Georgia Tech begins bowl practice

Greetings-

Some notes, including coach Paul Johnson’s response to rumors/speculation about freshman quarterback Vad Lee transferring after Monday’s practice. Some other stuff first.

1. The team began a full week of practices on Monday. There will be three practices next week, two the week after that and then players will be released Dec. 20 and go to El Paso for the Sun Bowl Dec. 26. There will be 15 practices total.

2. The first stretch of bowl practices is mostly about working on fundamentals. Out of about 20 periods in Monday’s practice, only about six involved scout teams. That means that for most of the practice, all of the players, including the redshirt freshmen, were getting repetitions in Tech’s offense and defense.

3. Johnson said he doesn’t have any plans to make any changes on the staff. That would mean a second offseason in a row without any turnover. Defensive coordinator Al Groh said “for sure” he intends to be back for the 2012 season.

4. Johnson doesn’t expect any players to miss the bowl game because of grades, “but you never know,” he said. “That won’t be for a couple weeks.”

5. Johnson said he’d heard “a lot of really good things” about the Sun Bowl and is looking forward to it. Johnson went to El Paso when he was an assistant coach at Hawaii as Hawaii and UTEP were in the same conference.

“It’ll be a good game against a real good opponent,” he said. “Utah’s real good. Especially defensively, they’ve been good for awhile.”

6. Finally, Lee. At the risk of giving this more attention than I sense is worthy, I’ll provide the Q&A from the post-practice scrum with Johnson and let you draw your own conclusions.

Q: How was Vad Lee at practice today?
A: He’s fine. No problem. He worked hard. I coached the quarterbacks today. Coach (Brian) Bohannon wasn’t there today. He worked hard. All of them did.

(Bohannon was out recruiting, which is pretty typical for early bowl practices. Several questions later, the topic returned to Lee.)

Q: Is there any reason to think that he wouldn’t return?

A: Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t see anything today that made me think he was leaving. But guys could leave tomorrow. I don’t know. It happens all the time.

Q: Has he talked to you about it?

A: I talk with Vad every day.

Q: But has he talked with you about transferring?

A: I’m not going to get into what I talk with the players about. You’d be surprised sometimes. I talk to them about a lot of things.

Q: Homesickness seems to come up with players, particularly those from out of state. Do you have a particular way you address it with players?

A: It’s part of growing up. Everybody gets homesick. It’s part of it. You know what 18- and 19-year-olds are like. It’s something different every day. It is what it is. Just move on.

A couple points of note. I’m guessing it might read that Johnson was being defensive or curt, but he was at ease. I’d say he was trying to downplay the matter but obviously he didn’t say nothing is happening, perhaps to some degree because it’s not for him to say.

That said, if something were really moving forward with a possible transfer, I think Johnson would have answered questions differently. The fact that he’s practicing isn’t a guarantee of anything, but it would indicate that he’s not exactly packing up his boxes.

I’ll say this: Players considering transferring because they’re homesick is not uncommon. You may remember I wrote that David Sims went through the same thing as a redshirt freshman quarterback. I dug back into my notes and found a quote from Bohannon in August regarding the matter.

“I’m sure that goes through a lot of their minds,” he said. “When you deal with these young men who are the life of their town and their school and all of the sudden, they come to college and all of the sudden, they’re just another guy in the mix, it’s a tough adjustment.”

All this to say – I’d take all this with a grain of salt.

Thanks for reading. I’ll have something up Wednesday morning. (I’m off this week, technically.)

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

296 comments Add your comment

TVFan

December 6th, 2011
6:11 am

Thanks again Ken. Hope Lee stays.

dagnabit

December 6th, 2011
6:26 am

I’m shocked!! I just hope I’m not going into a depression.

GTJACKET

December 6th, 2011
6:43 am

Ken you do a great job. I saw Vad in the Summer Scrimmage and I thought he was the most talented. I hope he doesn’t leave. One thing that could also make a freshman want to leave is the amount of schoolwork required. It is not easy and it takes an adjustment. I think Grades scare more off from Tech than homesickness. Anyway, I hope he stays as he is going to be very good at QB.

SC Jacket

December 6th, 2011
7:01 am

Ken, I think I speak for many when I say “THANK YOU” for your coverage of the Jackets this year. It has been a fun & interesting season. This team has played hard and if they win their 9th game @ Sun Bowl they have alot to be proud of in 2011. The future for Tech and the ACC is looking brighter with alot of young talent, particularly at Clemson & GT which has become a great rivalry game. Local bowl game would’ve been nice for fans, but sure a trip is more interesting and fun for the team. Again, thank you for your excellent work….perfect mix of information, candor, insight, & humor.

gtfanfrom1951

December 6th, 2011
7:02 am

Please stay Vad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Larry the Cable Guy

December 6th, 2011
7:15 am

Crowell SEC Freshman of the year. That’s funny right there I don’t care who you are that’s funny!

scrum

December 6th, 2011
7:21 am

Good job covering Jacket’s football, Ken. Sure is a dearth of info on Jacket’s hoops, even for a rebuilding year. Are you going to cover that as well? Some of us would like more info on the new coach and his program.

ToeMeetsLeather

December 6th, 2011
7:21 am

Enter your comments here

ToeMeetsLeather

December 6th, 2011
7:25 am

Thanks for the updates Ken, good work.

Hope to see Lee (and Kallon) follow the Ramblin Wreck onto the field next September. These two kids could make major impacts on both sides of the ball.

Nom Nom Nom Chuck's Taylor, or Norris if he is avaliable

December 6th, 2011
7:26 am

I thought he was the savior….yet, I here Washington keeps the job no matter what. I would look at other ships too.

Nom Nom Nom Chuck's Taylor, or Norris if he is avaliable

December 6th, 2011
7:27 am

“I hear”….DERP

reebok

December 6th, 2011
7:27 am

If Vad does leave, we are going to be in a world of hurt at QB for the next 2 or 3 years…Tevin tried hard, but he’s just not the guy for this offense, and Synjyn has not impressed me.

Old Gold Britches

December 6th, 2011
7:28 am

Thanks Ken for the really good job of trying to keep us informed. You know we just can’t get enough information. Enjoy your supposed week off.

Ohio Jacket

December 6th, 2011
7:36 am

I second SC Jacket’s complimentary words for all your coverage and hard work this year, Ken! Great job. Thank you very much!

old gold and white

December 6th, 2011
7:53 am

along with everyone else thanks ken… and really hope vad can hang in there bc i don’t believe we’ve even come close to seeing how dynamic this offense can be with the right QB.. either way i hope days gets some important minutes in bowl game just to get little more comfortable w reads and sittin in pocket

GTJeff

December 6th, 2011
8:24 am

Ken thanks again for the coverage.

Did you sense any urgency with CPJ &/or the team on the need to win this bowl game after going 0-3 in bowls? A bowl win topping off for 9 wins would be HUGE.

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
8:37 am

So Groh is coming back? I already feel real good about next year’s UGA-GT game and that news is the proverbial icing on the cake.

Technically Correct

December 6th, 2011
8:43 am

I don’t suppose any of the sportswriters there thought to ask Coach Johnson, whether Vad Lee would see action during the bowl game, did they?

yellow britches

December 6th, 2011
8:46 am

Ken, let me echo the comments of others here and thank you for the excellent coverage of the Yellow Jackets. Coaches and staff are obviously willing to talk to you and not in a guarded way which says a great deal about your style and approach. Merry Christmas!

carolinajacket

December 6th, 2011
8:48 am

was wondering the same thing, Tech. Seems like that would be a great coming out party. That might also help him decide to stay.

carolinajacket

December 6th, 2011
8:49 am

PS We do seem to have a lot of quarterbacks to transfer.

DawginLex

December 6th, 2011
8:51 am

the kid you got from tallahassee can play QB so losing Lee won’t be the end of the world but that would mean you are playing TW in 2012

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
8:54 am

GTJeff
December 6th, 2011
8:24 am

“Did you sense any urgency with CPJ…”

Well, let’s see:

* Johnson said the UGA game is no longer important because tech plays for championships. He’s 1-3 against UGA so I guess that’s true.

* Paul Johnson says SEC’s superiority all about perceptions. Hmm, my perception says the SEC has 2 teams playing in the BCS Championship game, that the SEC has 3 of the top 6 teams, 4 of the top 9 teams, 5 of the top 16 teams, and 6 of the top 25 teams. The A She She has two top 25 teams…..#11 Va Tech and #15 Clemson. Impressive.

* “Personally, I think the conference thing is way overblown.” Said Johnson.

* Johnson pontificates further: “There’s four SEC-ACC games Saturday. Let’s see what happens. Who’s favored in the Clemson-South Carolina game? Who’s favored in the Florida-Florida State game? Wake-Vandy? I don’t know. But you see what I mean?”. Yes, I see what you mean, UGA thumped tech, SCeast beat Clemson and Vandy pasted Wake. However, mighty FSU did defeat the worst Florida team in a generation.

* Tech is 0-3 in bowl games under Johnson.

* A spectacular season, that included the hilarious “Washtington for Heisman” nonsense from some of the mentally deranged earned you a spot in the illustrious Sun Bowl.

* The NCAA nailed the tech football program.

Nah, I don’t see any reason for there to be a sense of urgency from Johnson.

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

JJ

December 6th, 2011
8:55 am

Shoulda played vad this year. Easy first half schedule woulda given him more than enough time to get it down. Then we coulda had a passer against uga and not some duck thrower.

Cantwell

December 6th, 2011
8:55 am

Lee will not play in the bowl game or he’ll lose a year of eligibility per NCAA rules. If Lee is a more accurate thrower, then this offense could take off. Looking forward to seeing if he is the man.

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
8:56 am

Vad is a smart young man with enough talent to make an NFL roster in the future…

He’s not going to leave Tech, which runs an offense tailor-made to his QB skills, just to sit out an extra year and play for ECU.

Ken Sugiura

December 6th, 2011
8:57 am

wow. thanks, everyone. that really makes my day. it makes me job a lot more enjoyable knowing the work is received well.
to answer the question about if we asked if lee would play, the answer is no. i can see where him playing (and playing well, specifically), but a) it would burn his redshirt and b) send a message that he’s a player worth placating, which i’m not sure is a good message or precedent. i’m not even sure lee would go for it, given that he’d himself be losing a year of eligibility.

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
8:57 am

JJ
December 6th, 2011
8:55 am

Very true. Playing Vad from the get-go probably would not have hurt tech in the first half of the season but would have definitely helped in the second half. Another brilliant move by coaching genius Paul Johnson.

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
8:58 am

RambleOn84
December 6th, 2011
8:56 am

“He’s not going to leave Tech, which runs an offense tailor-made to his QB skills, just to sit out an extra year and play for ECU.”

I certainly agree with you logic.

Ken Sugiura

December 6th, 2011
8:59 am

GTJeff – Johnson is hypercompetitive. he wants to win any time they play. plus, i’m sure he wants to end the streak more than anyone. i talked to will jackson, who specifically mentioned the streak as motivation.

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
8:59 am

The next true statement “The Grinch” makes will be his first. Of course I might ask what a dog fan is doing before 9 on a Tuesday morning obsessing over a rival team’s blog comments, but trying to diagnose the actions of a loser is impossible. Merry Christmas, dork.

chewyandrw

December 6th, 2011
9:00 am

I know this is weird, but I follow Vad on Twitter. He is a wonderful young man, strong character, and a dedicated individual. But he does talk about home very, very often. I know not playing is tough but if he sticks around, it will all pay off. And if he transfers, he will have to spend another season for sure not playing at another program unless its Georgia Southern. I sure hope he sticks around.

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
9:01 am

Burning Vad’s redshirt in a meaningless bowl game would be beyond stupid. Johnson doesn’t do it under ANY circumstances.

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
9:02 am

Redshirting Vad was the right decision for this year. With the young talent all around, especially on the O-line, playing Vad this year would have been a wasted season. He needed a year to mature and learn the offense.

roughrider

December 6th, 2011
9:02 am

I hope Vad stays with Tec h and I hope that Tech wins their bowl game.

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
9:03 am

RambleOn84
December 6th, 2011
8:59 am

“The next true statement “The Grinch” makes will be his first.”

Hmmm, I agreed with your 8:56 blog, but since (according to you) I have yet to utter the truth then your comment must have been false. Interesting.

Oh yeah, please show me an inaccuracy in my 8:54 post.

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
9:04 am

And I also want to echo the others’ comments. Ken, you’ve been great this year at bringing us good info.

GO JACKETS!

GTville

December 6th, 2011
9:05 am

Can’t put the fate of the team in one freshman guys. Look at UGA, they have had a top 10 RB every year for the past 10 years, yet they now complain about not having any depth. Some players work out, some players fail out, and some just flop. GT needs a top notch QB or 2 every year in recruiting, then they need to wait a year or two and compete for the starter spot. If they fear competition, then they will not make it at a major program.

18 year old kid…girl problems, homesick, school is tough…sounds about right. It will get better and CPJ said it right, it is part of growing up.

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
9:05 am

RambleOn84
December 6th, 2011
8:59 am

“The next true statement “The Grinch” makes will be his first.”

Is tech not 1-3 versus UGA during Johnson’s reign?

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
9:06 am

RambleOn84
December 6th, 2011
8:59 am

“The next true statement “The Grinch” makes will be his first.”

Is tech not 0-3 in bowl games under coaching genius Paul Johnson?

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
9:06 am

I have a 12 year old niece. She LOVES attention.

So much so that sometimes she goes on internet message boards of things she doesn’t like just to rile people up.

It is a common symptom of female adolescence. The good news is she will grow out of it.

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
9:07 am

RambleOn84
December 6th, 2011
8:59 am

“The next true statement “The Grinch” makes will be his first.”

Did I misquote Johnson’s “perception” comment about the SEC?

pws

December 6th, 2011
9:09 am

Ken, Any word where PJ will consider recruiting a kicker? Why does he not think that’s important? He leaves those positions to walk ons, when he could go out and recruit a decent kicker. Your thoughts on that?

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
9:10 am

Some little girls take longer than others to mature, though.

BigTimeTechFan

December 6th, 2011
9:13 am

Thanks Ken, good stuff.

Hope Vad stays, He seems like pretty nice player, nice kid also.

Tech’s going to be fired up for Utah, close the season with a win and fired up for next year.

Hope S Days gets to play early, T Washington is pretty good but just to inconsistant.

LSU showed against UGA you can play a brand of ball where you only throw 13 passes and dominate in Football, Denver is Showing same thing in NFL. Glad to see coaching staff stay, GT is young team this year and will be asesome the next couple of years. Would like to see Groh uses J Thomas, L Young, Noble, Sweeting in more press coverage next year and attack the QB with Attaochu, Watts, Menocal, Cummings, Dieke, Marcordes, Hunt-Days.

Next years Projected Line Up
BB – Perkins Sims
AB1 – O Smith Zenon
AB2 – BJ Bostic Peeples Snoddy
QB – V Lee S Days split time early for starting job
OT – Catlin Alford 6-3 300
OG – Shaw Mason 6-1 300
C – Nick McRae 6-3 300
OG – Uzzi 6-3 310
OT – P Smith 6-5 300
WR – S Hill 6-5 220
WR – J Greene 6-4 210

Defense
DE Dieke
NT Barnes 6-7 350
DE Cummings
LB Attaochu
LB Burnett
LB Nealy
LB Watts
CB Sweeting
S I Johnson
S J Thomas
CB Young
N-CB Noble

All but V Lee, Perkins played a lot this year, Bostic the year before, plus many of their back ups

RambleOn84

December 6th, 2011
9:15 am

She sometimes even takes very sensitive recent tragedies and makes light of them to try to get a rise out of people.

We considered taking her to a psychiatrist, but were told that this is natural and almost every little girls goes though this stage.

GTJeff

December 6th, 2011
9:16 am

Ignore the troll Ramble. Trailer trash from the $EC is not worth wasting a thought on.

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
9:17 am

BigTimeTechFan
December 6th, 2011
9:13 am

Good, well written, and informative post. How many starters are returning for tech? Don’t include Washington as a starter, because if he’s your starter next year then you’re screwed.

GT GRAD

December 6th, 2011
9:17 am

Thanks Ken!

I sincerely hope Vad Lee stays at GT and I really hope GT finds a way to win the bowl game. I would estimate 98% of the GT fans are very excited about watching Vad Lee being the starting QB at GT for the next 4 years! He should also realizes that the UGA fans on these blogs trying to convince him to leave are ONLY doing so because they are afraid/concerned about him and his abilities on the football field!!

The Grinch

December 6th, 2011
9:19 am

RambleOn84
December 6th, 2011
9:15 am

Sounds like your niece is a mess. Is her deranged uncle helping or hurting her development during these critical years?