Archive for October, 2012

Tech notes: Pocket containment key vs. BYU

1. For Georgia Tech, the answer to its pass-rush problems isn’t chasing after the quarterback with blind fury. At least not this week.

Coaches have been preaching “rush-lane integrity” – defensive linemen staying in their assigned gaps rather than roaming wide to get to the quarterback – in order to contain BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, an agile passer capable of making plays with his feet.

“We’ve got to stay in our gap, don’t peek, don’t try to go make somebody else’s job,” said David Walkosky, Tech’s defensive line coach and special-teams coordinator. “Do your job.”

Against Boston College, Tech had two sacks of Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig, who had 31 pass attempts. One sack was on Boston College’s final drive with the game in hand. Rettig was occasionally pressured, but often was comfortable in the pocket.

Coach Paul Johnson said that the pass-rush pressure is better than it may sometimes seem during games, but acknowledged that it is an issue. Blitz pressure might be …

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Surgery probable for Tech’s Holton

Georgia Tech safety Fred Holton, his coaches and trainers had hoped that his tendon injury would heal and permit him to play. It appears, though, that time and hope may have run out for the 2012 season.

Season-ending surgery is an increasingly likely option to repair the posterior tibialis tendon in his lower left leg. After he tore it in an preseason scrimmage in August, trainers have been rehabbing the injury in hopes that it would heal and permit Holton to play, but the recovery has been slow and Holton has yet to see the field through seven games.

Tech sports medicine director Jay Shoop said coaches and medical staff are close to a  point where a decision needs to be made about surgery.

“It certainly is a possibility, probably a probability,” Shoop said.

Holton’s hard luck continues. After playing as a true freshman out of Thomasville High in 2010, he was in competition for a starting safety spot in the 2011 preseason when he tore the Achilles tendon in his left leg and …

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Finch motivated by Tech streaks

Georgia Tech center Jay Finch says the Goon Squad is not dead.

“It’s still active,” he said Tuesday after practice. “We still break it down every day at practice with that, but it’s not something we run around yelling as much anymore.”

Now onto the less newsworthy material.

2. Finch is motivated by not wanting to be known as a member of the team that broke the bowl streak. Tech has made 15 consecutive bowls, starting with the Carquest Bowl at the end of the 1997 season. It’s the fourth longest active streak in the country, following Florida State (30), Florida (21) and Virginia Tech (19). Tech is tied with Georgia. Another streak he wants to keep alive is the Jackets’ 17-year run of having a .500 or better ACC record, a league record.

“I don’t want to be those teams,” he said. “That’s, I guess, definitely something that’s driven me. It might give me a little extra motivation going forward from here.”

3. Finch said that, as a redshirted freshman, it was sometimes hard to keep …

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Notes: Tech faces age-gap challenge vs. BYU

By eligibility, Georgia Tech center Jay Finch is a junior, and the opponent he’ll line up against Saturday, BYU nose tackle Romney Fuga, is a senior. So they’re a year apart in age, right?

Not quite. Finch turned 21 in January. The BYU media guide doesn’t list players’ birthdates, but Fuga’s first season at BYU was in 2006. He is an example of the age advantage that the Cougars typically have because several players leave school for two seasons to serve missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without losing years of eligibility.

“It makes a big difference,” said Tech offensive line coach Mike Sewak, who coached against BYU when he was an assistant at Hawaii. “If you imagine (redshirt senior guard) Omoregie Uzzi still having two more years, that’s what it is. It’s guys that are bigger, more mature, their bodies have already gone through the adolescent stage and they’ve gotten themselves up in there.”

Said coach Paul Johnson, who coached with Sewak at …

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Notes: Johnson’s concerns about BYU

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 …

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Tech field-goal unit needing repair

1. For the time being, Georgia Tech’s placekicking duties have returned to Justin Moore.

Starter David Scully was held out of Monday’s practice with a hip injury that had been bothering him prior to Saturday’s win over Boston College, when he was 0-for-2 on field goals. His status for Saturday’s home game against BYU is uncertain. What is considerably more clear is that the Yellow Jackets need some help sending footballs through uprights.

“It’s something we’ve got to get fixed,” coach Paul Johnson said after Monday’s practice.

For the season, Tech is 4-for-9, which is tied for 115th in FBS for accuracy, according to The Jackets have missed five of their last seven with both Scully (1-for-5) and Moore (1-for-2) contributing. Saturday, Scully was replaced after a low kick from 22 yards was blocked and a 28-yard attempt was wide. Besides connecting from 32 and missing from 41, Moore also was wide on an extra-point attempt after converting all 56 of his tries last …

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McCamish opener tickets on sale

Tickets for the inaugural game at McCamish Pavilion went on sale Monday, as did single-game tickets for all Georgia Tech men’s basketball non-conference games with the exception of the Georgia game. The Yellow Jackets will open their new arena Nov. 9 against Tulane. More than 100 former team members, coaches and managers will be on hand for the opener.

Tickets are available at 1-888-832-4849 or Season tickets and assorted ticket packages are also on sale. Georgia game tickets go on sale to the public Nov. 14.

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Tech-Maryland at 12:30 p.m.

Georgia Tech’s Nov. 3 road game against Maryland has been given a 12:30 p.m. kickoff time. The game will be carried on the ACC Network, which is broadcast on CW69 in the Atlanta market. The game, however, will split the network with the Virginia-N.C. State game.

Other ACC Network stations are listed here.

Thursday, November 1

Virginia Tech at Miami, ESPN, 7:30 p.m. (previously announced)

Saturday, November 3

Georgia Tech at Maryland, ACC Network (split network), 12:30 p.m.

Virginia at NC State, ACC Network (split network), 12:30 p.m.

Boston College at Wake Forest, RSN, 3:30 p.m.

Clemson at Duke, ESPN2, 7 p.m.

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Tech vs. highly ranked run defenses

BYU is ranked eighth against the run, at 93.1 yards per game, along with 2.9 yards per carry. Georgia Tech has three games in a row against teams with highly-rated run defenses, as Maryland (sixth at 87.6 yards per game) and North Carolina (25th at 116.5) follow the Cougars.

How has Tech fared against top 25 run defenses?

Year       Team     Rank      Avg.       Total      GT avg. Result

2011       Utah      20           113.5     326         316.5     L, 30-27 OT

2011       UGA      11           101.2     264         316.5     L, 31-17

2011       VT           14           104.1     281         316.5     L, 37-26

2010       NCSU    14           114.3     282         323.3     L, 45-28

2010       UNC       22           125.6     393         323.3     W, 30-24

2009       UNC       10           95.6        346         295.4     W, 24-7

2008       LSU        17           110.2     180         273.2     L, 38-3

2008       VT           14           104.4     289         273.2     L, …

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With BYU next, no-huddle issues loom for Tech

The scoreboard granted Georgia Tech a 20-point win Saturday and an end to its three-game losing streak. But for their own mistakes, the Yellow Jackets could well have won by at least 10 more.

As it prepares for BYU this coming Saturday after a 37-17 win over Boston College, Tech has to also wrestle with the reality that, save for the Eagles’ mistakes, the margin could well have been tighter, too.

“We did some good things,” coach Paul Johnson said of his defense. “We’ll take it and build on it.”

There was indeed much to build on, particularly better tackling. Still, the Jackets owe the Eagles some amount of gratitude for highlighting areas that still need attention.

Tech continued to have trouble with the no-huddle offense, a problem that hardly makes the Jackets unique. Regardless, the Eagles experienced their most ease of advancement when they went to no-huddle for much of their two touchdown drives in the second half. On the two possessions, quarterback Chase Rettig drove …

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