September 23, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech defensive lineman Antonio Simmons (93) celebrates with defensive lineman Kyle Cerge-Henderson (54) and defensive lineman Anree Saint-Amour (94) after he tackled Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Dinucci (3) in the second half of an NCAA college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Georgia Tech won 35 - 17 over the Pittsburgh. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Kyle Cerge-Henderson’s plans for return to Tampa

For Georgia Tech nose tackle Kyle Cerge-Henderson, this Saturday’s game against South Florida is different, but he’s trying to think of like any other.

Cerge-Henderson is from Tampa, Fla., where USF is located, and said he has about 45 family members and friends that he’s trying to get tickets for this week. He also has friends on the Bulls team, including a former teammate at Plant High, cornerback Mazzi Wilkins.

But, said Cerge-Henderson, “It’s another game. It’s a little exciting to go home, but at the same time, it’s just another game for me.”

To that end, Cerge-Henderson said he hasn’t engaged in the typical banter that often goes on when high-school friends play each other.

“I just try to stay focused,” Cerge-Henderson said.

Cerge-Henderson said that teammates have been asking him about how different the heat is in Tampa vs. Atlanta. Cerge-Henderson said he has told them that the weather in Tampa might be more humid, but, “I’m like, honestly, Georgia heat is up there. We’ve been battling through the heat during the summer.”

Cerge-Henderson will have one way to avoid overheating – by not playing as much. While Cerge-Henderson was the starter last Saturday against Alcorn State and was again at the top of this week’s depth chart released Tuesday, he liked being rotated with Chris Martin and Brandon Adams against Alcorn State.

“It was great, honestly, because, obviously, you don’t get dog tired so you can perform at the highest level while you’re in there,” Cerge-Henderson said.

He liked it also because watching from the sideline because it gave him a chance to watch the Alcorn State offense and get a better understanding of what its players were doing. He enjoyed what he saw as Tech shut out Alcorn State 41-0 and limited the Braves to 146 yards of total offense, the second-lowest total permitted by a Tech defense in coach Paul Johnson’s tenure.

“We were flying around – you see it on film,” he said. “Everybody’s flying around. It’s simple. We were having fun making plays. Hopefully we keep that up.”