Coming to you from Pinehurst, where the ACC is huddled up for its football kickoff event. The players spoke Sunday, followed by coaches Monday. For Georgia Tech, defensive tackle Logan Walls and A-back Roddy Jones met reporters, taking a lot of questions about the NCAA sanctions and some about the 2011 season.
Before I go further, you might have read my story from Sunday with commissioner John Swofford’s comments about the same. He expressed disappointment with the NCAA trouble that Tech and North Carolina got in, as well as Florida State. Further, Miami was under NCAA investigation last year for texting violations. I haven’t found anything that says the investigation is complete. That’s a full third of the league.
“I think we’re at a point where enough’s enough,” Swofford said.
However, he answered a few questions about Tech’s situation that made it appear that perhaps he’s not entirely on board with the NCAA’s sanctions. For one thing, he noted that Tech’s $100,000 fine was the largest he had ever seen and thought it was big relative to the violation committed by Demaryius Thomas. (Though I think the fine was more about what happened after the violation.)
Second, he described Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson and athletic director Dan Radakovich as “very ethical people who are committed to doing things the right way.” Obviously, he’s not going to say “I think those two guys are thieving bandits,” because, for one thing, that’s redundant. But he didn’t have to say anything at all, either. I’m not sure what it means for the appeal. I would think not much.
Anyway, I’ll share some information disbursed by Walls and leave Jones’ many bon mots for later in the week.
- He and the other defensive linemen have, like A-back Orwin Smith, been doing work with resistance bands. The equipment is a belt around the waist that is connected by bands to the wrists.
“So we do this thing called ‘Fast and violent hands,’ so that really helps with that,” he said.
- As has been said, Walls feels there’s much more accountability this summer than last. Defensively, he, end Jason Peters and linebacker Steven Sylvester have tried to take leadership roles. “Nobody wants it to be like last year anymore,” he said.
- Defensively speaking, the communication process on the field is better than last year, which helps get everyone on the same page. As I noted in the notes, Walls is excited for year two of defensive coordinator Al Groh.
“I don’t know how much detail he wants me to go into, but there’s a lot more,” Walls said. “We’re just scratching the surface, that’s for sure.”
- He likes the secondary, particularly cornerback Louis Young. He said he was a little wary of the group’s youth going into spring, but was convinced by spring practice and the seven-on-seven work this summer.
“I’m really excited to see them play because everybody’s so fast and so athletic,” Walls said.
He’s likewise looking forward to seeing what outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu can do. He reminds Walls of former Tech star Phillip Wheeler (now with the Colts) because of his nose for the ball and his blitzing ability.
“He’s a freak in there,” he said. “He can do stuff that I can only dream about.”
- Walls said he was bothered at first by the 2009 title being stripped, but his mother reminded him that he has his memories, his ring and pictures, none of which they can take away. It’d be kind of funny if the NCAA also made players and their families’ delete pictures off their computers and phones. I think that would be the final straw.
Walls did say he had hoped he could one day bring his children to see the trophy.
The penalty, he said, “will definitely be motivation” for the older players on the team.