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

THIS TEAM SUCKS

October 1st, 2012
10:29 am

MAMAMELO PUES, 2009 WAS A FLUKE AND IT WAS TAKEN AWAY, YOU WANT ALUMNI MONEY AND PARTICIPATION, BETTER GET THIS TEAM IN SHAPE

GJ

October 1st, 2012
10:30 am

Wow…some very grumpy Tech fans. Come on guys, look on the bright side. Getting whipped by Clemson will not be nearly as embarassing as getting whipped by MTSU. Good thing there were ony 30,000 people in the stands to see that debocle.

GJ

October 1st, 2012
10:33 am

I guess losing recruites to MTSU really did hurt

@ Techster

October 1st, 2012
10:35 am

You need to rethink your math (you a tek grad?) teams DON’T HAVE 85 – the NCAA has limits on class size – wake up knucklehead.

GTJoe7643

October 1st, 2012
10:36 am

If we were able to sign and keep eligible such upstanding geniuses as Reggie Ball, Joe Henderson, and Reuben Houston, we should be able to do the same for a few kids with more athletic skill than those we have out there now.

MC

October 1st, 2012
10:37 am

I don’t see how anyone that knows the least thing about football can’t see that the CPJ experiment is becoming an abysmal failure. He’s trying to sell a novelty smoke and mirror system to kids that know better. GT will fall farther and farther down the black sucking hole trying to compete with players that are on a whole, not even an afterthought to the perennial top 25 boys.

GT Joe

October 1st, 2012
10:54 am

NOW is it time for Vad?

JB

October 1st, 2012
11:00 am

The question for Tech about Johnson is not one of “if”……but when.

TakeBoBo

October 1st, 2012
11:00 am

not a fan of tech fans…all three of you… but i always pull for you to win…i wouldnt talk sh*t anymore on the UGA blog…
I had to come over here bc the bs and trash talking techies are blabbing about on the UGA win…what gives with you guys….your fan base is horrible, your stadium sucks, your team is being abused, and you want to jump on UGA , really???? yall gots issues
good luck with Clemson…you will need it

GTJoe7643

October 1st, 2012
11:01 am

At least Bill Lewis had the decency to fail completely in his third year so we could move on. CPJ is bleeding us to death slowly, and if he manages to pull off an “upset” over VT or Clemson (can you really call any victory over those two an upset, with the way they both manage to wet the bed on a pretty consistent basis year in and year out?) every now and then, and beat UGA once every five to seven years, we have enough apologists on here that we will be stuck in this hell forever.

JB

October 1st, 2012
11:01 am

The only thing that would save Johnson in the eyes of Tech’s Alum and fans is to upset Georgia this year. And that game is always close most years.

old dog

October 1st, 2012
11:01 am

GT Joe,
If Vad can play defense………………Not ONE person on D who played Saturday, not one, would start against Clemson. Yeah, y’all do not have the coaching or talent to play the 3-4, but that chicken #$%^ tackling was totally and completely a lack or heart and effort; PERIOD! Even if Groh is gone, not ONE starter from Saturdays game would start against Clemson. Maybe thay would come in later, but that gutless performance was embarassing to the State of Georgia. Yeah, we will get huniliated, too, and have been. But there is a difference between gettin out-schemed and getting run over…..Cunningham had six miles AFTER CONTACT! In the second half, people stuck arms out afraid he might run them over….pitiful! My wife’s Grandad is in the Tech HOF and the State of Georgia HOF…. and as previously stated I pull for y’all except against us. But that d-effort will go down as one of the worst by players in the history of Georgia Tech.

Born2Buzz

October 1st, 2012
11:04 am

Have I mentioned that I hate Al Groh.
He was obviously in the booth this week to keep CPJ from punching him in the face.
D was non-existent. Al was confused even more so this week than last. Guys out of position and tentative. You can’t play D tentatively.
Now CPJ is confused as well. He’s always simply hired a DC and given him the reins on that side of the ball. Now he knows he made a mistake, is trying to fix it and will need to find a replacement. And he’s not able to concentrate on the O side as well.
Here’s a few clues coach,
1) forget the D side. Let Groh either fix it or not. You can’t help.

and 2) You can’t have a QB that has the ball in his hands for 41 of 79 plays and produces 150 yards of O, especially rushing the ball 19 times for 4 yards.

Put Vad in NOW!! And just scrap the whole Triple O. Run all of your passing plays and a few toss sweeps all the time.

Now I’m worried about winning another game. Even Duke will shred this D.

GTJoe7643

October 1st, 2012
11:11 am

Upsetting UGA may only prolong the agony…if not for their second-half implosion against us that first year, we might be rid of CPJ already and moving on towards a real football program again. Despite all around horrible play on special teams and with the pick-six and turnovers deep in their own red zone, UGA still hung 51 points on a Tennessee team that certainly has better athletes (and coaching) on defense than we do, so it really would be an upset teh way things look today.

I bought my UGA gear at WalMart

October 1st, 2012
11:15 am

I can’t help but notice that there isn’t any, and I mean ANY, chatter on my UGA blogs today….I’m just sayin….

I bought my UGA gear at WalMart

October 1st, 2012
11:17 am

Where are you GT Bob? We miss you….

I bought my UGA gear at WalMart

October 1st, 2012
11:20 am

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

damngooddawg!

October 1st, 2012
11:23 am

Now “WalMart”, don’t be naughty. Remember that techies have troubles of their own. Also remember that UGA could get beaten by SC next Saturday……MTSU????? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

HBTD

October 1st, 2012
11:40 am

Sounds like the wheels have come off the program once again over on the flats. I guess it was just a matter of time before it became obvious that pj is simply not going to be able to attract high quality talent to play in his hs scheme. Hope the big money guys let pj and co stick around for years to come, but my guess is he’ll be out after this year simply because you know what you’ve got in him……….a program that’s not going to be able to compete with the big guys on most days, and a program that will not compete with the little guys on some days.

GT

October 1st, 2012
11:43 am

Remember when I still think PJ is a genius. He just can’t overcome his own assistant coach. It is like “friendly” Afghanistan troops shooting American soldiers, it is something you don’t count on. At Georgia they just have them arrested, no more sad they are gone, and if you are Author Blanks you deliver a few pit bulls to M. Vicks’ house, PJ hasn’t stooped that far yet,

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
11:45 am

I’m still waiting to see the news that “no show” was fired. I guess I fail to understand why CPJ even bothers to put up with him. With “no show” in charge, GT has no chance at getting good defensive players. I mean who would want to play for that loser? The sooner Groh is gone, the better.

damngooddawg!

October 1st, 2012
11:48 am

It ain’t Groh, dude. It’s the lack of good players on the team…

Born2Buzz

October 1st, 2012
11:50 am

Thanks for visiting dog fans, laugh all you want. It doesn’t hurt as much as watching what we watched last Saturday. What can we say? Yes, our team looks to officially suck.

I think GT earlier is onto something. You just don’t stop trying to play D like that without some underlying agenda. Was Isiah Johnson #1 just out of position so much because the coaches put him there, or does he make these decisions on his own? Did Rod Sweeting #6 just run away from the receiver he is originally lined up against because he was coached that way, or is he making this decision on his own? And do they all shy away from tackling somebody because they are afraid to get hurt or are there underlying reasons for pulling up like they did.

You know, in the VT game the D played hard, hit with a vengeance and made plays…all until the last drive when their DC had them backing off 10 yards from the receivers and playing soft, trying to contain and not give up a big play. (Of course #1 missed a tackle that would have saved the game, so maybe he just sucks). Then our QB does something in OT that no Freshman QB should do, let alone a 5th year Sr. Maybe the D is laying down because they are tired of seeing this 5th year Sr on the field. Maybe they are laying down because they know their DC is a confused old man and they have lost all respect for him. I don’t know, but it’s just fishy.

GT

October 1st, 2012
11:52 am

Groh is so much like Gailey. Maybe we have learned our lesson with these old guys. Saban and other great coaches grow there own. Smart, Muschamp all are young prodigies of great coaches. There is no room for equals on a football coaching staff, it never works. Independent coaches on a staff will kill you, they have egos and usually they are playing people off each other to get their way.

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
11:52 am

No… It’s Groh… He doesn’t dial up blitzes. He doesn’t have players lined up right. He doesn’t know the first thing about a 3-4 defense. He seems to always play some friggin prevent defense. He coaches scared, therefore; the players play scared. No, my freind, Al Groh is the big problem.

Born2Buzz

October 1st, 2012
11:55 am

dgd, it is Groh. Our LBs are better than we’ve had in years. Our DL is better than last year. Our DBs are the same, so maybe that is a problem.
Listen, Jabari Hunt-Days is a stud and was recruited by everybody. We have a Sr DL that is a beast but Al had him on the bench for 2 years while we played a “gritty kid with a great motor” that wouldn’t start for any D1 team.
It’s all Groh, and by extension, sadly it is CPJ. He hired him and he has to take the blame.

Sucks to be us!

wt. king

October 1st, 2012
11:56 am

“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

A little better…. that’s it? Just a Little?

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
11:57 am

@ Born2Buzz…. *nods* 100% agree. Al Groh is horrible.. He was a loser at UVA and he is still a loser. He brought his loser ways with him to GT. The sooner he is gone the better GT will get.

GT

October 1st, 2012
11:59 am

Jmonty you are on the money. In that Miami game he was 40 yards off the ball, his teams are not aggressive, they tackle like the are apologizing. I think this Middle Tenn State thing was a retaliation for Miami, the players having the game taken away from them by stupidity and then not owning up for stupidity. Something else I noticed Johnson will do he will let the problem stew in its own juices.

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
12:00 pm

Well… if you play a little better on each play… It will be a lot better for the whole game.. Hopefully??

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
12:03 pm

I wonder if Al Groh let his wife run over him, like the rest of the teams in the NCAA do? Maybe he puts on the dress and apron at his home?? Either way, he is about aggressive as a dead dried up snail. He just lets the other team dictate the game. He needs to go back home and play dress up and quit coaching.. Maybe he’s good at Madden and that makes him think he can coach??

Born2Buzz

October 1st, 2012
12:04 pm

My lover is a Bulldogs fan, so I’m Switching, Still like those college players in really tight pants, though.

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
12:06 pm

Gooooooo Bulldogssssssssssss

GTsince57

October 1st, 2012
12:07 pm

Saturdays was by far the worst performance by a Tech team that I can remember. I was at the game and it appeared to me that the team does not want to play for Paul Johnson any longer. This is sad for the team, the fans, and most of all to the great tradition of a fine institution. Wipe the slate clean, fire the entire staff and start over after this season ends. Paul Johnsons hard headed, egotistical ways need to go. The buck stops with him (unfortunatley for Tech) several millions down the road.

wt.king

October 1st, 2012
12:08 pm

Monty is a cad at ga-yties.com site he strips

GTsince57

October 1st, 2012
12:09 pm

Not my comment at 12:07, you all know I like young white boys in a wet jockstrap and the Dawgs Ruleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
12:09 pm

LMAO Tee hee

Jmonty

October 1st, 2012
12:10 pm

Well the last post wasn’t mine… But I have nothing against the UGA… They are dang good team. @ WT King… If I was a stripper… I would be one of the oldest strippers around. I would definitely go broke quick. But thanks for thinking I could be.. :)

wreckmaniac

October 1st, 2012
12:11 pm

If Groh is not gone by Saturday, PJ should be fired. I can’t believe its noon Monday with no resignation. By the way, we know now that Va Tech is a mediocre team along with the others Tech has played.

wt. king

October 1st, 2012
12:12 pm

What gets me is CPJ looked at Groh and said, “Ya!! That’s good enough. He’ll do fine….let me hire and keep him no matter what.”

GTsince57

October 1st, 2012
12:16 pm

Your childish sick humor is revolting ahole.

alex

October 1st, 2012
12:17 pm

@born2buzz, If these are the best linebackers in years then past years have been horrible because the guys who played on saturday ,all of them,were blown out,blown by and blown up on almost every play. They may have been recruited but they aren’t playing like d1 level…. I specifically watched them and if they COULD tackle it was 7 yards downfield and coverage?,yea that was something. They made the MTSU quarterback look like a heisman candidate….

GTsince57

October 1st, 2012
12:19 pm

Not my comment at 12:07, you all know I like young white boys in a wet jockstrap and the Dawgs Ruleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Your childish sick humor is revolting ahole.

Born2Buzz

October 1st, 2012
12:20 pm

Oh, so now you are going to start faking someone’s screen name and making cute remarks? Very mature.

Actually, my girlfriend is a UGA grad, but I will not switch. I’m OK when the Dogs win, just not against us.

No other comments under this name will be mine. I’m out.

Coach Hewitt...

October 1st, 2012
12:22 pm

My feeling’s have become eerily similar to what my ex said the last time we spoke,

”(GT) I love you, you’re the best…but I just can’t do this anymore”.

Remember when

October 1st, 2012
12:24 pm

Well i don’t think he’s a genuis. If he were he wouldn’t be in the process of destroying tech’s football program. I have a family member who is a long time season ticket holder and the first thing he said to me when tech hired groh was tech will never be able to get the athletes to run a successful 3-4 scheme. Now if someone who sits in the stands could have predicted this why couldn ‘t the so called genuis. A college football coach is the ceo of the team and is responsible for all phases of the game regardless of what side of the ball his background is in. And lets not forget the genuis is 0-4 in bowl games when teams have time to prepare for his scheme. Now how can a genuis college coach be winless in bowl games?

yeller bug

October 1st, 2012
12:38 pm

The most disturbing issue we face now is morale. Our team quit at the halfway mark of the 4th Qtr—hadn’t seen that since the loss to UGA 51-7 under Gailey. Without heart or desire, there is no drive to execute and there is no chance to win. This problem is systemic—coaches, players and as evident on these blogs—the fans. This should be priority 1 for CPJ to remedy.

Tactically, we have major problems on D and minor problems on O. CAG has an in-depth knowledge of the game, but that knowledge is not getting translated to our execution on the field. Missing tackles is on the players, but you can sense from the stands that the players look confused and lack confidence in what they are doing. We need to simplify. It reminds me of CPH in B-ball where he’d analyze in such detail to try to force an opponent to go clockwise around a pick so that they’d have to pivot and shoot off their left foot, meanwhile his team struggled with the basics of inbounding the ball and blocking out. We need to simplify, emphasize the fundamentals, and get some confidence back into our players. Otherwise it’s going to be chaos and our already shaky morale will just plummet leading to more L’s on our record.

GT

October 1st, 2012
12:40 pm

You are crazy even talking of firing PJ. Hell we will be lucky he doesn’t quit on us anyway. The man ,like Gailey lets the defense alone, not sure if Spurrier use to be the same way. The problem with Tech is the whole team is not there for football, the chemistry eventually doesn’t do well. You got some academic nerds mixed in with some street cred guys and somewhere the street cred guy gets his feelings hurt and does like Cam Newton in that New York a couple of weeks ago, spouts. When you are winning it usually goes unnoticed, but during stress it breaks out.

Makes you wonder what Tech got put on probation for, just recruiting athletes is a handicap at Tech, to say they cheat is a compliment when you look at this team. It is like telling Don Knoxs you think he is cheating on his wife. Don probably would be flattered you thought someone wanted him, even if it sounds stupid.

T-MAN

October 1st, 2012
12:54 pm

The Ship be Sinking…..They havn’t tackled,they havn’t blocked and they damn sure can’t pass.Is their any other way to score?O yea the Kicking games weak..

DS CE'91

October 1st, 2012
12:59 pm

I’m not a huge fan of the 3-4, but my (admittedly novice) opinion is that CAG’s in-game play calling is not the biggest problem we have. We just don’t have the horses (heck even ponies) on the D-Line and Secondary. Our guys there are outmatched week in and week out. Poor tackling is mostly technique, I’ll grant you. But when you have a dearth of talent, any weaknesses are grossly magnified.

As far as offense goes, in my opinion Vad Lee stepping in at QB has a chance to be an upgrade ONLY if CPJ modifies his offensive approach. We can’t expect to throw just 10 times a game if Lee’s in the game, and we’ll need to run much more pistol/shotgun formation. I suspect that for many of us, that is the real question we have for CPJ: CAN/WILL YOU ADJUST YOUR SCHEME TO THE TALENT (however meager) YOU HAVE? I truly hope the answer is YES.

Anyway, I’m still rooting hard for a “W” this weekend, odds be d@mned. GO JACKETS!!!