Notes from coach Paul Johnson’s news conference Tuesday
1. Johnson expressed concern for defending BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, noting his experience and mobility.
“He’s got a strong arm, but he’s really hurt people when they get out of their rush lanes and he pulls the thing down on boots and run. The quarterback is a good player,” he said.
More broadly, Johnson anticipates a team that will test the Yellow Jackets with its size and strength.
“They’ll pass the look test, I promise you,” he said. “When we played them every year when I was at the University of Hawai’i, you won’t play too many teams that look any better getting off the bus than BYU.”
2. Johnson liked the way the rotation with the defensive line worked, with backups Adam Gotsis, Shawn Green, Anthony Williams and Euclid Cummings getting considerable time.
“I don’t know that anybody stands out and is that much better than anybody coming in,” he said. “So everybody gets some snaps.”
3. Nothing different with the kicking situation from Monday’s notes, although punter Sean Poole will be back holding.
4. Daniel Drummond is splitting snaps with Jabari Hunt-Days at the inside linebacker position opposite Quayshawn Nealy.
5. Johnson said something needs to be done to improve the pass rush, whether it’s blitzing, running stunts with the linemen or simply the linemen winning one-on-one against offensive linemen. Johnson said that the game video shows that players are actually getting closer to the quarterback than it seems during games, but, it is “clearly an issue.”
Another solution is dropping more players into pass coverage to flood passing lanes.
“You can’t just be one-dimensional,” he said. “You have to be able to do both.”
Regarding Nelson, Johnson acknowledged that forcing a faster player like him out of the pocket isn’t necessarily the answer.
“There are certain guys that you play that you want to keep in the pocket and you’d maybe rather see them throw it than you would pull it down and run with it,” Johnson said. “He’s pretty good at both but he can kill you if you don’t contain him because he’s got good speed, he’s a good athlete and he really hurts people when he gets out of the pocket.”
6. Johnson credited the success on third down (Boston College was 1-for-9) to better run defense. Tech gave up just 32 yards on 16 attempts. It yielded third-and-long situations, which the Eagles couldn’t convert.
In those situations, “You can play at the sticks and come up and tackle them and they had to punt the ball,” he said.
(It bears mentioning that Tech was having equal trouble with third-and-long and third-and-short earlier this season.)
7. There is no specific plan to play quarterback Vad Lee as of Tuesday. Johnson said he will see how practices goes this week before deciding.
“Clearly, he’s a good athlete and capable of making big plays,” Johnson said. “He also had the ball out a couple of times, we’ve got to do better on some read parts of the thing but he’s an exciting player and he kind of gives you a boost when he gets out there. No question about it.”
8. Defensively, Johnson said that the Cougars are “big and physical up front” and capable of stopping the run without secondary support. BYU also shows a lot of different looks on third-and-long, blitzes and fire-zone blitzes. He noted end Ezekiel Anseh, calling him a probable first-round draft pick.
9. A-back Synjyn Days’ playing time was limited Saturday because “he and I weren’t on the same page,” Johnson said. Johnson didn’t provide detail but suggested it was an off-field matter. Overall, Days is practicing better and will play against BYU with a good week of practice.
10. Offensive tackle Will Jackson’s shoulder injury muddles the offensive line depth. If he can’t play, Morgan Bailey will start at right tackle and either Bryan Chamberlain or Tyler Kidney would be the first off the bench. At guard, the first sub would be either Trey Braun or Errin Joe. If he does play, Johnson said that Jackson, who didn’t practice Monday and won’t again Tuesday afternoon, would be the first to rotate in at guard and tackle.
11. Offensive tackle Ray Beno (ankle) and B-back Zach Laskey (shoulder), both of whom left the game with injuries, practiced Monday.
12. Johnson, who voiced his displeasure Saturday (for the second time this year, that I can recall) with the lack of support offered by reserve players from the sideline, offered further explanation. He called it a matter of immaturity and observed that it has increased over the years.
“You’re part of the team and you should be there cheering on your teammates and be excited to watch what’s going on and not in la-la land,” he said.
Johnson particularly directed his frustration with players “who understand they’re probably not going to play, but that still doesn’t change,” he said. “It should still be a privilege to be able to dress out and have your name on the back of your uniform and be on the sidelines at Georgia Tech. It’s not something that you should just kind of show up.”
13. The players of the game for the Boston College win were A-back B.J. Bostic, safety Isaiah Johnson and long snapper Tyler Morgan. Bostic had five carries for 28 yards and two catches for 66 yards. Both receptions were enormous. The first was a phenomenal 39-yard catch on a 3rd-and-8 on the opening drive that prevented Tech from having to punt from its own 8-yard line. The second was a 27-yarder in the second quarter that converted a 3rd-and-26 and kept alive a possession that ended in a touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
Johnson made four solo tackles, tied for most total tackles on the team and had a forced fumble on the first play of the second half that the Jackets converted into a field goal. Morgan had a mistake-free afternoon on 11 snaps.
In case you missed it…
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog
More notes this evening, 9:30-ish. Thanks for reading.