ATLANTA — Georgia Tech could start a different quarterback for the third time in three games.
Coach Paul Johnson, whose Yellow Jackets (4-1) host Gardner-Webb (2-3) this weekend, has given his third-string quarterback, senior Calvin Booker, most of the snaps in practice this week.
Josh Nesbitt, who won the starting job in spring, could miss his second straight game with a strained hamstring.
The red-shirt freshman hasn’t played since injuring his leg and leaving the Sept. 20 win over Mississippi State.
Flowery Branch graduate Jaybo Shaw, who took Nesbitt’s spot last week and passed for 230 yards in a 27-0 win over Duke, is still feeling fuzzy after hitting his head against the Blue Devils.
In nine career games, Booker has never started after transferring from Auburn and sitting out 2006.
The Atlanta native, who wanted to play for Tech in former coach Chan Gailey’s pro-style attack, has completed 12 of 24 career passes for 186 yards and one touchdown.
In Johnson’s triple-option schemes, Booker has run just four times for four yards and completed his lone pass in three attempts for 19 yards.
He could become the 18th different player to make his first career start for Tech this season.
The Jackets are first in the Atlantic Coast Conference and fifth nationally with an average 290.2 yards rushing. Nesbitt, who has played in just three full games, ranks eighth in the ACC with a 72.5 average.
B-back Jonathan Dwyer leads the conference and is tied for 10th in the nation with a 109.6 average. Though Tech is using a different offense under Johnson, Dwyer could give the Jackets their third straight ACC individual rushing title after Tashard Choice won in 2006-07.
More aches and pains
Johnson was hoping freshman A-back Marcus Wright could red-shirt this season, but other injuries in the backfield might give him some snaps against Gardner-Webb.
Tech has already played seven true freshmen this year.
"We really don’t have a choice," Johnson said. "Lucas Cox is going to have to be a guy who plays a lot of B-back until we get Quincy Kelly back.
"Embry Peeples is hobbling a little bit and we don’t know what his status for the game is. Bottom line is we are going to need another guy to play. I talked to Marcus, and he was excited about wanting to play, so we will see if we can get him up to speed. We still have seven games left."
By the numbers
The defense is allowing just 11.4 points per game, tied for first in the ACC and tied for No. 4 in the nation. ... Tech has outscored opponents 38-3 in the first quarter. ...
Defensive end Michael Johnson has made a tackle for minus-yardage in four straight games. ... In just 18 career games, safety Morgan Burnett has six interceptions. ...
After missing two field-goal attempts and an extra-point kick in the season-opening win over Jacksonville State, Scott Blair has made four straight field goals.