Archive for March, 2012

MaChelle Joseph breaks down season, looks ahead

Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph got back home with the team Saturday night from its Sweet 16 loss to Baylor in Des Moines, Iowa. Monday, she was on the road recruiting and was out the whole week before going to the Final Four in Denver.

On the phone from Arizona, just out of a meeting with a prospect, she shared some thoughts about the game, the season and what lies ahead.

1. Joseph said she doesn’t know if she ever “gets over” a loss, but she reminded her players and is trying to remind herself that it’s important to focus on what the team accomplished (school record for wins, highest regular-season finish in ACC, second-ever ACC tournament final appearance, first Sweet 16 appearance) and “not let our whole season come down to one game.” She said she took pride in the team not ever quitting despite falling behind by 31 points in what became an 83-68 loss.

2. Baylor center Brittney Griner, Joseph said, was “definitely bigger and stronger and more skilled …

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Mock drafts send Tech’s Hill to Houston, S.F.

If the mock drafts are to be believed, former Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill is going to be either a Houston Texan or San Francisco 49er. I don’t put a great deal of credence in mock drafts; it seems like they tend to mirror one anther and rely on conventional wisdom, which isn’t usually how teams actually pick. Plus, one surprise pick at the top or middle of the actual first round can change everything down the stream.

Regardless, what I take from it is that Hill will likely go in the first round or early in the second, which, as I’ve written before, is remarkable considering that his draft evaluation said that he didn’t have the potential to go in the first three rounds.

The logic with Houston is that wide receiver is considered a “need” position. Starters Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter will both turn 31 before the season starts. Johnson has missed 12 games in the past two seasons. The 49ers had needs at wide receiver, but signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, and …

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Johnson on special-teams hire

Greetings-

Have some notes from interviews from Wednesday’s practice with coach Paul Johnson, defensive line coach Andy McCollum, punter Sean Poole and defensive end Izaan Cross.

1. Johnson spoke about his decision to break with his philosophy to not have a special-teams coach. He said he began to consider it “maybe midway or three quarters” through the season. (His memory might be a little fuzzy. His enthusiastic defense of his philosophy was after the Miami game, the eighth game of the season. Regardless…)

Johnson: “It wasn’t a situation where I was going to let somebody go to do that, but as the situation (with former co-offensive line coach Todd Spencer resigning) unfolded, we had a chance to do it, and we had a chance at a position to do it,” he said. “I talked to some people who had done it. They said, ‘Hey, I think you’ll like it. Try it.’ There’s very few people that do it. There’s only five or six in the country. It’s new for me, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, …

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Calvin Johnson vying for Madden 13 cover

Former Georgia Tech star Calvin Johnson is one of 16 NFL players still alive in a contest to be on the cover of the Madden NFL 13 video game. But is the smart play for Megatron fans to vote against the Detroit Lions wide receiver?

As it did last year, EA Sports is allowing fans to select the player to appear on the cover. One player from each team was eligible, and in the first round Johnson’s margin of victory over Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was one of the largest of the 16 contests. The honor, however, comes with some a jinx worthy of the Brady Bunch tiki necklace.

Last year, running back Peyton Hillis, then with Cleveland, won the cover. He went from 1,177 rushing yards in 2010 to 587 in 2011 and missed six games.

In 2009, Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu sprained a knee ligament. The year before that, Brett Favre came out of retirement and fell on his face with the New York Jets. Michael Vick was on the cover in 2003, the year he broke his leg. That’s just …

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More on Georgia Tech’s quarterback competition

Greetings-

Some quotes and observations that didn’t make the story about Synjyn Days and Vad Lee challenging Tevin Washington.

1. Like just about any coach, quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon loves having competition.

“Competition makes every one of them better regardless of who ends up being the guy. There’s no doubt. It’s the best thing you’ve got as a coach if you have competition. It’s hard when you don’t, unless you have a really intrinsically motivated starter.”

2. I alluded to it, but it sounds like the primary objective in spring practice will be to separate Lee and Days more than either of them against Washington. Obviously, if either of them blows it out of the water, that would have bearing on Washington’s status, but I’d think he has such a lead on both that it’s not likely in the spring.

3. Bohannon on familiarity with the offense being Lee’s challenge: “There isn’t any doubt. The more you do it, the better you’re going to be. He is a student of the …

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Lawyer: Pollock ‘absolutely not guilty’

The attorney for Georgia Tech assistant men’s tennis coach Conor Pollock asserted his client’s innocence Tuesday. Pollock was arrested Saturday on charges of rape and possession of cocaine and marijuana.

“He is absolutely not guilty,” J. Tom Morgan said. “That’s not defense lawyer [talk]. This kid is absolutely not guilty.”

Pollock was arrested after a 23-year-old woman told Atlanta police investigators that Pollock raped her early Saturday. According to information gathered by police, Pollock approached the woman and a friend outside a Buckhead bar and invited them to his apartment.

According to a police report, “The victim advised police that she remembers being at the apartment and then waking up to the suspect raping her.”

Morgan acknowledged that the two met at the bar and returned to Pollock’s Buckhead apartment, but said that Pollock did not rape the woman.

“We all make decisions we regret later, but that doesn’t mean those decisions were criminal acts,” he said.

Morgan …

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Georgia Tech spring practice notes

Greetings-

A few notes from the first day of spring practice:

1. Players were in shorts and helmets, and will be Wednesday, as well. I’d guess on Friday they’ll be in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

Coach Paul Johnson’s impressions: “I thought the enthusiasm was pretty good. They bounced around O.K.”

He thought the conditioning level was pretty good.

2. Zach Laskey has moved back to B-back from the secondary. Johnson indicated that other players will be moved, but that it’s yet to happen. “You’re not going to do a whole lot of that on the first day,” he said. “Just kind of let ‘em get their feet under ‘em and kind of go from there.”

3. Special teams coordinator David Walkosky went through his first practice with the team. I’m told he was high energy and putting the specialists through a lot of conditioning work.

“I thought he flew around and coached hard, like I thought he would,” Johnson said.

Walkosky said that he’s 100 percent for using starters on special teams and that …

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Burnett’s career appears over

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson did not close the door completely on linebacker Julian Burnett’s playing career. But Burnett’s neck injury, suffered in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31, appears to have ended his career.

“Well, you need to get that statement from Julian,” Johnson said Monday, following Tech’s first spring practice. “If he’s not out here, he’s probably not going to play.”

Burnett will be placed on medical scholarship, meaning he is ineligible to play in the coming season.

“He’s a heck of a competitor and a good football player, but there’s bigger things in life than football,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to be safe.”

Burnett led the Yellow Jackets in tackles for the past two seasons, despite starting only eight games in 2010. He was named to the All-ACC second team last season after finishing fifth in the regular season in tackles.

Johnson said Burnett will remain involved with the team in some fashion.

“He’s disappointed,” Johnson said. “Like anything, you want him to play, …

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Tech assistant tennis coach arrested on rape charge

Georgia Tech assistant men’s tennis coach Conor Pollock was arrested Saturday on a rape charge, according to police. He was also charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana.

Pollock was taken to the Fulton County jail following the arrest by Atlanta police. The school has placed Pollock, 24, on administrative leave and released the following statement Monday:

“We are aware of the charges involving assistant men’s tennis coach Conor Pollock. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay, effective immediately, pending the outcome of the external investigation. We will address his continued employment at Georgia Tech when the necessary additional information becomes available. We will have no further comment while the active investigation is in progress.”

Details on the charges were not available from Atlanta police Monday afternoon.

Pollock was hired in August to replace former assistant Aljosa Piric, now head coach at Old Dominion. Pollock came to Tech after running …

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Tevin Washington, part 2

Greetings-

Sorry this is late. I was detained by other work stuff, principally an interview with women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph and then some reporting at the South regional at the Georgia Dome. Onward to the second half of the interview with Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, covering a variety of topics.

1. On playing Virginia Tech in the opener: “I’m excited, to be honest. We don’t have to wait until game 8 to play them. We get to come out, give our best shot to them coming out of the gate. I think it’s going to be a big game. I mean, I’m excited. I know everybody on the team is excited. It’s a big game, on Labor Day. I think it’s going to be a good game.”

He said it’s a motivation to players to play Virginia Tech instead of an FCS team in the opener.

“There’s a lot on the line coming out on the first game,” he said. “It’s a conference game, we’re going to get a chance to make a statement in the conference and I’m pretty sure nationally. So everybody’s …

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