Tech notes: Rivalry aside, Johnson friends with Swinney

1. The head men of the Clemson-Georgia Tech rivalry are despised and ridiculed by the teams’ opposing fan bases. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and Tech coach Paul Johnson have no such antipathy, however.

“Paul and I are friends and get along very well,” Swinney said Wednesday on the ACC coaches teleconference.

Swinney called Johnson “down to earth” and said that he has been very gracious and insightful to him since he became a head coach midway through the 2008 season. Swinney’s first game as head coach, in fact, was against the Yellow Jackets in what was also Johnson’s first year at Tech. Swinney declined to share the insights that Johnson has shared, but praised his understanding of the game and coaching business.

Beyond pre-game exchanges, Johnson and Swinney have gotten to know each other through ACC meetings and Nike-sponsored trips. Their wives, as well, have become friends.

Said Johnson, “We get along great.”

2. Tech should enter the Clemson fairly clean from an injury standpoint. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and cornerback Louis Young, both of whom sat out last Saturday’s game with injuries, are expected to play. Inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy was held out of contact portions of practice Wednesday with an undisclosed injury, but “we think he’s going to be alright,” Johnson said.

B-back David Sims, who was held out of practice Tuesday, practiced Wednesday and is cleared to play.

3. The Tech offensive line has been expected to be a team strength this season, with four of five starters back from last season. Johnson called its play thus far “a mixed bag.” He noted injuries, notably to Will Jackson and Morgan Bailey, have kept Tech from playing with the group that it intended to have at the preseason (Ray Beno, Jackson, Jay Finch, Omoregie Uzzi, Bailey).

“They’ve had their moments,” he said. “Have they played as good as I thought they would play to this point? Truthfully, probably not consistently, but that doesn’t mean they’ve played poorly.”

4. Secondary coach Charles Kelly’s take on last year’s 31-17 win over Clemson:

“[Cornerback] Jemea [Thomas] did have a terrific game, as far as having some turnovers. I thought being able to re-route some of the receivers, getting our hands on guys, I thought that was good. I thought we played physical. That’s the way we have to play.”

Clemson wide receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins are likely the best pass-catching duo in the ACC and they might be the top two receivers in the league overall. As a freshman last year, Watkins hammered Tech for nine catches for 153 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s got a lot of speed, quickness,” cornerback Rod Sweeting said. “He’s a game-changer. We’ve got to focus on him a lot.”

5. Defensive coordinator Al Groh said he likely will return to the field after coaching the Middle Tennessee State game from the coaches box.

“It’s kind of like a very sterile environment,” Groh said of the box. “It’s alright. I don’t know that we’ll repeat it, but just thought we’d get a different look of things.”

Johnson gave the impression Tuesday that Groh would continue to coach from the box, which affords a better vantage point and can be a less distracting environment, but ultimately left the decision to Groh. The initial change was made in an attempt to help Groh call plays more quickly.

6. At his news conference Tuesday, Swinney praised a number of Tech players, stopping longest on A-back Orwin Smith.

“For some reason, not many people talk about Smith, but he’s a dangerous player,” Swinney said. “I remember him well. I recruited him out of high school. He’s a fast guy. … He’s a guy that’s very capable of hitting a home run.”

Smith has gained 245 rushing yards in five games this season, with all but one of them in the past three games. He is averaging 9.8 yards per carry.

Thanks for reading. A word of caution: Everyone is welcome to his/her opinion, but if you are profane or antagonistic towards other commenters, you will be banned, no matter whose team you support. Consider this a warning.

In case you missed it…

ACC reverts to 8-game league schedule

Michael Carvell: Tech recruits react to 2-3 start

Offensive line not meeting Johnson’s expectations

Team leaders call for accountability

Notes: Abnormal heart rate gives Jackson scare

Tech considering safety options for stadium

Johnson addresses defense

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

106 comments Add your comment

dealarue

October 4th, 2012
5:30 pm

I do not like to lose but losing the game isn’t an issue if everyone played their hardest to win. I think last week everyone was surprised that MT was a better team than it had been the first two years and GT players were unable to retailiate for what ever reason. Missed tackles have been a problem all season. The offense has to learn to score in the second half..especially the 4th QTR. We have good players….. We have to learn to play like a good player!!!

The Old Coot

October 4th, 2012
6:18 pm

Tech notes: Rivalry aside, Johnson friends with Swinney

The bad news is that friendship is not going to keep Clemson from running up the score on Tech.

The good news is that since the game is at Clemson, there won’t be any despondent Tech fans “falling” off the upper deck this weekend.

PS: Remember Tech fans that CPJ’s contract runs through 2016 so only 4 more years after this season – unless DRAD decides to extend it. Hahahahahahahahaha!

pw12

October 4th, 2012
6:55 pm

Days fumbles u idiot i think he would be great at safety…our 2 dont want to hit now..moves days to defense

ha

October 4th, 2012
7:22 pm

They are friends because they are both dicks.

ormewood

October 4th, 2012
7:36 pm

Jackets-Tigers may be the best football rivalry in the ACC. What’s currently better than this one? Don’t say Miami-FSU.

superDawg

October 4th, 2012
7:51 pm

After reading these post you nurd idiots think that tek is feared by every team that you play.Fact is tek is on a slide that will take you years to recover from.I have made this point 2 or three years ago and I am sticking to it.I can’t wait until nov. when WE prove it again!

dry dirt road

October 4th, 2012
8:07 pm

I have seen here where I was nicknamed ormewood before. I did not post for ormewood at 7:36 pm. I’m not that commenter.

dry dirt road

October 4th, 2012
8:13 pm

Tech can beat Clemson, like they did last year. There will be a Clemson crowd cheering them on. The last time Tech played for the ACC championship at Clemson, it came down to the very last play with Nesbitt getting tackled pretty hard.

dry dirt road

October 4th, 2012
8:19 pm

One thing you sure can tell about Swinney is that he’s a conservative. You can tell how he will vote in Prez election on Nov. 8 before he goes behind closed curtain at a poll. His haircut, no face hair and button down, collared, striped knit shirts give his conservatism away. I’ll bet he’s a Republican. I’m sure he lies Nikki Haley, a Clemson grad.

dry dirt road

October 4th, 2012
8:19 pm

dry dirt road

October 4th, 2012
8:26 pm

CPJ’s gotta go downfield with passes, and needs a tight end for blocking on pass plays. The best qb for downfield passes is Vad. TW is too short and wobbly. It is time for Vad snce we need his hs downfield shotgun bombs. Tech trying run out of tripoptoff is not faking out good teams, which MT was one of. Teams now are running out of the shogun, as if they’re running a fake punt.

TechRon

October 4th, 2012
8:53 pm

As a lifelong Tech man (and a grad) I have nothing against Dabo, though I am certainly not a Clemson fan. I think he is a good coach. What a shame that PJ isn’t as good. Tech has little chance vs Clemson. Tech is so bad that even if they do win this game, they are not going to have a decent season. They have little class and will likely lose 3 to 5 more games. I am trying hard to support the team, but my heart is not in it if theirs isn’t.

Dyno

October 4th, 2012
9:27 pm

It’s the offense stupid! You recruit offensive players to perform in this scheme and then you ask those that are on the scout team to emulate a pro-style offense during the week of a Clemson game. It won’t work. If the scout teamers were good enough to play in that offense, they would be somewhere else.

But they’re at Tech, trying to learn the wishbone and still imitate an offense such as Clemson’s so the defense can get a look at what they’re gonna face on Saturday. No way the defense that takes the field Saturday is prepared. You can’t simulate game speed in practice and you sure can’t simulate the precision of an offense you’re not suited to play in.

Al Groh didn’t forget everything he knows when he got here. He’s playing against a stacked deck due to what’s been dealt. The defense isn’t suited for a 3-4 and those guys aren’t facing a reasonable facsimile in the week leading up to the game because of the type of player needed to run the ‘Bone.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 4th, 2012
10:23 pm

Seems to me that the “sterile” environment of the box is the perfect place for Groh.

GTGirl

October 4th, 2012
10:24 pm

Fred’s foot is still injured; he won’t be playing Saturday-not b/c he doesn’t want to, but b/c he is still hurt.

Buford T. Pusser

October 4th, 2012
10:45 pm

superDawg

October 4th, 2012
7:51 pm
After reading these post you nurd idiots think that tek is feared by every team that you play.Fact is tek is on a slide that will take you years to recover from.I have made this point 2 or three years ago and I am sticking to it.I can’t wait until nov. when WE prove it again!
___________________________________________

WE???????

superIdiot. Unless you are current player or coach (which I seriously doubt) on the UGA team stop referring to yourself in the first person when discussing UGA football. Glad you are living vicariously through a group of teenagers but try to come back to reality and devote more time to your job at the sanitation department.

fan

October 4th, 2012
10:54 pm

THis game could really get ugly Saturday if Clempson gets rolling, like 52-14.

UGA = Yawn

October 5th, 2012
1:02 am

TechRon, you OBVIOUSLY did not watch Dabo’s first game at Clemson as a head coach or you would state the total opposite.

UGA = Yawn

October 5th, 2012
1:04 am

The Old Coot, r u GT or UGA? Your comments make me think UGA. Any contract, including Paul’s, can be voided if they bring NCAA violations to the school – which he did. So he could be terminated at any time. My guess, though, is they give him until the end of next year before deciding.

Student

October 5th, 2012
1:19 am

“Smith has gained 245 rushing yards in five games this season, with all but one of them in the past three games.”

What does that even mean Ken?

obaidur

October 5th, 2012
1:22 am

Thanks to share such nice information.

Bank Jobs, Sales Jobs, NGO Jobs</a
ere

Ignition

October 5th, 2012
8:19 am

I would like to see CAG change his line up to include a front 4 of Barnes & Crosss at the tackles and Dieke and Cummings at the ends that’s how they were recruited to play..
Just stop the run at least

Fact Check

October 5th, 2012
7:33 pm

Tech fans don’t hate Dabo. That is what is called journalistic fabrication.

Tech fans do hate Paul Johnson. After two years, his buyout will be affordable, and then… Bye bye!

yellow britches

October 5th, 2012
8:27 pm

I hope Coach Johnson hugs Dabo after Clemson humiliates us on Saturday. It will show class and humility and resignation and defeat all with a certain flair. This is important when you get your butt kicked and you have no answers and no direction and no clue. This is good.

Same Old

October 5th, 2012
9:28 pm

Don’t give a c__p about Johnson’s friends.
Just win! Beat the butt sniffers!
There’s only one game that counts!
We’ve lost 10 out of 11!
Johnson not a Tech man…he doesn’t hate UGA!
Give us a Tech man for a coach….
George Godsey?????
See: http://dev.chuckoliver.net/2012/10/whats-next-for-georgia-tech-choose-giff-smith/
Next coach?
The fighting Johnsons will flop when they meet the fighting Dabos!!!!

fan

October 5th, 2012
9:56 pm

if dumbo swinney’s bunch gets rolling…look out! Just don’t mention the word mountineer around clempson.

Too Hard

October 6th, 2012
9:57 am

I will be proud if GT keeps it within 21 points…………………………

I would like to see GT return a couple of punts for TD’s but I doubt Clemson will ever have to punt…………………..

On a positive note GT should have many many opportunities to make plays on kickoff returns…………………………

OldSchoolTechFanatic

October 6th, 2012
3:52 pm

UGA=Yawn we do need VAD !!!

OldSchoolTechFanatic

October 6th, 2012
3:53 pm

CPJ is bush league !

wrecked again

October 6th, 2012
3:54 pm

PJ stupidest coach in America.

GT65

October 6th, 2012
4:01 pm

Game tied 7-7 in 1st Go Jackets.

CigarDawg

October 6th, 2012
4:17 pm

This Dawg is pulling hard for the ‘Jackets today. All smack-talk aside (for now), please hand those orange idiots their heads today!

CPWTF

October 6th, 2012
4:33 pm

CPJ calls a timeout to get his punt team out there instead of defense and gives Dabo more time to think about the call. Did he think they were gonna return the ensuing punt to the house?

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
5:15 pm

where’s the live blog??

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
5:17 pm

entertaining game but not sure I like the flow. We get the ball first in the 2nd half.. If we don’t score and keep the shootout going, it’s not looking good.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
5:18 pm

So far, johnson’s use of the time out has been abysmal

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
5:18 pm

as usual i might add

smittyderf

October 6th, 2012
5:24 pm

Watchn the game. Tech hangn in because of the offense. I like it, always have. I appreciate its effect on other teams. But, greatest strength/greatest weakness theme, its seems like every game Johnson makes some call that confuses his team, hurts their confidence and sometimes gets them beat, His arrogant insistence on being in control just backfires. Going for a first at his own 37 on the 1st drive gave Clemson some momentum and just before half he cost them a chance to score again. The players have to wonder sometimes why he does what he does and even resent it. No wonder he doesnt allow them to talk to the media

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:45 pm

let me make the call now. We will lose to Duke this year.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:47 pm

smittty – you are onto something.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:47 pm

i agree smitty.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:50 pm

this game woulda been 70-31 if not for mr. sneezy (#45)

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:56 pm

let me guess. coach is gonna say this is the worst loss he can remember…..since last week that is coach.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:57 pm

he has an awful short memory.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:59 pm

no need for live blogs anyway Ken, this season ended after the Miami debacle.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
6:59 pm

am I really the only GT fan making comments? maybe my pc is infected with viruses

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
7:04 pm

anyone who thinks the CPJ system has any real potential needs their head examined. Can you believe the announcers making Tevin out to be some kind of premier QB?! Wow he leads the nation is this category or that category. Oops we forgot to tell you his team’s record in close games – I think it’s about 1-10, the only one I remember is UNC when we were home and they had a new (interim) coach.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
7:07 pm

and don’t blame it on the defense. 2 times out called at crucial points early that probably determined this game. why in the heck would you go for it on fourth down in your own end on the very first possession??? even after calling a time out to think about it…and after our famous 4th down draw them offsides play. Maybe coach is actually gonna snap the ball on that play one of these times. He’s waiting for the right moment I guess.

IL Jacket

October 6th, 2012
7:07 pm

Thanks Ken for your usual outstanding reporting.

Another very disappointing loss. Right now, we are not very good. Today looked like we had a real chance, but the close of the second half was infuriating and yet revealing. We just do not appear to be very well prepared for all eventualities. Hopefully, the off week will give us some time to heal and work on some fundamentals.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 6th, 2012
7:09 pm

Hey Super – I hope you enjoyed that entertaining first half! Too bad we couldn’t compete late when the game was on the line. Keep believing buddy.