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Offense struggles in Georgia Tech spring game

Paul Johnson's running game didn't do much in Saturday's spring game. AP Photo/Richard Shiro

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson came away disappointed with the play of his offense in Saturday’s spring game, as the first-team unit posted just 13 points against the first-team defense. Here are the big takeaways from the Yellow Jackets’ spring finale:

1. Offense far from sharp. Johnson didn’t hide much afterward, telling reporters that he didn’t like the unit’s energy. The retooled offensive line had its struggles, and the ground game never quite materialized the way a Jackets' rushing attack usually does. Wearing a non-contact jersey, Justin Thomas finished with 79 rushing yards, but 76 of those yards came on one rush, late in the first quarter. (He probably would’ve had a touchdown on that run if he were live, as Step Durham caught him in two-hand touch just outside the 10-yard line.) Ricky Jeune had the lone touchdown of the game, a nice catch in the corner of the end zone off a 25-yard play-action throw from Thomas just before halftime. The final was 13-3, White (first-team O, second-team D) over Gold (first-team D, second-team O).

2. The defense, meanwhile …: If the offense struggles so much in first-team vs. first-team action, that must bode well for the defense, right? Johnson wouldn’t praised the defense too much, but there was plenty to like from coordinator Ted Roof’s unit on Saturday. Aside from holding Thomas and the rest of the Tech ground game in check, the unit got strong play up front from redshirt senior Francis Kallon. Junior safety Shaun Kagawa picked off TaQuon Marshall’s first pass of the game -- off a David Curry tip -- and returned it 39 yards to inside the 10-yard line, leading to a field goal.

3. Dedrick Mills runs strong. Mills, an early enrollee freshman, made the most of his opportunity Saturday, rushing for 47 yards and drawing praise from Johnson afterward. Playing with the second-team offense, the 5-foot-10, 217-pound Mills flashed plenty of potential, and he looks to have at least entered the conversation for playing time at B-back this fall. The former ESPN three-star prospect from Ware County (Georgia) High will have plenty of competition, though, as the Jackets return names like Marcus Marshall, Marcus Allen, C.J. Leggett and Quaide Weimerskirch.