1. Jeremiah Attaochu has learned a valuable lesson about his hometown this week. A lot of people have family in the Washington D.C. area.
The Georgia Tech linebacker from Washington has had a tough time finding extra tickets for Saturday’s game at Maryland from his teammates, as many of them have already given theirs away. Besides cornerback Louis Young, who also is from Washington, teammates Isaiah Johnson, Darren Waller and Shawn Green also have family in the area who want to come to the game, Attaochu said.
“It’s been harder for me to get more tickets than ever,” said Attaochu, who admitted he’d only started actually asking for tickets on Tuesday.
Assuming he can get the tickets, Attaochu said he’ll have at least 25 or 30 family members and friends from church and school at the game. For his parents, it will be just the third time they’ve seen him play in person since coming to Tech. Attaochu did not hide the importance of the game. He grew up about five minutes from College Park.
“It’s emotional, it’s exciting,” he said of coming home to lead his team against the team he grew up watching. “I get really hyped up for these kind of games.”
Attaochu, who was born in Nigeria, said his father Paul has picked up the game since his son has come to Tech.
“He’s all into it, definitely,” Attaochu said. “He can talk everything with me, not really overly scheme, but the general concepts.”
A number of Tech coaches also have ties to the area, having coached at Navy, about 40 minutes east of College Park. Coach Paul Johnson said he didn’t expect to see any old colleagues, noting that the Midshipmen have a home game Saturday.
“This time of year, we’re kind of busy with our own deal,” he said.
2. On his Wednesday evening radio show on 790 the Zone, Johnson took a number of calls from fans with plenty of questions about improving the team. Johnson defended his recruiting, his coaching, his team and the season. He pointed out, for instance, that the Yellow Jackets have held leads in the fourth quarter of all five of their ACC games, three of which they’ve lost.
“If the talent level is that bad, then we must be doing a (heck) of a job coaching to stay in there, and I don’t think that’s the case,” he said. “So I think that the talent level is not as bad as you think. We’ve got to finish the games. Now, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I got you – we need to win the games. I just don’t see the gloom and doom that everybody wants to buy into.”
3. Last year’s Tech-Maryland game was notable for, among other things, a horrific injury suffered by Terrapins guard Andrew Gonnella. Wednesday, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said that Gonnella, who suffered a knee dislocation in the game and left the field in an ambulance, has made a “remarkable recovery” and is doing well. Gonnella graduated last December and is working in New York, Edsall said.
“We can’t thank the people from Georgia Tech enough for the assistance they gave him on that day with the horrific injury that he had,” Edsall said.
4. With two rushing touchdowns, quarterback Tevin Washington would tie Joshua Nesbitt for the ACC record for most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. Washington has 33 career touchdowns. A-back Orwin Smith needs nine yards to reach 1,600 yards for his career and 11 to move into the top 20 of Tech’s all-time rushing list. With 58 rushing yards, B-back David Sims will become the 40th player in school history to gain 1,000 career rushing yards.
5. Offensive tackle Will Jackson will be out for the game with a shoulder injury. Morgan Bailey will start in his place. … Nose tackle T.J. Barnes will wear No. 40 to honor former linebacker Julian Burnett. Kicker Chris Tanner had been slated to wear it, but Tanner will not make the trip to Maryland. … The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network, which is carried on CW 69 (WUPA) in the Atlanta market. The game will be called by Mike Hogewood (play by play), Riley Skinner (color) and Steve Byrnes (sideline). Hogewood and Skinner, the former Wake Forest quarterback, were on hand for Tech’s loss to Middle Tennessee State.
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Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog