitt ran out of bounds, it was clear something was wrong. Nesbitt broke his stride, grimacing in obvious pain as he fell to the ground with a hamstring injury that kept him out the remainder of the game.
The good news for Georgia Tech was the steady play of Shaw, who kept the offense moving.

Shaw said Tuesday that Johnson's fast-paced practice schedule and heavy dose of repetitions had him ready to take over for Nesbitt.

"Words can't describe how prepared I was and how happy I was knowing and having the confidence," Shaw said.

Johnson constantly shuttles two offensive huddles in practice. When asked about the fast pace, he looked at his schedule and said there were 32 snaps in one 20-minute period on Tuesday.

"We practice at a pretty fast pace," Johnson said. "We get a lot of reps. By the time one goes the other one is coming. The second one is snapping the ball by the time they get back in the huddle. It's pretty quick."

Despite Shaw's strong performance against Mississippi State and the fact Nesbitt is in his first year as a starter, there has been no hint of a quarterback controversy.

Johnson already has demonstrated he will play Nesbitt and Shaw if both quarterbacks are healthy.

"That's all I can ask for, just a chance to get some practice snaps in with the first team and whatever happens happens," Shaw said.

Shaw didn't flinch when asked if he will try to earn more playing time by having more time with the first-team offense while Nesbitt recovers from his injury.

"I'm just going to go out and compete every day and that's what a competitor wants," Shaw said. "I know Josh pushes me all the time. He's a great athlete and I'm going to try my best to push him."

Added Shaw: "Whatever happens happens."



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