Burnett may pair with Jefferson at ILB

Brad Jefferson returned from an undisclosed injury to practice in limited fashion Wednesday, which suggests that Georgia Tech’s leading tackler will start Saturday against Virginia. There will nonetheless almost certainly be a change at inside linebacker.

Sophomore Julian Burnett – who began the season off the two-deep depth chart — will become the third player in the first six games to start inside next to Jefferson.

Junior Kyle Jackson started the first two games, redshirt freshman Brandon Watts the next three.

Burnett’s playing time has increased since he began the season on third string, and after replacing Watts early last Saturday at Wake Forest he registered 10 combined tackles and assists to tie outside linebacker Steven Sylvester for the team lead against the Demon Deacons.

That moved him into a tie for eighth on the team with cornerback Mario Butler and end Jason Peter with 20. Jefferson leads with 32, Watts has 18 and Jackson eight.

Burnett does not have the stature of a prototypical 3-4 inside linebacker, which would be about 6-feet-3, 255 pounds. He’s 5-10, 222, but speed, a low center of gravity that helps him get under and off of blocks and other intangibles help make up for the fact he doesn’t block out the sun.

“Julian is a linebacker by nature and he brings a certain tenacity to the game,” said inside linebackers coach Joe Speed. “He always plays at about 100 mph and he doesn’t care what’s in his way or how big it is; he’s going to hit it. He’s got good eyes, good vision, good quickness and his attitude is to compete.”

Burnett also is authoritative when communicating with fellow linebackers and the defensive linemen. That’s important enough to defensive coordinator Al Groh that if a player considered physically superior among inside linebackers is a poor communicator, that player might not start.

“That might be the case because if we don’t have 11 men going in the right direction we’ll fail as a defense,” Speed said. “The main thing is whoever steps up has to be able to communicate and get the other people lined up around them. It needs to be a seamless transition.”

Line play

Will Jackson’s sprained left ankle kept him from practicing Wednesday, and redshirt freshman Jay Finch – who has been the backup center – is likely to start in Jackson’s place at left guard.

Nick McRae started the Kansas game in place of Jackson, and replaced him early at Wake, but struggled.

Coach Paul Johnson said Finch would remain the backup to Sean Bedford at center.

– Matt Winkeljohn, for the AJC

42 comments Add your comment

Buzz29

October 6th, 2010
10:13 pm

B. Watts, J. Burnett, I. Cross and I. Johnson are out next defensive stars. It’ll be exciting to see them progress the next few years.

Buzz29

October 6th, 2010
10:14 pm

Hayseed Dixie

October 6th, 2010
10:19 pm

If Brad Jefferson turns up the intensity and plays like a man possessed, watch out.

Doug, did you ever find out our sack totals from Womack to Groh at this point in the season?

GT BABy

October 6th, 2010
10:42 pm

GT BABy

October 6th, 2010
10:43 pm

IM SORRY PEOPLE BUT JEFFERSON SUCKS! WHY DO YALL THINK HE’S THAT GOOD? Y’ALL DO KNOW HE HAD ZERO TACKLES IN THE WAKE GAME, RIGHT? ZERO! I HOP YOURE READING THIS JEFFERSON BECAUSE YOU SUCK!

Buzz29

October 6th, 2010
11:07 pm

Change your name to GTtittybaby. You suck.

GTFan478

October 6th, 2010
11:33 pm

I agree with Baby, Jefferson is overrated. Now I’m not saying he sucks but other Tech fans hype him way to much. Start Burnett and Watts in the middle. Move Jefferson to outside opisite Sylvester.

GTFan478

October 6th, 2010
11:34 pm

And Buzz29 hit it dead on, Burnett is a rising star.

fan

October 7th, 2010
1:58 am

ben

October 7th, 2010
2:52 am

The truth is, there are no rising stars on this defense. Morgan and Burnett (the Packer) were already playmakers as freshmen. We have no playmakers on defense. Nesbitt and possibly Bostic on offense.

bob horner

October 7th, 2010
5:58 am

so-so players…we have no stars…everything is just so-so. and sometimes it is less than so-so….we need just a couple of fired up studs to juice things up….noone is stepping up, things are just so-so.

GT9

October 7th, 2010
6:46 am

Julian Burnett plays with great intensity. Hopefully, the rest of the team will feed off of that and play better as a unit.

Brad Jefferson had two sacks on NC State’s first possession. On the second sack he caused R. Wilson to fumble and TECH got the ball.

BEAT Virginia!
GO JACKETS!

Munson's Toupee

October 7th, 2010
7:01 am

Watch Johnson,Groh beat Virgina.

Paddy

October 7th, 2010
7:11 am

GTBaBY…….your unkind comments are not very lady-like. Maybe the WNBA is more your speed, if you do not understand much football and athletes?

KG

October 7th, 2010
7:41 am

GT baby, quit being a little bitch…

ThatStingHurts

October 7th, 2010
7:41 am

The D needs to improve, and I don’t believe the changes are random. Somebody playing like his hair’s on fire should help……..

superDawg

October 7th, 2010
7:44 am

Gone fishing back in november.

Sammy Drummer

October 7th, 2010
7:46 am

Had a few Mich Ultras last night with Al- while watching Yanks Twins convinced him to to a 6-4-3 scheme to shut down the run and the pass- it works well in baseball. UVA has no shot.

gt45

October 7th, 2010
8:08 am

Sammy-you still drinking?

Willie Coyote

October 7th, 2010
8:09 am

The defensive line is where we are hurting the most. Where is J. C. Lanier and is there a reason he is not playing? Is there a reason there isn’t more rotation among our linemen? Cross and Barnes are the only ones I see that ever get off blocks but T. J. still seems to take occasional plays off (could be due to the lack of substitution).

What?

October 7th, 2010
8:26 am

There is not much to this. The D-line is under-sized. The LB’s look like they’re running in quick sand, and an athletic secondary suffers due to both.

oh gosh

October 7th, 2010
8:44 am

brad jefferson is no where remotely close to a k fox or d smith…. def overrated looks the part with size and his mouth but def isnt a killer

collegeballfan

October 7th, 2010
9:11 am

Sorry to disappoint some of you guys but…………

Jefferson does not start because fans think he is great. He starts because the defensive staff thinks he is the best linebacker at his position.

But that can change. But it will not change based on GT fan’s opinions.

fire Paul Hewitt

October 7th, 2010
9:12 am

Just keep winning …don’t become a bewitt………

Ray Ray Goff

October 7th, 2010
9:53 am

Work harder to get better.

mic-man

October 7th, 2010
9:54 am

Julian Burnett is a play maker. He was good last year. He’s been very good on the kickoff team this year. I’m glad they finally put him into the rotation at LB. I agree with GT478, play Burnett and Watts at ILB.

GT-Hammer

October 7th, 2010
10:22 am

GTBaby

Get a clue.

NONE of our defensive players are any good, right now.

Worst defense I seen since the Leaky Roof days.

AWFUL! AWFUL! AWFUL!

Anyone see what Baylor and North Dakota State did to Kansas?
Anyone see what Stanford did to WF?

Golden Bear

October 7th, 2010
10:28 am

what Groh needs to do is just go ahead and start playing attaochu more at olb than egbuniwe. numerous times ive noticed egbuniwe over pursues on plays and gets burnt when the ball carrier cuts back. if he would just learn how to stay in his gap we wouldnt be giving up so many rushing yards. thats why by playing attaochu more he will gain valuable experience since he is a freshman more so than egbuniwe who is a senior.

Jesse Stone

October 7th, 2010
11:17 am

I’m glad Julian is getting a shot starting. I was very surprised that he didn’t even make the 2-deep entering the season. I taught Julian in middle school. Very good kid that stays away from trouble. Maybe that’s why UGA didn’t offer him.

Macon Jacket

October 7th, 2010
11:38 am

Are you serious, Doug?

Really?

The defense is an absolute joke. You really think that’s going to make 1 bit of difference in our silly mess?

The only thing I want to read about with regards to defense is recruiting. That’s the only way we’re getting better any time soon.

Doug Roberson

October 7th, 2010
11:48 am

You focus on recruiting and every season is ‘ wait until next year’

North Ave killer Beez

October 7th, 2010
12:59 pm

BRAD JEFFERSON= BEAST

gatechcdv

October 7th, 2010
1:00 pm

Good point Doug. There’s no doubting that Tech’s pretty thin on defense, but let’s not go overboard too quickly. Tech has looked clueless at times on D, but a lot of it can be attributed to youth and inexperience. I’ve posted on several occasions, let’s see the season through before we start making comparisons from year to year. That being said, the fans better see progress this week on both sides of the ball, GT could be looking at another home loss.

black bee

October 7th, 2010
1:41 pm

This guy is a Star, like Rennie Curran, throw out all that prototype BULL! It is who can get it done. Tech needs to give a few other guys on that bench an opportunity!

joeygt

October 7th, 2010
1:50 pm

Coach AL groh

October 7th, 2010
3:59 pm

Enter your comments here

alex

October 7th, 2010
4:17 pm

linebacker has been the key weakness for tech the past two years, there are zero “playmaking” linebackers on this team. It seams decades since we had guys like Kmichael, key fox and philla wheller at the helm,

GT Sambo

October 7th, 2010
4:29 pm

I agree that we have few true playmakers on D, but I think that is changing. It appears that our recruiting has gotten better recently, but only time will tell. We have had some S and CB recruits that look legit in the past couple of years and a couple (Johnson and Sweeting) are already starting to contribute. D-line clearly seems to be a weakness, both currently and from a recruiting standpoint, but the good news is that the DL primary objective is to occupy blockers in the 3-4, so hopefully they can get some big bodies that can leard to do this effectively. The linebacker corp is the one wild card. Many of our recent linebacker recruits look solid, but again only time will tell.

mwh6767

October 7th, 2010
5:50 pm

I won’t say that tech doesn’t have playmakers. I think that they have some its just they are young. Johnson is going to be a good one, Ayers who I think is redshirting is another. Cross is coming along on the d-line but one guy isn’t going to cut it there. Tech’s lines are killing them right now. If they can get the lines straight then the future looks bright. I love Nesbitt and what he has done for the program but he has no clue on how to run a passing game. I’ve seen all of tech’s games in person but the kansas game and on numerous plays he has had people wide open and continues to throw to the covered guy. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Days or V. Lee can do.

Delbert D.

October 7th, 2010
8:41 pm

Until TJ Barnes can fill the need at #1 NT, it is going to be rough going.

Fortunately Virginia has only 2 OL starters over 310. Well, one of their backup OTs is 6-6 350 (true freshman).

Future opponent (Nov. 13) Miami’s little guy on the OL is the center…6-4 300. The beasts are 6-7 318 and 6-7 310 (OTs) and 6-5 330 and 6-4 330 (OGs). Surprisingly, Clemson got penetration on them last week and harried Harris, 13/33 2 INT (but gave up 4 TD passes).

Grow Jackets!

jwill

October 7th, 2010
9:07 pm

tha monsta from maconga jewls bunette westside n get the other maconite from central correy earls in the game too he at least catches the ball