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

tired from all the frustrations of being a yellow jacket

October 1st, 2012
7:53 am

There are two basic problems now at Tech-the first are the fans-they are the ones needing firing. take the Virginia game when the stands starting emptying out in the third quarter. Totally disrespectful to the subs who had worked so hard since summer. The second problem is the pitiful play and enthusiam of the defensive players. they chucked in the towel as soon as the MTSU team came out and slapped them silly-no response. You cannot blame the cowardly play and poor tackling on Al Groh who knows more about football than al;l the naysayers combined. The players have taken a hike on the coaches and it is inexcusable. I would not want to be in a foxhole with any of them. Any athelete or any type competitor who lays down on the coach is a total disgrace.

Hold On!!!

October 1st, 2012
8:01 am

This will probably be Groh’s last season as Tech’s DC. Yall cant recruit well enough to run the 3-4 so I bet yall swith back to the 4-3. If yall are looking for a new HC, it wont happen bc Tech can not afford Johnson’s buyout. He pulled a fast one on yall, by making his buyout so much. yall will score on Clemson, but they will double yalls points. Im looking at 50+-24 game scenario. Goodluck!!

tired from all the frustrations of being a yellow jacket

October 1st, 2012
8:01 am

When I saw MTSU and tech play a couple of years ago,the game was close in the first half. It was obvious that they had some good atheletes, just not enough of them. tech wore them down. This year a different story. Their primary running back is as good as there is in the country and will definitely be playing in the pros. Watching the pitiful efforts of Tech’s LBs and corners/safeties trying to hand and arm tackle this man was disgusting. Where is their manhood?? if they are afraid, they need to hand in their uniforms. Hell yea I am blaming the team and the players. Their “chicken” display was embarrassing!!!! Al Groh is not the problem.

George P. Burdell

October 1st, 2012
8:04 am

Did you see how Al Groh decided to defend the double stack receivers in the second half? One time, we just left the CB on his own and he got blocked out of the play. He didn’t even have safety support and we were lucky it didn’t go for 7. Then, we put a super slow linebacker who allowed two decent gains in a row with poor tackling and being in the wrong position. Finally, we put a defensive lineman out on that side, which also didn’t work ( surprise). I don’t know why they finally stopped running that play but it wasn’t because we stopped it. Maybe they didn’t want it to look like a fluke when they won the game. Defend Groh all you want but that was total incompetence from a DC and I suspect we will see excactly that same setup with some of the other teams we play through the season.

ramblingbuzz

October 1st, 2012
8:09 am

tired………You have a point about self-pride of the players. And I’m sure Al Groh does know a lot about football. Maybe just me, but I sense the chemistry between the GT coaches and players is just not there. 18 -22 year olds today are not like the athletes of 30-40 years ago where the coach is unquestioned. I have a feeling that CPJ never had to worry about motivating the young men at the USN Academy. And I don’t believe Al Groh, for all his knowledge, has taught his players how to execute the 3-4 or else he’s asking them to do something they are not mentally capable of doing. You can blame the players, or you can blame the coaches for last Saturday. I have a feeling there’s plenty of responsbility on each group. We’ll see what kind of Coach Johnson is next Sat. and whether he can re-energize the team. As for Groh, after seeing his defense get worse each year, I don’t think he can get it done at GT. Look a the Falcons and how they are performing this year after VanGorder left the team. Sometimes there is addition by subtraction. Seems like that may be the case with Coach Groh.

Bobby

October 1st, 2012
8:11 am

I would agree Groh is not the problem if MTSU was an aberration. But when you take Miami plus MTSU this year as well as Groh’s longevity at GT, he has had plenty of opportunity to build a defense and has failed. So, I know of no reason DRad and/or CPJ cannot announce his termination this morning and begin rebuilding the team. If CPJ is not willing to fire Groh then he needs to go. And I was a very big supporter of Groh when he came to Tech. He just simply has not done his job.

tired from all the frustrations of being a yellow jacket

October 1st, 2012
8:12 am

Most double stack receivers normally do get single safety coverage unless you have 12 players on the field. No sane knowledgeable football fan can fail to see the pathetic and cowardly play of this defense. I have been watching and loving GT since the 50’s and have never seen the team quit on the coaches before this one. Not even quitting on Bill lewis who was a helluva lot better coach than the fans give him credit for. On Lewis’s teams, the team played up to the level of the fan criticism and expectations of 10 and 11 win seasons every year-WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN> Get it straight-Tech will never be the teams of the 1950’s-NEVER.

New Idea

October 1st, 2012
8:33 am

CPJ has to fire Groh or take the responsibility himself. I have been around football a long time and I do believe Groh is a good coach, The problem is lack of talent. Our DB’s are pathetic with the exception of Thomas. Our DL is weak for pass rush and can’t get off blocks and LB’s can’t get off a block. I really believe recruiting has been the problem, not enough good players. Good players make tackles, bad players are to slow and not quick enough to make tackles.

GTBob

October 1st, 2012
8:35 am

Tech players and coaches are sissy quitters.

New Idea

October 1st, 2012
8:38 am

Tired….Frustrations…
In the fifties players wanted to come to GT so they could be Engineers and have a good job after football, now players want NFL and big money. Academics are seen as ’something that has to be done’ to get a shot at the NFL. GT administration still thinks we are in the fifties.

Al Bundy

October 1st, 2012
8:39 am

@Supersize that order, mutt

I agree there’s no place on this blog for the name calling, but frustration drives that kind of behavior. I think it’s totally ridiculous to even suggest CPJ doesn’t care about GT football. I’m sure he cares but he’s got to get over himself and makes some changes. If jumping into a wishbone type formation NEVER draws any team offsides it’s time to try something new. Look how long it took him to realize he needed help with special teams. Based on his track record it will be the end of the 2014 season before he does anything about the defense! With or without CPJ I will always be a fan and there have been much worse days in GT football history.

MORGANTECH

October 1st, 2012
8:42 am

They also quit in Athens about 10 years ago , unforgettably i was there, i remember it well.

ramblingbuzz

October 1st, 2012
8:44 am

I know our talent level is not on par with an Alabama, LSU, UGA, FSU, Clemson,etc. But do folks honestly believe our players are not on the same level with MTSU? If we had been routed by one of the above teams I would say we just can’t recruit with the big boys and we were beaten by better players. No shame in that. But we had our helmets handed to us by an MTSU team which lost to McNeese State. I don’t even know where McNeese State is! Sorry guys, when a team comes out that flat and lackadaisal against a lesser opponent, I put most of the responsibilty on te coaches.

ramblingbuzz

October 1st, 2012
8:54 am

Lake Charles, LA

GTJohn

October 1st, 2012
8:55 am

If any of you watched pro football this weekend you should have noticed that the Panthers, the Giants, the Eagles, etc could not stop any offense with less than 2 minutes to go and let the other teams march down the field to either win or have a chance to win the game at te end of regulation. Very similar to GT and VT, Miami.

GTballer

October 1st, 2012
8:58 am

Bobby, the first firing needs to go to the Head Coach period. At any respectful school a coaches record against certain teams is what determines where he stands. CPJ did the hiring of AG so who really should go first????

We have all seen head coaches get fired for less then what CPJ is doing here at GT. Numbers do not lie and against the big three and Bowl game CPJ is 3-15 right now and will be 3-16 come November>>>>>That is in sane to be a coach with that record in hopes that things will turn around…GT as long as CPJ is here will never get the recruits that Chan recruited because of the offense we run. When you are out recruiting the DII schools for players what are you really accomplishing?

It is time for a change here at GT and for us true fans if you are satisfied with what CPJ is accomplishing then so be it. I for one hate this because whe should not have to go winning one game every 5 or more years against anyone we play. I have and will always support the Jackets but enough is enough of this bull crap offense and defense we have. Time to get a coach in here that is going to run a pro style offense to get the athletes on the field to win some games again.

Sorry to be so negative but it is what it is and I am just being honest.

GTJohn

October 1st, 2012
8:59 am

To New Idea They may play college FB to get a shot at the Pros but 98% of them get a job like everyone else if they do well in school. The Pros are a dream and it remains just that for most college players. If theu do get a shot at the Pros, they should hope they have gotten an education so they can hold on to the $$$ they make and have a life after FB – unlike Vince Young, et al.

GT

October 1st, 2012
8:59 am

Our defense laid down on us. I think like ,a movie plot, if one day the defense decided they wanted something, say money or getting a coach fired or a different starting lineup and just said until this happens we are shutting it down. The offense has not sold out, but they got so nervous not having a defense they choke their assignments. Johnson has lead the offense and the new special team coach has lead that group, but something real sinister is going on with the defense. That sitting in the coaching box instead of on the sideline is another head scratchier. Look at safety number one Johnson or number six , for Tech,missing tackles in the films. They look like they are doing it on purpose. When Tech had their problems losing to Furman it was because the team wanted another quarterback Davis to start, and laid down. Something like that is going on here.

Rooty Tooty

October 1st, 2012
9:03 am

After trying to watch the game Saturday, and it was bad enough to make you upchoke. I find it hard to think we are going to win another game this year.

GTJohn

October 1st, 2012
9:07 am

GT, you may be on to something. I was there for those games also. GT football almost called it quits during those years – it was very close to GT no longer having a FB program. Hopefully CPJ understands how tenable this situation can become and does something about it. I, for one, would like to see a third party come in and meet with the players one-on-one and get to the bottom of this situation and chart a path to turn it around. Putting egos aside, CPJ needs to do something and quick.

GTballer

October 1st, 2012
9:13 am

The bottom line is it starts with the Head Coach….

Crazy Robert

October 1st, 2012
9:14 am

Random thoughts from this side of sanity: Avoid coaches with the first name “Paul” (Hewitt/Johnson) Bobby is a good one (Dodd/Ross)

Buy a drone, strap Groh to it so he can have a better vantage point than he had in the booth last Saturday

When does basketball start?

Maybe this is PJ’s way of making sure he doesn’t lose another bowl game by making sure the team isn’t eligible to go to one

Living the lie about recruiting and your staff

October 1st, 2012
9:19 am

GT fans are in denial. CPJ is vastly over rated, NOW coaching HIS OWN recruits. He is not a quality coach in big boy ball and his kids cannot play big boy ball. MTS out muscled Tech. GT was not good enought to be on the same field as MTSU. GT has not one player even close to the physicality of the MTSU running back.

CPJ hired AL Groh and promised the world that with AL’s NFL breeding, “we would attract HIGH CALBER 4/5 star athletes” and that now is all up in smoke. There simply are no players on that squad that could play on any SEC or most ACC teams and Big 12.

The stated mission of CPJ to attract good atheletes and coach em up, is a failure.

Now, GT has to live with the truth.

RICHARD

October 1st, 2012
9:21 am

CLEMSON 57 GA TECH 13 ONLY BECAUSE CLEMSON PULLS THERE STARTERS.PLEASES FIRE JOHNSON

Sad little people...

October 1st, 2012
9:26 am

I STILL think y’all beat Clemson! Remember, y’all only have 2 loses in the division. You can still win your division! This Dawg is pulling for you guys to go on and run the table except for the last game. Good luck!

GT Dude

October 1st, 2012
9:29 am

Well at least we won’t lose a home game this week.

juvenal

October 1st, 2012
9:36 am

can’t wait to see how the rodeo clowns entertain us while the offense is resting!

JB

October 1st, 2012
9:37 am

Clemson went toe to toe with a damn fine FSU team. A fast and physical FSU team. Clemson has speed galore. Sorry Tech….There is not a pre game speech in the world to help you this week. Clemson 55 Tech 14

DOC 51

October 1st, 2012
9:37 am

The ACC has never been big-time in football.ACC teams usually get manhandled in out-of-conference games,such as bowl games.We get TV exposure because of our basketball teams.Unfortunately basketball has slipped recently,but should improve w/PITT. and SYRACUSE coming on board.

Rufus

October 1st, 2012
9:38 am

Anybody know how we can contact John Tenuta?

CPJ's fupa...

October 1st, 2012
9:38 am

May your ship hit a rock named “Georgia” on the way down….

DIT

October 1st, 2012
9:41 am

I called last years tech victory and I will still stand by my call of a tech victory this year. It will be a high scoring game however, Clempson still can’t stop a team that runs the ball well. Heads up Jacket people, your team is getting ready to beat a ranked opponent!

JB

October 1st, 2012
9:41 am

Maybe Tech could stay in a prevent for 60 minutes to slow Clemson Saturday.

greta

October 1st, 2012
9:42 am

The relationship between the fans and the GT athletic administration has been tainted – by NCAA violations, ACC championship vacated and now this coaching debacle.

Even if we win all the rest of season’s games, this well is poisoned.

There is no accountability from the top. The A D can violate NCAA rules with no consequences. What other program would tolerate and apparently condone?

Not representative of Tech.

JB

October 1st, 2012
9:42 am

DIT……………..Where can I contact you to take some of your money.

North Avenue Rules

October 1st, 2012
9:43 am

Someone please tell me why we can’t run a high powered fast pistol offense like Oregon does? Are our players any different? Is our size different. To me it seems like we are about the same size and have the same speed and a capable QB (Vad).

Just curious.

DIT

October 1st, 2012
9:45 am

Not the gambling type, but if I were, where were you last year when I made the same prediction after tech lost the week before? Hey, I want tech to do good except for one game. The Dawgs need to tech to do well, the state of Ga needs tech to do well.

blackandwhitestripes

October 1st, 2012
9:47 am

I was there on Saturday and sat very close to the action or lack there of with the defense. Tech scored plenty enough points to win but when your defense lays down and lets another team, I don’t care who it is, smash mouth you like MTSU did its impossible to win a football game. The best offense is a good defense. Blame who you want but I put this loss totally on the defense.

JB

October 1st, 2012
9:50 am

As an AD, you have to ask yourself if you see this turning around. The AD in Athens believed in Richt and he has responded pretty well, although game day coaching is still iffy. Does this Tech AD See this getting better. Has the roster got a lot of young players ready to make it happen. How does the next class as far as commits look so far. What is the contract situation. I know the Basketball payout to Hewitt was hefty…..Lot’s of questions as to go forward with CPJ or not.

JB

October 1st, 2012
9:51 am

DIT, I totally agree. Most real football fans of Georgia do not like this. I don’t. And we are not that far removed from the same feeling in Athens. Good luck Saturday.

GT

October 1st, 2012
9:52 am

GTJohn good idea on third party.

When Tech had this last time it was the offense that shut down on them, think they only scored 14 points against then a pretty weak Furman team. The offense is still playing on this team, it is the defense. I think Paul knows he has a problem but doesn’t want to have his dirty laundry in the news I suspect it came last week against Miami and boiled over into this game. I think against Clemson the pride takes back over, but the least amount of difficulty on the sideline and we will get blown out there. If I were Johnson I would fire AG this week, but maybe Johnson doesn’t want to give in to this bunch of losers, let em lose till they get their heads on straight or quit. Cremins use to have these problems and would cut the kid in a heart beat, mid season if necessary. Bobby Ross left Tech because of it, you are babysitting the entire family that think their interest came before the team’s. He was playing for what turned out to be the national championship and was dealing with motivational problems

GTBob

October 1st, 2012
9:52 am

If you pay any more money to go watch these losers, you should have your head examined

Remember when

October 1st, 2012
9:55 am

I so vividly remember tech fans talking about pj being a genius. Here is a sample of some of my favorite tech fan sayings-

- there’s a new sheriff in town
- pj can take his and beat you or turn around and take yours and beat you or something to that effect
- pj is so brilliant he doesn’t need a play chart like other coaches- I always found this amusing since they only run about four or five plays most of the game while other college teams run complicated offenses nowadays
- wait until pj gets his players in here and he will really showcase his offense- well his players are here

And I can’t fail to mention all the bragging about al groh and his Super Bowl rings. This guy would have been absolutely nothing in life were it not for bill parcels. Groh only got the job with the jets because belicheck bolted for New England leaving them high and dry and parcels told them to hire groh. UVA then hired groh because of his nfl head coaching experience and ties to the school. This guy should have never been anything other than a position coach if that.

As the old saying go’s the chickens have come home to roost.

WnE

October 1st, 2012
9:58 am

re:
blackandwhitestripes
October 1st, 2012
9:47 am

I was there on Saturday and sat very close to the action or lack there of with the defense. Tech scored plenty enough points to win but when your defense lays down and lets another team, I don’t care who it is, smash mouth you like MTSU did its impossible to win a football game. The best offense is a good defense. Blame who you want but I put this loss totally on the defense.
_________________

CPJ is 0-for-2 in hiring DCs, plus he RECRUITED the crappy Defensive players that everyone is complaining about, that means that he is responsible for everything bad associated with the GT FB Program.

Ergo, you fire CPJ, but we cannot afford to, so CPJ will get the chance to ruin at least 2.5 more Recruiting Classes.

The hiring of CPJ has (or will) set GT FB back at least 10-12 years to try an recover from his crappy Recruiting.

Our Admin will never let a new HC “run players off or over-sign” to quickly repair the damage that CPJ has done, so the REBUILDING post-CPJ will be slow & painful.

No matter how GOOD the new HC is, we are likely to be Dook for a 3-5 yr. stretch, imagine that, many of the CPJ Boot-licking-toadies were laughing at Maryland and the troubles that they were having transitioning to Edsel without realizing the TRUE state of our FB program, how much real damage that CPJ has done to GT FB.

And to top it all off, WnE knew exactly what was going to happen all the way back in Dec. 2007 when CPJ was hired.

DIT

October 1st, 2012
10:04 am

JB I’m on your side of the fence. I’m a UGA Alumnus! I just really do want to see tech do well! Except for one game a year of course.

DOC 51

October 1st, 2012
10:04 am

There is no excuse for any player not hustling on every play.Surely CPJ can find 22 players out of 85 that will go hard every play.If it means walk-ons and freshmen,then so be it.We miss the leadership of #40.He and TW are the only true leaders on this team.

GTVegas

October 1st, 2012
10:13 am

Plain and simple, CPJ needs to get rid of Groh. I wonder if it was CPJ’s suggestion for Groh to go upstairs for the game? If so, was it because he hoped that perspective might give Groh a lesson he refused to see in prior games/films or is it because CPJ is finding it hard to be on the same sideline as the man?

CPJ is the CEO here and the one ultimately responsible for the perfornamce of his hires/recruits.

I have an idea. Since it would be difficult to hire a DC mid-season, why not get Julian Burnett to do it? It really couldn’t be any worse.

JB

October 1st, 2012
10:15 am

DOC 51……..The recruiting and signings by Johnson other than a plum or two here and there are not up to big boy football standards. It’s showing up on the field. I realize the restrictions at Tech, but dang, you guys got Reggie Ball in and kept him eligible.

War Jacket

October 1st, 2012
10:17 am

Looks to me like CPJ has lost the team. We will find out Saturday.

old dog

October 1st, 2012
10:21 am

I pull for y’all except against us. But, the arm tackling in the 2nd half (out of fear of getting run-over) was THE most pathetic thing I have ever seen. That was undoubtably the poorest defensive effort (or lack there-of) in the history of organized athletics. You have no talent, no coaching, no nothing on the D-side…..you gotta start completely over. I don’t care about academics, etc….the lingerie-league girls play better D than y’all did Saturday. Any self-respecting Tech fan knows that. The last time I saw a Cunningham run for 217 at Grant Field it was Brent Cunningham torching Clemson bak in ‘70: I was there! I’m tellin’ ya, guys, you gotta start over!