Tech’s depth has Johnson hopeful

Perhaps nothing illustrates the depth of this year’s Georgia Tech team better than looking at the offensive line that started in the Orange Bowl:

Down to seven players because of injury, one starter began his career as a tight end before moving to the line, one started as an A-back and one was a walk-on defensive lineman.

This year’s offensive line has four guards who could start, four tackles who could start and two centers. No position on the line, not even at center where Sean Bedford, the former walk-on who was All-ACC last year, is safe, according to coach Paul Johnson.

There is depth, not only on the line, but at every position. Other than at quarterback with Joshua Nesbitt and middle linebacker with Brad Jefferson, Rose Bowl field will be the proving ground for more than 100 players scratching for playing time.

“We’ve got pretty good competition at most every position,” Johnson said. “That usually makes you better.”

The depth has been accumulated by redshirting many of last year’s true freshmen, particularly on the offensive line, and by landing a useful 2010 Signing Day class that could have players contribute at almost every position with a few exceptions. Johnson already noted safety Isaiah Johnson will play this season, and that they are trying to find a way to get A-back B.J. Bostic on the field.

It’s a far cry from two years ago, when Johnson said he had to play true freshmen Marcus Wright and Embry Peeples at A-back because they had no depth.

Looking at the offense, Anthony Allen, who averaged 9.7 yards per carry last season at A-back, leads a four-deep fight at B-back, a position that was down to two healthy players by the Orange Bowl.

“You see guys out there trying to make plays because they know there’s a guy behind them that can come in there and take their space,” Allen said. “Last year you had prominent guys in prominent roles. There really were no big-time backups.

“This year, it’s a good thing because it pushes you more.”

On the offensive line, Bedford is experiencing a bit of déjà vu in his senior season. He beat senior Dan Voss last season for starting spot at center. This season, he’s trying to hold off Jay Finch, one of the players who redshirted last season.

Bedford jokes the line is so deep this season they have nicknamed themselves, “The Expendables,” after the soon-to-be-released movie.

“There’s no one person that we can’t succeed without,” Bedford said. “If one guy goes down we are very confident that the next guy can step up and take his place.”

The secondary is perhaps the deepest on the team, with a dozen players, including three freshmen, trying to get on the field for the Sept. 4 season-opener against South Carolina State.

Mario Butler, a senior who has started 27 games, said the competition breeds confidence rather than the nervousness that might be expected.

“It makes the team more confident as well because they know the best defense will be on the field,” said Butler, who intercepted two passes last season. “It’s not going to be someone who is complacent and possibly have you lose a game or put you in a bad position.”

Of course, Johnson points out that depth can be wiped out during a single practice, particularly if injuries to occur at the same position. That happened at a few spots last season. But for now, Johnson said the players know they must go hard every practice.

“When we came to practice in 2008, ‘We were saying what have we gotten into?’” Johnson said. “Now it’s totally different. Players understand the expectations, the understand the speed, they understand what we are looking for.”

68 comments Add your comment

GTnumba1

August 7th, 2010
5:24 pm

Paul in RDU

August 7th, 2010
5:30 pm

All good on paper – let’s see how they look when the games start.

POAD

August 7th, 2010
5:33 pm

Sounds like the Hornets nest is swarming with some real KILLER BEES.

dagnabit

August 7th, 2010
5:36 pm

August seventh ;The day is closer.

11-0-1 1990 National Champs

August 7th, 2010
5:38 pm

CPJ has done a great job of managing our roster. Just one more thing he’s great at.

bumbler jacket

August 7th, 2010
6:05 pm

lots of depth means lots of mediocre players…..7 and 5 here we come

Stumpknocker

August 7th, 2010
6:10 pm

You’ll never hear P Johnson gloat about his team. He perfers to let the team speak on the field. If you start to notice a quiet confidence about this man, expect the team to do great things on the field. I personally have a very good feeling about this years version of the GT Yellowjackets.

Buzz29

August 7th, 2010
6:39 pm

Excellent blog Doug.

Go Jackets!

SILLY UGA FANS

August 7th, 2010
6:39 pm

bumbler,
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?????? Most teams recruit three or more players for each position with the hope that two of them are good enough to start during any game. I will grant you if you get a 4 or 5 star to sign (for what the star ratings are worth) then it may hurt recruiting another player of that same caliber for the same position but that is it.

Worm

August 7th, 2010
6:50 pm

good competition usually means mediocrity!..Means you don’t have palymakers…Good luck

Okeefe/Bob

August 7th, 2010
7:13 pm

Bumbler– I can tell you didn’t go to Tech. You couldn’t get through wtih such a negative attitude.Ah, good competition means you are stacked. We’ll see who is right.

Buzzzed

August 7th, 2010
7:13 pm

Let’s compare apples to apples. Is the depth at the start of this season better than the depth at the start of last season (not 2 seasons ago)?

wiggy

August 7th, 2010
9:21 pm

Worm, I guess no competition at QB at U GAG makes for a better team, right? I think it’s the fact that you only have one QB. By the way what’s a palymaker?

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2010
9:21 pm

There should be a very big impact on special teams, particularly kickoff coverage. I like Scott Blair, but I don’t want to see him making 8 tackles again this year.

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2010
9:29 pm

Losing players early to the NFL is one thing, but losing Joseph Gilbert and Clyde Yandel because they couldn’t get admitted to Georgia Tech’s graduate program in management is another. Both of those players graduated this summer and are enrolled at Georgia State with 2 years of eligibility each. Good catch by the Panthers. Gilbert started 26 of the last 27 games at guard, and Yandel was one of those backups that was presses into action at OT due to injuries last season.

Tech82

August 7th, 2010
10:17 pm

With Nesbitt, Allen and Jones anchoring the skill positions in the backfield, a solid O-line should lead the way to a VERY successful offensive season. Now, the question is whether or not the defense can grasp Groh’s 3-4 scheme quickly enough. Time will tell.

GO JACKETS! THWG!

chad

August 7th, 2010
10:25 pm

Delbert those two were expendable. Gilbert was a penalty waiting to happen and Yandell was still third string OT at best. Like u said they played because they had to now better players have taken their place. Try again delber da.

ACC champs

August 7th, 2010
10:41 pm

I know Delbert thinks he runs this blog and for that matter all the blogs on AJC but you don’t and wish you would go away and go attempt to boss uga around who you cheer for anyway, good riddance

killerj

August 7th, 2010
11:08 pm

He knows he has talent he,s never had before on a stage to the national championship,with his game plan and fan support you could be looking at #5.ROLL WRECK TO HELL WITH RED PANTIES!

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2010
11:16 pm

chad – For one of the smarter guys on the team, Gilbert sure got called for false starts a lot. Barrick went down, and Phil Smith started in his place for 2 or 3 games (he was the guy early in the season that the famous “Are you stupid?” dress down by CPJ was caught on camera after a false start.) Good stern discipline, on the spot. Just like at Quantico; brought back memories. The kid developed over the season. Then he went down for the Georgia game and the bowl. He’s a soph now, and I think he’ll be a pretty good backup this year.

Rodney Dangerfield

August 7th, 2010
11:23 pm

I don’t think Yandall would have played much even if he stayed at Tech and like chad said, Gilbert was a penalty waiting to happen.

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2010
11:26 pm

ACC champs – Say what? Cheer for who? That’s my brother, sister and sister-in-law’s job, along with an uncle, step-brothers and sisters and some old high school friends. When you grow up within 30 miles of Athens, in a time and place where few people even went to college, that’s the way it turns out sometimes. I chose another direction.

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2010
11:36 pm

Rodney – I *think* what happened in Gilbert’s case is that sometime last year he figured out he wasn’t going to make it as a Biology-pre-med major, so he switched to management to get the degree in his 3rd year because of the availability of MBA programs. Tech’s is highly selective, so he picked Georgia State. Darryl Richard played DT in 2008 while getting his graduate degree at Tech, but he had a high GPA.

Boobs

August 7th, 2010
11:54 pm

This blog will be very empty after tech gets blasted the second or third time. I’ll admit I’m not exactly a tech fan but seriously none of this sounds good.

Delbert D.

August 8th, 2010
12:06 am

Tech fans are a pretty hardy bunch. Getting blasted 3 times last year didn’t kill them.

Delbert D.

August 8th, 2010
12:51 am

Breast reduction surgery is available if you need it. However, if it’s a problem in your mind, you need a different specialist.

Jacket 56

August 8th, 2010
12:54 am

bumbler jacket, you’re an idiot! 7-5? If the Jackets lose five games this year, I’ll become a dawg fan! I won’t risk that unless I’ve got a sure bet. Listen, offense will be as good, maybe better than last year. Allen will actually be better than Dwyer at B-back. Dwyer was a great talent but he’s more of a traditionl tailback. Allen’s running style is much more suitible to the full back (B-back) position. Defense is the question. If they improve, even a little bit, we could have back-to-back 10 win seasons. The defense was pretty awful last year. We couldn’t stop anyone. If our defense gets some three and outs and our offense is running the clock and scoring touchdowns, we’re pretty tough to beat. That’s the way Johnson’s offensive game plan works. Guess what, puppy fans? It eguals wins!

Clark Brooks

August 8th, 2010
1:09 am

Based off of early reports out of mutt practice I predict 3 wins for Georgia this year. Dawg friend (yeah yeah but I feel sorry for him) who has access to practice says their QB is absolutely awful and Grantham might be worse. Says Bobo is next to go and may not even survive the season.

gtman363

August 8th, 2010
1:15 am

BUMBLER, your negativity makes me cringe in bitter disgust. Have a better attitude man. Depth in college football is like a gift from the sweet God above.

Gator Bob

August 8th, 2010
1:16 am

Tech sucks and will be lucky to get third in the ACC.

Gator Bob

August 8th, 2010
1:23 am

Don’t be crazy clark brooks, you’re not giving UGA enough credit. They could easily win 5 games this year and beat Vanderbilt. Not a bad season. Prediction: Tech 7-5 blown out by Va Tech and Miami,
UGA 5-7 30 point losses to Florida and Arkansas, South Carolina 5-7 with a beating from the Gators. Florida- National Champs.

12-2

August 8th, 2010
1:56 am

http://www.ajc.com/sports/georgia-tech/acc-tops-sec-in-587133.html

Paul Hewitt has a LOSING RECORD by several games to Georgia, but that is not what the AJ-C chose to report, but that :

“Tech’s Paul Hewitt (926.8) was 11th in the ACC” in Academic Progress Rate.

Of course the APR for Georgia is HIGHER than Georgia tek in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball – all 3 Major Sports.

bitter miami fan

August 8th, 2010
3:27 am

jackets are on our hitt list again yaww, dont suppose we will get lucky this year again do you, P.S. we are sporting the cammo pants again this year, see ya yellow stain

12-2

August 8th, 2010
5:53 am

Miami of Florida, what a JOKE – like the whole ACC

ACC 2009 best Virginia Tech ranked # 10 Final AP Poll

SEC 2009 # 1 and # 3

ACC best 2008 Virginia Tech # 15 Final AP Poll

SEC 2008 # 1 # 6 # 13 UGA # 14

ACC 2007 best Virginia Tech # 9

SEC 2007 # 1 # 2 UGA

ACC 2006 best Weak Forest # 18 Final AP Poll

SEC 2006 # 1 # 3 # 9 # 15

ACC 2005 best # 7 Virginia Tech only ACC top 15

SEC 2005 # 6 # 8 # 10 UGA # 12 # 14

ACC 2004 best # 10 Virginia Tech

SEC 2004 # 2 Auburn soon to be # 1 and # 7 UGA

Over the last half a dozen years :

SEC 4 really 5 with Auburn 2004 of 6 National Championships

ACC 0 national championships and in fact not even close for ACC.

ACC averages outside of the Top 10 even of the Final AP Poll over the last half a dozen years in Final Rankings.

You are NOT relevant ACC.

Shreveport, Louisiana

August 8th, 2010
6:30 am

*————————*
Nesbitt for Heisman
*————————*

TDone

August 8th, 2010
7:19 am

To 12-2, how can something or someone not be relevant, yet you spend so much time researching and analyzing the entity? That does not make sense and thus explains your post, which shows a severe sense of anxiety on your part.

joke?

August 8th, 2010
7:22 am

Yep….hang your hat on the rest of your conference doggies. You have your decent years…but mostly you are a mediocre football program masked by the SEC hype machine. VT -#6, Miami-# 13, GT-#17 UNC-#18….by the way, that is just the coastal. 4 teams in that weak conference (in one division) are ranked higher that your beloved mutts. But please….keep posting, b/c i sure do chuckle at your misguided spewings on the tech blogs.
UGA is the joke. Go play Hawaii and make yourselves feel better

collegeballfan

August 8th, 2010
7:37 am

Can we stop with the cliques please?

Tech could have a better team than last year and not win as many games. The ACC Coastal has 4 members in the Top 20. Just like a few years ago when UGA went in with 4 members of the Top 20 from the SEC East.

And no matter what league or conference you are a member of, playing on the road is playing on the road.

Is that enough cliques?

Flagboy....

August 8th, 2010
8:44 am

Two stars competing against two stars, that’s great depth there. nerds, winning the acc is like being the tallest midget. After week three the short bus conference will be an afterthought in the college football world. Your pencil neck conference will have losses to OSU, LSU, OK, Boise, Navy, BYU, Kansas, Richmond etc. By the end of week three there will only be one team ranked in the polls…. Count on it..

1eyedJack

August 8th, 2010
9:53 am

5 tough road games against Kansas, North Carolina, Clemson, VT, and Georgia. NC, VT, and UGA have open dates before your visit. 8 or 9 wins tops.

ROCK'N-SOCK,N-BLOCK'N

August 8th, 2010
10:00 am

For all those people that think CPJ won only because of Gailey’s recruits are so ignorant. When he took the job the O line was absolutely terrible. A few good players but no depth. Now he has recruited O linemen that fit his system and he has done very well with that. They are much bigger and faster. The Tech offense will be much better this year because of this. Now all Tech needs is for the D to get bigger and stronger on the line. Tech has addressed this as well with some pretty solid recruits the last 2 yrs. Tech’s future looks great. Now lets go out and win the ACC and kick some doggie butt. And by the way doggie fans nice recruiting class thus far. Top 5 in the nation atleast. I know we will never out recruit UGA but if Tech can land some of the top in state recruits you don’t get Tech can compete with any one on the feild. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TECH.

David Green Sells Avon Products

August 8th, 2010
10:47 am

ITS THE NCAA DEATH PENALTY FOR UGAY!!! PUT EM ALL DOWN! BAD DOGS, BAD! LIARS, CHEATS AND THIEVES!

Shane

August 8th, 2010
11:31 am

I know we will never out recruit UGA but if Tech can land some of the top in state recruits you don’t get Tech can compete with any one on the feild. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TECH.

Tech fans are a delusional bunch arent they.

BartBuzz

August 8th, 2010
12:39 pm

If Coach Johnson was asking “What have we gotten ourselves into?” in 2008, his expectations for this year sure raise my optimism for another great season. PJ is one cool customer when it comes to talking football. I can’t wait to see the GT on opening day.

Go Jackets! Oh yeah, THWG too!

T-man

August 8th, 2010
2:13 pm

Forget the the 4 & 5 star recruits Tech doesn’t have (anybody with a shred of college football history knowledge knows Tech has gotten more with less because we coach ‘em up), the two raps against Tech going to the next level and stayng there with any consistency has been team speed and depth. Competiton at almost every position means CPJ recuiting classes are finally coming to fruition and dependency on Gaily’s recruits to learn a system they weren’t recuited for is comng to a end. And with the D playing a 3-4, coached by AG who pefected the scheme, the D won’t miss Burnett and Morgan has much as the “experts” want to believe. Along with a killer offense, any improvements on defense means 9-3 at worse.

If all the dillweeds out there who think this is the beginning of the end for CPJ’s tenure are in for a very big surprise. The machine is just getting started… just wait and see!

Dixie Redcoat Band

August 8th, 2010
2:24 pm

Word on the street…..GT will win the ACC easy this year. {:”}

punch your GF all the Jackets are doing it!

August 8th, 2010
3:14 pm

Jacket 56 welcome to the good side. No more nerd parties in your mom’s basement. Women actually attend UGA and perhaps you will meet one by way of other than your PC.

SSD

August 8th, 2010
3:48 pm

Bad year coming for tehc. ga is going to whup you again. you will loose at lest 4 games. ga beats you bad 38 20

weak sister

August 8th, 2010
4:01 pm

Face it Tech is the weak sister in GA. GSU gets more press than yall do. I dont see yall winning more than 8 games this year.

snapshot

August 8th, 2010
4:04 pm

SSD, you should worry about the leg-humpers season and then in November we will talk.