Oct 19, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) runs the ball in the second half against Syracuse at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech won 56-0. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Thomas taking lead in Georgia Tech QB competition

One of the most crucial position battles going on during this spring and into the fall for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is that of starting quarterback. According the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Ken Sugiura, right now Justin Thomas is taking lead in that race.

Thomas was handed the ball as the number one quarterback for this spring, but that doesn’t mean he was getting the job by default. He has a lot of competition, and he’s apparently meeting it head on.

It was obvious last season that Thomas had the legs to succeed in head coach Paul Johnson‘s offense, but his limited playing time, and in particular his few pass attempts, made it hard to give a real evaluation of what he could do.

Tech position coach Bryan Cook solidified what most already knew about Thomas, and gave some thoughts on where he should work on improving to Sugiura.

“He’s done alright,” Cook said. “He’s got a lot of work to do.”

Cook elongated “a lot” like “a lo-o-o-o-t” of work to do. He named three priorities, finishing runs, running the option game and reading progressions and the defense when dropping back to pass.

“All the basic things to being a quarterback,” he said.

But, Cook said he’s improving and getting good experience out of repetitions with the option, though he also mentioned that “he probably doesn’t value them as he needs to, but we’re getting there.”

While the pace of development is not swift, Thomas still has shown the ability to create plays when the designed plays fail.

“I’d rather have that, because you can’t coach that,” Cook said. “I’d rather drive myself nuts coaching the other stuff and have a guy that can do that, if I was choosing.”

Cook said there’ve been “a bunch” of such plays thus far in spring practice.

Catching on to reading defenses and getting comfortable in the pocket are probably going to be key for Thomas. With some past disasters in mind, it’s a sure thing that Johnson realizes that you aren’t going to win against some of the big time programs unless you can throw the ball with at least minimal success. The days of the one-trick pony option offense just aren’t going to cut it anymore.

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