Finch likely out for Clemson

Greetings-

First, sorry about the filters. It seemed like they were out of control today. I apologize. Here are the notes. As you may have already read, it doesn’t look good for Jay Finch to play Saturday, which is not good for a couple different reasons. Nothing against Nick McRae, but he’s quicker off the ball than McRae and is just more experienced. Onto the notes.

1. Georgia Tech will most likely be without starting center Jay Finch for its Saturday night game against Clemson. Tech coach Paul Johnson said Finch is “probably out” for the game with a lower-leg injury.

Finch has not practiced this week after sustaining the injury on Tech’s first play from scrimmage in the loss to Miami last Saturday. Nick McRae, who replaced Finch last Saturday, would be his likely replacement.

“He’s played well,” Johnson said of Finch. “I think for the most part, anytime you lose a starter, it’s tough, but it’s like I’ve said before, the next guy’s got to step up.”

McRae, along with guards Omoregie Uzzi and Will Jackson, will have their hands full. Clemson nose guard Brandon Thompson is projected to be the first tackle taken in the NFL draft.

“I think [Finch's injury] affected them a great deal” in the Miami game, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday.

On his Wednesday night radio show on 790 the Zone, Johnson said that he hopes Finch will be back for the Nov. 10 Virginia Tech game after the open date and that Morgan Bailey will back up McRae, assuming Finch can’t play. It would be the second career game for Bailey, a redshirt freshman who has fought injuries since coming to Tech.

(I owe a debt of gratitude to the fan who asked Johnson about Finch’s prognosis. I asked about Finch after practice, but didn’t ask about his availability for Virginia Tech. Fail for me. Don’t know if you heard it, but the callers were not the typical “We love ya, Coach” variety. One guy told Johnson he needed to hire a special teams coordinator, which got his goat a bit, but hung up before Johnson could fire a question back at him.)

2. Despite Clemson’s offensive firepower, Tech won’t play any more conservatively on defense than usual, secondary coach Charles Kelly said.

“We’re going to play what we play,” he said.

The Jackets will have to be mindful of Clemson’s various formations and motions, know where the Tigers’ playmakers are and communicate well before the snap. Tackling the ball and preventing yards after catch will be other keys.

“I think what it’s going to boil down to is our individual battles summing up to us winning the play,” defensive end Jason Peters said.

(This is going to be a stress test for the defense. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris tries tries to run 80 plays a game – Tech ran 62 last game – which means quick snaps as soon as the ball is placed. Players are going to have to be on their P’s and Q’s.)

3. Johnson said he’ll keep his kicking and punting specialists the same Saturday as last week – David Scully on kickoffs, Justin Moore on field goals and Sean Poole on punts. Asked if Zach Laskey would field punts again, Johnson replied, “We’ll see when the game starts.”

Of the team’s practice this week, Johnson said that “it’s hard to be real up-tempo. Guys are banged up, beat up, so I think they’re focusing on what we’re trying to do with our game plan.”

(If I had to guess, I’d say Laskey will be out there again. For his sake, I hope he gets another chance.)

4. The betting spread on the game has dropped a half-point to a point from its opening line because of money being wagered on the Jackets. Most lines initially had the Tigers as a 4-to-4.5-point favorite. Caesars Palace sports book analyst Todd Fuhrman said that among professional gamblers, “there is some appetite out there in the market to take Georgia Tech as a home underdog.” Johnson’s success against Clemson – he is 3-1 against the Tigers – has made the Jackets a popular bet among “sharps,” Fuhrman said.

(That was interesting, I thought. Fuhrman said he thought the less-informed betting public will lay money on Clemson and the professional bettors will go with Tech. Take it for what it’s worth.)

5. Mike Patrick (play by play), Craig James (color) and Jenn Brown (sideline) will call the game for ABC. The game will be broadcast across the Southeast and into Pennsylvania, Indiana and Arkansas. The rest of the country will see the Stanford-USC game.

(I think they did the Tech-N.C. State game, if I’m not mistaken. I guess “Jenn” is the popular spelling among sideline reporters. My friend Jenn Hildreth, who works for Fox Sports South, does the double N. I guess one day when I replace Erin Andrews, I’ll go by Kenn Sugiura. For a lot of reasons, that would be a bad day for television.)

Thanks for reading. Come back Thursday morning for something or other.  Please follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

228 comments Add your comment

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
9:38 pm

What’s this about Ken? No blog on how Tech’s so called athletes graduate at a lower rate than the jocks at UGA? Of course not. Tech fans would rather just perpetuate the myth that Tech athletes are smarter than UGA athletes when we all now see the FACTS.

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
9:39 pm

IE, the facts that state that Tech and UGA athletes are basically the same. Oh, but you guys have your “engineering” degrees to fall back on right?

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
9:42 pm

Someone should have called in to ask Coach Johnson what its like to coach for such a pathetic apathetic fan base? A fan base who loves to act all high & mighty yet can’t see the FACTS that their athletes are of the same cloth as UGA student athletes.

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
9:43 pm

Sorry to highjack the blog, KenN. You do a fine job with what youre given to work with.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 26th, 2011
9:47 pm

Tough guy to replace. Tech just needs to come out and GATA. ” LET’S ROLL JACKETS “

Bullpupp

October 26th, 2011
9:51 pm

Not surprised that the AJC posted about Tech’s grad rates BIG AND BOLD on the front cover. Then again, the AJC is run by UGA grads.

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
9:53 pm

Ken, I would recogmend staying with one N. I thought about removing one of the M’s out of my name. Jimy Williams, former MLB manager of several teams, beat me to it though. Looks God awful.

GT9

October 26th, 2011
9:56 pm

Our offense has struggled and our starting center is out. It just doesn’t look good. If Ellington isn’t at a hundred percent, then it’ll be 63-7. If he’s able to play all out, it’ll be 77-7. Clemson is hitting on every cylinder and every game seems to increase the size of their engine. Watkins, Hopkins, Allen, Boyd, Bellamy, (Ellington), and company are on a roll now. Even though I’ve watched a lot of football in my life, I’m not an expert on the sport. From what I’ve seen this season, it is puzzling to my mind that the line isn’t Clemson -21 or more.
I’ll be there Saturday pulling for Georgia Tech with all of my energy.
GO JACKETS!

Thanks for the great coverage this year, Ken.

TN Hawk

October 26th, 2011
9:56 pm

Kenn,

I’m afraid we’ll lose to Clemsonn but thenn surprise Va Tech with Finnch back. What do you thinnk?

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:01 pm

At least I’ll be at the game so I won’t be subjected to Craig James.

gt40pinhd

October 26th, 2011
10:02 pm

i hope zach L. gets another chance. i don’t think he’ll make another mistake.

Delbert D.

October 26th, 2011
10:03 pm

Ken – The “probably out” blog was better than the “likely out” blog. Quality of the posts on this one is awful.

Delbert D.

October 26th, 2011
10:06 pm

George – Or Bob Davie. Hey, I found out that the Tech game on FM is about 6-7 seconds behind the game on Comcast/ESPN. I was able to synchronize the perfectly by tweaking with the DVD recorder.

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:10 pm

The worst was Dan Hawkins and calling it a wishbone THE ENTIRE FRIGGIN’ GAME.

gt40pinhd

October 26th, 2011
10:12 pm

the game…the game i’m stuck with usc & stanford!

ToeMeetsLeather

October 26th, 2011
10:13 pm

Jimmy, not sure what your point is. TECH is a tough school and degrees are earned, not just handed out for showing up. The graduation rate for the football team is right in line with the overall student body for the length of time used in the data, And, UGA’s roster is loaded with Hargrave Military and JUCO players, TECH’s is not. We do not recruit the same pool of athletes, period.

Get well soon Finch, we need you on the field.

James

October 26th, 2011
10:26 pm

I bet Clemson will bring a ton of fans too. I wonder if Tech fans bought up a lot of tickets so Clemson fans aren’t so loud like they usually are?

buddyroe

October 26th, 2011
10:31 pm

On your point 3 about STs. Here’s what I think:

Coach says he is working hard on special teams and they matter. Well, think about this. If you have a neighbor and his yard is terrible, weeds growing everywhere, no flowers, grass is brown, etc., you just figure he really doesn’t care much about his yard. But then one day he says to you, my yard has some issues, but I do about the same thing as everybody else is doing. Say WHAT?!? Now you are confused because you know there aint NO way he is doing the same as everybody else with the pathetic results he is getting. So, either he just doesn’t know what everybody else is doing, or he doesn’t know how to implement (ahem..coach) what everyone else is doing. I would be EMBARRASSED to tell people that I coached that pathetic ST showing Saturday. And then try to tell everyone we are about in the middle. Maybe in statistics we are. But, I can’t remember seeing a team in years make THAT many mistakes on ST in one game.

pw12

October 26th, 2011
10:33 pm

Jimmy tech is a harder school to graduate from retard.I actually have a degree from both.uga was no where near as hard as tech for academics.but hey a degree is a degree.so jimmy go back to shooting beer cans off of that broke down car in the back yard.

gt40pinhd

October 26th, 2011
10:36 pm

pw, you’ve got it all wrong! the cars in the front yard.

buddyroe

October 26th, 2011
10:38 pm

Ken – are you going to ask Coach why he didn’t throw more short passes despite TW being 5-7 for 63 yards (after the interception) before being yanked? And ask him does he realize TW was 3-3 for 37 yards on our only TD drive (which was 40% of the yards on 3 passes and it took 17 running plays to get the other 55 yards). 30% of our total yards came from the 12 pass plays (and that’s counting the incomplete desperation passes at the end of the game – really, it was 8 passing plays).
9 yards per attempt on short passes is a WHOLE better production than the 2.3 ypa we got from the runs.
Does ANYONE have the balls to point these stats out to Coach Johnson?

(yes, I am going to keep posting this until I get an answer – sorry)

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
10:39 pm

Hmmmmm,

Well we all know that pw12 wasn’t an English major at either university. It’s called capitalization and punctuation, boy. Google it.

Again, don’t let facts get in the way of your arguement Techies. UGA athletes graduate at a better rate than yours do. Now you don’t even have that “we might lose to you each year, but at least our athletes are smarter than yours” excuse you nerds bring up each year.

Oh the horror!

SansWorld

October 26th, 2011
10:40 pm

Thanks Ken for some GREAT WORK this year.
Driving in from Arkansas to see my first live game since 2009. Really look forward to it. Sting em

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:40 pm

Well, if you don’ remember it, then it probably never happened, buddy.

yellowfever

October 26th, 2011
10:40 pm

CPJ after the Clemson game, I think the kids played hard. Want know until I look at the tape. We made too many mistakes. To be honest I forgot about him on the sidelines. And all this from a real Tech fan but the song is starting to get stale. You better start doing a better job recruiting or 6-6 seasons will be the norm.

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:41 pm

Of course they graduate more. They major in Sports Studies!

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
10:42 pm

Oh, and why do you assume that I’m a UGA fan? I just love pointing out the hypocrisy of you nerds. Inferiority complex perhaps?

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:43 pm

God forbid he make unemotional statements after the game, yellowfever.

yellowfever

October 26th, 2011
10:43 pm

Jimmy, the I want to be a bulldog when I grow up. But you never will do either.

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:44 pm

Because only UGA fans are uncreative enough to use nerds, retard.

yellowfever

October 26th, 2011
10:44 pm

I’m with you George

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
10:45 pm

Are you Techies like this in the real world?? Do you tell your boss’s, “Sorry sir I can’t compete w/ my UGA counterpart. I was born w/ a siliver spoon in my mouth while he’s had more real world experience. The only thing I have is this degree.”

Excuses don’t cut it in the real world. Results do. Now the FACTS show that not only do UGA athletes beat Tech’s on the field, but in the classroom as well.

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:45 pm

The only one here w/ an inferiority complex is the one running around touting his graduation rates. Funny, we always here it’s football not school, but whatever.

yellowfever

October 26th, 2011
10:45 pm

Even if we can hold Clemson to 35 points which is better than any team has done so far does anyone really think we can score more than 35.

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:47 pm

We are our own bosses, Jimmy.

yellowfever

October 26th, 2011
10:47 pm

Jimmy, you couldn’t find a class room at UGA because you’ve never been in one. Don’t lie.

yellowfever

October 26th, 2011
10:49 pm

Enter your comments here

buddyroe

October 26th, 2011
10:49 pm

Why do people make comments back to the trolls? It’s not like you are going to say ANYTHING so clever that they go, “Gees, he is right.” No, they believe what they want to believe and we believe what we believe. You are wasting your time to even bother argue about it.

Just like I am wasting my time thinking that someone will ask CPJ if he knows that TW was 3/3 for 37 yards on our only TD drive. And why we kept trying to run when we were avg’ing 2.8 yards per carry (the rocket toss was actually very successful – about 5.5 YPC, what does that tell you about the option plays?)

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:50 pm

That you think UGA is as difficult to graduate from suggests that whatever analytical skills they taught you there aren’t working.

buddyroe

October 26th, 2011
10:51 pm

Sorry, when I re-read my post, I hated the way that sounded, “why do people”. I am one of yall so I should have said, “why do we….”

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
10:53 pm

We need to pass better, but not more, buddy.

gt40pinhd

October 26th, 2011
10:56 pm

and pass early

buddyroe

October 26th, 2011
11:00 pm

George, when we throw passes that a triple option QB can make, we were 5/7 for 63 yards.

Did you not see the screen pass to Sims? Or the other short passes? We DO throw those passes better and SHOULD throw them more.

On our only TD drive, we threw 3 short passes and all 3 got us a first down. Those 3 plays accounted for 40% of the yards on that drive (37). That is a 12.33 ypa avg on that drive. It took 17 running plays to account for the other 60% (a 3.0 ypc avg).

In all of the other series that TW was in after that until he was yanked, he only attemped 4 passes and he completed 2 of those for 26 yards – still an avg of 6.5 yards per attempt. Again, much more productive than anything else we were doing.

Compared to everything else, the short pass was getting more yards than anything else. I would say that was “BETTER”, wouldn’t you.

So, if we through 3 times on 1 drive and scored a TD, maybe, just maybe if we had repeated what was successful, we would have been successful again.

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
11:00 pm

Georgie,

I would more than love to talk only football, but that’s not what you Techies do. You tout how much more intelligent your athletes are when you LOSE ON THE FIELD to UGA. I’ll give you baseball, but then again who cares about that sport.

So when you lose you spout off, “our athletes are busy studying, yaddi yaddi yadda…” Now what will the excuse be now that it’s a known FACT that UGA athletes graduate at a better rate than your athletes?

You have none. Youre just a second rate fanbase at a second rate school. As for the poster who commented “we’re our own bosses.”

Buahahahahahahahaha, now get me those TPS reports, nerds!

buddyroe

October 26th, 2011
11:01 pm

grrrr, “threw”, not through in the last paragraph.

gt40pinhd

October 26th, 2011
11:04 pm

buddy, i agree w/u. short and long passes but not drop back passes. pass off the run option.

NiquePhotog

October 26th, 2011
11:06 pm

Get off your high horse, Jimmy. You’re making all of your assumptions off of an NCAA calculated graduation rate which has nothing to do with intelligence.

GT football players have the highest average SAT scores of any FBS team, and they have one of the lower graduation rates. Just goes to show how hard it is.

If GT offered majors like Recreation & Leisure Studies, Turf Management, and Housing to its student-athletes, then I’m quite sure the graduation rates would be through the roof.

GT’s easiest major (MGMT) is UGA’s hardest and it’s ranked higher.

Let’s not forget, we have the best college graduates as ranked by recruiters.

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
11:06 pm

Hilarious. I mean, like really, really funny.

George Stein

October 26th, 2011
11:09 pm

Seriously, that we have the highest SAT scores and the lowest graduation rate should tell you a lot about the difficulty of the school.

Jimmy

October 26th, 2011
11:10 pm

Hilarious is right, Georgie. When you guys get beat you try to change the rules.

Look at your friend NiquePhotog’s excuse. Now it’s “..You’re making all of your assumptions off of an NCAA calculated graduation rate which has nothing to do with intelligence.”

Hilarious is right on.