Archive for August, 2011

Five players who shined in August

Greetings-

Hope this finds you getting geared up for Thursday evening. I don’t know how much we’ll learn, given that I don’t think Western Carolina will offer much of a challenge to Georgia Tech, but we’ll see.
I was going to write a story for Tuesday’s paper about the five players who made the biggest splash in the preseason or something to that effect. I have six right now that I’ll go over briefly.
Before I get there, if you haven’t read Steve Hummer’s profile of A-back Tony Zenon, you should do that right now. It will be far better reading than anything on this blog.
Second, my colleague Doug Roberson wrote a story about the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game that included a little detail about Georgia Tech I found interesting. Doug wrote that athletic director Dan Radakovich said he would like to play in the game as soon as possible. I know Radakovich has been interested in playing the game in the past (I wrote over the summer that Tech nearly was lined up to play USC in 2013), but …

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Johnson: ‘Sky’s the limit’ for Tech

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Just returned from the kickoff luncheon at the Cobb Galleria. Coach Paul Johnson spoke last, after athletic director Dan Radakovich, former center Sean Bedford and A-back Roddy Jones. Johnson had a few noteworthy things to say:

1. He said he was “embarrassed” by the way the team finished the 2010 season, “and I hope our football team felt that way.” That the team wasn’t thrilled with the season isn’t news, but I don’t think I’ve heard him use that strong a word to describe it.

2. Johnson quote: “I really believe you’re going to come out and see a football team that’s going to be hungry, that’s going to fly around, that’s going to play extremely hard and just be kind of generally [hacked] off. We have a lot of reasons to be in that mode, and if we’re not, I’m going to be really disappointed and I’m going to make sure they get in that mode fairly quickly.”

3. He kicked coaches and players off the field with about five minutes left in Thursday’s scrimmage against the …

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Tech appeal deadline Sept. 6

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No availability Thursday, so not much new, but I’ve got a few random notes.

1. Georgia Tech’s deadline to file its written appeal to the NCAA is Sept. 6, not Saturday, as was previously believed. NCAA rules regarding the timetable for a written appeal state that a school filing has 30 days after it receives acknowledgement from the NCAA infractions appeals committee that it has received the school’s notice of appeal, not 30 days from the day the appeal notice is sent.

The school has retained Birmingham law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White to prepare its appeal. Among the firm’s attorneys is Gene Marsh, who served on the infractions committee from 1993 to 2006 and was the committee chair from 2004-06. He represented former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel when he went before the infractions committee earlier this month.

2. Former Tech cornerback Mario Butler might have the best chance of any Tech NFL rookies to make a roster. ESPN.com reported Tuesday that Butler, an …

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Sewak breaks down line change

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Sorry for a low-presence day on the blog Wednesday. Kind of a lot of things going on right now. Anyway, the following is a Q&A (mostly A) with co-offensive line coach Mike Sewak from Tuesday about the lineup change that would move guard Will Jackson to left tackle in place of Phil Smith (suspended for two games) and insert true freshman Trey Braun (I feel like “true freshman” is becoming part of Braun’s name) at left guard.

Sewak is invariably a helpful interview. I learn something new every time I talk with him.

Q: (I don’t know what the question was, as I jumped in mid-answer to an interview that Kelly Quinlan of Rivals had started. I imagine the question was something like, “Whither Trey Braun?”)

A: Trey, he got a lot of snaps obviously in the spring and now coming back in the fall. Will got himself injured and so Trey got a chance to get in there and we got to see some good things out of him. I thought if we got a chance to get him on the field and Will Jackson …

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Notebook: Georgia Tech’s Wednesday practice

After three weeks of practice, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is ready to play some football. The Yellow Jackets open against Western Carolina next Thursday.

“It seems like it has been forever,” Johnson said about preseason practice. “We didn’t finish [last season] the way we would’ve liked. It just has been a long time [since a game]. Anytime you don’t finish the way you want, you want to go back and play as soon as you can.”

After a promising start to last season, Georgia Tech lost five out of its last six games, including a 14-7 decision to Air Force in the Independence Bowl. “It’s not just the bowl, but the end of the year,” Johnson said. “It didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. It’s not what we’re used to doing.”

The best way to get over a disappointing loss is to play another game. Johnson and his team are ready to play.

“I think so,” Johnson said. “It has been a long time since we played somebody from a different team. We’re tired of playing against each other. I’m …

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Tech men’s basketball schedule released

Nov. 11           FLORIDA A&M         Gwinnett Arena                        8 p.m.

Nov. 14           DELAWARE ST.        Gwinnett Arena                        7 p.m.

Nov. 17           St. Joseph’s                Charleston (S.C.) Classic          8 p.m.

Nov. 18           Seton Hall/VCU       Charleston Classic                    6/8:30 p.m.

Nov. 20           TBA                              Charleston Classic                    TBD

Nov. 23           SIENA                         Gwinnett Arena                        7 p.m.

Nov. 29           NORTHWESTERN    Philips Arena                            7:15 p.m.

Dec. 3              Tulane                          New Orleans                            3 p.m.

Dec. 7              Georgia                        Athens                                      7 p.m.

Dec. 10            Savannah State        Savannah                                  6 p.m.

Dec. 19            ALABAMA A&M       Gwinnett Arena                        7 p.m.

Dec. …

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Sims has inside track on B-back job

Greetings-

I’m posting notes from Tuesday practice. I will have fresh stuff up in the afternoon. Been kind of a nutty week.

Georgia Tech’s season-opening lineup is shaping up. Perhaps the most notable insight that coach Paul Johnson provided Tuesday is that B-back David Sims holds the edge to start less than five months after taking his first snap at that position.

“He worked his tail off,” Johnson said. “He earned it.”

Tech opens the season Sept. 1 against Western Carolina at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Sims played quarterback for his first two seasons but switched to B-back before spring practice, believing it would get him on the field quicker. Sims worked hard over the summer and rose from fourth on the depth chart behind Preston Lyons, Charles Perkins and Richard Watson to the top spot, for now.

“He just runs hard,” Johnson said.

The order, though, is subject to change and the backs have been getting rotated in practice between the starting unit and backups.

“I think the …

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Groh on preseason, linebackers

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A couple other reporters and I spoke with defensive coordinator Al Groh Monday after practice (the day when defensive coaches and players, along with coach Paul Johnson, are available). You can read my awesome (sarcasm) collection of notes from the interviews here. I am working on a story about Tech’s linebackers and asked him a few questions about that.

Q: How did the preseason go for the defense?

A: There’s been a good sense of purpose. Clearly, there’s something that we want to prove and that’s been pretty consistent throughout. It’ll take a long process to do that. It’s a process to prove yourself. You don’t do it in training camp, you don’t do it the first week you don’t do it the first quarter of the season. it takes 12 weeks to prove yourself. We’re still obviously in the early part of the process.

Two cents: Fair answer. Al Groh doesn’t seem like the type to go waving the pom-poms.

Q: Did anyone surprise you with how much he improved or did it pan out as …

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Updates on Tech NFL rookies

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I have some updates on Georgia Tech rookies in the NFL. Please share with your friends, especially those who enjoy reading about Georgia Tech rookies in the NFL.

Baltimore rookie running back Anthony Allen gained 34 yards on five carries with a touchdown in the Ravens’ 34-13 win over Kansas City. All of the carries were in the Ravens’ final two possessions. Interestingly, Baltimore got the ball back on an interception with less than 1:30 to play and leading 24-13. From the Kansas City 41-yard line, the Ravens completed a 38-yard pass, and then, two timeouts and three plays later, Allen banged it from the 1-yard line with eight seconds left. Coach John Harbaugh said he wasn’t trying to run up the score but just wanted to give players like Allen a chance to show what they can do.

A Baltimore Sun blog says he needs to do a better job of holding onto the ball, but that he’d be a worthy practice squad addition.

In the same game, former Tech running back Mike Cox ran four …

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From the scrimmage: Washington, Cross, Days

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Preseason camp is finished and we’re less than two weeks from the first game of the season. Not much doing, but I had some leftover stuff from the scrimmage that didn’t make it into the notes.

1. Quarterback Tevin Washington made one of the highlight plays from Saturday morning, faking an option pitch to A-back Embry Peeples to create an open lane and score on a 36-yard touchdown run. To me, it shows a comfort with the option and that perhaps the speed of the game is slowing down for him.

Washington used an option term I was unaware of: “slow playing.” It refers to a linebacker assigned to the quarterback who overplays the pitch. In such a situation, a fake pitch is an ideal move. Washington said the defense had been slow playing the offense a lot.

“They’re trying to really play the pitch, but they’re trying to string it out, (and) give the inside linebacker time to run and make the play,” Washington said.

(A-back Tony Zenon used another term: “Pitch relationship,” …

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