A recap of interviews with co-offensive line coach Mike Sewak and quarterbacks/B-backs coach Brian Bohannon.
1. The offensive line didn’t grade out well against Maryland. There were communication problems and Maryland’s line simply played at a higher level than Georgia Tech’s front.
2. Sewak noted that almost everyone on the Virginia defense played last year. (Virginia has eight starters back from last year.) “They know what to expect when we get up there,” he said. He noted tackle Matt Conrath is “a good, solid player.” He’s 6-foot-7, 280 pounds. Of Virginia’s starting defensive linemen, three are seniors and are in the 6-4, 275 range.
(Worth noting: Tech ran for 477 yards against Virginia last year. In fairness, the Cavaliers were dealing with the same issues of learning a new scheme that Tech’s defense was, and presumably also a new way of defending Tech’s spread option.)
3. Sewak said he picked the brain of defensive coordinator Al Groh, who recruited and coached all eight of the linemen in Virginia’s two deep before he was let go after the 2009 season, as he did last year. He said he was mostly interested in the players’ backgrounds and personalities to understand how much drive they have.
“Motivation and desire are ingredients that you can’t see on tape,” he said. “Those are things that happen on the offseason, so you want to know how these guys would have prepared for this season for those coaches and for their defense.”
4. True freshman guard Shaquille Mason has been practicing well and “is getting better each week.” He has been getting some snaps in the past two games and Sewak said he’d have no problem putting him in anywhere on the field. (Meaning field position, not playing position.)
To get more playing time, he’ll have to improve his technique, as right now his strength is not quite there yet. Physical maturity and weight training are two of Sewak’s favorite topics and, perhaps understandably so given how young his line is. Conrath, for instance, is 22-years-old, where Mason is 18.
“Those guys, they’ve been in the weight room a lot more than [a freshman like Mason] ever thought about being in there,” Sewak said.
5. To that end, Sewak said something about freshmen that coach Paul Johnson sort of touched on in the Q&A that we did that is in Wednesday’s paper.
“Really, mental toughness and mental discipline are the two biggest things you have to overcome with freshmen,” he said. “That and leg strength.”
Sewak oversees the field-goal unit. He called kicker Justin Moore “a work in progress.” He said Moore is working on his mechanics, trying, for one thing, to get a little more loft on his kicks.
1. About the Maryland game, he said it was just not an efficient day for the offense. “It was kind of one of those things. We weren’t getting everyone on the same page hitting at the same time,” he said. When quarterback Tevin Washington got the read right, someone missed a block. When the blocking was right, Washington missed a read.
“If we would have just connected on a couple of those pass plays, it would have changed the whole complexion of the game,” he said.
2. On Virginia having an extra week to prepare: “Coach’s philosophy and our philosophy (is) we feel like, this is something we do every day of the year. And if they’ve got three days or five days or six days to prepare, we hope if we’ll go execute at the highest level, that we’ve been doing this all the time, that we ought to be able to execute better than they can adjust.”
3. On B-back Charles Perkins, who, as mentioned in the notes, has been putting in good work: Bohannon said coaches have been working with him on ball security and the other aspects of the position.
“I mean, Charles is a redshirt freshman,” he said. “He hasn’t been at that position that long, so hopefully he’ll continue to work and be more comfortable with it and be a little more consistent.”
4. It doesn’t sound like Bohannon will be surprised if Virginia schemes to make Washington keep the ball, as Maryland did, but he noted that “Coach has always done a great job of finding ways” for other players to get the ball.
Matt Winkeljohn discourses on the praise Johnson gave to Perkins and Richard Watson for Sting Daily.
Not football-related but basketball coach Brian Gregory and his players met with media Wednesday. Jon Cooper wrote about his expectations for the team.
Roanoke Times story on Virginia’s running back tandem.
A Richmond Times-Dispatch story on Virginia preparing for the Tech offense.
Washington Post stories on Tech’s play-action passing game (I think you’ll be seeing some of these quotes in the next day or two in a blog; we were on the same teleconference) and two parts of a story (1 and 2) on Virginia freshman quarterback David Watford.
Note you may not care about: Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor (quoted extensively in the first story about Watford) got a big break when he was hired as a Falcons quality control coach (kind of like a grad assistant) in 2003 for Dan Reeves, a team I covered with Matt. (Not a good team. That was the year Michael Vick broke his leg and the team went into a tailspin.) I guess it means I’m getting old when I can say I knew an established coach when he was an underling.
I’ll have something up after practice this evening.