Goon Squad ready for UNC

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.

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78 comments Add your comment

George Stein

September 20th, 2011
9:53 pm

I think Johnson’s right when he says there’s no hocus pocus to our offense. It’s one of the reasons it’s so good – that it just demoralizes the opponent. I hope Bostic gets healthy, but we’re deep at A-back and a year to sit probably wouldn’t hurt. He’s an explosive player that will help us in the future.

I am not averse to a pay increase. My boss might be.

Rise and Fall of the 3rd Richt

September 20th, 2011
9:57 pm

what is the status of Marcus Wright?

old tech grad

September 20th, 2011
10:00 pm

Not Disappointed!

September 20th, 2011
10:07 pm

Go out and win Jackets!!! Just Win!

tellitlikeitis

September 20th, 2011
10:25 pm

Wright is full speed for Saturday.

fuzzybee78

September 20th, 2011
10:27 pm

Did we face this same line for UNC last year?

I know we won but what was the score?

Who has improved more, Jackets offense or Heels defense?

GT-UT

September 20th, 2011
10:42 pm

I’d like to know about Marcus Wright as well…is he on the team?
My opinion…we don’t match up well again UNC. Big D-Line and a QB that never misses a pass. Our secondary will have to deflect passes and make INT’s.
Our O-Line will have to be determined in their assignments and attack with fury! Go Jackets! We’re proud of you!

Jacket Man

September 20th, 2011
10:48 pm

Marcus should be about ready to go. He’ll be seeing action this weekend or next.

GT9

September 20th, 2011
10:54 pm

I think that I remember Coples and Paige-Moss from last year’s game. They are both very impressive.
Offense-wise, we played our best game from last season in Chapel Hill. Orwin Smith scored on a 73 yard run. In the 2nd quarter, we had a 20 play, 10 minute drive that yielded us a field goal to tie the score at the end of the half.
GT-UT is right. Our line will have to execute at a very high level.
Go JACKETS!

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 20th, 2011
10:58 pm

Judging from UNC struggling against Rutgers, and from them not completely annihilating UVA, I’m thinking we will break their backs by the end of the third quarter. Okay, so they’re not allowing a lot of running, but we know how that works. They’re clamping down on the dive? Keep or pitch. They’re stringing perimeter plays out? Dive or Keep up the middle. Can’t run for 4 yards per carry in any of the three run options? Pass. They’re backing off to defend the pass and have a good secondary? Run. If the Goon Squad collapses then we have to get creative, but that’s the basic plan. Offense should produce yardage if not a fir amount of points.

It’s our defense I’m hoping will get us some key stops in this one. Stops and interceptions. We came so close to picking off QB Jordan Webb last Saturday. Those need to be INT’s against UNC. Just get their offense off the field and put ours on a few more times than in past seasons, and we’ll be primed to come out on top regardless how much their defense has developed.

As for attendance, the wife and I will be there as always! GO JACKETS!!

Ohio Jacket

September 20th, 2011
11:02 pm

What an embarrassing t-shirt. Who comes up with this stuff? For too long, the knee-jerk reaction of the Tech PR/marketing folks has been to show its insecurity over the GT brand and tradition. We love our school and our team and we don’t need to gloat over what happened last Saturday. That gets us no respect. To gain respect, the best thing for GT to do is just focus on winning the next game (which, fortunately, I’m quite certain CPJ and the team are doing right now).

GT9

September 20th, 2011
11:02 pm

oh yeah, twelve point one

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

September 20th, 2011
11:08 pm

Four ranked conference teams take on each other this weekend. Between FSU vs. Clemson and GT vs. UNC, Heather Denich from ESPN.com suggests that the Carolina defense will have the stiffest challenge among the four teams. I tend to agree with her. The Tar Heels have not been able to stop the Triple Option since it was introduced (although turnovers cost us a victory to them in CPJ’s first year if memory serves me correctly). If it comes down to which defense can get “one more stop”, then I like our chances. It should be a good game. If you haven’t already, get a ticket and join us at BDS this Saturday!

PhysicsBabe

September 20th, 2011
11:31 pm

I would pay good money to see either DRad or CPJ in one of those t-shirts!

Aurelius

September 20th, 2011
11:33 pm

To repeat an earlier comment:

Passrush, passrush, where art thou o’ passrush?

Tech will need the elusive passrush to beat NC.

orel

September 20th, 2011
11:48 pm

last year unc lost several studs on defense and some didn’t play against us but i can’t remember who didn’t. robert quinn was a first rounder. bruce carter was a second rounder along with marvin austin. they also lost greg little who was a very good receiver in the second round so i don’t see this team as being better athletically than last year. we should be able to run against them.

GT Fan

September 20th, 2011
11:53 pm

PJ is 2-1 vs. UNC, all 3 games with 300+ rushing. And UNC has had great DLines every game.

Should be the best team thus far for BOTH teams.

For those who keep asking about Marcus Wright …. do you not read Ken’s blogs? He [Ken] has updated on MW, JC Lanier & BJ Bostic like 2-3 times a week the past couple weeks.

Unfortunately for Marcus, I think he’s going to see very little playing time the remainder of his career…..there’s just too much (better) talent on the team now. I hate for the young man, but it is what it is.

GT Fan

September 20th, 2011
11:58 pm

Orel ….

Yes UNC had some suspended players vs. GT last year, but the 2 stud LBs were reinstated and played. I honestly don’t thing UNC has any LBs as good as either one of those guys.

Marvin Austin was probably the big loss for UNC, but I believe the DL for 9/24 is pretty much the same one that played last year. I’d think they are better than last season, but I know for darn sure GT’s OL is executing better this year.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 21st, 2011
12:08 am

The Goon Squad seems to feed off of each other.Feeling good about this one. 45-17.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 21st, 2011
12:22 am

The shirts are cool, but why the hell didn’t they make them in gold, or at least white?

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 21st, 2011
12:30 am

Because normal people will buy Navy colored shirts before they’ll buy gold ones. It’s the same trivial reason the players would rather wear navy jerseys. Walk into the Barnes and Noble at GT, look at the shirts. To your eye the best looking ones you would most likely buy are going to be navy if you’re the average American. (I’m a designer – GT trained me in color-perception-black-magicy-things-I-can’t-explain-right-now). So trying to sell lots of gold things (or make the teams wear it to compete) has always been, to some extent, an uphill battle.

/rant

But Go Jackets!

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 21st, 2011
12:41 am

For the record, I do think the school colors are great. White and OLD GOLD (pantone #874). I’m tellin’ you as a GT design graduate – the human eye is MUCH more comfortable with Old Gold than the Vegas Gold of the Gailey era or any bright yellow that GT has been trying to use for merchandise. The problem is that on football uniforms (prolific use of high-sheen, polymer-based fabrics) Old Gold #874 washes out skewing toward green and people stop liking it so much, because it looks like dried mustard (2008 uniforms).

Supersize that order, mutt

September 21st, 2011
12:49 am

Perimeter, I hear what you’re saying, but at least give us a choice. And based on your logic about what people will wear, why the hell would people buy red shirts (and I’m not just talking about UGA)?

UNC Shirts

September 21st, 2011
1:01 am

Maybe they are planning on making more shirts this week…after we break those records! GT 53-10

TVfan

September 21st, 2011
5:21 am

I see board material for UNC’s football team. Tech players should know better. I’m afraid they just opened themselves up to a tougher game. They better be ready. Ken, are you and DRad having a little spat?

TechRedNeck

September 21st, 2011
6:03 am

Don’t start with the “can’t wait to get to N.C.” talk. And “Goon Sqad” talk. That kind of B. S. will get you beat. Just keep your mouth shut and play ball. Leave all that jibberish to the JAWJA DAWGS.

D21

September 21st, 2011
6:11 am

Just what I was thinkin TVfan. Lets keep it humble Ken. You dont have to print every comment from 18 to 23 y/o kids in articles. Keep it humble like CPJs comments, “we will get embarrsed if”. Lets stay humble and take em 1 at a time. All we need is 1 more point than them. We just made the top 25 this week. So did UNC!!!! Keep it low key Ken!! No board schnizzle for the other teams please.

ToeMeetsLeather

September 21st, 2011
6:41 am

Holy cow, UNC allowing 2.3 per carry and only one rush of 15 yards or longer. Something will have to give come Saturday. Went down to the endzone and watched the OL warmup this past weekend. This is a very confident and athletic group(and we are building some depth). Should be fun Saturday.
We lose Jones, Peeples and Wright this year. Bostic needs to redshirt.
Next years A-Back rotation: Smith, Bostic, Zenon, Hill and Snody(sp?). Speed and more SPEED.

ormewood

September 21st, 2011
6:47 am

Coples started at DT last season. He’s at DE this year. Austin and Quinn did not play against the Jackets last season.

ToeMeetsLeather

September 21st, 2011
6:57 am

Holy cow, 2.3 per carry and one run of 15+, something has got to give Saturday. Went down to the endzone and watched the OL warmup this past Saturday. This is a very athletic and confident group(with some depth now). Should be fun come Saturday!

Bostic needs to redshirt. We lose Jones, Peeples and Wright this year.
Next year’s A-Back rotation: Smith, Bostic, Zenon, Hill and Snody(SP?). Speed and more SPEED!

Paddy

September 21st, 2011
7:11 am

Perimeter Center Jacket…….good info, thanks!

Birmingham Jacket

September 21st, 2011
8:23 am

OK….

FSU and possibly Virginia Tech and Clemson are leaving this sorry excuse for a football conference for greener pasutures.

If Radakovich doesn’t get us to the Big-10, home games with U.Conn, WF, crappy Duke and Maryland will average attendance, slightly more than highschools in Dekalb.

The New ACC

September 21st, 2011
8:27 am

Birmingham Jacket -

You poser and liar. No one believes any of your posts. Go away little kid.

gt4ever

September 21st, 2011
8:29 am

I really like this coach….. He is right on point, when he says we could be embarrassed if we don’t bring our A game…. These players just need to shut up and play football. Nobody on this team has any business thinking they are better than how they play from week to week…. I agree with TechRedNeck, leave all the trash talking to the MORONs in Athens….

spider

September 21st, 2011
8:31 am

goon squad just be ready to be cheated at BYU in two years.

GT

September 21st, 2011
8:31 am

North Carolina always have good defensive lineman. They have been the bump in the road for Tech historically and these guys seem better than most years. Put a good football coach into Chapel Hill and you would have a top 10 team every other year. Brown is about the only coach to crack the underachievers label up there. Wouldn’t it be something if a coach they were forced to hire out of a bad situation ends up being the man. In the meanwhile this new Tech offense works the defensive ends better good with lots to think about. Should be a great game maybe the best of the year.

carolinajacket

September 21st, 2011
8:32 am

Should be a great game. It will show how good the offense really is. I agree with those who are calling for a better pass rush. We’d better not give their qb all day to throw his passes. If so, he will eat us up alive.

wlm

September 21st, 2011
8:34 am

The GT 12th man just rolled out a new app 12.1 – (yards per carry).

Too Funny

September 21st, 2011
8:38 am

First it was rings for finally getting a win against UGA (nothing since by the way) and now T Shirts for running up and down the field against a really sorry team and least we forget 4 hot dogs – 4 cokes – 4 seats or whatever it was.

Ol'JacketFan

September 21st, 2011
8:43 am

I think these young men know what’s ahead of them and will step up to the challenge. If they don’t it could well be a long day but they’ve gaced this type of defensive line before and have come out on top. NC is talented but Tech has handled them well in past games. Unless they get sloppy with ball and fail to execute I look for a win on Saturday.

Go Jackets!

T3

September 21st, 2011
8:50 am

I think this will be a VERY tough game. I think the line is GT by 1.

This could be a game of attrition, with each team trying to run the ball to wear down
the opposing defense. I would have to believe thats UNC’s game plan.

Voice of Reason

September 21st, 2011
8:50 am

wlm,

That YPC average displaced a long-standing record. Alabama had held the record since 1971, when they averaged 11.9 YPC in a game against Virginia Tech.

GT

September 21st, 2011
8:51 am

Works them pretty good, not better good. The coffee has not set in yet. I do believe Carolina is very much the poster child for the ACC. I like how they have gotten over this probation stuff and put a team on the field that is representative. That said we don’t need to get them in the habit of beating us so Saturday is a big game.

Ol'JacketFan

September 21st, 2011
8:53 am

Yes, NC is talented, more so than any team we’ve faced this year, but Tech has faced talented NC team before and has usually come out the winner. This o line is more athletic and talented than in the past and I expect them to come out and play well. What I seen so far is this group of young men playing as a team, executing their assignment and nothing to date gives me reason to think that Saturday will be any different. As long as they take care of the ball and stay focused I think they will again take care business and win.

Go Jackets!

DawginLex

September 21st, 2011
8:57 am

Last year, the guys that played were supposed to be backups for UNC because of all the suspensions. Tech gashed them pretty good.

Big question is how they have matured and gotten better after a year of experience.

I think it will be a close game and Tech will win at the end.

Coaching matters

38-30

Ol'JacketFan

September 21st, 2011
9:01 am

Let’s try this again…………..NC is talented, more so that any team the Jackets have faced this year. But, they’ve been talented for the last several years and that has not translated into wins against Tech. Our O line is more athletic and talented than I seen in the past and that bodes well against an athletic front. Again, if they play as a unit, execute their assigments and stay focused there is no reason they cannot win this game. This edition of the Jackets has done exactly what a good team should have done in it’s first 3 games. Having seen past team struggle against lesser opponents and what this year’s team has done brings a level of confidence as the competition gets better. It appears this team understands that to win they have to play their best each game.

Go Jackets!

Brock

September 21st, 2011
9:03 am

Too funny- Tech broke a rushing record that stood for 30+ yrs. What has your team done in the last 30+ yrs?

golfman22

September 21st, 2011
9:06 am

North Carolina, a bump in the road? Tech has won 11out of the last 13!!!

Voice of Reason

September 21st, 2011
9:07 am

I don’t understand? What is funny about breaking a record?

Voice of Reason

September 21st, 2011
9:08 am

@golfman22

Wouldn’t that define a “bump”, as opposed to a roadblock?