Notes: Tech defense gouged for 601 yards

1. The Georgia Tech defense showed better effort Saturday after a sluggish performance against Middle Tennessee State. Still, Clemson finished the game with 601 yards of offense, the Tigers’ season high.

For Tech, it wasn’t a high, just part of the trend. In the past three games, the Yellow Jackets have allowed 609, 510 and 601 yards in losses to Miami, Middle Tennessee State and Clemson. They’re three of the five highest totals in coach Paul Johnson’s five-year tenure at Tech.

“They’re pretty good offensively,” Johnson said of the Tigers. “They’re the best crowd we’ve played offensively, but it’s been a struggle.”

Tech had three sacks and two interceptions. With outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and cornerback Louis Young back in the lineup after injuries, the unit played with more energy. However, missed tackles repeatedly hurt the Jackets again, the same bugaboo that brought them to ruin in losses to the Hurricanes and Blue Raiders. Clemson players slipped tackles in the backfield multiple times, plays that could have helped end drives but instead extended them.

As per team policy, defensive coordinator Al Groh was not made available for post-game interviews.

2. Groh returned to the sideline to call the game. Last week, Groh went to the coaches box at Johnson’s suggestion to get plays called into the sideline more quickly. This week, Groh described the surroundings as “very sterile” and chose to call plays from the sideline.

Inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy, out for the game, secondary coach Charles Kelly and Groh called in plays side-by-side from the sideline with hand signals. Behind them, reserve linebacker Tremayne McNair held up one of a collection of boards with pictures and numbers on it, ranging from ESPN personalities Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, a camel, a golfer, a helicopter and a golf ball . Oregon’s offense uses a similar system for signaling in plays from the sideline.

Nose tackle Shawn Green was vague on the operation.

“We were just signaling in,” he said.

3. A-back Orwin Smith continued his run of productive play with 117 rushing yards and a touchdown on only seven carries, a 16.7 yards-per-carry average. He also caught one pass for 32 yards.

“It just happened to go my way a couple times,” Smith said.

Smith was on the receiving end of one of the decisive plays of the game, a safety in which he was tackled in the end zone by linebacker Spencer Shuey after taking a pitch from quarterback Tevin Washington. A missed block opened up the play for Clemson.

“There was a slew of (Clemson) people out there,” Johnson said. “There weren’t many people blocked.”

Smith said he and Washington saw a crease when Washington made the pitch, but that Shuey, hidden behind the Clemson line, shot through to make the stop.

4. Nealy dressed, but sat out the game with an undisclosed injury. It was the first game the redshirt sophomore missed in his career. Jabari Hunt-Days and Daniel Drummond played the two inside linebacker spots.

Center Jay Finch was injured in the first half of the game and did not return. He was replaced by Catlin Alford, who was in the game when a botched snap killed a Tech drive in the third quarter.

“There’s no reason for that,” Johnson said. “We practice that every day.”

Guard Omoregie Uzzi and Smith were also sidelined with injuries but came back into the game.

5. Clemson beat Tech for just the second time in the past seven tries. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is now 2-4 against the Jackets.

The Jackets were ransacked by the Clemson offense. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for a career-high 397 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He completed 26 of 41 passes.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns, one of them a 58-yarder.

“It was a complete game and we won every quarter, especially the fourth quarter,” Swinney said. “The second half was a thing of beauty.”

6. A-backs Tony Zenon, Broderick Snoddy, Synjyn Days, Robbie Godhigh and Smith and cornerback Louis Young were among those wearing pink socks or wraps on their arms. October is breast cancer awareness month. Many NFL players are participating by wearing pink on game days. … Linebacker Chris Crenshaw wore jersey No. 40 for the game in honor of former linebacker Julian Burnett, who suffered a career-ending neck injury in last season’s Sun Bowl. … Tech has its bye week coming up and won’t play again until Oct. 20, a home game against Boston College.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

131 comments Add your comment

Ohio Jacket

October 6th, 2012
10:30 pm


October 6th, 2012
10:34 pm


October 6th, 2012
10:38 pm

Go Jackets! Fight hard the rest of the way

1 4 GT

October 6th, 2012
10:42 pm

All of those gaudy stats for Orwin & he only gets 8 touches for the game….just plain DUMB.

Big Ol Stinger

October 6th, 2012
10:44 pm

What’s the baseball team looking like?

Long Beach Jacket

October 6th, 2012
10:45 pm

If you look around college football, you may notice that with the exception of LSU, Florida, South Carolina and dare I say Notre Dame…there’s not a lot of outstanding defense being played. Not sure why, but, frankly, unless Tech can find a “recommittment” to aggressive, hard-nosed defense we’re in some considerable trouble.

I don’t think Coach PJ helped the D today by the two 4th down tries. Don’t like going for it in your own end early in the game. Nothing wrong with playing field postion early. You miss, you give the other team a short field and momentum. Second one, why not take the 3 to go up 31-27. Take away Clemson’s first score (on a short field) and give us a 3 in the third and the dynamics of the game look different close to the end.

I always tend to give the benefit of the doubt to coaches (I am not one), but from a distance, Al Groh as D Coordinator appears to have failed. Dave Wommack’s defenses were at least as stout.

Some among the Tech faithful liked Tenuta, others did not. If you look at the stats, you will find that Coach Tenuta’s defenses were almost always in the Top 30 every year and frequently in the Top 15 in multiple categories. It it possible at Tech.

As always…GO JACKETS!!!


October 6th, 2012
10:48 pm

I wonder if there are thoughts going to a 4-3 defense the rest of the season? This 3-4 just is not getting the job done.

George Stein

October 6th, 2012
11:00 pm

I kind of don’t want to wade into these waters (and I hope I’m not breaking any rules) and I certainly don’t want troll UGA fans as I really take no pleasure in their misery this evening, but the next time anyone says our offense can’t score against the Bamas of the world because of any of the assorted reasons typically given, I’m going to have to work hard to restrain my laughter.

I’m certain Schultz will be penning a column about how the pro-style offense has been figured out.

With that out of my system, today was disappointing but not surprising. I hope Clemson wins out and our team finds some ways to improve over the next two weeks. At least we won’t lose next weekend!

To Tell the Truth

October 6th, 2012
11:24 pm

Tech needs to get rid of Johnson and hire John Gruden for whatever $$ he wants as he can turn around GA Tech to be a great team!!!


October 6th, 2012
11:27 pm

LBJ, I would have to include BYU as a team that is playing outstanding defense. And they come to Atlanta in a couple weeks…

Jefferson Davis Hogg

October 6th, 2012
11:57 pm

Well guys, my Dawgs were exposed in every way this evening and even though our record is better than yours, I don’t feel like we’re in any better shape than you. We both need to think about changes to improve ourselves for the future of our programs whether it be head coaching changes or gutting out our coordinators. Tech has so much to offer the ACC than this and as much as I hate to say it, UGA , with it’s tallent base should be sooooo much better than it showed tonight. It’s been 32 yrs for us and I’m getting quite tired of being the sleeping giant. We both can agree on one point and that is you can have all the raw talent in the world but there’s a lot to be said for tallented coaching. Spurrior never fails to remind me of such. Wishing the Jacket nation the best and hoping that this game opened some eyes in the hierarchy in Athens. Go Dawgs!

Jefferson Davis Hogg

October 6th, 2012
11:58 pm

excuse my spelling!….lol

Jefferson Davis Hogg

October 7th, 2012
12:00 am

@ George Stein……you make good points…


October 7th, 2012
12:07 am

CPJ would be owed about 9M, he is not going anywhere.

How bout that special teams coach? 10 on the field, two missed FG, another KO return failure.

ANOTHER safety, this is becoming funny!!

Hey look its 3rd and long, hey look, ANOTHER first down!!

Fumbled snap, missed wide open recievers, failed 4th and 1.

GT will find more ways to lose a game than ANYONE!!

If Tevin runs the ball on fourth and short again, I’m going to break my TV!!

CPJ needs to man up and coach the DEFENSE next year and hire an OC to run his offense! We will then have NO EXCUSES.

1 4 GT

October 7th, 2012
12:12 am

JDH….every dog has it’s day……………………..sometimes.

Silly Mutts

October 7th, 2012
12:23 am

Paul Johnson is a rich pos! 2.6 million a year!!! Failur at it’s highest level!


October 7th, 2012
12:25 am

Just change the name to the GA Tech Yellow Dolphins. Then on every third and long the crowd can stand up and flap their arms together (the “flipper clap”) to encourage the defense to give up another long run or pass, while the defenders don’t tackle. Its perfect child psychology. Make the team think the fans want to see an inept defense.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 7th, 2012
12:53 am

BC lost to Army if I’m not mistaken. Should be a real battle.

1 4 GT

October 7th, 2012
12:55 am

LOL @ Flipper!!!

Biff Pocoroba

October 7th, 2012
1:29 am

I Never thought that Dabo would become a better coach than “C”PJ but he is now. Dabo is a clown but at least he is willing to recruit which Johnson and Groh don’t want to do. Unfortunately, Johnson and Fedi Gpnazlez will be back next year so the Braves and Tech will be flops once again.


October 7th, 2012
2:50 am

@Long Beach Jacket – You know, Bama plays pretty good defense too…

@Boss Hogg – yes, I agree. Georgia with its talent base and number of guys they put in the NFL year in and year out, have no excuse. Just not acceptable. Mainly, CMR just doesn’t seem to care. Nothing to get mad about ever.

Good News

October 7th, 2012
3:33 am

@Gruden: So I guess since we owe CPJ so much money he can do what ever he desires! No accountabilty! The CPJ experiment will not succeed at this level. GT will not get any better next year, fire him now! The longer we wait the worse it will get. Did the Paul Hewitt situation get any better year after year?

[...] the kickoff and had to start from its 2 yard line. Tigers linebacker Spencer Shuey sniffed …Notes: Tech defense gouged for 601 yardsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)No. 15 Clemson runs and passes over Ga. Tech 47-31Yahoo! [...]


October 7th, 2012
7:15 am


October 7th, 2012
7:42 am

stannge thing was that Tech played pretty good on defense yesterday.
CB’s locked down receivers pretty good.
pass rush was better
Run defense was pretty good

They just broke down about every 5th play


October 7th, 2012
7:48 am

how about that nice pass by TW for the 1st completion
how about the nice pass to Laskey 4th and Goal, that was pitiful
Even the TD pass to green was bad pass,

He reminds me of when I would have to cover a bad player in basketball; they do things so unorthodox that they end up beating you a lot


October 7th, 2012
7:53 am

Those of you who say Paul Johnson needs to be fired should really look at the numbers. The offense has been on point for forever. Yes, we have our bad days on O and what not, but what team doesn’t? The defense could use more attention for sure, and I was a Al Groh hopeful until the MT game. If Paul Johnson finds a real good DC, we could have a team on our hands. in the last 5 games we have points of approximately 56, 52, 36, 28, and 31. What team should lose based on those points scored? Get the D right and we will all once again LOVE Paul Johnson.


October 7th, 2012
7:58 am

Bad decision to go 4th and 1 on your end of the field in the 1st quarter. That tells me CPJ was afraid he had to gamble to prevent a real butt whipping. Also mismanaged timeouts and clock at end of first half. Kind of crazy to go 4th and goal with Uzzi out and 2nd string center playing and run a dive play, come on coach, use your noggin.

I thought the players did play with more energy, too bad they didn’t use it last week, maybe we would at least be 1-1 over the last two weeks, or we could have made it closer.

So with the way NC, MD, and even Duke is looking, this season is looking like a 4-7 right now. Attendance is really going to drop now. DRad, will have to make a choice soon, either the coach or him to hit the street. Right now it feels like the whole program is misguided and on a downward spiral.

One thing for sure, the Groh experiment appears to be over. Even SC used 4 – 7 players on the line against the dawgs and they have several NFL prospects there. What makes us think we can run a 3-4 and have a descent defense?


October 7th, 2012
8:13 am

The Current State of GT FB:

The GTAA cannot afford to pay Hewitt and CPJ to NOT work at GT, CPJ will be owed about $2.6MM for the next 4 years after this season.

Not only can we not fire him after this year, but we probably cannot fire him after next yr. either.

We’ll be lucky to have the money to fire him when he has 2- years remaining, about $5.2MM left for GT to buyout (Chan’s buyout was only $4.0MM total for 4 yrs left).

This means that CPJ will likely sign at LEAST 2 more Recruiting classes and still be the HC when the initial contacts are made for a 3rd additional Recruiting class.

In summary, it will get much worse before it gets better.

Negative Recruiting has hurt GT more than most schools, but now that everyone knows CPJ is basically a lame-duck HC that the school cannot afford to fire, look for upcoming Recruiting classes to get worse even by CPJ-standards.

Next yr. we’ll have a new QB, no Orwin, on Uzzi, 1 new CB, 2 new DLs.

Before you welcome the new Starters, remember that the guys behind the ones leaving, that you might want to criticize on their way out are BETTER than their back-ups now and there is no guarantee that back-ups moving into starting roles next yr. will make them better players.

All this is a result of DRad bringing in a triple-SLOPtion HC with NO BCS recruiting experience and then, upping his contract from $1.6MM to $2.3MM-$2.6MM after just one yr. when no other schools were bidding against GT.

GT was so desperate to beat UGA DRad overreacted to us beating one of the more flawed UGA teams in a long time.

And now we are going to pay for it by suffering for 7-10 seasons AFTER CPJ is finally let go.


October 7th, 2012
8:33 am

A good game for three quarters, but I agree completely with those who mentioned our complete inability to stop a third and long (if we had, things would have ended very differently) and our complete disregard for field position.

Jorge O'leary

October 7th, 2012
8:53 am

Hire Coach Huxtable from Wisconsin, at UCF he held the dawgs to 7 in a bowl game…


October 7th, 2012
8:53 am

Bobby D would never had gone for it in the first q. on his end of the field. fire this clown and get a real football coach!


October 7th, 2012
9:09 am

Amazing that this game was that close for 3 quarters. Johnson’s play calling on his own 2 is baffling. A wide pitch in th end zone resulting in a safety? And what does he do when he’s on Clemson’s goal line; either the QB or B back dive 3 times in a row. And going for 4th down on his own 38? The man ain’t thinking straight. And when was the last time we made a 4th down, must have been last year. Seemed like CU had about a 95% 3RD down conversion rate, most of them 10+ yards. The only thing the D did right was keep Watkins out of the end zone. Didn’t reall matter, CU had enough offense that they didn’t need Watkins. I am totally baffled by this team and the coaching staff. I’m not sure we can win another ball game this year. Would certainly think we won’t be favored even against Duke. Can we swap Johnson for Cutcliff?


October 7th, 2012
9:11 am

October 7th, 2012
7:53 am

Those of you who say Paul Johnson needs to be fired should really look at the numbers. The offense has been on point for forever. Yes, we have our bad days on O and what not, but what team doesn’t? The defense could use more attention for sure, and I was a Al Groh hopeful until the MT game. If Paul Johnson finds a real good DC, we could have a team on our hands. in the last 5 games we have points of approximately 56, 52, 36, 28, and 31. What team should lose based on those points scored? Get the D right and we will all once again LOVE Paul Johnson.

Great insight! ………………

IF CPJ were an OC.

But he is not, he’s the HEAD COACH.

You can’t use the offense to save his job without using the Defense, STs or Recruiting to cause him to lose his job.

You want selectively pick which criteria you want to make a case for keeping CPJ without considering all factors that go into a HC keeping his job.

All factors considered CPJ should lose his job, but he won’t because the GTAA cannot afford to fire him.


October 7th, 2012
9:17 am

Unfortunately, WnE is probably correct. With Tech’s campus being now too ‘urban’ (read ‘dangerous), the continuing emphasis on ‘university’ academics (read ‘Sports Management’ majors, etc.) to entice high-school athletes into pretending to have a ‘college’ education…or at least a diploma or a resume entry at the very least, Ga Tech continues to be handicapped by other things than bad coaching, bad AD management and a Chancellery system set up against them.
Not too much to look forward to in sports demanding large numbers of talented athletes and expensive requirements.
We are in a ‘basketball’ conference. Maybe, along with basketball, the emphasis should be on golf, baseball, lacrosse and swimming. Educate the best, recruit small numbers of the best and try to accept what we’ve been for decades – a middling football program that stumbles onto an acorn every so many years.
Heck, I’ve still got my 1990 National Championship T-shirt. And it still fits.


October 7th, 2012
9:18 am

Defense wins ballgames and until Tech can recruit Bigger, Stronger, Faster players we’ll have problems against other teams. On special teams we rarely have several players downfield fast enough to make a play but at least now the kicks are going to the end zone. We’re working now with considerably smaller B backs and A backs. Our guys aren’t bad they just aren’t good enough athletes to compete against the bigger stronger faster guys on the Clemson’s FSU’s UGA’s of the world. I was so hopeful that this was OUR YEAR!


October 7th, 2012
9:26 am

CPJ fan has a valid opinion. I can’t bring myself to come down on Paul Johnson. You score 30 to 40 points you should expect to win. If the defense is secondarily challenged, and no one can tackle to boot, then therein lies the problem. It seems you can’t recruit a 6′5 370 nose tackle for an engineering school. Recruiting; I do have to lay that at the feet of the coaching staff, but that is another post down the road.


October 7th, 2012
9:27 am

JDH, thanks for joining in with some positive comments. To the point of UGA’s loss yesterday (watched the entirety of both games), I have serious reservations about the 3/4 which we both employ. In UGA’s case, as pointed out by Kirk and Brent, the individual talent is as good as any team in the nation. One thought is the complexity of the schemes in a 3/4 works at the pro-level but not the college level. The 3/4 requires constant scheming and adjustments which at the first level does not work well against teams with “hurry up” offenses. Then, in the same regard, it requires years of learning to function by habit. On another note, TW is a fine young man and a very hard worker at his trade. However, if I am not mistaken, his won/loss ratio is under 50%. Everyone talks about how “efficiently” he runs the offense but efficiency does not win the big games. With all of our fan base bloviating, mine included, do we really have a QB that can go beyond efficient? Thoughtful comments from both sides are encouraged.


October 7th, 2012
9:36 am

What’s more important…an education or playing with the “big boys”? Tech is Tech accept the fact and move on. We don’t have the numbers and this has been one of those years. Coaching could be better…well everything could be better! These guys are not pro’s (3/4 is not working). The team played much better…but are hindered by “shell shock”, numbers and a defense that requires to much thinking. It won’t get worse…wait til’ next year!


October 7th, 2012
9:39 am

October 7th, 2012
9:26 am

CPJ fan has a valid opinion. I can’t bring myself to come down on Paul Johnson. You score 30 to 40 points you should expect to win. If the defense is secondarily challenged, and no one can tackle to boot, then therein lies the problem. It seems you can’t recruit a 6′5 370 nose tackle for an engineering school. Recruiting; I do have to lay that at the feet of the coaching staff, but that is another post down the road.

Maybe 3% of our players (that actually play) Major in Engineering, while the other 97% major in BS in Business Admin or something similar.

Contrary to popular belief we can field a very good FB team made up of Business Admin Majors.


October 7th, 2012
9:41 am

DKG73 you hit on the head!


October 7th, 2012
9:44 am

I am confident that Tech’s defense will not collapse this weekend! (Yes, I know we have a bye week, but I am still just cautiously confident.)

Randy Carson, IMGT '83

October 7th, 2012
9:47 am

CPJ isn’t going anywhere soon, and I don’t think he has to if he can re-invent himself.

This turns around if CPJ does three things:

1. Recognize that he has to revamp up his recruiting SYSTEM to attract today’s high schooler. The curmudgeonly face of Georgia Tech needs an extreme makeover. He needs to bring in an expert to rethink recruiting from top to bottom and find the message that kids are receptive to.

2. Fire Al Groh and bring in a younger defensive coach with a scheme that will get better results with 3-star athletes than the 3-4. The triple-option WILL score points (I don’t care how many weeks an opponent has to prepare for it) provided the QB can throw, too. It’s the defense, folks. Plain and simple.

3. Use a play sheet that is broken down by situation (down and distance) based on real statistics. You can’t keep calling the same half-dozen plays again and again.

Can CPJ learn these new tricks? Well, he finally hired a special teams coach and a conditioning coach…


October 7th, 2012
9:58 am

I haven’t seen anyone comment on this yet (haven’t read them all), but how can CPJ justify running an option in our own endzone? You never, ever lose yardage to gain yardage backed up on your own 1 yard line. Run 2 handoffs or QB follows and then run the option or pass it. That was the end of the game right there.

jacketnation deflation

October 7th, 2012
10:21 am

There is one play most teams never run against Tech. It’s called a punt. This is one statistic Tech leads the nation in…the fewest yards punted against them.


October 7th, 2012
10:40 am

Johnson is the HC of Tech. He can’t hope that eventually a good defensive coordinator will come along and give him the defense to win. By the way, the offense has been held scoreless in the 4th qtr 3 out of 6 games this year…and that’s while they had a lead. Say what you will about the defense, which is terrible, Johnson is not getting it done all the way around. I hope he can prove a lot of Tech fans wrong and get on a winning streak, but let’s face the facts that PJ was 20-7 in his 1st 2 seasons and now he’s 16-16 over the last three. (1-4 vs VaTech, 1-4 vs Mia, 1-3 vs UGA & 0-4 vs bowl opponents)

wrecked again

October 7th, 2012
10:42 am

Pj lost this game, going for it on 4th doesn’t in his own territory in the 1st quarter giving Clemson a short field , not taking points on the road. This offense has yet to face a decent defense , Bc scored as many points on Clemson as Tech did. PJ is in over his head recruiting and coaching on this level.
The head coach is responsible for entire program not just the offense. looks like a losing season that will be 2 out of the last 3.


October 7th, 2012
11:00 am

I predict a marked improvement in the Ga Tech defense this week.

Jacket Deflation Nation

October 7th, 2012
11:11 am

Tom, they did improve. They allowed 2 points less than the last game. Next game Al Groh intends on losing by a smaller margin. Tech will play Boston College in the “Sorry excuse of a football team” bowl.
Groh rhymes with go. Where is Giff Smith these days? What a recruiter he was.

1 4 GT

October 7th, 2012
11:34 am

Giff is in Buffalo with he who shall remain nameless. As DL coach.