We're on the Countdown to Kickoff, and today we are going to talk about quarterback competition between Justin Thomas and Tim Byerly.
Let's get this straight first: Justin Thomas is the starter for Georgia Tech this fall. He's been in the the system for two seasons and he was back up last year for Vad Lee. As backup, he did get to play in eight games last fall with some moderate playing time and when he did play, he showed signs of leadership, speed, and play making ability. In the first game last season against Elon, Thomas sprinted 44 yards on third and three for a touchdown, leaving defenders in the dust. There is no question he's got the speed to run Paul Johnson's offense. The question people are going to ask is whether or not, at 5-11 and 179 lbs, he has the durability to play all season under center and take hits while running this offense against quality competition. He did have a minor injury in spring practice that kept him out of the "Friday Night on the Flats" spring football game, though it was said that if it were a remotely meaningful game he would have been available (for whatever that's worth). For 2013, he had one touchdown and two interceptions with 131 yards total. I think it's too soon to speculate what he can or can't do. Justin is a competitor with a lot of talent and a ton of potential. He is going to prove he is the number one quarterback starting with Wofford.
Runner-up to Justin Thomas is the Middle Tennessee State transfer Tim Byerly. Tim played in four games last season and showed signs of being an accurate passer with a strong arm. Tim also rushed 18 times for 119 yards. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry, showing that he is pretty light on his feet. Against Miami, he had a rushing touchdown late in the game. Though Miami won the game, Byerly showed he could move the offense against solid competition. Tim does have a size advantage over Thomas and has shown that he is not afraid to lower his shoulders and take a hit while he is running. Like Thomas, it's way too soon to give any kind of verdict on Byerly. These two quarterbacks haven't played enough for us to give any sort of final assessment, but what they have showed us is that they are each ready to play big boy football.
I think it's always good to have competition at the quarterback position. Each player makes the other play harder and better, making them bring the best out of each other. Paul Johnson has a nice luxury to play two quarterbacks this season if he needs to. If that is the case, it would be the first time that he would use a two quarterback system at Georgia Tech. Also, don't forget that Matthew Jordan and Brady Swilling had a good spring and showed that they could move the offense efficiently. Will one of these guys pull away and take the starting job? I guess we should ask Justin Thomas and Tim Byerly.
What do you guys think? Will Justin Thomas be the go to guy all year and show that he is main dude at Georgia Tech? Or does PJ go with a two quarterback system?