ATLANTA — Jamal Lewis says Georgia Tech players like to sleep in late on game days.
That’s not a good idea when the games start at noon.
The Yellow Jackets hope for a better response to their early wake-up call Saturday when they play at Miami in their third noon start of the season.
Georgia Tech is 3-3 overall, including an 0-2 record in noon starts against Virginia and Maryland.
Lewis, Tech’s senior safety, says players might "sleep to 11 or 12, something like that" before playing night games.
Unfortunately for Tech, the players have performed as if they have the same late wake-up call for noon starts.
Tech has been outscored 35-10 in the first quarter of its two noon games. In its other four games, Tech has outscored teams 41-10 in the opening quarter.
"The first quarter is very important," Lewis said. "The last two games we had at noon we started off very slow. We just have to get more energized as far as the game and stuff like that before we get out there at noon, because noon is early for us to get up. We just have to go out and play hard from the first snap."
Tech’s game-day schedule for noon starts begins early with an 8 a.m. breakfast.
"Usually we’re up early with the crack of dawn," Lewis said.
Tech outscored Maryland 16-7 in the second half last week but couldn’t overcome a 14-3 first-quarter deficit in the 28-26 loss. Virginia led Tech 21-7 after one quarter; the Yellow Jackets outscored the Cavaliers 16-7 the rest of the game.
"We’ve just got to come out and play from the first snap to the last," said defensive end Darrell Robertson. "In certain games we haven’t shown up in the beginning. We’ve got to come out focused from the beginning."
HEELS OVER HEAD
Robertson was part of Tech’s strong comeback attempt against Maryland. The senior recovered a fumble and ran 32 yards for a touchdown with less than a minute left in the first half.
Robertson (6-5, 245) made the most of his second career touchdown as he flipped into the end zone.
"It’s an exciting moment," Robertson said. "I didn’t even think I was going to have a chance to get into the end zone. I just saw the goal line and I thought I’m going to get there someway, somehow."
Someway, yes. But with a flip?
"It was just one of those things I just did for the fun of it," he said. "If you’re not having fun, what’s the point?"
Robertson said his flip was not planned.
"It was just an impromptu thing, just something to get the team fired up," he said.
Robertson also returned an interception for a touchdown at Duke in 2005.
Georgia Tech will be visiting the Orange Bowl for the last time. Miami will play its home games in Fort Lauderdale next year.
Tech played four Orange Bowl postseason games from 1945 to 1967 and is 1-1 against Miami in the Orange Bowl facility.
Tech coach Chan Gailey played for Florida at the Orange Bowl in 1971.
"It’s a very unique place, to say the least," Gailey said. "It’s probably the same today as it was when I was there in ‘71. That says a lot in itself."
Tailback Tashard Choice continues to play through a nagging hamstring injury. Despite the injury, Choice rushed for 135 yards with a touchdown last week after running for 145 yards with a touchdown in a win over Clemson on Sept. 29.
Receiver Correy Earls also expects to return this week after spending the night in a Virginia hospital following a helmet-to-helmet hit on Sept. 22. Earls suffered a concussion but returned to Atlanta the day after the game.
Senior right guard Nate McManus will miss the game with a shoulder injury.