Archive for August, 2009

Bits from Monday

Greetings-

Sorry for the delay in posting post-practice. I’m pinch hitting for Doug and wasn’t sure of the protocol, particularly now that practice is closed to media. As such, can’t offer much in the way of observations, other than that the team returned safely from Rose Bowl Fields to the locker room.

A lot of the stuff is posted in the notebook I wrote for Tuesday’s paper. The main highlight is that Paul Johnson said that quarterback Jaybo Shaw’s return from a broken collarbone should be six weeks, which means that he’d miss Jacksonville State, Clemson, Miami and North Carolina.

Also, former Tech commit Chris Jackson (who later de-committed when Chan Gailey was fired, went to Alabama and then left Alabama this summer) had his first practice Monday, along with several walk-ons.

First, Shaw. Having Tevin Washington as the No. 2, at least right now, looks like a fairly significant downgrade. Shaw knows the offense well and has proven he can run it. Washington is getting there …

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Well, here we go

There are now two weeks and a few days before the season-opener against Jacksonville State.

During the previous two weeks there has been one major injury (Jaybo Shaw’s broken collarbone), and a few surprising performances from freshmen (Stephen Hill, Orwin Smith, Robert Godhigh) in the Saturday scrimmages, as well as more of the good stuff from the veterans (Josh Nesbitt, Jonathan Dwyer, Marcus Wright, Sedric Griffin). 

We know about the injuries that other teams have sustained (Virginia Tech’s Darren Evans) and, even after a summer of reading, ACC predictions and theories still don’t mean much.

But, as it pertains to Georgia Tech, based upon what you’ve seen and read the past two weeks, pick who you think will start the opener on Sept 5. at as many positions as you want, and why.

Starting Monday, practices are now closed so I won’t be able to provide you the same stuff as before, but I’ll still do my best to give you the best coverage of Georgia Tech’s football …

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Saturday’s practice in the books

Backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw’s broken collarbone is by far the most significant injury the team has sustained this young season.

Yes, Shaw was second-string, but many of you saw how valuable he was to the team last year as a freshman.

Shaw hasn’t been able to participate in all of the practices this month because of a concussion, but he has looked good when he has been in there.

However, don’t despair Tech fans. Tevin Washington doesn’t have any game experience, but he has looked very good in practices throwing the ball, well at least he has to this untrained eye. He had a very pretty touchdown pass in Saturday’s scrimmage as well, throwing a high pass into the corner.

Of course, that’s a small part of Tech’s offense. Can he make the right reads running the ball? That’s a question I hope to ask and get an answer to this week. Last year’s Gardner-Webb game proved that you’ve got to have a QB who can run with the ball, and not just pass the ball.

Should Shaw miss six weeks, as …

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Day 11 in the books

Well, it was yet another hot one.

The good news: A few injured players returned: quarterback Jaybo Shaw and offensive lineman Brad Sellers. 

The rest of those on the beach this week were still on the beach.

The team started a couple of new drills: including one for kickoff returns, and one for the hurry-up offense.  

The first two segments of the last drill seemed to go well, with the defense making a good play and the offense making a long drive that finished with the defense making a good play.

But, in the end, coach Johnson wasn’t at all happy with the consistency of the effort, repeating a theme from throughout the week.

It’s always interesting talking to Johnson after practices. He’s an honest man, which is appreciated (I would think) by all. And you can see why he’s had so much success. He’s driven and doesn’t settle. Today he remarked that the players walk around like they’ve already won something, when in their last game they were beaten soundly by LSU. It’s all …

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Day 10 in the books, in its entirety

Alright, first off I hope that I’ve made some progress in efforts to clean up the blog a bit. I don’t mind a bit of trash talking, but it was devolving into something that was neither entertaining nor useful. I realize the few bad apples thing….

Now, on to football. 

Wait, I lied. On to Sports Illustrated. I don’t know who was on the cover of yours this week, but mine featured Ole Miss as the cover story for the College Football Preview section. SI likes to do regional coverages, but I’m not sure what Ole Miss has to do with Atlanta. 

Anyway, it ranks Georgia Tech 12th and predicts the Jackets to to go 9-3, 6-2. It predicts Virginia Tech to defeat FSU for the ACC championship. Of course this was written before Darren Evans was ruled out for the season with a torn ACL. 

 Other ACC teams in SI’s top 20: Virginia Tech (5), FSU (16) and North Carolina (20). 

On to Wednesday’s wrap up.  The team finished with an 11-on-11 drill that didn’t seem as crisp as others. The …

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Day 10, part I, in the books

Well, the first part of the second (and last) of the two-a-days is in the books.

Man, what a difference 10 degrees in temperature makes.

Coach Johnson said he was happy with the tempo and effort of the practice, which was 18 periodslong  compared to the usual 24.

We’ll see if the weather stays as nice for the second session, scheduled to start at 5:15.

On to the highlights:

Backup quarterbacks David Sims and Tevin Washington made several good throws in the scales drill, with Sims connecting on three consecutive pretty passes. Washington hit Zach Fisher in the 7-on-7s with a pretty deep pass. Johnson said after practice that he thought Washington was making good progress.

Josh Nesbitt made two very solid throws down the field into the corner during the same drills.

Redshirt freshman defensive tackle T.J. Barnes (more on him in Sunday’s paper) had some reps with the first-string defensive line. Asked about that afterward, Johnson said that Jason Peters had tweaked something, so …

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Day 9 in the books…..breaking news

Before we get into what I just finished writing a few minutes ago, it appears that Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans is out for the season with a torn ACL.

This affects the ACC in ways too numerous to mention. The most obvious is that the Hokies are no longer the prohibitive favorite. I think that mantle may fall to Georgia Tech. What do you think? How does this affect the race?

———-

Now onto what I had written

 

 

First, a confession. Because of a commitment at work, I was only able to watch the last five periods of football practice. 

So, I won’t have a lot to say about it, and for that I apologize.

Coach Johnson did say that he was happier with the effort the team gave, and that was during what felt like the hottest day so far. A few of the highlights are in the print notebook, which has already been posted on ajc.com.

I appreciate the thoughts you provided last night and today on the areas that need the most improvement from last year’s team.

As, hopefully, you’ve …

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Day 8 in the books

The second practice in Monday’s first two-a-days was realatively quiet. The players practiced in shells. There was no 11-on-11, just a lot of work on fundamentals.

Repeating what he said after the morning practice, Coach Johnson wasn’t pleased with the day’s efforts. He chalked it up to fatigue, but said the team needs to learn how to fight through it.

He was pleased with how Scott Blair kicked the ball at the end of the first practice, though. Blair went 4-for-4 from various spots on the field.

Because of injuries to Jaybo Shaw and Jordan Luallen, Josh Nesbitt, Tevin Washington and David Sims took most of the snaps. The defensive line looked very active in the 11-on-11 portion of the first practice.

To answer a question from yesterday, I think the offense looks better from the first day. The coaches have indicated the same.

I’ve got a story coming out on Wednesday about Georgia Tech’s efforts to improve its pass-efficiency from last season. It’s the first part in a …

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Day 8, part I, in the books

Well, the first half of the first two-a-day is done. The players will be back out in four hours or so.

Coach Johnson said overall he wasn’t pleased with the team’s effort. He was pleased with how Scott Blair kicked the ball at the end of the day, though. Blair went 4-for-4 from various spots on the field.

Because of injuries to Jaybo Shaw and Jordan Luallen, Josh Nesbitt, Tevin Washington and David Sims took most of the snaps. The defensive line looked very active in the 11-on-11 portion.

To answer a question from yesterday, I think the offense looks better from the first day. The coaches have indicated the same.

I’m going to keep this one short, and will come back with more after the second portion.

Continue reading Day 8, part I, in the books »

Day 7 in the books

Hey, folks-

Coming to you from the well-appointed media room at the Edge Athletic Center. Sitting in again for Doug.

The Jackets had a practice dedicated to special teams work Sunday afternoon. They split up into blue and white teams, and did a lot of field goal and punting work. Coach Paul Johnson made it into a game, white vs. blue, with points awarded for successful plays. They ran a bunch of trick plays to varying degrees of success.

A couple things that came to light, some of which are in the notebook. You can pencil in Jerrard Tarrant at punt returner. I think the coaching staff probably had this in mind already, but I think his efforts today may have sealed it. If you’ll remember, Tech didn’t do so hot returning punts last year, at times having trouble just holding onto the ball. Cooper Taylor, Stephen Hill and Daniel McKayhan also took turns at punt returner.

The kick returning job is not settled. Tarrant, obviously, is a candidate, and you’ll remember Roddy Jones (who …

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