Josh Nesbitt will be a lot better this fall, so says coach Paul Johnson.
And he wasn’t saying that because Nesbitt had a bad year last year.
Nesbitt rushed for almost 700 yards and four touchdowns, passed for 800 yards and two more TDs while helping Tech come very close to winning the ACC’s Coastal Division.
And that was just his first season as a starting college quarterback and playing in an offense that was very different than anything he had played before. After all, he was a passing quarterback at Greene County High School.
While Nesbitt wouldn’t give up his recipe for pork chops, he did talk about the LSU game, and the expectations for this season (they are quite high).
When I return, we can talk about Gani Lawal’s decision and how it will affect Tech, as well as the rest of the ACC.
Also, to clarify how the AJC uses blogs: we don’t break news on the blogs, we generally talk about the news that has happened. So, go to ajc.com/sports or http://www.ajc.com/gatech/content/sports/gatech/index.html?cxntlid=nav_sprts_tch for news about Tech. Come to the blog to talk about that news.
Also, we have a separate blog for recruiting, which Darryl Maxie capably oversees.
So, onto the conversation with Nesbitt:
AJC: How’s the shoulder?
JN: Everything’s healing well. 100 percent.
AJC: So you ready to get out there?
JN: Yes sir. Back with the team doing everything.
AJC: Coach Paul Johnson remarked yesterday that most people forget last year was your first season as a college starting quarterback. What’s the biggest difference between what you know about the offense in the fall, compared to now?
JN: In the fall it was like starting over, learning new things. Now, I feel like I have everything down pat and a feel for what coach wants me to do. I know what coach wants me to do. When I go out on the field, I know what checks coach wants me to make. I know where guys are supposed to be. So, I feel real comfortable right now.
AJC: Does it feel like you operating on instinct, as opposed to thinking about everything like in the fall?
JN: I don’t have to think as much. Everything’s just been quick now.
AJC: He said yall looked a lot faster in spring practice. Did yall feel that as well?
JN: Yes, because this offense is something that’s new for everybody. All of us have adjusted to it very well. Now that we know this we can just go out and play.
AJC: People are asking coach yesterday that now teams have a year’s worth of game film that they will be able to stop yall’s offense. Paraphrasing, he said “I find that hilarious, I really do. You can still beat us, but it’s not going to because you come up with some new scheme.” Does his confidence carry over to the team?
JN: Of course. We feel like any given moment of the game, any given set we can score. It doesn’t matter if you play it right, it only takes one person to be wrong.
AJC: When you first started learning the offense did you feel that way?
JN: Yes, because that’s the way he taught it. Because he taught us that if we do everything right, and everybody’s on the same page, there’s going to be a big play somewhere.
AJC: Yall have got a lot of speed at the skill positions this year. Is that fun for you when you are thinking about the checks and what may happen?
JN: Oh yeah. It doesn’t matter who is in the game, we don’t lose a step with anyone. We’re a lot more loaded than we were last year.
AJC: Who is the fastest player on the team now? And you can’t say you.
JN: I’m going to go with Morgan Burnett is fastest.
AJC: I didn’t know if Marcus [Wright] was faster.
JN: No, Marcus is not faster.
AJC: Who’s second fastest, who does it come down to?
JN: Not including myself, I would say kind of a tie. Mario Edwards or Jonathan Dwyer.
AJC: The offensive line had a lot of injuries to the starters in the spring. Two of the guys missed the whole spring, another guy missed some of the spring. Does that concern you going into August, or does it give you a little more confidence because other people got to get some reps.
JN: I’m not concerned. People can be injured, but as long as they stay in the game mentally and their backups are getting reps I feel pretty good about it.
AJC: Reading your bio in the media guide, it said one thing you cook very well is pork chops. What’s your pork chop recipe?
JN: I can’t tell you that. My mother will get mad for that one.
AJC: Can you even give a hint? Give a hint to a good porkchop?
JN: Know what you are doing.
AJC: Ever had a porkchop as good as you make? Or your mom makes?
AJC: It’s a tough beginning to the schedule this year. What’s going to be the key to getting a good start?
JN: Just us as a team making sure everybody is on the same page, meaning all three aspects of the game, kicking, defense, offense. Make sure everybody knows their role and make sure we have fun.
AJC: If we could talk about the bowl game for a second. Do you think, had yall caught the first touchdown pass, would it have been a different game?
JN: I think it would have been a different game.
AJC: Was it deflating?
JN: At the time, me myself, I have to have a short memory. Once I looked back at it, what if we had done this, had done that. You can’t dwell on the past much. You can only look at the future.
AJC: Was it the fastest defensive line you faced last year?
JN: Fastest, hands down. Fastest and biggest.
AJC: If people watch film of that, do you think they will have keys to beat yall? You can’t coach size and speed.
JN: People will go back and watch the film. If you really go back and watch that film we beat ourselves.
AJC: Any other moments from that game. If I had done this or done that?
JN: Me, myself. I got too emotional. I think I have grown and matured from that. Somebody from back home always told me your facial expression will tell you everything, and your body language. People will feed off my body language because I’m the leader of the team. I believe in that game I had very poor body language. I just got too caught up in the game.
AJC: How do you feel as a passer. I know yall worked a lot on that in December and a lot in the spring. How much improvement do you feel you’ve made?
JN: A lot because not many people realize this I was a passer coming into college. My first year I was used to run the ball so I wasn’t working on any passing. so I got back to the basic with footwork and throwing mechanics. And still working on it to this day. Getting better.
AJC: Any wrinkles to this offense we can expect to see?
JN: Very explosive.
AJC: What are your expectations for this year?
JN: [long pause]
AJC: Coach said yesterday he expects to win every game.
JN: We ‘re looking to be 14-0. Whatever comes with that.
AJC: What do you have planned for the rest of the summer?
AJC: What classes are you taking?
JN: Math, International Affairs and an Independent Study class. Besides school, just work hard to get better. Build my confidence even higher than what it is right now.
Right now we are pretty high.
AJC: Which player were you most impressed by in the spring?
JN: Everybody got better. Even our redshirt people came in and, knowing that this is their year to play, they stepped up really big for us in the spring.
AJC: Anything you want to say to the Georgia Tech fans out there?
JN: To hell with Georgia.