Archive for September, 2012

Notes: Miami pillages Tech defense

1. Through three games, the Georgia Tech defense had offered evidence that it had made clear progress from defensive coordinator Al Groh’s first two seasons.

Saturday was not so much a fly in the ointment as it was a pterodactyl. The final damage – the Yellow Jackets gave up 609 yards to Miami, which is 183 more than the Hurricanes were able to gain against FCS Bethune-Cookman a week ago. Tech has given up more yards in only two games, 667 to Notre Dame in a 69-14 loss in 1977 and 610 to Duke in a 41-38 win over Duke in 1997.

Said outside linebacker Brandon Watts, “I felt like we weren’t prepared.”

A stretch over the middle portion of the game suggested that the Tech defense had gained the upper hand. After scoring to take a 19-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, Miami’s next five possessions lasted a total of 16 plays, including a half-ending kneeldown. The other four possessions ended with a lost fumble, punt, interception and punt.

However, after Tech took its 36-19 …

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Tech drops fourth in a row to Miami in OT

The afternoon began with haunting familiarity, continued into indescribable cacophony and terminated in a gruesome fashion that has gained its own recognizable place at Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets’ 42-36 overtime loss to the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium was their fourth in a row to Miami and third overtime defeat in their past five games, dating to the Sun Bowl loss to Utah last season.

Sandwiched in the middle was a stunning comeback, in which the Jackets fell behind 19-0 at the end of the first quarter and then scored the next 36 points, a gutsy charge that ends up lost in the swirl of this stunning defeat.

“We just have to find a way to pull a ‘W’ when it’s clutch time,” A-back Orwin Smith said.

As night fell on Bobby Dodd Stadium, so did Tech’s chances of winning the ACC. The Jackets dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the ACC with both losses coming at the hands of division opponents, both in overtime in games in which the Jackets held the lead …

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Georgia Tech-Miami live blog

Three storylines

Can Georgia Tech take control early?

In losing the past three games to Miami, the Yellow Jackets have had first-half deficits of 17-3, 14-0 and 14-0, trouble for a team that doesn’t play its best from behind. A repeat of that scenario may not doom the Jackets, but it may signal to them and the Hurricanes that history may be repeating itself. Coach Paul Johnson has a knack for breaking big plays early, such as the 70-yard touchdown pass to B-back Zach Laskey on the Jackets’ first play from scrimmage last week. A repeat might encourage another frenzy.

What will the Tech defense throw at the Hurricanes?

Defensive coordinator Al Groh is wary of the damage that Miami true freshman running back Duke Johnson, one of the highest-rated prospects at his position last year, can cause to his unit. He’s averaging 9.2 yards per carry and has scored six of Miami’s 11 touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Allen Hurns, who sat out the Hurricanes’ win over Bethune-Cookman last …

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Jeremy Moore seeking return to team

After leaving the Georgia Tech team for personal reasons Tuesday, wide receiver Jeremy Moore has apparently had a change of heart. Moore spoke with coach Paul Johnson Thursday and will likely be permitted to return to the team, Tech spokesman Dean Buchan confirmed.

Moore will not dress for Saturday’s game against Miami.

Moore, a redshirt junior, earned a starting job in the preseason after fighting through injuries in his first three seasons at Tech. He started Tech’s first three games with three catches for 64 yards. Johnson said Wednesday that Moore told him that he was leaving the team because of “personal issues that he needed to deal with.” Johnson also mentioned that Moore had previously contemplating leaving the team. He professed to not be frustrated by the decision’s timing.

“If somebody doesn’t have their heart in it, doesn’t want to be out there, no use trying to talk ‘em into staying,” Johnson said.

Jeff Greene and Darren Waller will start at wide receiver against …

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Tech grad assistants lend a hand

This past summer on a staff trip to Hilton Head Island, S.C., Georgia Tech graduate assistants J.R. Dorman and Preston Pehrson went to a lunch to meet friends of their host, Tech grad and booster Drew Hearn.

Little did they realize they were going to end up giving sustaining encouragement to a young man sideswiped by disappointment and physical pain.

“Those two and Mr. Hearn, those guys are angels,” said David Stone, father of 19-year-old Daniel.

Two years ago, Daniel Stone was an offensive line prospect in New Rochelle, N.Y., who had drawn attention from Penn State, Boston College and Syracuse. Before the start of his season, though, he suffered three herniated discs in his back. His football career was over, and he has experienced almost non-stop pain since then that doctors are at a loss to explain, his father said. So intense is the discomfort that he stays awake days at a time.

Stone attended one year of college but has spent the last year with his family in Hilton Head, …

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Can Tech thwart Miami streak?

In his remarks at the Georgia Tech kickoff luncheon in August, Tech grad and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough offered up an only-at-Tech statistic. The Yellow Jackets are 2-0 when he has been in outer space.
His space shuttle mission orbited over Atlanta on Nov. 20, 2008, just before Tech routed Miami at Bobby Dodd Stadium. (It remained in space for the Jackets’ 45-42 win over Georgia nine days later.)
Ever the dutiful alumnus, Kimbrough volunteered to return to space for the Jackets. Ever the superstitious coach, Paul Johnson took the podium later and practically offered to strap him to a rocket. Kimbrough won’t be in orbit Saturday, but Johnson wouldn’t have refused the help. Since that 2008 Thursday night win over the Hurricanes in Johnson’s first season, Tech has dropped three in a row to Miami by a combined 92-34.
“Miami has handled us fairly easily the last couple years,” Johnson said. “So we have to see if we can’t put our big-boy pants on and play a little better against …

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Video: Georgia Tech-Miami preview

CineSport’s Brian Clark and I preview the Georgia Tech-Miami Coastal Division matchup Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

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Tech notes: Milton shines on special teams

1. Georgia Tech defensive back Chris Milton first caught special-teams coordinator David Walkosky’s attention as a member of the scout team.

“Everything he did, he gave unbelievable effort,” Walkosky said. “He was full go and then he was making plays against the [first team].”

He hasn’t stopped. Milton has been named the Yellow Jackets’ special-teams player of the week for the past two games. He was perfect on his assignments against Presbyterian College and then 16 of 18 against Virginia, including a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff return.

“I feel like you’ve just got to want to do it,” said Milton, a redshirt freshman from Charlton County High.

That was the most noticeable play, but there have been plenty of others. He came within inches of blocking a Virginia punt, and probably would have had the punter not been directing the ball away from Milton’s side. Against Virginia Tech, on a punt return in which Jemea Thomas bobbled the catch, Milton had blocked Virginia Tech’s …

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Nealy, Hunt-Days hold firm in Tech middle

From Doug Roberson:

On-the-job training seems to be working our fairly well for Georgia Tech’s Quayshawn Nealy and Jabari Hunt-Days.

The inside linebacker tandem is playing more than most expected because of the career-ending injury to Julian Burnett and early-season suspension of Daniel Drummond. But Nealy and Hunt-Days are playing well as the Yellow Jackets (2-1) prepare to take on Miami (2-1). They are Nos. 1 and 2 on the team in tackles and are helping Al Groh’s defense limit opponents to a respectable 3.6 yards per run and 4.4 yards per play.

“…Everybody in that group had to move up the ladder than 10 months ago,” Groh said. “They had good ability and good want-to and applied themselves.”

Their work started anew in the offseason, when it was announced that Burnett wouldn’t return after suffering a neck injury in last year’s Sun Bowl. It was later announced that Drummond, who started six games last year, was suspended for the first six quarters of this season, including …

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Tech notes: Jeremy Moore leaves team

Wednesday notes…

1. After starting in the first three games of the season, Georgia Tech wide receiver Jeremy Moore left the team Tuesday, citing personal reasons. Moore will remain in school, coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday.

“He had some personal reasons, said that he’s struggled with it before,” Johnson said. “It’s not the first time he’s thought about it. I just wished him well.”

Moore had had a challenging career at Tech. After redshirting as a true freshman, he missed his redshirt freshman season with a torn knee ligament. Injuries played a role in limiting him to three games last season. Moore, from Austin, Texas, earned a starting job out of fall camp and had caught three passes for 64 yards in Tech’s first three games.

Moore was in a three-player rotation with Jeff Greene and Darren Waller. His departure moves true freshman Anthony Autry up the depth chart, although Chris Jackson will return next week after a four-game absence due to an academic matter regarding his …

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