Special-teams mistakes cloud Tech win

Georgia Tech solved problems on defense. The special-teams unit is still looking for answers.

“It’s like putting your finger in a dyke,” coach Paul Johnson said. “You get one fixed, another one pops.”

After poor special-teams play in recent seasons, Johnson hired David Walkosky to be his first-ever special-teams coordinator in the offseason. The return game has shown flashes and the punt team has been stable, but there has been little consistency. Saturday’s problems were in the kicking game. David Scully had a 22-yard try blocked and then missed a 28-yarder.

He was replaced after making one of three field-goal attempts in Tech’s last game, the Oct. 6 loss against Clemson.
Justin Moore, who took placekicks last year, took over in the second half, making a 32-yarder before missing a 41-yarder and then a point-after try. Johnson said Moore told him that the ball was on the ground when he tried to make the point-after. It was Moore’s first extra-point miss after converting all 56 of his tries last season, a school record.

The Jackets missed three field goals in one game for just the second time in the last 10 years, the other instance occurring in the Sun Bowl loss to Utah last December.

Said Johnson, “You’ve got to be able to make those kicks.”

Moore’s elevation mixed up the operations for the field-goal team. Moore had replaced Sean Poole as Scully’s holder after Poole was injured. With Moore becoming the kicker, his holder was David Sims.

2. With interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly calling the plays, the signaling process went more quickly, according to inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy.

“Being able to be lined up by the time the ball is snapped is a great accomplishment compared to the last couple weeks,” Nealy said.

Defensive players wore wristbands with plays printed on them to help expedite the signaling process in case Boston College went to a hurry-up offense. Miami, Middle Tennessee State and Clemson all ran no-huddle offenses, which often compressed the time between snaps. Inside linebackers coach Andy McCollum and graduate assistant Maurice Duncan both signaled in plays from the sideline. Evidently, only one set of signals was active.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what that was all about,” safety Isaiah Johnson said of Duncan’s signals. “I wasn’t even concentrating on Coach Duncan.”

3. Quarterback Tevin Washington joined an elite club Saturday, becoming just the second quarterback (along with Joshua Nesbitt) in Tech history to run for 2,000 yards and pass for 2,500. He passed the 2,000-yard mark in rushing by gaining 63 yards on 17 carries, two of which scored touchdowns.

“I compliment the o-line and other guys around me,” Washington said. “They helped make that happen.”

4. Three key offensive starters left the game Saturday with injuries, offensive tackles Will Jackson and Ray Beno and B-back Zach Laskey. Jackson and Laskey had shoulder injuries and Beno injured an ankle. They were replaced by Morgan Bailey, Bryan Chamberlain and David Sims, respectively, and none returned to the game. On his last carry, Laskey cleared the 100-yard rushing mark for the second time this season.

After the game, Johnson did not have an update on their conditions.

5. Tech’s 91 plays were a season high, passing the 79 run against Presbyterian. The Jackets piled up 407 yards in the first half, the third time they’ve gained 400 yards in a half since 1975. Tech did not commit a turnover for the eighth time in Johnson’s tenure. The Jackets held the ball for 43:45, a high under Johnson. Since 1975, no Tech opponent has held a ball less than Boston College did Saturday.

6. Safety Isaiah Johnson wore No. 40 Saturday as the team continues to honor former linebacker Julian Burnett by wearing his jersey number. … The “GT” logos between the 30- and 40-yard lines on both sides of the field were painted pink as part of breast cancer awareness month. Players also wore pink towels. … Tech wore white helmets, gold jerseys and white paints. It was the first time that Tech has worn gold at home since the N.C. State game in the 2010 season. … Among those in attendance was Falcons great Tommy Nobis.

38 comments Add your comment

OH NO

October 20th, 2012
10:36 pm

Gotta hope the kicker we have committed will sign in Feb. He’s a huge upgrade to what we have now. Gotta be able to kick short field goals in a game. Could be the difference between losing and winning.

Tech4Life

October 20th, 2012
10:51 pm

I don’t get why Skully kicks the ball so low. It doesn’t matter how short the kick is, it’s always a line drive. Honestly, we should just give our third string kicker (Chau) a fair chance, becuase anything is better than what we have right now. Leaving 10 points off the board is inexcusable..

Stumpknocker

October 20th, 2012
11:08 pm

Have to agree about the kicking woes………..but a least we won. V Lee’s got to learn to give a little ground when running the TO……….that and speeding the play up a little.

JD

October 20th, 2012
11:11 pm

Moore has a weird leg swing even for a soccer style kicker. He comes around the ball instead of kicking through it. I thought maybe Scully got hurt on the next to last kickoff because Moore has never been able to kick off into the endzone and often kicked it out of bounds last year. Scully’s last field goal was good and had elevation so was surprised when Moore came in the next time.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 20th, 2012
11:15 pm

I didn’t understand how we could have so many penalties on kickoff returns. All day long we were either blocking in the back or committing a personal foul on returns. What’s up with that???

Ryan

October 20th, 2012
11:35 pm

Quote: “To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what that was all about,”. Well, that’s reassuring from your safety……. UGGGHHH!

yeller bug

October 20th, 2012
11:52 pm

@Ryan—maybe that’s why they needed to REALLY simplify! Mongo see football…get football.

lxUn1c0

October 21st, 2012
12:39 am

I’m right there with you, Supersize. Ken, how could you write an article about special-teams woes without mentioning the multiple KOR unit penalties? It’s very disconcerting to have that number of mistakes against a clearly inferior team.

Max Sizemore

October 21st, 2012
7:10 am

Hey Ryan, Johnson’s statement was clearly a feint. It is highly likely that the signals were, in fact, coming from coach Duncan.

yeller bug

October 21st, 2012
10:26 am

I know CPJ doesn’t read these blogs—maybe some grad assistant is forced to do so since it is the voice of the paying public. However some of the clamoring on this site does make it to the field—could be coincidence–we did hire a special teams coach, we have used the pistol more this year than all previous years combined, we have seen more playing time for Vad and then yesterday we witnessed another addressed item—the 4th down attempt to draw them offsides play.

Many have ridiculed the draw them offsides routine—where on A back motions and then lines up in the backfield, then the other motions and then we call a timeout. We have not drawn anyone offsides this year, but we did at least 3 times last year. Anyway, we go through the same drill but this time we actually snap the ball and went for it….and lo and behold made it.

So in that spirit of promoting suggestions and hoping to see them on the field, then I say we platoon our QBs—have TW run the TO and have Vad run the Option from the pistol. One runs first and passes second, the other passes first and runs second. Give Vad about 20-25 plays a game–enough to make a Defense prepare for it. I don’t know how they run practice, but we could simultaneously run our 2nd team (Pistol) offense against 1st team D and run our TO offense against 2nd team D. Mix in the scout team with both. This prepares our 1st team D for similar spread options that we face and gives us two offensive schemes to present to our opponents. Imagine Tech throwing 25 times a game—many as short routes to the A back and see if he can break one. I can imagine opposing D coordinators complaining that they have to prepare for two different offenses when they play Tech. Then using our personnel correctly—utilizing Days for the A-back option pass—note a true OPTION pass where he can run or throw. You can run it 2 or 3 times a game and it will keep the safeties back and thus make our outside pitch game much stronger.

1 4 GT

October 21st, 2012
11:17 am

yeller bug….1st LMAO @ Mongo see football….Mongo get football!! (still laughing)….2nd….great suggestions to the Coach….if only he would see this….I envision CPJ reading this, scratching his head while the gears mesh and things go click (light above head lites up) and he jumps up yelling SHAZAMMMM!!!! Incorporates it into the offense, it works, & with a big’ole grin says, “Look how smart I am!” (sarcasm implied)

The Bamboo Shaft

October 21st, 2012
12:00 pm

I presume you mean “dike”. ;)

Hayseed Dixie

October 21st, 2012
12:03 pm

It’s interesting watching a team with no pass rush, whatsoever.

And by interesting, I mean excruciating. We need one.

Letting off of the gas pedal, offensively, is a close 2nd for most painful thing to watch. We could’ve hung 70 on BC yesterday, why didn’t we?

Jacket Detective

October 21st, 2012
12:13 pm

The guy some of u like to throw under the bus every week is so terrible he entered the 2000 yards rushing, 2500 yards passing club that only has one other member (who I assume is Joe Hamliton).
About Tevin’s yardage:
He has done it in fewer games than Joe who got to start as a freshman (while if memory serves, threw a lot of picks while learning).
Had memory served me better, I would have been all over STs for losing the bowl game.
Three missed FGs.
But all these games where we have another team whipped and let them up off the matt, they are all Tevin’s fault some like to pretend.
The numbers say different.
Tevin’s cool I think with bringing the next star along.
He knows what he has accomplished here whether some of u fools will figure out we win and loss as a team.
What a handicap for Tevin being on a team with a terrible D and terrible STs.
He should sue for lack of support.
I think I’ll do like Tevin’s critics and go on a full week whine about the special teams.
3 missed FGs in bowl game.
And it’s all Tevins fault?
U folks are clueless and probably stayed home too while hoping we would lose.

Jacket Detective

October 21st, 2012
12:24 pm

Nesbitt not in the club?
Heck no.
He was a terrible passer.
Fab runner and competitor though bailed out by his defense vs Wake.
He threw a very difficult pass to catch.
Especially since it was seldom where it should be.
Anyone remember Miami’s George Mirer?
He also threw a bullet pass and had a great rep as a passer.
His teams seldom won though because no one could catch it either.

UGA = Yawn

October 21st, 2012
2:58 pm

Yahoo Sports called our kicking display ‘hideous’. Well stated!

lxUn1c0

October 21st, 2012
3:42 pm

Jacket Detective, the other member of the 2500/2000 club is Nesbitt, not Joe Hamilton.

UGA = Yawn

October 21st, 2012
4:06 pm

what was the actual attendance yesterday? not paid attendance

D.G

October 21st, 2012
4:12 pm

Tech sucks and will always be in ga bulldogs shadow

1 4 GT

October 21st, 2012
7:14 pm

Yep! It’s true! Thru Google, I found that Tevin Washington & Joshus Nesbitt are the only GT QB’s with 2000 yards rushing & 2500 yards Passing. What with CPJ passing so infrequently, maybe I typed it in reverse. Seems more logical. Oh well. Pretty impressive in totality. Passing yards not so much when compared with other QB’s who put up more yards in a single season. Not to belittle it. For what has been asked of them by CPJ, all in all, not too shabby.

www

October 21st, 2012
7:29 pm

dike or dyke are both correct

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyke

also, ken – maybe the article should offer clarification on the other GT qb who has also passed for 2500 yards and ran for 2000 yards?

www

October 21st, 2012
7:34 pm

why are my comments not showing up?

82 GT grad

October 21st, 2012
8:17 pm

2500 yards passing in a career for a two year starter is slightly more than 100 yards per game. For a three year starter 2500 yards is less than 70 yards per game. No huge achievement.

For a school that has a full time special teams coordinator, why is a fullback even the backup placement holder?

Vad looks great, but like any freshman, requires seasoning. Tevin runs the option better than Nesbitt did. Both call their own number far too often when down on the goal line. Neither Tevin nor Nesbitt can pass a lick.

Tech is so proud of their consecutive bowl game streak. Losing seven straight has certainly been embarrassing for this Tech grad.

www

October 21st, 2012
9:07 pm

http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/washington_tevin00.html

29 games played in

102.7/game yards passing

69.4/game rushing

Ken Sugiura

October 21st, 2012
10:43 pm

www – sorry about that. was in a rush. joshua nesbitt.

Ken Sugiura

October 21st, 2012
10:44 pm

Regarding Sims being the backup holder, it’s going to be whoever happens to be good at it. you’ll remember sims was a quarterback before he was a b-back. his hands should be pretty good.

www

October 22nd, 2012
12:39 am

no worries. thanks for the article. lots of good info here.

Athens Jacket

October 22nd, 2012
7:29 am

Saw still too many mistakes, but also saw some improvement. A question Ken. What has happened to Days? Much was talked about him in the beginning of the season how he was one of the top 11 on offense and would get time on the field. It has been documented that he does not take many snaps in paractice anymore, but neither is he getting any touches in games running the ball. Infact, he is hardly ever on the field.

Ken Sugiura

October 22nd, 2012
8:53 am

athens jacket – a good question. he had been getting more snaps at a-back, though not a huge amount. but it seemed to me like he didn’t get as many on saturday. he’s obviously up against some tough competition at a-back. orwin smith and robbie godhigh get the most, and b.j. bostic and tony zenon have been coming on strong.
unless days has been injured, i’d surmise those guys have been more effective in practice and games.

mic-man

October 22nd, 2012
12:19 pm

It normally takes 3 years to fully implement Walkosky’s system for special teams :)

1 4 GT

October 22nd, 2012
12:37 pm

If Synjyn Days is not “earning” playing time @ Aback, I wonder why the coaches don’t try him @ safety, where I believe several other schools recruited him to play. After all it was CPJ that said, “He’s too good a player to stand on the sidelines wearing a ball cap”. And no “Carnack”, I am not following your lead. Just asking/suggesting!! It does appear that the coaches read these comments & react to some of them. Just saying, ala JD. I too would like a $10,000 consultation fee on an annual basis. I think that is more than fair, even though it is non negotiable.

1 4 GT

October 22nd, 2012
12:38 pm

I surely hope not mic-man!

eddie

October 22nd, 2012
5:19 pm

Jacket Detective, it was George Mira at Miami not Mirrer

Scrod

October 23rd, 2012
7:28 am

I’d replace Sweeting with Days.

dry dirt road

October 23rd, 2012
9:47 am

Anybody ever wondered why they have never seen a black soccer-style field goal and extra point kicker, even though you see blacks play soccer all the time on tv? Maybe Tech needs a black kicker since blacks are breaking white records at Tech.

1 4 GT

October 23rd, 2012
11:26 am

Heck, I don’t care if the kicker is lime green with purple stripes & orange polka dots if he can put the football between the uprights!

Wreckinbee

October 24th, 2012
12:10 pm

wow dry dirt….way to turn it into a race issue…..

...Take The Wheel

October 24th, 2012
1:18 pm

some people will turn anything into an issue of race….pathetic comment dry dirt