News came out yesterday that B-back and leading rusher Dedrick Mills had been dismissed from the team following his third violation of team rules. Naturally, this sent almost all Georgia Tech fans went into a downward spiral of anger and frustration.
Head Coach Paul Johnson addressed the media, and one of the things he talked about was potential replacements:
“With a year under his belt in the system, I expected him to have a great year,” Johnson said. “Now, I expect the other guy to have a great year, whether it’s KirVonte (Benson) or Quaide (Weimerskirch) or Jerry (Howard) or (Jordan Ponchez-Mason) or whoever it is.”
Johnson said that Benson, a sophomore, would be first in line to replace Mills, but he has been injured. Howard, a freshman, has impressed Johnson in his first season. After the first scrimmage Saturday, Johnson called him a “load,” “hard to tackle” and “tailor made for what we do.”
Now that B-back is pretty much as wide open as quarterback, it would be a good option to take a brief look at each of the candidates for the position.
Benson, who is first in line for the job according to Johnson, has been a guy that has had a lot of potential since he arrived on the Flats. When he first got here, there was some debate over whether he would play A-back or B-back, but after settling in at B-back, he has served as a reserve for a year now.
Benson, by all accounts, is a good open field runner and though not as powerful of a runner as our next option, is still a solid option. And clearly he must have shown Paul Johnson that he’s capable of handling the job if Johnson is pretty much saying it’s his job to lose.
My biggest issues with Benson lie with his inexperience. He’s been on the Flats for two years now and has only really performed on Special Teams or as a reserve. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that; it just means we don’t know what to expect.
Next up on our list is the only person with any carries from this group: Quaide Weimerskirch. Now unfortunately, Weimerskirch has one career carry. It was a carry against Mercer, and he fumbled it. That’s not quite the impression you want to make on your first carry.
Looking at Weimerskirch as a player, he brings a really good skillset at B-back. Though not as naturally gifted a runner as Dedrick Mills, Weimerskirch is a bulky, tough runner that will fight for the extra yards. I don’t know who starts, but given the inexperience, it’s likely that Weimerskirch will see plenty of time in short yardage and goalline situations.
Jerry Howard has been the talk of the town since he arrived on campus. One of two B-backs to join the team, Howard has done a good job of separating himself as a good player. To be quite honest, I was a little surprised that Howard was not named the frontrunner at B-back following Mills’ dismissal.
Howard brings an excellent combination of size and athleticism that should serve him well as a B-back, but the big question will be, “How well can he block?”
While there was some debate about whether Ponchez-Mason would stick at A-back or B-back, it’s pretty safe to say that he will stick at B-back now for the time being. Ponchez-Mason joins Howard as a freshman competing for the starting job.
Our very own Conner Knapp goes into much more detail about Ponchez-Mason here.
Losing Dedrick Mills sucks. There’s no question about that. Replacing him, simply put, will not be easy. Georgia Tech has some good options here at B-back, so we should be seeing here in the next couple weeks if anyone can separate themselves from the pack.