Johnson finds flaws in win over Kansas


Sorry this is a little late. I ended up not being able to make it to practice because I was working on an ACC expansion story. Michael Cunninghan sat in for me and filed the following report. My thanks and gratitude to MC.

The next blog will be up after Paul Johnson’s press conference Tuesday morning, noonish. Thanks!

1. Georgia Tech is 3-0, boasts a new national ranking and has often looked unstoppable while piling up points, yards and big plays.

But any temptation for the Yellow Jackets to get complacent was discouraged in the video room by coach Paul Johnson and his staff. Even the Tech offense wasn’t immune to criticism after generating a school-record 768 yards during the 66-24 rout of Kansas on Saturday.

Despite the eye-popping numbers Tech has put up against over-matched competition, the Jackets feel they need to be better against North Carolina on Saturday in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener.

“The kids did some good things,” Johnson said of the Kansas game. “But we’ve got a lot of things we need to work on, too. Offensively for the most part they played pretty good. We still have a lot of fundamental stuff we have got to do better with. We still had some missed assignments. But, all in all, it wasn’t bad.”

The eruption impressed voters in both major polls. The Jackets are No. 24 in the USA Today coaches poll and No. 25 in the Associated Press media poll.

Tech’s defense wasn’t as impressive. The Jayhawks converted seven of their first nine third downs before the Jackets, buoyed by their high-scoring offense, got consistent stops.

The problems for Tech included soft pass coverage, a weak pass rush and missed tackles.

“Most of them were technique errors,” defensive coordinator Al Groh said. “If we play the call by design we make out a lot better. Each one was a different play, each one was a different defensive call, so there was no repetitive issue.”

Tech’s defense faces a tougher test against North Carolina, which is ranked No. 25 in the coaches poll.

“They are very physical, big, very athletic,” Johnson said. “The quarterback [Bryn Renner] is a good player and their offensive line is the best they’ve had since I’ve been here.”

2. The decision by the ACC to accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse as members was big news in college football circles. The drama of all the movement doesn’t really trickle down to the team level, though.

“They have got a lot of tradition, they have been very strong programs,” Johnson said of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. “Other than that I haven’t had much time to think about it.”

The additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse swell the conference’s ranks to 14 teams, and ACC commissioner John Swofford is not opposed to adding two more teams. It’s not clear where Syracuse and Pittsburgh will fit in the league’s two-division alignment.

“It will be interesting to see how they do it,” Johnson said. “Right now, no one knows how it will unfold or how they are going to do it. I am sure it will be good for the conference or else the presidents and the athletic directors wouldn’t have voted for it.”

3. The team voted A-back Roddy Jones and linebackers Steven Sylvester and Julian Burnett as permanent captains. Burnett, a junior, is the fourth non-senior captain for Johnson. The first three were in 2009: Morgan Burnett (no relation), Derrick Morgan and Joshua Nesbitt. … A-back Marcus Wright and guard J.C. Lanier both practiced on Monday; neither has played yet this season because of injury. … Johnson named Sylvester, A-back Orwin Smith and Jemea Thomas (special teams) as the players of the week for their play against Kansas.

147 comments Add your comment

George Stein

September 19th, 2011
9:54 pm

Sheesh. I’m glad I don’t work for him. I’m equally glad he’s our coach.

George Stein

September 19th, 2011
9:57 pm

I’m happy for Roddy. He’s a terrific representative for our school and I could not be prouder that he’s on our side. That guy is gonna be really successful doing something someday.

Jacket Faithful

September 19th, 2011
10:03 pm

We love Paul Johnson!

Tokyo jacket

September 19th, 2011
10:05 pm

Roddy is a great captain. Glad to see this!

Tokyo jacket

September 19th, 2011
10:07 pm

I really hope we can get PSU…that would be a major coup. ND is a pipe dream, but PSU is a very real possibility. PSU also lets us go after a team like UCONN. Then, we’ve got a serious lock on the east coast market.

Jacket Fan Forever

September 19th, 2011
10:12 pm

Great to see Julian Burnett get this honor. He is a tackling machine!


September 19th, 2011
10:18 pm

I am also very impressed with Roddy Jones. He is obviously a great guy. I sincerely hope GT finds a way to involve him more in the offensive gameplan (he blocks his tail off and is a solid leader). He is a very talented runner with speed to burn and I think he should get 10-15 touches each game.

I also like to watch Orwin Smith run the ball (on runs & catches); however, has anyone else noticed that Orwin does not block (almost seems like he does not put enough effort into blocking) as well as Roddy? If so, I am certain Coach PJ will identify and resolve the problem!

Tech Guy

September 19th, 2011
10:26 pm

Never gonna hold hands and sing kum ba yah in the Tech locker room, that’s for sure.


September 19th, 2011
10:32 pm

id like to see texas and tcu since tcu was moving to big east but the big east is moving out.

Paul in NH (formerly RDU)

September 19th, 2011
10:35 pm

I agree 100% with George Stein and GT GRAD about Roddy Jones. It is unlikely that he will ever play a down on the NFL, but he has been a great player for GT and a true leader.

Ken Sugiura

September 19th, 2011
10:43 pm

Tokyo – I’ve seen Penn State mentioned before. Don’t know why they’d want to leave the Big Ten, but if they did, that’d be a pretty big get for the ACC.


September 19th, 2011
10:47 pm

Like I said for the Kansas game Our defense is really troublsome. These excuses are what I have heard before…UNC is going to be REALLY tough up front!! I am not sure how we are going to stop them the way we have been playing defense….
Here again I would LOVE to eat crow…but not sure how much crow I ate from last weeks call on our Defense vs Kansas…


September 19th, 2011
11:00 pm

The comments from CPJ do not surprise me, like most very sucessful people he is not satisfied with okay or above average, His is teaching these young men the value of doing their best and striving for goals that are difficult ot achieve. All of these young men will take these lessons with them the rest of their lives and I hope they pass these expectations on to their own children. I am so proud of what this team is accomplishing both on and off the field.

Go Jackets!!


September 19th, 2011
11:01 pm

I think Roddy’s already preparing for a post-Tech career that doesn’t involve the NFL. That’s why he’s in grad school at Tech.


September 19th, 2011
11:19 pm

Yes, UNC will be another test but I watched them play UVA and their offense is very predictable. Standard Pro offense with some I formations power and drop back passing. Not the short quick passes we have faced the past three games. I will be curious to see if their defense can stop us. that will be the test. I bet Tech puts up at least 45 points on them.

Ramblin Man

September 19th, 2011
11:50 pm

I observed Smith blocking down field several times and he even got a weak call for holding while blocking down field. I am real interested to see how the team will perform against UNC because I can’t imagine they will have the same success. They will be able to move the ball but I actually want to see them tested and how they respond. I feel for the D coordinator that has to look for a way to stop all the different receivers and backs. The D has to step it up. Can’t afford to send five everytime to get presure and the soft coverage will kill them.


September 20th, 2011
12:07 am

Ramblin Man, believe it or not, and I know I’ve said this before, but once again, not many times did we send mroe than 4 men on the rush. When we did we had moderate success, seeings as the most time we dialed up the pressure was in the second half. Still not as worried about this yet. It will be a tough game, but for one, dominance over UNC has been good for GT recently (8 of 10), and this UNC defense is not as good as the past ones we have absolutely torched, while this offense looks potentially even better. So, I still think, with this game being at home, and GT looking SO smooth to this point, we win by at least ten in my eyes. This, I repeat for the fourth week this season, NOT last years Yellow Jackets. These guys are new and improved!


September 20th, 2011
12:21 am

Attended the Lunch Bunch today, great group of die hard fans. The Tech staff is expecting 50,000 or so for the game, we can do better, don’t let these seats go to Tarheels! If we want the fun, excitement and momentum to continue, let’s all be there supporting our team Let’s fill up Bobby Dodd stadium and cheer this team on, it’s worth it.


September 20th, 2011
5:19 am

I don’t remember where I saw this but when Paul Johnson was hired, someone from Navy said we would see a offense like no other in college football in a few years. Maybe this is just the beginning.
Go Yellow Jackets!!!!


September 20th, 2011
5:45 am

Defense and special teams will get us beat sooner or later. Johnson is right…he is always right.

duece coupe

September 20th, 2011
5:50 am

The GT offense is what I would call

…….” Explosive” …….

duece coupe

September 20th, 2011
5:59 am

Keep blocking real hard.


September 20th, 2011
6:41 am

The three tune-up games mean nothing. Georgia did
just as well against Coastal Carolina, but lost its
first two meaningful games. Tech has nothing to
crow about – yet.

Simon Bar Sinister

September 20th, 2011
6:48 am

Well, calvin, the team is undefeated at this point. There’s really not much more they could do.

After North Carolina Tech still has to play VPI and Miami and Clemson. At this point I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ll see what happens when the competition ramps up. Until then, we’ve got what we’ve got.


September 20th, 2011
7:02 am

I’m a lifetime Tech fan, and not putting Tech down.
Of course it’s excellent that they won the first three
games so impressively, but that’s exactly what any
good team is expected to do. If they’re undeafeated
when Virginia Tech comes to Atlanta, they will be on the
doorstep of greatness.

Ramblin Man

September 20th, 2011
7:05 am

I am pretty sure five were sent several times creating man on man. I am trying to stay grounded and remind myself of who we have played. The team has stepped up to every challenge and playing better than last year I just don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Jack G

September 20th, 2011
7:27 am

calvin—folks on this blog dont want to face reality. With 3 patsies in the tank, we still dont know anything about this team. I think we will start learning this weekend.


September 20th, 2011
7:35 am

North Carolina is by far the best team we have played…I am not worried about our guys getting outplayed or outcoached, but I am worried we will get “out-physicalled.” Regardless, I will be at Bobby Dodd on Saturday pulling for the Jackets!

Jacket Man

September 20th, 2011
7:38 am

Notre Dame has recently stated they prefer to stay independent, but if they have to join a conference, they prefer to join the ACC, not the BIG 10. The rationale is they consider themselves more of an East Coast school, even playing some home games in New York city and having a huge fan base on the east coast. ESPN is even reporting it.

The question then becomes whether Notre Dame decides the landscape has become too treacherous to stay independent and join the conference, would that entice Penn State to bolt the Big 10 and join them in the ACC as well. At one time, Penn State had serious conversations with the ACC about membership, just prior to joining the BIG 10, and indicated that had the ACC been able to provide “coverage”along the east coast, not just the mid-Atlantic and southeast, Penn State would have joined immediately. Having the entire eastern seaboard and Notre Dame on board might give Penn State just enough reason to make the move to the ACC. Stranger things have happened.

Now if this does occur, and I will say this is a big if, then I’ll have to give the ACC Commissioner a huge complement because while everyone was looking at the SEC, PAC 12, and BIG 10 as the big movers and shakers in the realignment game, what would have just happened is that the ACC just played a great game of chess by locking down it’s own membership, adding 2 members from the Big East, the elite independent the BIG 10 wanted, and then stole one of the BIG 10’s teams right under their noses.

Locking up their own teams with a $20M buyout and a much stronger conference means the SEC would have a much more difficult time stealing any of its members, so then who could they look to to even out their Texas A&M addition, West Virginia, Louisville, or Missouri? I have news for you, with Penn State now gone from the BIG 10, all three of this are now also viable options for them as well, so both the SEC and BIG 10 are scrambling for the ACC’s leftovers.

Really fascinating turn of events no matter how things turn out. All I know is that the ACC took the preemptive strike when no one was expecting it, and caught everyone totally off guard.And it’s very obvious there’s a lot more going on in the background or they would have already extended their invitations to UCONN and Rutgers; they’re obviously waiting for something else to happen first.

we know this

September 20th, 2011
8:05 am

Georgia Tech leads the Nation in
rushing, rushing yards per game,
total points scored and points scored per game.

fan of shorter passes & longer runs

September 20th, 2011
8:06 am

@Jack G…Tech has played impressively/won big so far. No doubt this is not the type Tech football you (and I) loved when Dodd was here (have not seen a quick kick yet!). But I’m expecting a win Sat over an ACC team and fully expect you to finally become a member of the Paul Ball fan club. You are never too old to change.

Voice of Reason

September 20th, 2011
8:07 am

Better hurry up and get PSU before JoPa kicks the bucket. They’re already as irrelevant as is Notre Dame regarding the quality of their football, but Joe Paterno is a legend. It would be a major coup to have him finish out his career as an ACC coach.


September 20th, 2011
8:13 am

Why does everybody want more ACC teams? It will
just make winning conference championships harder,
and a championship will be less meaningful, because
the winner will have played only half of the teams.

ATLER (Ramblin Wreck)

September 20th, 2011
8:15 am

Good article and comments Tech fans. I’m sold on th is team myself. Seeing the way this offense operates I believe in them 100%. I see all the so-called Tech fans stating that they have to see a win verses a miami, clemson, vt, etc………. So if Tech beats those teams then you part-time fans become believers? It’s doesn’t work like that my friends. You have to believe from the start. The polls sure have started to believe………….

Voice of Reason

September 20th, 2011
8:22 am


They haven’t yet added anyone who will make winning the conference any more difficult — at least, not in football.


September 20th, 2011
8:30 am

We need to play NC like we are big time underdogs. Even in 1990 when we thought we would take them down, it ended in a tie. So let’s not get cocky until the last game is played, and play each game as though the team we are facing is in the top ten.

Still concerned of a lack of push by the D line. They seemed to do a bit better, but just not getting the pressure on the QB like we should.

Congrats on a big win, just don’t let it go to your head and lapse into last year mode.


September 20th, 2011
8:31 am

NC will be the first real team GT faces this year. Now GT has eeked out victories over NC the past two years so I’m optomistic but NC has a real Defense and a power running game offense. Will be interesting. No turnovers and I believe we win again…

My Favorite Number is 21

September 20th, 2011
8:40 am

Really like to see the ACC swipe West Virginia. They are a fit in every way. The Big East is disolving, they are a storied program that is consistently in the top 25, it would keep the Pitt-WVU rivalry intact, and they are even a geographical fit. As for the other team? Conn would be a decent team to add.

fan of shorter passes & longer runs

September 20th, 2011
8:43 am

UNC has detailed self-imposed sanctions prior to the nzaa hit but those sanctions do not include keeping home all their good players this Saturday…LOL.

Voice of Reason

September 20th, 2011
8:45 am

The Big East is in the process of joining with the Big 12 to form a new conference.


September 20th, 2011
8:54 am

Um calvin, coastal is the equiv of western. Midd Tenn is Div 1 and kansas is bcs. Hardly tune ups. When texas tech plays ku next week, is that a tune up? Also, did anyone see navy nearly beat sc? This offense, when run correctly, and with an average defense can beat anyone.


September 20th, 2011
9:01 am

It would make sense for psu and nd to be the last 2 teams. ND plays bc and pitt every year. They also play psu a good bit. And they have played gt a few times and they had a big rivalry with fsu. Penn state’s location also makes more sense to be in a conf with east coast teams.

GT Rich

September 20th, 2011
9:05 am

Notre Dame & Uconn to ACC.
Tex, TT, Ok, Ok St to Pac and join Colorado and Utah as the Pac East division.
KS, KS St, IA St, Mizz, Baylor & TCU as the Big West division, add Temple in the Big East division as the new collective Big XII.
SEC and Big 10 can twiddle their thumbs and sick with 12.


September 20th, 2011
9:14 am

I hope GT hangs 45 on the heels. JMU got stuffed, Rutgers didn’t try to run, but VA got a steady 5 yards per rush and lost the game on turnovers. I’m sure NC is a fine defense but they’re on only one week of prep and the past couple meetings haven’t gone well for them.


September 20th, 2011
9:16 am

WVU is NOT a good fit for the ACC…I read that they have already been told that by Swofford.

Yes they play good football but give me one other reason.

They are a 3rd Tier academic university on par with Ole Miss and Miss State…give me a break.

UNC plays big, mean, hard-hitting defense…I still remember the sound of Nesbitt getting popped a few times in the 2009 game. I hope our boys can stay healthy and hold on to the ball.



September 20th, 2011
9:25 am

Hope Tech just keeps playing like they are playing and get better every week. It’s been total team effort, the D stepped up last week in the 2nd half, that the reason for blow out of Kansas, If D would have played like the 1st half we may have seen a 45 to 38 score. I like that everyone is involved, no one to key on.

UNC will be a nice game for Tech, hope we win


September 20th, 2011
9:26 am

Full Metal

September 20th, 2011
9:31 am

Time to buckle down and not get overconfident. Go Jackets!! Great coverage of GT and the ACC by the AJC. Thanks!


September 20th, 2011
9:32 am


September 20th, 2011
9:38 am

tech does not play VPI as stated above by someone…you all still need to get rid of that trip to BYU if possible..they cheat in games on the field.