On moving players to new positions

Good morning, all-

Hope you are well.

I’ll answer a question that Patrick asked, as it was something that I had actually asked Paul Johnson about earlier in spring practice, about how coaches decide to move players. (By the way, if you have any other questions you’d like answered, keep them coming.) More or less, Patrick, you were on the right track. It’s a variety of reasons.

Some players move on their own. Correy Earls, for instance, requested to switch from wide receiver to defensive back, a position where he excelled in high school. Generally, it sounds like most of the moves, though, are made at Johnson’s request.

Before spring practice started, Johnson thought the team would have a shortage on the defensive line, so he decided on moving Jason Hill from the offensive line and Osahon Tongo and Albert Rocker from linebacker. He said factors such as body type, athletic ability and their chances for playing time at their old position vs. the new one go into the moves. (Things don’t always work out the way you want. As Johnson has noted, the offensive line, because of injuries to Nick Claytor, Dan Voss, Clyde Yandell and now Cord Howard has gotten pretty thin. I want to say they’re down to 11 healthy bodies now. As I wrote in today’s story, only two linemen who started the last four games of the season – tackle Austin Barrick and guard Joe Gilbert – are still healthy.)

Defensive line coach Giff Smith said he chose Jason Peters to move from defensive end to tackle because he thought Peters had a frame that could allow him to put on more weight and also because he had played some tackle in high school.

Said Johnson, “If you’ve got two or three players that you feel like are really good at one position and you might be void a little bit at another position, it only makes sense to train them to play (at the new one).”

Sean Bedford, a walk-on center who is working with the first team, was a scout-team defensive tackle up until fall practice last  year.

Said Bedford, “[Johnson] grabbed me one day in warm-ups, just pulled me by the shoulder pads, said, ‘Hey, come get some snaps and it’s been center ever since then.”

It’s working out pretty well so far. I think Bedford will have a shot at keeping the job, even when Voss comes back from his shoulder surgery in the fall. Larry wrote about Claytor and Voss earlier in the spring, and Johnson said that a player won’t lose a job because of an injury. But, when that player comes back, if he’s rusty and it’s clear that the replacement has surpassed him, the replacement will keep the position.

It’s no fault of their own, but Claytor and Voss are missing a lot of snaps and practice time in the spring, and because cohesion is such a part of good line play, it will likely have an impact in the fall.

What do you think?

Check out Johnny Crawford’s photo gallery from Wednesday’s practice.

65 comments Add your comment

m

April 9th, 2009
8:36 am

Paul Johnson obviously coaches the players up; he also finds the right position for each player to accentuate their talents and to benefit the team the most. This is a stark contrast to the previous regime who allowed Reggie Ball to start 49 games. Reggie gave a 100% all the time…but he was not able to fully develop his talents due to poor coaching. And there is no coach in the WORLD, outside of Chan Gailey, who would have started him for 49 games. It is just so wonderful to have real college football coaches now. Thank God and Greyhound that the worst coach in the history of the world is GONE forever.

MinnesotaJacket

April 9th, 2009
8:45 am

Another good aritcle guys keep it up…Since we are talking about the injuries to the offensive line how has Emmanuel Dieke been doing at defensive end sense he went down with the knee injury (I really think he will be good for us one day is why I ask)? Also who will take Cooper Taylors spot now that he is down for the spring in the wolf position? Also one other question is when will Claytor be able to get back with the team (this summer, or will he be out until the fall)? Thanks guys keep up the good work!!
Go Jackets

BLAZER

April 9th, 2009
8:46 am

how big is bedford? where is mark yandell-ot??

rainman

April 9th, 2009
8:59 am

Hey Minn. – Dieke is back at practice, Mario Butler was 1st team ‘wolf’, not sure about Claytor.

rainman

April 9th, 2009
9:06 am

blazer – Bedford is listed at 6′1″, 268. ‘Clyde’ Yandell (6′5″, 295) is in the mix. Austin Barrick, a starting tackle is only listed at 254 pounds.

MinnesotaJacket

April 9th, 2009
9:14 am

I am telling I like Dieke, I really think he will be good if he is able to rotate in and out this year (which we like to do)… Butler is first team now…I am ok with that, I don’t think he is as big a hitter as Taylor but I know he has speed to come and make the plays which is good! General question though is Melton really looking good and showing some signs of being a solid number 2 reciever or are we still searching for another go to guy?

Zach

April 9th, 2009
9:25 am

Austin Barrick, one comment to you. If you ever get another swing pass in the flats, and you get the urge to be twinkle toes and run AROUND a defensive back – DON’T! Bowl that kid over and carry him right along with you into the END ZONE! Haha, that was funny but painful to watch.

Ken Sugiura

April 9th, 2009
9:26 am

Claytor will be back for fall practice. Yandell is a tackle. And one small correction, rainman – it’s Mario Edwards, not Mario Butler, who is now the first-team Wolf. Easy mistake. Butler is staying at corner.
I might be making too much of size, but I think one thing that might bode well for Bedford is that he seems to fit the same sort of history as Austin Barrick. Barrick, you’ll remember, came to Tech as a tight end and then was an A-back before he moved to the o-line. That athleticism is one reason why he has been able to adjust to Tech’s scheme, which emphasizes that linemen be quick and athletic. (by the way, the last time I asked, which was in December, Barrick was up to 270.)
Bedford walked on as a defensive end, and then moved to tackle, but in high school he said he played fullback and tight end in addition to the defensive line. He said prior to last fall he hadn’t played offensive line since his freshman year of high school.
One thing the coaches talk about all the time with the linemen is pad level, i.e., staying low in order to get leverage on the defensive linemen. It would stand to reason that that might come a little easier to someone athletic enough to play fullback and tight end.
Just food for thought.
Thanks for the kind words, Minnesota Jacket.

Don

April 9th, 2009
9:27 am

Question?? Having talented players, great coaches and a powerful offense/defense is basic to winning football. However, a large part of playing the game is being mentally prepared for every game – getting the team “up” for the game and keeping them “up” when behind. Is there a professional/s on staff – coach or not – who works with individuals and/or the team to maintain positive attitudes and avoid over confidence such as was displayed after the win over Georgia? Losss against North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech were extremely hard on the attitude as well as the almost loss to Gardner-Webb from over confidence going into the game. Sometimes the difference maker in the game, with everything else being equal, is attitude.

rainman

April 9th, 2009
9:49 am

Hey Ken, yeah – I meant Mario Edwards at wolf. I’m glad to hear Barrick is puttin on some LB’s.
I keep asking for some info on the competition at FG kicker and punter.
I’m not here to put down Scott Blair, but Tech has to improve in these critical areas.

rainman

April 9th, 2009
9:56 am

I remember sitting next to a LSU fan at the bowl game when Tech lined up for a FG. I told the fan that they were just trying to draw LSU offsides because there was no way Blair could kick it that far. I think LSU’s coaches knew that too.

EEJacket

April 9th, 2009
9:57 am

From the AJC article today, this has me very concerned…..
“Two more out with injuries

Defensive back Cooper Taylor and guard Cord Howard likely will not play again this spring, coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday.”

Also….

“The Jackets barely have enough healthy players for two full offensive lines.”

I heard we had an injury meltdown last spring similar to this one, but I’m still pretty worried. If Taylor doesn’t have the chance to develop at wolf, that might screw a lot of the defensive scheme.

Kay McLean

April 9th, 2009
10:08 am

Good article.
Paul Johnson is a class act.

Sam

April 9th, 2009
10:39 am

Kay McLean

April 9th, 2009
10:08 am
Good article.
Paul Johnson is a class act.

Are we talking about the same Paul Johnson that gets in public pizzing contests with 18 year olds?

Ken Sugiura

April 9th, 2009
10:42 am

hey, rainman – we do need an update on the kicking game. i’ve been watching it some, but not enough to draw any real conclusions. i will ask.
EE — I can give you a better answer about the offensive line. I think part of the problem is that the team doesn’t have enough depth. I think what Johnson ultimately wants is to have a three-deep on scholarship at every position. Right now, they have 10 o-linemen on scholarship. The incoming class will help that – there’s four coming in.
As for Taylor being out, it will hinder his development, but I’m not going to say it means the defense is sunk, though.

Don – I don’t think the staff has something like a sports psychologist, if that’s what you’re asking. I think the coaches basically serve that purpose. I do remember that after the Chick-fil-A game, some of the coaches said that they thought that the time off after the Georgia game didn’t help because the players were getting their backs patted for a month.
I’m going to guess the lessons of this past season will serve the team well in the future. Remember it was (and is) a fairly young team that hadn’t experienced the kind of success it had last year.
As for maintaining positive attitude, I think they used the losses pretty well. They never lost two games in a row, which suggests they didn’t allow the losses to affect them, and after the Carolina loss, they had their two of their biggest wins of the season. (Miami and Georgia)

cluett peabody

April 9th, 2009
11:18 am

Ken, Great stuff as usual. What happend to Taylor? I didn’t hear. Maybe a sports psychologist would help look what it does for golfers and everyone knows what a bunch of head cases (we) golfers can be.
Last year the CJ asked the team to set goals for the season – has he done the same for this season and if so what are the goals.

m – Tgag if you make it an acronym it will catch on with more of the posters. I think!

GT

April 9th, 2009
11:34 am

I almost think Paul lets his team learn their lessons in things like the LSU game. The game plan itself was not up to his standards either, he took some risk that were out of character and I was thinking because it was a bowl game of little real importance he was having a little fun and also letting his young guys lose one on the house before it meant something. On players, I wonder if CPJ, not really playing the game but being a lifetime observer, gives him a better angle to judge players. I have noticed you can get some pretty stubborn coaches that come into the job with preconditioned ideas. A lot of those ideas I think come from peer experience starting with being players. An ex player coach usually is not as acute to talent; he has been around it too much and thinks it is not that big a deal, many times judging the player against himself, as opposed to noticing traits common to one position or another. CPJ might be a little more open in his opinions of players because he doesn’t have the baggage.

Don

April 9th, 2009
11:35 am

Ken – Thanks. Yes, I was refering to something like a sports psychologist. You’re right about turning it around after those losses to win big as well as the team being young – certainly an encouraging step. I guess having been a Tech fan since the early 50’s, I’ve seen too many Big wins followed by Big let downs because the players couldn’t/didn’t know how to handle justified praise. Bobby Dodd’s teams were the last ones I can recall not having to worry about how the team would react.

Ken Sugiura

April 9th, 2009
12:07 pm

Cluett- I’m not sure exactly what happened with Taylor. I wasn’t at practice Monday, or at Saturday’s practice, so I’m not sure. it’s a knee injury, and it’s not serious. Johnson said he is “dinged.”
As far as goals go, I don’t believe they’ve been set. I think the team set them last year either over the summer or in fall camp.
GT – that’s an interesting theory. The bowl game is confounding. I just think the team wasn’t ready to play, and LSU was pretty good. I think I know where you’re going, but I’m not sure if Johnson “let” his players go down that path. I’m not sure he could abide losing one “on the house.”

patrickr

April 9th, 2009
12:22 pm

Thanks Ken for answering my question. That is exactly what I wanted to know!

EEJacket

April 9th, 2009
1:14 pm

GT – I’m on the same page. There’s no explicable reason for a loss that massive to a team that bad. We beat UGAy, so we should’ve SMASHED LSU. Honsetly I was expecting that game to be 38-3 the correct way.

Sam – you UGA have some leway to take shots at the team, but you have absolutely NO right to criticize PJ. He’s 10 times the coach of most any other coach in college football history, and got the integrity to boot. All that he needs to be on the same level as Bryant, Paterno, Dodd, etc, is the winning record at a big time program, and trust me, I have faith he’ll take us there.

MinnesotaJacket

April 9th, 2009
2:52 pm

EE well spoken…well spoken…Sam to help EE out because he has some class is that you are douc** get the FU** of the GT blogs if your going to put that stupid filth on here…
Hey Ken and Larry request for you guys, whenever you put a new blog up can you corrolate that onto the the main GT page (convenience sake that is all) so I don’t have to search for the newest blog by you guys…other than that keep it up!
Also wanted to ask if in the scrimmages so far we have been using a lot more passing to Roddy, Allen, and Dwyer into the slots and so forth, and how has that looked if so?

Eric

April 9th, 2009
3:54 pm

Ken – What’s the latest on Willie White? He came in as a highly rated player in the 2007 class and seems to have bounced back and forth between DB and WR. It’s my understanding he’s back at WR now. Do you think he has a chance to get some meaningful snaps this fall?

GA Tech Insider

April 9th, 2009
4:38 pm

Good Lord, “m,” Chan Gailey is GONE. You’re obsessed with the man; you need professional help, son.

Tom

April 9th, 2009
5:43 pm

Ken, Larry, et al…..

Time for a moratorium in these blogs.

addicted

April 9th, 2009
5:45 pm

Great article Ken. You and Larry are doing a fantastic job (and so is Coley Harvey at the Macon Telegraph) covering Tech, and its a pleasure reading your articles and blog posts.

Injuries are indeed a huge worry, especially since we have such young “sub-teams” (e.g. O-line, etc) and cohesion is so important in football. Hopefully, however, most of these guys are back fit and healthy for fall practice, which is where they can really gel together, and become a team.

m

April 9th, 2009
5:57 pm

insider, the only ones needing professional help are you mediocrity tolerating so-called tech fans that aided and abetted chan gailey while he destoryed our beloved football program for 6 long years and STILL defend the idiot gailey. You are the ones that need help. Thank God and Greyhound that he is gone forever…he should have taken you mediocrity tolerating fools with him.

AlabamaRamblinwreck

April 9th, 2009
6:09 pm

You know, I’ve been watching the m posts like everyone else, and I really stopped reading them a long time ago, since they generally do not cover any new ground. He has every right to blog this stuff, and we have every right to not read it. Let him go. I think he believes that those who defended Gailey may never learn their lesson, so he will continue. I totally agree with m, but I really don’t need to read any of that stuff anymore. I enjoy reading blogs about our current staff and players, so I skip over blogs from m, yellowblood, etc.

Go Jackets! And thank you to Ken and Larry for their great work.

SugarHillDawg

April 9th, 2009
7:40 pm

M, You are kidding right? Tech isn’t even MEDIOCRe! I almost LMAO when you stated that Gailey brought Tech down for the six years he was there–you LOSERS sucked before him and I don’t see it changing! One more thing, stop with the “thank God and greyhound ” quip too OK??

westcoast techie

April 9th, 2009
8:17 pm

AlabamaRamblinwreck – I agree with you 100%. M will make his usual post on every blog. It’s whenever others respond to him that m really gets started. To that point GT Insider, you are a culpret and have let m get to you lately. You have fallen into his trap. In the future Insider, please stick to your very informative GT football comments and stay away from “tit-for-tat” interchanges with m..

Tokyo jacket

April 9th, 2009
8:39 pm

Ken, I think your posts were almost as good as your original article. M, I actually think that with CPJ at the helm, Ball could have been an amazing player at Tech if not an All-American. He who will not be named tried to “tame” Ball by making him throw it away all the time. I’m convinced that CPJ would have tried to focus Ball’s energy.

Ken, I think you’re right about getting to three deep along the line. With 85 schollies, it’s not that hard. Unfortunately, our team was left bereft along the O-line when CPJ got here.

Please let September come faster!

m

April 9th, 2009
9:11 pm

Tokyo, I agree with you. CPJ or the Fridge would have probably made Reggie into the next Joe Hamilton. But gomer gailey ruined Reggie…but strangely kept him in the lineup. That is why we all need to Thank God and Greyhound that Chan Gailey is gone forever. THAT is why the future is so bright.

GA Tech Insider

April 9th, 2009
10:06 pm

westcoast techie;

Message received…

Hey SugarHillDawg

April 10th, 2009
12:46 am

ever stop and wonder why you are on a TECH blog every day of your sad sad existence? i’d go on the dawg blog but there’s only one problem…i hate the dawgs. much like you hate tech. so why are you here? obsessed a little after the game this past november? thinking that talking trash might help you feel better? it’s sad to hear the losing team from this years rivalry talk trash….all i hear is desparation…

Hey SugarHillDawg

April 10th, 2009
12:47 am

45-42….your team lost

67-62…your team lost

i’m getting my broom out for the clean sweep awaiting as soon as we beat you in baseball….

will you talk trash again after that loss as well

yellowblood

April 10th, 2009
7:44 am

I’ve been moving guys to new positions all spring while enjoying our well attended Tickle Piles.

cbgb

April 10th, 2009
9:27 am

THANK GOD AND GREYHOUND HE’S GONE!!

ok. we get it. you were right. so were thousands and thousands of others. time to move along now.

m

April 10th, 2009
9:54 am

alabammerRW, the problem gt insider has is that his head is so far up gailey’s arse he can’t see the damage that gailey did to our program. TGAG.

GT Rich

April 10th, 2009
10:11 am

What time is this Saturday’s scrimmage? Will it be in Bobby Dodd?

Supersize that order, mutt

April 10th, 2009
10:23 am

m, why is that everybody who tells you to STFU and get over it are Gailey-defenders. I’ve never defended Gailey; I don’t remember insider ever defending Gailey. The fact is that we are sick of you and your childish obsession with the past. Frankly, in my opinion, you are every bit as clueless about things important as Gailey was, dragging this blog down to the same level of MEDIOCRITY. You are IMO the worst blogger in the history of the world. I WILL thank God and greyhound when YOU have moved on.

GT Jake

April 10th, 2009
10:29 am

Ken,

For clarification, are Yandall, Voss, Claytor and Howard all expected to be healthy by fall?

Nate

April 10th, 2009
10:30 am

TGAG all the way.

ugablows

April 10th, 2009
11:04 am

Ken, your blogs have been great this spring, thanks! also this blog would be SO much better if you could somehow just systematically ban certain people who are doing nothing but crapping the threads up like M and yellowblood and sugarhill-dog

thanks again!

Bob

April 10th, 2009
11:17 am

m please grow up.Your greyhuond stuff is old and quite frankly distracting from the good stuff you have to offer. Enough is enough.

Fletch

April 10th, 2009
12:00 pm

What channel is the tech spring game on?

m

April 10th, 2009
12:50 pm

The only real talent that chan gailey had is that he could suck a football through a garden hose…and he cold do it year in and year out. TGAG.

Big Bee

April 10th, 2009
1:42 pm

Sam, CPJ is much more of a class act than you are. Can be noticed by your comment. Just mad ’cause he got the best of CMR last year?

GP Burdell, Ph.D. '09

April 10th, 2009
4:00 pm

Hey SugarHillDawg,

If we were so pathetic before Gailey arrived why did we beat UGA 3 consecutive years prior to his arrival? Think about it…

M Loves Gailey

April 10th, 2009
4:29 pm

M. I think you have a love interest in ole Chan. Yep, that has got to be it. The Greyhound has left chump. None of us on here can stand your F’n ahole so beat it. You have nothing constructive to say except the same lame thang. We will thank God and GH when you no longer post on here. You are a joke and not a true GT fan. I’d love to run into you at a game so I could put your little skinny ass on a gh bus outta here!

hem o'roid

April 10th, 2009
5:14 pm

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