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

yeller bug

October 1st, 2012
6:14 pm

All is not lost….we still have to play the rest of the games for that.

I just hope we play with heart and [w]reckless abandon….no need to be conservative—blitz, stunt, throw 10 passes in a row, onside kick at the start of the game—heck get a Comp Sci geeeek to write a program to select plays at random if you lack creativity. Play Vad no huddle from the pistol the whole 1st qtr…..A-back pass from Days…twice in a row….hey if we suck, then let’s have fun becasue it certainly cannot be any worse than Sat.

New Idea

October 1st, 2012
6:28 pm

I think we need to figure out why we can’t recruit more quality players. Our curriculum is limited and I am sure some go elsewhere because of that. Our admission standards are high but we are not admitting but 50% Georgians, this can’t be building spirit and is hurting Georgia in my mind. Why has GT raised admission standards so high it shuts out Georgians? Our charter says we exist FOR Georgia. We need some more majors Georgians can take.


October 1st, 2012
6:30 pm

The big question this week is, “has the team given up” and even if they have not given up do they have enough talent and even the will to win.


October 1st, 2012
6:42 pm

If you want Johnson fired press 1


October 1st, 2012
6:54 pm

If no one has been canned by now, they will not be this week. I am hoping for a 63- 10 game with Clemson so that DRAD has to can someone next week.


October 1st, 2012
7:23 pm

Hey look at the bright side – Jackets will get to play in a full stadium for a change instead of that almost empty high school field on North Ave.


October 1st, 2012
7:31 pm

Play V Lee from here on out………….The experience will do him good and prepare him for next year. T Washington has long since peaked…… he’s just making more and more stupid mistakes. Maybe,……..occasionally, we can score enough points to overcome this horrid defense……….and one last thing AL GROH has got to goooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Old Blind Dawg

October 1st, 2012
7:51 pm

Nobody is going to be fired mid-season. Rational thinkers understand this – hyper fans don’t. Do you guys calling for CAG’s head understand firing him now will accomplish nothing.

Face the facts – GT needs better players – a different scheme (if they can’t get better players) – a fiery young guy that can recruit and motivate the current defensive players – none of which can be accomplished by firing CAG mid-season.

Ramblin Man

October 1st, 2012
7:57 pm

Groh will be fired by the years end. Sewak needs to go as the o-line coach as he has done a horrible job. CPJ needs to tell Tevin thank you and move on to Vad as this season is done and the kid needs the playing time. CPJ REALLY needs to start looking for a new DC and I suggest looking for a young hungry one that does not use the 3-4. Losing is one thing, but to do so in this fasion is ridiculous. My prediction is that Groh will be fired by the Duke game. For those calling for CPJ’s head you can forget it. It will take 12M to buy his contratc and GT just cannot afford that after letting Blewitt go.

Ramblin Man

October 1st, 2012
7:58 pm

Another post lost

Ramblin Man

October 1st, 2012
8:01 pm

Old Blind Dawg,
I agree but would be surprised if he is still there when GT plays UGA. By then if this shame of a defense is still playing like this GT will be lucky to have 2 more wins and no harm will come in him not being there or at the very least an announcement that it will be his final game.

[...] After debacle, Tech braces for Clemson [...]

Old Blind Dawg

October 1st, 2012
8:58 pm

Ramble Man that makes sense – nice to see at least one rational Techster. Kind of hope you guys can get this mess turned around (except come November) for the sake of the players – I couldn’t care less about the coaching staff – never have liked CPJ.


October 1st, 2012
9:02 pm

This is from the ramblin wreck web site under NCAA compliance: please pay special attention to the last sentence.

“Compliance Is Everyone’s Responsibility

Principle of Institutional Control
It is the responsibility of each member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the NCAA. The institution’s chief executive officer is responsible for the administration of all aspects of the athletics program, including approval of the budget and audit of all expenditures.

Principle of Institutional Responsibility
The institution’s responsibility for the conduct of its intercollegiate athletics program includes responsibility for the actions of its staff members and for the actions of any other individual or organization engaged in activities promoting the athletics interests of the institution.

Principle of Rules Compliance
Each institution shall comply with all applicable rules and regulations of the NCAA in the conduct of its intercollegiate athletics programs. It shall monitor its programs to assure compliance and to identify and report to the NCAA instances in which compliance has not been achieved. In any such instance, the institution shall cooperate fully with the NCAA and shall take appropriate corrective actions. Members of an institution’s staff, student-athletes, and other individuals and groups representing the institution’s athletics interests shall comply with the applicable NCAA rules, and the member institution shall be responsible for such compliance. ”

How can this taken seriously when A D and Head Coach violated rules with no repercussions?


These clowns are making a joke of Tech and someone is letting them do it. Wake up!


October 1st, 2012
9:07 pm

Need proof?

See scholarship penalties and vacated ACC championship.

Is there an adult in the house?

Is there no clause in a contract for relief when regulations are violated with knowledge and arrogance by the head of NCAA compliance – the A D?

Come on.

Did a UGA grad write ALL these contracts? (Including Hewiits?)

A very concerned Tech grad.

These people do not represent Tech. How long will it be tolerated? Well is poisoned.

Further evidence is player moral.


October 1st, 2012
9:13 pm

I think that Tech has a great chance at losing at Clemson, vs BYU, at UNC, at Maryland, and at UGA. If they do so (this would put them at 5-7), they should seriously consider firing PJ. There’s no doubt he’s a great coach but everything about Georgia Tech has become stale. This would be the third year in the row that ended in disappointment. Radakovich should only have to deal with so many times.


October 1st, 2012
9:15 pm

Actually losing those five would put them at 4-8. I honestly can’t see them doing any better than 6-6.

Papa Doc

October 1st, 2012
9:16 pm

and AD RAD keeps silent . . . come on


October 1st, 2012
9:18 pm

There’s a young fiery coach at FIU named Mario Cristobal, if he can recruit GA then he’s a great replacement


October 1st, 2012
9:25 pm

Where’s John Tanuta? At least the blitz was consistent and fun to watch.

Bill from Dacusville

October 1st, 2012
10:10 pm

I’ve been a Tech fan since 1950–seen some hard times–only bright spot–my Granddaughter is a Freshman @ Clemson and she is looking forward to this Saturday BIG TIME—-


October 1st, 2012
10:45 pm

Buzzed-for-Life: “GT is the TOP school in the Nation academically.” Ummm..I am as proud of Tech’s academic standing as anyone, but even I know better to make THAT claim. Please show me a nationally recognized ranking that has Tech overall ranked ahead of Stanford, MIT, CalTech, Yale, Harvard, Northwestern, Chicago, etc. (Maybe in some of the small niche engineering programs, but even there we have some of the schools listed above.) Then again, it is about as reasonable to say that we are the best academic school in the nation as it is to say that CPJ and CAG can win here after ample evidence to the contrary.


October 1st, 2012
11:01 pm

One more blowout loss out to turn the heat up a little more.

1 4 GT

October 2nd, 2012
1:21 am

IMNTBHO…..all any fan has the “right” to expect from their team. To be competitive! To put itself in a position to win at the end the game! To compete for the conference championship! To actually be the champion every now & again! To be competitive against their #1 rival & beat said rival every now & again! Maybe be “lucky” enough to even be in the mix for the MNC every now & again & maybe actually upsey the applecart & win it! If the fan’s team can just be competitive, all of the rest will fall in place. Like any business, it was not created to give us a job. No college/institution was created to give us a sports team to cheer for….that is supposed to secondary. Do we want/expect more? Do we want/expect to win like Alabama? Many fans answer those questions yes. Will they get their wish? Not likely. Enjoy your team’s successes & hurt for their losses. And live with both. And always have pride in your”s & their achievements. Wear your colors proudly. Selah.

Old Dog

October 2nd, 2012
7:52 am

To Hell with Tek, today, tomorrow and every other day!

old dog

October 2nd, 2012
8:34 am

Forget the above post……I am the “real” old dog, and I feel sorry for you true Tech fans who have had to endure this fiasco…………………

will you go to the prom with me, mom?

October 2nd, 2012
9:32 am

This loss has to be considered the most deflating, embarrassing and historic for sure. Being upset by an underdog is one thing but losing by 21 freaking points??? Are you kidding me? Worst loss in Tech history. 21 points is a beat down by a program that nobody has ever heard of. What a disgrace to the ACC and all Tech fans.


October 2nd, 2012
10:02 am

The problem with the 3-4 is at the nose guard position. We haven’t been able to recruit the studs we need to play that position properly – all those types are going to the SEC, and I don’t think that’s going to change.

I think that BECAUSE we don’t have a run-stopping noseguard, the DEs end up not playing their position properly, because they want to help out the run defense up the middle, which prevents them from providing an outside rush for QB pressure.

So, my theory is that the 3-4 won’t work at Tech due to the inability to get quality NG talent.

And, fat 340 lb players don’t cut it. The one we’ve got appears to be about 30 % body fat. We need a 325 lb guy with 15% BF.


October 2nd, 2012
10:51 am

As a GaSouthern grad I laughed all day when GT hired Johnson. He was a total joke in Statesboro and all you delusional GT fans need to realize you are a second rate program, with third rate talent and forth rate DII coaching. Just realize the facts and you will feel much better.

Fair n Balanced

October 2nd, 2012
11:31 am

Didn’t CPG say something about the poor defense two weeks ago being an aberration? How’s that working out for ya now?


October 2nd, 2012
8:02 pm

ken do me a favor and dont liaten to that crap seth harp is going to tell you on thursday hes and idiot


October 2nd, 2012
8:03 pm

by the way yall ready for an upset this saturday at clemson


October 2nd, 2012
9:30 pm

BTW, I wrote a letter to The AD voicing many of the feelings you, my colleagues, have voiced here (not you WinE). I received a call today from one of the AD young wonks. He seemed interested. Me being a 58 year season ticket holder, he better be interested. I told him Tech people tend to give a coach a break, IF THEY LIKE HIM. Nobody likes Johnson because he is so arrogant. Even the people in the office don’t like him (several have told me). His my way or the highway attitude about his offense (and everything else) is so old they carried it off Noah’s arc on a stretcher. Offenses change by the week with enlightened coaches. If you want to be the best, look at what the best do, not ostrich because it worked at GA Southern and at Navy (two major football powers to emulate). He is a fossil from another time and his time is up.


October 6th, 2012
1:23 am

“An Ode to the Engineers of the Gold and the Blue” —–
As the brave men and women – Engineers of the Gold and the Blue – go forth to do battle with the Tigers of the Clemson -
As they ride their mighty steeds of the Greyhound into the very heart of the “Valley of the Certain Death” -
They fear not the strange men of striped orange; nor their voracious fangs; nor their claws of terror.
With heads held high and adorned with honey-combs of gold, they go to meet almost certain defeat. But none hold fear in their heart; only anticipation of the coming battle!
They are filled with pride to be among the select few to defend the honor of the “Tech of the Georgia”.
May you once again perform your mighty feats of acrobatic wizardry and artistic majesty in your mighty deeds of the daring and the do.
Then once again, we may hear the shrill of the whistle from the very bowels of the hallowed halls of the “Tech of the Georgia”!!