more from spring practice

Good morning, folks-

Hope you’re well. I have a few extra things from reporting the Georgia Tech spring practice story I did on Anthony Allen, mostly from A-backs coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Monken.
Hopefully you read it. Allen will be an intriguing piece of the puzzle in the fall, in that he’s a proven college player who will likely be ready to contribute from the first snap.
For what it’s worth, he has looked good in two practices thus far. He catches the ball well, has good speed and has size.
B-backs coach Brian Bohannon: “He can help us. He hasn’t done anything yet to take ownership of tha (because he hasn’t had the chance). We all are looking forward to the spring to see what he does, because he definitely has the tools and the mentality to be that.”
One interesting thing was that both Bohannon and Monken made note of Allen’s toughness. It’s a trait you’d need at either spot — at B-back because you’re taking a bunch of hits taking the dive into the line, at A-back because you’re having to do a lot of blocking — and is one of those intangibles that they apparently already see in him, despite the fact that he was mostly working on scout team.
Bohannon on Allen’s learning the offense: “I don’t think he’s that far behind. So we’ll see. Until they get a little tired and things get a little tough, you never know. But I don’t think he’s that far behind.”

On A-backs:

Monken said that the first priority for the A-backs in the spring will be blocking.
“Throughout the year, we knew we were struggling with that, but as you go back and evaluate and watch the season, you say, ‘Boy, we’ve really got a long way to go in terms of getting people to the ground like we expect.”
Monken said that he was impressed with the blocking of two freshmen, Embry Peeples and Marcus Wright.
“I think they’re going to get better and improve at that,” Monken said. “Particularly towards the end of the year, Marcus got a lot better at blocking, got more aggressive at doing it.”
He said the way they’ll work at it is in drills and focusing on it when the team goes in full pads, as they are scheduled to on Saturday. (FYI, if you were thinking of coming out to watch the full-pads practice Saturday, you may want to put those plans on hold. With the forecast calling for heavy rains, it might get moved to the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch. If that’s the case, I’m going to doubt it’ll be open to the public. Stay tuned.)
There’s more on the matter of blocking, but I think I’ll save it for a story later on in the spring.

On special teams:

Lastly, as we wrote Johnson saying in Tuesday’s paper, special teams will be a heavy focus. Monken said they’ve changed up schemes a little bit on the return teams, and coaches will also be looking for the right players for the different units.
He said that finding a returner for the punt and kickoff teams will be a priority. Obviously, it was a problem last year, as the team tried Roddy Jones, Andrew Smith, Tyler Melton, Jonathan Dwyer, Tony Clark and Wright on the two return teams.
The right returner “has as much to do with being productive on returns as anything,” Monken said.
Monken said that he and fellow assistants Charles Kelly and Buzz Preston have coaching colleagues in the NFL that they’ve been talking to and bouncing ideas off of for special teams help. He wouldn’t identify them, though.

I guess that’s about it. Some links:
Johnny Crawford’s photo gallery from practice. While I don’t want to point you away from it, the picture of Johnson on the Tech home page with walk-on receiver Paul Reese is kind of interesting, as I was watching this happen. The offense was doing a passing drill – the two receivers and three backs – against offensive players lined up on defense and sort of passively defending. After awhile Johnson moved into the linebacker area and started shifting players a step or two forward or back or right or left. I wish I’d remembered to ask him exactly what he was doing – if the players were lined up wrong or if he just wanted to give the offense a little different look to see how they’d adjust – but it sort of looked like he was playing chess.

An si.com ranking of coaches in the ACC. Paul Johnson comes in at No. 4.

Coley Harvey from the Macon Telegraph should have a story posted by Thursday morning. I hadn’t seen it Wednesday night when I wrote this.

48 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Jackets

March 26th, 2009
8:40 am

Will Tech use the tight end more this season? If we add that element to the game, the Robot will be unstoppable. Heck, he nearly is right now.

Is it still cool to say first? First! LOL!

BLAZER

March 26th, 2009
9:08 am

NESBITT, DWYER, ALLEN, JONES,SHAW, PEEBLES, COX, WRIGHT,WASHIGTON,KELLY,WATSON,LYONS-LETS REDSHIRT LUALLEN,SMITH,THOMAS AND DRUMMOND. AIN’T IT GREAT TO HAVE DEPTH?

RAMBLE ON!!!

March 26th, 2009
9:10 am

Why does SI hate Tech?

Must be a fleabag in there somewhere.

LSU fan

March 26th, 2009
9:45 am

Yes it is great to have depth.

UGA Fan

March 26th, 2009
9:56 am

believe me…depth didn’t help our team stop roddy jones…i think he just scored again…

MinnesotaJacket

March 26th, 2009
10:13 am

Another good update Ken, if you can just throw in some side notes on our recievers (if Bebe is looking stronger/faster, and what other recievers are really stepping it up) and our Defensive Line should be a side note every time in my opinion with all the questions surrounding it, I think it would be great to hear how the new guys are doing. Other than that I think I just saw that safety bust his *** when Dwyer ran right by him…great times

yellowblood

March 26th, 2009
10:17 am

I hate that the Baseball game was cancelled. The Tickle Pile would have been great. Chill bumps in the right palce are quite stimulating.:-)

Charlie L

March 26th, 2009
10:19 am

What, exactly, is a Tickle Pile?

Ken Sugiura

March 26th, 2009
10:35 am

Atlanta Jackets- Paul Johnson’s offense doesn’t use a tight end, so the Robot, as you like to call him, will have to make do with two wide receivers, two slotbacks and a fullback.
MinnesotaJacket- I watched the receivers a little bit yesterday; nothing stood out. Right now, Thomas and Tyler Melton are running with the first team. Thomas did look sharp the couple times I watched him; he kicked into another gear on a deep sideline route that I saw him run. I watched Kevin Cone a handful of times but didn’t see anything in particular.
As for the SI rankings, let’s be reasonable. Jim Grobe won the ACC at Wake Forest and he has a much longer track record at Wake than Johnson does at Tech. Virginia Tech won the ACC last year and, need I remind you, has gotten the better of Tech recently. You could quibble with Tom O’Brien, but remember N.C. State went 3-9 in 2006 (the year before he got there) and went to a bowl game last year. But you could also find people, I’m sure, who would put Butch Davis ahead of Paul Johnson. I think fourth is fair.

GTSteve

March 26th, 2009
10:45 am

Urban legend is that Tickle Piles were started when Keith Brooking was being recruited. Apparently the seniors made Brooking strip down as each of the boys took turns tickling. It is used to see who really wants to play for tech.

yellowblood

March 26th, 2009
10:48 am

Hey Charlie L…you don’t know what a tickle pile is? Check this out….it’ll help you understand….it’s our rival matty staffy and his friend jox cox in a loving embrace….

http://deadspin.com/258009/i-guess-you-cant-be-a-successful-quarterback-until-youve-been-with-a-man

75Jacket

March 26th, 2009
10:52 am

What has SI done now RAMBLE ON!!

GWB

March 26th, 2009
10:55 am

Butch Davis is a much better HC than PJ. There’s not much to argue there.

Hey GTSteve

March 26th, 2009
10:59 am

45-42 really hurt you didn’t it lil’ guy. Awww…i’m sorry buddy. You’ll get over it one day…don’t you worry. Kind of a sad life isn’t it….go dawgs loser…go dawgs…

yellowblood

March 26th, 2009
11:20 am

MinnesotaJacket

March 26th, 2009
11:38 am

Good to hear about Bebe, and yeah I wanted to comment on the person who asked about a tight end because you obviously know nothing about this offense. Also SI has a right to have PJ at 4 right now I mean we are fans and obviously think what he did was above and beyond the best, but lets make sure he can prove himself and our offense on a yearly basis. Ken after Fridays practice can you talk about who stepped up for Defensive tackle and whether or not our young guys were getting embarrassed or stepped it up. Thanks GO JACKETS!!

Baba O'Riley

March 26th, 2009
12:32 pm

Another sad UGA fan pretending to be an LSU Fan. What a sorry existence.

LSU fan

March 26th, 2009
12:34 pm

GO DAWGS!!!!! WOOF WOOF!

Carolina Jacket

March 26th, 2009
12:49 pm

Just wondering. Is there any place one can get the different special teams during the year? YOu always know a couple of the outstanding ones, but not the others. Thanks.

Sam

March 26th, 2009
1:09 pm

Baba O’Riley you’re not very bright. There are thousands of LSU fans in Atlanta. Probably more of us than Tech fans. It is not hard for anyone to hate and want to aggravate GT fans, the most pompous azzes in college football. Tech fans bring it on themselves with their overblown sense of self worth. Plenty of real LSU fans are around to post on this blog. One doesn’t have to be a UGA fan to despise you North Avenue wannabees. And by the way….38-3 Baba!

Sunshine

March 26th, 2009
1:19 pm

Sam is a UGA hack!!! Dude, you dont have to lie about your love of Fat Matt in the Red in Black!

MinnesotaJacket

March 26th, 2009
1:19 pm

Sam…your sooo fn man…I forgot the LSU fans LOVE looking at the “atlanta journal constitution” for those up to date LSU recruiting updates and spring practice updates….ooo yeah thats right the AJC doesn’t give a rats *** about LSU and so I doubt there are plenty of you LSU fans around to post on the blogs….second of all your an idiot when your a fan of the SEC and consider Tech the most pompous ****** in college football.

BS Patrol

March 26th, 2009
1:55 pm

Hey Ken! In case you haven’t picked up on it yet Atlanta Jackets is a dorky dweeb of a dog. No Tech fan is that stupid.

Sam

March 26th, 2009
2:13 pm

I’m an LSU fans that loves watching you tech turds make total fools of yourselves on a daily basis. 38-3 morons.

CD

March 26th, 2009
2:14 pm

There’s no such thing as a Tech fan. Their game attendance proves it.

Too Easy

March 26th, 2009
2:23 pm

Baba: Talk about a sorry existence. How about a gt fan admitting to being a gt fan?

Baba O'Riley

March 26th, 2009
2:26 pm

…..yeah, because not a single Tech fan shows up at games. CD, surely you can do better. Maybe not..

Baba O'Riley

March 26th, 2009
2:40 pm

Or trolls saying Tech is irrelevant, but spending time on their blogs?

Baba O'Riley

March 26th, 2009
2:42 pm

Or bloggers using their sister’s nickname?

Too Easy

March 26th, 2009
2:45 pm

I confess – my sister’s nickname is Baba.

Baba O'Riley

March 26th, 2009
2:49 pm

No, he’s your dad.

DoggieDiaper

March 26th, 2009
2:50 pm

sam- “i’m an lsu fans…” says it all right there my man.

Too Obvious- good to have you back. we missed you the last couple days peering through the hole in fence lobbing pebbles. i will be dissapointed if your fixation on tech ever goes away. my guess is it won’t.

Too Easy

March 26th, 2009
2:56 pm

My dad, a gt man, passed away. And, diaper, why are you fixated on me?

I

March 26th, 2009
4:02 pm

Enter your comments here

Two Things "Too Easy" has said

March 26th, 2009
4:11 pm

Typical UGA nonsense:

1) “Talk about a sorry existence. How about a gt fan admitting to being a gt fan?”

2) “My dad, a gt man, passed away.”

Not sure your Dad (god rest his soul) would like to read what you’re writing.

Hey Sam

March 26th, 2009
4:14 pm

Who’d you pull for when Tech was putting up 400 Rushing yards on UGA’s sorry ass team?

RAMBLE ON!!!

March 26th, 2009
4:21 pm

I thought your sisters name was Too Easy, Too Easy?…at least that’s what UGAg’s football calls her.

Sam is an idiot

March 26th, 2009
4:36 pm

Hey there Sam….I’m a Dawg fan…how’d it feel to see us Dawgs bury your tigers? Come on over to the UGA blog and try and talk your trash there. We’ll set you straight…ok loser?

Snellville Jacket

March 26th, 2009
4:47 pm

I know they were held on Campus but I never attended a Tickle Pile. The idea never appealed to me so I just stayed away. If you actually are a Tech fan and want to know just check out any bulletin board around campus.

MinnesotaJacket

March 26th, 2009
5:21 pm

jeez….a semi productive blog talking about spring practice becomes crap once again…fn pathetic sometimes…

Jimmy

March 26th, 2009
6:44 pm

At least your coach is trying to promote toughness in his team. Clemson cancelled their practice yesterday because of the “threat” of rain. Talk about a bunch of soft pansies.

Tokyo jacket

March 26th, 2009
7:03 pm

I’m sorry, I have to call shenanigans on SI. These are the same d-bags that had us at 88 last year. They lost their edge as being relevant in sports about a decade ago. There are three head coaches on that list that have won national championships, none ranked higher than 4th. Tom O’Brien is a good coach. But, he had several Parade All Americans to settle out at a mediocre 6-6. CPJ had not one All American and came within a BS late hit on a QB outside of the pocket of the conference championship. My top 4: Beamer (because of all the wins in the last 10 years), CPJ, Bowden, Davis.

GT 2009

March 26th, 2009
11:48 pm

Hello Ramblin Wrecker??? (from the ohter day) …….

Does this follow-up article, and the one preceding it help you understand what I was telling you about Anthony Allen?

Now, I still want you to attend a practice or two, as well as the spring game, and see first-hand yourself just how good Mr. Allen is.

surfrider

March 27th, 2009
12:15 am

Do we have a Jimmy Robinson WR or a Randy Rhino type DB or sure handed RB to put into punt return action? And do we have an explosive RB or WR or DB to put into kickoff returns like a Dez White or Drew Hill from the late 70’s (Marcus Wright comes to mind as similar to Drew Hill in speed). We’re not that far off in the passing game just a bit more accuracy and catching the ball. If our Defense stays good then it could be a fun year.

Tokyo jacket

March 27th, 2009
12:55 am

Surfrider, I don’t remember Dez being that good at returns. I remember Charlie Rogers being the return stud. Dez was great in a line, but Charlie moved from left to right almost like Barry Sanders.

MinnesotaJacket

March 27th, 2009
11:31 am

Wow Charlie Rogers…been a while since I heard that name haha…I agree with ya Surfrider where is the next Rhino in line for punt return duties…that boy had balls of steel and never did I question him because I cannot barely remember a time where he risked it and made a few yeards gain and still took the hit without fumbling… I like Wright and Roddy for kickoff returns. Punt Returns though is a little different story I think Tony Clark who I see as a sure handed type of player back there who has some good speed and could make a big play if given a chance.

addicted

March 28th, 2009
6:10 am

Hi Ken,

Great post. I really enjoy your coverage. I also like the links at the end. I think Coley (and some of the other bloggers you’ve linked to in the past) help add more color to your good reporting.

Keep up the good work!

AMG

March 29th, 2009
11:29 am

Will Techs defense be better this year? 45-42 is good, but 45-10 is a really nice thought. Last year we had almost no pass defense. This year it sounds like we may have a really good group of DBs. Any thoughts on techs D?