Georgia Tech to face familiar offense against Kennesaw State

NCAA Football

ATLANTA (AP)

Brian Bohannon is bringing Georgia Tech’s old offense back to Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Bohannon, the former Georgia Tech assistant now in his seventh season as FCS school Kennesaw State’s first coach, is facing a difficult challenge in the Owls’ first game against a Power 5 team on Saturday.

”We’ve got to go do our best and it’s always been that way,” Bohannon said. ”… If we go do our best, that will be good enough.”

Georgia Tech (0-1) is trying to recover from last week’s stunning 22-21 opening loss to Northern Illinois. Quarterback Jeff Sims left the game with an apparent left arm injury. Sims’ status against Kennesaw State (1-0) is uncertain. Jordan Yates would be the probable fill-in starter.

Third-year coach Geoff Collins, coming off 3-9 and 3-7 seasons, insisted this week he remains confidenthe is building a winner at Georgia Tech.

”We’re continuing to build,” Collins said. ”I know we’ve been here before. I know where we’re going and we’ve just got to continue to do it and have confidence.”

The last-minute loss to Northern Illinois left the Yellow Jackets in dire need of a strong showing against Kennesaw State to build momentum for next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener at No. 6 Clemson.

”The approach is just learn from it and move on,” said linebacker Ayinde Ely. ”You can’t dwell on it. It’s not the result we wanted to happen but it’s only a loss if you don’t learn from it. Now it’s behind us.”

JOHNSON’S APPRENTICE

Bohannon has thrived with the spread option offense he learned as an assistant under Paul Johnson, including five years at Georgia Tech as the quarterbacks and running backs coach from 2008-12. Bohannon also coached under Johnson at Georgia Southern and Navy.

Johnson was 82-61 in 11 seasons, including nine bowl appearances, at Georgia Tech. He retired following the 2018 season and Collins was hired from Temple to scrap the spread option and install a pro style attack.

THE EYES HAVE IT

Senior defensive back Tariq Carpenter is one of the few Georgia Tech players with memories of having to practice against the spread option. He knows the Owls, who rushed for 332 yards and five touchdowns against Reinhardt, will try to control the clock.

”What I try to tell other people is just eyes … it’s like we’ve got to have our eyes where they need to be, honestly,” Carpenter said.

The Owls threw only nine passes in their opener. Carpenter said that would have been a huge total for the Yellow Jackets under Johnson.

”From watching film they do have a little bit more wrinkles to their offense,” Carpenter said. ”… With coach Johnson you’d be lucky to see three passes, two, one really.”

BIGGEST STAGE

Bohannon said he’s looking to schedule other in-state games to help promote his program.

”Getting games in the state of Georgia is a priority for us if we can get them, especially FBS games,” he said. ”We want people to recognize what’s going on with Kennesaw State football. I think this stage will be the biggest one we’ve been on in a while to do that.”

FCS SUCCESS

Kennesaw State has enjoyed immediate success as a start-up program. The Owls are No. 22 in the FCS coaches poll following last week’s 35-25 win over Reinhardt and have been ranked for 47 consecutive weeks.

This is Kennesaw State’s final season in the Big South Conference. They will join the ASUN Conference in 2022.

HOMECOMING OR NOT

Bohannon downplayed his return to Georgia Tech. It’s only a 25-mile drive from Kennesaw, located north of Atlanta, to Georgia Tech. Even so, he said he has been too busy in his new job to return for visits.

”I might have been back one time,” Bohannon said. ”Simply for the reason my job here has occupied me. … My experience was good there. I have nothing negative to say.”

Bohannon played at Georgia and said he also doesn’t have time for visits to Athens.

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