Al Groh breaks down Georgia Tech defense

From my interview with Al Groh for the “10 things” series, Groh offered a handful of observations about a few players I asked about, which I haven’t gotten to posting. Without further ado…

On T.J. Barnes: “He’s not a flamboyant player, not a flamboyant person, but he’s a very determined kid. He’s had a lot of challenges to work through in life, starting long before he got here. He’s got challenges here. He’s always fighting the weight circumstance, different issues. He’s one of those people who doesn’t say very much but is a very bright person. Was a different player in the spring, did a nice job.”

On Shawn Green: “Shawn Green, much the same way. He really hadn’t gotten much time. He came here as a freshman, not in the picture, out of shape, broke his leg, really not ready to participate or be coached in training camp last year. … He just wasn’t really ready to go. He hadn’t been able to condition and train. He missed a good deal of spring practice. So the first time he was able to get concentrated coaching was in the spring. And he made good progress. [Defensive line coach Andy McCollum] has done a nice job with those guys.”

On the secondary: “Well, we have a lot of experience on the corners, or a good amount. We don’t have very much experience at safety. We really only have one safety (Isaiah Johnson) that’s ever played very much. It’s kind of split that way. Pretty good experience, a lot of background in the schemes that we’re playing, a lot of background in pattern recognition on the edges. In the middle, we’ve got to catch up with the looks that the players see.”

On safeties Johnson and Fred Holton: “Isaiah’s got two years of playing. Fred has never really played safety in games. Two years ago, he played some special teams. Last year he was out for the year, so it was kind of the same situation as Shawn Green. Didn’t get coached for the whole fall. Didn’t participate. Had 15 practices in the spring to start to catch up. Picked up well on what he saw, there’s just a vast amount of other looks to see that are yet to come. … He showed a very good upside. He’s got range. He’s got toughness. He sees the game well. It makes sense to him.”

On Jeremiah Attaochu: “A lot of plays that Jerry had – and I use this same critique with other guys – I would look at the play and say, ‘What’s he doing? It’s not what we teach. It’s not what he did on Wednesday (in practice). What’s he doing?’ Eradicating those from his game and doing the things that he knows how to do and do well with greater consistency, which should happen for a lot of these players who are now going into their third season of doing the same thing.”

On Jabari Hunt-Days: “He’ going to be a lot better in the future than he is now. He’s never played in a game. We have to get him ready in a hurry to play well. It’ll be very challenging to him, challenging to us, to get him ready. It’s necessary for both parties to get way ahead of schedule.”

Thanks for reading. I’m technically off this week, but the 10 things series will continue this week with A-backs coach Lamar Owens. Previously, wide receivers coach Buzz Preston, secondary coach Charles Kelly and Groh.

Michael Carvell reports on three commits this weekend. Coach Paul Johnson is now up to 13 for the 2013 class.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech

133 comments Add your comment

Tom

July 16th, 2012
8:35 am

Thanks for the great updates

Bulldawg Techster...

July 16th, 2012
8:36 am

Thanks for the info,Kken – enjoy your time off…

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
8:39 am

Thanks for the updates, Ken. Do you think Al Groh “poor mouths” the team or do you think he calls it like he sees it? Based on what I’ve read from practice and spring game notes, I think the players listed in this update will have a huge season. I know some coaches in the past who would “poor mouth” their team and end up winning a conference title.

OldSchoolTechFanatic

July 16th, 2012
8:44 am

Tech Fan

July 16th, 2012
8:51 am

Hey Ken is there any news about the depth of the A-Backs, as in who’s replacing Roddy?

Thanks Ken

South Ga Jacket

July 16th, 2012
9:44 am

Any chance that Thomas sees playing time at A-Back? It might increase potential for a half-back pass. Even if he’s not ready to take over for Washington, he too good not to be on the field, unless he’s just going to redshirt.

Al Groh On Our Defensive Players

July 16th, 2012
9:55 am

[...] Groh On Our Defensive Players From the AJC: Al Groh breaks down Georgia Tech defense | Georgia Tech Reply With Quote [...]

dog kicker

July 16th, 2012
10:13 am

A.G.- Just make sure our “D” knows how to tackle!!!

Beat UGA

July 16th, 2012
10:40 am

Good work Ken, when we fire J, you can have his FTE!

errrr...

July 16th, 2012
11:15 am

I don’t see much here to get excited about. It sounds like Groh is ready for another terrible season. 6 players on D with nothing really good to say about them. Can’t say I am very happy about it.

Mark

July 16th, 2012
11:33 am

D will stink against cause there will be no pass rush.

WnE

July 16th, 2012
11:53 am

re:
On T.J. Barnes: “He’s not a flamboyant player, not a flamboyant person, but he’s a very determined kid. He’s had a lot of challenges to work through in life, starting long before he got here. He’s got challenges here. He’s always fighting the weight circumstance, different issues. He’s one of those people who doesn’t say very much but is a very bright person. Was a different player in the spring, did a nice job.”

On Shawn Green: “Shawn Green, much the same way. He really hadn’t gotten much time. He came here as a freshman, not in the picture, out of shape, broke his leg, really not ready to participate or be coached in training camp last year. … He just wasn’t really ready to go. He hadn’t been able to condition and train. He missed a good deal of spring practice. So the first time he was able to get concentrated coaching was in the spring. And he made good progress. [Defensive line coach Andy McCollum] has done a nice job with those guys.”
______________

So CPJ has the Rep as a disciplinarian yet the guys that are the top-2 NTs going into 2012 have spent most of their GT careers NOT IN SHAPE and NOT DISCIPLINED enough to manage their weight?

So much for the CPJ will get the most out of the “lesser recruits” theory that was supposed to make him ” the perfect option for GT”!

Don’t get mad at me, I simply read between the lines whereas most GT fans won’t allow themselves to see all of CPJ’s obvious flaws as a BCS-Level HC that is supposed to MANAGE GT’s FB Program and not simply be a glorified OC with a HC’s paycheck.

WnE

July 16th, 2012
11:53 am

re:
On T.J. Barnes: “He’s not a flamboyant player, not a flamboyant person, but he’s a very determined kid. He’s had a lot of challenges to work through in life, starting long before he got here. He’s got challenges here. He’s always fighting the weight circumstance, different issues. He’s one of those people who doesn’t say very much but is a very bright person. Was a different player in the spring, did a nice job.”

On Shawn Green: “Shawn Green, much the same way. He really hadn’t gotten much time. He came here as a freshman, not in the picture, out of shape, broke his leg, really not ready to participate or be coached in training camp last year. … He just wasn’t really ready to go. He hadn’t been able to condition and train. He missed a good deal of spring practice. So the first time he was able to get concentrated coaching was in the spring. And he made good progress. [Defensive line coach Andy McCollum] has done a nice job with those guys.”
______________

So CPJ has the Rep as a disciplinarian yet the guys that are the top-2 NTs going into 2012 have spent most of their GT careers NOT IN SHAPE and NOT DISCIPLINED enough to manage their weight?

So much for the CPJ will get the most out of the “lesser recruits” theory that was supposed to make him ” the perfect option for GT”!

Don’t get mad at me, I simply read between the lines whereas most GT fans won’t allow themselves to see all of CPJ’s obvious flaws as a BCS-Level HC that is supposed to MANAGE GT’s FB Program and not simply be a glorified OC with a HC’s paycheck.

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
12:02 pm

“Don’t get mad at me, I simply make stuff up to fit my agenda whereas most GT fans won’t allow themselves to see all of CPJ’s obvious flaws as a BCS-Level HC that is supposed to MANAGE GT’s FB Program and not simply be a glorified OC with a HC’s paycheck.”
————-
fify

thanks WnE

July 16th, 2012
12:04 pm

Your obsession confirms our feelings of superiority

THUGA

July 16th, 2012
12:06 pm

WnE, what do the 10+ arrest of uga football players every year say about Richt?

WnE

July 16th, 2012
12:08 pm

re:
HighTech
July 16th, 2012
12:02 pm
____________

Sorry HT, but every “real GT fan” has been legitimately upset at both Barnes & Green for not being in better shape and not playing better at NT.

No one is making anything up to fit any “agenda”, you’re simply overly defensive whenever CPJ does something wrong or something goes wrong with GT’s FB Program.

Argentina Blue

July 16th, 2012
12:12 pm

Reading between the lines sounds like the Jackets better be ready to try to outscore everyone 1999 style. Sounds like the defensive line is going to be a hot mess. Never been particularly crazy about Groh.

@WnE – I agree that Paul Johnson is overrated by some Tech fans but good grief – one of these kids broke his leg. And it’s typical for nose tackles to be really big guys who (unsurprisingly) sometimes struggle with weight issues. Not making excuses but that’s the way it is.

WnE

July 16th, 2012
12:13 pm

re:
THUGA
July 16th, 2012
12:06 pm

WnE, what do the 10+ arrest of uga football players every year say about Richt?
___________

It says that CMR needs to be his own “hatchet man” and put a boot in someone’s @$$ when they screw up or have someone on his staff be the “hatchet man” and put a boot in someone’s @$$ when they screw up.

Unfortunate as it is, you have to HAVE 1 or 2 guys like that on your staff to keep guys in line!

Or you can have slack drug-testing policy like CPJ & GT does!

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
12:16 pm

Sorry HT, but every “real GT fan” has been legitimately upset at both Barnes & Green for not being in better shape and not playing better at NT.
——————————–
Please list every real GT fan you know and where they post opinions. You are the only one I’ve read that does not have Dawg or Bulldog in their name that writes the things you do. You are a dawg fan because you would not write anything about CPJ being a disciplinarian if your beloved CMR was not currently being criticized for his perceived lack of team discipline.

WnE

July 16th, 2012
12:17 pm

re:
Argentina Blue

July 16th, 2012
12:12 pm

Reading between the lines sounds like the Jackets better be ready to try to outscore everyone 1999 style. Sounds like the defensive line is going to be a hot mess. Never been particularly crazy about Groh.

@WnE – I agree that Paul Johnson is overrated by some Tech fans but good grief – one of these kids broke his leg. And it’s typical for nose tackles to be really big guys who (unsurprisingly) sometimes struggle with weight issues. Not making excuses but that’s the way it is.
_______________

The kid was in terrible (as Charles Barkley would say tuuurrible) shape before he broke his leg and there was one article that chastised his poor work in the weight room where the article stated he couldn’t bench press 315 pounds after one full yr. on campus, unheard of for a BCS level interior lineman.

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
12:26 pm

300 lbs to 330 lbs bench press is considered by this source to be average to good for a BCS level interior lineman.

http://www.criticalbench.com/sportstraining.htm

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
12:28 pm

Or you can have slack drug-testing policy like CPJ & GT does!
————————
Or you can celebrate UGA’s moral victory.

Argentina Blue

July 16th, 2012
12:29 pm

@WnE – If that’s true about his performane in the weight room then I’d agree it’s terrible. There’s an article on the Georgia State blog about a linebacker that benches 350 pounds. But overall I think Tech has a pretty good S&C program and this guy’s physical condition was probably an anomaly.

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
12:31 pm

It says that CMR needs to be his own “hatchet man” and put a boot in someone’s @$$ when they screw up or have someone on his staff be the “hatchet man” and put a boot in someone’s @$$ when they screw up.
————————————-
Can he do that while hugging them and singing happy birthday? If he can, that’s awesome.

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
12:33 pm

Argentina Blue…Tech has a new S&C coach. From what I’ve read, the players are responding to him positively and already seeing the workouts pay dividends. We’ll see if there’s been improvement on 9/3.

Sciggs

July 16th, 2012
12:36 pm

Bud Foster hanging off the back of a water ski boat with no facial hair, is a better coach than Al Groh

JasonGT

July 16th, 2012
12:37 pm

It’s extremely hard to manage your weight when you’re between 300-350 lbs and not be fat. You either put on a lot of muscle which will trim you down too much eventually with football workouts, or you get too fat. It’s a healthy balance of S&C and nutrition that is done by professionals. Also with that weight at the highschool level you are a man among boys. At the college level you need aforementioned S&C to be able to handle good techniques and blocking schemes.

All this to say that if you aren’t getting one of the top NTs in the country, a little polishing is required. That looks like the case here so it’s no real story. TJ absolutely killed against Clemson last year. He has greatness in him and if he can keep the attitude we saw in that game, has a chance to play on Sundays.

Vulture

July 16th, 2012
12:44 pm

WhinE,
I don’t think GT fans are mad at you. They actually feel sorry for you. It must be terrible to be so pessimistic.

HighTech

July 16th, 2012
12:55 pm

May seem weak for a big guy, but 300 lbs to 330 lbs bench press is considered by this source to be average to good for a BCS level interior lineman.

http://www.criticalbench.com/sportstraining.htm

Thus, 315 lbs. is not unheard of.

yeller bug

July 16th, 2012
12:59 pm

I don’t sense a lot of confidence and bravado coming from CAG. Maybe that is his style or maybe we won’t be very good on “D” this year either. I notice we keep losing out in the recruiting battles for a high quality LB for 2013. Has the game passed him by? THis is his third year—we should see a marked improvement from previous years. We lost our leading tackler due to injury—the secondary has experience—better than in most years. We lost some DL guys who were average players. Just don’t see a lot of excitement about our D nor do I sense we have high expectations. We cannot continue to go through the season hoping to outscore every opponent. We need a defense that can win a game or two for us to have a really good year.

George Stein

July 16th, 2012
1:03 pm

I guess summer vacation is over for Captain Trollette.

Perhaps you can go stalk Green and Barnes on Twitter out “concern” for their NFL futures, WnE.

crackbaby

July 16th, 2012
1:11 pm

Coach Groh is a knowledgeable football coach. However, it concerns me that it takes a player 2 or 3 years to learn to play in his system. All this “pattern recognition”, “playing in games” blah blah blah takes too long to assimilate.

It’s college for chrissakes, your entire population turns over in 4 or 5 years. Why can’t younger players just learn a handful of assignments for each set of down/distance and the older players and coaches put them in position to win?

Birmingham Jacket

July 16th, 2012
1:16 pm

Why is it that Gailey could sign really good defensive players and CPJ can’t?

I understand to some extent the limitations on signing offensive players bc of our system.

But there is no reason in the world we shouldn’t be signing 2 or 3 Michael Johnsons every class.

Paul Johnson’s attitude and inability to recruit will be his undoing. Guy can coach, but players win football games, not coaches.

GT '08

July 16th, 2012
1:25 pm

Sorry HT, but every “real GT fan” has been legitimately upset at both Barnes & Green for not being in better shape and not playing better at NT.
————————————————————————————————————————————–

@wne….Seriously? If you get LEGITIMATELY upset at any college / amateur athelete then you have bigger issues than being a forum troll. I really wish you’d go waste your garbage elsewhere. Do I like when GT loses? No. Do I get upset and mash my head into a wall like it seems you do when we lose? No. You truly need help if you get hat emotional over any sport.

Burdell

July 16th, 2012
1:28 pm

Michael Johnson was being recruited as a TE when he came to Tech.

Al Bundy

July 16th, 2012
1:31 pm

I have no desire to waste my time arguing with WnE and I am a GT fan but, I am worried about our defense. I hear our brilliant DC already making excuses for our defense before the first game or fall practice has even started. He’s almost as pessimistic as WnE! I’m looking forward to seeing our offense play but it doesn’t sound good for our defense AGAIN!

Argentina Blue

July 16th, 2012
1:32 pm

“Breaks down” is the key term here. I know this has probably been discussed before but Groh is looking more-and-more like a knee-jerk hire after the 2009 defensive debacles (particularly the dreadful one against Georgia). You know – like Hatcher at Georgia Southern several years ago. Looked promising on paper but proved lackluster.

Are the Jackets qualifiable better than they were a few years ago on defense? Groh’s better than Roof, but I’m not sure how much better (if at all) he is than Wommack. At least Wommack could make second-half adjustments after stinking-up the place in the first-half.

Al Bundy

July 16th, 2012
1:40 pm

Al Groh is just like Wile E Coyote… He’s a super genious! His defensive schemes are so complicated it takes the average player 4 years to learn them if they’re able to learn them at all.

chas_jacket

July 16th, 2012
1:47 pm

Wouldn’t worry too much on Groh’s comments – he’s never been slightly positive in any interview I’ve seen.

GT 08 weenie won’t go away because he is a ugag troll – he thinks in disguise. If there are any thunderstorms near him he better hide with his comments on real GT fans. Best just to identify him as such and ignore his drivel.

Tech Troll 13

July 16th, 2012
2:07 pm

CAG is an “old school” coach. Until you’re perfect, there is always room for improvement, so he sounds critical. I don’t need a cheerleader as coach. I believe we will be improved, but until it happens on the field it is just hope.

Jacket Man

July 16th, 2012
2:38 pm

Havs anyone ever heard CAG come out early and say how great his defense was going to be before a season started, or was ever satisfied with how a player looked? His job is to motivate and prepare them to be ready for VA Tech, not placate you. Will there be inexperienced players out there and will they make some mistakes? Sure; it happens with every team. Will they play better team defense this season? Count on it…

Indyjacket

July 16th, 2012
2:49 pm

I’m thinking this is the year for Drummond to exert himself.

GTfan 2012

July 16th, 2012
2:53 pm

I don’t know what comments you guys read, but I thought Groh was very positive in his interview. Barnes – did a nice job in Spring; Green – made progress in spring; Holton – looks like he’s ready to make the jump, just has to execute; Hunt-Days – Ready to be a starter despite never having played a game in college, just has to execute.

Jacket Man

July 16th, 2012
3:03 pm

Drummond is suspended for a game and a half due to a legal issue and his failure to report it to Coach Johnson (we’ll see how quickly he gets back on the field once he becomes eligible again)…

Ken Sugiura

July 16th, 2012
3:06 pm

For whatever it’s worth, from what I can tell, Groh isn’t one to be effusive in his praise and isn’t easy to please. he said something that was in the “10 things” that he thought this year’s defensive line could be the most effective of the three he’s had. to me, that was noteworthy.

Jacket Man

July 16th, 2012
3:21 pm

Ken; your article was great; you just can’t please all of the people all of the time, especially with some of the people who participative on the GA Tech blog. I think most of us recognized what you were trying to get across from CAG, and also appreciate the fact that as a defensive coordinator, including in the NFL, and someone whose been a head coach in the past, his “demeanor,” approach, and descriptions of players and positions/his defense comes from his football “slant” and “lingo”. Anyone who didn’t/can’t pick up on that really shouldn’t be wasting our time.

hank

July 16th, 2012
3:42 pm

Va. Tech has one of the most predictable, least imaginative offenses in college football, yet the Hokies have been able to beat an Al groh defense 10 out of the last 11 years…go ahead GIT keep buying the hype of this guy, the essence of mediocrity

chas_jacket

July 16th, 2012
3:56 pm

I am hopeful on barnes and greene but if things dont work out, lets start a push to move Shamire Devine to NT. 6′6″, 360lbs with great footwork and speed…hmmm.

Jacket Man

July 16th, 2012
4:17 pm

First, DeVine weighs 330, and he’s playing a fantastic offensive tackle, which is where we’ll need him. Lined up next to Hall, whose about the same size, I think we’ll be able to handle some of those oversized D-Lines that have given the Jackets problems at times. Next, after working with John Sisk, the new Stength and Conditioning Coach, I suggest that TJ Barnes and Shawn Green are going to surprise people this Fall. TJ had a great Spring, down to 330 lbs and his stamina much better. He’s also now been in CAG’s defensive scheme for the 3rd year so he’ll be reacting more than thinking when he’s on the field.