Archive for June, 2011

Open competition in Tech secondary


Have a couple leftover bits from the Fred Holton story I wrote that ran in Monday’s paper. Aside from speaking with them about Holton, I asked secondary coach Charles Kelly a little about the position battles at the cornerback and safety spots (no starters return) and strength coach Neal Peduzzi about the work being put in by players this summer.

First, Kelly. As I think I mentioned in the story, Rashaad Reid and Isaiah Johnson finished spring ball as the starters with Holton just behind. Jemea Thomas is in the mix as well. Thomas will also get a look at cornerback.
As for Holton’s chances, “I think a lot of it depends on how much carryover he has from the spring,” Kelly said. “If you play physical like that, you’ll find somewhere for guys like that to play.”
Kelly said that the competition for the cornerback jobs is “going to be pretty open.” As you likely know, there’s some talent but also inexperience. Among the candidates — Rod Sweeting, Louis Young and Michael …

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Tech golf adds transfer

Georgia Tech golf coach Bruce Heppler has supplemented his roster with a transfer. Drew Czuchry will be eligible to play in the fall for Tech after transferring from Akron.

Czuchry appears capable of helping out the team, which lost three key members to graduation. The Yellow Jackets won their third consecutive ACC championship and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country. Czuchry was the highest-ranked player from Georgia in the 2010 class by the American Junior Golf Association and 26th in the country. Czuchry will have three years of eligibility remaining.

I hadn’t realized until today (Wednesday) that an athlete could transfer and play immediately. I knew of one exception, that if an athlete graduates with eligibility remaining, he can transfer to another school to pursue a graduate degree and play right away (for example, Russell Wilson of N.C. State/Wisconsin and Greg Paulus of Duke/Syracuse).

I can think of another exception regarding family illness. You may …

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More from Orwin Smith on Chris Jackson, A-backs


The second part of my interview with A-back Orwin Smith includes his observations of wide receiver Chris Jackson, who left the team in November, and the A-backs, as well as his explanation of how he found a workout device on Youtube.

1. You likely know that Jackson committed to Georgia Tech out of Henry County High School in 2007, but then de-committed and signed with Alabama when Tech fired Chan Gailey and hired Paul Johnson. However, he transferred to Tech after one season at Alabama, redshirted in 2009, but then injured his knee in the offseason and missed 2010 spring practice. He left the team last fall after violating a team rule.
However, Johnson has allowed him to return to the team in the fall if he meets certain conditions, including getting his GPA to 2.0 or above. Jackson has been working out with the team, and Smith has noticed a change.
“You can see him going hard,” Smith said. “Some guys come in with that, ‘I’m the guy’ mentality. I can see him being …

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Orwin Smith on Vad Lee, Tech’s improved attitude


Rod Mackenzie of and I spoke with Georgia Tech A-back Orwin Smith Tuesday morning at the Edge Athletic Center. Smith shared strong insights and opinions on the team’s offseason work, including what I imagine many of you are dying for, news about incoming freshman quarterback Vad Lee. I’ll share some here and more Wednesday.

1. The attitude is much better. It’s been written about before that the Jackets were complacent last year, but Smith testified further.
“Last year, I think the attitude wasn’t great at all,” he said. “Everyone seemed to be about themselves. It takes a team to win.”
The twice-weekly 7-on-7 passing drills that the team is doing are an example.
“Last year, that summer was just so empty,” he said. “We didn’t do anything.”
Players have been getting together more away from football activities, like going out to eat or watching the NBA finals together. Smith said quarterback Tevin Washington and safety Rashaad Reid have organized a lot of …

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More from Holton


Hope you had a good weekend. I have some stuff left over from the story I wrote for Monday’s paper about Georgia Tech safety Fred Holton, a hard-working guy who will make a run at one of the starting safety jobs.

1) Holton managed to get a spot on special teams last year as a true freshman despite arriving on campus in August. The scholarship normally freshmen arrive in the summer – this year’s class arrived last week – enough time to take part in the offseason strength and conditioning program and get adjusted to college. For personal reasons, Holton had to stay behind in Thomasville and as a result was behind. Still, Holton was on the field for Tech’s opener against South Carolina State. To me, it says a good about his instincts for the game, as well as his physical maturity.
“I just came in, I did what I was asked, I worked hard,” Holton said. “I just went along and eventually it worked out.”
Said secondary coach Charles Kelly, “Anytime you’re that physical and …

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Knicks take Tech’s Shumpert at No. 17

Iman Shumpert was as nervous as he ever gets.

“I don’t get nervous,” he said late Thursday night from his home in Oak Park, Ill. “For me to be nervous means something big is about to happen.”

That something happened when NBA commissioner David Stern strode to the podium of the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., carrying a card with the former Georgia Tech guard’s name on it.

“I’ll just remember him looking down and not really knowing how to pronounce my name and him finally figuring it out, saying my name,” Shumpert said. “I heard my first name and I couldn’t hear anything else after that. I just remember everyone jumping up and down and my mother grabbing me. It was a surreal feeling.”

Shumpert went to bed, briefly, as the newest New York Knick, chosen by the NBA flagship team with the 17th pick of Thursday’s NBA draft. He had a 4:45 a.m. Friday morning wakeup to catch a 7:30 a.m. flight to New York to meet with his employers.

“It’s a dream come true,” Shumpert said. “I can’t …

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Radakovich Q&A, part II


Hope you’re well. Forthwith, more questions that either were omitted or abridged from an interview I did with Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich a couple weeks ago, linked here. Most of these questions are about football ticket sales.

Q: For a family of four to buy single-game tickets to one of the ACC games, it would cost minimum $200. Does that seem like a reasonable cost?

A: I think we look at our peers and we’re not out of line with our peers. To run an athletic program where you’re a tub on your own bottom, that you need to generate the revenue to create everything here, those seven Satudays this year, or six in previous years, are really the main economic engines that we have to run the entire program.

We have other events that are free or nearly free – softball, volleyball, baseball, women’s basketball. We have a lot of really good team events that are here on campus that people can come and enjoy for a greatly reduced price. Football is the one that we need to …

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Tech freshman class arrives Wednesday

The newest batch of Georgia Tech football players is arriving. After one final evening at home Tuesday, incoming freshman quarterback Vad Lee planned to decamp from his Durham, N.C., home around midnight Wednesday to begin the trek down I-85 to Atlanta.
“I probably won’t be able to sleep,” said Lee, who was to make the drive with his parents. “It’ll probably be emotional and exciting and everything else.”
The entire class is expected to report to Tech by 8 a.m. Wednesday, excluding early enrollee Trey Braun, an offensive tackle. They’ll be fitted for equipment and move into their dorms Wednesday and go through orientation Thursday and Friday. The second session of summer classes begins Monday. Lee has been keeping in touch with many members of the 23-member 2011 signing class.
“Now we finally get to spend time with each other,” Lee said. “It’s going to be an awesome experience.”
He has also been communicating with current players such as offensive lineman Will Jackson, wide …

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Connecticut, Georgetown interested in Oliver

Former Georgia Tech basketball player Brian Oliver has drawn favorable attention since his decision last week to transfer. Seton Hall, Penn State, Missouri, LaSalle and Delaware have contacted Oliver’s family to open recruitment, Oliver’s mother Zena said Tuesday. Connecticut, Georgetown, St. John’s and Syracuse have also indicated interest. She said all of those schools except for St. John’s and Missouri recruited Oliver out of high school.

“Right now, we have no timeline,” Zena Oliver said. “His main thing, I told him, is just finish up the summer session and finish the class strong, and we’ll go from there.”

Oliver put in transfer papers last week following his second season at Tech. Oliver said that he wanted to be closer to the family’s home in Delaware and play on a team that he felt was a better fit for him. Oliver’s father Robert has had health issues.

“I think he’s going to get closer to home,” Zena Oliver said.

Oliver averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 22 games …

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Radakovich Q&A, part I


We ran a Q&A with athletic director Dan Radakovich last week, linked here. There were a few things he talked about that I didn’t include for space reasons that I didn’t include that I thought were interesting, including answers to questions that were abbreviated or omitted entirely, including positives/negatives of the year, the impact of the new ESPN contract, the scheduling of games at Philips and Gwinnett arenas, football ticket sales and the issue of paying scholarship athletes stipends.
I’ll post half Tuesday and the rest Wednesday, along with some comments.

Q: What was the biggest positive development and biggest disappointment of the year?
A: The biggest positive development has been that philanthropy, as it relates to the building of buildings, continues to be very strong. A year ago, while we were hoping that we would be able to build an indoor practice facility, it was the generosity of John and Mary Brock that allowed it to really get on the fast track. …

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