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

ENGRGT

October 3rd, 2012
10:13 pm

I believe!!! Defense will blitz hard and make 2 sacks! Only 2 punts for Offense! The GT players will come out swinging!!!!

JKT

October 3rd, 2012
10:30 pm

I fear we are going to lose again.

Jacket Detective

October 3rd, 2012
10:49 pm

I would like to see reappearance of the David Sims we saw in the Uga game last year who fought hard for every yard he made.
And the time to play Days might be 4th and 1.
His extra size might make the difference in making the yard like it did for Nesbitt.
The plan was to get Days on the field more this year yet he has played less.

Jacket Detective

October 3rd, 2012
10:54 pm

BTW if u let a team slip into OT you have pretty much defeated, the momentum swing will beat u in OT every time.
We have proved that 3 times.
The coaches have let the team down.
I would feel better about our chances if I knew the coaches had owned up to their going conversative in strategy and getting, in effect, outcoached because of it.

ENGRGT

October 3rd, 2012
10:55 pm

Days did make some great blocks while in game at A-back in the Virginia game and MTSU game.

Jacket Detective

October 3rd, 2012
11:00 pm

And what happened to Bostic?
I thought he played well vs VT.

ENGRGT

October 3rd, 2012
11:03 pm

I like Bostic as well… I need to re-watch the Miami game and see if he made his blocks because I know he made yards. Missing blocks removes you from the lineup.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 3rd, 2012
11:03 pm

Big, Big, game for GT. Let’s get after them from the go. ” GO JACKETS “

Jacket Detective

October 3rd, 2012
11:05 pm

Attaochu is our best linebacker.
Having him back should make a huge difference.
Those 3 OT losses would demoralize most teams.
I think we’ll bounce back.
Might not win but we should play a lot better and give ourselves a chance to win.

GT Joe

October 3rd, 2012
11:13 pm

No Vad = More disappointment.

GT Joe

October 3rd, 2012
11:15 pm

I’ve never EVER come onto a blog and said Tech will lose. EVER. Until today.

Unless Tevin Washington is benched, we will lose. Heartbreaking to say.

ENGRGT

October 3rd, 2012
11:22 pm

Lets play/cheer with heart and without fear… with solid fundamentals… with passion and love for the game! The fans should do no less than we expect of the team.

ENGRGT

October 3rd, 2012
11:27 pm

I want the defense to win the game with a timely pick 6!

gt40pinhd

October 3rd, 2012
11:31 pm

i also feel we need vad. he can pass. and the way tw reads the option, we might as well have vad and let him learn on the job.

Willy

October 3rd, 2012
11:31 pm

Gonna be on the Hill watching the game on Saturday!!!

gt40pinhd

October 3rd, 2012
11:34 pm

tw: under thrown and wobble balls.
sims: how much does he weigh? seem like laskey is a good runner but a powerful, heavy fullback that is in quick hitting position would be great!

Delbert D.

October 3rd, 2012
11:45 pm

Sims is over 220.

1 4 GT

October 4th, 2012
12:05 am

GT Joe….you shoulda kept your streak alive. Don’t create bad karma.

1 4 GT

October 4th, 2012
12:07 am

All need to go to chuckoliver dot net & read 4 articles by Taylor King on GT. Credit Delbert D. for the heads up.

jacketnation deflation

October 4th, 2012
12:56 am

Let Days play more! Let Vad Play more. Our defense is so bad Johnson needs to step in and do some major player changing. The D-line stinks! And we only have one or two line backers making plays. When is Fred Holton coming back? We need him a Louis Young on the field ever down possible.

DOC 51

October 4th, 2012
1:11 am

Clemson 56–GT 13 will be the unfortunate score on SAT.The perfect storm is brewing with their SPEED and 4 great playmakers on offense(BOYD,WATKINS,HOPKINS,AND ELLINGTON).CLEMSON & UGA will easily be the best two offenses that we play all season.GT won’t be able to slow down either team.Both games will probably get ugly in a hurry.I can see why CAG failed at UVA.CPJ doesn’t believe in shut-down defense.Let’s just outscore each team by one point.You can’t always outscore good teams.It’s about field position and great defense and ST.

dagnabit

October 4th, 2012
4:39 am

Al Groh is coming down from his box on high? Now show him the door.

New Idea

October 4th, 2012
5:51 am

You guys get lost in the details. Fundamental changes have to be made at GT from Coaching to the Hill’s policies. We have discussed these changes. Expanding majors, even maybe merging with GSU, better Coaching and recruiting.
I went to College to learn and prepare myself for my life’s work, but I also wanted a College with a great athletic program that allows me to go to Athletic events and get back on Campus and be a part of my College after I graduated. Gt has failed me on the second part.

ENGRGT

October 4th, 2012
6:03 am

I hate that I gave Olivers site a single click count….. mindless drivel

Too Easy

October 4th, 2012
7:28 am

I call BS on New Idea. If you went to Tech at all (I doubt it), you didn’t go for a great athletic program unless you went in the 1950’s.

And there are hundreds of ways to get involved and “be a part of my College after graduation” if you wanted too (if you’re not involved, it’s because you don’t want to be).

GT hasn’t failed you, you’ve failed you, but actually, I smell dwag squeeze in most of your posts.

Too Easy

October 4th, 2012
7:48 am

Oliver and his sidekick (whatever his name is) make no attempt to hide their disdain for CPJ and GT in general. They’re both SEC homers.

But they’re better than the 790 guys so I listen to their show during drive time. I don’t put much stock in their GT opinions though.

John

October 4th, 2012
7:52 am

Tech has a secret weapon. DABO SWINNEY!

And Clemson has secret weapon, too...

October 4th, 2012
8:12 am

…Al Groh…

Virginia fans

October 4th, 2012
8:47 am

George Stein

October 4th, 2012
8:58 am

I don’t hate Clemson at all. I root for those guys 11 games a year. As for Dabo, I thought he was an idiot. Then he went out and hired good coordinators and showed me who the real idiot was. Kudos for him.

On an unrelated note, I watched the Cleveland 95 documentary on NFL Network last night and couldn’t help but think of our current situation and the risks of changing coaches too often. I would encourage folks to watch it, too, and see if you get a little slower with the trigger finger.

Boricua Jacket

October 4th, 2012
9:03 am

When we get into a 3rd down and may yards to go, and the whole stadium knows you are going to pas… why not putting the guy that gives you the best chance at completing a pass! that is when he needs to put Vad in.

jj

October 4th, 2012
9:35 am

I’m a life long GT fan. Dabo seems to be a very good person. I don’t know why any Tech fan would have a problem with him.

Too Easy

October 4th, 2012
9:38 am

I agree George. Whenever I’ve been around Clemson fans, they’ve been a lot of fun. We had a great time with a bunch of them down in Tampa for the Championship game.

Good fan base. Passionate, travel well, and from my experience fun to be around. I’m sure people have had bad experiences too, but every fan base has some jerks, including us.

1 4 GT

October 4th, 2012
9:57 am

If my suggestion to read the GT articles on Oliver’s site po’ed anyone, I apologize. I don’t know this T King guy. I personally found the articles interesting. I agreed with his assessment of the MTSU game, I thought he was right about Giff Smith. Some of his points on CPJ struck me as accurate while others were questionable. I do think he is right about GT not being able to replace CPJ with a known quantity & that CPJ wants very much to succeed here & his reasons for wanting it to work. Just my humble opinion.

Old Gold

October 4th, 2012
10:03 am

Ken, please tell us Fred Holton is cleared to play saturday.

GaTech football recruiting rankings

October 4th, 2012
10:18 am

First off, this is NOT a rivalry. It doesn’t even have a name. It’s more of an inferiority complex that we are going to get BOAT RACED by Clemson. So let’s put this nonsense to rest, and consider this season lost.

Old Dog

October 4th, 2012
10:22 am

To Hell with Tek, today,tomorrow and every other day.

Johnson Head

October 4th, 2012
10:28 am

Fans,
I’ve managed to build a team that will lose to Clem’s son and go 5-7 this year.
Oh, yeah… we will lose to UGA again. Too bad, you won’t be able to spend all your money going to a bowl game and watch us lose this year. I know you’ve grown to expect that. Maybe next year. Buy next year’s season tickets now at a cut rate so I can keep my 2.6 million and play golf while Al coaches the boys!
Sincerely,
CPJ

Too Easy

October 4th, 2012
10:35 am

Must have been break time at Mickey D’s starting at 10:18. Breakfast rush over guys?

Now back to work, lunch time’s coming.

Johnson Head

October 4th, 2012
10:38 am

We just need to make more tackles on OFFENCE!
CPJ

billyBobjacket

October 4th, 2012
10:46 am

Dabo IS an idiot, but he did surround himself with good coaches. Bobby Bowdon was no genius either, but hired great assistants and was great with the press and in the recruits’ moms’ living rooms, so he made it work for many years at FSU. CPJ is allegedly a genius offensive mind, but not smart enough to know you need good coaches and better players. It’s just his arrogance that he thinks he is so much smarter than everybody else that he can win with inferior players and coaches so he doesn’t need to change.

crackbaby

October 4th, 2012
10:54 am

Dabo is my second favorite ACC head coach.

JACKETS FOR DABO!!!

Bobby Dodd Jr.

October 4th, 2012
11:07 am

We stun the world Saturday folks. You will see a different team. Win out Jackets

billyBobjacket

October 4th, 2012
11:25 am

We like Dabo for the same reasons we liked Donnan and Florida liked Goff. If Clemson whips our butts 5 out of the next 6 years and hangs half a hundred on us a time or two we won’t think he is so great.

Veteran Fan

October 4th, 2012
1:52 pm

Always a good game with Clemson! Look forward to it every year. We were caught looking ahead last week and so was Clemson. Should be a very close game, with the team with the fewer turnovers winning! GO JACKETS!!!!! Nothing better than an ACC game on a beautiful Saturday!

billyBobjacket

October 4th, 2012
1:54 pm

BD Jr: The only thing stunning is that we have fallen so far that we think beating Clemson will “stun the world”.

joe t

October 4th, 2012
3:24 pm

If GT shows up and wins this game, it really shows how inept our coaching is.

UGA = Yawn

October 4th, 2012
3:37 pm

If I didn’t already believe Paul J should be moving on – I know now. Dabo is the BIGGEST idiot in the world. And he and Paul are friends!? My mom always said you can learn a lot about people by the friends they keep. Paul truy must go.

UGA = Yawn

October 4th, 2012
3:39 pm

BD Jr – I love your optimism. It’s people like you that made us endure Hewitt for so many more years than we should have – pls don’t do the same with Johnson.

UGA = Yawn

October 4th, 2012
3:41 pm

People – stop the ‘we need Vad’ talk. Your agenda is not flying. He will be QB next year. If you think Vad can solve the million problems we have – well, you must not have graduated from GT because you are not bright!