Archive for April, 2009

No. 14, and that’s not bad

Georgia Tech debuted, if that’s the right phrase, at No. 14 in CNNSI’s post-spring football poll, http://tinyurl.com/d77be7

Writer Andy Staples says defensive tackle T.J. Barnes was the star of the spring. I would argue that it was A-back Marcus Wright, but you can read more about that in Sunday’s paper.

Other notables in the poll: No. 1 Florida, Virginia Tech at No. 5 (which shocks me. I have some familiarity with the team from my days in Virginia. Always a good team, but never struck me as one that can put it all together). Alabama at No. 10, Georgia at No. 15 (Staples makes comparisons to the Shockley year), and FSU at No. 22.

My purely unscientific, haphazard, no guarantee, poll rankings for the ACC after the spring practices:

Atlantic (this division is a mess this year, in my opinion. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this finish totally backward from what is written here)

1. Florida State

2. Clemson

3. N.C. State

4. Boston College

5.  Wake Forest

6. Maryland

 

Coastal

1. …

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Predictions, please

Now that the draft is done, and a few of the free-agent contracts have been signed, a two-part question comes to mind:

1. Which Tech draftee will make an immediate impact?

2. Which Tech draftee will have the longest impact?

It would be easy to answer Michael Johnson to both questions. He’s got the size, he’ll play an impact position for the Bengals, he was drafted highest.

However, he may have to learn a new position (OLB), and while his rep of taking plays off may be unfortunate, more than one person, including Cincy’s coaches, referenced him not playing as hard as he needs to all the time. (It should be noted that MJ also played a lot of special teams last year, so I wouldn’t blame him if, every once in a while, he wasn’t going full-bore). 

Walker to the Falcons and Richard to the Patriots could both play a lot as rotational players (not to discount their chances of starting), which seems to be the newest trend the NFL has adopted for linemen after the Giants substituted so …

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GT and the draft

Well, the Jackets had four players drafted on Sunday.

I was surprised that each player wasn’t drafted a bit higher.

Cincinnati’s coaches echoed the comments of the analyst that shall not be named, really taking Michael Johnson to task: http://tinyurl.com/dj96sx

It’s a shame that Andrew Gardner got injured last year and dropped a round or two below where he likely would have gone if healthy. But the Dolphins and Tony Sparano know how to coach linemen.

Overall, four of the first nine picks came from the ACC, the only conference that can say that.

I hope to have a story on Tuesday about the guys who have signed free-agent deals to go to camp, guys like Jahi Word-Daniels.

Also, to clear up a few things, someone went onto my first blog, “greetings,” under my name and wrote quite a few things that aren’t true. To set the record straight, I don’t root for Georgia. I don’t root for anyone, except Liverpool (as I already said).

Not cool by the person who did it, but that’s what happens …

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The difference 20 pounds makes?

Guess who this player is:

He’s 6-6, 283 pounds. Had 13 sacks as a junior, 24 in his career. Left school. Ran a 4.65-40 at combine. Benched 225 pounds, 35 times. Tagged with a rep of taking some plays off.

Now, guess who this player is:

He’s 6-7, 266 pounds. Had nine sacks as a senior, his first season starting full-time. Also played on several special teams units. Ran a 4.69-40, benched 225 pounds 28 times. Tagged with a rep of taking some plays off. Could fall to the third round, according to some mock drafts.

The first player is Mario Williams, whom the Texans selected No. 1 in the 2006 draft. He’s gone on to have 30.5 sacks in Houston, and is considered one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.

The second player is…..you guessed it, Michael Johnson. 

So, why did Williams go No. 1, while Johnson could fall as low as the 70s in tomorrow’s draft? 

Williams is obviously bigger, and stronger, but does 20 pounds and eight reps make that much of a difference? 

NFL Network analyst …

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Greetings

First, I apologize for not introducing myself a few days ago.

My name is Doug Roberson, and I am the new beat reporter for Georgia Tech. Trying to follow Ken and Larry, and and MIke and Matt before them, won’t be easy.

I was the college sports and golf editor at the AJC, but was given this opportunity last week.

A bit about myself:

I’m an Atlanta native. I grew up in Mableton (near Six Flags), or Mablevegas, as it’s sometimes humorously called. Graduated from Pebblebrook High (go fightin’ Falcons) in ‘88. Played soccer, a lot of soccer.

Went to Oglethorpe, transferred to UGA to major in journalism. (Attending Georgia doesn’t mean that I hate every other school).

After graduating, I worked at several papers in North Carolina, then moved to Florida for a bit, then to Virginia for many years, before finally coming home.

I went to a few Tech football games when I was a young ‘un, and ate more hot dogs at the Varsity than I can remember.

Please don’t hestitate to send your ideas on …

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Gani Lawal: stay or go?

Gani Lawal’s decision to enter his name in the NBA draft is interesting for several reasons.

Coach Paul Hewitt says it’s a smart decision. It doesn’t cost Lawal a dime to learn what NBA teams think of him. Plus, the information will help him should he decide to come back because it gives him a chance to work on his weaknesses, and hone his strengths. And Hewitt says Lawal is a tireless worker. He will no doubt use the information from the teams to his advantage. Provided he doesn’t get injured, and shows the same improvement he had between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Lawal’s choice shows a lot of foresight because it could result in a much bigger payday if he enters the 2010 draft.

And then there’s the Favors question. Some say that Derrick Favors, the heralded big man who signed with Georgia Tech last week, will take points, and rebounds away from Lawal, which could hurt his draft stock.

Of course, the two could help each other. Favors will likely draw double-teams, …

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Josh Nesbitt thoughts

Good morning, folks-

This won’t be all that long. I’ve got a breakfast to get to.

Anyway, there were some questions from the Thursday blog that I’ll answer first.

1) R.B. Clyburn, a walk-on wide receiver, has left the team. I believe he may try out for the golf team.

2) Daniel McKayhan and Quentin Sims are both receivers on the roster who redshirted last fall. McKayhan has made a lot of progress this spring, I understand.

3) I haven’t heard anything new on Gani. As I said last week, my guess would be that he’d put his name in but not take an agent, if for no other reason than to give himself a little more time to decide. As for who would guard a big center in the post, if Lawal’s around, my guess is that he would. I’d have to think he’s physically stronger than Favors at this point and certainly a more experienced college defender.

I wrote a story for last Sunday about Josh Nesbitt about how he is trying to become a better passer. As sometimes seems to happen, it seems I …

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Final spring practice, D’Andre Bell update

Good morning, all-

Hope you are well. We’ve got an update on Tech basketball player D’Andre Bell and some thoughts from the last spring practice.

From Larry:

Looks like Tech hoops will benefit from the addition of six players this fall: 5 recruits (including Derrick Favors, who signed Wednesday) plus senior wing D’Andre Bell.
Bell missed last season and underwent a laminoplasty five months ago. It’s a procedure to fix the narrowing of the spinal canal. Now Bell is working out and doing individual drills. He hasn’t scrimmaged yet, and probably won’t until school is out.
“Right now the doctors are telling us to proceed as if he will be back next year,” coach Paul Hewitt said. “But we’re going to go slow with him.”
The team is waiting for the surgeon, Dr. Robert Watkins of Marina del Rey, Calif., to review a recent X-ray of Bell’s spine.
“We just want to err on the side of caution,” Hewitt said.

Spring practice

I think I’ve said this before, but I think the running game will be …

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Spring practice No. 13

Good morning, all-

Apologies. Thought I’d posted at 7, but actually didn’t.

Got some notes from Tuesday’s practice and the long-awaited update on the kicking game.

- “Wolf” linebacker Cooper Taylor did some light running with a sleeve on his left knee

- With the Monday practice moved to Tuesday, I’d guess about 50 players made it to practice. The rest missed because of classes, as Larry wrote in the notebook. Linebacker Brad Jefferson, B-back Jonathan Dwyer, safeties Morgan Burnett and Dominique Reese were among those who arrived late or didn’t make it at all. It was so light, in fact, that when the quarterbacks split up to do drills with the wide receivers or the backs, quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon had to take some reps.

- After injuring his left shoulder Saturday, quarterback Josh Nesbittt had a gold jersey on, meaning that he wasn’t to be hit.

- The defense worked on adjusting defensive fronts when offenses use motion, and some blitzes. It’s an interesting drill. The …

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Aminu boosts his NBA prospects

Georgia Tech power forward Alade Aminu helped his stock over the weekend at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a showcase for 64 college seniors. At 6-10, 230 pounds, and just 21 years old, Aminu seems likely to get a shot at the NBA.

Last year, Anthony Morrow got a boost from Portsmouth. He signed as a free agent with Golden State last July and now averages 9.7 points in 22 minutes, while shooting 47.2 percent on 3-pointers.

Aminu’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard team won all three of its games to take the eight-team tournament. Aminu averaged 16.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. He shot 54 percent from the field. In the championship game, Aminu led all scorers with 21 points.

The weekend didn’t go well for Lewis Clinch, who was Tech’s leading scorer this season at 15.5 per game. Playing for the Tidewater Sealants, Clinch averaged 9.7 points while shooting 31 percent (13 of 42). He made 1 of 13 from behind the arc. Clinch did have 14 assists against 8 turnovers.

To see how …

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