Some notes from post-practice Tuesday. I’ll be back with more Wednesday morning.
1. Georgia Tech coaches are trying to mend what ails quarterback Tevin Washington.
Tech quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said he has been working with Washington on his throwing technique, particularly his follow-through. Washington has been struggling with falling away rather than finishing throws.
After completing 64.3 percent of his passes in the Yellow Jackets’ first four games, Washington has completed 35.3 percent in the past four. He threw a critical interception on Tech’s first play of the game Saturday in the loss to Miami. The Jackets undoubtedly will need Washington to play more proficiently against undefeated Clemson (No. 5 in the BCS standings) Saturday. Bohannon said Washington’s mindset is good, but that “I’m sure there’s a little bit of him pressing. He knows what to do. Play within the offense and execute.”
Coach Paul Johnson defended Washington’s play at his Tuesday news conference.
“Clearly, he can play better, but the guys around him have to play better, too,” he said.
(Bohannon said Washington probably “juiced” that pass against Miami, that is to say, was a little amped. By the way, I know there’s been some chatter about Synjyn Days replacing Washington in the lineup. For reasons I’ll get into Wednesday, I don’t see it happening. It’s sink or swim with the young man from Wetumpka, Ala.)
2. In an attempt to right his team’s course, team captain Roddy Jones gave the team a pep talk Monday.
“I just told the guys to keep their heads up,” Jones said. “We’ve obviously had a tough stretch, but we still have a lot in front of us.”
The Jackets are on a two-game losing streak after starting out 6-0. Jones, an A-back, reminded teammates that they can still have a great season by winning the remainder of their games to finish 10-2.
“That’s a great year, but it starts with Clemson, so everyone has to be accountable for their jobs and take personal ownership of their job,” he said. “If we do that, we’ll be just fine.”
(I couldn’t fit this in, but he clarified that players weren’t discouraged, but he wanted to be proactive as he realizes the team is taking shots from all sides.)
3. There were 55 Tech athletes among about 340 from five schools who signed a petition urging the NCAA to give athletes a share of the hundreds of millions of dollars in television contract money that goes to schools and conferences, according to an Associated Press report. Denzel McCoy, who is unable to play due to a heart condition, helped lead the drive. Jones was a mildly enthusiastic signee.
“This is my last year playing, so it’s not like I’m getting a whole lot of [the money],” Jones said. “I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and went along with what’s best for the guys here now.”
Johnson said he supported the players. “I’m all for the players getting whatever they can get,” he said.
(I’m not sure what will come of this – perhaps not much – and it’s odd timing that news of a proposal for a $2,000 cost-of-attendance stipend broke on the same day. But it’d be kind of crazy if this came to pass and McCoy was part of the movement’s leadership.)
4. Johnson said that center Jay Finch’s lower-leg injury sustained last Saturday “is not nearly as bad as they thought.” Finch was on crutches Tuesday and did not practice. Backup center Nick McRae and Ray Beno, who rotates at tackle, have been taking snaps at center in practice.
Clemson running back Andre Ellington was listed as questionable Tuesday with a sprained ankle. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he hoped Ellington would be ready to practice fully by Wednesday. Tigers tight end Dwayne Allen is nursing a turf toe injury and reportedly wore a walking boot Tuesday, but said he expects to play Saturday.
(Tech offensive lineman Morgan Bailey, who has been injured much of the year, is getting work at tackle. Clemson losing Ellington would be pretty significant. He zapped Tech for 155 yards last year and has speed on top of speed.)
5. At his news conference, Johnson said that Clemson is probably the most talented team he’ll have faced at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Asked if the game would be a track meet given Clemson’s speed, Johnson replied, “If we play (like we have) the last two weeks, it’ll be a one-sided track meet.”
At his news conference at Clemson, Swinney lobbed bouquets at Tech’s defense and coordinator Al Groh.
“They’re hard to move and they don’t give up a lot of big plays,” he said. “Their linebackers are rarely out of place and they tackle well. It’s a typical Al Groh-type of defense.”
(Kind of an interesting qualifier on Johnson’s statement. Perhaps in he was thinking of Iowa or LSU. In one of the times he complimented Maryland defensive tackle Joe Vellano after his 22-tackle game, he said he was probably the best player he’d coached against at Bobby Dodd.)
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog