Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday that he was surprised one play in last Thursday’s Yellow Jackets win over Clemson has created some brouhaha.
Speaking to members of the media on the ACC’s weekly coaches teleconference, Johnson said he was surprised to learn a conference official called last Thursday’s fake field goal pass for a touchdown illegal.
The play in question occurred in the first quarter of Georgia Tech’s 30-27 win at Bobby Dodd Stadium, during which Demaryius Thomas caught a 34-yard pass from place-kicker Scott Blair on fourth down. Hauling in the high, lofty pass before Clemson’s special teams players could react, Thomas sprinted down the Yellow Jackets’ sideline before entering the end zone.
The play came under scrutiny earlier this week, after Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reportedly spoke to ACC officials supervisor Doug Rhoades. According to a blog post Wednesday on the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail’s Web site, Rhoades told Swinney that both the fake and a Clemson 37-yard completion that set up a game-tying field goal were illegal plays.
“What we did, because we had our offense on the field (on third down), OK. They put the ball ready for play so everybody was inside the numbers,” Johnson said.
“Then we ran the extra point team on the field with 10 guys, and got the offense off the field. Bay-Bay Thomas has been a wing on the extra point team at times, so he just came all the way out, split out right in front of the line judge. He looked to the guy, the guy said, ‘OK, you’re on the line,’ they snapped the ball and threw it.”
Since the conference interpreted that as a violation, Johnson said the Yellow Jackets will learn from the experience and won’t repeat the play again.
“All right, well, we’re in a league and if that’s (the rule) then we won’t do it anymore,” Johnson said.