Hill returns to practice for Georgia Tech

Greetings-

These are the practice notes that will go in the paper. The other lads on the beat and I spoke with B-backs/quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon, which I’ll post Wednesday morning. Herr Bohannon was informative as usual. Most of the stuff in here got touched on, I think, in the last few posts. Maybe of most interest to you is that Stephen Hill practiced and Preston Lyons is expected to play.

You might also be interested to know that my colleague Michael Cunningham spoke with Tyler Melton about his role in the Georgia Tech offense. Melton is one of the best interviews on the team and I presume you will be pleased to hear that Melton explained his downfield blocking using the Pythagorean theorem. That story should be posted Thursday late afternoon.

Thanks for reading.

1. Four games into the season, Georgia Tech is undefeated and first in the country in total offense, scoring and passing efficiency and second in rushing.

The Yellow Jackets are doing it despite hardly ever running their staple play, the triple option. They ran it four or five times in Saturday’s win over North Carolina. In other games, Tech might run it 15 times.

The offense’s success is testament to the flexibility of the spread option scheme, the depth of playmakers and the playcalling of coach Paul Johnson. Defenses are geared up to stop the triple option, Johnson said, so he’s called other plays to counterattack.

“No use forcing it,” Johnson said.

It doesn’t hurt that he has playmakers in wide receiver Stephen Hill and A-back Orwin Smith, along with quarterback Tevin Washington distributing the ball efficiently. A-backs Roddy Jones and Embry Peeples and B-back David Sims have been a part of a combined nine plays of 20 yards or more, too. Johnson said the diversity of talent makes the team “kind of unique” in that he doesn’t scheme for one particular player to get the ball, as he has done in the past with home-run hitting B-backs Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Allen.

“You just kind of run the system,” he said. “If they want to take away David Sims, then, O.K., we’ll give it to Orwin Smith. If they want to take away Orwin, we’ll do whatever.”

Thus far, 11 different players have had runs, passes or receptions for 20 yards or more.

“I think that’s the neat thing about what we do right now, is you don’t know who’s week it’s going to be,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said.

(It would seem that Tech won’t get the projected production from the B-back spot that Johnson predicted before the season (around 1,300 yards). Something tells me that’s not a big concern with Tech fans right now.)

2. The Tech defense has plenty to clean up after last Saturday’s game. While amassing seven sacks and two interceptions and coming through with two crucial stops at game’s end, the Jackets had problems with alignment, communication, tackling and pursuit angles.

“A lot of [the problem] was just being out of position completely, not really doing what you were supposed to in the defense,” outside linebacker Steven Sylvester said. “Once a play unfolds, you have certain responsibilities that you were supposed to do, and a lot of the times, we weren’t even doing that.”

At times, particularly as the noise in Bobby Dodd Stadium ramped up, players had a hard time hearing each other and were missing signals from the sideline, defensive end Jason Peters said.

The Tar Heels scored touchdowns on all three of its red-zone opportunities. Tech opponents, in fact, have scored 11 touchdowns in 13 red-zone chances. Tech is tied for 100th out of 120 FBS teams in red-zone defense.

(That last number is rather astounding. Like some of the special teams, that has to improve or it could very well end up costing Tech at some point.)

3. After sitting out practice Monday, Hill returned Tuesday. B-back Preston Lyons and wide receiver Jeff Greene, who sat out the North Carolina game with undisclosed injuries, will be available to play this Saturday. Johnson said that he wants to get more playing time for A-back Tony Zenon. He didn’t play much against North Carolina, which Johnson called an oversight. “We need to get him in some,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that against North Carolina, offensive tackles Ray Beno and Tyler Kidney played a little better than Phil Smith, in his second game back after a two-game suspension.

“He’s still a little rusty, so I expect him to play better as we go along,” Johnson said.

The kickoff specialist spot will again be determined in practice, between Chandler Anderson and Justin Moore.

(A three-tackle rotation is helpful for Tech. The line needs all the useful depth it can get. I spoke with Moore after practice. He’s trying to work his way out of his kickoff issues and is hopeful things will get corrected. He said he thought the issues were timing related, “but I think I’ll get there very soon because I know I have to.”

4. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu was named the Football Writers Association of America/Bronko Nagurski national defensive player of the week for his three sacks, nine tackles, one forced fumble and one tipped pass against North Carolina. He will be added to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the nation’s best defensive player.

(He’s going national. It’ll be interesting to see how he follows up last Saturday.)

Thanks for reading. Please follow on Facebook and Twitter.

By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat

78 comments Add your comment

gt in clt

September 27th, 2011
8:37 pm

Hayseed Dixie

September 27th, 2011
8:46 pm

Jeremiah Attaochu deserves it. He fits the concept of the LB flying around the field that we were sold when CAG became DC.

You have to be encouraged by the sacks against UNC. Now if they could just finish all their tackles.

I’ve watched the game a couple of times since Saturday: improve the special teams play, finish 2 or 3 more tackles, and if Stephen Hill doesn’t drop a pass, Tech blows out UNC.

I’m still waiting for our defense to put together a complete game. They’re very close and gaining by the week.

wes

September 27th, 2011
8:50 pm

Our red zone defense is pathetic.

At least this is a very young team in year 2 of this 3-4 scheme. I expect they’ll improve as they get more seasoned…so to speak.

Ramblin Man

September 27th, 2011
8:57 pm

Thanks for the updates Ken.
I really hope we see 4 quarters of hard defense this Saturday. The noise was to loud at Bobby Dodd? I thought GT had no fans and the team played in an empty stadium. I knew my UGA buddy was lying. Glad to see Greene back in the line up, but I would really like to see Melton get a few shots like Hill gets for all the great blocking he has been doing.

Ramblin Man

September 27th, 2011
8:57 pm

aaarrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggg. Why filter why???????????????????????????

GT Lady

September 27th, 2011
8:57 pm

Groh is absolutely awful. I followed him at UVA and didn’t believe in him then and still don’t. GT offense is good enough to win every game, it’s the defense that is the problem. If Groh can get them playing well, the Jackets have a chance to run the table. Go Jackets!

old tech grad

September 27th, 2011
9:01 pm

ToeMeetsLeather

September 27th, 2011
9:02 pm

Groh didn’t inherit much talent on that side of the ball. His players are starting to make an impact and they are still very young. Still need a couple of DL impact recruits though.

Ramblin Man

September 27th, 2011
9:03 pm

Thanks for the updates Ken.
Glad to see Greene and Hill are back, but I would like to see Melton get some love for all the great blocking he has been doing.
Did I read that right about too much noise at Bobby Dodd? Makes no sense I was told by an UGA buddy that GT only has like twenty something fans. How much noise could they make?
Seriously though special teams and defense has to get better. The defense shows flashes and just needs to find that final missing piece to play 4 full quarters.

GTJeff

September 27th, 2011
9:08 pm

Have a little faith GTlady. The defense is significantly better than last year’s squad. Groh is a very good defensive mind & like he said when he came here, it takes 3 years to get this 3-4 scheme down.

Ramblin Man

September 27th, 2011
9:09 pm

Agree totally with ToeMeetsLeather. Groh has some nice young LBs and secondary for next few years and hopefully the depth will continue to get better. The D-line is the main weakness. I have seen them make some good plays and they do clear gaps for the LBs sometimes I am just not sure about the depth. Current commits look nice, but I would bet they redshirt which puts them two years away.

Stephen CC

September 27th, 2011
9:10 pm

Stephen CC

September 27th, 2011
9:11 pm

Make that tenth!

GT

September 27th, 2011
9:11 pm

I keep thinking recruiting will help the defense but I am not sure it will….

Stephen CC

September 27th, 2011
9:15 pm

And I agree with ToeMeetsLeather and Ramblin Man. Our defense has improved greatly (look at the stats the last few years) and appears to be headed in the right direction. Of course there are areas that need improvement, which will always be the case, but things feel much better this year. If we keep working at it, we may end up with a pretty good team! GO JACKETS!!!

Not Disappointed

September 27th, 2011
9:17 pm

Just keep winnning Jackets!

Ramblin Wreck!

GT

September 27th, 2011
9:20 pm

GTJeff,

I agree with GT Lady, she is RIGHT! This defense is aufull right now! Gorh said it would take 2 years to get it where it needs to be. If tallent is an issue there is no excuse for it. Other programs recruit well. Heck recruiting is part of it. If you can’t recruit go to the NFL.

GT

September 27th, 2011
9:24 pm

If a Defense keeps a team under 21 point they have done OK…
Under 17 they have done good
Under 10 is excelent!!!

We have been well over these numbers in every game…..
to me football is played with good Defense and running game….

wes

September 27th, 2011
9:25 pm

Who recruited Jeremiah Attaochu?

Al Groh.

Born2Buzz

September 27th, 2011
9:33 pm

Ken, your doing a great job. But from now on when you mention the two tackles names in sequence like that, you need to reverse their order. You know why.

Just humor me, OK.

D is looking better but obviously has work to do. But last years D would not have made those stops at the end. We would have been left with the O trying to win with a last minute drive. Just keep working hard boys.

Stephen CC

September 27th, 2011
9:34 pm

GT, we could be critical of your spelling errors, but what’s the point? You communicated and we understood your opinion. The same is true of our defense. Yes there are errors. Yes we can point out things. But look at the bottom line—-they are winning. And so far they are keeping the opposing team’s point total less than our own. Let’s support them as they move forward. GO JACKETS!!!

Born2Buzz

September 27th, 2011
9:56 pm

Paul Johnson is the head coach and as such he is responsible for the entire team, including the defense. If you trust him to do the right thing for the team, you need to trust him in his belief in Al Groh and where the defense is headed. Look at the stats compared to last year and I think you will find they are improving. I know the talent is better this year.

Alan

September 27th, 2011
10:14 pm

Thanks for the updates Ken. Superb job!
Glad to have you back Stephen. Keep up the solid work this year!

West Coast Jacket

September 27th, 2011
10:27 pm

I was at the game on Saturday and was impressed by two things.
First, who was the guy wearing Steven Hill’s number last year? Cannot believe the difference a year (or a quarterback) makes. His first quarter one hand catch would make Calvin Johnson envious.
Second, the defense played with magnificent energy on the last two series of the game. If they can play with that same determination for an entire game then good days are ahead.

Ken Sugiura

September 27th, 2011
10:43 pm

congrats, gt in clt, and also stephen cc.
i’ll try to remember, born2buzz. ha ha.

gt45

September 27th, 2011
10:44 pm

Gt lady, get back to washing the clothes. We only gave up 90 yards the first half. Caroline made adjustments in the 3rd, and we adjusted in the 4th. This d is head and shoulders above where we were last year. We aren’t without probs, but we are getting MUCH better.

59jacket

September 27th, 2011
11:00 pm

Defensive problems:
Players having to think and then act instead of just reacting
Tackling is running up and hugging the ball carrier instead of hitting and wrapping up at the same time,
Inability of coaches to make adjustments between possessions.
Lack of spirit and passion by defensive players and coaches—this is college football, not pros.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 27th, 2011
11:02 pm

gt 45 you’re an idiot to make a remark. I don’t agree totally with GT Lady’s remarks but I do welcome her opinion and support of the team. You on the other hand should go back to your porn website – weirdo.

F U M B L E fumble, fumble

September 27th, 2011
11:04 pm

This year’s schedule is working out so well for the Jackets. While they have to take care of business the next three games, they can get things ironed out for Mia, Clem. & VT and whatever comes along after that.
One thing that’s really noticeable is how pathetic UGA posters have gotten. It’s like trash blowing on the side of the road; it’s an eyesore and you wish some redneck hadn’t left it there, but it means nothing and’s forgotten as soon as it’s passed.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 27th, 2011
11:07 pm

Defense is fine and more than good enough with this team’s offense. Sure they need to shore up the red zone but they showed plenty of heart when it counted against UNC making them 1 for 1 in that department. Too many critical peoples here – show some love.

Todd

September 27th, 2011
11:10 pm

I agree with some of what 59jacket is saying. But, I think the root cause for “lack of spirit” is actually just the side effect of the first point he made – ‘Players having to think and then act..”

You can tell when the guys are on their heels trying to “read” – they get in trouble. But on those plays where they just attack, their talent really shows up (like Peters shooting through in the 4th Qtr). With time, I think they’ll get better at playing fast w/o having to think about what they’re doing (still).

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 27th, 2011
11:13 pm

Ken, ESPN.com shows Tech leading nation in total rushing yardage.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 27th, 2011
11:30 pm

Looks like Tech leads the nation in total points and points per game.

gt82

September 28th, 2011
5:12 am

Observations about the defense:
The nickel package is much more effective than the straight 3-4. UNC recognized they could throw on our straight 3-4 package. We could not stop them until we switched from Drummond to Jamea Thomas. We got better pressure from various blitz packages and did not lose much in Thomas’ run stopping. Drummond has to get better in pass coverage, or we will continue to get burned over the middle.

GT71

September 28th, 2011
6:58 am

Learn and adjust, learn and adjust. That’s football – on BOTH sides of the ball. ANd yes, Ken the booth guys do help a lot – I was totally joking yesterday. At least the SUPER got it.
Uncalled for are comments belittling any Tech supporter – lay off GTLady. Trolls you can slaughter, Jacket fans – not.
D is surely improving and by the fact they are making adjustments, they prove they are coachable. Perhaps it’s easier to adjust quickly during a game, but it does seem a week’s practice could prepare them better…then you think about our O and the trouble D coaches have against us. Just sayin.
Nice to see Hill is back, but then we knew the injury wasn’t all that bad as I believe he was in toward the end of the game. Focus, Mr. Hill, focus.

AMG

September 28th, 2011
7:18 am

Give me a break, you are correct, but air force is ahead of Tech 7.3 to 7.2 yards per carry. So my take is tech is number one in the nation in rushing and number 2 in yards per carry.

threetrone

September 28th, 2011
7:23 am

hard to complain about a defense that played the way they did for the first 3 games, and actually did allright against NC, allowing only one big run; it was the passes to their tight end that burned us, and some other passes for first downs, but we still had some sacks and a few successful blitzes; complaining when the defense has blown out the first 3 teams is similar to complaining about the numbers on the jerseys worn for the WC game not being any good, even though the game was a blowout; I don’t concur with any of the complaining as Tech grad of ‘73, and I had no problem with the O’Leary gold numbers worn for the WC game as some chronic complainers did; these complainers must have cried alot when they were infants

Get this

September 28th, 2011
7:29 am

Because I pointed out that the ajc recruiting guy is a uga grad and how I believe that makes it impossible for him to be fair and balanced, he blocks me from being able to post. Nice censoring. What a joke that is.

GT71

September 28th, 2011
7:33 am

I’ll try to get this thru again –
Learn and adjust, learn and adjust – that’s football. The D is coachable as proved by their ability to adjust during games – kudos to Al Groh and staff for that. Bu it does seem, that if they are coachable during games, they could be coachable during a week’s worth of practice. But also remember that opposing D coaches have trouble with our O, so perhaps most offenses present problems – personnel, schemes,etc. – for all D coaches. But our D is improving and Groh did recruit Attaochu and he was simply inspired Saturday.
And BTW, lay off GTLady. No TEch fan should be razzed on our sites. Trolls, on the other hand are always fair game – gittem!
THWG

GT71

September 28th, 2011
7:33 am

Enter your comments here

GT71

September 28th, 2011
7:42 am

Learn and adjust, learn and adjust. That’s football and TEch’s D is proving it’s capapble of being coached so Coach Groh is doing some good. It does seem that a week’s practice could better prepare the guys for a game, but then you think about the opposing D coaches trouble with our O and realize we’re not alone.
A road test is just the thing we now need and the schedule provides the perfect host.
Learn, adjust and win!

Old Gold Britches

September 28th, 2011
7:45 am

Thanks Ken! Keep up the good work. The defenses is way ahead of last year. It takes time folks. Some people just have to be negative about something all the time. Al Groh has taken this defense and improved it. His efforts will continue to show improvement.

BME

September 28th, 2011
7:46 am

Defensive stats are hard to interpret since early games were blowouts with lots of substitutes playing. They look better than the last two years and I think the comments about Groh are UGAesq. Publicly criticizing a 4-0 ranked team and/or their coaches is just like a child wanting attention.

reebok

September 28th, 2011
7:52 am

The defense is coming along fine. Several of those red-zone TD’s were scored against 2nd & 3rd-teamers after the Jackets had insurmountable leads. And 28 points to N Carolina isn’t great, but it was good enough to win, and it would have been good enough to win by a bunch if the offense hadnn’t spit the bit on 2-3 scoring opportunities. GO JACKETS!!!

reebok

September 28th, 2011
7:53 am

BME, funny, I was making much the same point as you, but your post hadn’t appeared as I was typing..great minds, and all that…

GT70

September 28th, 2011
7:57 am

Quote from point #2 – “Jackets had problems with alignment, communication, tackling and pursuit angles. “A lot of [the problem] was just being out of position completely, not really doing what you were supposed to in the defense”

I agree this defense looks better than the last several. BUT! Alignment problems, not going where you’re supposed to be etc. Shouldn’t they know this by now?

hal

September 28th, 2011
8:03 am

Can you imagine Tech with a solid defense? They would be in the hunt big time.

threetrone

September 28th, 2011
8:14 am

well hal, if you find the defense as not solid throughout the first 3 games, you must be looking for a Cumberland 222-0 defense

threetrone

September 28th, 2011
8:20 am

was wondering about the Hill dropped pass/injury, and if he was faking injury b/c he dropped the pass; if he was faking, that would be characteristic of a black player and never a white player; we connected w/Tech don’t want that kind of black acting by black Tech players

fan of shorter passes & longer runs

September 28th, 2011
8:38 am

Wow, so many unhappy-rather criticize the D…that had seven sacks…recently…and Tech won the game(s). A few of you guys are almost wet blankets.

The Tech season is like a building crescendo that will probably only stop if Tech finally has a loss.

Fun story in the Charlotte paper today about the confusion Tech is causing the teams in NC.