1. North Carolina boasts a likely high first-round pick in defensive end Quinton Coples and three more NFL candidates in ends Kareem Martin and Donte Paige-Moss and tackle Tydreke Powell. The Goon Squad is not afraid.
After helping Georgia Tech break an ACC record with 604 rushing yards last Saturday against Kansas, the Yellow Jackets offensive line (dubbed the Goon Squad) is eager to test its mettle against possibly the best defensive line it will face this year.
“The better the competition, the better we can shine, too,” center Jay Finch said.
Through three games, North Carolina is allowing 2.3 yards per carry and has allowed only one run longer than 15 yards. Tech coach Paul Johnson said that his players should have no reason to be overconfident if they watch video of the Tar Heels, calling them huge, athletic and strong.
“If we don’t play well, we’ll get embarrassed,” Johnson said.
Tech rushed for 372 yards against the Tar Heels last year, and 317 in 2009, both victories.
“They’ve got all these athletes, but we’ll find out,” Finch said.
(If I were North Carolina, I’d expect a lot of cut blocking Saturday.)
2. Johnson said that when A-back B.J. Bostic is ready to play, he’ll meet with him to make a decision about whether or not to redshirt. Bostic, who sustained a right arm injury in August, has a redshirt year available after playing as a true freshman last year. But Johnson called it a moot point because he isn’t ready to play yet.
“He misses [playing] and we miss having him; he’s a fun guy to be around and you hate that he’s had to miss a lot of the fun that we’ve had so far,” A-back Roddy Jones said. “But if he comes back and joins us, that’d be awesome.”
Johnson said he’ll watch guard J.C. Lanier, who has yet to play in a game this season after a stress fracture injury, to see if he can play. Offensive lineman Morgan Bailey, who played in the first game of the season but has missed the last two, did not practice.
“Hopefully he can come in and carve out some playing time,” Johnson said of Lanier.
(Obviously, with Bostic, the longer the season goes without him playing, the more likely he’ll redshirt. Lanier, if you’re wondering, redshirted his freshman year.)
3. Athletic director Dan Radakovich said he is not averse to adding more teams to the ACC after Sunday’s additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Radakovich also said that no scheduling decisions have been made, but he said he favors adding a ninth conference game when the two teams begin league play.
“We think it would be a positive for our fan base,” he said.
Radakovich also made an appeal for fans to buy tickets for Saturday’s game. Around 45,000 tickets have been distributed. Tickets are available at ramblinwreck.com and 1-888-832-4849.
(I saw Radakovich leaving the building this afternoon, and he made a point of further explaining his point about travel in the old Big 8, which I noted in a blog from this afternoon. He was saying how no one brought up the matter of longer travel for athletes back in the day of the Big 8, but I noted that the footprint was more compact than the new ACC. After calling me “geography guy,” he explained that, yes, the point-to-point distances are shorter, but that non-revenue teams weren’t flying charter back then, just as they rarely if ever do now, so they were having to fly through Denver or Dallas or Houston or wherever else, so the travel was still lengthy.)
4. Johnson said that the two offensive tackle positions and the kickoff job will be determined in practice this week. Last Saturday, Ray Beno and Phil Smith started at tackle, rotating with Tyler Kidney. All three played a similar number of plays at tackle and Beno also played snaps at guard. Justin Moore kicked better than he had in the first two games after replacing Chandler Anderson, including his first touchback of the season.
(I’d think the lineup would stay the same, but that’s only a guess.)
5. Johnson, in response to a question on how he would scheme the Tech offense if he were an opposing defensive coordinator: “If I told you, I’d probably have to kill you, wouldn’t I?”
After the laughter subsided, Johnson responded that he wouldn’t do anything out of the ordinary, just play the assignments, adhere to the scheme and out-execute the offense.
“There’s nothing magical about what we’re doing,” he said.
(I suppose he gave his answer when Tech played Air Force, and he can do so again when Tech plays Georgia Southern in 2015.)
6. Tech’s historic offensive output against Kansas has been commemorated in a t-shirt. The athletic department is selling shirts listing the Jackets’ statistical accomplishments through its online shop. The shirt retails for $17.95. Link here.
(I was telling my colleague Kelly Quinlan from Rivals that I would have been very amused if Radakovich had come into the press conference wearing that t-shirt. Better yet, if Johnson had. I think I’d still be laughing.)
Thanks for reading. I’ll have something up in the morning, probably material from an interview with Orwin Smith. Bright guy.