Johnson on UNC, Oregon, Saban, Lee

Notes from coach Paul Johnson’s Tuesday news conference

1. Johnson called Saturday’s game with North Carolina “a huge game for both teams” given that Tech is trying to keep its bowl hopes alive and get back to .500. North Carolina will try to beat a team that it’s lost to three years in a row.

2. Johnson has talked with the team about the possibilities for Tech to reach the ACC championship game, which most likely will require the Yellow Jackets to beat North Carolina Saturday and Duke next week just to have a chance.

3. Regarding Miami and its possible self-imposed bowl ban due to its NCAA investigation, the Miami Herald reported that there is sentiment among high-level school officials to pass on the bowl ban if the Hurricanes make the ACC championship game.

4. Johnson said that the results in the ACC this season indicate that the teams, particularly in the Coastal Division, are evenly matched.

“All of the games have been fairly close,” he said. “Some of the things, you can’t explain. You look at Virginia. N.C. State beats Florida State in Raleigh and then Virginia goes in there and hasn’t won a game and thumps them.”

5. Stopping UNC running back Giovani Bernard will require multiple players converging on him when he has the ball.

“He’s got great speed,” he said. “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. Clearly, he’s the key to their success.”

6. To prepare for UNC’s high-tempo offense, Johnson is altering the Tech scout-team offense.

“I think what you can do is you run two groups, and as soon as one’s finished, the next one’s up there running it again,” he said. “It’d be impossible to go any faster than that. You replicate it the best you can.”

Tech will obviously try to bend the pace of play towards its slower tempo. He noted that in the North Carolina-N.C. State game, each team had 20 possessions, whereas in Tech’s win over Maryland, Tech had nine possessions.

“It’s going to fall somewhere in the middle,” he said. “I would doubt there’s going to be 20 possessions. If we can get off to a good start and get that thing slowed down, maybe they don’t want to go as fast.”

7. Johnson talked at length about up-tempo teams like North Carolina and Oregon. He pointed out that an up-tempo offense will have more possessions in a game, thus giving it more opportunities for scoring, but at the same time, it’s also putting its own defense on the field more often, giving the opposing offense more chances to score. (”kicks at the can,” as he terms it)

To Johnson, what is more telling about an offense isn’t necessarily points and yards, but efficiency or points per possession. He pointed out that there are other teams besides those two that run up-tempo but aren’t nearly as successful, and there are teams like Notre Dame and Alabama that play a power game that has proven potent for both.

“There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat,” he said.

8. Line of the day: “Clearly, Alabama’s not going to play like Oregon. Coach (Nick) Saban would have a hissy if he won 63-55. He’s not going to play that way where both teams get 20 possessions and it becomes that way, where, if you play that way, you don’t sweat it.”

9. Against Maryland, he said the Tech defense “had some issues with our eyes and doing some of the things, especially in the second half, but for the most part, we probably played as well in the first half defensively as we’ve played in a while. You also take into consideration who they were playing with, too.”

He also thought the offensive line came off the ball hard, playing with intensity and playing well against a highly-ranked defense. He mentioned that the number of Maryland players blocked to the ground, 80, was the most this season, “I mean, not even close. It was guys getting after it, playing with some urgency. That’s the way you’ve got to play if you’re going to have a chance to be any good.”

10. Johnson’s evaluation of quarterback Vad Lee: “I think he’s getting better every week. I think that it’s been good the way it’s happened for him. He hasn’t been thrown out there. I think as quarterback, it’s also good to be able to stand over there and  watch the other team play for a series or two and get a feel for it and know where they are and know what the checks are and know what’s happening as opposed to just kind of getting thrown out there and not knowing it. I think both quarterbacks bring something thing to the game. Tevin 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 doesn’t know what to do. Vad 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.”

11. On play-calling for Lee: “We’re to the point now with Vad where he’s going to run the same stuff that everybody else runs. Early in the year, that was not the case. He just couldn’t do it. Thus when he went into the game, it was a different set of plays. It was stuff that I felt like he could do better and handle and that played to his strengths.”

12. With North Carolina using three wide receivers and a tight end, Johnson acknowledged “it may dictate some of the things we do.” Tech has been using its base defense even in nickel situations since the firing of defensive coordinator Al Groh, matching up a linebacker against slot receivers. Having Brandon Watts back would help, as he played nickel back for Groh.

“What it may enable us to do is play some different people at that outside linebacker position in certain situations for cover or whatever,” he said. “We don’t have any plans to wholesale change what we’re doing.”

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

103 comments Add your comment

www

November 7th, 2012
10:45 am

hopefully CPJ is keeping an open mind when he watches tape on oregon.

they do a lot of things right.

old dog

November 7th, 2012
10:58 am

Just what the Ducks need…..an opinion from CPJ. Get ya’ll a new coach and lets get Tech rolling again!

TechApp fan

November 7th, 2012
10:58 am

Ask other coaches about punting to Gio….don’t!

congaman

November 7th, 2012
10:59 am

could it be?!

www

November 7th, 2012
11:00 am

when talking about points per play, notre dame actually ranks pretty low (64th), compared to georgia tech (26th), north carolina (21st), clemson (13th), georgia (12th), fsu (7th), alabama (4th), and oregon (2nd).

intersting note, middle tennessee state is 31st.

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 7th, 2012
11:00 am

Still about speed & talent.

www

November 7th, 2012
11:02 am

tooltime432

November 7th, 2012
11:09 am

I would feel kind of bad if we somehow win the costal. I don’t think we’re going t get by UNC this weekend but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
11:12 am

Well folks, there you have it. Vad now has the same playbook as Tevin.

Now tell me, why should Tevin start?

tooltime432

November 7th, 2012
11:17 am

I think based on those comments, he’s going to.

South GA Jacket

November 7th, 2012
11:19 am

Points/play is not the same thing as points/possession

And it just proves, GT Joe...

November 7th, 2012
11:20 am

…that you were totally WRONG on what you said yesterday about Vad and the plays he was allowed to run – “On play-calling for Lee: “We’re to the point now with Vad where he’s going to runt the same stuff that everybody else runs. Early in the year, that was not the case. He just couldn’t do it. Thus when he went into the game, it was a different set of plays. It was stuff that I felt like he could do better and handle and that played to his strengths.”

But, you may have a valid point, now, but CPJ still has to decide which QB gives the team the best chance to win…

Wrecking Ball

November 7th, 2012
11:21 am

We’ve lost games we should have won this season, but have not yet won one we should lose, as we usually do once in a season. Hopefully UNC will be the one.

tooltime432

November 7th, 2012
11:29 am

I hope so too Wrecking Ball. We can not make some of the mistakes we made in the Maryland game and get away with them against UNC like dropping wide open perfectly thrown balls for TDs

www

November 7th, 2012
11:30 am

no, points per play isn’t the same as points per possession, clearly.

but related. and available.

if someone wants to track down points per possession and post that, feel free.

Wrecking Ball

November 7th, 2012
11:35 am

I am sure our O can score 30-40 points on UNC. Bottom line: if the D holds them under 30 and overcomes the year’s trend of 4th quarter collapse, we win, otherwise it’s gonna be a tough one.

Jacket Detective

November 7th, 2012
11:38 am

@GT Joe and others.
Tell me why any fan who does not buy tickets and/or make contributions to Tech alumni funds should have any say in what any Tech coach does.
If they listen to me, I might buy a ticket? you say.
Not very impressive an argument.
With the huge contributions of some grads like Mr. McCamish, I’ll bet he doesn’t want to tell the basketball coach a thing or even if he does, will keep it to himself.
Mr. McCamish could make the argument he should have some sayso in the program.
I’d bet he never does though.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
11:39 am

What did I say that was wrong yesterday, nameless idiot?

And before you answer, did CPJ say WHEN Vad had the complete playbook? Was it before or after the MD game?

Jacket Detective

November 7th, 2012
11:51 am

Orwin has pretty good hands but dropped a very catchable pass vs Maryland.
I like the guy and would not want to get on his back.
He made a good run later as if to make up for it.
Still I wonder how many yards Tevin would have with better receivers.
When Tevin crosses 3000 yards passing which he would have done if Orwin catches the ball, will he be the only member of the 2000 yards rushing, 3000 yards passing club?
And that with below average pass catchers.
Not too bad for someone without talent.
Tech must not have had many good QBs for Tevin to be either the only one or the one of two in the 2000/3000 club.
Maybe from Tevin’s point of view he should have gone to a school where they play some defense, where extra points are not a gamble, where field goals get made, where the punt does not get blocked from standing too close to the line, where the receivers catch the ball routinely and occasionally make great ones, and where on his home field he doesn’t find himself more under pressure and sacked than the other team’s QB who comes to view our field as his home away from home.
Yes all of that would be a refreshing development, he might say.

Jacket Detective

November 7th, 2012
12:02 pm

@GT Joe.
What kind of fan doesn’t go to the games?
A very casual one not willing to put down cash to support his team and college.

Jacket Detective

November 7th, 2012
12:08 pm

Had Tevin asked me whether to accept the scholarship to Tech or somewhere else, I would have to have answered: crummy fans, crummy defense, unbeleivably crummy special teams where extra points are an adventure, sub par O line and receivers.
Spare yourself the aggravation dude.
Even if u set records, they like to pretend it’s the QB’s fault when they actually have a good team about once every ten years since the fifties.

GT TN

November 7th, 2012
12:10 pm

@ GT Fan..that is the first time CPJ has said that..YOU HAVE NEVER ANSWERED the question I have asked you numberous times..do you think that CPJ sits Vad and starts TW but thinks Vad gives him a better chance to win

GTF GRAD

November 7th, 2012
12:10 pm

Old dog, maybe you guys should get a new coach too and do something besides be almost great every year. Mark Richt nurtures idiocy and mediocrity.

At 3:19pm, yesterday, GT Joe...

November 7th, 2012
12:11 pm

…on this blog, said – “GT TN: you SHOULD listen to what CPJ says. He says they graded out the same. That means that there is absolutely NOTHING that Tevin is better than Vad at. Nada. Your ONE argument for TW was that he executes better. NOT the CASE.

Did he say that the playbook was smaller for Vad vs. Maryland? No. But go ahead and make up some stuff.

Vad probably has a bigger playbook than TW now, because Vad can actually throw the ball.

Regardless, if you think Tevin is the better QB, YOU are the stupidest person on the internet. PRobably took a few too many shots to the head in peewee football.”

And, at 11:18am today, he further said – “GT TN: It’s official, CPJ just said that Vad has the same playbook at Tevin, there are no “special” playbooks for Vad, he runs every play that Tevin does.”

And, today, as part of the article that is the subject of this particular blog, CPJ says “On play-calling for Lee: “We’re to the point now with Vad where he’s going to runt the same stuff that everybody else runs. Early in the year, that was not the case. He just couldn’t do it. Thus when he went into the game, it was a different set of plays. It was stuff that I felt like he could do better and handle and that played to his strengths.”

Any more denials about what you said?

GTfan2012

November 7th, 2012
12:26 pm

GT goes 9-5, including a win in the ACCCG and a win in the Orange Bowl. Yes, I’m smoking something… but I’m enjoying it. :)

Actually...

November 7th, 2012
12:29 pm

…9-5 for Tech is pretty realistic at this point in the season…

Jmonty

November 7th, 2012
12:40 pm

GT needs help. The “O” needs to stop the turn overs. The “D” needs to stop letting teams score 30 plus points a game. There was some games that “D” did good and we all thought maybe that was the turning point…. Only to see them crumble in the next game and let the other team run up and down the field. Can the “D” put together a strings of 3-4 good games still? In my opinion? No.. There isn’t enough leadership to do it. Groh never tought the basics, and they still have yet to learn them. I would love to see GT win 3-4 more games. I just don’t see it happening. I foresee a loss to UNC, a win vs Duke and then a devastating loss to the puppies to put that nail in the bowl coffin. Finishing with a record of 5-9. Just one game short of bowl eligibility. But, by all means… PLEASE prove me wrong CPJ… This whole 9-5 dream is just that… a dream.. No way we can beat UGA. Unless they pull out the worse game of the year…

old dog

November 7th, 2012
12:41 pm

GTF GRAD
Winning the coastal division of the ACC in football…..boy ya’ll set your sites high! Next thing you know, you will even be able to beat the high school teams in Atlanta (doubtful.) Yeah, I’m on these blogs because, unlike Old Dog and Old Dawg, I am the real old dog who is sick and tired of ya’ll excusing yourselves and expecting so little from a once proud program. Your recruiting has gone down in part because you do not have a D-1 QB, as body sacrifice is a definite prerequisite for your 8-man football offense. Nesbitt was a passing QB in high school, believe it or not, and ya’ll just thought he was a mediocre passer because he did not get the chance to hone his skills. Once the recruits CPJ inherited started to depart, ya’ll ran backwards like a scalded dog (no pun intended.) Get a good AD, a coach who coaches D-1 football, and no matter the academics, etc. your recruiting will improve. From the movie Brian’s song, like Piccolo I want to compete against Tech in top form. He actually helped Sayers to get better, as he did not want to be handed a job…he wanted to earn it. Teckies, us oldsters, despite the jawing on the blogs, want ya’ll to do better, and you can. But not the way you are set up now. Instead of the once fierce rivalry, we now only hope nobody gets hurt for the real games coming up. I am certain that is offensive, as well it should be…..but hopefully it is motivational as well.

Jmonty

November 7th, 2012
12:43 pm

I apologize.. 9-5 would be us winning the ACCCG and wining a bowl. I should had said 5-7… No extra games..

ibidGT

November 7th, 2012
12:48 pm

Miami needs to lose to BOTH games they have left in the ACC against Virginia and Duke. Not likely they would self impose a bowl ban if they are going to the ACCCG btw.

Secondly UNC isn’t some pushover, stop looking ahead. Last year I saw comments on these blogs about people wondering about our NCG hopes after starting 6-0 L0L

Keep it real folks.

GTPhenom

November 7th, 2012
1:04 pm

So we should have zero hope in our team ibidGT? Nothing wrong with thinking this team has a chance, because it really does. Miami is quite capable of losing both of those games, and GT is quite capable of winning every game left on the schedule (and yes, I include the UGA game in that list). We’ve been close in most of our losses this year, and aren’t lacking for talent like so many here on this site like to try and say. The talent is there; the execution hasn’t been.

Am I saying we WILL win our remaining games? Who knows? I’m simply saying don’t be a debbie downer as a fan, and continue to support this team, particularly when there is still a chance for good things to happen.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
1:05 pm

GT TN: I answered your silly question on the other blog. go read.

Nameless idiot: thanks for reposting my genius post from yesterday. Now please help me: what specific sentence was wrong? And please prove it was wrong with a quote from CPJ. Thanks.

Booze Hound

November 7th, 2012
1:17 pm

Johnson reveals himself to have been a dunce for not starting Vad Lee all year.

Ken Sugiura

November 7th, 2012
1:21 pm

we can disagree without calling each other names.

Ken Sugiura

November 7th, 2012
1:27 pm

GT Joe – i think you might be kind of reading selectively. the answer as to why lee isn’t starting is in the 10th item.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
1:28 pm

Sorry Ken, “nameless idiot” is my pet name for the person that keeps changing his handle to suit his response. I’ve been very consistent with this nomenclature, so everyone on the blog pretty much knows who I’m referring to.

This person is too afraid to stick with one handle (or its an alter ego for a regular poster) out of fear that he/she’s posts will be referenced in the future to prove his/her idiocy. Perhaps some Candy Crowley investigation might be necessary.

matt

November 7th, 2012
1:41 pm

middle tennessee state

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
1:41 pm

Ken, I read and reread #10 a few times. As far as I can tell, all CPJ is saying is that both bring different things to the table. And that Vad will play more as he gets more game experience. Nothing that wasn’t already obvious.

Nothing really about “why vad isn’t starting” there either; perhaps you are reading a little too much into it. After all, your article yesterday was about the fact that CPJ is still undecided about who starts at UNC. So clearly CPJ is still weighing experience vs. talent (unless you know some inside info).

Just wish he would weigh game performance more heavily than than practice performance.

matt

November 7th, 2012
1:41 pm

matt

November 7th, 2012
1:41 pm

2005 Emerald Utah 10-38 L
2006 Gator West Virginia 35-38 L
2007 Humanitarian Fresno State 28-40 L
2008 Chick-fil-A LSU 3-38 L
2009 Orange Iowa 14-24 L
2010 Independence Air Force 7-14 L
2011 Sun Utah (OT) 27-30 L

Ken Sugiura

November 7th, 2012
1:42 pm

i can understand your frustration. i will urge the poster – whose handles have indeed been myriad – to stick with one name.
if he/she doesn’t, i’ll urge you, joe, to find something more civil than “nameless idiot.” it doesn’t reflect well on you.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
1:42 pm

Hey Jacket Detective: ask your boy 5150 UOAD about how much “going to the games” helps him. I had to teach him how the triple option works YESTERDAY. You’d think after 5 years of season tix watching CPJ’s offense, he would understand the TO by now. But apparently not. LOL.

Ken Sugiura

November 7th, 2012
1:48 pm

what johnson said after saturday’s game was that one reason washington started is because they didn’t know how maryland would line up, and washington, given his experience, would be able to handle that better than lee could.

tooltime432

November 7th, 2012
2:06 pm

I would like to think we could still see the perfect storm of impossible happen and make the ACCCG but we can’t tackle anybody. It’s not going to be bacuse Tevin started or Vad started, we just can’t stop anybody period

Montylick&ass

November 7th, 2012
2:06 pm

That would be SO SAD for the ACC if THIS Tech teams ends up in the championship game. Oh, and GTF GRAD: I would gladly trade the results we are getting from our “genius” coach for some of that Mark Richt mediocrity, if mediocrity means being in the middle of the top ten in the BCS rankings after nine or ten games!

Montylick&ass

November 7th, 2012
2:25 pm

Ken, you might as well teach kindergarten if you have to referee name-calling sissy-fights between immature petulant posters. I’m sure you would rather be able to just write your columns and trust the knuckleheads to be adults about the comments, but it looks like the odds of that are pretty slim. God bless you, son, for being able to put up with it.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
2:27 pm

Based on Tevin’s first drive vs. MD, I’d surmise that his experience with handling different defensive lineups didn’t help us much.

Anyways, I guess CPJ will always have a reason not to start Vad this season. Some of the past reasons are being debunked (Vad executes as well as TW based on the MD grading, Vad has the full playbook according to CPJ), but some reasons will always be there (experience).

CPJ may never understand that actual game performance trumps experience and practice performance.

Stinger 1

November 7th, 2012
2:27 pm

To those who argue if Washington or Lee should be the starter: The result of any game from now on out is not going to primarily be who starts at QB. It will be how well the D plays and how well the special teams preform along with the team`s ability to play good football for four quarters.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
2:29 pm

montylick: namecalling will get you nowhere in life, son.

GT Joe

November 7th, 2012
2:31 pm

Well Stinger, if you don’t think that one QB can lead us to more points than the other, then wow.

I can’t make a blind man see.