Good news broke yesterday when it was announced that backup quarterback Tim Byerly, who sustained a previously undiagnosed leg injury during practice, might not miss significant time this season. Byerly, the main backup for Justin Thomas and a valuable goal-line asset for Tech, will be back no earlier than the Notre Dame game in two weeks but should not miss substantial time beyond that. In the meantime, A-Back Matthew Jordan has converted back to quarterback and will hold down the fort while Byerly fully heals. He could see some playing time at quarterback this week against Tulane if things get out of hand early -- it would be his first collegiate action as a signal caller.
Tech vs. Tulane this Saturday will be the second annual clash of the Johnson's as Paul and the Jackets take on the Green Wave and head coach Curtis Johnson, whose team is focused on tackling Tech and trying to piece together a successful season. Although Tulane fell by a large 30-point margin to Duke last week, don't expect to see more of the same from the Wave. If C. Johnson is to be believed, his squad is re-energized and ready with some necessary changes to ideally be more competitive in week two. An upset of our top-15 Jackets is a tall order and one that I doubt will be filled, but don't be surprised if Tulane puts on a show in Atlanta. The Jackets can't get caught looking ahead to a big trip up to South Bend.
For the Jackets, that upcoming game against Tulane very well could feel more like a season opener than the last game against Alcorn State even did. Justin Thomas did, after all, only play the first quarter before giving way to Tim Byerly and Brady Swilling for the duration of the contest and we didn't get to see a full display of what he brings to the table in those limited minutes. The Tulane game, however, should provide Thomas and the rest of the starters with a better opportunity to show up against a higher quality opponent. I can't wait to see how the team performs under increased pressure, especially since the stage lights will get exponentially brighter just a week later in South Bend.
When most college quarterbacks struggle, they get chewed out by coaches and possibly benched. When UNC's Marquise Williams struggles, he gets text messages and encouragement from.... Peyton Manning? Following a dreaful debut against South Carolina last week, Williams awoke one morning and found that the legendary quarterback, currently of the Denver Broncos, had texted him offering advice. I for think that it is extremely cool for guys like Manning to reach out to guys like Williams, who plays a brand of football that isn't even comparable to Manning's. Good for both of them.
Should Tech be on upset watch against Tulane? Would looking ahead to the Notre Dame game be a huge mistake?