Archive for October, 2012

Washington, Lee keep relationship smooth

Paul Johnson has been around long enough to have witnessed starter-backup relationships worthy of a bad reality show.

“I’ve seen older guys who wouldn’t offer to help the younger guys with any kind of advice or any kind of help,” he said. “You’ve seen it all through the years.”

The Georgia Tech coach has his share of problems this season. As fan and media attention is trained on starting quarterback Tevin Washington and backup Vad Lee, at least one headache he doesn’t have is tension between the two.

“As bad as things have gotten for ‘Tev’ and how people are, ‘Oh, he’s not doing this,’ he’s still trying his best to help Vad and he’s trying to help Vad prepare,” B-back David Sims said. “And, Vad, he tries to help give (Washington) tips, as well.”

As Tech prepares to play Maryland Saturday, Washington and Lee are competing in practice for the starting job against the Terrapins. Both players have worked with the first- and second strings. It is a shakeup of the order that has …

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Tech scrambles to prepare for Maryland quarterback

1. Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Charles Kelly can only guess at what Maryland quarterback Shawn Petty will do when their two teams face Saturday. He does have a handle, though, on what Petty did as an Eleanor Roosevelt Raider.

With their first four quarterbacks lost to season-ending injuries, the Terrapins will start Petty, a true freshman who had been playing linebacker until last week. Saturday will be his first college game. As a result, Kelly and defensive coaches studied video of Petty playing quarterback for Eleanor Roosevelt High in Maryland.

“He was in some 7-on-7 stuff in that area when he was coming out of high school and was in more of an option offense,” Kelly said after Wednesday’s practice. “But he still had times where he threw the ball. He throws a nice ball.”

The game planning has revolved around the coaches putting themselves in Maryland’s shoes and guessing what they would do with Petty. Coach Paul Johnson figures Maryland will try to stick to the …

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On Tech ending the kickoff return drought

Jamal Golden is on my list. As anyone who knows me can tell you, planning is not a great strength of mine. So it was with a modicum of enthusiasm that I actually had a story idea well in advance of the intended run date – how Georgia Tech hasn’t scored a touchdown off a kickoff return for a touchdown in 14 years.

It would be timely this week since the last touchdown was scored Halloween 1998 by Dez White at Maryland. I had a useful interview with Orwin Smith last week, who returned a kickoff down to the 1-yard line against Duke in 2009. He was saying how Wes Durham sometimes reminded him of the drought, and how he wanted to score on a return before his senior year was over, and how he was positive he actually scored against Duke, but it wasn’t reviewed.

A perfect confluence. Not exactly a story destined for the front page, but a fun story to write and hopefully read, I thought. So it was with a small amount of dread that I saw Golden tear down the west sideline Saturday, my …

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Johnson says it’s not time to panic

1. At his Tuesday news conference, coach Paul Johnson offered an analysis of the season that acknowledged that it’s missed the mark thus far but asserted that it’s not time to panic.

“Certainly, the year has not gone the way that we would have liked or envisioned to this point,” he said. “But sometimes, it happens.”

Johnson noted that Tech has led in the fourth quarter of all five of its ACC games, three of which it lost, Virginia Tech, Miami and Clemson.

“It’s not like we’ve rolled out there and gotten steamrolled by people,” he said. (Middle Tennessee State explanation is down below) “We just haven’t finished and haven’t won the game.”

He pointed out that “you can make a really good case that we had a great chance” to beat both Virginia Tech and Miami. Tech led both games going into the final minute but lost both in overtime.

“If you win those two games, you’re probably looking at a whole different scenario,” he said. “But if if’s and but’s were candy and nuts … We didn’t …

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Heisman biography offers revealing history

Hopefully you saw a recent post about Bill Chastain’s book about Georgia Tech legend Clint Castleberry. I come to you with another plug for another book about a Tech legend, John Heisman, this one co-written by a friend and former AJC colleague, Mark Schlabach. I confess I read only the parts about Tech, but it provided a lot of information about Heisman that I had no idea about.

Mark wrote it with Heisman’s great nephew John M. Heisman, who had access to the coach’s papers and also interviewed people who had known his great uncle. Mark followed it up with an obviously large amount of research. If you have interest in learning more about the man for whom the most famous American sports award is named, I’d recommend it.

For example, and this is random and probably not terribly flattering, but I learned that the reason he left Tech was because of his divorce. Also, random and again not flattering, but Heisman recruited star Joe Guyon, later to become a pro football hall of …

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Notes: B-backs struggling to produce for Tech

1. Two weeks ago, Georgia Tech B-backs Zach Laskey and David Sims combined for 156 yards in the Yellow Jackets’ win over Boston College. It was a bit out of the ordinary.

Against BYU, Clemson and Middle Tennessee State, Tech’s three other most recent games, the two backs had 149 yards combined. The feature position in the Tech offense is having some problems.

“We need to get more production out of that position,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said. Against BYU, “Nobody played particularly well at that position.”

Laskey is averaging 54.0 yards per game and Sims’ average is 31.0 yards per game with a 3.6 yards-per-carry rate. It’s a far cry from the numbers of 2010 B-back Anthony Allen, who averaged 101.2 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry.

“If (the B-backs) can get, say, 100, 150 yards every game, that’ll open up the lanes for Orwin (Smith), Tevin (Washington) and the other guys,” Sims said.

It’s a layered problem. Laskey and Sims have dealt with injuries. …

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Peterson on Radakovich

Some notes from an interview with Georgia Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson regarding the resignation of athletic director Dan Radakovich

1. His reaction – “Mixed reaction. It’s a loss for us, but it’s a great opportunity for him.”

2. Peterson said shortly after the Clemson-Tech game, Clemson president James Barker called him out of courtesy to tell him the school wanted to talk to Radakovich, who called Peterson later to tell him of the interest and his intention to pursue it. Radakovich called again Sunday night to tell him that the Clemson board needed to approve the hiring Monday morning and that he was going to take the job.

3. Radakovich’s last official day is Nov. 30, but his last day on campus will be Nov. 15, after which he’ll take a two-week vacation before starting at Clemson. Until the 15th, Radakovich and senior associate athletic director Paul Griffin will be spending time together working on a transition.

Peterson: “I have a lot of confidence in Paul Griffin. …

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Tech notes: Johnson mum on starting quarterback

1. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has it in his mind what will happen this week with quarterbacks Tevin Washington and Vad Lee.

“We’ll see if it plays out in practice,” he said.

After replacing Washington with Lee for the final three possessions of Tech’s 41-17 loss to BYU Saturday, Johnson said “we’ll see” about who would start against Maryland this Saturday. Washington has started the past 25 games for the Yellow Jackets and has largely played well this season, but along with the rest of the team played poorly against the Cougars. Lee led Tech to a field goal, the only points produced by the offense.

Johnson took issue with calling the decision-making a process a “competition.”

“I’m looking to play a guy that gives us the best chance to win the game or a guy that I feel comfortable putting in there,” he said. “I’m not going to put somebody in there just because somebody wants him in there.”

2. Johnson knew about the resignation of athletic director Dan Radakovich even …

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Maryland down to fifth quarterback

Due to unfathomably bad luck with injuries, Maryland’s quarterback against Georgia Tech Saturday will be a freshman linebacker.

Shawn Petty will be at quarterback for the Terrapins, assuming he doesn’t get injured before then. The Terrapins’ fourth quarterback to play this season because of season-ending injuries to the first three, true freshman Caleb Rowe, tore his ACL in Saturday’s loss to Boston College. It was Rowe’s first college start.

“I don’t know something like this has ever happened to a team at that position,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall told reporters Sunday night on his teleconference.

Going into the preseason, C.J. Brown was the only quarterback on the roster with playing experience, and he tore his ACL in the preseason during a noncontact drill. He was replaced by Perry Hills, who started seven games before tearing his ACL. Devin Burns came in for Hills against N.C. State and then tore the Lisfranc ligament in his foot.

Rowe, a true freshman, played quarterback …

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UPDATED: Radakovich leaves Tech for Clemson

In early August, when he learned that Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips planned to retire, Dan Radakovich believed he could be the right man to replace him. He went home and told his wife Marcie that “there could be an incredible opportunity just a couple hours down the road,” Radakovich recounted Monday.

Monday, the Radakoviches made that drive up I-85 to officially seize that opportunity. Radakovich resigned as Georgia Tech athletic director, a position he held for 6 1/2 years, to accept the same job at Clemson.

“It’s going to take a while for me to get used to seeing him in that purple and orange,” Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson said.

It was a surprise conclusion to a tenure marked by the completion of numerous athletic facilities, financial stabilization, incessant work and, hardly least, an NCAA investigation that resulted in probation.

“I’ve never witnessed anyone that worked harder and longer and more passionately to advance a program,” said Paul Griffin, …

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