Johnson wants special teams improvement


These are the notes that have been posted online and that will go in Tuesday’s paper. Thanks for reading.

Georgia Tech’s special teams didn’t look much better to coach Paul Johnson after reviewing the game on video.

“I think you can always work on special teams,” Johnson said after Monday’s practice. “When you look at the tape, there’s some areas we’ve got to correct.”

Chief among Johnson’s concerns was the field-goal unit. In last Thursday’s season opener, Western Carolina blocked kicker Justin Moore’s 45-yard attempt and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first half. The Yellow Jackets had not had a field goal blocked since the 2007 opener, a string of 82 consecutive field-goal tries without a block. Johnson said the kick was low, but the protection at the line also needed to be better.

Johnson said the kickoff unit was “like everybody else – not spectacular, but OK.” He said everything on the unit’s play needs to improve, including location of the kickoffs. Johnson said Moore sent a ball to the right hash mark when it was supposed to go deep left.

Injury report

Johnson said no players were injured in Thursday’s game. A-back Marcus Wright, who did not play Thursday, practiced Monday and wore a gold jersey, as did A-back Roddy Jones, meaning they practiced but did not take part in contact drills.

Johnson said he hopes that backup guard J.C. Lanier, who has been out since the first few days of preseason camp with a stress fracture, will return next week. A-back B.J. Bostic, who wore a cast covering his forearm and hand at Thursday’s game, continues to be out. Johnson did not provide a timeline for his return. Johnson estimated four weeks on Aug. 20.

Braun possible redshirt

True freshman guard Trey Braun did not play in Thursday’s game after being considered a possible starter prior to the game. Fellow true freshman guard Shaquille Mason, who was challenging Braun’s status as the No. 3 guard behind Will Jackson and Omoregie Uzzi, did play.

“He may have a redshirt year,” Johnson said of Braun. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Johnson said that no backup lineman stood out, adding that “Morgan Bailey did some OK things.” Bailey is a redshirt freshman who has fought injuries since last year.

“Hopefully he can stay out there,” Johnson said.

Players of the week

Coaches picked wide receiver Stephen Hill and defensive tackle Logan Walls as players of the game. Hill caught four passes for 181 yards, with scoring plays of 82 and 77 yards. Hill’s 181 yards was the 15th highest in school history. Previously, the highest yardage total on four catches was 129 yards.

Walls made seven tackles, second most on the team, and stymied Western Carolina’s running game. The Catamounts averaged 2.6 yards per carry. Coaches did not name a special teams player of the game.

On the line

Defensive line coach Andy McCollum on the play of defensive ends Izaan Cross and Jason Peters:

They “still have to continue to have better pad level, but for the first game, they handled the line of scrimmage. That’s what you want them to do.”

Cross’ take of the line’s play:

“We’d like to have maybe gotten to the quarterback more, but we feel like we played the run very well, defeated blocks. It was a decent first game for us this year.”

Scouting report

Johnson’s assessment of Middle Tennessee State, which lost 27-24 at Purdue Saturday:

“I think they’re athletic. They’ve got some quality receivers. Their quarterback (Logan Kilgore) played well for the first game and defensively, they played really well in that game.”

Peerless air game

Going into Monday’s Maryland-Miami game, Tech led FBS (formerly Division I-A) after one game in passing efficiency with a 322.3 rating. Tech was 113th last year out of 120 teams with a 102.0 rating. The Jackets were 12th in 2009.

“That’d be a good stat at the end [of the season],” Johnson said.

Thanks for reading. Please follow on Facebook and Twitter!

By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat

35 comments Add your comment


September 5th, 2011
9:32 pm

old tech grad

September 5th, 2011
9:33 pm

Happy win hope they can continue at a Middle Tenn.

Go Jackets!


September 5th, 2011
9:34 pm

Ken: You mean “contact drills”, not non-contact drills

old tech grad

September 5th, 2011
9:35 pm

Cripes I thought I was first.


fan of shorter passes

September 5th, 2011
9:35 pm


September 5th, 2011
9:37 pm

I want randy edsall.Paul johnson can not recruit or he is bringing this program up


September 5th, 2011
9:42 pm

I’m watching the Maryland-Miami game (it’s now halftime) and Tech shouldn’t have to worry about either one of these two teams. Unless they dramatically improve in the future, we should beat both of them handily.

230gr Full Metal Jacket

September 5th, 2011
9:45 pm

That’s what I was thinking too. Neither one is looking very impressive so far.

To the point

September 5th, 2011
9:56 pm

12-15 pass completions a game would be huge. A much improved defense would be even better!

Go Jackets!!!


September 5th, 2011
9:59 pm

If we can’t get pressure on w carolina, how will we against mts kansas and the rest of the acc. Sad.


September 5th, 2011
10:00 pm

I think that if we can just keep the passing attack going that its going to be a great year on the flats!!!

Alum 1500 miles away

September 5th, 2011
10:01 pm

Thanks for keeping us posted, Ken. Glad to hear there were no serious injuries from the game.

Tech Old Timer

September 5th, 2011
10:08 pm

Ken – Just watching the Miami / Maryland game. Tech better be bringing their “A” game in all phases – not just on Special teams – by the time these two teams come up on the schedule. On Saturday, Tech looked like they have a better team than last year – but that judgement is a little hard to make given the level of competition. However, from what I’ve seen of the other teams on Tech’s schedule – they look like they’ve all made progress as well. It should be a very interesting and exciting year if Tech can shake the mistakes of the first game – in ALL phases – and as Randy Edsell said about his team – “Play every down like it was going to be your last play ever”.

Casual observer

September 5th, 2011
10:13 pm

Appears that the usual moronic remarks from dawg fans are way down (for some reason).


September 5th, 2011
10:13 pm

Great game for the defense….a very much needed improvement overy last year. Our DB’s hit hard and make the WR’s think twice about catching a ball over the middle…..Could this be the modern day “Black Watch” defense??


September 5th, 2011
10:26 pm

Great game by the kids. Loved every second of it, especially the air attack and the outstanding play on defense. Just a tune-up, gets a little tougher this week. They just need to continue working hard.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 5th, 2011
10:30 pm

We might not have gotten the QB much, but we did pressure him some, and that’s more than we ever did last year. I think the D is on its way.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 5th, 2011
10:31 pm

Maryland DOES have a pretty good QB. He’s definitely no slouch

Rodney Dangerfield

September 5th, 2011
10:41 pm

I highly doubt Groh really wanted to show any of his blitz packages against Western Carolina.

Rodney Dangerfield

September 5th, 2011
10:42 pm

Maryland’s QB makes bad decisions, still young.

Fountain of Wisdom

September 5th, 2011
10:47 pm

I’ve been watching the Miami-Maryland game too, and I’m VERY worried about both of them. Danny O’Brien is an excellent passer for Maryland. Tech is supposed to beat them this year, but unless our pass rush improves, O’Brien will beat us.

Then there’s Miami. Remember that they’re playing without Jacory Harris
tonight. He’s better than O’Brien. I’m not relaxed about either of these
Tech games for later in the season.


September 5th, 2011
11:06 pm

Although Maryland moves the ball well within the twenties, it can’t score touchdowns inside the red zone, only field goals. O’Brien will not beat us.
We should be able to stop the Miami rushing game. If Jacory returns for Miami full strength when they play us, we may have problems if we played them right now, but I’m looking for improvements in our pass rush which would negate that threat as well.
I’m not worried about either team at this time.

Ken Sugiura

September 5th, 2011
11:08 pm

Thanks, Alabama.
CPJ expressed concern about pass rush thursday, not necessarily on blitzes but when they rushed three linemen straight up.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 5th, 2011
11:23 pm

I think one of the announcers said before the game, that Harris’s replacement tonight was giving Harris a fight for the starting job anyway. So we might possibly have seen the QB we will face in November anyway.


September 5th, 2011
11:25 pm

Ill kiss everybody on heres butt if that stat holds for the year. i give the ajc permission to hold the butt kissing festivities

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

September 6th, 2011
5:10 am

One other impressive stat shows up at the NCAA web site. Tech leads the nation in average yards per offensive play. In fact, after the first game, we’re the only team in the country that’s averaging more than TEN YARDS PER PLAY.


September 6th, 2011
6:59 am

Ken, do know of anything that could cause Trey Braun to go from running with the first team at LG the week before the game to now being discussed as a possible redshirt?? Did he get hurt? Has Shaq turned it up that much to pass him?


September 6th, 2011
7:24 am

Like to read some more about T. Washington @ QB. Thought he had a really good 1st game directing the offense. Hope he can keep this up as GT’s competition gets stronger.


September 6th, 2011
7:36 am

The real test will start in 2 weeks. The first two games are just warm ups. Hope Johnson gets the kinks out, if not it will be a long season. Also Big Al better get his defense corrected or he is out the door…….

UGA = Yawn

September 6th, 2011
8:02 am

I noticed the very 1st PAT kick was low and said if he continues to kick them that low – they will be blocked. Why is it, me in the stands can notice this right after one attempt but none of our 20 coaches can!!??

Rodney Dangerfield

September 6th, 2011
9:00 am

Based on past performances, any QB that can pass decently seems to have a career game against the Jackets so I wouldn’t underestimate any Tech opponent until we see this defense against a good team.


September 6th, 2011
9:04 am

Anyone who watched Miami/Maryland last night and came away as ‘not worried’ about playing these two teams is dilusional. Maryland will dink and dunk us to death with no pass rush and LB’s who have not proven capable of being able to provide decent coverage. Miami – #6 is going to have a big day running the ball and IMO Morris is better than Jacory Harris.

Can we win these games, yes. Will we, I doubt it. This week, MTSU is going to dink and dunk us to death as well but our O will carry the day for a much closer win than I would have expected going into the season.

Freddy Blassie

September 6th, 2011
9:09 am

The real test is gonna be in Murfreesboro Saturday. These guys are not pushovers. Look at the highlights against Purdue.

Ramblin Man

September 6th, 2011
9:31 am

I was thinking the same thing. Sure both teams made some mistakes, but both looked good first game out under new coaching staffs. Hopefully the U can make as many mental mistakes when they play GT though.

No way

September 6th, 2011
11:03 am

I agree that those kicks are wayyyy too low. Hopefully Moore will sort that out soon.