I’ve got a Q&A with the pride of Westside High School, inside linebacker Julian Burnett, and a couple random tidbits. Onward…
Q: So what exactly does “trippy” mean? (You probably know, but the team has taken it on as something of a slogan. You may have seen it in a clip played on the video board, although I don’t recall seeing it Saturday. It’s the new “All the Way Turnt Up,” more or less.)
A: I got the word trippy from a rapper called Juicy J. But what I feel like it brings to the team is just a personality. Just an intense, passionate person about the game and every time trippy comes up or we start singing the song or whatever, it just gets everybody pumped to play. It just brings personality to the team.
Q: So it came from you, then?
A: More or less. Not to take credit, but during fall camp, it was my thing to get me through camp. I did it for so long and so much during camp that it just kind of got contagious with the team and everybody just got on board with it.
Q: Who on the team do you not want to get into an argument with?
A: Probably Euclid (Cummings). Because he’s just going to go on and on. Even if he has lost the argument, he’s going to make you feel like he’s got a valid point anyway. You probably don’t want to argue with Euclid.
Q: Coach (Paul) Johnson described you in fall camp as one of the biggest, baddest cats on the team. Who’s someone on the team you wouldn’t want to mess with?
A: I think everybody would agree with me if I said Fred Holton. He’s out right now, but nobody wants to step up to Fred.
Q: What’s your favorite website?
A: I don’t know. I guess I’m on Twitter a lot nowadays. Something like that. I’m not really an Internet guy.
2. A quote from Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid on Tevin Washington:
“All I know is that he’s a very poised, outstanding athlete. I know that. I know that he’s got a great throwing motion and I know he’s got some talented wide receivers, so from that standpoint, it scares you to death. What this offense does to you is it gets you playing run, urn, run then bang! Play-action pass. It’s a great scheme. … I know from a passing efficiency standpoint, he can hit the long one. We’ve seen it. It’s right on the money. He can throw the out (passing route), which shows you he has a strong arm and he can throw on the run. We’ll be challenged on that every play.”
3. It’s kind of old news, but I spoke this week with Joe Vellano, the Maryland defensive tackle who had 22 tackles Saturday and earned high praise from Johnson. Said Johnson, “That one kid, No. 72, might be the best player I’ve seen on this field since I’ve been here. He had 22 tackles. That dude was everywhere.” If you can remember Stephen Hill’s catch third quarter, the one where he broke tackles and made about four players miss on a 34-yard reception – Vellano made the tackle on that play. The other remarkable thing is that Johnson said Vellano was on the field for every Tech offensive snap – 81 plays.
Johnson later said he “probably played as good as anybody that I’ve played against in a long, long time.” After a brief study of recent drafts, that would include C.J. Spiller, A.J. Green, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Tyson Jackson, B.J. Raji, Adrian Clayborn and Bryan Bulaga, among others.
Anyway, Vellano said he had some help from his brother, Paul, who played offensive line at Rhode Island and was coached by Tim Stowers. Rhode Island runs a form of the spread option that Johnson does, having preceded him at Georgia Southern as head coach from 1990-1995. On top of having seen Rhode Island play, he also got advice from his brother on how to play against it.
“The biggest thing is when you play against that kind of offense, you can really get a chance to make a lot of hustle plays because it’s strung out to the sideline and stuff like that,” he said.
Paul Vellano said the key is to just “stay alive,” i.e. stay on your feet and don’t give up on plays.
“If you get cut or get knocked down, get up,” he said. “The other thing is your angled pursuit has got to be good.”
According to Johnson, he might have had further help.
“Watch the tape,” he said. “Seventy-two (Vellano) knew exactly when we were pulling.”
As a result, Tech didn’t run many pulling plays, because Maryland’s linemen “were deadlocked on our guys pulling.” Johnson said he thought Tech’s linemen were tipping them off.
“You can self-scout all you want,” he said. “If you get your weight back before you pull, the guy can tell,” Johnson said.
To be clear, he wasn’t attempting to minimize Vellano’s performance, otherwise he wouldn’t have said that he was the best player he’d seen since coming to Tech. Just an interesting observation.
Thanks for reading. I’ll have the final injury report up late in the afternoon.
Stan Awtrey dissects Tech at the halfway point for the Macon Telegraph.
Paul Newberry offers a game preview for the Associated Press.
A slew of blog posts from the Washington Post.
A Richmond Times-Dispatch story on Virginia’s running back tandem.
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By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat