After debacle, Tech braces for Clemson

Georgia Tech has myriad problems to fix. It can do nothing about one of its biggest.

The Yellow Jackets are playing Clemson, absolutely the wrong opponent after giving up more than 1,100 yards of offense in the past two games.

First, the No. 15 Tigers can safely be assumed to be considerably more talented than Middle Tennessee State, which dealt Tech one of its worst losses in school history Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Second, Clemson will likely spend the week plotting its revenge.

“If we don’t get ready to play a little better and a little harder against Clemson, it’ll be embarrassing,” coach Paul Johnson said Saturday. “They’ve got a great football team. We’ve got a big challenge in front of us.”

Tech has taken five of the past six games against the Tigers, including a 31-17 upset last October that dashed Clemson’s national championship aspirations. Saturday’s game will be a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Clemson on ESPN.

“I don’t care who Georgia Tech has played, beaten or lost to,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday on his teleconference. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for their program, their coaching staff, the tradition of this game and all that stuff. You can just throw all that (overlooking Tech) stuff out the window.”

After permitting Virginia Tech and Miami to stage late fourth-quarter rallies to force overtime and then beat the Jackets, the Tech bubble may have popped. While Tech came within a couple plays of beating both teams, and came back from a 19-0 deficit against Miami to take a temporary 36-19 lead, the team that played Saturday had little energy or focus to give.

The Jackets were run out of their own stadium by a 49-28 score. They surrendered four turnovers and gave up 510 yards of offense to a team they had beaten by a combined 91-35 the past two seasons. This Tech team, with Johnson’s first recruiting classes having reached junior and senior status, has been expected to surpass the 2010 and 2011 teams.

The loss was possibly the most decisive home defeat to a lower-tier opponent in school history. While an FBS team, MTSU belongs to the Sun Belt Conference, a league with neither the resources nor pedigree of the ACC. The task for Johnson and his staff will be to excavate the rubble to find the team that led Virginia Tech and Miami going into the 59th minute of both games.

“I’m as disappointed as [the fans] are, I can promise you,” Johnson said. “I’m embarrassed, too. I’m going to do everything in my power to get it fixed and to get it right. That’s all I can do.”

Two defensive issues – poor tackling and being slow to the ball – could be exploited far worse by Clemson should they persist. The Tigers are ranked No. 16 in the country in total offense at 510.8 yards per game, 29 spots ahead of Middle Tennessee State (443.0 yards per game).

Clemson can attack the Jackets with playmaking wide receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins and running back Andre Ellington. Watkins missed the Tigers’ 45-31 win over Boston College with an abdominal virus. Sunday, Watkins was feeling a lot better and was having blood work done, Swinney said.

“This is a whole different deal,” Swinney said. “I haven’t seen the game, I don’t know what happened. I know in the game of football, crazy things happen from time to time. Sometimes, guys don’t play like they’re capable of.”

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

384 comments Add your comment

1 4 GT

September 30th, 2012
10:17 pm

For most of us bloggers, complaining is all we can do. A constructive discussion is what I prefer….about this long after a bad game. I got home Saturday not depressed, but very disappointed. It is good I live alone at such times. But I will be ready for another dose come next Saturday & hoping & cheering in front of the flat screen. Just almost like at the stadium. I had considered going to Clemson until I looked at their stadium diagram, seat locations & prices. No thanks. Like my vote, my ticket price is all the influence I have on what happens. I am in no way ready for CPJ to go, but I would hope that people are watching. Groh, I am thinking was a mistake from the start. Our defense has more talent than the last 2 games show.

billyBobjacket

September 30th, 2012
10:18 pm

George… probably not wrong, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I guess I just want you and some of the others to be a little more P!$$ED off about it all, and quit defending CPJ like none of this is his fault. He said he could win here, so if he doesn’t then he needs to go!

UGA = Yawn

September 30th, 2012
10:19 pm

We will lose to Clemson. They are due and we are just plain awful. They are about 10 times faster then us. We can not defend the pass – just think about defending it when they run right by us at super fast speed. Time for a change at GT. I didn’t renew my season club seats this year. Surprised at all of you that renewed your tickets. After the last 5 games of last year, why would anyone think we would be in a better place this year. Last year’s losses at the end of the year carried over to this year. I don’t think you need any more data to realize all IS lost at GT.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 30th, 2012
10:19 pm

Mutt trolls are the ones complaining. Go read something you understand. Thanks Ken for everything that you do for the real GT fans. Miami gets some credit for the MTSU loss. Hopefully the hangover from the Miami game is gone now so that the players can move on. Clemson is right to be concerned because the GT players are probably a little disappointed, to put it mildly. Looking for a totally different team to show on Saturday. As always ” GO JACKETS.”

Play Vad Lee

September 30th, 2012
10:19 pm

the only good thing about this season is the new uniform.

Kool Aid Drinkers Unite

September 30th, 2012
10:21 pm

That’s right Give Me A Break…..we’ve got Clemson right where we want them……overconfident.

Delbert D.

September 30th, 2012
10:23 pm

@billyBob 10:18 – I sure hope you vote this November.

George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:24 pm

I’m not defending Johnson, billybob. He is responsible for the failure of the defense, too. As I said last night, I stood up one time yesterday on third down (the play right before we threw the pick). I’m more numb than angry, but I am bitterly disappointed that we have no big games left to play. I look forward to the season every year, and now it’s probably lost. Believe me, I care.

I think we need to be constructive, not reactionary, in our discussion of things, though.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 30th, 2012
10:24 pm

Just because some of us don’t trash Johnson on a public forum doesn’t mean we are happy or satisfied, and it doesn’t mean we don’t want to see some change. But totally slamming a man for giving everything he has (and I DO believe Johnson does that) to building a team and winning is totally uncalled for and lacking in class. Be better than that, guys

PE Major from Western Carolina is ready to fry some fish

September 30th, 2012
10:26 pm

I am going to talk about mentally challenged people this Wednesday night on my call in show….I cannot wait…..then I am going to instruct Tech fans to punch MTSU fans who get in their faces…..I have bigger fish to fry……this week I may try to fry some turkey neck….very fatty, though…..then, I am going to be a jerk to Wes Durham……after that, I am going to yell at Jeff Woolverton as the broadcast team’s sideline reporter…..who else can I offend…..so many people….so little time….I am coach fish fry.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 30th, 2012
10:27 pm

yeah, that was a really classy post. That’s exactly the kind of doltish behavior I am embarrassed to see on a Tech blog

juice sourcer

September 30th, 2012
10:30 pm

I think Clemson may hang 100 on Tech….

1 4 GT

September 30th, 2012
10:31 pm

billyBob….I left the stadium really po’ed & if CAG had stepped in front of me, he would have at least carried a severe tongue lashing home. But what good does it do me? I fuss & stew in my own juices for a while & about 24-30 hours later, rational thought processes start kicking in. I got home and masochistically read all of the blogs until about 1:30 AM. Woke up the next morning & finished reading them over coffee. As I watched the Falcons & NASCAR, sanity was returning. I made a post or two. I am still disappointed. I “suffer” more over GT losses than any other team. But nobody seeks my counsel about how to fix what is wrong. so I vent here a little and work my way back to being a semi intelligent, rational, thinking man. I can do no more. And like so many of us, I probably care to much.

Older Golder

September 30th, 2012
10:31 pm

Is CPJ still mad at the Zone for talking too much about UGA? He has given them a lot to talk about this week. GameDay is going to be in Columbia, UGA is 5-0 and set up for a run at the SECCG and possible MNCG and we lose to a team from the Sun Belt Conference. This is not what was expected after 45-42 in 2009.

George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:33 pm

Sheesh. There’s this radical piece of punctuation called a period. Overuse of ellipses is not attractive.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 30th, 2012
10:33 pm

Maybe one day the AJC will have the guts to keep from posting comments from idiots that have nothing to add to a blog.

Delbert D.

September 30th, 2012
10:35 pm

I had the strong urge on Saturday to jump over the wall and run out and tackle somebody. That Cunningham kid would have made me look like more than the fool I already am, though.

Play Vad Lee

September 30th, 2012
10:36 pm

BYU scored a lot of points Friday against Hawaii….granted, Hawaii is one of the worst teams in college football, but that game does not look as easy as it did at the start of the season. What are the reasons why Vad Lee should not play? Are we playing for a meaningless bowl game….it would make sense to me to play Vad and get him experience to be ready to play in Athens.

1 4 GT

September 30th, 2012
10:36 pm

Cared “too” much….always have….always will….but you know what….GT is my horse, if they never win another race!!!! GOOOOO JACKETS THWGeorgie

1 4 GT

September 30th, 2012
10:37 pm

Damn, that felt good!!

Clyde

September 30th, 2012
10:37 pm

CPJ is 36-22 right now. The defense sucked before CAG and sucks now. Good games coming up and plenty to be discussed. CPJ isn’t going anywhere so let’s hope he using all this as a learning tool.

Clyde

September 30th, 2012
10:38 pm

D

September 30th, 2012
10:38 pm

Johnson said. “I’m embarrassed, too. I’m going to do everything in my power to get it fixed and to get it right. That’s all I can do.”

Then the first thing you can do to fix it is to resign from your position as head coach. Your getting paid a couple million a year and you’ve got yourself brainwashed with your offense. Yeah you had one good year, but so did Charlie Weiss @ ND, Tyrone Willingham @ ND, Gene Chizik @ Auburn, etc….The ACC is already an embarrassment in college football and until people get real at GT our team will be a joke. You make poor coaching decisions and our defense is garbage. There is a reason that Al Groh is not the head coach at Virginia. John Tenuta should have been the first coach you should have went out of your way to keep.

Delbert D.

September 30th, 2012
10:39 pm

Give Me A Break – I’ve got the names to contact, if you want them. A couple of us have been trying for over a year.

Double M 2

September 30th, 2012
10:39 pm

D’rad should step in. No way does groh remain. Groh should’ve been gone after last year, what did u think was gonna happen. The same ol crap, a bunch of quiters. No way are these kids giving a 100% an representing the institute in a positive way. Show some guts like Brad K an hang in there. Life is ruff but don’t quit, keep digging an fight back.

1 4 GT

September 30th, 2012
10:40 pm

I too would love to see Vad Lee play more. But it is not up to me. I believe we will see more & more of him as the season progresses.

George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:41 pm

The defense sucked before CAG and sucks now.

This is correct, and it’s Johnson’s biggest failure as a coach. His defense has cost the team too many games and is the root of the criticism.

Delbert D.

September 30th, 2012
10:41 pm

1 4 Gt – Like the old buddy Holly song, and the John Mellenkamp re-do, “Rave On!”

Ken Sugiura

September 30th, 2012
10:41 pm

Tech has nine position coaches, the maximum allowed – Al Groh, Andy McCollum, Charles Kelly and Joe Speed on defense. Mike Sewak, Brian Bohannon, Lamar Owens and Buzz Preston on offense. Dave Walkosky on special teams.
Craig Neal – I’m going to guess the 39K number was tickets sold/distributed, not turnstile. that’s usually the way it’s done. I couldn’t see all of the west stands, but it wouldn’t surprise me if actual attendance were mid-30’s or lower.
Thanks for the kind words to those who offered them. it always means a lot. should be an interesting week.

PE Major from Western Carolina is ready to fry some fish

September 30th, 2012
10:41 pm

D – I am only in my fifth season as coach. I need five more to get ‘my players’ into this system. Do you want hush puppies with your fish? Forget MTSU, I have bigger fish to fry. Yabba Dabba Dabo is like a large mouth bass. Where is my Bass-O-Matic? I am coach fish fry.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 30th, 2012
10:42 pm

Thanks D, I sent one,too.

Coleman Rudolph Was right.....Beau Bock is right.

September 30th, 2012
10:45 pm

Double M2 – I do not think the team quit. They are not very talented – recruiting matters.

George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:46 pm

There’s a joke to be made about Groh counting toward our limit, but discretion being the better part of valor, I’ll pass.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 30th, 2012
10:48 pm

I’ll bet CAG will be back on the field Saturday.

Bubba Head is a better DUI lawyer than George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:48 pm

If there were less than 30,000 fans in attendance on Saturday then the experiment is over.

Clyde

September 30th, 2012
10:49 pm

This is CAG’s third season if I’m not mistaken. CPJ sits and talks to him just about every day I’m sure. He put faith in a man and let him try but things just haven’t worked out. All you can do is give people a shot, just like where you work. It’s a 50/50 shot and sometimes you come out smelling like roses. These dudes put their pants on just like we do.

yeller bug

September 30th, 2012
10:49 pm

Mathematically, I think the std dev. of player performance at the college level is quite high. Our team was very flat on Saturday. The fans (those who showed up) were flat and I include myself among the guilty. We are a more talented team than MTSU, but our team was down, their team was (to their credit) up and it shows you that you can’t take anyone lightly or you will get beat. The worst part is how we laid down at the end.

It is the coach’s job to get his team up and we’ll see what CPJ will do.

As for game strategy (and in our case, I use the term loosely), it seemed we did not have an answer to their cluster formation sets at WR. Why didn’t we bring the safeties up? So CAG was disappointing in his adjustments and the players certainly didn’t tackle. On offense, if you’re going to bring Vad in which you should do every game for more than one series, put him in the pistol formation PLEASE and have him throw the ball! His throwing will set up the run. I disagree with many posts because I think we do have talent on this team–we just not using it effectively on either side of the ball and it is most noticeable on the D side.

There is no need to play conservative any more. Blitz, pass, run trick plays, play wide open….let it fly. If we’re going to go down in flames, let’s make it a spectacular thing to see—-maybee we can bee a Phoenix Jacket and rise from the flames and sting the rest of our opponents. It’s still mathematically possible.

George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:49 pm

How do you know, Bubba?

GT Fan

September 30th, 2012
10:50 pm

BTW people it’s really late but………. FIRST! Where do I pickup my prize? LOL!
—————-
FYI McPants, I WAS KIDDING IN THE OPENING POST! I think Ken does a swell job. However, I sure as heck wouldn’t have been saddened had there actually been an Al Groh resignation. I’ve been an AG supporter since his hiring, and really thought he’d do well as GT’s DC. Heck, he won 2 ACC CAY as UVA’s HC. Being DC would mean A LOT fewere responsibiliies, IMO, giving him a great opportunity to focus on the D.

After the first 3 games this season it really appeared his players had figured out his D scheme. But after suffering through yesterday’s debacle I have ZERO confidence in AG, and think he should be gone ASAP! (the Miami debacle doesn’t look so bad now after seeing what they did to TENUTA’s NCST D)

I don’t see any way GT will beat Clemson. I know their D is suspect, but I severely doubt AG’s D can stop Clemson any time the Tigers have the ball. GT will have to have the ball for 45 minutes, and score (TD or FG) on each possession.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 30th, 2012
10:52 pm

Students told DRad why they weren’t going to noon games. So the number in attendance doesn’t surprise me.

Clyde

September 30th, 2012
10:53 pm

Could be that a lot of fans like me did the 3 game package and MTSU wasn’t part of it, Bubba Head. I don’t have the time and money to go to every game.

GT Fan

September 30th, 2012
10:53 pm

George Stein
September 30th, 2012
9:40 pm
I’d love to have Tenutaback, Birmingham. His defense with Johnson’s offense would be good. Still need a young guy who would recruit like a madman, though. I wish I knew who that guy was.
—————————————

Steiner, I know who that guy is! Heck, we all do …. I just don’t know how young of guy WnE is??

PE Major from Western Carolina is ready to fry some fish

September 30th, 2012
10:54 pm

Tartar sauce for Sammy Watkins. Does Woody Dantzler or Tajh Boyd play QB for Clem’s Son? It does not matter. The Clemson offense will be fried by Al Groh’s defensive unit. The Goon Squad OL will open holes for TW like you’ve never seen before. Come and get it!!!! It’s time for a fish fry!!! You don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy a good fish fry on Friday or Saturday! I am coach fish fry.

GT Fan

September 30th, 2012
10:54 pm

If WnE’s too old, maybe we could get the other “resident genius” Headley Lamar!

1 4 GT

September 30th, 2012
10:55 pm

That was a unique wide out formation MTSU ran with 2 receivers stacked out like they were. Really spread the D out. That created some problems I’m guessing. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen that before.

Bubba Head is a better DUI lawyer than George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:57 pm

George – I wrote a book called 101 Ways to Avoid a Drunk Driving Conviction – All you ever did was go on the Regular Guys show with Larry WACHS.

Delbert D.

September 30th, 2012
10:58 pm

The guys need to remember how hard they fought when they beat Clemson last year.

George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:58 pm

Ha! Maybe, GT Fan. Honestly, I would think Lamar Owens should take that position if he can handle it. He’s only in his mid 20’s. Why the hell isn’t he in front of every recruit we have right now?

Supersize that order, mutt

September 30th, 2012
10:58 pm

LMAO @ GT Fan

George Stein

September 30th, 2012
10:58 pm

C!kon, Bubba. Those segments are awesome.