North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard will provide a considerable test for the Georgia Tech defense on Saturday. Bernard leads the ACC and is fifth in the country with 132.9 rushing yards per game.
“He’s the kind of guy, if you miss tackles, he’s going to go the distance,” coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s got great speed. You’ve got to try to hem him in and rally around him. The first guy’s not going to get him down every time, so you’ve got to have more guys coming.”
Bernard also returns punts. He leads the country with a 20.8 yards-per-return average and has taken back two punts for touchdowns, including a 74-yard return that broke a 35-all tie with N.C. State with 13 seconds left in the game.
Johnson said he thought that punter Sean Poole will return this week. Poole suffered an upper-body injury in the Miami game Sept. 22 making a tackle on a punt return. Ryan Rodwell has been playing in his absence.
“We may rugby punt some, we may do some of that, but all in all, you’ve just got to play and be sound and go cover the guy,” Johnson said.
2. “Tevin (Washington) has a lot of experience. He’s played a lot of football. You’re not going to line up too many ways that he’s not seen or he doesn’t know what to do. Vad (Lee) brings a lot of athleticism and a lot of energy when he comes out there. You kind of get two different things out of both those guys. As he progresses, as I’ve said all along, the more he gets accustomed to doing what we’re doing, the better he gets at it, the more he’s going to play because, clearly, he does bring some athleticism to the position.” – Johnson on Tech’s quarterbacks
3. Johnson wasn’t quite sure how to handle kicker David Scully, who missed two out of five point-after tries Saturday against Maryland and has made one of his last five field-goal attempts. Johnson said that Scully missed on Saturday because he kicked the ground before making contact with the ball.
“Just try to go back to fundamentals and coach him on the plant foot and all that stuff,” Johnson said. “A lot of it’s mental, I’m sure.”
4. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the ACC Network, which is carried in Atlanta on CW 69, and online on ESPN3. The game will be called by Tim Brant (play by play), Dave Archer (color) and Mike Hogewood (sideline). … A-back Jamal Paige will wear No. 40 on Saturday in the team’s tribute to former team member Julian Burnett. … As of Tuesday afternoon, North Carolina was listed as a nine-point favorite.
Kind of a busy day because of a slew of interviews and early deadlines for the print edition because of the election. More coming Wednesday and the rest of the week.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog