What's buzzing:

Georgia Tech getting back to basics with option

AP - Sports

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Tech is going back to what it has done best under coach Paul Johnson.

The Yellow Jackets were 7-6 last season, and at times Johnson's option offense was difficult to recognize. The Yellow Jackets struggled after installing shotgun and pistol formations and new plays to tap into quarterback Vad Lee's skills.

Lee has transferred to James Madison, and after two-plus hours in helmets but no other pads on Thursday, the first day of preseason practice, senior fullback Zack Laskey said he felt at home again.

The Yellow Jackets will return to what they did before while finishing in the top five in the nation in rushing in each of Johnson's first five seasons.

''I think we're going to just go back to basics, smash-mouth football,'' said Laskey, who figures to carry and catch the ball more this season than all other players based the history of the lone setback in Johnson's offense.

''I think we have the guys to do the things we have to do and as far as I can tell . . . there's going to be a lot more option offense.''

After his team's first practice, Johnson was typically simple in most answers.

There were signs in spring scrimmages Tech would simplify and perhaps use a no-huddle approach, but Johnson said Thursday was not much different than the first day of fall practice in any of his first six years as a head coach.

''There's not a lot of different things you can do,'' he said. ''You always go back to the basics, to scratch, because you don't want to lose (freshmen).''

Sophomore Justin Thomas is listed as the No. 1 quarterback, but the 5-foot-10 speedster who originally committed to attend Alabama as a defensive back, will have to fight off a challenge from metro Atlanta native Tim Byerly, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State.

The speedy Thomas rushed for 234 yards on 33 carries for a 7.1-yard average and completed 9-of-17 passes for 131 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions last season.

''With camp starting, you've got to get more in the mindset mentally instead of physically,'' he said. ''You've got to come in like you're going to be first string no matter what.''

Georgia Tech has to replace seven starters on defense, but graduated safety Isaiah Johnson, who missed last season after a knee surgery, and junior safety Jamal Golden, a return ace who was lost for the '13 season after a shoulder injury in the third game, are healthy again.

A replacement for defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu, who left as the all-time school leader in career sacks (31.5) and was drafted in the second round by the NFL's Chargers, will be hard to find.

The Georgia Tech staff figured that starting linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days could move into that role, making the transition Attaochu made a year earlier. Hunt-Days became academically ineligible in the spring, however, and this season will work on the scout team as a non-scholarship player.

Johnson said Thursday potential starting defensive end Kenderius Whitehead, who was expected to graduate this summer from Georgia Military (Junior) College, is on campus but has not yet graduated from GMC.

It remains unclear whether Whitehead - who missed Thursday with what Johnson described as headache issues - may achieve graduation and be eligible to play this season.

''Right now, he's a transfer student like everybody else,'' Johnson said in referencing the NCAA rule that states that most players who transfer to a Division I school have to sit out a season before playing.

View Comments (1)
  • Kipchoge wins fierce London battle with Kipsang

    Kipchoge wins fierce London battle with Kipsang

    By Tom Hayward LONDON - Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge got the better of compatriot and defending champion Wilson Kipsang to win the London Marathon by five seconds on Sunday with world record holder Dennis Kimetto third. Kipchoge, a former world champion … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago
  • Athletics-Kipchoge wins fierce London battle with Kipsang

    (Adds details) By Tom Hayward LONDON, April 26 - Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge got the better of compatriot and defending champion Wilson Kipsang to win the London Marathon by five seconds on Sunday with world record holder Dennis Kimetto third. Kipchoge, … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Athletics-Kipchoge wins London Marathon men's race

    LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Former world champion Eliud Kipchoge outran his Kenyan compatriot Wilson Kipsang to win the men's race at the London Marathon on Sunday. Kipchoge recorded a winning time of two hours, four minutes, 42 seconds. Kipsang … More »

    Reuters - 21 minutes ago
  • Tufa's late surge brings London Marathon victory

    Tufa's late surge brings London Marathon victory

    By Tom Hayward LONDON (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa was the surprise winner of the women’s London Marathon on Sunday after her powerful late break saw her cruise home 18 seconds clear of Kenyan Mary Keitany. After a tentative race Tufa broke … More »

    Reuters - 30 minutes ago
  • Overlooked Armitage would walk into England side - Botha

    Overlooked Armitage would walk into England side - Botha

    By Justin Palmer LONDON (Reuters) - Steffon Armitage is "world class" and would walk into England's forward pack for the World Cup if they relaxed their policy of not picking overseas-based players, Toulon team mate Bakkies Botha said. Back rower … More »

    Reuters - 33 minutes ago