Tech secondary young but experienced

Greetings-

These are notes from Saturday’s spring practice, which included some scrimmaging.

1. Like last season, Georgia Tech has one senior starter in the secondary. This year, it’s cornerback Rod Sweeting.

Unlike last season, when all four starters were new, the Yellow Jackets have three starters back and a fourth, cornerback Jemea Thomas, who played heavy minutes.

That experience gives secondary coach Charles Kelly and defensive coordinator Al Groh room to advance the backfield this spring. Kelly and cornerback Louis Young both mentioned the same notion of the game slowing down after practice Saturday morning.

“I guess maturing in the defense becomes a little bit easier,” Young said.

Safety Isaiah Johnson “made some checks and did some things [Saturday] that he hadn’t done before,” Kelly said, because he could see the field better and process information more quickly.

Young and Johnson have been working with the first group of five defensive backs – corners Sweeting, Thomas and Young and safeties Johnson and Fred Holton, who is coming back from a torn Achilles suffered last preseason. Chris Milton, Domonique Noble and Jamal Golden played cornerback in the second group with safeties Corey Dennis and Demond Smith.

Saturday, in the first scrimmage action of spring practice, Kelly rotated the corners in each group as they worked against the offense.

“We were better at re-routing receivers, trying to keep taking steps forward at being aggressive,” Kelly said.

2. After going through “thud” drills Friday in the first practice in pads  – wrapping up ballcarriers but no tackling to the ground – Tech dedicated some of its practice time Saturday morning to live scrimmaging.

“The ball was on the ground a zillion times,” coach Paul Johnson said. “We played a lot of guys; that’s what’s going to happen. Poor decisions. There was enough to fix on every side to be concerned.”

Johnson said that the offense held the advantage in the first part of the scrimmage and the defense controlled the latter part. Center-quarterback exchanges caused many of the fumbles. In addition to multiple quarterbacks working with different centers, offensive lineman Catlin Alford was also thrown into the mix at center, creating additional unfamiliarity.

Guard Will Jackson was injured in the practice, but Johnson said he didn’t think it was serious.

3. Inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy praised the work of two teammates, fellow inside linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days and Holton. Hunt-Days, a redshirt freshman “has been very physical in between the tackles. He had a great day [Saturday], actually. When we called blitz, he hit it hard.”

Holton had the hit of the day, by Nealy’s estimation. B-back Charles Perkins broke outside on a dive play “and Fred came up and just laid the pads on him.”

4. Tech is planning to cancel its final two of four contracted games with BYU, in 2014 and 2017. The teams will still meet for a home-and-home this fall (at Tech) and 2013 (in Provo, Utah). Tech needed to drop a non-conference game in 2014 because it had four scheduled, and by that point the ACC will be playing a nine-game league schedule. In 2017, Tech had BYU, Mississippi and Georgia scheduled but wanted to swap out BYU for a game against an FCS opponent. There will be no penalty for the scheduling change.

5. The team will scrimmage the next two Saturday mornings at the stadium. Both will be open to the public, but start times have not been determined. Tech will complete spring practice with the T-Day game Friday, April 20. A start time has not been announced. … For Tech Beautification Day, the football team and other varsity teams took part in projects on campus. Football players and coaches awoke early to spread pine straw around trees surrounding the Peters Parking Deck. … Former Tech wide receiver and Denver Broncos star Demaryius Thomas visited practice Saturday and chatted with Johnson.

Thanks for reading.

I’ll have more football notes up Tuesday morning.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

404 comments Add your comment

Football

April 2nd, 2012
6:38 am

Football

April 2nd, 2012
6:40 am

Thanks for the updates. Spring game will be here before we know it.

gtfanfrom1951

April 2nd, 2012
6:40 am

good one Ken

TDone

April 2nd, 2012
6:42 am

Very promising!!!

Spring news trickle

April 2nd, 2012
7:06 am

[...] Senior Member Join DateAug 2011 Posts2,926 more from ken at AJC this a.m. Tech secondary young but experienced | Georgia Tech Reply With Quote     + Reply to Thread [...]

MisterT

April 2nd, 2012
7:58 am

Ken, has there been anymore practice with QB at shotgun. We saw it on a few plays in the Sun Bowl. I think it would be a great package, especially for the ones with better arms like Vad or Justin.

THWg!

FL Jacket

April 2nd, 2012
8:03 am

Great work Ken…

DB might be the deepest part of the team, and I’m really looking forward to three years (hopefully) of Fred Holton!

Also good to hear about a B-Back breaking into the secondary…we didn’t get a lot of that in 2011.

GT Rich

April 2nd, 2012
8:14 am

Will we hear any more specifics of how the different QBs did this past Saturday? Any fans go and have something to share?

Bryce

April 2nd, 2012
8:18 am

Yes, they are athletic and have ability.

Problem is the coaching for the secondary is awful. Tech play the corners so tight on the line-the corners are usually running to keep up with the receivers that are behind them every other play.

The crossing patterns kill the safeties and the tackling is pathetic.

Marine Jacket

April 2nd, 2012
8:53 am

??????????

Bryce, not sure what you saw last year but the corners were not beat on deep routes or crossing routes due to lack of coaching. They were always in position to make a play. Many of the plays made across the middle were due to poor LB play. Examole the crossing route in the UGA game that went for a touchdown. Everyone was playing man to man except the LB who that they were running a zone.

I also recall the fastest group of recievers we play (Clemson) not being able to due much.

Go Jackets!!!

RedandBlackDAWG

April 2nd, 2012
9:10 am

Just an observation and wondering how good are the big boys on the DL? If they can get after a QB, a DB’s job becomes a lot easier over all. UGA being thin at the DB positions due to various circumstances is blessed to have a very strong bunch of young fellows on the DL, and that will help out a lot this year.

Ken Sugiura

April 2nd, 2012
9:12 am

GT Rich – saturday’s practice was closed.
well done, football.

Freddie Blassie

April 2nd, 2012
9:19 am

The crossing route or drag route by the tight ends hurt us all year.
I remember the great freshman receiver for Clemson running free a bunch: I cannot remember whether the gains were from deep patterns, runs or what, but the guy was the best receiver I have seen on Grant Field since D. Thomas.

BGA

April 2nd, 2012
9:19 am

Too bad we don’t have a coach like oregon does. One that actually can coach and change things up.

SansWorld

April 2nd, 2012
9:24 am

Have go with Marine on this one. I don’t recall the corners being beated deep too often. We got beat by teams who were able to compelte passes across the middle or run th ball down our throat. For most of the year our secondary looked good, and we did not give up a lot of passing yards.

SansWorld

April 2nd, 2012
9:32 am

Tech contained Sammy Watkins as well as anyone did before he got hurt. I remember only one big gain after a crossing pattern.

FL Jacket

April 2nd, 2012
9:39 am

RedandBlackDAWG…

Thanks for the question. In my mind, DL is the biggest question mark heading into fall. Like you said, a quality pass rush helps ease the secondary’s responsibility. A lot of people here are talking about the crossing routes that burned us against VT and UGA…but if a QB gets 4+ seconds to throw the ball someone will always be open.

We have one starter returning (Izaan Cross) who is supposedly trimmed down and will play one of the DE spots at a more chiseled 280 lbs. The other DE spot is probably wide open until Blacksburg. There’s a whole host of guys that will get a crack at that spot…Euclid Cummings, Emanuel Dieke, Anthony Williams, Jimmie Kitchen, or a couple of our true freshman like Pat Gamble or Rod Chungong.

Which brings us to NT. Much of our success on defense will rest on the shoulders of T.J. Barnes and Shawn Green. Barnes is a hoss, who hopefully has improved his conditioning, and Green is a 4-star recruit (#1 DT from state of Georgia in 2010 I believe). This position is where stopping the run starts…

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
9:47 am

We didn’t get beat deep too often last year because teams ran the ball down our throat. Until the run defense gets shored up, we could Darrelle Revis and Ed Reed back there and we won’t know it.

Yeah, Oregon does so much different than Tech, BGA. If only we could run an option like they do, then we’d be unstoppable. Wait, what?

Fair point, RedandBlack.

dawgfan

April 2nd, 2012
9:49 am

Tech fans, don’t you question the wisdom of an offense that requires so many things to fall in to place to be effective? Most teams don’t put the ball on the ground a “zillion times” just because they are mixing and matching QBs and centers. The QB/Center exchange is one of the most fundamental aspects of football and they can do it in their sleep. Yet, it seems that your team spends a great deal of time in the spring and early part of the season mastering this fundamental. Doesn’t that hold back the development of your offense? For instance, how are you ever going to develop an effective passing game if you’re spending so much time trying to get the ball from the center to the QB? It just seems like there’s a lot of reinventing the wheel with Paul Johnson’s offense and, thus, a lot of stagnation.

I’m not trying to be an azz. Trust me, I’ll let you know when it comes time for that.

Thanks.

Jacket Fan

April 2nd, 2012
9:52 am

Thank you for the update. Other questions –
How is Snoddy looking/
C. Jackson – wr or a-back?
Cheeks, Harrell, Marcordes – in the LB mix this year?
Chamberlain, Joe, Braun – in the OL mix this year? If not, are the existing starters going to put some more weight on (especially Kidney)?
A. Williams – if I remember correctly, a 4 star. How is he looking?
T. Kelly – 6′7″ LB; a walk-on, I guess. Playing time?
X. Lewis – in the DT mix? If not, who is the #3 guy after Barnes and Green?
J. Kitchen – end or tackle? What’s the word on him?
Thank you.

WnE

April 2nd, 2012
9:57 am

re:
4. Tech is planning to cancel its final two of four contracted games with BYU, in 2014 and 2017. The teams will still meet for a home-and-home this fall (at Tech) and 2013 (in Provo, Utah). Tech needed to drop a non-conference game in 2014 because it had four scheduled, and by that point the ACC will be playing a nine-game league schedule. In 2017, Tech had BYU, Mississippi and Georgia scheduled but wanted to swap out BYU for a game against an FCS opponent. There will be no penalty for the scheduling change.
__________________

Why the cowardly scheduling?

Why not just keep BYU and play all D1-A teams?

Notre Dame, USCw, UCLA and a couple of other Colleges have never played a D1-AA team in their entire history, so why does GT just HAVE TO HAVE a crappy FCS (i.e. D1-AA) Team on their schedule?

When you don’t connect with local CFB fans, and you cannot sell-out most of your home games, then weakening the schedule does nothing to help your FB program sell more tickets.

For those that believe that the HC is not behind the weakening of the schedule, then you are wrong, the AD is doing this at the direct request of the HC himself, although the GTAA will never say so publicly.

IMO a so-called Offensive Genius would have no reason to weaken the schedule intentionally, moves like this and moving Bama & Auburn back to 2020 & 2021 are a good indicator of what kind of HC that Coach Fish Fry really is.

I wonder how the CPJ apologists are going to defend this move?

jadams

April 2nd, 2012
9:58 am

Good job Ken. Keep em coming. Anything on who is getting the most snaps at a back other than orwin or the QB battle?

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
10:02 am

If you wanna be cool and talk ball, dawgfan, that’s fine. It’s Easter week after all.

Regarding the fumbles, according to the NCAA, we lost 11 fumbles, or the same amount as UGA.
http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/natlRank.jsp?year=2011&rpt=IA_teamfumlost&site=org&div=IA&dest=O

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
10:07 am

This is fantasic.

WnE
February 14th, 2012
1:34 pm

2. At some point, it wouldn’t surprise me if Tech pushes back or shelves its home-and-home with BYU altogether. They’re scheduled to play four games, beginning this fall. When Pitt and Syracuse officially join the ACC and the conference begins a nine-game league schedule, I’m not sure Tech will want to keep an 11th game against a high-level FBS opponent.
__________________________

BYU is from a non-AQ Conference, how can they be considered a “high-level FBS opponent”?

dawgfan

April 2nd, 2012
10:13 am

I wasn’t talking about during the season George. I’m talking about during the spring and preseason camp. It seems you spend a lot of time on fundamentals and it holds you back. While you’re working on QB/Center exchanges, everyone else is working on sophisticated passing schemes, etc. I think its a problem for your defense too when the season rolls around. They are seeing things they have never seen before.

Thanks.

WnE

April 2nd, 2012
10:16 am

Too bad your cut & paste has failed you.

Sorry Georgie Stienie, weak comment.

Either way BYU isn’t a D1-AA Team, and at least they are D1-A at a higher level than MTSU.

With that #2 next to that comment above are you sure than I didn’t copy it from another source and then comment on it later down the page?

Those words don’t quite sound like mine.

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
10:18 am

I guess I don’t have data on how much other teams spend on it, dawgfan, to make an educated opinion on it. Ken indicated that a lot of different players were rotating in and out and it was the first padded practice of the season.

As long as we don’t end up like Florida in 2010 (I think), we should be fine.

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
10:21 am

I’m fairly certain you did that, WnE. Ken typically does a bullet style format (or numbering style). You copied it and pasted it.

But you’re right. Those words don’t sound like yours because they are devoid of random capitalization, poor grammar, personal insults, and complete fabrications.

dawgfan

April 2nd, 2012
10:26 am

I would put that 2010 Florida team right on par with any team that Paul Johnson has fielded. Perhaps that proves my point.

Tech 4 Life

April 2nd, 2012
10:28 am

Back to news of real importance to Tech fans….Who made the Madden cover?

WnE

April 2nd, 2012
10:28 am

re:
I’m fairly certain you did that, WnE. Ken typically does a bullet style format (or numbering style). You copied it and pasted it.

But you’re right. Those words don’t sound like yours because they are devoid of random capitalization, poor grammar, personal insults, and complete fabrications.
_______________

Do you really think I give a shiite about poor grammar on Sports Blog?

Once again you show what kind of horrible, unknowledgeable CFB fans that GT has.

Instead of focusing on the MAIN THEME of what I wrote, which was weakening of the schedule, you instead focus on the minutiae of whether or not BYU is a high level BCS Team, which is immaterial to the discussion since replacing them with a FCS Team (i.e crappy D1-AA team) obviously weakens the schedule.

Talking CFB is not like playing trivial pursuit or some geeky role-playing-game online, the more GT fans like you comment on these blogs, the more embarrassing it is for GT’s FB Program.

And your excellent grammar and lack of random capitalization won’t change that fact!

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
10:33 am

I have no idea what you give a shiite about, WnE. I’m not in the business of reading minds.

Also, there typically isn’t a main theme, WnE, beyond your abject hatred for all things white and gold. You nicely skipped over the personal insults and complete fabrications part of my comment.

SansWorld

April 2nd, 2012
10:39 am

dawgfan, I think the difference is that with most offences the “read’ is before the snap. With the option, QB-Center exchange is the the first step in a series of events leading to the ultimate read and execution. Is this fundamental more important in the option that other offences? no. But it is harder to perfect knowing that he center will likely do more pulling after the snap, and the QB’s next 1.5 seconds will offer a lot more ‘options’ than in other offences.
I does not make me question the option philosophically.

WnE

April 2nd, 2012
10:45 am

re:
I have no idea what you give a shiite about, WnE. I’m not in the business of reading minds.

Also, there typically isn’t a main theme, WnE, beyond your abject hatred for all things white and gold. You nicely skipped over the personal insults and complete fabrications part of my comment.
_______________

There was clearly a main theme this time, since weakening of the schedule was obviously what I was trying to convey as being the main issue here, if you couldn’t see that then that means that you didn’t want to see it because you don’t want to ask any tough questions of GT’s FB program since GT hired Coach Fish Fry.

My postings clearly have consistent themes.

CPJ is terrible recruiter that is setting GT FB back from where it could be.

CPJ is terrible at all other phases of being a BCS level HC, outside of his triple-SLOPtion running game, CPJ is terrible at putting together a BCS-level passing game, defense, and STs.

CPJ is terrible vs. the segment of the schedule that defines GT FB:

1-3 vs. UGA
1-3 vs. Va. Tech
1-3 vs. Miami
0-4 vs. Bowl Games

Those are consistent themes that you & many other never respond to, instead you run off on tangents that have nothing to with what happens with GT FB on the field.

I focus on stuff that impacts GT FB on the field vs. our toughest competition.

You & your lackeys never do!

HighTech

April 2nd, 2012
10:49 am

Notre Dame, USCw, UCLA and a couple of other Colleges have never played a D1-AA team in their entire history, so why does GT just HAVE TO HAVE a crappy FCS (i.e. D1-AA) Team on their schedule?
—————————————-
I would rather see FBS opponents than FCS opponents. However, it appears some of the schools in the ELITE SEC CONFERENCE are trying to schedule 4 D1-AA teams on a season schedule. In fact, if you read the Junkyard Blawg, it appears some Dawg fans are afraid to play Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Auburn all in the same season because of how it may affect the win-loss record or because of potential injuries. We’ve played Vanderbilt and Miss. St. in recent years and I would like to see more games scheduled against SEC opponents. That is, if the SEC schools can afford to drop one of their PRECIOUS D1-AA cupcakes. Not sure who is behind the scheduling, but I don’t think we can blame it all on Coach Kung Fu Panda even though Gollum hates him.

Supersize that order, mutt

April 2nd, 2012
10:52 am

How is dropping BYU because we’re adding either Pitt or Syracuse weakening the schedule???

I think it’s very admirable that some schools in the country never play FCS schools, and frankly I wish Tech were one of those schools. But the fact is that EVERY school in the southeast, be it ACC or SEC, schedules FCS schools EVERY SINGLE YEAR !!!! Why berate Tech for doing it, when everybody else around here does the same? Have you checked the dwags’ schedule???

Supersize that order, mutt

April 2nd, 2012
10:55 am

Wiener, while you’re responding to that one, if you can find some (in your mind) logical response to it, PLEASE TELL US ALSO WHY YOU STALKED VAD LEE???

WnE

April 2nd, 2012
11:00 am

re:
HighTech
April 2nd, 2012
10:49 am
_______________

You’re wrong on this one and you know it.

SEC teams don’t have problems selling out their huge stadiums.

Some yrs. we get ACC opponents like Dook, UVa., and Wake and BC or Md. in the same season, with crappy opponents like that on your conference schedule, then a team like GT should use their 3 OOC-games to schedule desirable D1-A matchups that will bring more fans to our games, BTW MTSU is not a desirable D1-A matchup.

UGA plays, USCe, Tenn, Auburn, Fla, and then rotate Teams in from the SECw like Arky or LSU that would give them 5 games per years that are uber-desirable in comparison to what we play on GT’s schedule.

If you think I so wrong then simply look a t the numbers of GT Games that end up on ESPN3 or being played in the worst TV-slots.

Last season you have to wait until week 2 or 3 of the season to see GT FB on most Cable TV packages, most of them don’t even carry ESPN3.

Last season UGA was on national TV twice vs. Bosie & USCe before GT was on TV even once.

Do you really enjoy watching games ONLINE on ESPN’s website?

Why are you trying to argue something that isn’t really worth arguing, GT needs to schedule better OOC, end of story and move on.

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
11:04 am

Strength of schedule is completely meaningless unless you’re in the NCG hunt. Given that the BCS is likely about to be blown up, switching the game means nothing.

What are some of the tactics Johnson should use to improve his “crappy” recruiting?

Those four games do not define Tech. They are important (except for the bowl game, which is meaningless) but they don’t define anything.

As to running off on tangents, I see no reason to respond to you when most of your comments have no basis in fact and are often complete fabrications.

Supersize that order, mutt

April 2nd, 2012
11:05 am

Wiener why won’t you ever tell us why you stalked Vad Lee? Come on, little girl. If you have so much to say about everything else, why not ‘fess up to what you did and explain it for all of us to read. Are you that much of a chicken?

FL Jacket

April 2nd, 2012
11:07 am

dwagfan…

I’d like for you to point out what other team is running elaborate passing schemes their first full day in pads…and not also having issues with Center/QB exchanges, botched handoffs, and the like against live contact.

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
11:08 am

“UGA plays, USCe, Tenn, Auburn, Fla, and then rotate Teams in from the SECw like Arky or LSU that would give them 5 games per years that are uber-desirable in comparison to what we play on GT’s schedule.”

You spend enough time on the UGA blog fawning over Mark Richt that you should have seen the UGA fans complaining over their home schedule the past couple seasons.

WnE

April 2nd, 2012
11:11 am

For all you CPJ apologists out there try out this scenario:

Do you think that if CPJ went to DRad and said please leave BYU on our OOC schedule and lets play all D1-A teams when the ACC goes to 9-conference games, do you think that DRad would intentionally ignore him and say to himself, “go to hell CPJ I’m going to drop BYU and replace them with a D1-AA team in direct opposition to what you want”?

Does anyone really think that DRad would do that?

Of course not, which leaves CPJ as being the driving force behind weakening the schedule and replacing BYU with a crappy D1-AA Teams.

Last yr. CMR is the one that wanted to play Boise St. in the CFA Kick-off classic, the AD didn’t force him to.

HCs control their OOC schedules, unless it involves a traditional rivalry like Notre Dame – USCw or something like that.

Anyone that thinks that CPJ isn’t responsible for the weakening of the OOC schedule is naive.

Weren’t we supposed to get started with Bama this season, I wonder who wanted to push those games back to 2020 & beyond?

BigTimeTechFan

April 2nd, 2012
11:13 am

@WNE

Tech replaced BYU game with the likes of FSU, Pitt, Syracuse, ..
We will have to see in 2017 if the schedule is weaker.
but as of now
FSU is better
Pitt equal, but has benefitted from Penn St troubles and had real strong recruiting class, many say they will be top team by 2014.
Cuse, can’t say they are better than BYU.

Nice that you pick 3 teams that don’t play FCS schools instead of the 100’s that do, little bias there.

dawgfan

April 2nd, 2012
11:14 am

“I’d like for you to point out what other team is running elaborate passing schemes their first full day in pads…and not also having issues with Center/QB exchanges, botched handoffs, and the like against live contact.”

The University of Georgia Bulldogs, and our offense isn’t even that great (check my comments on the UGA blogs if you don’t believe me).

George Stein

April 2nd, 2012
11:17 am

Here we go with WnE making up dialogue again.

I think his point probably reflects the kind of job he has, where a relationship is more dictatorial than collaborative. This is probably a bit more normal for low level, low skilled people like WnE. But for smarter, more highly skilled individuals, there isn’t much of people telling you what to do. Rather, you discuss things and try to reach a logical consensus that leaves all parties satisfied.

dawgfan

April 2nd, 2012
11:17 am

“Those four games do not define Tech. They are important (except for the bowl game, which is meaningless) but they don’t define anything.”

LMAO. If those 4 games do not define Georgia Tech football then what in the hell does? I’m trying really hard not to be an azz but its hard when you Techies say so many stupid things.

Thanks.

Supersize that order, mutt

April 2nd, 2012
11:17 am

If you look back at the history of Tech scheduling, you will see that even Dodd in the early 50s played Davidson, The Citadel, VMI, and maybe a couple other teams who would be considered FCS level now. From 1954 until 1978, when Pepper’s team played The Citadel, we didn’t play any such teams. Since 1978, however, we have played one or two such teams almost every single year. So don’t go blaming CPJ for the scheduling, especially since schedules, barring some kind of last minute modification, are generally set up 10 years in advance. So O’Leary and Chan (or the AD’s during those years) are more responsible for Tech’s current schedule than CPJ or DRad are.

BigTimeTechFan

April 2nd, 2012
11:18 am

Last season you have to wait until week 2 or 3 of the season to see GT FB on most Cable TV packages, most of them don’t even carry ESPN3.

Week 2 or 3, oh wow, what’s long?
Who does Tech play week one next year, nat’l TV?
Who does UGA play week one?

Supersize that order, mutt

April 2nd, 2012
11:20 am

As far as the postponing of the Tech – Bama series, that was a mutual decision, and I haven’t read anything said by either school’s reps which point the finger at the other.