Tech notes: Jackets move forward without Groh

1. The first day that Georgia Tech’s reconfigured defensive coaching staff took the field was marked by energy and excitement, and not only by the players.

The Yellow Jackets opened their bye-week practices Tuesday with a full-pads session as the team tried to look forward one day after defensive coordinator Al Groh was fired.

“I think all those guys had a lot of energy [Tuesday],” coach Paul Johnson said of the defensive coaches.

Interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, moved up from his position coaching the secondary, oversaw the defense for the first time. Johnson, who had a lengthy pre-practice meeting with Kelly, spent the majority of the practice with the defense, unusual for him.

“They were flying around, having fun,” said Johnson, who himself was in a brighter mood than he has been through Tech’s three-game losing streak.

Tech mixed in scout-team work in preparation for the Boston College game Oct. 20 with fundamental work that typically gets more practice time during an open week. Johnson said that defensive players have reacted well to Groh’s dismissal.

Groh was fired after Johnson concluded that the defense, which has given up 40 points in each of the past three games for the first time in school history, was not going to improve.

“He’s a great guy,” Johnson said of Groh. “It’d be hard not to like him. But I think they’re excited about a new beginning. They’re not dumb. They know they haven’t been very successful. So it’s kind of a fresh start for them, too.”

Defensive players and coaches were not available for comment Tuesday. They will be made available following Wednesday’s practice. Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon noticed the charge from the defense.

“I know when they came out for the one-minute drill, they had more spark and energy,” he said. “I mean, they got after us pretty good in the one-minute drill.”

2. Johnson offered further explanation about the changes made on the staff. Special-teams coordinator David Walkosky will continue to oversee special teams as he takes on responsibilities coaching the defensive line. Staff assistant J.R. Dorman, who has helped Walkosky with special teams, will work more with the specialists during practice while Walkosky trains the defensive line.

Johnson said that Andy McCollum, who had been coaching the line, requested to work with the linebackers. He will coach the inside linebackers while Joe Speed, who had been the inside linebackers coach, will coach the outside linebackers.

McCollum has a background coaching linebackers and Walkosky had no preference, Johnson said. He added that it might be helpful to shake up the order “to get another set of eyes to see. [McCollum] might not have the same impression of those linebackers that [Groh] did and the same with the d-line.”

3. Wide receivers coach Buzz Preston said that true freshman Anthony Autry did “alright” in his first start, last Saturday against Clemson. Autry had one catch for 53 yards.

“There’s still a lot more room for improvement, but he did pretty good,” Preston said.

Presuming he has a good week of practice, Autry will keep his spot in the starting lineup. Saturday, Tech’s wide receivers had five catches and no drops. Their blocking on the perimeter helped A-backs Orwin Smith and Robbie Godhigh gain 178 yards on just 11 carries.

“I think the guys are starting to understand that they have to work and if they’ll just keep that right attitude, frame of mind, then we’re going to make some good progress and see some good things happen for us,” Preston said.

Autry, who has received the most playing time of any true freshman, is getting used to it.

“It was (surprising) a couple weeks ago, but not anymore,” he said. “I’m just ready to get better and better every day.”

In case you missed it…

Jeff Schultz: Radakovich says Johnson is ‘right person for this job’

Audition begins for interim Charles Kelly

More from Johnson on Groh

Mark Bradley: Groh goes, but question about talent remains

Al Groh fired at Tech

Players had trust in Groh

249 comments Add your comment

IronJacket

October 10th, 2012
9:53 am

IronJacket

October 10th, 2012
9:57 am

i looking forward to seeing what coach kelly can do. i feel that he will bring energy to the table that maybe groh could not. just tackle guys….

JustinSyder

October 10th, 2012
9:58 am

Alabama Jack

October 10th, 2012
9:58 am

TO ALL MY FELLOW TECH FANS – If you like the job Ken is doing covering the Jackets do what i did. Let his boss know. Here name isAmy Glennon, 404-526-7237, aglennon@ajc.com.

Alabama Jack

October 10th, 2012
10:02 am

And disregard the typos. Cat on the keyboard.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 10th, 2012
10:11 am

Looking for a lot of energy against BC by the whole team and the coaches. ” GO JACKETS “

5150 UOAD

October 10th, 2012
10:15 am

Maybe the guys will have some fun play a lil loose and get the job done on D.

Silly Mutts

October 10th, 2012
10:20 am

Well its positive and that’s all you can ask for. I hope when the adversity hits the defense won’t fold like a house of cards like it has to date. TW, if you continue to start, please step up as a leader on this team!!!! No more bonehead plays for the last six games of your career! That’s all for now.

SansWorld

October 10th, 2012
10:23 am

Fresh start, lets move on.

Thank you to Coach Groh, We know they hard work and many hours he gave to the institute, Wish it had turned out better for everyone.

Ken, Thanks to you for providing objective information during this time, It must be a challenge trying to please the fans on this board.

GT Dude

October 10th, 2012
10:34 am

Interesting to note that Coach Johnson was in a better mood, probably the Groh issues was weighing on him for some time. The good thing is that it will probably take opposing OCs a few weeks to figure out the new quirks that Kelly adds to the defense.

1 4 GT

October 10th, 2012
11:13 am

I’m sure CPJ feels a lot less burdened now that the trigger was pulled. Good to read the guys seem energized & pumped. Do the work between now & the 20th. Stay the course, do the job & come the 20th & open a can of “whoopass” on BC. Y’all can do it!! GOOOOO JACKETS THWGeorgie

GT Joe

October 10th, 2012
11:28 am

When does Tevin get fired?

TechApp fan

October 10th, 2012
11:30 am

Changing coches is like washing your car….not as easy as spray and rinse. You sometimes have to give special attention to the bugs .

juvenal

October 10th, 2012
11:41 am

show that someone high up had no job security, everyone else might realize their job is ultimately performance based as well……

John Stasiowski

October 10th, 2012
11:44 am

Ken,

Since the basketball team has opened practice when can we get your first impressions of this years squad?

Tokyo jacket

October 10th, 2012
11:55 am

I just want to say that I wish Groh well. He didn’t do a great job on the field, but he did try. He didn’t embarass the Institute outside of football. He tried to be a builder of men. Good luck!

juvenal

October 10th, 2012
11:55 am

Ken it occured to me there is one way you could do a better job-if you went to an occasional practice….this paranoia about closing practices, it deprives the fans of data on a very important aspect of the season-is it because the media covering other teams are going to spy?

Tokyo jacket

October 10th, 2012
12:05 pm

I think Tech has played some of its best football when it played loose. I would like to see the kids just play football. I didn’t realize it until some other folks mentioned it, but looking back on the year, it just didn’t look like the kids were out there playing. They were studying, they were scheming, they were trying to keep up. But, sometimes you’ve just got to go have fun. Hopefully, coach Kelley emphasizes that a lot over the next couple of weeks.

ATLGNT

October 10th, 2012
12:08 pm

Find it odd that the receivers are changing so much during the game. How can any of them be evaluated as a starter when none of them see much true action on the field. Talking about letting the receivers get in a rhythm. You have 6′ 6″ wide receivers with speed yet they only get balls thrown at them when we are behind. Maybe if we threw the ball to them more you could really see some players step up and be play makers. Whoever they play at receiver… let them have a real chance to be play makers. So you start a true freshman. Is he doing more than anyone else. If he has a bigger upside…why not use this philosphy in other positions. Coaching decisions have me scratching my head a lot this year.

www

October 10th, 2012
12:09 pm

here, let me fix that for you, gtschlomo:

“when does gt joe get fired?”

www

October 10th, 2012
12:12 pm

i agree with “ATLGNT” – i’d like to see more passing EARLY in the games to open up the running game. don’t wait until we fall behind and the other team knows we HAVE to pass.

Michael Veli a.k.a Jim Donnan's financial advisor

October 10th, 2012
12:16 pm

Yes, Ken is doing a great job and we should petion his boss for a raise( or at least we could all chip in for a bonus!) I feel bad for the players but agree that a change was due, i really really hope we switch to a 4-3!

Tokyo jacket

October 10th, 2012
12:17 pm

@ Ken – any chance you’re willing to appease a fanbase that covers potential candidates for the DC job? I think if Kelly does a good job, he’s gotta be on the short list. Any word from the administration how much they’re willing to spend on a defensive coordinator or staff as a whole? The trend lately, by winning teams at least, is to spend some serious dough on assistants. The Fridge was once the highest paid coordinator in college football – we won a lot in those years, maybe a good idea, can we do it again?

My list would be:

Kirby Smart (snowball’s chance, but addresses recruiting AND execution to a T),
Giff Smith (maybe, same as Smart but to a lesser degree, but w/ Tech history),
Shannon (is he interested? good players coach, good defense, good recruiting – Florida AND Texas, maybe the best overall get)
Kelly (go with the devil you know),
Lesser known up-and-comer (probably given D-Rad’s hires for football and basketball).

I think when you throw in recruting and defense, Shannon might be the best overall hire. If he could open up Texas for us again and help us finally seal the deal with some Plant, Jesuit, and Drs. Kropp and Phillips high school kids, we’d definitely be on a higher talent plane at a minimum.

Tokyo jacket

October 10th, 2012
12:20 pm

covers = covets, sorry.

[...] Entries1 AJC article on the same……. Tech notes: Jackets move forward without Groh | Georgia Tech Reply With Quote     + Reply to Thread [...]

www

October 10th, 2012
12:24 pm

a phone conversation randy shannon and other potential DC hires would make for an interesting article.

adams 56

October 10th, 2012
12:26 pm

PJ doesn`t trust Tevins throwing ability, you have to admit he does chunk some ducks.
maybe next year.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
12:32 pm

Some comments on here thanking Groh are about like letting your senile uncle drive your car and then thanking him after he wrecks it because at least he wasn’t drunk when he did it.
Yea thanks Al.
Two programs wrecked.
Talk to some Virginia folks if u don’t think so.
We have wasted 3 years and now Paul, were he not in a long term contract and were we not stuck paying Hewitt, would be on the hot seat.
I seen a lot of angry Tech fans in the stands as other teams marched right down the field week after week.
Guess what.
Lots of those people are smarter than me and did not renew.
Fanbase getting smaller each year.
That’s what we should thank Al for?

blackandwhitestripes

October 10th, 2012
12:33 pm

Hey it is what it is. Lets see if this team can move forward. I would think they will relax and play some football for a change.

Jmonty

October 10th, 2012
12:39 pm

I wish the best for Charles… He has got to be better than Groh. Groh couldn’t coach a middle school team. For those that still think Groh was great…. I got some land to sell you… Ocean front property in Nebraska… :) I am glad Groh was fired… Glad…glad… GLAD!!! Hopefully, this will regain the players trust in the system and we can start winning some games.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
12:40 pm

@adams 56.
The offense is not the problem.
If a team lets another team they have whipped back in the game, the beaten team takes the momentum into OT and usually wins.
Do that three times in 5 games and u have a demoralized team that will lose to whover they play the next week.
There used to be a college called Slippery Rock.
The MTSU week we might have lost to them as well.
Groh wrecked the program.
He was the exact opposite of Tenuta.
Tenuta may up for deficiencies with clever blitzes.
Now sometimes he did it too much but most of the time it worked.
Maybe the 2 and 3 star players got coached up to 3 and 4 star level.
With Groh’s lack of pressure defense, opponent’s QB have never felt so comfortable in Bobby Dodd Stadium.

TechApp fan

October 10th, 2012
12:42 pm

@Tokyo, along with the playing/fun style, hope Kelly is not shy and “drives the D like he stole it “.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
12:44 pm

Maybe I should change my name to Dennis Green of “we let them off the hook” fame after his Arizona Cardinals lost to the Chi Bears after kicking their butts for 3 quarters about 5 years ago
Poor guy.
A missed FG cost him and the Vikings a trip to the Superbowl in 1998 and another missed FG cost the Cardinals their last chance in the game just mentioned.

@eidsonb

October 10th, 2012
12:45 pm

CPJ is the right man for the job still. The offense is not the problem as we are scoring points but the objective is to score MORE and we have not been able to tackle my 78 year old mother in her hover round….

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
12:46 pm

@Jmonty.
Finally someone on here I can agree with.
Thanks for showing up before I start channeling Dennis Green.

Jmonty

October 10th, 2012
12:50 pm

I really fail to understand why the offense and TW keeps getting brought up. I mean really?? You expect the “O” to score every time they have the ball? TW isn’t a pocket passer. He never will be. He is a triple option QB… It wasn’t the offense that let Miami back into the game. It wasn’t the offense that got steam rolled by MTSU.. It wasn’t the offense the couldn’t stop VT on the last drive. The “D” broke down due to poor coaching. Plain and simple. Groh played timid and that coaching transferred over to the players. I agree with Jacket Detective… The other QB’s jsut had thier way with us. Groh had no clue on how to run the 3-4… Hopefully, the new staff can fix the problem.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
12:51 pm

I could be wrong about our players but I think they are a lot better than they have shown.
I think Groh demoralized them.
At least that is why I will continue to show up.
Jamea Thomas is going to be a top cornerback before he leaves if he isn’t already.
Although Isaiah Johnson has missed some tackles, I am hoping he will improve his game.
It is tough to tackle folks in the open field.
All of our secondary cannot be fairly evaluated while Groh was letting the other team’s QB get comfortable with his no blitz defense.

Jmonty

October 10th, 2012
12:55 pm

By the way….. Did Groh EVER zone blitz??? The answer would be no… Here’s a true statement. The other QB can’t complete passes if he is laying on his azz…. The best pass defense is pressure on the QB. Always has been and always will.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
12:59 pm

@JMonty.
Agreed.
I have hated all my life throwing any Yellow Jackets under the bus.
I recall when very young a player droped a last chance pass that might have won the game.
On his tv show and in the newspaper, Dodd said the player’s momentum would have carried him out of bounds anyway.
He didn’t want a player to take the blame for losing a game.
I could have blasted the kicker who missed the extra point that would have tied the Georgia game at 35 in 2010. (Tevin would have been the hero in that game with any help from the defense.)
I didn’t but I might have if I knew how aften Tevin’s would be trashed in the future.
We turned Tevin loose on that one drive against clemson, passing 3 out of 4 and scored in a flash.
Yet failed to do that again when Clemson’s weakness (one of them) is their pass defense.

dr.dawg

October 10th, 2012
1:02 pm

’so you see a lot of angry teck fans in the stands’ do you? where are they? there are so few tech fans in the stands — any stands — anywhere. yes, the dawgs lost a tough game, for us, and not very gracefully at that. but . . . next game in sanford there will be 93,000 red shirts there. compared to, what, 15, 000 gt fans. 15000 ‘angry’ uga fans, would never drown out the other 88k real fans. oh, gt is soooooooooooo lame.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
1:04 pm

Supersize told me and may have posted that Clemson fans are glad Tevin is graduating.
They would prefer to face the messiah Vad.
Tevin’s handling of the offense are the reason Godhigh and Smith were able to average 17 yards a rush.
His critics assume Synjyn or Vad can do that too.
They can’t.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
1:14 pm

No many visits from dawg trolls this week.
Downbeat after a beatdown maybe?

1 4 GT

October 10th, 2012
1:16 pm

dr. huh….dr. of what????dumbtuckery…………………..

MaconGTFan

October 10th, 2012
1:17 pm

@Jacket Detective I couldn’t agree more about what supersize told you with Vad and Tevin. Tevin runs this offense perfectly 90% of the time. I saw Vad in the mtsu game in the first half try and run the option and misread it three consecutive times leading to a punt. Hell for all we know, Justin Thomas might get the start next year. And for all the people calling for Days, he’s not gonna see the field just for the simple fact that he fumbles.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
1:19 pm

@1 4 GT.
Feel free to use my quip “downbeat after a beatdown, are u?” on any dwag trolls who visit when I am not around.

Jacket Detective

October 10th, 2012
1:23 pm

@MaconGTFan.
Anyone who reads Ken’s Tech blog or the Macon Telegraph knows this.
Vad will have 3 years to be the QB and it makes no sense to rush him.
I agree with u about the series u mentioned.
Vad’s fans never mention that.
He isn’t ready.
He has a great arm but the TO takes more than that.
And who knows if he can hold off Justin Thomas next year as u pointed out.

GT Joe

October 10th, 2012
1:25 pm

MaconGTFan: Vad misread 3 consecutive plays? LOL, how would you know? Did you ever think that maybe those plays were designed to be b-back dives? Did you ever think that maybe those plays were set from the get-go? You don’t know the play call.

JD: I remember Demaryius dropping a wide open pass to extend the UGA game. Did ANYONE throw him under the bus? No, because he had been a great all around player not known for making mistakes. Tevin? He makes mistakes EVERY GAME. Some that COST us the game.

Stephen Hill dropped a LOT of passes, and he wasn’t really “protected” by the fans; why should Tevin be treated with kid gloves? Geez he’s like 23 years old.

New nickname: Teflon Tevin.

Tokyo jacket

October 10th, 2012
1:25 pm

@Detective – I’m no apologist. Groh didn’t produce the results he was paid $300K for. But, it wasn’t for lack of effort. I think the game and the players has probably passed him by. I think he’s too etherial for our football players. But, he didn’t run the program into the ground like Gailey. He’s not costing us a fortune like Hewitt. He didn’t do his job and now he’s gone. But I bear him no ill will.

1 4 GT

October 10th, 2012
1:26 pm

What with recent events, I expect to see a good crowd for the BC game. I expect to see a re-energized bunch of fans in the stands the 20th. Butt sniffers be damed. GOOOOO JACKETS THWGeorgie

GT Joe

October 10th, 2012
1:27 pm

He isn’t ready, JD? Then when, oh wise one, will he BE ready? Will he magically be ready the day after Tevin graduates?

This “ready” stuff cracks me up. Nobody is ready til they start. Then they are ready.