MTSU coordinator on Tech matchup, Lee update

Greetings-

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.

136 comments Add your comment

Mike Lum

September 8th, 2011
9:44 am

Thanks! Can’t get enough updates on Lee!

carolinajacket

September 8th, 2011
9:58 am

Talented secondary? I hope so, but they surely are young. I think that they will need these early lighter games to get the experience they need to become truly talented. Good update, thanks.

JM

September 8th, 2011
9:59 am

thanks for the updates.

It will be important to play assignments well this weekend and continue the focus from last weekend. Don’t let up anywhere.

DawginLex

September 8th, 2011
10:05 am

Y’all are in for a battle. To think otherwise is dumb.

I still think Tech wins but it will be fairly close.

I’d say

Tech 42
MTSU 31

Worm

September 8th, 2011
10:05 am

Wise decision to redshirt Lee..

GT Trumpet

September 8th, 2011
10:05 am

You can thank the GT Marching Band, and more specifically the trumpets for that giant lead against that “dawg”.

duece coupe

September 8th, 2011
10:05 am

First road game, remember Kansas.

reebok

September 8th, 2011
10:11 am

Tech has better players, but this has trap game written all over it. MTSU is not a joke of a team, as Maryland and a couple other BCS teams learned the hard way. But I do like the Jacket’s attitude…GO JACKETS!

Ken Sugiura

September 8th, 2011
10:11 am

i guess there’s a reason a synonym for boasting is “trumpeting.”
i’m sure the clarinet section are doing plenty of voting, too, but you don’t hear them bragging about it.
just kidding.

duece coupe

September 8th, 2011
10:12 am

Physical Standpoint: Well coached team, big team, pretty big upfront.

JAdams

September 8th, 2011
10:13 am

i remember Kansas i was there. will be at MTSU but i dont see a let down

buzzwax

September 8th, 2011
10:14 am

Ken, thanks for the updates!!

Bark Madley did a story on who the SEC should add as the 14th school? How about a story on conference expansion from an ACC perspective?

Looking like GT, FSU and Clemson will not get invited to the SEC because of no increase in ‘TV Footprint’ along with ‘recruiting isolationism’. Too bad. From an athletic and competitive perspective TN has Vandy and UT, Alabama has Bama and Auburn, Mississippi has UMiss and Miss St. How awesome to add the rivalries of GT/UGA, UF/FSU and USCe/Clemson!!!

No money in that, so it wont happen.

NOT SO FAST………here’s how it could if GT, FSU and Clemson WANTED to be in the SEC. (Not sure they do). BUT if they did, they could form a ‘coalition’ and shop themselves as a package to the Big 10. Wonder if the SEC would pay attention then? Bringing three southern ‘growth’ states to the Big 10 Network would be a good long term move for the B10N, correct?

This is probably a major pipe dream but the thought of an SEC with GT, Clemson and FSU in it would be great from a fan perspective…..

Here’s my plan B – The ACC gets proactive and sways Pitt, Syracuse, Uconn and Rutgers to join getting to sixteen teams. This would add SEVERAL TV sets, probably help solidify the conference, help in football and CEMENT the ACC as the KING of basketball….

Plan C – The ACC gets poached, GT is left out, and is a part of a watered down new ACC…

Roll baby Roll

September 8th, 2011
10:18 am

I love the Navy Jersey but I will be fine just as long as there is some Navy in the new uniforms. I can’t what we got now. Yuck! Look like UCF out there

Supersize that order, mutt

September 8th, 2011
10:35 am

After the LSU debacle, I don’t even want to see a blue jersey again—I didn’t want to see it then, but nobody listens to me….LOL. I don’t care what some bookworm dug out of some lost records, blue is NOT a Tech color. We are Old Gold and White. If we need trim, then it should be black, but NOT BLUE !!! That’s just my opinion as a long-time Tech fan.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 8th, 2011
10:37 am

buzzwax, you’d better believe the threat of a Big 10 presence in the south would make some of the SEC power-brokers sit up and listen. A Tech – Ohio State or Tech – Michigan or Tech – Wisconsin game would have more interest on a national level than even a Georgia – Bama matchup would.

yeah yeah

September 8th, 2011
10:43 am

LET’S GO BLUE RAIDERS!!!!!

carolinajacket

September 8th, 2011
10:43 am

Just don’t go with some really stupid uniform like UGA and Maryland (and others) did. Wonder when the Dogs will wear those wacko outfits again?

T3

September 8th, 2011
10:58 am

dawginlex posted:

Y’all are in for a battle. To think otherwise is dumb.

I still think Tech wins but it will be fairly close.

I’d say

Tech 42
MTSU 31

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

MTSU will be highly motivated to play, 100 Year Anniversary and all.

But, this will be a TOTAL BEATDOWN by GT. And, to suggest that
this will be anything other than a beatdown is just plain stupid.

GT trounced a MUCH MORE veteran & experienced MTSU team
in a 2010 season when GT was playing miserably in many aspects,
with lots of O-Line inuries and the 1st year in Groh’s 3-4 Defense.

MTSU lost (8) senior starters on defense, thier senior QB, and both
senior starting RBs from a 2010 teaam that GT routed by 32 points.

I’ll be surprised if MTSU even scores, unless GT allows a late 4th Qtr gimme TD..

Call it, GT: 49 MTSU; 7

Supersize that order, mutt

September 8th, 2011
11:02 am

T3, I hope you’re right, but I think you’re being a tad bit optimistic.

juvenal

September 8th, 2011
11:04 am

Lex, believe i said 14…..play in pink, should not make any diff to the players, you wear unis only to tell the teams apart, substance over form any day…

DawginLex

September 8th, 2011
11:06 am

My thoughts are that the home crowd will help and that you really can’t expect 6 turnovers again.

GT Fan

September 8th, 2011
11:09 am

Hold on T3 (and all other Jacket fans) …….. have you seen Heather D’s (ESPN) Week 2 ACC predictions????

HD says:

Middle Tennessee 28, Georgia Tech 27: The Blue Raiders are well-versed in defending the triple option, and they’re coming off an impressive performance in a near-win over Purdue. Middle Tennessee led at Purdue until the Boilermakers hit a 35-yard TD pass with 49 seconds left last week.

B/C MTSU has beaten teams like GT in the recent past I say yeah, they can beat GT. However, I don’t think GT loses.

michael

September 8th, 2011
11:11 am

REMEMBER, JOE HAMILTON REDSHIRTED AND SEE HOW HE TURNED OUT!

carolinajacket

September 8th, 2011
11:16 am

Is this the same Willie Simmons who was coming to Tech and then switched to Clemson?

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2011
11:21 am

OMG Heather Denich is ragging on Tech yet again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why doesn’t she go back to to Indiana and hang on the Big 10’s every belch…………………sheesh……….. I am not saying MTSU will be a walkover but there is a talent and ability disparity in the favor of the Jackets and as long as stay away from turnovers, the Jackets should be fine.

personally

September 8th, 2011
11:21 am

i think that the score will be dictated by which team starts out the fastest.

if mtsu scores first and stymies gt early look for a close game

if gt scores first like they did against wcu than i think that gt’s confidence will sky rocket and put up over 40 again. the d will be much improved from game one to game two. keep in mind that the d only allowed 7 points in the first outing. the other 14 points was the responsibility of special teams.

special teams will show improvement but still not be where they need to be!

ToeMeetsLeather

September 8th, 2011
11:26 am

Lex, if we give up 31 to MTSU we are in for a LONG year. My guess(hope) is about 31-17. Washington plays the entire game and plays well. By the way, Purdue is horrible.

DawginLex

September 8th, 2011
11:29 am

Purdue is bad but they did win the game with 2nd string QB after 1st team guy blew his ACL 2 weeks before season started.

I still say they score some points.

good news for Dawg fans

Stephen Garcia accepted my delivery of 2 hookers and a case of Bud Light.

We at least have that going for us.

Jacket Backer

September 8th, 2011
11:33 am

StingerSplash

September 8th, 2011
11:43 am

What? PJ be sarcastic? Especially on uniforms? Perish the thought!

Jackets 2011

September 8th, 2011
11:50 am

@DawginLex
Actually you just saved Spurrier some money.
Garcia plays his best after partaking of such enticements.

Saban

September 8th, 2011
12:01 pm

South Carolina will put a beatdown on Georgia of biblical proportions. We are talking end time for the dawgs. Tech 44 MTSU 7.

YOYOYO

September 8th, 2011
12:09 pm

Ken

“he’d like to see him compete to be the starting quarterback for four years.”

Washington is just a Junior. This says a lot about his ability and what Johnson thinks of him if he actually believes that Vad has a chance to unseat a 2yr veteran next year. It also doesn’t look promising for Synjyn. The kid is so athletic that we need to find a place for him. Can you imagine that speed and size at A-back. HOLD THE PHONE! I just hope it’s not the last 2-3 games of the season and both Tevin and Synjyn go down.

Coach

September 8th, 2011
12:09 pm

We are the White and Gold! No blue, please! But the numbers need to be fixed…no one in my section could read the numbers. Most of the die-hards will remember that we had the same legibility problem on a new uniform a few years ago. I guess we have lost some of our institutional memory and made the same mistake.

This is a trap game if there ever was one. Last year was humiliating to them, and they want us pretty bad.

Agree that Vad should be redshirted. True freshman quarterbacks that succeed are rare, in deed, and if he is that good, think how much better he’ll be in his 2nd, 3rd, 4th AND 5th year. Experience and depth win ballgames. CPJ knows what he is doing. Got to love him.

YOYOYO

September 8th, 2011
12:11 pm

Also, can you explain to me how somone in your position loses their job. For example, Heather Dinich. She is the world’s worst sports writer! ESPN must have needed to beef up their women numbers (this coming from a woman, so spare the sexist comments). But she sucks. How does she lose her job. It can’t get worse than it is now.

Buzzfan®

September 8th, 2011
12:12 pm

Willie Simmons? As in, former Clemson QB from Quincy, FL, (Shanks HS) Willie Simmons? Interesting.

collegeballfan

September 8th, 2011
12:13 pm

I would think Tech would look with favor on a Big 10 membership. I am not sure the Big 10 would extend the invitation.

But if the Big 10 wanted to find its way into the southern TV markets going to Missouri, Louisville, GT and FSU would make sense.

But not academically. All Big 10 members are also members of the AAU. GT and Missouri fit that mold but not Louisville and FSU.

ATL XMAN

September 8th, 2011
12:16 pm

the talent level at tech and mtsu is really close now that nesbitt is gone and the rest of gailys players. should be a really close game/ high scoring . now if tech turns it over like they did last week then mtsu will win by 7.

ATL XMAN

September 8th, 2011
12:19 pm

and south carolina putting a beat down on uga is about as unrealistic as ga tech beating uga this year. south carolina has lattimore and thats about it. uga knocks him out or even stops him from gaining an extra 3 yards a pop after contact like he did last year then uga should be looking pretty good to win the game.

ATL XMAN

September 8th, 2011
12:23 pm

he would love to red shirt him but if the other 2 stink it up, which i think they will, then he will be forced to see what he has to offer. i also believe in red shirting the qb.

Engineering Jacket '03

September 8th, 2011
12:38 pm

We will be champions

ToeMeetsLeather

September 8th, 2011
12:42 pm

XMAN, recess is over and english class is starting. From the looks of it, you can’t afford to miss another class!

Jack G

September 8th, 2011
12:51 pm

Why would anyone playing for Tech take a redshirt. Chances of playing pro are slight. Take your degree in 4 years and go to work in the real world.
If cpj wants to redshirt you, all he gets is a redshirt year and 3 years of playing.
But then football players are not known for their smarts.

Still dont like CPJ football

GO TECH

Engineering Jacket '03

September 8th, 2011
12:58 pm

Engineering Jacket '03 = Dawg TROLL

September 8th, 2011
1:20 pm

… trying to stir up the pot with childishness. Ignore her and continue.

superDawg

September 8th, 2011
1:30 pm

supersize if you think tek vs a big ten team would spark more intrest than GA vs AL would you live in the wrong part of the universe.

yeller bug

September 8th, 2011
1:31 pm

There’s the offensive play of the week: Days at A-back, Sims at B-back, with Washington at QB—let them lateral the ball around in the backfield until a receiver gets open and then whoever has the ball throws it to ‘em.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 8th, 2011
1:38 pm

Outta towner here planning to go to the Kansas game. Can someone tell me which side of the stadium rocks more. I saw some comments a few days ago but forgot, I think they said the east was better than west..is that true?

Supersize that order, mutt

September 8th, 2011
1:39 pm

superDawg, there IS more to the nation than the southeast US. I said it would garner more NATIONAL interest. I hate to tell you, but nobody outside the southeast even knows THUGa exists; that’s how irrelevant they are.

Tokyo jacket

September 8th, 2011
1:43 pm

Ken, awesome as usual. Any chance that Sims could be the 3rd string QB to keep the RS on Lee, if we go that way?