Jackets happy with QB battle, Roof return - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Jackets happy with QB battle, Roof return

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ATLANTA, GA (WALB) -

After four average seasons on the Flats, Georgia Tech is looking to get back to the top of the ACC.

The Yellow Jackets won 19 games in Paul Johnson's first two seasons, but have only averaged seven wins in his last four seasons.

It will not be easy to get back to the upper echelon of the conference, not with the team needing to replace six starters on each side of the ball.

Johnson will once again have to break in a new starter under center, after the shocking transfer of former starter Vad Lee this offseason.

Lee started all 13 games for Tech in 2013, but there is some experience left on the QB depth chart.

Redshirt sophomore Justin Thomas played in 10 games last season, accounting for over 400 total yards. 

Meanwhile, junior Tim Byerly is also making his case for the starting job. The Middle Tennessee transfer saw four games of action in 2013, rushing for 119 yards.

"I'm excited about Justin and Tim. Both had really good springs," Johnson says. "I feel good about that position. We've got guys who have bought in and want to do what we're doing, and that's good too."

The Jackets are also trying to replace six defensive starters.

The biggest return on the defensive side of the ball may be on the sidelines though.

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof returns for his second season, but is getting his first full offseason with the defense.

Roof joined the Tech staff last January, so he only had 15 practices in the spring and August preseason workouts to install his schemes.

Johnson believes a full offseason will help the defense immensely.

"I think anytime you can have that continuity with the same terminology and those kinds of things, it's good for the players and the coaches as well," he says.

Senior safety Isaiah Johnson is just glad to see his coach back in gold and white.

"Just to start off, just his swag," Johnson says. "He's a friendly dude. He knows how to get your attention and is able to talk to whoever."

Georgia Tech opens the 2014 season on August 30 against Wofford at home.

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