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.
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.”
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.
By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat