Notes: Tech special teams ‘a mixed bag’

1. Four games into Georgia Tech special-teams coordinator David Walkosky’s term, coach Paul Johnson’s review of special teams didn’t require sparklers and trumpets.

“Well, I think in some areas they’re improved, and in other areas we took a step back,” Johnson said on the ACC coaches teleconference Wednesday. He also characterized it as “a mixed bag.”

Statistically, the results for three of the “big four” units — punt and punt return, kickoff and kickoff return — are similar to last season’s. The punt-return team, though, had a smashing performance against Miami. On back-to-back returns, Jamal Golden recorded two of Tech’s three longest returns since the second game of the 2009 season.

The average starting point for opponents after kickoff returns has been just inside the 28-yard line, slightly better than last season’s 28.1 average. The comparisons aren’t entirely applicative, as the kickoff line was moved from the 30- to the 35-yard line and on touchbacks the ball now is on the 25-yard line. Kicker David Scully has 11 touchbacks on 27 kickoffs (40.7 percent) after recording seven in 43 kickoffs (16.3 percent) last season.

The kickoff-return team has averaged 17.7 yards and a starting point just beyond the 29-yard line, numbers that get a bump when removing Orwin Smith’s zero-yard return for a safety Saturday. Last season, the average return was 19.2 yards, and the average drive after kickoff started just inside the 25.

The punt team is netting 37.5 yards per kick, slightly better than last season’s 36.9. Freshman punter Ryan Rodwell will take over for Sean Poole, who suffered an upper-body injury making a tackle against Miami.

Golden’s performance against Miami demonstrated the impact of big special-teams plays. He returned a second-quarter punt 56 yards and one in the third quarter 28. Both set up touchdown drives. The return team’s average on six runbacks is 15.2 yards compared with 8.1 last season.

2. A notable addition to Tech’s home games this season is a 40×60 feet gold banner that has been waved in the north stands at the end of halftime. The flag, with the interlocking “GT” logo in the middle, has been held up atop the Swarm student section, creating an eye-catching visual more commonly seen at soccer matches.

The Ramblin’ Reck Club, the student spirit group that is the caretaker for the Ramblin’ Wreck car, came up with the idea as a replacement for the flashcard signs that it had coordinated since 1957. The club split the cost of the nearly $6,000 flag with the student government association.

3. Cornerback Louis Young (upper body) and outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu did not practice Thursday. Neither has practiced this week. Their status for Saturday’s game is not certain. Guard Will Jackson, who suffered a leg injury last Saturday, is expected to play.

4. Athletic director Dan Radakovich in his weekly “The Good Word” letter to Tech fans:

“To those of you who have written or called me in the last few days and to all of you who have thought about it, I say: We’re working harder than ever. I understand the frustration you feel after the kind of loss we sustained on Saturday. The only thing I know to do is to get back to work. And that is the same for coach Johnson, the staff and our players.”

Defensive end Izaan Cross on being named a team captain, along with offensive lineman Omoregie Uzzi and quarterback Tevin Washington: “It’s a big honor, to know that your teammates look at you as a leader and to know that they all agree with how you act, basically.”

5. The athletic department will hold another open house at McCamish Pavilion from 9 a.m. to noon before the football game. Ticket-office representatives will be on hand. … With a less-than-attractive opponent and a noon start, ticket demand continues to be low. Tickets were available on re-sale website StubHub for as low as $6 on Thursday evening, with prime sideline seats starting at $25.

In case you missed it…

Special teams not great

Looking for a pass rush

Trials challenging Louis Young

Lee, Snoddy angling for playing time

Tech rebounding after Miami loss

Paul Johnson, fount of hope?

Johnson calls loss ‘my fault’

The meaning of Tech giving up 609 yards

After Miami loss, Tech tries to regroup

Mark Bradley: Johnson’s approach hurting Tech

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

31 comments Add your comment

1 4 GT

September 27th, 2012
9:18 pm

Bah HumBug on 1st

1 4 GT

September 27th, 2012
9:19 pm

Ain’t no biggie!


September 27th, 2012
9:27 pm

25 for prime seats? i may have skip my trip to the lake this weekend.


September 27th, 2012
9:29 pm

It’s the uniforms fault!

Ken Sugiura

September 27th, 2012
10:15 pm

a reminder – using someone else’s handle is a bannable offense. let’s be better than that.

FL Jacket

September 27th, 2012
10:20 pm

Ken…who asked CPJ on Tuesday about the “state of the program” and his “relationship with the administration”? Can we bar that idiot from further question asking?

Go Jackets

September 27th, 2012
10:44 pm

CPJ has the audacity to say special teams is a mixed bag? How about his offense on 4th and 1? Its not a mixed bag, IT STINKS! Its gonna take this lost year and next year at 7-5, 8-4, with losses to the usual suspects to get this creep out of town. I really dont like our coach now, but I didnt like Chan either.

Hayseed Dixie

September 27th, 2012
10:46 pm

I write D-Rad every year at the end of the season.

I say- thanks for offering, dollar-for-dollar, the best sports experience in Atlanta.

Oh…and I always ask when the F-18s are coming back. Dad was, in addition to being an engineer, a Naval aviator and Viet Nam veteran.

There’s nothing like some of the most highly trained people in the world riding a supersonic jet fighter 500 feet over your head before a football game.

And then at halftime the pilots come and show their Tech colors. Talk about pride.

Ken, could you find out when/if the flyovers are coming back?

[...] Notes: Special teams ‘a mixed bag’ [...]

Wal-Mart Retards

September 27th, 2012
11:21 pm

I think Tech will win on Saturday.


September 28th, 2012
12:19 am

We certainly hope so Wal-Mart!

Woofy One

September 28th, 2012
6:41 am

The “mixed bag” will fall in place for CPJ and the young men this weekend and they will drink their whiskey clear.


September 28th, 2012
7:17 am

The Orwin Smith, zero return, move cost us the game, but like a drunk sailor, our defense may have given it away anyway. Johnson’s offense can only work if the defense gets them back on the field. Johnson was trying to chew the clock up, not show too much of the pass game on film, for future games,but Miami always figure out our defense eventually. Golden mainly understands we cannot tackle. Georgia started really understanding that last year too. I am always amazed that a team that sees this offense every day in practice is such a poor tackling team. We need to rush the quarterback more because that is the best hope of lining up someone this team can tackle.

On special teams stop looking at statistics and go back and look at how many games we loss with poor play in special teams the last couple of years I can think off hand of the Va. Tech game and Air Force in the bowl game. Smith officially lost the Miami game, but at least I could see what he was coached and what he was thinking. We need to get the defense playing in a set that fits their talent or lack of talent. You give a team that much of a lead and then blow it, that ain’t the special teams, that is a very poor defense.

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
7:32 am

Smith officially lost the Miami game.
We were up 36 to 19 with 36 unanswered points (though once they answered we were toast).
I blame the up back who made the call for him to stop. (and the coach who told him to stop a player who wants to run it out).
How many kickoffs have been returned for TDs from over 2 yards in the endzone?
A lot.
Most coaches, fans and average players would have told Golden to fair catch the punt he made a nice return on.
You want your stars to get as many touches as possible.
Maybe Orwin gets stopped at the fifteen or maybe he runs it back for a TD.
We’ll never know.
I wanted, I admit, a ST coach.
But I want one who knows to maximize the times the Big O gets the ball.
I do not blame Orwin at all for the blunder.
You already know my bias.
I blame the folks doing the coaching and recruiting.

dry dirt road

September 28th, 2012
7:42 am

refresh with white helmets again, gold helmets are not fresh and are dull and boring contrasted with the white of this year; gold helmets are theme game helmets for BD teams and the other gold helmet teams such as the 1990 Nat Champ team; BTW, my dad is a Tech grad; he was in Dallas in ‘52 as a recent grad, and went to the Tech-SMU game there; SMU was supposed to be pretty good that year; my dad said when Tech got the ball, they ran downfield for large gains on every play, just bowling over SMU’s defense, not needing to pass

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
7:47 am

BTW I liked, as u might guess, the daring of the Miami punt returner catching the punt near the endzone and running it out to the 30 and looking for a moment like he might do even better than that.
His plan backfired when there was a block in the back.
Most thinking is stay away from the ball or fair catch it inside the ten.
Such rule should not apply to stars.
Golden’s play was the same.
Bad odds may bring out his best.

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
7:48 am

Correction: Let it go inside the ten. Fair catch it outside the ten.

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
7:51 am

@Dry Dirt Road.
Those fifties teams of Dodd also played a little defense.

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
7:55 am

As a fan, I remember the guys who step up and “save” a win for a long time.
Don Toner: pick vs Bama of Namath to preserve 7-6 win and prevent a possible winning FG by them.
Derrick Morgan: sack vs Wake to move them out of winning FG range. Then we won in OT.
I suspect the team with the momentum wins in OT more times than not.
I wish I was adding to this list this year and last.

dry dirt road

September 28th, 2012
8:04 am

I reserve the right to view the hexagons on the white helmets as whatever I view them as. Sure they can be called jackets’ nests, and additionally can be called honeycomb that was available in honey back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, but has disappeared just like the white helmets disappeared since the ‘71-2 season. Tech built a “Jackets Nest” room to view football games at BD Stadium, and of course tickets would cost more. Also, can you imagine how many former football players from Tech might be interested in buying tickets to there ? I heard where all kinds of food is served there. But more definitions exist of heagons than jackets nest. Actually, the hexagons are close to organic chemistry hexagons, and will definitely be studied by Org Chem students at Tech. Those hexagons are not equal-sided though, but b/c they are hexagons, conjure up speculation that a link exists to the equal-sided hexagons. Organic Chemistry is the study of living matter, and Inorganic Chemistry is easier and is taken by Freshmen at Tech, and is the study of non-living things such as metals, as gold is. A Tech student has to take and pass Inorganic to enroll in Organic courses. So Tech should get back into the more complex white helmets from now on.

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
8:10 am

BTW it is a lot easier to spot open receivers if your protection allows you to get real comfortable and not worry about being sacked.
Had Wake kicked the winning FR in 2009 and wrecked our season, would those folks who like to spot open receivers from the safety of the stands berated Nesbitt?
Certainly someone was open on that play.
But you need time to check off and find them.
The Miami QB was afforded all the time in the world.
You can’t cover that long.
You need to bring 7 or 8 if necessary.
With no pass rush, Bobby Dodd stadium became the Miami QB’s home away from home.
I have not even mentioned the number of times penalties were called for 12 men.
Could it be we sub too much?
Or we gas the defense ourselves running them in and out?

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
8:12 am

Where does the buck stop?


September 28th, 2012
8:21 am

It’s pretty bad when you don’t have enough “good” scholarship players to make your special teams better… Another indicator that this coaching staff has failed when it comes to recruiting!

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
8:21 am

After bluffing all week I would be a no show, JD will most likely attend the MTSU game.
I do not like booing because I may be booing the coach but the players do not know that.
If our defense is not good and you hear an angry “Al”.
That would be me.

Jacket Detective

September 28th, 2012
8:39 am

Groh (Virginia)
Curry (Georgia Tech)
Goff (UGA)
Shula (Bama)
What do these four have in common?

Always a Jacket

September 28th, 2012
9:26 am

“To those of you who have written or called me in the last few days and to all of you who have thought about it, I say: We’re working harder than ever. I understand the frustration you feel after the kind of loss we sustained on Saturday. The only thing I know to do is to get back to work. And that is the same for coach Johnson, the staff and our players.”

In addition, this week, we extended CPJ’s contract another year after starting 1-2 in ACC play.

GT Lee

September 28th, 2012
10:21 am

@Hayseed Dixie,

if your Dad is still around, give him a big OOOOO-Rah from this former Army Sgt……

same for you, BLT


September 28th, 2012
11:56 am

Johnson concerns me now, he was such a fighter when he first came. Now he hides behind excuses and his stubborn arogance. He is the highest paid FB Coach ever at GT but he and Groh get mad at GT fans who want to win but are not willing to put on Gold colored glasses and sing everything is beautiful. No one knows what they are talking about in his and his yes men world. Recruiting is alright, the 3-4 is alright, no need for a passing game, Vad and Days don’t need a few reps, don’t ask how teams march down the field in- S the last 2 minutes and win the game, please don’t ask. He knows better then all the recruiting guru’s and doesn’t need 5-4 Stars H.S. players. I just want the competitor back who came here and feared no team. Who if Staff changes or scheme needed tweeking he would. Is something so wrong with that. It was just a little over 3 years ago top prospects were looking at GT, GT was in the Top 10 and rumored to be in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT.


September 28th, 2012
12:31 pm

I got an email from the Sing Daily today, does this mean that CPJ is now going to woo our recruits with bad renditions of Happy Birthday over the phone like the coach in Athens?

Tech seeks turnaround vs. MTSU | Georgia Tech

September 28th, 2012
4:02 pm

[...] Notes: Special teams ‘a mixed bag’ [...]


September 28th, 2012
4:25 pm

@always a Jacket

Very funny…. I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave CPJ a hefty raise with his extension… Crazier things have happened…