Archive for September, 2011

UNC coach assesses Georgia Tech offense


Hope you’re well. I spoke with Art Kaufman, North Carolina’s defensive coordinator, from the side of the road on the north side of the Perimeter Wednesday. (on the phone, not in person) As you might imagine, he had some nice things to say about Georgia Tech’s offense that hopefully you’ll learn something from, and explained a little about what his defense has done.

Before I forget, I want to say I really appreciate the compliments and kind words about the blog. It makes it so much more enjoyable to do when it’s being received as it has been. I hope I’ll be able to keep it up.

1. On holding opposing offenses to 2.3 yards per carry, with only one run going longer than 15 yards, and that a 34-yarder.

Kaufman said it starts with the defense, starting with the tackles, then the ends and then the linebackers, committing to playing their “run fit,” basically staying in the gap they’ve been assigned to close up.

“I think the biggest thing is their technique,” he said. “They …

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Possessions key for Georgia Tech


This is the notebook for Thursday’s paper. Not a ton of new stuff in here (there’s a sales pitch) if you’ve read the stuff previously posted Wednesday, but hopefully something new. And to the caller to Paul Johnson’s radio show with the Moneyball question who mentioned the blog, my thanks. That made my evening. Next time, though, please give out the website when you mention it. (kidding)

1. Georgia Tech A-back Orwin Smith is 42nd in FBS in rushing at 90 yards per game with just 12 carries. No one ahead of him has fewer than twice as many rushes and most have four times as many or more.

Smith, who is averaging 22.5 yards per carry, is fine with it.

“It’s not tough, because I look at it as an advantage,” Smith said. “I feel like we can last longer.”

At Phenix City (Ala.) Central High, Smith got as many as 30 touches a game, he said, but at Tech he receives 10 in a busy game. Against Kansas Saturday, he used his five carries to go 157 yards, including a …

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Lyons, Greene doubtful for Georgia Tech


Got a few bits of information from practice Wednesday.

1. B-back Preston Lyons and wide receiver Jeff Greene are doubtful for Saturday’s game. Coach Paul Johnson did not specify what the injuries were. That means, in all likelihood, that Charles Perkins moves up to No. 2 and either Daniel McKayhan or Chris Jackson move up to No. 3. (That’s my second mention of Chris Jackson today.)

2. Guard J.C. Lanier and A-back Marcus Wright have been practicing this week and are available to play. It doesn’t, of course, mean that they will. If Lanier plays, it’d be his first snaps on offense after coming to Tech as a defensive lineman.

3. Johnson answer to a question about if he ever would flip an offensive lineman from one side to the other to match up against a “real stud” defensive lineman:

“Which real stud do we got that we’d want to put on him?”

(The eventual answer was no.)

4. Interesting comment from UNC coach Everett Withers on the ACC teleconference about Johnson’s …

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O. Smith breaks down Tech offense


A-back Orwin Smith spoke with Paul Newberry of the Associated Press and me for several minutes Tuesday after practice in an enlightening interview on a few different topics, including how he was able to grow up in Alabama and not develop an affinity for college football. Smith, you’ll recall, became the first Georgia Tech player to have 100 rushing and receiving yards in the same game and averaged 37.9 yards on seven offensive touches with touchdowns of 95 (rushing) and 67 (receiving) yards. Onward…

1. Smith began playing organized football around the age of seven in Phenix City, Ala., which is right across the river from Columbus, but was more into playing a number of sports than watching them.

“I grew up not even watching college football,” he said. “My family itself wasn’t really big on football. We had a lot of women.”

He only started paying notice to Auburn, just down the road from Phenix City, as a sophomore.

Said Smith, “They were my first (scholarship) …

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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 …

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Radakovich addresses expansion


Following Paul Johnson’s news conference, Dan Radakovich visited with assembled news media to address the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and also to try to move some tickets. I wrote a couple stories about expansion, one on Monday about the announcement of the move and a second-day story about the basketball ramifications of the expansion.

1. Radakovich noted the work that a group of conference presidents, athletic directors and faculty reps have been doing for the last year and a half looking into expansion and realignment, and that the group had started to drill down in the last three to five weeks.

2. Tech has a home-and-home for 2015 and ‘16 with Syracuse, by which point the Orange will be in the ACC, so Radakovich and associate athletic director Ryan Bamford could have to start finding a new non-conference opponent. Please start constructing your Tech vs. Michigan/Ohio State/Texas/Florida/Oregon/Chick-fil-A kickoff game scenarios.

It’s …

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15 points from Johnson news conference


A pretty lengthy media session for Paul Johnson, a bit larger than we had for, say, the Middle Tennessee State game. After that, Dan Radakovich stopped by to make a plea for fans to attend Saturday’s game and also to field questions about Pitt and Syracuse (you heard it here first – Radakovich grew up a Pitt Panthers fan). I’ll attempt a synopsis.

1. Johnson mentioned that some fundamentals on offense could be better, namely blocking on the perimeter – details like angles and proper footwork. Before I forget, he mentioned that Orwin Smith can be a better blocking, not that he’s unwilling, but just has to get the technique down. It reminded me that I a carry, I think by Roddy Jones, in which Smith was out in front and attempted to cut down a Kansas player and was unable to, which curtailed the play.

2. Johnson doesn’t pay attention to the polls, especially this early in the season.

3. On the three-game streak of scores on the first play from scrimmage, Johnson said …

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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 …

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Tech gets 3:30 p.m. start for N.C. State

Having won its first three games and earned a top-25 ranking, Georgia Tech will have widespread television exposure  for two consecutive weeks. ESPN announced Monday that it will give its 3:30 p.m. to the Yellow Jackets’ Oct. 1 game at N.C. State. The game will be carried on ABC regionally and ESPN elsewhere.

The Jackets’ Saturday game against North Carolina will be broadcast by ESPN at noon. The Tar Heels (3-0) are ranked No. 25 in the USA Today coaches poll, one spot below Tech. N.C. State (2-1) is unranked.

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Tech offense riding high


A pretty big weekend, it turned out. Georgia Tech blasts Kansas, the ACC adds Pittsburgh and Syracuse and the Yellow Jackets jump in the poll for the first time in a year. Two points and we’ll start the week. Plenty to do.

1. I can’t say I’ve witnessed too many Tech games with Paul Johnson at the helm – I’d put the count at 18 or 19, if you include television – but that was as impressive a performance as I’ve seen. After the game, Johnson mentioned a couple mistakes made by the offense – a missed block, David Sims‘ fumble – but it sounded like he was pointing them out because he had to point out something.

That said, I am quite confident Johnson and the offensive staff have found mistakes after reviewing game video and will only be too happy to point them out before practice, perhaps to the point players will be wondering how they ever scored 66 points.

I imagine, too, coaches will be on guard for any hint of let-up or satisfaction among players.

That said, back to …

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