Archive for August, 2012

‘Ragged’ scrimmage closes Georgia Tech camp

1. After two weeks of grinding through preseason practice, Georgia Tech’s players were ready to check out of the team hotel and end fall camp. Evidently, their play in a Saturday morning scrimmage reflected it.

“It was a little bit ragged,” said coach Paul Johnson, who finished his opening remarks following the closed scrimmage with an underwhelming line. “All in all, there were a lot of mistakes.”

The first-team offense turned around its performance after getting stopped by the first-team defense on the opening series, scoring multiple touchdowns on possessions starting from its 30-yard line. The second-team offense showed considerable improvement from last week, Johnson said.

Johnson liked the progress that the team has made over the first 18 practices (11 remain before the opener at Virginia Tech Sept. 3), but not Saturday’s roughly 90-play scrimmage.

“It was good, but I would have liked to have seen it maybe end with a little more energy like …

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Tech’s Hyde, Palka win Cape League title

Georgia Tech shortstop Mott Hyde and outfielder Daniel Palka concluded their summer in memorable fashion, helping their Cape Cod Baseball League team to a league championship Friday.
Down 5-3 in the top of the ninth with one out, Palka singled and then Hyde hit a two-run home run to tie the game for the Wareham Gatemen. The team won it in the 10th with three more runs in the top of the 10th to beat the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the final game of the three-game series.
Hyde and Palka also delivered earlier in the postseason. In the West Division playoffs, Hyde hit another two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning (again with Palka on base) to lift the Gatemen to a two-game sweep and an 8-6 win over the Bourne Braves. Hyde was 3-for-4 with a two-run triple, also with Palka on base.
In the first game of the league championship series, after Wareham fell behind 4-1 early, Palka homered in the fourth to make it 4-2, Hyde walked, stole second and scored for a 4-3 score in the …

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Video: Georgia Tech preseason update

CineSport’s Tara Petrolino and I discuss the latest developments out of Georgia Tech’s fall camp.

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Gregory high on Julian Royal

I haven’t been able to get to this because of football, but men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory spoke with reporters July 30 about the state of the team as its summer workouts concluded. For the first time, the NCAA permitted coaches to work with players on-campus on a limited basis, which Gregory was, naturally ecstatic about. Some notes.

1. Sophomore forward Julian Royal may be the most improved player. You may remember Royal made tremendous progress over the course of the season, showing more effort and willingness to play physically at the end of the season. He also displayed pretty good shooting touch for someone his (6-foot-7) size, to the point that Gregory began calling out-of-bounds plays designed to get him perimeter shots.

Royal has done good work with strength and conditioning coach Mike Bewley in the spring and summer, and the difference in his build is evident.

“You know, one of the biggest things that happens when a guy gets stronger and better conditioned …

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Nealy recounts Menocal strip of Thomas

I wrote last Saturday about outside linebacker Nick Menocal chasing down quarterback Justin Thomas and stripping him of the ball in the team’s scrimmage. Inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy offered his account of the play.

On the play, Thomas got loose down the right sideline and about 40 yards down the field, cut back to the inside. Menocal, who was pursuing on Thomas’ left shoulder, caught up to him at that point and removed the ball from Thomas’ grasp. Thomas, you may recall, won the Alabama Class 4A-6A 100-meter dash championship in the spring.

“It was very impressive, because Justin Thomas is real fast and elusive,” Nealy said. “Nick just didn’t give up on the play and he chased (Thomas) all the way down about 40, 45 yards and stripped him of the ball. That’s a great play in our book. Any takeaway that we can have, I don’t care if it’s on the goal line, wherever, we’ll take.”

Georgia Tech will scrimmage again Saturday morning. It is closed to the …

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Paul Johnson Q&A (mostly A)

Following Wednesday’s morning practice, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson spoke at longer length than the standard post-practice media session, mixing news and opinion. A recap:

1. Scout-team work for Virginia Tech could start Thursday.

2. Punter Sean Poole and kicker David Scully continue to lead at their respective positions. (I first phrased the question, “Are the punters and kickers still the same?” to which Johnson replied, “Yeah. They’re still kickers and punters.”)

3. He had no update on offensive tackle Morgan Bailey’s condition. Bailey suffered a concussion late last week. “It’s strictly medical,” Johnson said. “He’ll come back when the medical staff tells us he’s ready.”

One development from Bailey and tackle Ray Beno being out is that players like Bryan Chamberlain are receiving extra repetitions at tackle. Nick McRae, Chase Roberts and Trey Braun have also been out there, offensive line coach Mike Sewak said in a previous post.

Said …

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Tech wide receivers planning to surprise

It was everything to put a Georgia Tech fan at ease and perhaps even raise hope. Quarterback Tevin Washington unleashed a pass from about the 40-yard line to the corner of the end zone.

Wide receiver Jeremy Moore outmaneuvered a cornerback and dove headlong. With one outstretched hand, Moore captured the ball and brought it back to his body while touching down inbounds with both feet.

“‘Tev’ put it right there for me to get it,” Moore said. “It was a perfect play — perfect pass, perfect catch.”

The only niggling detail would be that Washington and Moore connected in Monday’s practice at the Brock indoor facility, not at Lane Stadium against Virginia Tech in the season opener Labor Day night. Only the season ahead will reveal how much the Yellow Jackets wide receivers — perhaps the least experienced wide receiver group in FBS — will contribute to the mix.

“This group will develop at its time,” wide receivers coach Buzz Preston said. “I can’t tell you …

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Audition continues for Tech A-backs


There are three tenets that coach Lamar Owens repeats to his Georgia Tech A-backs.

“Be fundamentally sound, play with great effort and take care of the ball,” Owens said.

Sounds simple enough, but those are just the general requirements. The specifics are much more demanding, adding urgency to Tech’s task of finding a successor to Roddy Jones to start opposite senior Orwin Smith at one of two A-back positions.

In coach Paul Johnson’s run-oriented option offense, the A-backs have to do it all.

“He will run routes,” Owens said. “He will run with the ball. He will also block on the perimeter. He’s pretty versatile. He’s pretty involved in the offense.

“The main thing with the A-backs is you have to have the right attitude. You have to be tough, physical and also be willing to play extremely fast.”

The Jackets know what to expect from Smith, who is probably the team’s most dynamic offensive player. It’s less certain what …

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Ice-cream truck closes Georgia Tech’s double sessions

Practice notes from Wednesday.

1. A day after getting chastised, Georgia Tech got ice-cream bars and popsicles.

To celebrate the final two-a-day practice, coach Paul Johnson surprised the team mid-practice by bringing an ice-cream truck onto the Rose Bowl practice fields Wednesday afternoon. Players swarmed the truck for their frozen treats. Even the head coach partook.

“Look at me,” Johnson said. “You think I missed out on ice cream?”

Former team member Logan Walls, seeing pictures posted on Facebook, wrote, “Where was this the past 5 camps?”

The 90-minute afternoon practice was conducted without pads, focusing mostly on special teams. The Yellow Jackets went in full pads in the morning practice, which followed a Tuesday afternoon practice that irritated coaches for its lack of energy. Johnson called the morning practice “a little better.”

The Jackets had three double sessions and will have single practices Thursday and Friday and a closed scrimmage Saturday to …

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Four Tech walk-ons placed on scholarship

Georgia Tech has four new scholarship football players – safety Coray Carlson, defensive lineman Ben Keith, A-back Jamal Paige and kicker David Scully, all of whom joined the team as walk-ons.

Carlson has scrapped his way up the depth chart and is working with the second team as a redshirt sophomore. Keith won the team’s defensive scout team MVP last season. Paige has been a dutiful scout-teamer for four seasons and has earned some special-teams snaps. Scully took kickoffs last season and  is in a competition with Justin Moore for placekicking duties.

Coach Paul Johnson made the announcement, sort of, in a team meeting early in camp. In front of the whole team, Johnson said that the four players needed to see him in his office. Carlson knew that Johnson has awarded scholarships to walk-ons in the past during fall camp, but thought it came later on in camp.

“I thought maybe someone was in trouble,” Carlson said. “I was kind of sitting there thinking, ‘I didn’t do …

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