Archive for December, 2011

Georgia Tech-Utah game thread


Just about an hour from kickoff (now 2:21 p.m. EST). I’m getting pretty intrigued to see how this game unfolds. Not having seen Utah, it’s kind of hard to get a grasp, but I think a lot of it comes down to two things. First, can Georgia Tech move the ball on Utah’s run defense, especially without Omoregie Uzzi not starting (as has been announced). Shaquille Mason will start; it’s undetermined if Uzzi will get snaps. B-back David Sims will play some, but how much is also not clear. Expect Preston Lyons to get plenty of snaps in his final game.

Second, can Tech stop John White? I imagine Utah will be more than content to pound the Jackets with Smith it’s the Utes are able. Worth watching – the sledgehammer blocking of fullback Shawn Asiata.

Other items of interest:

1. Wind is blowing pretty briskly towards the open end zone. I’m not sure of direction; if you’re watching on television, it’ll be the end zone on the right.

2. Steven Sylvester’s parents Roderick and …

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Video: Georgia Tech-Utah Sun Bowl preview

Interview with Noah Coslov of CineSport previewing the Sun Bowl.

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Uzzi, Sims questionable for Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech’s top offensive lineman and its starting B-back will be game-time decisions in the Sun Bowl Saturday.

Guard Omoregie Uzzi and B-back David Sims both have injuries that have limited them in practice. Coach Paul Johnson said they are questionable to play against Utah.

Sims appears to be the more likely to play than Uzzi, a first-team All-ACC pick and a second-team All-American selection by

The injuries follow two other starters who won’t be in uniform for disciplinary reasons, offensive tackle Phil Smith and cornerback Louis Young. Johnson said that Morgan Bailey will be in a three-tackle rotation with Tyler Kidney and Ray Beno. Bailey, however, has had the flu this week and hasn’t practiced, Johnson said. If Uzzi can’t play, he would be replaced by Shaquille Mason, who has split snaps with Will Jackson at the other guard spot.

Against a defensive line that includes All-Pac-12 nose tackle Star Lotulelei, Tech could potentially field an offensive line with …

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Groh, Bohannon on Utah matchup


One day till the Sun Bowl. The sun is beginning to rise over the remarkably flat city of El Paso. And onward we go. I’ve got a recap of the coordinators’ press conference, attended by Al Groh and Brian Bohannon for Georgia Tech. (To be clear: Brian Bohannon is not Tech’s offensive coordinator. He was sitting in for Paul Johnson as a representative of the offensive coaching staff.)

At the press conference, the Sun Bowl representative froze when presenting him and forgot his name, and Groh helped her out and showed her the name placard sitting in front of him. Then, when she came back to present Bohannon, Groh pointed at him and stage whispered his name into her ear. He was like Carrot Top up there. I’ve heard he has a sense of humor; it was good to see a little levity. I would have given a year off my life if he’d smashed a watermelon.

1. Groh gave some compliments to the practice set-up at nearby Burges High School and said players have done well at …

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Georgia Tech-Utah matchups to watch


Two more days until the Sun Bowl. Had a few thoughts to reel off as I get ready for the press conference featuring the coordinators from both teams. Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon will fill in for Paul Johnson as the Georgia Tech offensive coordinator, if you’re wondering.

1. One of the biggest matchups will be Tech center Jay Finch, with help from guards Omoregie Uzzi and Will Jackson/Shaquille Mason, against Utah nose tackle Star Lotulelei, a first-team All-Pac-12 pick. If Finch consistently can’t get him on the ground or create some push, it will bog down the dive play and make the Jackets less diverse in their options.

You may remember that Utah has a lot of past experience against an option-spread offense, having played Air Force in the Mountain West Conference annually until joining the Pac-12 this season. Lotulelei (lo-too-leh-lay) said Utah will defend Tech the same way it did Air Force.

“I think it’s helped, because we have pretty much the …

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Tech’s Phil Smith suspended for bowl game

EL PASO, Texas – Georgia Tech offensive tackle Phil Smith was suspended for the Sun Bowl Wednesday for violating team rules. Smith will not play and was sent home.

Coach Paul Johnson did not have more comment on the matter. This is the second suspension of the season for Smith. He was held out of the first two games of the season, also for breaking team rules.

Smith played in a three-tackle rotation with Tyler Kidney and Ray Beno through the season. Most likely, Kidney and Beno will start and take all of the snaps.

Smith is the second starter who will not play for rules violations. Cornerback Louis Young is also ineligible for the game for disciplinary reasons.

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Tech’s 2007 class plays its last


Hope you’re well. I am working on a story about the ballyhooed 2007 recruiting class, which will play its final game Saturday. The lone remaining members of that class are A-back Roddy Jones, cornerback Michael Peterson, wide receiver Tyler Melton, defensive end Jason Peters and defensive tackle Logan Walls.

“We’re the last of the Mohicans,” Jones said Tuesday. “There’s not too many of us left. This is our swan song, this is our last one, so we want to go out on a high note.”

The class, you likely know, was considered one of the best in school history, if not the best. During recruitment, members of the class developed a camaraderie and decided to enroll at Tech together. I was looking through the paper’s electronic archives and found this quote from then-coach Chan Gailey just before signing day in Feb. 2007.

“What the guys in this recruiting class have talked about, and what we’ve tried to sell them is we are taking the next step to go compete at the highest …

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Washington seeks strong finish for Georgia Tech


Hope you all have had a restful holiday and aren’t suffering too much Georgia Tech football withdrawal. I’ve arrived in El Paso and am proud to report I’ve done my share to infuse the local economy with out-of-town cash with to my purchase of an Oral-B toothbrush at Target last night.

Players and coaches also arrived yesterday, presumably with their dental hygiene instruments.

I don’t have a ton today, but I did speak with quarterback Tevin Washington and quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon for a story I plan to write for Wednesday’s paper. I think the most intriguing thing that I learned was that a considerable part of Washington’s passing struggles was due to a habit of looking too much at the pass rush and not enough downfield. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was at times a little impatient in the pocket.

“It’s having a feel for the pocket, being able to see downfield and feeling the pocket and knowing when to cut it loose, when to run,” Bohannon said. …

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Reports: Chow to leave Utah for Hawaii

Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow was negotiating a contract Tuesday to become the next coach at Hawaii, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah will play Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

Chow will coach at Utah, his alma mater, for only one season after being hired in January. The Hawaii-born Chow will get his first chance to be a head coach after 39 years as an assistant at the college and NFL levels. He is credited with the development of three Heisman Trophy winners – Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart – and also coached Steve Young, Jim McMahon and Philip Rivers. Tuesday, both Chow and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said their preference is that he coach the Utes against Tech.

Chow told the Deseret News that he “would be honored to stay” if Whittingham wants him to coach in the Sun Bowl. Utah defensive coordinator Siane Sitake is reportedly a possibility to join Chow in Hawaii. Whittingham said he would likewise hope that Sitake would …

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Brian Gregory quotes

From Georgia Tech’s 65-54 win Monday night over Alabama A&M, courtesy of Tech’s sports information office.

Opening Remarks

“We didn’t play very well.  We didn’t play with the effort that you need to play with, or the concentration that you need to play with.  When you have 22 turnovers – that’s concentration and that’s reading situations.  They (Alabama A&M) missed some shots, and that’s a lot of defensive breakdowns (by us) as well.  For the first time, we did not build on what we had done in the past.  Not evaluating on a win or loss, but evaluating on the process: today we didn’t do the job we needed to do.  It was disappointing.  I’m disappointed and we’ve got to respond.”

“That was 40 minutes of something that did not resemble the type of basketball that we need to play.”

On the play of freshman F Julian Royal:

“I thought Julian Royal played with a great energy level.  He had five offensive rebounds and a couple of them …

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