Have some random stuff collected from the week in advance of Saturday’s Middle Tennessee State game. Hopefully you find it of interest.
1. Some thoughts from MTSU offensive coordinator Willie Simmons:
On Tech: “Well-coached team, big team. They have a talented secondary and linebackers and pretty big up front. It’s a good challenge for us from a physical standpoint to see how we match up against these guys.”
On last year’s game: “You’re definitely not going to beat a BCS team if you turn the ball over six times. We did some good things early on, had some success in some areas, but had too many costly turnovers. I think that turned the game. Against a team like Georgia Tech that limits your opportunities anyway with the kind of ball they play, you can’t afford to” turn it over like that.
MTSU’s first half drives from last year’s 42-14 game.
First drive – Starting at Tech 20, reached 1st and 10 at the Tech 42, interception.
Second drive – four and out.
Third drive – MTSU drives from its 46 to the Tech 13, interception.
Fourth drive – Six plays, 11 yards to MTSU 48, interception.
Fifth drive – three and out.
Sixth drive – 80 yards for a touchdown.
Seventh drive – Three and out.
It wasn’t like they were going up and down the field like gangbusters, but Simmons does have a point. They were able to move the ball some and the interceptions snuffed out any chance the Blue Raiders had of putting pressure on Tech. The first half ended, you may remember, with Tech leading just 14-7.
On playing fast: “Matchup-wise, I can’t say there’s one position I feel like we have an advantage, but we’ve got to use our tempo to our advantage, to get them tired, wear them down and even the playing field a little bit.”
2. Center Jay Finch said the line is developing cohesion and unity, helped by the fact that the players have a tighter bond with one another.
“I think we’ve been definitely developing it,” he said. “We’ve grown a lot since the beginning of camp. Living in a hotel will do that, I guess.”
Finch also made it known that Trey Braun is now answering to “Tron,” a nickname given to him by long snapper Tyler Morgan.
“He’s pretty much embraced it,” Finch said of Braun, adding that Braun had said he’d take “Braun” off the nameplate on the back of his jersey and replace it with Tron.
3. On his radio show Wednesday evening, coach Paul Johnson said true freshman quarterback Vad Lee will be on the travel squad for the MTSU game, but “We’re going to save him as long as we can.” Johnson said that he hadn’t made a decision on whether or not to redshirt him, but that he’ll only put Lee in a game if he’s needed, not to mop up. Additionally, he said he has told Lee he’d like to see him compete to be the starting quarterback for four years.
“He’ll be much better as a fifth-year senior than” as a true freshman, he said.
Essentially, it looks increasingly like a redshirt for Lee. Tevin Washington or Synjyn Days will have to either nosedive or get hurt for him to play, I’d think.
Show host Wes Durham egged Johnson on a little bit by asking about uniforms, specifically Maryland and Tech’s plan to remedy its hard-to-read jerseys worn last Thursday. Johnson said the Jackets would have a surprise for fans for the next home game against Kansas.
“Nike Pro Combat,” he said, before wisely invoking the name of Tech’s uniform supplier. “No, Russell Pro Combat. Camouflage.”
For the record, he was not being serious.
4. At last check, Buzz was laying the wood on Hairy Dawg in the Capitol One Mascot Challenge, an online voting contest, although Hairydawg was catching up. Just before 7 a.m., it was 73,677to 15,173.