Archive for July, 2012

Tech opponent breakdown: Virginia

I’ve had to skip Presbyterian, Georgia Tech’s Sept. 3 opponent. The team doesn’t have a beat writer and my attempts to find a reasonably unbiased source to analyze the team fell short. I’ll keep working on it. Anyway, Norm Wood of the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., was gracious enough to answer questions about Virginia, Tech’s opponent Sept. 15 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. You can follow his blog here and on Twitter here.

1. In a nutshell, what are Virginia’s strengths and weaknesses?

Despite losing Associated Press second team All-American left guard Austin Pasztor and honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference center Anthony Mihota, U.Va. should still be very sturdy up front. Starting right guard Luke Bowanko spent his offseason rehabilitating from surgeries to each of his shoulders, but he should be ready to go for the start of practice and could slide over to center. Left tackle Oday Aboushi and right tackle Morgan Moses could be one of the best overall blocking duos …

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Palka named Cape Cod League all-star MVP

Georgia Tech’s Daniel Palka earned one of two MVP awards at the Cape Cod League All-Star Game Saturday. Playing first base, Palka went 3-for-4 in the game, which ended in a 1-1 tie. Palka, representing the Wareham Gatemen, was named the West MVP.

Palka became the third Tech player to win the honor in the Cape Cod League, usually stocked with the top upcoming draft prospects in college baseball. Tech’s previous winners were Matt Murton and Mark Teixeira. Murton played five years in the major leagues and now plays in Japan, where he broke Ichiro’s single-season hit record in 2010. Teixeira is a two-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner. Palka was a second-team All-ACC pick this past season with 12 home runs and a team-best .550 slugging percentage.

Palka reached the all-star break hitting .285 with 10 home runs, tied for the league lead. Teammate Mott Hyde, also picked for the all-star game, was hitting .301 with seven doubles at the break.

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Tech’s Morris free of injury

Georgia Tech guard Jason Morris doesn’t know yet how his shot will feel when games begin in November. But he already knows he feels much better physically.

“I’m finally back, 90, 95 percent at this point,” Morris said Monday. “It feels good.”

Morris broke his right big toe in a pickup game last July and never completely recovered during the season. He also played with other injuries that he kept private. He estimated he played at about 60 or 70 percent of full capacity. His performance reflected it. He had his moments, but was often a non-factor as his shooting percentage dropped from 41.4 percent as a freshman in the 2010-11 season to 34.6 percent last year. His 3-point percentage fell from 40.0 to 29.2.

“I didn’t feel like I was agile at all, because my foot was messed up from Day One till the last day against Miami,” Morris said.

Morris said his shot feels better thus far, although he’s had to tweak his touch on jumpers because of the continuing strength …

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Tevin Washington among graduates Friday

Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington will be one of 17 current or former Tech athletes who will graduate Friday. Washington, who will receive his management degree, will be the first Tech quarterback to play as a graduate since George Godsey in 2001.

Center Nick McRae will also receive a management degree. Other notables include former football players Chris Reis, Rashaad Reid and Jamal Cox and basketball players B.J. Elder and Zach Peacock. Graduation ceremonies will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at the Fox Theatre.

Reis, Cox, Elder and Peacock all returned to school via Tech’s degree completion program, which is designed to assist current or former professional athletes complete degree work. Elder and Peacock both play in Europe. Reis was out of football last year but was a member of the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl champion 2009 team.

Student-Athlete

Degree

Sport

Leah Bell

BSSTC

Dance

Jamal Cox

BSBA

Football

Derek Craig

BSMGT

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Tech opponent breakdown: Virginia Tech

I’d planned to run some more stuff from interviews last week, but my laptop seems to have eaten all my notes. I’ll have more when I transcribe it again. In the meantime, I asked writers who cover the teams on Tech’s schedule for breakdowns of those teams. We’ll start with Virginia Tech and Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times and Virginian Pilot. You can check out his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.

1. In a nutshell, what are Virginia Tech’s strengths and weaknesses?

The defense, as usual, is the strength of the team. The Hokies return nine starters from a group that was riddled with injuries last year yet still finished the season ranked No. 10 nationally in total defense. The entire front seven is back, buoyed by the return of linebacker Bruce Taylor, who was having an All-ACC season before suffering a Lisfranc foot injury in Week 8. The defensive line has the potential to be one of the best the school has had in the last decade. On offense, quarterback Logan Thomas

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Pain-free, Tech’s Orwin Smith setting bar high

Notes from interviews this week. Camp opens next Friday.

1. Orwin Smith said he will always feel lingering effects of his toe injury, but it matters little to him as his final season at Georgia Tech nears.

“I feel like I’m good to go, 100 percent,” said Smith, an A-back. “I don’t feel any pain. … [The injury] will always be there, but it’s definitely easier to do some quickness and planting things.”

Smith suffered the turf-toe injury early in last season’s loss to Virginia Tech. He played with diminished effectiveness for the remainder of the season. He had surgery in January and missed spring practice.

On top of a summer internship in the accounting department of a local beverage distributor, Smith has attacked summer workouts. On top of participating in team workouts, he has taken yoga and trained on his own, exercising with a resistance vest and also running and jumping in a pool.

“I’m the type of guy, I feel like I can’t get fast enough,” he said. …

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Tech to play Rice in Anaheim Classic

The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team will play its opening-round game of the Anaheim Classic against Rice on Thanksgiving Day at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The game will be on ESPNU. The Yellow Jackets will play either Drake or California in the second round. If it’s a winner’s bracket semifinal game, the game will be televised at midnight Nov. 23/24 on ESPN2. Otherwise, it would be 9:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU. Tech is 9-5 against Rice all-time.

Anaheim Classic (Schedule subject to change)

Date
Time (ET)
Game
Network

Thu, Nov 22
2 p.m.
Pacific vs. Xavier
ESPNU

4:30 p.m.
Drexel vs. Saint Mary’s
ESPN2

9 p.m.
Rice vs. Georgia Tech
ESPNU

11:30 p.m.
Drake vs. Cal
ESPN2

Fri, Nov 23
3:30 p.m.
Semifinal #1
ESPN2

6 p.m.
Consolation #1
ESPNU

9:30 p.m.
Consolation #2
ESPNU

Midnight
Semifinal #2
ESPN2

Sun, Nov 25
1:30 p.m.
5th-place Game
ESPNU

4 p.m.
7th-place Game
ESPN3

6:30 p.m.
3rd-place Game
ESPNU

9 p.m.
Championship Game
ESPN2

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Tech at U.S. Amateur qualifying, scholar-athlete awards

Some assorted notes from emanating from 150 Bobby Dodd Way…

1. Georgia Tech golfer’s Ollie Schniederjans and Richard Werenski both qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship by advancing out of qualifying tournaments earlier this week. The tournament will be held Aug. 13-19 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

Schniederjans won a qualifier at Piedmont Driving Club with a two-round total of 132, 10-under-par. Werenski, a junior, qualified for his third U.S. Amateur by finishing second at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Mass., with a 4-under total of 136.

Former Tech golfer James White finished seventh at the Piedmont Driving Club and is the first alternate.

Incoming freshman Shun Yat Hak is already in the field by virtue of a top-50 world amateur ranking. Bo Andrews finished the first round at Cutter Creek Golf Club in Snow Hill, N.C., in a four-way tie for eighth place with a one-under 71. The top three finishers will qualify.

Next week, …

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Johnson on Lee, Days, freshmen

More from Paul Johnson at ACC Media Days in Greensboro, N.C., starting with everyone’s favorite topic. (No, not uniforms)

1. Quarterback Vad Lee has been pushing Tevin Washington. Johnson said he’s become more comfortable, trying to turn weaknesses into strengths.

“On this level, you don’t get to just do what you like to do and what’s fun,” he said. “You have to embrace the whole thing. He’s done that and worked hard.”

Lee has been in the football offices watching video and continuing his education.

Said Johnson, “I could see Vad playing some this year, definitely.”

2. Johnson said the starting A-back opposite Orwin Smith could be “one of two or three guys.” I’m not sure if he literally meant two or three, but Deon Hill and Robbie Godhigh would be two. Tony Zenon and B.J. Bostic are the other most likely candidates.

“It’ll be a group, anyway, a committee,” he said. “That’s the way we’ve always played. Orwin will probably be highlighted a …

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10 things you didn’t know about Tech assistant David Walkosky

Georgia Tech special-teams coordinator David Walkosky tries to direct young males running around and wreaking havoc – and then he goes to work.

Walkosky is the father of four boys under the age of six, including twin two-year-olds.

“It’s 100 percent the same – controlled chaos,” he said.

Entering his first season at Tech, Walkosky holds the responsibility of fixing the Yellow Jackets’ subpar kicking game. The self-described “special-teams nerd” will attempt to do so with subject knowledge and deep wells of intensity and enthusiasm.

He recently sat for an interview, part of a series with Tech’s assistant coaches.

Honest living

Walkosky grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, the son of a steel-mill worker and a flower-shop owner. He lived near family among neighbors he described as “close-knit.” When he was in college, for instance, his best friend’s parents gave him their old car so he could drive to and from school. He is the youngest of four …

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