Let’s try something different

Practices are now closed, so I’m not able to give you the same information that I was able to give you the previous two weeks. I wish it were different, but compared to other coaches’ policies regarding practice access, Johnson is being very generous, so I’m not going to complain. 

I spent the time that I would have spent watching practice working on a piece for the pending special section (please buy and read) that will come out later this month. The piece is a position-by-position look at the team, consisting of an overall outlook, and then two categories: what must go right, and what could go wrong. Both are hypothetical analyses based upon returners, injuries, opponents, history, etc. 

It was a fun exercise and got me to thinking even more about the depth the team has at most positions. The largest question mark I had was at linebacker. And that question mark has nothing to do with the Brad Jefferson and Sedric Griffin, it had more to do with what happens if they miss time, as they did last year.

Machen and Sylvester are physical beasts, but I really have no idea how they will do in a game when they get their chance. That’s part of the maddening part of watching practice. I’m not a coach, so while I have some idea what’s good and bad, I have no idea what the assistants think are good or bad, unless I get a chance to talk to them after practice. And there are two coaches whom I haven’t had a chance to meet, either in person or on the phone. One of them is, you guessed, it Brian Jean-Mary, the backers coach. I’m going to try to do that before the end of the week. I’ve heard him on the practice field, but haven’t got to meet him.

I will say this…I’m not sure y’all have never heard about the policies that other head coaches have regarding talking to assistants, but I’d be surprised if you have. For example Alabama’s Nick Saban won’t let you talk to them, Virginia’s Al Groh won’t let you talk to them. Both of them, coincidentally or not, are pruned from the Bill Parcells tree, which stipulates “one voice” for the program. But coach Johnson and his assistants are very accomodating. And for that I’m thankful. I just wish other coaches would be that helpful.

—————-

Anyway, on to other things. After I wrote the notes for Wednesday’s paper, Tech alerted us that two players, defensive end Derrick Morgan and safety Morgan Burnett, were put on the watch lists for the Lombardi Award and Nagurski awards, respectively. The Lombardi award is given to the nation’s best lineman, offense or defense, and the Nagurski award is given to the nation’s best defender.

—————

Johnson said that T.J. Barnes made some good plays during Tuesday’s practice.

—————

What do you think of Tech’s linebacking situation? What do you think of the 4-2-5 that Tech will use this year?

52 comments Add your comment

StraightJacket

August 18th, 2009
10:14 pm

Re: Linebacker depth,… I’m not too worried about it … relative to other areas. There are still some weak links in the team depthwise, and no, they aren’t on the DL. The good news in that team depth is better than last year almost EVERYwhere, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t “nervous” areas.

My “uh-oh” list for injuries goes something like this: 1. Nesbitt 2. D. Morgan 3. Scott Blair 4. M. Burnett 5. Jefferson or Sed 6. C. Taylor 7. An OT or Voss / Bedford 8. Dwyer 9. #2 QB (Tevin W, for now).

In other words, I think our LB depth will do OK … unless we’re talking multiple injuries.

As CPJ said, we’ll be better than last year; particularly on Offense. The point people are missing is this: 8 of the 12 games on our schedule will be tougher than last year (better / improved teams), two about the same, and 2 worse than last year. With the schedule so much tougher, it will be interesting to see if GT can get to 10 or more wins.

-SJ

AlabamaRamblinwreck

August 18th, 2009
10:16 pm

Please update us on Jorday Luallen’s condition. Is he going to return to practicing soon?

Go Jackets!!

AlabamaRamblinwreck

August 18th, 2009
10:16 pm

Sorry…I meant Jordan, not JORDAY!! :)

Doug Roberson

August 18th, 2009
10:26 pm

Correcting my own faulty memory, I spoke with Jean-Mary the first day of August practices.

As for Luallen, Johnson and Bohannon were vague about when Luallen may return when asked on Saturday. Luallen is walking without a boot now, but high ankle injuries can be mysterious things. I’ll try and ask coach after tomorrow’s practice.

jacketbacker

August 18th, 2009
10:30 pm

thanks doug…enjoy the update….

TiftonJacket

August 18th, 2009
11:12 pm

At LB, don’t forget AT Barnes who played a ton of minutes last year unless he is playing the new “wolf” position. Sed played above expectations in 2008 and my crew expects him to even play better in 2009. Jefferson needs to take that next step and become an impact LB like Darryl Smith, Key Fox, Richardo Wimbush, etc. etc.

Also, can we get an update as to who is on the beach these days. I believe the walking wounded should only include Roddy, Jaybo, Jordan L, and Kyle Jackson. Is Roddy still on track to be back next week? Otherwise, is the team pretty healthy and participation in drills and contact around 100% minus the guys listed above? For me, getting to Jax St without any season ending injuries or other major injuries like Jaybos is critical to the fast start we need in the first 4 weeks. We have depth but as we saw in Athens last year it only goes only about 2 deep before you see a significant drop off no matter the position.

JACKETfan

August 18th, 2009
11:40 pm

Here’s how I would put our two-deep at lineback/wolf:

MLB- 1) Jefferson
2) Anthony Barnes

OLB- 1) Griffin
2) (K. Jackson when healthy, Anthony Barnes filling in when not)

Wolf- 1) Cooper
2) Edwards

I know that AT Barnes is trying the wolf position out, but with Kyle Jackson’s injury, I would move Anthony back to a linebacker to add quality depth. I heard they are trying freshman linebacker Brandon Watts out at wolf, so that would make that position 3 deep. Steven Sylvester would be the third backup in the linebacker rotation behind barnes and jackson. I also heard things about Julian Burnett…. I think we have plenty of talent/depth at linebacker

JACKETfan

August 18th, 2009
11:59 pm

BTW, our depth problems should clear up after this year… We will be able to have the maximum amount of scholarships once again, and CPJ has gotten some quality recruits in for his two years of recruiting. This years freshman class is not rated that high, but there are some studs in there. With the incoming class next year combined with this years, our secondary, DL, and OL will be loaded. We’ve got 2 solid backs (Perkins and Orwin Smith) and two solid QB’s. The only area that we havent heavily recruited is LB…

macrotech

August 19th, 2009
1:32 am

The 4-2-5 defense will be a collection of ’smaller’ players, but they’ll be faster! The way football players are made these days; they’ll be ample enough to put people down. As excited as I am about our offense, I’m optimistic about our defensive scheme….LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!! GO TECH!!!

macrotech

August 19th, 2009
1:32 am

By the way, I’m the first to call out “FIRST”! ;o)

GT Ed '09

August 19th, 2009
2:15 am

Gosh I’m sometimes embarassed to be a Tech fan. You guys are such toolbags.

Cuttysark

August 19th, 2009
2:31 am

With the implementation of the new “Wolf” position, we are fine at linebacker. With only two on the field in this new formation, we can compensate for Jackson’s injury. In fact, we don’t have to do a lot of substitution against spread and trips formations given that Cooper has the speed to match up, and hits like a linebacker.

Go to isportsweb.com for more Georgia Tech Football articles on the defensive and offenses units position by position, and an insight into Head Coach Paul Johnson’s success at his prior stops. Go Jackets!

reebok

August 19th, 2009
8:02 am

refresh my memory…was it cooper taylor who put his helmet on the ball at the goal line and forced the fumble against fsu last year?

Saint Simons

August 19th, 2009
8:19 am

(((((45-42)))))hahaha and we had a great Tickle Pile right on their campus1111

GT Rich

August 19th, 2009
8:23 am

Yes, Coop locked the ball loose. He reminds me a bit of Chris Reis.

GT Rich

August 19th, 2009
8:24 am

…knocked the ball loose…

Melinda

August 19th, 2009
8:33 am

Are there other teams that use this defensive scheme? I have never heard of the wolf position until Coach Wommack brought it up last year. I’m sure it is a scheme that is used by some teams at least some times. I know we had 29 forced turnovers on D last year! If it is a product of the scheme, I like it!

GT

August 19th, 2009
8:42 am

GT Rich, I have to ask, how exactly does Cooper Taylor remind you of Chris Reis besides that they are both white? Coop is at least 4 inches taller and is rumored to be the fastest guy on the team. Chris was about 6′ and stocky like a linebacker, and not very fast. The only thing that they have in common is that Reis is the NFL and Coop will probably be there one day as well.

GTPUG

August 19th, 2009
9:29 am

I will be a lot of fun to watch – - the “Wolf” position will be the key – - Griffin and Jefferson will be great – nothing to worry about in the “LB” position – - as with every team CPJ has had a younger player will step-up when needed – - last year proved this

“TO HELL WITH GEORGIA”

Trade School Junkie

August 19th, 2009
9:32 am

The one thing that seems to have been mostly off the radar screen this pre-season has been the development of the defense. You would expect the GT-O to get most of the attention.

We KNOW we’re gonna score A LOT of points with this Offense. I have no doubts at all we’re gonna score 35-40 pts per game…ON EVERYBODY.

But, I think the GT-D is gonna be the real shocker this year.

We’re gonna be WAAAAAAY better on D than anyone is expecting. From what I’ve read about Wommack’s base 4-2-5 alignment and his focus to get “speed” on the field, Wommack’s D is gonna look like a Tampa-2 style defense.

With all the talent & experience in the secondary, we’re gonna have an absolutely LOCK-DOWN passing defense. The D came up with lots of INTs last year. Wont surprise me if GT-D leads the ACC (or nation) in INTs in 2009.

And, with the talent & rotation we’ll have at D-Line and LB, I think we will have a very solid run-D.

Special teams, especially KOs & Punt Returns, is gonna be scary good.

With the awesome new talent handling KOs & PRs, the GT-O is likely to start most Offensive posessions right at mid-field (or better).

So, how well do you suppose its gonna go for the GT-O when we’re starting MOST possessions at midfield?

Right. We’re gonna score…A LOT.

Only Nesbitt going down will keep GT from going 12-0.

Captian Kirk

August 19th, 2009
10:03 am

Scotty, beam up trade school junkie. He is suffering delirium from a 9 win season. He is manic and in the manic phase. He is predicting 35 points on everybody, he is predicting best defense in ACC, he is predicting scary good Special teams and last but not least he is predicting 12 and 0.

Why not go all the way… ACC Championship win and NC win over Florida.

Teck will be hit by two photon topedos (Miami and NC) in the first 4 games. It will be a sad day for TSJ. He’ll probably jump out of a window.

AlabamaRamblinwreck

August 19th, 2009
10:05 am

Doug: Thanks for the response on Luallen.

Burdell

August 19th, 2009
10:15 am

I mostly agree with you TSJ. But I think a lot of the INTs last season were setup by huge pressure on the QB from the Freak among others. Hopefully, we can still get some pressure from our D-line.

reebok

August 19th, 2009
10:18 am

thx, GT Rich…gotta love Cooper Taylor…and who wouldn’t want to play a position called ‘Wolf’?’

Stinger

August 19th, 2009
11:03 am

Capt Kirk,
Let me tell you who your 7 loses will be to. Oklahoma St; South Carolina; LSU; Vandy; Florida; Tenn Tech; and Ga. Tech. Initially I predicted you would lose 6, but the more I look at the Tenn Tech game, I just can’t see you guys winning that one either. Your offense has no quarterback or running backs worthy of playing Divn 1A football. I don’t even need to tell you about your defense. It’s the laughing stock of the nation. There is no limit to how many points our offense will score on your defense. You know it’s coming, but you can’t do anything about stopping it. We’ll ram it down your throat and then as you cheat up, play action passes will result in recievers 20 yds down the field with no one to cover him. (TOUCHDOWN )

JACKETfan

August 19th, 2009
11:06 am

Stinger-

I doubt the dawgs will lose 7… In all reality, I think 5 losses would be more acceptable. They will get beat by OK State by atleast 10 points… LSU and UF will walk all over them, Kiffin and the Vols have them in Knoxville and Monty will have Cox’s number and suprise the nation, and then GT will beat them in a close game in November. I dont think we will destroy them like everyone thinks. Rarely is the GT-UGA game a blowout, even during the Chan years. I think we will win anywhere from 3-10 points.

ForTheRecord

August 19th, 2009
11:17 am

A. You forgot to list Barnes at LB. Tech has two Barnes’ on the roster and one is a linebacker with gameday experience. (Put whoever has stated the AJC beat reporters know their topical subjects…)

B. Tech’s defense is not really a 4-2-5. Sure a secondary player from last year will start in a position labelled “Wolf” but if you read the very description listed with this medium…you’ll see the postition is simply the tradtional linebacker slot during certain down and distances but that it becomes the secondary for nickel and dime packages during passing situations. Simply created as a way to make more usefulness out of Cooper and to not so blatantly inform the other LB’s that Cooper may be smaller physically but he is simply to athletic to keep off the field.

Paddy

August 19th, 2009
11:32 am

If cooper is 6′4″ 208 lbs and runs a clocked 4.38 40, could we see him as a 3rd receiver in some formations this year? In the old days, a guy like that would play both ways alot.

GT Rich

August 19th, 2009
11:44 am

My memory had Reis taller, but just checked NFL.com and he is only 6-1 and 210. Coop and Reis both have an instinctive nose for the ball, for making plays and hitting hard. Coop definitely has more speed.

Stinger

August 19th, 2009
11:46 am

JACKETfan,
You could be right. I just figured they would lose one that they counted as a win, such as Tenn. St. They may beat Vandy, but Vandy usually gives them fits. I considered Tenn, but not sure about them this year. I do believe we will blow them out though. We will be playing for something special, while their season will be already over.

Doug Roberson

August 19th, 2009
11:47 am

I didn’t forget about Anthony Barnes. Nor did I forget that Sylvester saw some snaps last year. I wondered how they would do if they, or Machen, were paired together for a whole game.

Paddy, I’ve wondered that about Cooper as well. I wouldn’t want to be the db trying to cover him.

Jared

August 19th, 2009
12:08 pm

I think its an immense advantage to be able to switch between 4-3 and nickel without having to change personnel, but let’s be honest, we’re not the first team to have this hybrid LB/S player. However, we might have one of the best around in Taylor.

Its been a little while since we had a player of Taylor’s versatility. My fellow Tech fans might hate the comparisons, but when I think of guys that could play safety or LB, I think of Sean Jones and Greg Blue, although neither have Taylor’s brain. Fact is, Cooper Taylor has already etched his name into GT lore with that caused fumble in the FSU game.

I want him to bring the thunder, a la John Lynch.

Melinda

August 19th, 2009
12:19 pm

Wolf isn’t too much different than a standard nickel that many teams run in passing situations. We just use a versatile safety rather than a cb to better defend the run out of this set. As much as our opponents will pass in general and especially if/when behind, it makes perfect sense.

7-5 again

August 19th, 2009
12:53 pm

I heard ACC coaches asked the local middle schools how to stop PJ’s offence. You guys are delusional if you think you will actually be dominant this year… I’m not shocked though! Tech fans are idiots!

GT

August 19th, 2009
12:54 pm

Trade school junkie-you are right in that the back seven will be our strength this year on D, but I’m worried that if we don’t get the pass rush up front that even this unit will struggle against the pass. How many of those interceptions last year were a result of pressure from Johnson, Richard, and Walker up front. I would say quite a few.

However it is nice knowing that Burnett and Taylor will be out there roaming around making plays, it should be exciting.

how2fish

August 19th, 2009
1:50 pm

Rennie Curry…the yardstick we should ALL measure linebackers by…7 and 6 loss forecasts by the bugfans aside…Hell’s coming and its wearing Red and Black..see you in Nov..and I would truly love to see you undefeated till then…have a great season.

Bobby Dodd is a loser

August 19th, 2009
1:52 pm

UGA will loose 5 games……..wow you guys are stupid!! We are not Tech, we don’t lose 5 games. Granted we have a tough schedule, but we win 10 games a year. That is what we do and you know it. I also got a call from your ticket office and they asked me to buy extra tickets to your other pathetic home games, because you guys have as much support as the football team for the Atlanta School for the blind. Really how many people do you think you will have at your opener? I am going to say 2000 people and that’s if it doesn’t rain, but good luck cause your ass whipping is coming in Nov. you know it and we know it. WE OWN tech, that is what we do, we beat tech every year that we want and every once in awhile we let you guys win a game just so you can keep your high school football program going. Well we let you win last year so here comes the next 8-9 years of beatdowns that you guys are used to getting by UGA. WE OWN YOU AND YOU KNOW IT!!!!!!!!

JACKETfan

August 19th, 2009
1:54 pm

I never thought about Cooper Taylor at WR… um, Calvin Johnson all over again, anyone?? Maybe he doesnt have the hands, but 6′4, roughly 210 pounds, and a sub 4.4 forty time is hard to come by.

Toot of the Whistle

August 19th, 2009
2:54 pm

With a completely empty stadium Tech would still beat the doggies.

Mike T.

August 19th, 2009
3:03 pm

With a completely empty stadium Tech would still beat the doggies.

a slim 3 point fluke victory, one win in eight tries,seven total wins in thirty years,
you people are delusional.only three months left to enjoy it.59-36-5.

BobinBuford

August 19th, 2009
3:51 pm

7-5 Again:

Middle School? I hear that Willie Martinez has moved to Creekland Middle School in Gwinnett this year, after the great job he did designing the defense for UGA against the Jackets last November..

Congrats to Gani Lawal on being placed on the Wooden Award list for this upcoming season. Any of you UGA fans out there care to tell us which UGA b-ball player is on that list for this year??

Anyone??

how2fish

August 19th, 2009
4:04 pm

Bob WTF cares about a Wooden award…shaking in fear so bad you want to just forego the Football season?? NERD NERD…NERD!!!!

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

August 19th, 2009
4:21 pm

BobinBuford, The freaking Wooden Award? The Wooden Award? One of the ones on a list of FIFTY? OK OK congrats to Lawal on his inclusion on the Wooden watch list. Yippee ki freaking yah ki yo

Captian Kirk

August 19th, 2009
4:46 pm

Stinger, when is the last time the Dawgs lost 5 or 6? The Dawgs will be better than last year, a lot better. Forget that. Your sufffering will start way before you get to November… Miami, North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech and UGA are for sure. Vandy will be your Gardner Webb game. Teck always has one.

You guys talk as if these other teams you play have done nothing to improve and are just going to lay down for teck. Boy are you in for a suprise. Stay close to your hole.

Toh3llwithgeorgia

August 19th, 2009
5:00 pm

Clemson’s a WHITE-OUT, remember that. Uga sucks, jot that down. And go Jackets.

Go Jackets and to Hell with Georgia.

Not Disappointed

August 19th, 2009
5:01 pm

Thanks for the update Doug. It sound like a promising season on the Flats!

Ramblin Wreck!

Tampa Wreck

August 19th, 2009
5:02 pm

Trade School Junkie.. I gotta agree with some of the dawgs.. You are delusional. How anyone can think our defense will be that good just amazes me. I think they may be better than what we saw the last several games of last season, but I’m definitely worried about our ability to stop the run or put a decent rush on the passer. They may step up and surprise me, but can’t make that prediction based on what I saw last year or have read about this year.

I still think we win 10 games, and if everything broke our way regarding turnovers in critical games and injuries, we “could” win them all, but that is a real stretch.

I also think that anybody that thinks a win over Georgia is a given is sadly mistaken. I expect Georgia finds a way to win at least 9 games, even with a murder schedule. They have a unproven quarterback going into the season, but I expect he will be replaced by one of the star Freshmen by game 5. And to say they don’t have Div 1A backs is just plan stupid. They haven’t proven themselves with Moreno carrying the load for the past couple of years, but they have talent at back and across the board.

Why don’t we stop getting on the dawgs and agree that both programs are moving in a good direction, Then we can spend more time talking football as opposed to acting like third graders.

Tampa Wreck

August 19th, 2009
5:08 pm

By the way.. I could also see us losing 4 or even 5 games if Josh goes down and we don’t learn how to take care of the ball. This could be a very special year, but it could also be very average, but I believe in CPJ, the coaches, and our players, and I think they can move us closer to special than average.

Baba O'Riley

August 19th, 2009
5:14 pm

You can’t make this stuff up:
12:53- 7-5 again can’t spell the word “offense” and calls Tech fans idiots.
1:50- howtofish thinks his team’s star LBs name is Rennie Curry
“Bobby Dodd is a Loser”- UGA wil “loose” 5 games.

Keep ‘em coming UGA fans. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

macrotech

August 19th, 2009
6:14 pm

Bobby Dodd is a loser, go win yourselves a few more national championships and THEN you can ‘own’ us! What good are all those 10 win seasons if you don’t have the trophies to go with them? Everything that you spent all that time typing is the equal to a fart…. eventually the smell will go away! GO TECH!!!