Raymond James Stadium prior to the Georgia Tech-USF game September 8, 2018.

4 more notes before Georgia Tech-USF, plus links

A few remaining notes from the week. Kickoff at noon (WSB-TV).

Back on the field

Offensive tackle Andrew Marshall shared a poignant memory from the opener, which was his first game since the bowl game to end the 2016 season. Marshall suffered a foot injury that kept him out of the entire 2017 season and missed spring practice as well.

“I was on the bus ride over here. That was kind of what I was thinking about – all the hard work we had gone through with everybody that had helped me. All my teammates, coaches, (team trainer Mark Smith) and all the medical staff. So many people – my family, friends – that had kind of poured into me into me coming back. It was a lot of work, a lot of rehab, a lot of work with the strength staff and things that I had to miss out on, but also had extra things that I had to do with all that rehab that other guys didn’t have to do. So that was what I was thinking about. It sure felt great to be back out there and play and not have to worry about it, not have to think about it. Just play football and not worry about my foot or anything like that, worry about checking in with Mark or anything. It was just go play like everybody else. That was definitely great, and it felt good to get that first win and celebrate in the end zone for the first time in 21 months. It was a lot of fun.”

Injury report opinion 

Paul Johnson was asked about the league’s new policy to not have an injury report released on Thursday prior to conference games. The league’s coaches voted on it at the conference spring meetings to no longer have one. That may well change again, particularly with the proliferation of legalized sports gambling. A primary reason for injury reports is to minimize the potential for gamblers to take advantage of insider information on gambling.

Johnson said he actually voted to keep the injury reports. Presumably, coaches who voted to get rid of it don’t want to have their injury information get out to opponents. Johnson’s contention is that, by Thursday afternoon, there’s little that teams can use with injury information to change game plans.

“I liked what we were doing, but the conference voted to do away with it,” he said.

The quotable Charlie Strong 

Three interesting things that USF coach Charlie Strong said at his news conference this week:

“The option teams, they want you to play at their pace. That’s what you can’t do.” (USf plays at a much higher tempo, as noted here.)

“Defensively, the thing you look at, upfront they’re a veteran team. Now, the secondary is young. They’re young but they’re very talented. But upfront. they went to a 3-4, so the defensive ends are really good players. So the thing we’ve got to do is protect the quarterback. If we can protect the quarterback, then that’s going to open up a lot of things that we can do with our offense. But defensively, they’re a very solid group that plays very well.”

On playing a power-conference opponent: “What that does is, it opens up people’s eyes. So now all of a sudden, they see, ‘Hey, look at them against Georgia Tech.’”

Alternate reality

Strong represents what might have been for Tech. After firing Chan Gailey at the end of the 2007 regular season, Strong was interviewed by then-athletic director Dan Radakovich for the job. Strong was then defensive coordinator at Florida.

However, the job went to Paul Johnson, of course. Strong got his chance two years later to become head coach at Louisville, where he led the Cardinals to a record of 23-3 in his final two (of four) seasons there. He went there to Texas, where he was fired after three seasons and a record of 16-21.

Five stories from this week worth a read:

What might Tech expect from defensive coordinator Nate Woody’s defense in his first season? Perhaps a look at his first season at Appalachian State might lend some clues.

Five things to look for in Saturday’s game, including what Johnson is looking for from his offensive line and special teams. Also, where the Jackets will get tested.

Despite 41 points and scads of yards, Paul Johnson didn’t like what he saw from his offense against Alcorn State.

What can be learned about Tech’s defense from a close inspection of the Jack linebacker against Alcorn State.

Paul Johnson, Roddy Jones, Tyler Melton and Sedric Griffin were all participants in the last game Tech played at Raymond James Stadium. They shared their memories of the 2009 ACC championship game win over Clemson.