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Football: Week 11 Depth Chart Update

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In which B-back continuity is apparently not a thing

Georgia Tech v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Presumably this week’s offensive gameplan revolved around freshman B-back Dedrick Mills. He’s coming off one of his most productive games against UNC, racking up 132 yards on 19 carries (though it was marred by two untimely fumbles). With Virginia Tech up next—a team that’s been dealing with injuries along the defensive line for several weeks—a big day for the B-back looks possible and will probably be necessary for Georgia Tech to pull off the upset.

If it happens, though, it’ll be the work of someone else. Mills has been suspended for the second time this season, this time for two games. He’ll miss tomorrow’s contest against the Hokies and next week’s home finale against Virginia. As of now he should be able to return for the Georgia game, but that’s small consolation in the short term.

This week’s official depth chart is up here. As usual, some positions are inaccurate due to injuries, and speculative changes to the lineup will be discussed. Changes from last week are noted in bold text.

Offensive Skill Positions

Offensive Skill Positions
Position First String Second String
QB Justin Thomas (R-Sr.) Matthew Jordan (R-So.)
BB Marcus Marshall (So.) Marcus Allen (R-Sr.)
AB Qua Searcy (R-So.)
Clinton Lynch (R-So.)
n/a
AB Isiah Willis (R-Sr.) Lynn Griffin (R-Sr.)
WR Brad Stewart (So.) Harland Howell (R-Fr.)
WR Ricky Jeune (R-Jr.) Mikell Lands-Davis (So.)

Thomas missed the end of the UNC game after suffering an undisclosed injury late in the third quarter. All indications are that he’ll be ready to go on Saturday, but he was listed as questionable on Thursday’s injury report and may not be at full strength. If for any reason he’s unable to go, Jordan would get the nod and TaQuon Marshall would be the backup QB. Jordan played the entire fourth quarter against UNC, and during that time, Tech ran a very vanilla offense that required him to make almost no option reads. Marshall, meanwhile, has not played since September 17th, when he took the reins for Tech’s final series against Vanderbilt.

The Mills suspension will force another shuffle at the B-back position. Sophomore Marcus Marshall, who sat out last week with an injury of his own, is set to return and take over the starting role once more. It’ll be the fourth start of the season for Marshall, who has 52 carries for 299 yards (5.8 ypc) and a touchdown and had an 81-yard touchdown reception against Vanderbilt. Marcus Allen will be the primary backup for the third straight week, and he could also get the nod in short-yardage situations or when Georgia Tech needs to grind out a long drive.

J.J. Green is officially out once more, so Georgia Tech will again be without one of its top A-backs. Lynch and Searcy were the starters last week, and they’ll both be on the field in any passing situation, with Willis and Griffin in the rotation to mainly serve as blockers.

Offensive Line

Offensive Line
Position First String Second String
LT Jahaziel Lee (Fr.) Jake Stickler (R-So.)
LG Parker Braun (Fr.) Brad Morgan (R-Fr.)
C Freddie Burden (R-Sr.) Kenny Cooper (Fr.)
RG Will Bryan (So.) Shamire Devine (R-Jr.)
RT Andrew Marshall (Jr.) Eason Fromayan (R-Jr.)

On paper, the offensive line is unchanged from last week. But even though Lee is listed as the starting left tackle and has won plenty of praise from head coach Paul Johnson, Fromayan got the start against UNC. Both of them played, and both will figure into the rotation for the rest of the season, but the change has only served to make the offensive tackle situation even more confusing. One other note at the position is that Andrew Marshall is listed as questionable for Saturday, but all indications are that he’ll be ready to go.

Bryan has started two straight games at right guard, and the job appears to be his to lose. He’s shown some improvement from his early-season struggles as he adapts to playing guard in general, and his progress has coincided with a decline from Devine, who simply has not been the same player he was before the bye week.

Burden missed the latter part of the UNC game with an injury, which gave backup Kenny Cooper his first serious action. The senior is questionable for Virginia Tech and would be a major loss if he had to sit out, but Cooper did a very respectable job in relief and could likely hold his own if he had to start.

Defensive Line

Defensive Line
Position First String Second String
WDE KeShun Freeman (Jr.) Anree Saint-Amour (So.)
DT Kyle Cerge-Henderson (So.) Francis Kallon (R-Sr.)
DT Patrick Gamble (R-Sr.) Brentavious Glanton (R-Fr.)
SDE Rod Rook-Chungong (R-Sr.) Antonio Simmons (Jr.)

No changes here. The front four depth has stayed pretty constant all season, aside from Cerge-Henderson overtaking Kallon for one starting spot. While nobody has really stood out along the line all season, the biggest recent surprise has been the disappearance of Simmons, who was a valuable pass rushing threat early on but has not had much of an impact since the bye week.

Linebackers

Linebackers
Position First String Second String
WLB David Curry (R-Fr.)
Terrell Lewis (Jr.)
n/a
MLB Brant Mitchell (So.) Chase Alford (Sr.)
SLB P.J. Davis (Sr.) Victor Alexander (So.)

No changes here either, at least officially. Davis and Mitchell are the starters when healthy, but both are mediocre in coverage. Given that 1) Virginia Tech’s most dangerous offensive weapon is 6-foot-7 tight end Bucky Hodges and 2) Georgia Tech has done an abysmal job of covering linebackers this season, Lewis could end up getting lots of reps—even if Georgia Tech is lined up in a 4-2-5 set—just to have a linebacker with above-average coverage skills on the field.

Secondary

Secondary
Position First String Second String
FCB Lance Austin (Jr.) Dorian Walker (R-Fr.)
FS A.J. Gray (So.) Shaun Kagawa (Jr.)
SS Corey Griffin (R-Jr.) Lawrence Austin (Jr.)
BCB Step Durham (Jr.) Lamont Simmons (R-So.)

For those keeping score at home, that is indeed a grand total of zero lineup changes on defense after one of the worst defensive performances in team history.

Special Teams

Specialists
Position First String Second String
K Harrison Butker (Sr.) Shaun Davis (R-Fr.)
P Ryan Rodwell (R-Sr.) Grant Aasen (Jr.)
LS Casey Wilson (R-So.) Lucas Patelles (Fr.)
KR Nate Cottrell (R-Fr.) ???
PR Brad Stewart (So.) Qua Searcy (R-Fr.)

On the official depth chart, Green is the kick returner with Cottrell as the backup, so the injury means Cottrell will reprise his role from last week as Tech’s return man. The redshirt freshman flashed his straight-line speed on his two returns last week, but he also did not do a great job of changing direction and finding open lanes. He’ll get another crack this weekend against another ACC opponent. It’s unclear who would be next in line for returns if0 Cottrell were out, but fellow A-backs Omahri Jarrett and Clinton Lynch seem like potential candidates.