Johnson addresses Tech defense

Notes from coach Paul Johnson’s news conference Tuesday morning. He answered questions about the defense, Vad Lee and depth chart changes.

1. Johnson called playing Clemson at Death Valley “a huge challenge.” Also, he praised receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins and quarterback Tajh Boyd and said running back Andre Ellington could be the best running back in the league.

2. Wide receiver Anthony Autry is at the top of the depth chart with Jeff Greene. Autry started the year as the No. 4 or 5 receiver on the depth chart, behind Greene, Jeremy Moore, Darren Waller and Chris Jackson, although Jackson was out four games because of an NCAA suspension regarding credit hours. Johnson said Autry earned the promotion through his effort and will start so long as he has a good week of practice.

“The most impressive thing to me about Anthony is, when he’s gone in there, he’s flown around, he’s played really hard,” Johnson said. “I don’t think he’s afraid of the moment.”

The rotation will be three or four players.

2. Johnson was asked about a comparison with last season, when Tech had lost two games before playing Clemson.

Johnson: “I think the parallel is they’re ranked again. They’ve got a good team. We had ’em at home last year, night game, our crowd was great, everybody was into it. They helped us. They turned the ball over some early, we kind of got some momentum going and just kind of hung on and built on that. Certainly, we’ll have to play better than we’ve played this year on Saturday if we’re going to have a chance to beat them.”

3. Johnson said he checks in more on the defense when it has played as it has. He said he mainly looks to see if the defense is being asked to do more than it’s capable of doing.

Johnson: “The last couple games, we haven’t done it very well but I don’t think we’ve asked them to do anything out of the ordinary. There have been some communication issues, but even having said that, the bottom line is we’ve got to tackle better. We’ve go got quit giving up the big plays. We’ve got to take better angles over there. You’ve got to do some of that stuff. Every time the ball breaks the line of scrimmage, it doesn’t have to be a touchdown.”

Johnson said there is a line to walk in having a hand in the defense and also letting coaches do their jobs, that he doesn’t want the coaches to feel as though they’re being handcuffed.

“My position has always been, give people the leeway to do what they need to do and I’ll evaluate it when it comes time to evaluate it,” Johnson said.

4. Johnson on if defensive coordinator Al Groh has made the in-game and between-game fixes that he expected when he was hired.

Johnson: “Well, at times. But I think like anything, I’m not going to sit here and try to defend how we’ve played the last couple weeks. It’d be stupid because we’ve played terrible, but I don’t think the man forgot everything he knew in the last two weeks. But ultimately, we’re responsible. We’ve got to get it on the field. It doesn’t matter what you know, it’s what happens. So we’ve got to do a better job of getting it on the field.”

5. Johnson said he talks with the team about leadership and accountability “all the time.” The first priority is doing your job, he said.

“You can be a rah-rah guy all you want,” he said. “If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do, probably not a lot of people are listening.”

In talking about accountability, he brought up players watching the game from the sidelines, including scout-team players and redshirts.

Johnson: “There’s got to be some energy on that sideline. Just because you’re not playing doesn’t mean you stand over there like a corpse. It’s from everybody involved. Coaches, everybody. You’ve got be upbeat right now. We’re the only ones upbeat so you’ve got to be upbeat until you can do something to get everybody else back upbeat. We created the problem, so we’ve got to fix it.”

6. Johnson acknowledged that Synjyn Days is working full-time at A-back, but said he’s still the No. 3 quarterback. He said that he is trying to get more time for quarterback Vad Lee and that coaches are trying to bring him along “as fast as he can come.”

Saturday, Johnson said he stuck with Tevin Washington against Middle Tennessee State because it became apparent to him that the offense was going to have to maximize its scoring opportunities.

“I just felt like the way the game was going, Tevin gave us the best chance to try to win the game,” Johnson said. “So that’s why [Lee] didn’t play more. Most games, we’ll try to have a plan to get him in. As it warrants and as it progresses, he’ll play more and more.”

I’ll post more later, as well as practice notes. A request – let’s try and be a little better than posting under someone else’s handle. Come on.

In case you missed it…

Johnson: ‘You want fans that care’

Johnson to team: Stop pouting

Fitting MTSU loss into Tech history

After debacle, Tech braces for Clemson

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

127 comments Add your comment

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
10:30 pm

@ Gr8 2B……since the Utah game unfolded pretty much like the Miami game did, I ASSUME it went the same way then, but I don’t know; my “sideline source” was not at that game. I know I WAS pissed with CPJ after that game, as I was after the Miami game. But my “source” is not blind or dumb, and he told me what he saw. He has no reason to lie; he is not on the coaching staff, nor in any way connected to Tech. Like I said, because of the similarity, I ASSUME the Utah game was the same thing. Now if you want to go back to the 2009 UGA game and the Peach Bowl against LSU, I didn’t like his coaching in either of those games. That being said, however, I DO believe in Johnson and generally speaking I trust his coaching and like his offense. Why he hasn’t played Vad more, I have no idea, and you don’t either; I am sure he has valid reasons.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
10:36 pm

@ Gr8 2B…..I think you are wrong about the way he called the ends of games in years 1 and 2. I think he showed much more of a killer instinct back then, and his clock management was superb. I agree that it doesn’t always look quite the same now, but then I consider the VT game, and that last drive was a thing of beauty, although I wish it had taken another 30 seconds or so. Regardless, he called the right plays, and Tevin led us down the field and scored. Then the defense gave it away. And actually, if you consider the best games Tech has played under Johnson, they were NOT ones where we had 3 TD leads; they were tight till the end.

1 4 GT

October 2nd, 2012
11:04 pm

In My Never To Be Humble Opinion

yeller bug

October 2nd, 2012
11:05 pm

THe first problem to address is heart. NEVER QUIT. Period. The same statement Bear said about fumbling—better to die a small child than to quit on a football field. Heart also applies to the fans. We need to show up loud and proud. Period. The heck with this childish, selfish—if they start winning then we’ll come…well you’re no fan, just a wannabe, tagalong, bandwagon jumper. We’re keeping the players and coaches thru the end of the year so get on board. If you want to complain then stage a protest after the season. We’ve had some tough losses and yes even shot ourselves in the foot, but big boys (and girls) rally in adversity. We won an ACC championship in 2009—has UNC, NCSU, UVA, Miami, Duke (ok Duke doesn’t really expect to), MD done so? Not sitting on past successes—move forward (hate to use Obama’s slogan as his forward is over a cliff), but you get the point. It is illogical to the engineer, but I would bet that GT would have won the game Sat if BDS was filled with wild, cheering fans. Sargarin’s ratings give home teams a 3 point edge, but with Tech it may be 1.25. Want some scripture: 1 Thess 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….It DOES make a difference. Hey make constructive criticisms…give your armchair QB thoughts a whirl—that’s what this blog is for, but if you’re not going to the games to support your team, then remember that whatever criticism you lay on someone for not doing their job—you’re also not doing yours.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 2nd, 2012
11:08 pm

@ Super, ok, I stand corrected on 2009 especially as most of that season was a thing of beauty. But most of the games that year unfolded with us taking control of the game late in the first half and especially in the 3rd quarter with not too much drama late in the game, except for the FSU road game and the Clemson ACCCG of course.

Having “players” on the field that can get it done always makes the coach look like a genius. The VT game really spawned hope for a good season. Now it has slipped away. Regarding not playing Vad, true we don’t know exactly why. But if it’s because he hasn’t mastered the TO as yet, well then that speaks to a coaching weakness in my opinion. A good coach should be able to adapt the strategy to the skills of the best players. I for one am willing to see if Vad’s mastery level (whether it’s 50% or higher or lower) is better than Tevin’s supposed 100%. This whole business about doing it in practice every day is overrated I think. You don’t get W’s in practice. Let’s see what the kid can do give a real opportunity. I don’t think you can judge by practice alone and what I’ve seen in games is not enough to disqualify him.

1 4 GT

October 2nd, 2012
11:11 pm

yeller bug….sorry, but you’re paraphrasing a John Heisman quote. “It is better to die a small child than fumble this football”.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
11:14 pm

@ yeller bug…..1 4 GT beat me to it. John Heisman said that. And 1 4 GT, it was “small boy,” not “small child.”

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 2nd, 2012
11:15 pm

The only thing Tevin has going for him this week is that it’s a road game against a team he performed well against before. He does NOT need the pressure of the home crowd reactions to his every play. His confidence is most likely shattered right now, another good reason to let Vad go. Personally I would rather see Vad start and Tevin in relief if needed than the other way around. If Vad shows that, hey coach is right, this kid is just not ready for this big spot – well, I think we all could live with that even if we get drubbed. If Tevin starts and we get whipped, how is that going to sit with the faithful?

1 4 GT

October 2nd, 2012
11:16 pm

SS….thanks, my bad….see my acronym?

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
11:20 pm

@ Gr8 2B……I don’t disagree with any of that, but there is one thing that NOBODY is considering in the TW vs Vad argument. TW is apparently really liked and respected by his teammates as a leader. It is entirely possible that if he is benched and Vad takes over, that the team will not respond well. Now I know that’s not RIGHT, but it IS possible, and then the O would be as big a shambles as the D is, with no leadership at all. Remember, these are still, for the most part, just kids, and they react to things a lot differently than you and I do. If Vad comes in and suddenly works miracles, then I can’t imagine that they would resent it in the least. But, he certainly didn’t seem to do much at all when he came in in the first quarter Saturday. Was that his inexperience in that kind of position, or was it the MTSU defense, or what? I haven’t got a clue.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
11:22 pm

@ Gr8 2B…..to be honest, I would LOVE it if Vad were to start Saturday. But it has to be handled in a way that does not look like Tevin is being punished. It has to be handled as an opportunity to surprise Clemson, and boy do I think it would ever surprise the Tigers. In fact, it COULD be a game-changing surprise.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 2nd, 2012
11:26 pm

@ Super and yeller – I will be watching and rooting on Saturday. Unfortunately CT is too many states away for my cheering to make a difference (but I’ll try). I’ve vented enough tonight. Thanks for hearing me out. Need some shuteye. Take it easy.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
11:27 pm

Have a good night, Gr8 2B…….Didn’t know you were in CT. I hope the game is enjoyable. I will actually be there

yeller bug

October 2nd, 2012
11:42 pm

Thanks guys for the correction! Do I lose a turn and can’t post for one blog? Although Bear may have repeated it so it still could be accurate though misleading on origin. Maybe I have a future in politics.

Now for my armchair QB comments—don’t know what to say about our D–any suggestion may be akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I think our talent is OK—but they do appear confused out there. For the O: PLEASE play Vad from the pistol—give him 20 plays, mostly pass plays and get him out there for 3 or more series—do no huddle—TW runs the TO better, but Vad provides a unique attack from the pistol and is both a better passer and runner. He needs playing time. Finally, open up the play book–do some radical things—pitch to Days and throw back to TW, heck, pitch to Days, lateral back to TW (or better Vad) and the throw long downfield. Please CPJ do something besides dive play, option left, option right and punt.

1 4 GT

October 2nd, 2012
11:46 pm

Agreed yeller bug! You’re too honest for politics! Stick to your armchair.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
11:46 pm

@ yeller bug…..I like those ideas. I DON’T think Vad is ready to run the TO, but out of the pistol or in some twist on the TO, he could tear it up

yeller bug

October 2nd, 2012
11:49 pm

Good evening Fuzzy Bee—maybe as a Tech school we can get all fans at home on skype and record their cheering and pipe it into the stadium or maybe have some IT students build amplified speakers for cell phones and everyone in the stands call someone at home and let them scream through 100 watt cell phone speakers. Need all the advantages we can have this Sat.

yeller bug

October 2nd, 2012
11:54 pm

@ 14 GT oh I can lie when necessary…when sitting in my armchair playing poker. :)

Y’all have a good evening!

Supersize that order, mutt

October 3rd, 2012
12:01 am

LOL @ yeller bug

GT

October 3rd, 2012
4:40 pm

Not having a defense puts too much pressure on the offense. You make decisions because you are afraid of your own defense, early in the game not at the end.

tay

October 3rd, 2012
5:15 pm

If tech beat clemson (conference rival) that will make up for the va tech loss!

l

October 3rd, 2012
6:21 pm

SYNJYN DAYS SHOULD BE GIVEN START AT QUARTERBACK

Tony

October 3rd, 2012
8:56 pm

The bottom line is that Tech over achieved in Coach Johnson’s first two years. We had better talent on offense and defense. Tech just doesn’t have the dominant players that it needs to compete against the better schools. WE do not have the defensive personnel to fit the 3-4 defense schemes. The players are undersized and the front three are giving good throwing q-backs way too much time. That’s why the defense is getting carved like a Thanksgiving turkey. Good luck for the rest of the year Jackets!!

yellow britches

October 4th, 2012
8:56 am

Bleacher Creature is on to something and the guy is credible. When Coach Johnson was hired I thought his stent at Georgia Southern would give him some access to Georgia High School talent. I really do not see any evidence of that. We are getting virtually none of the local four and five star guys. Not all of them can go to UGA, right? The thing is, this year is not an aberration. It is a relentless continuation of a three year trend. We are getting worse, not better and we are regressing with Johnson and Groh’s players. The guys missing tackles are their guys–not Gailey’s. The defensive linemen who can’t generate any rush are their recruits. Cut bait with this crew–please..

WnE

October 4th, 2012
10:21 am

re:
yellow britches
October 4th, 2012
8:56 am

Bleacher Creature is on to something and the guy is credible. When Coach Johnson was hired I thought his stent at Georgia Southern would give him some access to Georgia High School talent. I really do not see any evidence of that. We are getting virtually none of the local four and five star guys. Not all of them can go to UGA, right? The thing is, this year is not an aberration. It is a relentless continuation of a three year trend. We are getting worse, not better and we are regressing with Johnson and Groh’s players. The guys missing tackles are their guys–not Gailey’s. The defensive linemen who can’t generate any rush are their recruits. Cut bait with this crew–please..
____________

Great post!

I agree wholeheartedly, it seems as if the “Gospel according to WnE” has spread farther & faster than I could have ever imagined.

Keep up the good work.

And than you for your concern for GT FB.

WnE

October 4th, 2012
10:39 am

re:
l
October 3rd, 2012
6:21 pm

SYNJYN DAYS SHOULD BE GIVEN START AT QUARTERBACK
__________

That won’t work!

Our QBs have been poorly developed mainly because of the way that CPJ has organized his Staff.

CPJ has organized his coaching Staff such that the B-BACKS COACH (Bohannon) also coaches the QBs.

What this does is this REDUCES the amount of coaching time that the QBs get in practice and thus de-emphasizes the QB position.

When you de-emphasize the QB position over a long time (like CPJ’s entire GT tenure), then you end up with QBs that don’t play well during crunch time and don’t properly develop their passing mechanics.

This might be one reason WHY Vad cannot overtake TW, at other programs like at Oregon for example it doesn’t take QBs as long as it does Vad or Synjin to “learn” the offense at a level that allows them to play in Games.

I was maybe the only poster or blogger that pointed this out way back in Dec. 2007 that having ONE Asst. coaching BOTH the QBs & B-backs would HURT the development of our QBs.

In CPJ’s feeble mind the B-Backs coach also needs to coach QBs, so they can work on the “mesh”, that right there tells you how much CPJ is committed to the forward pass and it definitely shows on game days.

The so-called “genius” of CPJ gets constantly exposed on THIS LEVEL whereas it looks great on lower, crappier levels of CFB.

I wonder where are all the posters from the old pputzoff-dot-com and gtsportstalk-dot-com that thought it was “genius” to have the B-backs coach also coach the QBs that agreed with CPJ and disagreed with WnE?

They sure are pretty QUIET now………..

How QUIET?

Quieter than a rat pi$$ing on cotton……………that’s how quiet!

Ken Sugiura

October 5th, 2012
8:46 pm

Good point. At least we’re not the Braves.