Tech seeks turnaround vs. MTSU

Shortly after 7 p.m. last Saturday, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson may not have been shaken, but the Yellow Jackets’ sharp-witted leader was not himself.

“I don’t know what to say,” Johnson said, beginning his post-game news conference following Tech’s 42-36 overtime loss to Miami. “I’m as disappointed as I think I’ve ever been.”

His funk continued after he returned home. He watched football games and, with his daughter Kaitlyn visiting from college, tried to not be miserable. He re-played the game in his head 40 times, he said later, and finally fell asleep at 4:45 a.m., a half-hour before he woke up to go to the office to review game video and begin preparing for Middle Tennessee State.

By Tuesday morning, Johnson was offering a new tune.

“I’d be more concerned if we were trotting out there every week and we’re getting pummeled 50-6 and there wasn’t much hope,” he said. “Call me an optimist. I don’t think anybody’s ever considered me a real optimist about things, but I guess I see it a little differently.”

A year ago, a 6-0 start required him to rein in the hype. This season has assigned a different task to bet-your-bottom-dollar Paul Johnson – re-directing the Yellow Jackets’ attention away from two gut-punch losses and the damage they’ve caused to Tech’s chances of winning the ACC and onto the final eight games of the season. The only goal for this week, Johnson said, is to beat Middle Tennessee State.

Said Johnson, “We’ve still got a ton to play for.”

A solid win against the Blue Raiders could yet propel the Jackets down a rosy path. A matchup with No. 17 Clemson follows MTSU, after which Tech will have its open date. Two wins would complete the first half at 4-2 and generate a more hopeful outlook for the remainder of the season.

In 2011, “we got off to a great start and didn’t finish well,” Johnson said. “This year, we get off to a mediocre start. Maybe we have a great finish.”

For Tech, the wake of the Miami loss subsided Monday, when Johnson started the week as usual. Following a video review of the special teams, he addresses the team and goes over team grades for mental errors and “efforts” – plays in which a player did not give complete effort. The talk rehashes the previous game and sets the tone for the week.

With a new opponent six days away, the highs or lows from the previous Saturday need to be deleted at that point.

“The day that [a loss] hurts the most is Sunday, because you’re sitting there not doing anything,” defensive end Izaan Cross said. “Once Monday hits, you’ve got to flush it down the toilet. You have to.”

The degree to which Cross, who was elected a captain this week along with quarterback Tevin Washington and guard Omoregie Uzzi, and his teammates can move past that pain will shape the rest of the season. Tech’s season-opening loss to Virginia Tech and last Saturday’s to Miami were not only devastating – Tech lost both after leading in the final minute of regulation – but went a long way to knocking the Jackets out of the ACC race. The Coastal Division title is still possible, but it would most likely require both the Hokies and Hurricanes to lose three ACC games and Tech to finish 6-2 in league play.

Johnson’s hope isn’t unfounded. The offense, which faltered in the fourth quarter and overtime, is third in the country in rushing offense and 13th in scoring. The defense, which was scalded by Miami, showed better form in the first three games.

The Jackets might take encouragement from the 2000 Tech team, which started 2-2 with similarly disheartening losses, 26-21 to then-No. 2 Florida State and an overtime defeat to N.C. State. Those Jackets won the final seven games of the regular season before losing in the Peach Bowl to LSU.

With two costly losses that could have easily been wins, the Jackets aren’t where they had hoped to be.

“But I don’t think it’s [time] to sack the bats and call it a day,” Johnson said.

In case you missed it…

Secondary leaves Miami behind

Notes: Special teams ‘a mixed bag’

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

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

68 comments Add your comment

HighTech

September 28th, 2012
4:04 pm

GO JACKETS! Win the rest of them including the bowl game!

FL Jacket

September 28th, 2012
4:12 pm

Go Jackets!

Ken, who’s wearing #40 tomorrow? Is it a defender like Rod Sweeting or Izaan Cross?

George Stein

September 28th, 2012
4:17 pm

Y’know, we can look to our neighbors to the east if we need to. In 2007, they lost two divisional games, then ran the table. Perhaps we can do likewise this season.

Todd Gurley

September 28th, 2012
4:39 pm

Georgia Tech loses to MTSU…upset alert! Tech isn’t good AT ALL

Todd Gurley

September 28th, 2012
4:40 pm

Georgia is going to stomp a complete mudhole in Tech in Athens this year. I can’t wait to see you guys cry once again after we make it 11 out of 12 years we’ve beat you.

Todd Gurley

September 28th, 2012
4:41 pm

If MIAMI who has a freshman QB, can wreck Tech’s defense for over 600 yards, imagine what Murray, Gurley, Marshall, Malcome, and our array of receivers are going to do. Might be time to bring in the MERCY RULE!

MERCY RULE

September 28th, 2012
4:41 pm

I might be needed for the UGA vs. GT game this season. Doesn’t look good for Tech.

BLT

September 28th, 2012
4:42 pm

Thanks Mr. Girley.

gt1012

September 28th, 2012
4:43 pm

thanks Ken! hopefully you have better news to report next week than you did this week. =(

gt4ever

September 28th, 2012
4:45 pm

@Todd Gurley

We certainly can’t underestimate them…. If we play with a sense of urgency we win… If we come out flat it will be close. If we are just not that good, we lose… I still think we are better than MTSU, but our talent level is very similar, and getting closer every year… I’ll probably be there to cheer them on….

gt4ever

September 28th, 2012
4:47 pm

and your probably right about Athens this year, but hey, crazier things have happened. That’s why they play the game….

FL Jacket

September 28th, 2012
4:51 pm

“I still think we are better than MTSU, but our talent level is very similar, and getting closer every year… I’ll probably be there to cheer them on….”

gt4ever…

How on Earth can you not claim to be a troll but then say something as blatantly untrue and anti-Tech as this…and you tried sneaking it into the conversation.

gt4ever

September 28th, 2012
4:53 pm

Well, for one… Every thing I said is TRUE… It is my perspective, of course, but I do have history with a football FL Jacket…

BLT

September 28th, 2012
4:54 pm

“I’ll probably be there to cheer them on….”

MTSU or Tech? Sounds more like MTSU Mr. 4eva…

BLT

September 28th, 2012
4:56 pm

No one cares what kind of abuse you inflicted on a football Mr. 4eva. That’s between you and the football.

FL Jacket

September 28th, 2012
4:57 pm

“Every thing I said is TRUE”

Yeah…true to your opinion.

BLT

September 28th, 2012
4:57 pm

Your “perspective” is TRUE? That’s a doozy.

gt4ever

September 28th, 2012
4:58 pm

@BLT

I am GT through and through…. But I am NOT a Homer, and I don’t have my head buried.

FL Jacket

September 28th, 2012
5:03 pm

BLT, I just wonder what empirical evidence he has for this…

BLT

September 28th, 2012
5:06 pm

Keep wondering FL Jacket

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
5:24 pm

@ gt4ever……you know that I am always one to have given you the benefit of the doubt, even when most others do not. Would you be willing to come hang out with some of us before the game tomorrow?

gt4ever

September 28th, 2012
5:42 pm

@Super

If my schedule permits, I will be there…

gt4ever

September 28th, 2012
5:44 pm

I wonder if FL Jacket and BLT are one in the same…. lol…

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
5:45 pm

@ gt4ever…….but how can we meet? If you don’t mind emailing me, I will give you this “temporary” email address (supersizeorder@yahoo.com), and you can email me and I will tell you where and how to find those of us who are getting together. And even if you can’t make it tomorrow, there will be other opportunities. I DO hope you will email me. Just offer some kind of “proof” that you are who you say you are, and not a troll

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
5:45 pm

No, they are not one in the same. I know that for a fact.

Ken Sugiura

September 28th, 2012
5:48 pm

Izaan Cross.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
5:49 pm

Who wore number 40 last week? I don’t know that I ever heard, and I didn’t notice at the game

Road Scholar

September 28th, 2012
6:02 pm

This will fall on deaf ears but…OPEN UP THE OFFENSE!!!!

Didn’t you see them packing their defensive backs in during the second half? Didn’t Washington see an open man in the left side of the north endzone w/o a defender within 15 yards…and he still refused to throw it? Other than underthrows by Miami’s quarterback, did they complete every pass on slant patterns? Cripes, if they had a tight end worth anything, he would have run roughshod over us also.

Tech better outscore them because the defense leaks like a sieve…no pass rush also. Oh that insulted the sieve! Same old BS!

FL Jacket

September 28th, 2012
6:29 pm

SS…Sean Tobin long-snapper

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
6:31 pm

FL Jacket

September 28th, 2012
6:31 pm

gt4ever…no

How you can say our talent is getting closer to MTSU is exactly what Tech haters say…prove yourself.

BS Patrol

September 28th, 2012
6:35 pm

There you are,GT4Ever. You accuse me of picking on trolls? Just last week I was defending WnE’s right to be here. It’s really your turn to back up 4 steps & take flying leap.

roughrider

September 28th, 2012
6:48 pm

Go Tech from a UGA alum.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
6:57 pm

gt4ever……..sure wish you would email me

Delbert D.

September 28th, 2012
7:16 pm

Super – I’ll give you a call when I’m up from the underground tunnel tomorrow a.m.

BLT

September 28th, 2012
7:19 pm

No, I’m not from Florida or live in Florida. I guess I’m a homer and I have expressed my frustrations with the defense. I just don’t denigrate Georgia Tech every chance I get. I actually wish UGA well and hope they win but it gets hard…very hard (the UGA fans I know and talk to about football don’t trash Tech the way they do here). They tend to not like CPJ or the offense for various reasons.

GO JACKETS!

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
7:29 pm

Tom

September 28th, 2012
7:29 pm

another div.II team LOL and looking for a turn around WOW this would make a great comic strip….. can’t you just imagine CPJ with a cape on??? OMG!!!!!!!!

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
7:32 pm

@ BLT……I wish you would email me too. I’m not going to be flooding you with endless meaningless emails or giving yours out to others. Ask Delbert and 1 4 GT and GT Lee, and several others; I have a total of about 30 email addresses now from the blogs. I don’t abuse or misuse anybody’s privacy. It’s just a good way to figure out ways to meet at the games or share important info.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
7:32 pm

MTSU is NOT a division 2 team, bubba

Tom

September 28th, 2012
8:10 pm

MTSU is FBS stands for Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly called Division I-A. This is in contrast to the FCS, or Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA. The “Bowl” vs “Championship” refers to how the 2 divisions play their post-season, with the former Division I-A teams playing in bowl games and the former Division I-AA teams playing in a playoff series culminating with a true national championship game.

Tom

September 28th, 2012
8:13 pm

and CPJ still dosen’t know what to say LOL what a guy hahahahahahah

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
8:58 pm

And so is Florida Atlantic against whom the dwags had so-so results a couple of weeks ago. As is Lousiana Monroe who beat that mighty SEC power Arkansas and almost beat another SEC power Auburn and W Ky who beat another SEC power Kentucky

BLT

September 28th, 2012
9:00 pm

Hey Super, I’ve tried and it gets hung up in my firewall or yours.

BLT

September 28th, 2012
9:04 pm

Mark Richt knows what to say “Red Out”! LMFAO!

Are the dwags wearing red pants? Isn’t UGA’s primary color “red”. I guess you needed a reminder Tom the troll. I’ll go ahead and remind you again wear red.

1 4 GT

September 28th, 2012
9:24 pm

Georgie must worried about UTn for Richt to call for a “red out”. I’d thought they would’ve done that for the next game…USCe??

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
10:04 pm

@ BLT……I don’t understand why; nobody else has said they have that problem. It must be something at your end, or in your email server. Since you won’t be there tomorrow anyway, I will see if I can come up with something else and get with you one day next week.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
10:05 pm

@ 1 4 GT……they play USC in Columbia, and USC’s color is red also

1 4 GT

September 28th, 2012
10:12 pm

Garnet (burgundy?) Oh well. My bad. Still think they are scared of UTn.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 28th, 2012
10:18 pm

Let’s hope the red-out goes the way of the black-out…..a humiliating defeat for the dwags