Archive for June, 2010

A look at Georgia Tech’s running backs

I felt bad leaving you without a blog for two weeks, so I cobbled this together, using colleague Tim Tucker’s capsule on the Georgia blog. A few more will be coming.

THE RUNNING BACKS

  • Returning starters: Anthony Allen, Embry Peeples, Roddy Jones.
  • Others to watch: So many to choose from here: Many new A-backs will see time this season including Orwin Smith (will see more time here than he did last year), Robby Godhigh and B.J. Bostic notably, along with returning vets such as Marcus Wright. At B-back, Lucas Cox was a bowling ball during the spring practice, and Richard Watson looked tough to bring down as well.
  • Key losses: The big one was B-back Jonathan Dwyer, who rushed for 1,395 yards last season and is now with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Key fact: The Jackets averaged 5.2 yards per attempt rushing last season. As coach Paul Johnson says, if he wants 5 yards he’ll just run the ball.
  • Key fact II: The Jackets had 36 runs of least 20 yards last season.
  • Key question: Will …

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A look at Georgia Tech’s offensive line

I felt bad leaving you without a blog for two weeks, so I cobbled this together, using colleague Tim Tucker’s capsule on the Georgia blog. A few more will be coming.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE

  • Returning starters: T Phil Smith, C Sean Bedford, T Austin Barrick.
  • Others to watch: Guard Omoregie Uzzi and the versatile Nick Claytor saw lots of snaps last season. Guard Nick McRae looked very good in the spring and there are many redshirted players, including Will Jackson and Ray Beno, waiting in the wings.
  • Key losses: All-ACC guard Cord Howard graduated and  is now with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The other starter, Joe Gilbert, will graduate this summer and has transferred to Georgia State. Starting tackle Brad Sellers graduated.
  • Key fact: The Jackets led the ACC by averaging 295.4 rushing yards a game last season. They were 87.2 yards ahead of the next-best team, Virginia Tech.
  • Key fact II: The Jackets were second in that category in the NCAA, behind Nevada (344.92 ypg).
  • Key question: Will …

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Vacation and the World Cup…wait, read on!

I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks, spending time with my family and watching the world’s coolest sporting event. When I return, who knows what the ACC will look like? Perhaps it will stay the same. I doubt it, though.

While I’m gone, I hope that you will share your favorite Tech sports moments from the past season on the blog.

Two of the coolest ones for me:

  • The lightning storm during the Tech-FSU game as the teams were causing the scoreboard to explode.
  • Bay-Bay holding off the Clemson DB for about 20 yards as  he scored a TD in the ACC championship game.

There are plenty more in basketball, baseball, etc. Let’s hear yours….and Georgia fans, let’s be cool and not hijack the thread.

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Georgia Tech does well in APR — updated with ACC’s excellence

Georgia Tech’s football and men’s basketball teams posted the biggest improvements in APR scores in information released on Wednesday.

The APR, or Academic Progress Report, measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of athletes on every Division I team in all sports. It is designed to serve as a predictor of future graduation success. The APR scores released are four-year rates based on the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years.

The football team’s score increased for the third consecutive year, reaching 993, the fourth-highest score nationally and tops in the conference, according to the ACC. The team’s  multi-year average of 967 is tied for the third-best score among ACC teams, behind Duke and Miami.

The ACC led all conferences for the fourth straight year in APR (962.4 avg.). Seven ACC schools were ranked in the Top 32 including Clemson (tied for 11th with Vanderbilt, 982). Additionally, Duke (19th, 976), Wake Forest (23rd, 974), Virginia (28th, 972), …

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Paul Johnson on the ACC and its image

The ACC has been viewed as one of the weak sisters in the BCS for the past few years because it has yet to place more than one team in any of the five games in one year. Nor has it had a team in the national championship game.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said on Tuesday at the Pigskin Preview in Macon that there are two ways the league can improve its image:

1. The media can recognize that while the league may not have had a top-rated team, it has had depth. He points to the fact that five teams will likely be in the various preseason top 25 polls: Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, and FSU, with Clemson perhaps breaking in. That’s more than any other conference will have.

“We’ve had good depth in the league but no marquee teams,” he said. “Some leagues have had marquee teams but no depth.”

He wouldn’t say which leagues those were, but USC in the Pac-10, Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 come to mind.

There is other evidence, including the fact that 31 …

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Johnson’s areas of improvement for Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said, off the top of his head, there are several areas of improvement he wants to see from this team this season:

1. Passing efficiency. Joshua Nesbitt completed 38.5 percent of his passes in 2008, and improved to 43.9 percent last season. Completion percentage isn’t the same as efficiency, but it’s one of the contributing stats. Last year, Johnson and quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon said they hope to see Nesbitt complete more than 50 percent of his passes. As they’ve said, when they pass they want to hurt teams. The teams’ passing efficiency stat was actually second in the ACC last season (149.6).

2. Play better defense. Specifically, Johnson wants to see the unit create more turnovers and force more punts. Tech was seventh in the ACC in total defense (360.3 ypg) last season, but when you factor in that Tech’s offense led in time of possession (33:49) that yards number allowed is very high. New defensive coordinator Al Groh has been charged …

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Pretty good year for Tech sports

Georgia_Tech_football_touchdown_flag

I’m about to go on vacation, so I thought now was a good time to take stock of the past year in Georgia Tech athletics.

As Larry David  would say, “pretty, pretty good.”

So, let’s take review what occurred during the past few months in every sport. I’ll do my best to include as many team and individual honors as I can remember. I may need your help in filling in some of the blanks.

Men’s sports

Baseball

No. 8 seed in NCAA tournament; No. 11 selection in draft (Deck McGuire), nine players selected overall; two Louisville All-Americans (McGuire, Tony Plagman);

Basketball

Played for ACC tournament title; advanced to second round of NCAA tournament; ACC rookie of the year (Derrick Favors); two projected first-round draft picks (Favors, Gani Lawal)

Cross Country

Finished 11th at south region championships; eighth at ACC tournament

Football

Coastal Division champion; ACC champion; ACC defensive player of the year (Derrick Morgan); All-American (Morgan); two players selected in …

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The ACCES Super Conference; Johnson on expansion; more players drafted

Because there’s nothing more fun than discussing college football expansion, here’s something I threw out on twitter (@ajgatech) a while ago that’s been retweeted a few times:

Why don’t the ACC and SEC merge into one 24-team super-conference. It can be called ACCES (get it?).

For football and basketball there would be two divisions: the ACC, and the SEC.

Each team would play eight teams in its division, and four in the other. So no more non-conference games against Colorado or Kansas.

The division winners would meet for the ACCES championship.

In basketball, the top eight teams in each division would play in the conference tournament.

What would be the advantages: Well, it would be cool, for starters.

The conference would reign supreme from Boston to the Bayou. Millions of TV eyes would be available, so I imagine that advertising rates would be fairly decent.

What’s that you say, both conferences just signed TV deals? They wouldn’t be affected because the conferences are now …

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Paul Johnson at the Pigskin Preview

I’ll have more details on the blog from Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s appearance at the Pigskin Preview in Macon throughout the week. I’ve already posted on bit of info here about Jake Skole.

In the meantime, as I transcribe tape etc., I’ve posted short bits of info on twitter @ajcgatech

Please sign up and follow me there, as well.

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Johnson excited for Skole’s opportunity with Rangers

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said he would be surprised if signee Jake Skole doesn’t go and play professional baseball.

Skole was selected by the Texas Rangers in the first round of Monday’s baseball draft. He had signed to play football for the Jackets, and was also going to play baseball. His brother, Matt, is Tech’s third baseman.

Johnson said he talked to Jake late Monday.

“I’m excited for Jake and his family,” Johnson said on Monday at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon. “Whatever happens, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t go play baseball. He’d have to turn down a lot of money.

“If it doesn’t work out, we’d love to have him at Georgia Tech. I can’t imagine being 18 years old and having that opportunity. It’s going to be exicting.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Skole was going to try and sign with the Rangers, who selected him 15th overall.

“I always felt like I’d end up being a baseball player,” Skole told the paper’s website. “I was about to [play …

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