Johnson will work more with special teams

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said he’s not a list-maker, but he rattled off several areas he hopes his football team improves during spring practice, which started on Monday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

  • Ball-security on offense: The team lost 20 fumbles during last season’s 6-7 campaign.
  • Return game in special teams: The team averaged 5.8 yards per punt return and 19.9 yards per kick return, both were 97th out of the NCAA’s 120 FBS (formerly Division I-A) teams.
  • Tackle better and play better on defense: The team allowed 25.2 points and 371.6 yards per game, averages too similar to 2009.
  • Throw the ball more efficiently: Tech’s quarterbacks completed 38.1 percent of their passes for 83.9 yards per game.

“There are lots of areas we can improve in,” he said.

But Johnson was upbeat and excited to get to work during a pre-practice media session. He said the team seems to have a positive attitude about the work needed to improve.

“Coming off last season certainly was a disappointment, not only to fans and people around the program but to us as well,” Johnson said. “But I’m encouraged by the way guys approached everything in the offseason.”

To help the players better understand what is expected of them and to increase accountability, Johnson said he’s been holding weekly leadership meetings on Tuesdays. He said they’ve held them in the past, but during this offseason he decided to hold them more frequently.

“I want our guys to understand exactly what I expect out of them,” he said. “It’s not debatable. It’s what I think is good. Everybody has a different set of expectations and what’s acceptable. I want everybody to be on the same page with what is acceptable.”

To that end, Johnson said he will be more involved in the special teams, whether it’s sitting in on more of the meetings or helping design the schemes. Special teams, particularly the return games, were a problem throughout the season. For example, two muffed punts enabled Air Force to defeat the Yellow Jackets in the Independence Bowl, 14-7.

Position changes

Johnson announced a few position changes as well as some clarifications:

J.C. Lanier, formerly on the defensive line, will work out at center and guard on the offensive line. If he turns out to be one of the five best offensive linemen, he will be put somewhere, Johnson said.

Daniel Drummond will work out at inside linebacker. He was a B-back.

Brandon Watts is moving from inside linebacker to outside linebacker.

David Sims will work out some at quarterback but will spend the first two weeks at B-back. Johnson said Sims was recruited as a running back by many colleges.

Ray Beno will work out at tackle. He played guard and center last season.

Injuries

Wide receiver Jeremy Moore will return to practice after missing last season with a knee injury. Defensive linemen Ben Keith (undisclosed) and Denzel McCoy (undisclosed) will sit out the spring. McCoy is scheduled to be re-examined in June.

Offensive lineman Morgan Bailey has a sprained ankle that has made his status “day to day.” Otherwise, Johnson said the team is healthy.

Schedule

The team will work at Bobby Dodd Stadium while construction on the indoor practice facility continues. Johnson said the team will work out in shorts the first couple of practices.

The tentative practice schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

28 comments Add your comment

Dog Kicker

March 28th, 2011
4:00 pm

Dog Kicker

March 28th, 2011
4:01 pm

I would like to see less dropped balls in the passing game!!

Ugahater715

March 28th, 2011
4:12 pm

Looking forward to a new “inspired” group of younger players looking to prove something like the 2008 team did.

Who cares

March 28th, 2011
4:13 pm

We need to work on the WRs confidence in catching the ball and special teams coverage. We can’t keep dropping balls when we are wide open, and that return cost us a shot against VT.

PooperScooper

March 28th, 2011
4:33 pm

I would like for Doug to teach me how to Dougie.

dawgfan

March 28th, 2011
4:35 pm

Leadership meetings? Oh that’s rich. One of his players should ask him to show a little LEADERSHIP and revamp a one dimensional offense that routinely stalls late in close games. How do you think that would go over? Leadership my azz.

Thanks.

ManUp...

March 28th, 2011
4:36 pm

I am so ready for a change of attitude on this team. APRIL 23rd is our chance to see it for the first time. I’ve been sayin’ it and I’ll keep preachin’ the same thing: The fans are hungry, the team is hungry, and that gives this team the chance to turn things around. A little bit of fire could’ve made the difference in a few games last year, and more tangible things like better Sp Teams, more efficient passing and catching, and deeper schemes and personnel on Defense will surely turn the tide on The Flats. I will be at every game!

Go Jackets!

juvenal

March 28th, 2011
4:42 pm

Doug, this baseball team is really coming on-rare to sweep the u at their place……

Please

March 28th, 2011
4:42 pm

dawgfan, why waste time on this page with you’re comments? Get lost loser.

ManUp...

March 28th, 2011
4:48 pm

dawgfan, thank you for your concern, ma’am, but we Tech fans will handle the consensus opinion about changes to this team. No need to exert yourself on our behalf. A pretty little thing like yourself might accidentally be overworkd in this Springtime heat by caring so deeply about the details of both of the in-state teams. Take the path of least resistance – it flows right through Athens.

Go Jackets, and um….something about a Word which is known to be Good.

JOJO

March 28th, 2011
5:01 pm

Johnson needs to work on his recuiting. While he’s doing that he can think about his triple option. Everyone has learned how to defended his offense, and Tech does not have the proper personel. He is starting to remind me of Hewitt.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 28th, 2011
5:06 pm

JOJO, WHO has learned how to defend it? THUGA? VT? not in 3 tries, despite only one win against each for us. Hmm, can’t think of a single team who has figured it out. When it has not worked, it has been because of sloppy execution, fumbles, and dropped passes. And of course, no defense on our part has not made any win easy to come by. Actually, the fact that we have won as many as we have while fielding such a terrible defense seems proof enough of how good the offense is.

GT45

March 28th, 2011
5:19 pm

I sense a passion that was there in year 1! Good to see!

Techman78

March 28th, 2011
5:28 pm

Really? EVERYONE has learned how to defend the triple option? Name someone in the ACC that has learned to defend it…First team you will say is Miami because they have beat us 2 consecutive seasons…WRONG, even in a loss with a new starting QB we still had over 400 yards of offense. Next you will say Clemson because they stuffed us this past season…still had over 200 yards rushing even when we werent clicking offensively. Next you say VT…LOL the only way they had any chance to stop us is when Nesbitt broke his arm. So, JOJO, what team has learned to stop it??? Not UNC, Wake, Duke, FSU or UVA. Get your facts straight. If you dont like the triple option that is your opinion, but to say that everyone has figured it out is stupid!

J.P.

March 28th, 2011
5:30 pm

I’m just ready to see some football. Sept. 1st can’t come soon enough!

dawgfan

March 28th, 2011
5:42 pm

I guess Techman78 didn’t get the memo that there’s more to the game than racking up a bunch of rushing yards. You would think a 6-7 season would have taught him something but I guess not. Tell me Techman78, what good did that great rushing attack do you at the end of last year’s Georgia game? That is but one example of Johnson’s absolute incompetence when it comes to manageing close games. The guy has no idea what he’s doing in those situations. Everybody sees it except Tech fans. Thank God.

ManUp...

March 28th, 2011
5:43 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, JOJO has learned how to “defended” our option-based spread. He will now proceed to tell all of our opponents for this upcoming season. Therefore, I propose that we…oh yeah, do NOTHING, because even if you learn to defend “the triple option” (which is ONE set of plays we run out our flexbone spread base) we would have your defense aligned perfectly for the next Bay Bay Thomas to catch a 60 yarder into your endzone. Oh, and you’re forgetting about the ability to add the little wrinkle that the CPJ flexbone formation can also run all the iso-plays from the “I-formation” and then since everything’s in motion you can add run’n’shoot, slant routs, toss-sweeps, etc. And our players probably also know how to line up in pistol or shotgun…and run ALL the same plays (it’s called a SkiGun, and it’s just as deceptive). Yeah I’m pretty sure you’re right and at some point in history a defense was able to defend every player on a well-executed triple option play….but then a flag was thrown for the defense having 12 players on the field.

Go Jackets!

ManUp...

March 28th, 2011
5:49 pm

daawgfan, I know all this readin’ is tough for a lady your age, but what the man was responding to was the insinuation that our offense is the problem. You see, this past season our team (the one you don’t root for but not-so-secretly follow every move of) had terribly unreliable defense and special teams. It meant the coach had to do things like go for the 4th down conversion with his offense when coaches of balanced teams would normally punt. But most importantly, every coach looks bad when his players execute a play perfectly and then simply drop the football when they are steps away from the endzone. It makes him look like…well….like you look right now I guess, when his players do that repeatedly in a game they’re rushing up and down the field in. Please, do take a seat before you get heat sroke, ma’am. Here take mine. I feel like doing a little running along a row of boxwood hedges anyway…

Go Jackets!

Supersize that order, mutt

March 28th, 2011
5:57 pm

dawgfan, the comment was that teams had figured out our offense and knew how to stop it. THUGA sure didn’t stop it. Yes, the mutts won, but it sure as hell wasn’t because your overpaid no-count DC had figured it out; it was because we couldn’t hold on to a pitchout and couldn’t stop you on defense.

Alabama Jack

March 28th, 2011
6:10 pm

Hey dawgfan, shove it up your azz…………

Ramblin Man

March 28th, 2011
6:17 pm

Dawgfan UGA went 6-7 so I guess we can all claim that UGAs offense has been figured out as well. You seriously need to get a life. I have never seen somebody spend so much time obsessing over a team they claim to hate. By the way because of the D most of GTs games have been close and down to the wire so I think CPJ knows how to win the close ones.

Can somebody please tell me what is up with McCoy. He sat out last year with an injury that was reported to not be that serious and now he misses spring and will be evaluated in June. This guy was suppose to be a great get for the d-line and I am wondering if we will ever see him on the field.

ManUp...

March 28th, 2011
6:22 pm

Ramblin Man, I think we’ve seen this before. It’s unfortunate, but you know the problem with all McCoy’s is there are a lot of counterfeits. It’s a rare happening, I hear, to find the real one. Sorry…couldn’t resist.

Jimmy

March 28th, 2011
9:34 pm

ManUp,

Who are you kidding? Which offense have you been watching lately? You honestly think that Tech can run ANY type of Run n shoot?? That’s high larious! Yeah yeah, I know CPJ ran that at Hawaii back in the day, but don’t you think in order for Tech to add any type of legit passing game to their offense they need QBs who can throw and WRs who can catch??

Isn’t that what coaching in college ball is, IE, recruiting athletes who can do those things, and then actually teaching them how to do it??

I think CPJ has failed on both fronts thus far.

George Stein

March 28th, 2011
9:59 pm

You are right, dawgfan, that rushing yards alone do not win games. Points (and reducing opponent’s points) do.

I would say the rushing yards are similar to having a high team OPS in baseball. It won’t guarantee a win every game or a World Series, but over the long term, it is a good predictor of success.

If you want to trash Tech, fine. I get that. But I don’t understand the fixation with the offense. Lord knows UGA hasn’t stopped Tech in three tries. It’s the defense I’d target if I were a UGA fan as Tech has shown no propensity for shutting UGA down the past three years either.

George Stein

March 28th, 2011
10:05 pm

By the way, dawgfan, Johnson is 12-5 in games with a final point differential of seven points or less. But don’t let facts get in your way.

buzzwax

March 29th, 2011
12:31 am

Yes, all of that SEC speed and top 10 recruiting classes gave up OVER 500 yards to our second string QB and this ‘high school’ offense…..GT LOST because of TURNOVERS and POOR defense…..but don’t let facts get in your way…..

GT BS04

March 29th, 2011
9:07 am

Unfortunately McCoy was diagnosed with a condition that may keep him from ever stepping foot on the field. His family and the coaches are hoping that is not the case, but the coaches at GT are classy enough to not pull the scholly and the first sign of trouble.

DLine?

March 30th, 2011
3:50 am

Is anyone else concerned that we do not have anyone on the roster that is big enough to stop the run in a 3-4 defense? We are playing against offensive lines with 300lb+ guys, and we expect to be able to run the 3-4 with the size that we have across the front on the DLine? Am I reading the roster wrong, or am I the only one that is noticing this? I agree that you cannot expect to routinely win games, much less championships, with a defense that gives up 25 points a game. I am not disputing that we have done it in the past, but that is hardly a winning strategy as far as I can see. Just wondering if I am missing something that people out there have already thought through.