ATLANTA - It didn't take long for Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey to field his first question about Taylor Bennett's hold on the starting job at quarterback.
Even though the Yellow Jackets were dominant in their 33-3 runaway win at Notre Dame, Bennett didn't receive much of the credit in his first game as the full-time starter.
Bennett was only 11-for-23 passing for 121 yards as Tech leaned on tailback Tashard Choice, who rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Bennett didn't throw a touchdown pass or an interception.
Tech freshman quarterback Josh Nesbitt played behind Bennett. Though Nesbitt is known more as a runner than a complete player, his presence led some to wonder if Bennett needed a better showing Saturday against Samford to keep his starting job.
Gailey shot down that possibility, but he acknowledged Bennett wasn't comfortable in the pocket.
'Comfortable? I don't know that's the word,' Gailey said. 'I think he thought ... he needed to be quicker than he really needed to be. I think he rushed some things he didn't need to rush. I think it was good for him to experience that. Now he can say I did have a little time.'
Added Gailey: 'Let's remember this: The objective of a quarterback is to lead your team to victory with whatever you need to do to lead your team to victory. He is 1-0 in that department.'
Gailey agreed it was fair to call Bennett's play 'lackluster' but he added 'He didn't do anything dumb. He didn't throw an interception. I believe he's going to get better each week.'
Kudos for Tenuta
Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta earned a weekly 'Game Ball' from the Master Coaches Survey, a 17-member panel of coaches, for Tech's dominant win over Notre Dame. It was the first time since 1985 that Notre Dame was held without a touchdown in a season opener.
Tech held Notre Dame to minus-8 yards rushing and recorded nine sacks.
Before being held to a field goal, the previous scoring low for Notre Dame came in last season's 14-10 win over Tech.
Tenuta is in his sixth season as Tech's defensive coordinator.
The MCS panel includes coaches either in the College Football Hall of Fame, including former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, or considered to be on track to make the Hall.
Debut for Donley
At 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, freshman D.J. Donley was a two-way standout at Charlton County High School whose first love was basketball.
'I would have never thought I would play football,' Donley said. 'I thought I would play basketball coming up. Folkston was a big football town and I started playing football and it went from there.'
Donley signed with Georgia Tech as a receiver and played on special teams and briefly on offense against Notre Dame. He was projected as a defensive player by other schools, including Georgia.
'I really wanted to play receiver but I told coaches whatever position they wanted me to play, besides linebacker,' Donley said with a laugh, remembering a conversation with Georgia coaches.
'Georgia recruited me at receiver at first, but then in camp they told me they thought I could be an All-SEC outside linebacker. I was like 'No thanks.' I was only about 200, 210. I can't play linebacker, not in college.'
Donley made a strong impression in preseason practice this fall, drawing comparisons with former standout Calvin Johnson with his size and his ability to make acrobatic catches.
SideBar: Samford at Georgia Tech
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.