Tech notes: At the finish, Tanner’s opportunity arrives

1. Chris Tanner’s patience has been rewarded.

The Georgia Tech kicker, who began his career in 2008 as a walk-on and had played in five games up until last Saturday, took all of the Yellow Jackets’ placekicks in their win over North Carolina and will have full duty, including kickoffs, against Duke this Saturday.

“There’ve been a few times when I’ve been pretty frustrated (about not playing), but at the end of the day, I wanted to finish,” said Tanner, a Norcross High grad.

Injuries to David Scully and Justin Moore put Tanner on the field against North Carolina; his performance will help keep him there. He was 8-for-8 on extra points and 2-for-2 on field goals, a considerable relief for a team that has endured its share of errant kicking. North Carolina’s average start point on Tanner’s seven kickoffs was the 28-yard line, a little less than a yard better than Tech’s average this season.

“I felt like that he’s been one of the most consistent,” coach Paul Johnson said. “Both of the other guys have got a stronger leg. He’s been consistent.”

While many walk-ons see playing time as opportunities to prove they can play at this level, Tanner, whose first field-goal try was his first since high school, didn’t see it that way.

“I’ve always been confident, and when I got the opportunity to go out there in 2009 (for three games), that was great,” Tanner said. “But, yeah, just getting a chance to kick for Tech was a great experience and I look forward to Duke and any games after that.”

2. The Chick-fil-A Bowl listed the Duke-Tech winner among its ACC candidates on its weekly blog. The Dec. 31 game at the Georgia Dome has the first pick of ACC teams after the BCS bowls. There are more options to consider this year as Clemson and Florida State may both earn BCS bowl invitations, one as league champion and the other as an at-large team.

Besides Clemson and Florida State, the other candidates were Miami and N.C. State.

3. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu will don the No. 40 jersey Saturday in honor of former linebacker and team captain Julian Burnett, who suffered a career-ending injury last season. Players have taken turns wearing the jersey. He’s the third junior to wear it, after linebacker Chris Crenshaw and safety Isaiah Johnson.

4. Duke defensive coordinator Jim Knowles on Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi: “Coach Johnson does such a good job of recruiting linemen that maybe wouldn’t fit into other systems, but that kid just seems like he can play no matter where he’s at or what he’s doing. He’s just a really good lineman.”

Tech offensive line coach Mike Sewak on Duke’s defensive linemen: “They’re big, they’re strong, they’re going to put their hands on you. They’re going to make it difficult to get to the linebacker. … They’re going to try to clog it up and let the linebackers make the plays.”

Duke coach David Cutcliffe on A-back Orwin Smith: “He’s an exceptionally fast young man. He’s tough, he’s experienced. He’s been a good football player down there for a long time.”

5. A crowd of about 45,000 is expected for Saturday’s game, the final home game of the season and senior day. It is also military appreciation day. Military veterans and retirees and their families can purchase discounted tickets at the Tech ticket office or at 1-888-832-4849.

At the game, Tech athletes will be at the gates collecting toys and monetary gifts for the Michael Isenhour Toy Drive. Fans are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy. Toys will be donated to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

6. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. Anish Shroff (play-by-play) and Dan Hawkins (color) will call the game. They also handled the Virginia game in September. … Tech has had an interception in the past nine games and 11 total. They’ve been made by nine different players. Only Jemea Thomas, with three, has more than one this season.

Thanks for reading.

In case you missed it…

Tech offense seeking more vs. Duke

The possibilities of a Coastal tie at 4-4

Tech avoids letdown vs. Presbyterian

Notes: NCAA experts say Miami should self-impose

Johnson on Lee, offense, redshirt freshmen

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

30 comments Add your comment

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

November 16th, 2012
11:22 am

Congrats to Mr. Tanner! Nothing personal against him, but I hope he doesn’t have any field goal opportunities this week … only extra points, and lots of them!

Delbert D.

November 16th, 2012
11:24 am

Hang in there, Tanner. Keep your head down and kick through the ball.


November 16th, 2012
11:50 am

Great to see young me like Tanner with the desire and will power to hang in there when things don’t go their way. I hope he has at least 2 ore great games as our kicker.


November 16th, 2012
11:52 am

Ken, always look forward to your updates. You do a great job of keeping the GT faithful informed. Do you know how many Srs are on the roster and how many are starters?

1 4 GT

November 16th, 2012
11:55 am

This young man has much to be admired for. His willingness to persevere all the way thru as a walk on at Tech shows a willingness to work hard for his goals in life. You know his folks are very proud of him.

1 4 GT

November 16th, 2012
11:56 am

Ramblingbuzz…I have read 12 with 6 starters.


November 16th, 2012
1:18 pm

SR starters: Uzzi, O. Smith, Washington, Sweeting, Barnes, Cross. With Lee basicly being the starter at this point and Cross & Barnes rotating in and out so much, you could say we have (19) starters coming back next year. Add in all the RS Freshmen and next year’s squad should be the most talented and deep team that TECH has had in years.

GT Joe

November 16th, 2012
1:24 pm

After watching Tanner in the UNC game, one has to wonder why he hasn’t been kicking all season.

Unbiased Sometimes

November 16th, 2012
1:31 pm

Its funny how 2 losses in a row will put the entire fan base against the Coaching staff and 2 wins after that will have us thinking we’re National Champions in 2013. I have believed in CPJ’s system, for the most part, through the good and the bad. Regardless of what happens we need to support our team. Shame on those who are not going to the games because they don’t like CPJ.

Uh, GT Joe...

November 16th, 2012
1:36 pm

…for the same reasons that Vad has not started all season – he was not ready and CPJ thought the other guys gave the team a better chance to win…

And, GT Joe...

November 16th, 2012
1:39 pm

…don’t forget that “so far” Vad is a one game player – if I recall correctly TW played pretty well in his first start against an inferior opp., too – but, I hve to admit, Vad sure did play well last week and gives the team much hope, though we will know a lot more after this week and next…

Ken Sugiura

November 16th, 2012
1:41 pm

thanks, Ramblingbuzz. ToeMeetsLeather is correct: 12/6.

Ken Sugiura

November 16th, 2012
1:46 pm

a note about Tanner i couldn’t fit into the print edition, though, i suppose i could put it onto the blog. He is almost finished with his degree (economics/international affairs), will sit for his CPA exam in the summer and has a job lined up at an accounting firm. not bad.


November 16th, 2012
1:51 pm

Thanks for reading my mind Ken, I was wondering about Tanner’s status regarding graduation.


November 16th, 2012
2:23 pm

Thanks Toe Meets L.


November 16th, 2012
2:29 pm

Unbiased…..Very good comment. Most of us fans are very fickle. But Ido think most GT fans are willing to be patient as long as they see some evidence of improvement in the way the team plays. It will be really interesting in the off season to see how CPJ handles filling the D Coordinator job. Having the right person in that job would mean a lot to the team’s success next year.

GT4Life (the original)

November 16th, 2012
2:59 pm

If CPJ fills the Defensive Coordinator job with former Miami coach, Randy Shannon, GT will jump to the head of the ACC for years to come. The man can recruit – he will pull talent from Florida and will bring in the big boys in Georgia that see him as a legitimate DC. And before anyone pans this suggestion on the basis of potential recruits’ character, Shannon was a role model player, position coach and head coach who demanded the same of his players. Let’s do it, GT, before someone else scoops him up.


November 16th, 2012
3:32 pm

My motto in life has been: whatever the mind can conceive, whatever the heart will believe,,, then the body will achieve. Mr Tanner and other GT athletes live and demonstrate that philosophy every day. I am damn proud of all of them.


November 16th, 2012
3:45 pm

“average start point on Tanner’s seven kickoffs was the 28-yard line, a little less than a yard better than Tech’s average this season.:

Concidering who he was kicking to, this is a great stat.


November 16th, 2012
3:46 pm

Dan Hawkins is an even better color commentator than he was a coach.

Reformed Toady

November 16th, 2012
5:17 pm

Too bad he was not kicking FGs and PATs earlier in the season. What good is a stronger leg if you miss?

They should be giving away tickets to Veterans and retirees. Thank you to all that have served.

Rick Barger

November 16th, 2012
7:29 pm

Chris Tanner is an amazing young man, has served three straight summers in Haiti,and has earned whatever praise the GT faithful are giving him.

Steve superior

November 16th, 2012
9:10 pm

GT for life
I like your idea ( what does Tech have to lose on that side of the ball ). Shannon is a classy man and a good recruiter. The only coach at the U that cared about kids going to class. Johnson is gone without much improved D next year ( O will be fine with Lee or Thomas at qb), so recruiting may not matter.

5150 UOAD

November 16th, 2012
9:58 pm

I’mz so think I drunkz I’am a UGA Grad-du-etz.


November 17th, 2012
7:03 am

Good story, Ken! Did that sound too much like “cool story, bro”? The cheesy NCAA commercials aside, most of these guys will go on with their life after college football, instead of turning pro. I am glad Mr. Tanner stuck with it and will be able to contribute before his career is over.


November 17th, 2012
9:56 am

I like the Shannon idea. He should really be a great addition. Also, congrats to the great Maxie Baugh, one of Tech’s grreatest linebackers. I was a kid when he was at the Flats, and he was a real hero. Had a great professional career.


November 17th, 2012
7:41 pm

I am proud of this team but wonder why it took injuries to Scully and Moore for Tanner to get his opportunity. Not sure what went on in practice to ignore Tanner. For the special teams coach to keep putting those two back on the field after one disaster after another made no sense. To me, this was the lowest point of the season,


November 17th, 2012
10:22 pm

Oh.By the way, you can tell Derek Dooley that UT doesn’t always beat Vandy. What a classless jerk.


November 17th, 2012
10:24 pm

Oh by the way, someone needs to tell Derek Dooley that UT doesn’t always beat Vandy. How classless.


November 17th, 2012
10:25 pm

Sorry. It didn’t take the first time, and then it did.