Paul Johnson reviews Maryland, talks Virginia

Greetings-

Some tidbits from Paul Johnson’s Tuesday news conference. Onward…

1. Johnson said that Maryland ran a lot of “2-3 exchange” in defending the option. It was part of an answer about Tevin Washington’s 32 carries. As I understood his explanation – perhaps someone on the blog can clarify further – it’s a scheme in which the safety and outside linebacker, as they come down to defend the option on the perimeter, switch assignments in an attempt to confuse the quarterback. He said that wasn’t necessarily the problem as defenses have run that against his offense for years and, he noted, Maryland did it on Washington’s first carry, which he ran for 21 yards.

“We just didn’t do a very good job of executing [the option] at times,” Johnson said.

2. Johnson said he thought the notion that teams with an open date have an advantage preparing for his offense “might be overhyped a little bit.” He said that line of thought is similar to the common refrain about how teams have to play Tech differently.

“We’ll have to play disciplined defense against Virginia,” he said, reciting the common mantra of teams about to play the Jackets. “If we’re not disciplined and our guys don’t play the gaps they’ve got and their responsibilities, we’ll get gashed. So you have to play disciplined defense against Virginia.”

3. Johnson said the offensive line didn’t have one of their better games against Maryland, but that changes likely aren’t forthcoming. Part of it is that there aren’t a lot of choices. “The guards are who they are, and the center (also),” he said.

Guard Shaquille Mason played more in the game, and it sounds like he may get more time.

4. He didn’t have much explanation about why Tech hasn’t done well in Charlottesville beyond the fact that “I guess they’ve had pretty good teams. That’s what causes you to struggle when you go somewhere.”

5. He was asked about preseason predictions and how both Wake Forest and Tech, two teams not predicted to fare well, have done better than expected. Johnson said, not surprisingly, that he doesn’t put much stock into what they say but he might use them for motivational purposes.

He said he hasn’t used it this year, he said. “I might have said in passing, ‘Well, nobody thinks we’re worth a [crud].’”

He said he doesn’t know who picks what unless he’s told. Question of the day: “What about Heather Dinich?”

Big laughs. If you don’t know, Heather is ESPN’s ACC blogger who has become the bane of many Tech fans. (An aside: I’d bet if you went into every ACC team’s message boards, there’d be fans convinced that she has it in for their team. The other thing is that when she picks against Tech, it’s evidence that she doesn’t think much of the team and when she picks for Tech, she’s trying to jinx the Jackets. It’s kind of like how some Tech fans are convinced that Jeff Schultz and Mark Bradley LOVE Georgia and hate Tech. I am confident that there are UGA fans who believe the exact opposite.

Anyway, his reponse:

“Honestly, it’s not a big deal,” he said. “I don’t think any of our games have hinged on who people have picked to win. That’s not been our greatest motivation. Like, Oh, my goodness. Can you guys believe that so-and-so picked us to win?”

6. On kickoff return, Johnson said Morgan Carter had a nice block on Tony Zenon’s long return. Carter is a walk-on linebacker. (He interned at the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, by the way.) He said there’s more work to do on that unit. There was the one big return (Zenon’s 79-yarder) “and the others were so-so.”

7. Johnson gave a pat on the back to B-backs Charles Perkins and Richard Watson, who both have played sparingly after coming up short in the B-back derby in preseason camp. Johnson said he pulled Perkins aside Monday to tell him that “he busted his tail really hard last week” and practiced as hard as anyone on the team. (If you’ll remember, B-backs and quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon opened the spot up going into the Maryland game.) Watson, too, has had a good attitude despite hardly playing, Johnson said. (He was put on the kickoff return team along with Carter last week.)

“Both of those guys have been real positive,” he said.

8. Johnson said defensive coordinator Al Groh knows the Virginia players and their capabilities (he was head coach there until being fired after the 2009 season), but since the offense is going to do what it’s going to do, his information might not be of the greatest value, partly because his knowledge is two years old and also because he’s probably not paying much attention to Virginia’s defense anyway.

He did think it could probably help Groh as he prepares for Virginia’s offense.

“It’s not going to change what we do,” Johnson said..

9. Johnson was asked if he had a chart for two-point conversions and his strategy.

“I’m not real smart, but I can usually do multiples of seven,” he said.

He said it depended a lot on the flow of the game and the time remaining, as well as the score. For instance, he said, “If you feel like it’s going to be a high-scoring game, you don’t worry about it because once you miss you’re going to chase it.”

He did say the coaches in the box have a sheet with the point-differential scenarios and suggested options.

“I can ask what the chart says,” he said. “I usually don’t do that much.”

10. Johnson said he usually watches a lot of football after home games and flipped between Navy, Georgia Southern and the Virginia Tech-Miami game. He said he doesn’t watch looking for ideas, even if it’s teams with similar offenses and former assistants, as the cases are with Navy and Georgia Southern.

“Am I going to jump up and copy Georgia Southern or Navy?” he asked. “Probably not, but that doesn’t mean what they’re doing isn’t good.”

11. He punted on a question about division realignment in light of expansion, including the possibility of a north-south configuration.

“They’ll figure it out,” he said. “They’re not going to ask my opinion anyway, so it really doesn’t matter.”

A note from my colleague Doug Roberson:

Georgia Tech won’t host Georgia until Nov. 26. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t already thinking about the game. Tell us your favorite play in the rivalry, and the AJC will try to track down the players involved and tell you what they remember about that game and what they are doing now. Please send your favorite (just one, please) and why to Doug Roberson to droberson@ajc.com.

Thanks for reading. I’ll have post-practice notes up around 9:30 this evening.

Please follow on Facebook and Twitter.

By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat

409 comments Add your comment

gsheffield

October 11th, 2011
1:14 pm

gtrob21

October 11th, 2011
1:16 pm

gtrob21

October 11th, 2011
1:17 pm

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
1:20 pm

Does this guy answer any questions?

Wrecker

October 11th, 2011
1:21 pm

Gotta’ love coach!

gtechsta

October 11th, 2011
1:21 pm

Ken, why aren’t Tech fans being asked to do this. This came from Chip “Bulldog” Towers blog:

In the meantime, we have some questions we need to ask you. . . .

Georgia Tech won’t host Georgia until Nov. 26. But if you’re like us, you can’t help but be looking ahead to that intriguing matchup. Here’s what we want you to do:

Tell us your favorite play in the rivalry and the AJC will try to track down the players involved and tell you what they remember about that game and what they are doing now. Please send an email to Doug Roberson at droberson@ajc.com describing your favorite play in the series and why. Just one per reader, please

Saban

October 11th, 2011
1:21 pm

I suspect the same coach that goes on fourth down and if tech continues to win may very well use Lee if the team can win with him.

Believe he will play against clemson.

An undefeated season doesn`t come along very often and if it comes down to that Lee will go in.

carolinajacket

October 11th, 2011
1:22 pm

I look for the offense to put it back in gear and the defense to keep improving. But our kicking game needs to work harder. UVA has been tough. Can’t have a let down.

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
1:25 pm

Coach Johnson, how do your moobies factor into the B-Back rotation?

“er, um, duh, well I’ll tell you, don’t know, don’t care, FAIL, DERP”

Good answer coach.

GTJason

October 11th, 2011
1:26 pm

I don’t believe the freshman mistakes will make Lee any more capable of winning than Washington in the Clemson game. Washington is a horrid passer though despite the awesome numbers.

GTScientist

October 11th, 2011
1:29 pm

Lee will not be inserted into the game unless there are injuries to both QB’s.

GTgirl156

October 11th, 2011
1:31 pm

I love CPJ! he is such a no nonsense kind of guy! I know that if our guys play the way we know they can, to their potential and as a team, CPJ will lead us to our second win in Charlettesville since 1990! I am nervous though because i do think them having 2 weeks to prepare for us will give them a little bit of an advantage. But if we go in there and play our game we will come out on top!

GO JACKETS! THWG!

juvenal

October 11th, 2011
1:43 pm

have to admit, uga’s coach better sideline foto op, gq looks, so calm…..

GTPhenom

October 11th, 2011
1:44 pm

Wow, seems the trolls have come out of the woodwork this week. Must be something about the pups winning or something. Anywho, gotta love the candid response from CPJ. Absolutely classic. I think I sometimes pay attention to what he says just to see how much of a fool he makes out of some of the reporters, haha. Get after it coach, and have our boys ready to play this weekend. I would love to still see a big fat zero in the loss column after this week. Go Jackets, and as always, To Hell With georgia.

Tech75

October 11th, 2011
1:46 pm

I always enjoy reading CPJ’s responses. It’s obvious that he focuses solely on what’s most important – style points mean nothing to him.

1. The score at the end of the game is the bottom line. Period.
2. A lot of people find a lot of enjoyment discussing and debating the fine points. Great, but he’s not going to pay attention to much of that. He’s going to focus on the next game, and ONLY the next game. Everything else is out of his control.
3. Football is about your players executing their responsibilities, play after play; Knock THEM on their butts more often than they knock YOU on your butt.

Ramblin Man

October 11th, 2011
1:47 pm

Why in the world would Lee be put in during the Clemson game? I can’t fathom a coach putting a true freshman in for a game that may depending on the Ws be huge and maybe on ESPN gameday.
I just hope Tevin and the receivers have been working on their timing.

Crow

October 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

Our team is playing well enough to keep up with Clemson. But even if we seem like we might come up a little short, CPJ wouldn’t put Lee in the game, hoping for an edge. I don’t care how good the kid is (supposed to be), he hasn’t played a down in college ball and quite honestly I’d be really dissapointed in CPJ if he burned a redshirt on such a huge gamble like that – which would most likely end with a loss. No… leave Lee alone… he’s day will come, but not this year.

louisville slugger

October 11th, 2011
1:49 pm

Ken, did CPJ say anything about why they didn’t run the counter play that Orwin Smith broke for a TD on the first play of the KU game? Just curious, it seemed like MD was geared for the option, and one would have thought the counter would have been there…

Rduck

October 11th, 2011
1:49 pm

looking for a tough game from the Cavs this week. they have been looking towards this game for a few weeks now. i still think we come out on top and show improvement from the last couple of games. hopefully we will hit some of the big plays that were there for the taking against those last 2 opponents. stay focused guys. we’re in a great position at the halfway point. keep working hard each week and don’t look ahead and this could be a special season on the Flats… Go Jackets!!

Rduck

October 11th, 2011
1:52 pm

loisville slugger… i wondered the same thing. seems after we ran it a few times with success against NCST, we kind of got away from it…

juvenal

October 11th, 2011
1:54 pm

Ken, thanks for not making it obvious to our foes how average our D line is by asking about it…….

Ken Sugiura

October 11th, 2011
1:55 pm

gtechsta – i was going to do it in a separate blog. don’t worry.
gsheffield – well done.
saban – don’t count on seeing vad lee.

Ramblin Man

October 11th, 2011
1:55 pm

As far as the counter goes CPJ may not want to show it too much and may have wanted to test TW to see how he would handle the situation. Who knows, time to move on and focus on UVA.

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
1:57 pm

Moobie Haiku for you:

Knock them on their butt
They don’t think we’re worth a crud
FAIL OPTION HURP DERP.

Thanks coach. How do your academically superior players communicate with you?

5150 UOAD

October 11th, 2011
2:00 pm

I Post on all the Tech opponents blogs. I don’t mind the banter. I don’t like the just HATEFUL post to a specific blogger. The calling DUMB or a Moron is ok when the post are factually CRAZY.
I don’t post on many of the Tech OOC teams. That EXCLUDES UGA. We are in the same state so the back and forth banter will never end. NCIbis from the U is crazy mad for Miami but we have fun going back and forth. The UGA fans(for the most part) just want to get to name calling and hate. DiLex, Cuz, and 45ACP are some good dawgs to chat with.

5150 UOAD

October 11th, 2011
2:03 pm

UGA is employing a 2 week practice for TECH next year. UGA plays Ga Southern then plays Tech.

gold dust,

October 11th, 2011
2:04 pm

Ken, do you think there’s any chance that CPJ has been playing things close to the vest the past couple of weeks, trying not to open up too much of the playbook so that we have some element of surprise in our big upcoming games? I know Paul Johnson would never admit it; he’d probably say, “I just focus on one game at a time and call the plays we need to win the game.” But I really believe in what a smart, forward-thinking coach Paul is, and I think he may want to save up some of those one play shock-and-awe drives for Clemson and VT.

needles

October 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

doodoo, you ain’t smart enough to understand to begin with. LOL

headley lamar

October 11th, 2011
2:06 pm

Doodoobailey I love your mom’s moobies. heheheh

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
2:06 pm

5150

you doing alright?

gotta love my prediction about Stafford now right?

I know, I know, if it weren’t for the Tech guy, he’d be nothing……………….

macrotech

October 11th, 2011
2:06 pm

CPJ being the strategist that he is…I get the impression that he ONLY plays the cards needed to win. doodoobailey, just because you don’t LIKE the answer…doesn’t mean that an answer wasn’t given! GO TECH!!!

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
2:08 pm

Moobies Haiku and you…..

Tech thinks they can pass
Triple option can’t be stopped
Refrigerator

5150 UOAD

October 11th, 2011
2:09 pm

Damn even I Can’t Do Multiples of 7………….I have a georgia government/public school education. LOL

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
2:09 pm

Do we need to resurrect June Cleaver from the movie Airplane to interpret the jive from doodoo?

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
2:09 pm

Moobies, how I love the my moobies…..

Heavy is the head
That wears the ACC crown
Congrats, FSU

macrotech

October 11th, 2011
2:10 pm

DawginLex, I will ALWAYS respect Stafford….I saw him take a hit in one of our games knowing that there was no way he was getting up. Not only did he get up….he torched us! Mad props to that kid!!!

Ramblin Man

October 11th, 2011
2:12 pm

Ken,
Can you ask about Barnes and why he does not see more playing time? Seems like I remember his motor being the issue last year, but then I seem to remember reading about him working on that in the off season. Just seems like 6′7″ 347 would plug the middle real nice.

5150 UOAD

October 11th, 2011
2:13 pm

doodoobailey……..better tosay nothing and be thought an idiot than to speak and prove it.

Richt finally calling BOBO a CS for his weak play calling was funny. Everybody knows Bobo is a gutless play caller and now we know Richt is a fool for letting Bobo be in charge.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 11th, 2011
2:13 pm

Ken, I think it’s time to add another word to the filter list. You got rid of the obvious reference to Johnson’s anatomy, so how about blocking the word that dodobailey uses too. It is inappropriate and offensive and has absolutely nothing to do with football

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
2:13 pm

Moooooooobbbbbiiiiieeeesssss……

Meadow lark in the spring
how fleeting your call may be
1991 tie

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
2:14 pm

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
2:15 pm

5150

Tough call for Richt. He promoted him. He trained him. He is running the same stuff.

The difference is feel for the game and when to call things.

Richt has it

Bobo does not

Bobo is a great preparer and teacher of the QB’s though and that should be his role in addition to recruiting.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 11th, 2011
2:15 pm

5150, what did CMR call Bobo? What is a CS?

TechFan

October 11th, 2011
2:15 pm

Maryland had 2 weeks to prepare for Ga Tech and that didnt help them much. I dont see UVA being any different.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 11th, 2011
2:17 pm

Maryland only had one week to prepare; they played Towson the week before, whoever Towson is. However, from what I had heard, Edsall had been prepping them for the TO since last Spring.

crackbaby

October 11th, 2011
2:18 pm

I guess Special Ed. classes dismissed at noon today given the comments above.

Ken – I saw a reference to a tweet from Coach Edsall expressing appreciation for CPJ visiting his injured O-lineman (Gonella?) at the hospital on Sunday. Class move by both coaches. Never heard what the prognosis is for that young man.

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
2:19 pm

Yeah, what is a CS?

Ramblin Man

October 11th, 2011
2:19 pm

DawginLex,
I would say they help each other out. I am sure Stafford will be right there telling the Lions GM to open the pocket book when Megatron’s contract ends this season though. I did need Stafford to throw another TD or at least a nice completion to Best during those final five minutes for my fantasy team last night and he let me down.

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
2:19 pm

Seriously. No haiku funny moment, what is a CS?

Supersize that order, mutt

October 11th, 2011
2:21 pm

crackbaby, VERY class move. The total opposite of 1961, when Bear didn’t even acknowledge that a foul had been committed when Darwin Holt destroyed Chick Granning’s face, much less visit him in the hospital. Bear may have been a winner on the field, but he was a loser off the field. Johnson and Edsall are both winners.