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

Big P Ro

October 2nd, 2012
3:23 pm

First First First

Big P Ro

October 2nd, 2012
3:24 pm

First time it has ever happened :D

Big P Ro

October 2nd, 2012
3:25 pm

Defense has got to play better. Offense really hasn’t been the issue. Have there been breakdowns on O? Yes. Missed reads / blocking assignments. D has been the reason we’ve lost all 3 of our games this year.

bob

October 2nd, 2012
3:25 pm

maybe last week was an attempt by pj to lull clemson into complacency

Teddy Roosevelt

October 2nd, 2012
3:26 pm

Cool story Hansel.

Ken Sugiura

October 2nd, 2012
3:38 pm

well done, Big P Ro. I like how you answer your own questions, CPJ/DRad style.

interesting theory, bob. i’ll have to ask next time i see him.

I Believe

October 2nd, 2012
3:41 pm

CPJ will get them go’n. Defense hopefully will play better. I support the coaching staff and players. NUFF SAID.

TDone

October 2nd, 2012
3:47 pm

I have been quiet about the debacle of the past two weeks until now. My take on all of this is that we got exposed and to a degree, this is good. We violated what I call the 11th Commandment, which is “Thou shall not get caught.” We got caught the past two, now it’s time to put our big boy pants and play ball. Being Tech fans, we have experiences losses like the past couple of weeks, and we probably will again in future. So it’s all in how you choose to get well.

Ramblin Man

October 2nd, 2012
3:51 pm

I hope we see more effort. I freely admit I have been blaming Groh for the defensive problems and I will shut up if I see a better showing.

Wrecking Ball

October 2nd, 2012
3:54 pm

Energy should come not only from players but also from fans. Past two games, BDS was dead (from what I could hear on tv). And not only when it was clear we were going to lose, that’s kind of understandable, but even when we ran up those 36 points on Miami and the game looked like we were going to be ok, still the noise levels were higher when we had the ball, with clear “defense” chants. wtf, people? I wanna ship a speaker to Atlanta and install it in the stadium, so they could hear the racket that goes on in my living room when I watch the jackets. ;)

ramblingbuzz

October 2nd, 2012
3:54 pm

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.”

Sure would like to know what these commuincation issues are that CPJ and DRad have referred to. But I guess you would have to be part of the coaching staff or team to know what that euphemism refers to.

FL Jacket

October 2nd, 2012
3:56 pm

Great for Anthony Autry…he is the quintessential “ball-hawk” and could have made a great Safety as well. Nice to see someone come in and take the position through their hard work.

Vad: He

October 2nd, 2012
3:58 pm

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
3:58 pm

@ Wrecking Ball……I like your idea. When I am home and watching on TV, it gets really loud here too, and I live alone. LOL

ramblingbuzz

October 2nd, 2012
3:59 pm

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.”

Doesn’t sound exactly like a vote of confidence in Groh. And I like the fact that he says it doesn’t matter what you know, it’s what happens. Hope he is having this kind of “lay it all out there” discussion with coaches and players. IMO that may be the only way he turns this team around.

GT Fan

October 2nd, 2012
3:59 pm

IMO, Vad has done well when his # has been called, and well enough for it to have been called more.

In fact, I think after TW’s horrendously underthrown, FOR SURE TD pass that was INT’d & returned to GT’s 15, Vad should have finished the game from that point. MTSU’s ensuing TD put them up by 2 TDs again at 42-28.

A stronger throw by TW, and GT ties the game at 35. Instead, any wind that might have been in GT’s sails was gone after that INT. VAD should’ve been in from then on, IMO.

ramblingbuzz

October 2nd, 2012
4:04 pm

GT Fan…..Gotta agree the ball was late and under thrown. Washington is a good game manager and has worked hard I think. But I just don’t think he has the physical gifts to make the spectacular plays. Would like to see Lee left in a game for a quarter or half instead of just a seres here and there.

Ken Sugiura

October 2nd, 2012
4:06 pm

ramblingbuzz – I think what Radakovich was referring to was during the week, i.e., coaches trying to make sure players are motivated and ready to play. Johnson said something Saturday about how he tried a number of different angles to communicate to players that they had to bring energy/couldn’t overlook MTSU, but that it evidently didn’t work, for which he took responsibility.
What Johnson was referring to today was communicating from sideline to huddle. It’s one reason why Groh went up to the box, to remove distractions that he might encounter on the field.

George Stein

October 2nd, 2012
4:13 pm

I don’t believe Groh has forgotten anything, either. On the contrary, perhaps he hasn’t learned anything new. What he is doing on defense isn’t working, so something else must be done. Perhaps with different process, the results will change.

ezekiel

October 2nd, 2012
4:15 pm

Josh Nesbitt and Jaybo Shaw played well in Johnson’s system their first year and picked up the offense quick. Why is it taking Vad Lee so long to learn? Or is Johnson just holding him back? Talk more Georgia Tech football at: http://GTSportsTalk.com

05Jacket

October 2nd, 2012
4:17 pm

I this that Vad Lee has the best upside of any quarterback we have. He is more physical, a better, runner, and a better passer.The problem is that he does not yet have the instinct to make the reads in the tripple option. Tevin is a really good, solid quarterback but he is not a playmaker. That being said I think Tevin’s ability to run the triple option and make the right reads puts him slightly above Vad on the depth chart in my eyes.

ramblingbuzz

October 2nd, 2012
4:17 pm

Ken…..thanks for the insight.

Ga Tech Old Timer

October 2nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Big P Ro – I disagree that this is all on the defense. Who threw the ball “away” while practically laying on his back in the Va Tech OT – not the defense. In the Miami game – who couldn’t gain a first down from mid way of the fourth quarter until Miami took over the ball on downs in that OT – not the defense. And, in the MTSU game – who threw all the interceptions, made all the fumbles, didn’t open holes for the runners and didn’t keep their defensive line out of the backfield all day – not the defense. Yes, the defense has played like a sandlot team these last two games – true enough with their missed tackles, no push into the offensive backfield and playing out of position – but the offense has stunk up the joint with pi$$ poor line blocking, fumbles, the inability to sustain any kind of momentum – with the exception of the second and third quarters against Miami. Not only has the offense stunk – but so has Johnson’s play calling and inability to adjust during the game or at the half – and the same goes for AG. Johnson says he left Washington in the game against MTSU because he gave us the best chance to win. Wrong! Once the game became a passing game to catch up or go ahead – VAD was the better option because of his obvious ability to pass better and more accurately than Washington. Not only that – but with the offensive line playing like they wish they were somewhere else enjoying a day off – Washington was running for his life. With that being so obvious – why not play the speedier guy at QB to give us more time to throw or more speed to avoid the rush. Sorry, but these losses can not be hung on one unit of the team. Offense, defense, special teams and coachs ALL share in these losses. You can’t point a finger at any one without all of them sharing equally in the blame.

George Stein

October 2nd, 2012
4:31 pm

If you think it’s the past two losses that are driving the negative response to the defense, you haven’t been paying attention the past two years.

Al Bundy

October 2nd, 2012
4:41 pm

My money says the team will be motivated and ready to play Saturday. I say we win a close game and ruin Clemson’s season again. Go Jackets!

BigTimeTECHFan

October 2nd, 2012
4:41 pm

Can’t wait for the Clemson game, I’m so fire up for Sat game, ready to see a fire up Jacket team put it to Clemson. Still will be close game because Clemson will be fired up from last year.

I atually think last week was a perfect time to stick Vad Lee in, Tech would have been sparked just by the change. Tech needed a spark

GT Joe

October 2nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Glad to see folks starting to call for Vad (other than me). TW’s limitations are becoming painfully obvious to everyone, except CPJ.

Shocked that CPJ still felt Tevin gave them the best chance to maximize scoring opportunities against MTSU.

It’s very hard for a tactician-type coach (CPJ) to overlook pure execution and go with pure athleticism. Maybe he doesn’t run your vaunted offense crisply, but he can make plays. Time to let him.

GT Joe

October 2nd, 2012
4:45 pm

Bigtime: yes, MTSU was the PERFECT game to start Vad. But I guess CPJ was giving TW his last chance to redeem himself after the Miami botch (and VT INT).

Maybe CPJ will shock the CFB world by starting Vad Lee at Clemson. Dabo won’t know what hit him.

Uh, GTFan...

October 2nd, 2012
4:48 pm

…yes, the pass was underthrown, but the interception was the receivers fault, TOTALLY – don’t hang stuff on TW that is not his fault since he has enough “faults” that are mostly legit.

And yeah, bring in Vad, he looked great on that last drive, running for about 40 yards as the clock expired – Tech really needs more players that play well when the game is over –

As I have said before, if the kid could play, he would play more…thanks ezekiel, for pointing out what some refuse to see in Vad…

As I said on Monday...

October 2nd, 2012
4:49 pm

…the Clemson game is a lock for GT, whether Vad plays or TW plays – Tech has their number, just like Miami has Tech’s number…

I believe that FSU...

October 2nd, 2012
4:50 pm

…already ruined Clemson’s season…

The Old Coot

October 2nd, 2012
4:50 pm

Johnson said he mainly looks to see if the defense is being asked to do more than it’s capable of doing.

Obviously that isn’t a lot.

Tech is going to get smoked Saturday.

The Old Coot

October 2nd, 2012
4:53 pm

PS: Motivation is fine until the first snap and someone hits you in the mouth.

Then the best athletes win.

Born2Buzz

October 2nd, 2012
4:54 pm

I still support CPJ. Al Groh, not so much…ok, not at all.
You are right George Stein, it’s not just the last 2 games, it’s every game under his tenure. In game 1 under AG, South Carolina State’s first 2 drives were 17 plays, 53 yds, FG and 11 plays, 53 yds, Missed FG. I knew right then and there we were in trouble.
His teams have NEVER been able to get off the field on 3rd down. NEVER.
It’s the sad sad truth folks.

fuzzybee78

October 2nd, 2012
4:56 pm

GT Joe,
you and I have clashed on this blog over VL early and often.

I will give you this– I would like to see CPJ put a package together of plays VL knows and runs well and turn him loose. But if PJ thought VL was RG3 hed be playing like ezekiel said.

Now you give me this, The D is at least half our problem!

GT Joe

October 2nd, 2012
4:58 pm

Uh: “pass was underthrown but the INT was the receivers fault”. WHAT? LOL. Okay.

Incredible how many free passes Tevin Washington gets. It’s getting comical.

Regarding Ezekiel’s comment: yeah, CPJ is clearly holding back on Vad, I suppose due to loyalty to Tevin (being a 5th year senior, hard worker, all around nice guy). I compare Tevin to Jaybo: both are unspectacular athletes that run the offense well. I compare nesbitt to Vad: both are spectacular athletes that may not run the offense perfectly, but can overcome with athleticism, and have much higher ceilings.

GT Joe

October 2nd, 2012
4:59 pm

Yes. D is half our problem. The other half (tevin) is an easy fix. The D is not.

low hanging fruit.

JM

October 2nd, 2012
5:01 pm

Evidently, GT Joe...

October 2nd, 2012
5:02 pm

…you failed to see the pass bounce off the receivers chest…just as you cannot fathom that even being a “spectacular” athlete, Vad just cannot play CONSISTENTLY at the college level in practice, thus limiting his value in games…

GT Joe

October 2nd, 2012
5:03 pm

Again, easy to say Vad isn’t playing “because he isn’t ready”. According to who? CPJ. Can CPJ be wrong? Yes. Do you think CPJ leans toward the kid who runs his offense perfectly? Yes. But using that thought process, Jaybo would have started over nesbitt. And what a joke that would have been. Oh wait, we are living the joke now. (tears).

GT Joe

October 2nd, 2012
5:04 pm

Evidently, you are present at all the practices. news flash: game performance ultimately trumps practice performance. Next.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 2nd, 2012
5:08 pm

@ old coot…..I am still waiting for you to give any evidence whatsoever of Johnson throwing a player under the bus. You can’t, can you? That’s because it has never happened.

fuzzybee78

October 2nd, 2012
5:09 pm

It would sure be nice for a Gomer Pile “Surprise -Surprise-Surprise” out of our STeams and Coach W earn that check , fire us all up and get Clemson to thinking “here we go again”!!!

Mr. Magoo

October 2nd, 2012
5:09 pm

Anyone Tech fan that criticizes the crowd at BDS while they sit in the Bark-o-lounger at home should do some soul searching!!

Utter Denial

October 2nd, 2012
5:12 pm

CPJ has not hired a quality staff, nor has he recruited kids that can play well, even at the low level of the ACC and Sunbelt conference.

GT fans, it is what it is ……… Jackets are in for avery long season and it might turn really ugly, post Clemson game.

Bleacher Creature

October 2nd, 2012
5:16 pm

With 6 generations of Tech Grads which includes 57 graduates, and 7 Football players, I can say in my 50 years on this earth, this staff has sunk to the level of Bill Lewis enthusiasm and alumni support.

I agree with several of my brothers when I say we should have made the move last week and saved recruiting, moved forward and understand this current staff is not up to the level we need to compete in the ACC or any other BCS conference. We live in the 4th best state in country for High School talent, and we are not getting very many of these guys and with former coaches’ players now gone our talent level is not where it needs to be.

The Coach Johnson experiment has not worked and the fan base or lack of support is showing in attendance and contributions.

GT TN

October 2nd, 2012
5:16 pm

I love how people get on here and talk like they know what they are talking about. Most of you never played a down of high school football and have never been to a practice. You think you know more than the coach that spends time with these kids. How many times have you gone to watch practice? You have no experience at coaching other than on your couch. Do you think CPJ can do your job better than you? You must; all of you think you can do his job better than him. Anyone that says its the O’s fault knows nothing about football. CPJ is trying to be a HC and take the blame. If would have told you before the season that GT has scored over 36 points in 3 games and 28 against MTSU; you would have said the worst Tech could be is 4-1. If CPJ would have played VAD when we were down 7 and he had thrown the int everyone would have been asking what was he in there for. The backup QB is always the favorite.

fuzzybee78

October 2nd, 2012
5:23 pm

@BC, I feel you pain and frustration, I want to see the O next season before giving up –

@ GT TN, AMEN BROTHER!

Al Bundy

October 2nd, 2012
5:28 pm

Make a call to Coach Klein at South Central Louisiana State University (SCLSU Mud Dogs) and ask him if we can borrow his green book of plays.

WnE

October 2nd, 2012
5:30 pm

re:
FL Jacket
October 2nd, 2012
3:56 pm

Great for Anthony Autry…he is the quintessential “ball-hawk” and could have made a great Safety as well. Nice to see someone come in and take the position through their hard work.
_______________

More of your “glass-half-full” phony optimism!

Autry didn’t “earn” the spot (take the position), he is simply a desperation move by CPJ to make up for poor recruiting at the WR slot.

Waller has been a bust at 6-5 225lbs and is not a game changer at WR, the other T-Fr. WRs, Summers & Henry (?) are not ready for big-time CFB, GT got lucky that S.Hill was a world class long jumper/track athlete, other that that CPJ-recruited WRs have been woeful.

Why can’t CPJ just go and sign another Bay-Bay, after all he did “help” him get drafted in the first round?

Autry is 6-2 173lbs. soaking wet, and he isn’t ready to play BCS-level FB either, he jsut happens to be the last guy standing that will probably screw up LESS than the other WRs.

For school that is always bragging about their recently drafted WRs, it sure does seem that we have a HUGE PROBLEM “developing” our WRs…………WHY is that?