Johnson on Lee, offense, redshirt freshmen

Notes from Paul Johnson’s Tuesday news conference:

1. One of Johnson’s messages to players this week is that they haven’t played well at home since the Miami game. Georgia Tech is 3-3 at home this season. The last time that the Jackets had a home losing record was 1994, a season I’ve seemed to reference a lot this year with “first time since” statistics. (Tech was 1-5 that season, Bill Lewis’ last.)

2. Offensive tackle Will Jackson (shoulder) is likely to be doubtful for Saturday. This would be the fourth game in a row that he would miss.

3. Johnson said that quarterback Vad Lee didn’t grade out well but still made a lot of plays.

“He’s got some ability in that sometimes when he misses a read, he can follow it and still turn it into a positive play,” Johnson said. “Overall, you had to be happy with the way he played. He had a ton of big plays and brought a lot of energy and did those things and I think he’s coming (along) great. He’s still a redshirt freshman.”

4. Asked to compare Lee and Joshua Nesbitt, Johnson noted that Nesbitt was “more of a grinder, I think. He’s the guy that, if it’s 3rd-and-1, you wanted the ball in his hands. He’s going to get it.” He then kind of backtracked, saying that it’s a hard comparison to make, given that Lee has basically only played two games.

5. Johnson said the offensive line is showing better effort and coming off the ball lower and harder than it had previously.

“When you do that, good things happen,” he said.

Tech put 100 defenders to the ground Saturday on 79 plays, a week after getting 80 to the ground against Maryland on 60 plays. Those are the highest numbers of Johnson’s tenure.

Offensive line coach Mike Sewak said that the numbers had been around 40-50 earlier this season. Averaging one knockdown block per play is typically indicative of a good blocking game. A-back Robbie Godhigh had 13 alone.

6. Johnson said he didn’t know why the team had played with the energy and focus it had the past two games. He has been trying all season to find the right button to push.

“Clearly, something’s happened the last two,” he said. “We’ll see if it can continue. We’ve done better that way. You never know what it is. It might not be anything I said or did. It might be something somebody else said or did. You just don’t know. If you knew, you’d never have a problem.”

7. Johnson said in the North Carolina game, the offense made a lot of mistakes and missed opportunities, despite accounting for 62 of the 68 points. He isn’t worried about the team getting satisfied with itself.

“You want to have a standard such that, you point out all the things that you missed even though we scored on a possession, we should have scored maybe two or three plays before,” he said.

8. On A-back Orwin Smith: “I think he’s had a great career. Unless something crazy happens, he’s probably going to leave as the all-time leader in the ACC as yards per carry. He’s going to be in the record books at Georgia Tech, played on a championship team. He’s had a great career.”

9. On the 12 seniors playing their final home game Saturday: “Anytime you spend four or five years coaching guys, you become close to them and you want to see them be successful. And this group, a lot of them have graduated already. I think all of them will graduate. You hope that they’ll be successful outside of football.”

They are: nose tackle T.J. Barnes, defensive end Izaan Cross, wide receiver Chris Jackson, offensive lineman Nick McRae, long snapper Tyler Morgan, outside linebacker Malcolm Munroe, kicker Chris Tanner, A-back Jamal Paige, cornerback Rod Sweeting, guard Omoregie Uzzi, quarterback Tevin Washington and Smith

Johnson noted that, as typically happens, a junior or two who don’t receive much playing time but will graduate before next fall probably won’t return, either to take jobs or to transfer and gain immediate playing time elsewhere. B-back Richard Watson (Albany State) and A-back Marcus Wright (University of the Incarnate Word) did that last year. There’s a third I’m forgetting, I think.

10. Johnson on the redshirting freshmen:

“Pat Gamble has had a really good year. He’s been on the scout team. I think he’s going to be really good. He’s probably about 265, 270 now, 6-5. Francis Kallon has played on the scout team all year, plays with great effort. He’s probably the rawest of the bunch. Spring’s going to be big for him. Rod Chungong’s going to be a good player. He’s put on about 25 pounds. Those are the three defensive linemen up front.

“Beau Hankins  and Tyler Stargel play linebacker. I’m really excited about them. I think both of them have got a bright future. And Lynn Griffin in the secondary is another guy. Had Lynn not gotten hurt earlier in the year, he’d be playing this year. He’ll have a chance to really compete.  If you get  he and Fred Holton back out there in the spring, those two guys will give the safeties all they want for staying on the field.”

On the offensive redshirts:

“We had three freshman wide receivers. Two of them have had knee surgery. (Anthony) Autry was playing. Travin (Henry) got hurt, just fluke, just running. I mean, there was nobody running (near him). So they’re both rehabbing. Michael Summers, we decided to redshirt. We really wrestled with (that decision). He’s going to be a good player, I think. We’re excited about him.

“(Quarterback) Justin (Thomas) is playing on scout team some and he comes and plays with the varsity some. We try to keep him up there at least one day a week and let him run with the varsity so that come spring he’s going to be ready to compete. (Lineman) Chase Roberts is over there on the scout team, (lineman) Freddie Burden, (A-back) Dennis Andrews. There’s a pretty good nucleus of guys that we’re redshirting that we feel good about.”

B-back Marcus Allen may switch to linebacker, Johnson said. The decision will come after the season or before the spring.

11. Johnson said that Washington handled Lee playing the rest of the North Carolina game in a positive way. Johnson called him “the consummate team guy.” Johnson noted Tech’s first play from scrimmage, when Washington hit Smith for a 39-yard pass under heavy pass pressure, and then Washington’s 25-yard option run for a touchdown to finish the opening drive.

12. Johnson spent some time talking about Lee, in particular his response to the interception returned for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Johnson said that pulling Lee at that point was not an option and would be “the worst thing you could have done. I mean, he’s got to go back out there and right the ship. And that’s what he did. He got back out there and drove the team down. That’ll probably help his development more than anything you could ever say or do.”

In case you missed it…

Notes: Washington looking like starter

No chance, after all, for Tech in three-way Coastal tie

Notes: Johnson to again wait on naming starting QB

Bradley: Tech as Coastal champion? Yep, it could happen

Tech season takes another turn

Tech-Georgia gets noon kickoff

Golden, Nealy ACC players of the week

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

106 comments Add your comment

White&Gold

November 14th, 2012
10:35 am

I watched the replay of the game and did notice that Vad did miss some reads. It’s still amazing, however that he’s able to turn these nothing plays into huge gains. Future is bright with him under center.

Chris

November 14th, 2012
10:36 am

Wrecker

November 14th, 2012
10:47 am

I particularly like that CPJ does not get too high with the highs or low with the lows. Dealing with very young men requires a steady demeanor.

George Stein

November 14th, 2012
10:51 am

The defense is still lacking, but they improved in the second half. I think the fact that the offense was scoring on every possession really put pressure on Carolina and helped the defense.

The bigger takeaway, I think, is that the offense has moved well against two highly rated defenses. The threat of the deep ball may have had something to do with that.

5150 UOAD

November 14th, 2012
10:52 am

KEN…………will you check what TECH’s record is this year wearing the Gold helmet vs the White helmet?

VAD is exciting……but he does still make some bad reads and PITCHES. The Bad reads when he KEEPS the ball are OK. When he makes a Bad read and a Bad PITCH those COULD COST TECH…I love the kid playing…..I still think starting TEVIN is a good thing to let VAD get settled down from the Starting Jitters…..on the Road at UGa I think you have to start TEVIN too.

George Stein

November 14th, 2012
10:53 am

The issue I take with Johnson is that Tevin misses reads, too. It isn’t as though he grades out perfectly each time, which reduces the delta between the two. It was clear to me that Vad makes up for the missed reads with strong passing and raw athleticism.

Biff Pocoroba

November 14th, 2012
11:00 am

“and A-back Marcus Wright (University of the Incarnate Word) did that last year.”
Maybe we can schedule them to take the place of the BYU games that we dropped.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
11:15 am

I’ve said it 1000 times, and maybe now CPJ is getting it: Vad’s athleticism can make up for mistakes running the offense.

We are witnessing CPJ’s “a-ha moment”.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
11:16 am

Sadly, this will be a season remembered by “what could have been”.

Where could we now be if CPJ focused on Vad as starter (rather than Tevin) starting Spring 2012?

Keepin' It Real

November 14th, 2012
11:35 am

Some of you just don’t get it… Vad did not know the playbook well enough to start or play more early in the season. Please stop with the “if and buts…” everyday is not Christmas.

Birmingham Jacket

November 14th, 2012
11:38 am

Johnson is a dim-witt.

It’s blatently obvious Lee is the more capable QB, and had he been starting this season, we would likely have 2 or 3 more wins to show for it.

Bozo…

White&Gold

November 14th, 2012
11:41 am

Birmingham, I think you’re more of the dim-wit. Lee was not ready in the spring and the beginning of the season. There were some reports early on that he was having bad practices. He still doesn’t have a great grip on making reads, pitches, and tosses. You’re also forgetting that about our defense.

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 14th, 2012
11:52 am

Vad is ready now.

GT Fan

November 14th, 2012
11:55 am

5150 UOAD

November 14th, 2012
10:52 am
KEN…………will you check what TECH’s record is this year wearing the Gold helmet vs the White helmet?

VAD is exciting……but he does still make some bad reads and PITCHES. The Bad reads when he KEEPS the ball are OK. When he makes a Bad read and a Bad PITCH those COULD COST TECH…I love the kid playing…..I still think starting TEVIN is a good thing to let VAD get settled down from the Starting Jitters…..on the Road at UGa I think you have to start TEVIN too.

THIS post needs MORE CAPitalization…

FL Jacket

November 14th, 2012
12:05 pm

Ken…

The other junior who left after graduation was Phil Smith.

JACKETfan12

November 14th, 2012
12:16 pm

Johnson obviously knows more about football and this team better than any of us – it is his full time job. As competitive as he is, don’t you guys think that he would have the QB on the field that would give us the best chance to win?? For guys to sit here on the ajc boards and say that they “have said 100 times before to play Vad” is ridiculous”. Vad obviously wasn’t ready earlier in the season, but now he is, which is why he is on the field. Johnson is still on the hot seat, definitely, but he surely knows what to do more than the rest of us. Give all of the “I told ya so, Paul” comments a rest and just sit back and watch Vad take over for the next 3.2 years now that he is ready :)

1 4 GT

November 14th, 2012
12:21 pm

Where could Tech have been if the defense had “played all year”? One 4th down tackle with about 20 seconds left would have won the VT game. Presby was what it was. UVa was what it was. One defensive stop in the 4th quarter would have won the Miami game. Win the Miami game & most of us agree the MTSU debacle is reversed. Clemons would have been a toss up if the defense “played”. BC was what it was. If the defense “played”, BYU is a toss up. If the defense “played” all 4 quarters, maybe they shutout UMd. The defense began learning how to “play” sans Coach Groan against UNC. So, if the defense had “played all year”. GT is sitting @ 8 & 2, bowl eligible, Coastal Champs, & building towards 10 & 2. I can “what if” with the defense as good as you can with Tevin JOE!!!! I and many others, I’m sure, are more than sick of your one trick dog & pony show. You have beaten this poor ole horse’s hide completely off it. What the hell is wrong with you. Are you really WnE in drag?? Are you obsessed with Tevin?? Are you in love with Tevin?? Are you a jilted exGF of Tevin?? Or are you a combo of the above?? Do you ever have any thoughts in life that don’t concern how bad you think Tevin is? What is it with you?? REALLY!!!!

1 4 GT

November 14th, 2012
12:29 pm

Sorry, but Phil Smith was a senior & finished his bachelor’s degree @ Tech before transferring to UCF to work on a Master’s not offered at Tech. Under NCAA rules in those circumstances, he was eligible to play for UCF Immediately upon registration for classes.

1 4 GT

November 14th, 2012
12:38 pm

In truth, the defense had some lapses in games, and we are now seeing the obvious cause of that was cag’s too complicated defense. The played a much improved game against UNC, particularly in the 2nd half. They are not entirely to blame for Tech’s shortcomings this season. In truth, Tevin had some lapses in games too. His are all the more obvious because he is on center stage. Both could have played better. Neither is entirely at fault either. Football is a “team” game. There is enough blame to go around. With that being said, I love me some GT Yellow Jackets & the school. Tech is my horse, if she never wins a race! THWGeorgie

ignition

November 14th, 2012
12:45 pm

Kallon should be around 280-285lbs at 6′6
Gamble should be around 270-275lbs at 6′5
Those are some big DEs
Rod Chungong is at 275lb at 6′3
With Gatis at 305lbs at 6′4
Could use more NTs (Green, Gatis, ???) Hopeful recruit ?? Darius Commissiong

10 of 11 Supersize and 14GT

November 14th, 2012
12:56 pm

I like Vad but do see why CPJ will start Tevin on senior day. Vad will be in more assuming he continues to roll so I wouldn’t worry too much about that especially against Duke. I think you guys win that for sure. I do think Miami will beat Duke and go to the ACC championship.

As I stated on another article the difference between UGA and Tech is clear. UGA beat the bad teams it played (hence 8-1 record) and GT did not beat the bad teams they played (hence 5-5 record). Simple as that. UGA is not a bad team and is actually pretty darn good and Tech did not beat any of the good teams they played.

That is why UGA will get another victory in two weeks. Better team wins but it is not meant as an insult. Just logical.

I think someone like Birmingham Jacket (not saying it was him just someone with strong opinion like his) pretended to be me on another blog yesterday and raise hell about Tevin playing over Vad. Vad will play plenty if he delivers like he did against UNC.

@eidsonb

November 14th, 2012
1:02 pm

Everybody breath….the program is just fine and in very good hands…@ 1 4 GT excellent points and I agree…my old man use to say shoulda woulda, coulda. We have tons of young talent coming up next year on both sides of the ball, a nother great kid that can play QB…and Sinjin will start at A-Back and two experienced B-Backs coming back…all will be well….

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
1:14 pm

1 4: like i’ve told you 100 times; the defense is not an easy fix. You can’t just say “what if the defense was better”. That takes dozens of moving parts to make happen.

A qb change in ONE change. an easy improvement.

Jacket Detective

November 14th, 2012
1:27 pm

Unless one of you who wants Johnson fired wants to put up the 10 to 12 million dollars needed to do so, maybe you should zip it.
I mentioned twice in the past week that some alums wanted Dodd fired back in 1945 after a 4-6 season and seemed to be asking the team captain questions in the off season to find some cause for doing so.
They seemd to be unaware that Dodd was the the coach most responsible for the success Tech had in the prior 3 seasons, as Alexander had a heart attack in 1942 and remained in charge though Dodd was clearly the brains of the outfit and running the show.
I point this out not at all to compare Johnson with Dodd but to compare fans of then and now.
I would like to know what moron fan sent to Dodd’s home programs of the 6 losing programs without his name and return address on the box of course.
Wouldn’t he have been embarrassed if we had learned who he was after Dodd’s success?
Dodd could have left some or all of the slights by fans from 1945 out of the book he co-wrote called “Dodd’s Luck”.
I think he left them in to show how fans overreact and act like idiots sometimes.
DRAD, by the way, really had a good week.
It is evident both the football and basketball programs have bright futures.
BTW Bill Curry lost to Duke his first 4 tries and his won-loss record was terrible.
Why wasn’t he run out of town or tarred and feathered?
You were under the weather or you would have tried to?
Or you thought about it but were only seven at the time.

Keepin' it Dumb!!

November 14th, 2012
1:28 pm

Now Vad know’s how to pitch right aaaand left. Now he knows all 3 plays including the dive. If Vad had started the whole season we get Christmas early.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
1:37 pm

keepin it dumb: yeah, let’s leave tevin in. he knows all the plays.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
1:38 pm

Jacket Detective: back again? after you famously called for tevin to come back into the UNC game at 13:00 of the 4th quarter?

LOL you have no credibility.

Not to mention, no one is calling for CPJ to be fired (that I see on the blog, at least).

frustrated fan

November 14th, 2012
1:38 pm

thank you @keepn’ it dumb, i was just about to say the same thing. vad clearly didnt understand the offense very well at the beginning of the year and is only now beginning to understand it. tevin will remain the more reliable starter the next two games because he knows what to do in a lot of situations. vad will one day be better but he’s just not there yet with his desicion making. watch out for vad next year though, and i cant wait for when justin thomas becomes the new vad and we have another qb controversy

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
1:40 pm

frustrated fan: so you are on the record for wanting to keep tevin vs. duke and at UGA. Duly noted.

See you here on monday.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
1:41 pm

keepin it dumb: no testicular fortitude to stick with a single handle, out of fear that you’ll be called out next week. sissy.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
1:42 pm

frustrated: bad news, GT will never start a 169 pounds QB. this is “man” football, not peewee.

thomas will be an a-back. the quicker you understand that, the better.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
1:43 pm

Take the Wheel and TW Fan have been missing on the blogs recently (or have they?).

fuzzybee78

November 14th, 2012
1:50 pm

One change we need on D is a pass rush.
Wont come till new DC and spring practice but here’s my suggestion—

In a 4-3 lineup—
Move Cummings inside with Gotis and Green at DT along with another fresh.
Rotate Dieke, Kallon, Gamble, Crenshaw at DE

The DE need to be coached up as edge rushers like MJohnson and DMorgan.

The 3-4 aint workin and asking an outside linebacker to line up and rush as the 4th down lineman aint workin.

Keepin' it Dumb!!

November 14th, 2012
1:55 pm

Wow! my response was to whom ever “keeping it real” may be. He claims Vad did not know the offense at the beginning of the season. Which I think is really dumb because this offense is very simple. I know we have more than 3 plays but the fact that some here think Vad was not ready to run the option is funny to me. He runs it better than Tevin with out knowing any of it. Clearly!! NORTH AVE KILLER BEEZ

Ken Sugiura

November 14th, 2012
2:01 pm

Thanks. i didn’t mention Phil Smith, either. figured it out. daniel mckayhan, who is at texas southern.

Ken Sugiura

November 14th, 2012
2:04 pm

keepin it dumb – i see your point, and perhaps the original point was not communicated effectively. knowing a play and being able to execute it properly are two different things.

fuzzybee78

November 14th, 2012
2:07 pm

If you assume VLee is the starter next fall then who is left to back him up if he gets hurt?

Justin Thomas is currently running with the Varsity once a week according to CPJ yesterday. That says to me that PJ sees Thomas competing for the starter or backup job. Could he be moved to A back, yea but that leaves you back with SDays or perhaps TBylerly. I dont think there is another QB on the roster likely to step up to a real #2 option.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
2:12 pm

Just a point here: there seems to be a fallacy that “all in a sudden” Vad knows how to run the offense.

He’s been around for 18 months; he has been running these same plays for 18 months. CPJ has been watching him in practice for 18 months, and he saw that Tevin executed better. So CPJ started Tevin.

But CPJ is now realizing that his “scoring system” is flawed. Perfection in execution is trumped by talent (what I’ve been saying for months).

The proof: Tevin “scored” 20 points higher in execution than Vad in the UNC game? Come on. Does anyone on this blog think we beat UNC with Tevin at QB?

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
2:14 pm

Justin will compete for backup next year. My guess is that Days will be 2nd, and thomas 3rd. In an effort to get “the best talent on the field”, look for days and thomas to play a-back part-time.

Justin is just too small to play QB in this offense. And his arm is not close to Vad’s. Justin has speed, and that’s it.

10per

November 14th, 2012
2:20 pm

There were many plays that Vad made that were a 3 yard loss that turned into a 3 yard gain. Instead of 3rd and long you are sitting at 3rd and short. Nesbitt used to do that. For all of his leadership on the field, we have been missing that from Tevin.

FL Jacket

November 14th, 2012
2:26 pm

“Justin is just too small to play QB in this offense. And his arm is not close to Vad’s. Justin has speed, and that’s it.”

GT Joe….

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Tracy Ham was only 5′11″, and Joe Hamilton (who would have killed it in this offense) was barely 5′10″.

Justin Thomas is a perfect fit for this offense because he has the same athleticism to elude tacklers as Vad does. Not only is he faster, as you point out, but his 1st step and acceleration is probably the best I’ve seen from a GT player in a long time. His arm is very strong…not Vad’s but miles from Tevin.

fuzzybee78

November 14th, 2012
2:26 pm

Joe, could be. JT needs to gain some muscle to compete but I think youre wrong about his arm. May not be as strong as Lee but not far off what I here.

I agree I would like to see JT on the field along with Snoddy because of speed. Spring ball will shake it out but somebody has to be a solid back up to probably VLee.

Do not count out TBylerly in that #2 role. Saw him play for Chattahoochee beating Green and Laskey’s Starrs Mill team and the kid is good and has enough size and a decent arm. Thought he was going to Air Force before he ended up at MTSU.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
2:33 pm

FL Jacket: I’m not talking about Justin’s height. The kid came to tech at 169 pounds. He is now listed at 185 (and you know that number is artificially boosted).

a 175-180 pound kid cannot take the punishment that Vad or Nesbitt can. Speed is there for sure, but he’s a lightweight.

That speed on the edge at a -back? can’t wait.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
2:35 pm

Also FL: Vad has the arm strength advantage; but more importantly, I can’t see how JT can be MORE accurate than Vad either. Vad has been pinpoint on just about every pass.

And yeah, I’m focusing on passing, because the pass threat is what opens up our offense. Exhibit A: the UNC game.

AlabamaRamblinwreck

November 14th, 2012
2:36 pm

Very frustrated that Will Jackson cannot get healthy. Any chance he can be healthy for UGA?

Also, I cannot wait to get some new blood on the D-line. I cannot imagine that a new group will be any worse than our current situation. The guys work hard, but they just don’t have the motor to actually disrupt anything up front. It puts tremendous pressure on the LB’s and DB’s not to have a better D-line.

good to see you back gi josephine

November 14th, 2012
2:41 pm

i am one of many who agree with this …..

” JOE!!!! I and many others, I’m sure, are more than sick of your one trick dog & pony show. You have beaten this poor ole horse’s hide completely off it. What the hell is wrong with you. Are you really WnE in drag?? Are you obsessed with Tevin?? Are you in love with Tevin?? Are you a jilted exGF of Tevin?? Or are you a combo of the above?? Do you ever have any thoughts in life that don’t concern how bad you think Tevin is? What is it with you?? REALLY!!!! ”

as far as one handle…. i recall you doing the same thing there buckwheat. ken can certainly attest to that.

i think most of us jacket fans want to see you wne, matt, birhham jacket to stfu and go root for uga or something. we are all tired of your whining and crying, personally i think the 4 of you should go watch ‘eclipse’ that chick movie. you guys sure whine enough to be mistaken for chicks.

sheeeeeesh

fuzzybee78

November 14th, 2012
2:44 pm

@AlabamaRamblinwreck
I agree about the D line, see my thoughts at 1:50 — do you agree?

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
2:48 pm

“i am one of many who agree with this”

LOL, you agreeing with yourself (or alternative personalities in your own head) doesn’t count. Try some more handles, I’m sure they will all agree with you.

GT Joe

November 14th, 2012
2:50 pm

but I understand why you don’t stick with your handle “take the wheel”: you’ve said too much garbage with that handle (that has been since proven so wrong by Vad in the UNC game). I’d choose a new handle too if I were you.

ignition

November 14th, 2012
3:16 pm

Since Curry is departing, any chance GT could bring the Great Joe Hamilton back in favor to lead Tech as their QB coach. He could work with Vad, Justin, and the new recruit on developing their passer and overall qb skills. Plus he’d most likely be an asset as a recruiter, and still is a great ambassador for The Institute..