Archive for January, 2010

Burnett decision fine

Many commenters have asked what Morgan Burnett was thinking leaving school early for the NFL Draft.

After seven interceptions last year, he had four this year. More importantly, he just didn’t seem to make as many big plays as he did last season.

Well, keep in mind, that the defense works as a unit, as Paul Johnson is fond of saying. When one part has issues it affects the other parts. Because Tech didn’t have a consistent pass rush, it often left the secondary trying to cover a lot of space for a long time. It’s hard to do.

And when the line did get pressure, sometimes the coverage was botched.

So, just because Burnett didn’t look as flashy, it wasn’t always his fault.

Charles Davis, draft analyst for the NFL Network, said he likes Burnett a lot. Davis said had Burnett stayed in school one more year, he definitely would have made more money because he would have improved his draft status. But Davis said Burnett will make his money down the road when it’s time to renegotiate …

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Lawal named ACC Player of the Week

   A big game against Duke helped land Gani Lawal his second career ACC player of the week award.

   The Georgia Tech junior forward scored 21 points, had nine rebounds and hit a key turnaround jumper with 1:01 left to help defeat then No. 5 Duke 71-67 on Saturday. Lawal also scored 21 in Tech’s loss to Georgia earlier in the week.

   Lawal scored 14 of his 21 points against Duke in the second half, and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line. He’s improved from a 55.6 percent free throw shooter to 70.6 percent this year. That might have something to do with his new positive mindset at the foul line.

   “When I’m at the line I’m thinking ‘Indianapolis, Final Four,’” he said. “If I make free throws, it’ll be a key part of getting to Indianapolis, come April.”

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Tech holds steady at No. 20 in AP poll

   So what does a loss to Georgia and a win over Duke get you? About a zero-sum gain, according to the Associated Press voters. Georgia Tech stayed at No. 20 in the newly released Top 25 poll this afternoon.

   The Yellow Jackets contributed to the commotion at the top of the rankings though. Duke fell from No. 5 to No. 8. Texas took over the No. 1 spot and Kentucky moved to No. 2, while Kansas fell all the way (ahem) to No. 3 after the loss to Tennessee.

   North Carolina dropped to No. 12 after the College of Charleston loss. The Tar Heels await Georgia Tech on Saturday.

   Tech has two key two road games coming up this week and a chance to build on the momentum they gained by beating Duke. To use an old Tobacco Road cliché, winning on the road in the ACC comes down to good guard play. And that adage seems to ring true with Tech these days anyway, but I think it applies well to these next two games.

   If Mfon Udofia can take what he did against Duke and Florida State at …

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Burnett, Dwyer, Morgan leave Tech — updated

MorganBurnett
Three more players are leaving Georgia Tech for the NFL.

Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer and Derrick Morgan announced on Monday that they are leaving the Yellow Jackets after their junior seasons. In a room full of teammates, the three said they wanted to fulfill their dream of playing in the NFL.

Dwyer said he told his mother when he was 5 years old that he would one day play pro ball. Today, his father, Tony, said it still hasn’t sunk in.

Derrick Morgan is projected to go top-10 in the NFL Draft.

Derrick Morgan is projected to go top-10 in the NFL Draft.

Morgan, the ACC’s defensive player of the year, had 12 1/2 sacks this season and is projected to be a top-10 pick in April’s NFL draft. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper rates Morgan, 6-4, 272-pounds, as the top defensive end in the junior class, saying he’s a “proven pass-rusher, stout versus run. Very productive.” Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. rates Morgan as the fifth-best player overall.

He has already signed with an agency and is leaving for Arizona this afternoon to begin workouts …

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Groh acknowledges preliminary talks

Al Groh said he has had preliminary conversations with Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson about becoming the Yellow Jackets’ next defensive coordinator. However, he said that a report that a deal is close to being completed  isn’t accurate because talks are still in the early stages.

Out of respect for Johnson, as well as some other teams that have contacted him, Groh declined to provide any more details.

He did however, praise the work Johnson has done in his two seasons at Tech.

“They’ve got that program winning in a hurry,” Groh said. “As a fan or as an opposing coach,  if winning impresses you you have to be impressed with what Paul has done there.”

Groh, 65, said he would have no problems at all becoming a defensive coordinator after spending the last 10 seasons as a head coach, including the last nine at Virginia where he went 59-53.

“Never been any ego in my career,” Groh said. ” What I like is challenges and I like winning.”

Tech’s previous defensive coordinator, Dave …

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Morgan, Dwyer, Burnett gone? — updated

The remaining juniors who were considering leaving school for the NFL are holding a press conference at Tech tomorrow.

Safety Morgan Burnett, defensive end Derrick Morgan and  B-back Jonathan Dwyer will address the media at 1 p.m. tomorrow. People don’t usually hold press conferences to announce that they are staying, but it has happened before. And with the three players holding a conference at the same time, you never know.

More to come on this soon…

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Regarding the search for a defensive coordinator, coach Paul Johnson, like hundreds of others, will be at the coaches’ convention in Orlando for the next couple of days. It’s natural to think that he will meet with candidates while there.

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For the sake of fun, let’s assume that Al Groh, which may not be a solid assumption after speak to him Sunday night (more on that in print and on ajc.com)  is hired as defensive coordinator and Tech installs a 3-4 scheme.

Who would fit where?

Because we’re doing this as a fun exericse, …

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Digesting the Duke win

    Wow, Georgia Tech just knocked off No. 5 Duke. The week just got a lot better for Tech fans, who had had a rough one between the loss to Georgia in basketball and the Orange Bowl.

   This might actually give the Paul Hewitt-bashers a little time to rest their typing fingers and send UGA fans back to their own blogs for a bit.

   But beyond all the riff-raff, what does it really mean? You have to figure it bodes well, bodes real well.

   If Tech can beat Duke, which was shaping up to have one of the top teams in the ACC, it can expect to compete with the best the league has to offer.

   I know plenty of folks in and around the program have been saying that all along. But it’s one thing to say it and another to do it. Losses to Dayton and Florida State weren’t backing up what they were saying.

   This does.

   The Yellow Jackets, at 1-1 in the ACC, are halfway to last year’s ACC win total already. They’ve got solid results to fuel their confidence.

   On top of that, as some …

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Tech could use something big from Favors

Favors and one of his monster dunks

Favors and one of his monster dunks

 

   It’s time for something special from Derrick Favors.

   Tech’s freshman standout hasn’t his breakout game yet, and I’m not predicting it’ll come against Duke. Not because the Duke inside game is all that special – though the Blue Devils do have length and depth – but because I think Duke will make it really hard for Favors to get the ball in the low post, period.

   But some kind of something needs to come from Favors in this five-game stretch (against four ranked opponents) if Tech is going to have the year people around the program expect.

   And yes, I believe, he definitely has it in him.

   I know Favors’ totals are down the last couple of games – 14 points on only six field goals. Part of that is foul trouble, which limited him to only 23 minutes against Charlotte and 21 minutes against Georgia. Part of that, I think, is a lack of aggression on his part, in demanding the ball, in taking shots and taking the ball to the basket. …

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Thomas headed to NFL — updated

Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is headed to the NFL.

Thomas, a redshirt junior from Montrose, announced his decision at a press conference on Friday.

“Something I’ve been wanting to do since I was a little boy before I came to Tech,” Thomas said.

He leaves as one of the top-10 leaders in several Tech categories: second in yards per reception (19.5), fourth in touchdown receptions (15), fourth on Tech’s career receiving yards list (2,339), and seventh in career receptions (120).

Thomas caught 46 passes for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns this season. He led the ACC in receiving yards as well as yards per catch (25.1).

Tech coach Paul Johnson said that during his talks with Thomas as he was trying to make his decision, he told him that he had to do what was right for him. He joked he hoped he would wait one more year, but understood.

The two share a close relationship, so much so that Thomas asked his uncle, James Brown, to call Johnson and tell him the news on …

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Tech finishes No. 13 in polls, Georgia unranked

Georgia Tech finished No. 13 in the final coaches and Associated Press polls. Georgia finished unranked in both.

The Yellow Jackets (11-3) won the ACC and lost to Iowa 24-14 in the Orange Bowl on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs (8-5) finished third in the SEC East and defeated Texas A&M 44-20 in the Independence Bowl.

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