Archive for August, 2011

Hope rises for Tech passing game


Hope you read the notes from Saturday’s scrimmage, because I’m not sure I have a whole lot more to offer than what was in the article. A few impressions from the scrimmage.

- The talk about working on the passing game over the summer wasn’t merely talk. Tech’s passing game wasn’t exactly a well-oiled machine, but it certainly appeared effective, particularly given that Stephen Hill and Tyler Melton were on the sideline with injuries.

“The whole passing game, I think it looked a lot better today than it has in a long time,” quarterback Tevin Washington said Saturday.

Washington’s arm strength isn’t the greatest, but he was fairly accurate and hit receivers in different spots on the field.

First, I imagine you’ve heard before that the passing game “is going to be better this year.” So, take it with a grain of salt. But, if the passing game can be better than it has been, it opens the offense a great deal. Center Jay Finch was practically beside himself over the way …

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Updated: Bradley signs with Milwaukee for $2M

Just before the 11:59 p.m. Monday deadline, former Georgia Tech pitcher Jed Bradley signed a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers for an even $2 million. Bradley’s signing was among a flurry of deals made just before the deadline.

According to Baseball America, 13 of the top 15 picks and 22 of the top 33 were unofficially unsigned 10 minutes prior to midnight, including Bradley, who was the No. 15 pick.

Bradley’s adviser did pretty well for him. The player picked ahead of him, Florida high schooler Jose Fernandez, signed with the Florida Marlins for $2 million like Bradley (although Florida has no state income tax, so he may get a little more of the bonus). The player selected No. 16, Stanford pitcher Chris Reed, signed with the Dodgers Friday for a reported $1.589 million signing bonus.

Tech also lost a third signee Monday, shortstop Tyler Gibson of Macon and Stratford Academy. A 15th-round pick, he received a $525,000 signing bonus from the Detroit Tigers, who evidently really …

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Nesbitt, Jefferson scrambling in Buffalo


Happy Friday. Hopefully you saw the post about practice being open Saturday, weather permitting. With no media availability Thursday and Friday, not a lot to report, but here’s an update on two Georgia Tech fan favorites fighting for roster spots with the Buffalo Bills, Joshua Nesbitt and Brad Jefferson.

Brad Jefferson

Jefferson has been working with the third team, he said, picking up the defense from watching the veterans and digging into the playbook. Jefferson believes he can make it.

“I definitely feel like I have a chance,” he said. “Why come if you don’t think so?”

He’s also been getting work on special teams. He says he was surprised by how helpful and friendly older players have been.

“You hear these rumors that, those guys, they won’t help you,” he said. “You come to find out (otherwise). I messed up one play and an older guy (Andra Davis) actually came over and told me what I needed to do and how to do it and if I needed help to ask him.”

Prior to …

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Tech Sat. scrimmage open to public

Georgia Tech’s first scrimmage of the preseason will be open to the public, weather permitting. The Saturday 9:30 a.m. practice will be held at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Fans can enter through Gates 4 and 7. The first 12 practices have been closed to the public, including media.

Coach Paul Johnson said the team planned to run through in excess of 100 plays in the practice scheduled to last about 90 minutes. Johnson is looking forward to the scrimmage as it will give him a more thorough evaluation of his team.

“It’s like, drills are drills,” Johnson said Wednesday. The coach said he had a gauge on returning players, “but with the young guys, I think you’ve really got to wait and watch them play when they’re out there by themselves, and it’s not a drill, see how they compete.”

The team will close the session to the public in the event of inclement weather. Fans will be notified on if that is the case.

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Updated: NCAA rule raises bar for Tech basketball

The possibility of Georgia Tech challenging for an NCAA tournament berth may seem distant right now. The Yellow Jackets have a new coach in Brian Gregory, lost two of their best three players from a team that went 13-18 last season and have a paucity of experienced big men.

The NCAA has now given Tech the challenge of raising its APR score, one that it fully expects to meet. Thursday, it approved new rules that, to compete in any NCAA-sponsored championship or football bowl game, teams must have a multi-year Academic Progress Rate of 930.

Tech’s most recent APR score?


UPDATE, 7:00 p.m.: Unless something goes completely haywire, Tech expects to be safely over the 930 standard by the time the rule takes effect, which is likely at least a year away. Here’s why:

Multi-year APR scores measure four years’ worth of APR numbers. The next APR report to come out will include Tech’s academic performance in the 2010-11 year, for which the school is projecting a perfect score of …

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Tech NFL rookies fighting for jobs


Hopefully you’re interested in hearing about two former Georgia Tech guys trying to make it in the NFL, Anthony Allen and Jerrard Tarrant. We’ll have more in coming days.

Jerrard Tarrant, New York Giants

Tarrant has been working at safety with the second- and third-string defenses and getting help from starting safeties Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle.

The big difference between college and the NFL, he said, is “the playbook, just having to know more. Of course, everybody’s bigger, faster and stronger.”

He’s working on a few special teams units but hasn’t had a chance to take any punt returns. Tarrant has had a few reps against Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

“It went well,” he said. “He’s a great quarterback. I just tried to do what I’m called to do on that play in that situation.”

Tarrant said he got wide eyed on the first day and was mostly trying to not mess up, but has become more comfortable since.

“It’s been a great experience, just being around all the …

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Updated: Tech’s P. Smith suspended for first two games


These are the notes filed for the paper. Paul Johnson was not a happy guy this afternoon. Practice apparently didn’t go so well…

Georgia Tech offensive tackle Phil Smith will be suspended for the first two games of the season for violating team rules, coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday. Johnson would not specify the rules that Smith, a returning starter, broke.

Smith is expected to regain his starting position after serving the suspension. His likely replacement for Tech’s games against Western Carolina Sept. 1 and Middle Tennessee State Sept. 10 is either Catlin Alford or Ray Beno. Alford is a redshirt freshman; Beno played three games as a redshirt freshman last season.

The suspension further hampers the line’s objective to build cohesion after an injury-filled spring practice. Alford and Beno have received many of the first-team practice repetitions in Smith’s place. Further, starting guard Will Jackson missed his second day in a row of practice along with backup …

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Tech asst. talks QBs, B-backs


Hope you’re well. After Tuesday’s practice, a few of us spoke with B-backs/quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon, who was typically helpful in sharing his thoughts about  his guys at both positions, including hot topic/freshman quarterback Vad Lee.

I would normally summarize an interview like this, but I thought you might appreciate the full text of the interview because there’s a lot of interesting stuff in there. Let me know if you like this form or if it’s too much. If you care, the questions are sort of approximated. Bohannon does a far better job answering questions than we do asking them.

Q: How are things going with your group?

A: It’s going good. I tell you, the attitude of the group, the work ethic of the group – the quarterbacks and B-backs – is great right now. They’re all working hard and I think that’s what competition creates.

You’ve got competition at quarterback, you’ve got competition at B-back and they know they can’t take a day off or they’re going to …

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Watts, Perkins stand out in Tech practice


Real quick post-practice update. Georgia Tech went in full pads Tuesday afternoon on a pretty warm day.

- Two players who caught coach Paul Johnson’s attention: Outside linebacker Brandon Watts, who made plays in a one-minute drill at the end of practice, and B-back Charles Perkins, who made a couple good blocks. For Perkins, who is still learning the position as a redshirt freshman, the ability to make blocks and be aware is important to his development and chances to get on the field.

- Offensive linemen Will Jackson sat out of practice and Morgan Bailey left about halfway through with injuries. Johnson was not sure of severity. As a result, true freshman Trey Braun was working with the first string and fellow true freshmen Shaq Mason and Errin Joe are the second-team guards.

- Johnson said of true freshmen wide receivers Corey Dennis, Jeff Greene and Darren Waller, “I’m pretty sure one or more will play. At least be on the depth (chart), be on the travel …

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Tech’s Sanford named ACC legend

Former Georgia Tech All-American Lucius Sanford has been selected to the ACC’s football legends class of 2011. Sanford, who played linebacker for Tech 1974-77, was a first-team member of two All-American teams in 1977 and a second-teamer for the Associated Press team.

Sanford captained the ‘77 team for coach Pepper Rodgers. He was a four-year starter and Tech’s leading tackler at the end of his career with 433 stops, which still ranks fourth all-time. He went on to play 10 NFL seasons, nine with the Buffalo Bills. A graduate of since-closed West Fulton High, Sanford is a member of the Tech and Georgia sports halls of fame. Sanford works at Tech as the director of the Letterwinner’s Club.

Sanford will be honored at the ACC championship game in Charlotte Dec. 3. Past Tech legends are Joe Hamilton, Marco Coleman, George Morris, Pat Swilling, Eddie Lee Ivery and Randy Rhino.

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