Tech notes: Johnson raves about UGA ‘D’

Notes from Paul Johnson’s Tuesday news conference, including a flu bug that’s hit the team. Or, as it’s better phrased during Georgia week – “KILLER FLU PARALYZES JACKETS”

1. Johnson paid homage to Georgia, saying “certainly, we’ll have to play our best game of the year to have a chance in Athens on Saturday.” He noted the talent and the defensive improvement over the last four or five games. As he’d mentioned Monday, he noted quarterback Aaron Murray, tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Tavarres King on offense and then “six or seven NFL guys, at least, on that defense.”

He mentioned the accolades that outside linebacker Jarvis Jones receives, but said that inside linebacker Alec Ogletree “just jumps off the film at you. The things that guy can do, the way he runs and makes plays, he’s a special player, as well.” He liked safeties Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo, also. Or, as properly reported during Georgia week, “JOHNSON DISRESPECTS UGA CORNERBACKS.”

Johnson wasn’t ready to call this Georgia defense the most talented he’s faced since coming to Tech, “but I don’t think you’re going to play anybody with more talent than them.”

Line of the conference: “They’ve got some big jokers. That nose tackle (John Jenkins), they list him at, what, 350? That joker’s gotta be closer to 400 pounds. He’s huge.”

2. Johnson said that Georgia played Georgia Southern’s spread-option offense the same way it did Tech’s the past two years.

“I don’t think there’ll be a big guessing game as to what we’re doing or what they’re doing,” he said. “I think it’ll come down to execution and try to maybe have the right thing on at the right time.”

He does figure that playing similar offenses will help Georgia.

“They’ll be accustomed to the speed of it more so than they would if they hadn’t played it, I would think,” he said. “Anytime you play something two weeks in a row, you’re probably going to be better at it.”

(Georgia week translation – JOHNSON TO UGA: YOU WANT SOME OF THIS?)

3. Johnson thinks A-back Orwin Smith (injured ankle against Duke) will play. There isn’t a set plan for replacing him. “We just kind of play and somebody else will be in that spot,” he said.

Offensive tackle Will Jackson will be available to play. He practiced Monday. He last played in the Boston College game, sitting out the past four with a shoulder injury.

4. The A-backs in general have filled their roles effectively. The development of Synjyn Days is obviously noteworthy. He played the third most snaps Saturday against Duke (30) after Smith and Robbie Godhigh. His improvement and that of others are a credit to position coach Lamar Owens.

According to the post-game stat sheets, Tony Zenon did not play against Duke. Johnson said that it’s not a reflection on him doing anything wrong, just the depth of the position. Smith and Godhigh command most of the snaps, and then there are others worthy of playing time also.

“Now, the next week, Tony could be getting the 30 snaps that somebody else got,” Johnson said.

5. Tech will need to pressure quarterback Aaron Murray, since, he said, “if you don’t get to him and he has time, he’s going to pick you apart.” Last year, with ample pocket time, Murray was 19-for-29 for 252 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Tight end Orson Charles had five catches for 95 yards.

Given the strength of Georgia’s defense, Tech’s defense has to figure out a way to get some stops.

“You don’t want to get into a game with them where you have to score every possession,” Johnson said.

6. On Maryland’s departure to the Big Ten: “I think in the landscape of college sports now, that’s going to happen more than you know, and if they feel like that’s best for them, then that’s what they need to do.”

7. Several players are dealing with the flu that was going around the team last week and kept defensive end Izaan Cross out of the Duke game. Johnson has it himself. He called it “a viral thing” and said that it’s been taking three or four days to get out of the system.

A few players have it now, he said, but “you just don’t want a large group to get it Wednesday, Thursday,” he said. “That’d be the killer.”

8. True freshman defensive end Adam Gotsis got his first start in Cross’ absence. “I think he’s got a really bright future and going to be a good player,” Johnson said. “He’s a freshman and he’s learning every week, but he’s got the right attitude and the right mindset. He wants to be good and I think he’s going to work at it.”

(JOHNSON UNLEASHING GOTSILLA ON DOGS)

9. Johnson said the offensive line has played as well as it has in his tenure in the last few games. In the past three games, Tech has set records for putting the most defenders to the ground in Johnson’s five years, reaching 101 in the Duke game. He attributed it to playing with more energy and effort and an accumulation of experience.

“What they’re doing is they’re playing hard, they’re getting a lot of guys cut off and they’re getting downfield and getting a lot of guys on the ground when they get downfield,” he said. “When you do that, it gives you a chance to hit some big plays.”

10. Johnson again gave praise to quarterback Tevin Washington, calling him consistent and solid. Sometimes, Johnson said, he’s borne the brunt of criticism when teammates haven’t done their jobs.

“I think he’s been resilient, he’s kept a pretty good attitude,” he said. “He’s just been a good kid, a good teammate, somebody that likes to compete. I think he’s gotten the max out of his ability.”

(I think this is near the highest compliment that Johnson will offer a player of his.)

Regarding quarterback Vad Lee, he said that he has swagger and that “I think he’s got that ‘it’ that guys have.” He said he has tried to bring him along at a pace so he doesn’t lose the confidence and swagger by getting thrown to the wolves before he’s ready to handle it.

“You want that guy to think he can beat the world, so we’ve kind of brought him along slowly,” he said.

Redshirting freshman Justin Thomas, he said, has the same “it factor” quality.

(JOHNSON GUARANTEES BACK-TO-BACK HEISMANS FOR LEE, THOMAS)

11. Johnson was asked about the criticism he’s received while managing a relatively successful run in his first four seasons. If Tech beats Florida State (a large if, certainly), he would become the first Tech coach to win two ACC titles. For whatever a Coastal Division title is worth, this is his third. (Tech shared with Virginia Tech in 2008.)

“The thing I think that’s changed a lot lately is it’s instant gratification,” he said. “It’s weekly now, or nobody wants to look at a body of work. I was thinking, this is my fifth season. I think there are three coaches that were here when I came. (Frank Beamer, Jim Grobe, Tom O’Brien) It’s about the same as in the SEC. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

(JOHNSON: THIS IS MY FIFTH SEASON) (they can’t all be gems)

Thanks for reading. I was asked to remind you that Johnson’s radio show is Wednesday evening. I can’t say I’ve ever been, but I usually listen, either live or on podcast. It’s usually a good listen. More information here.

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

127 comments Add your comment

Insect killers

November 20th, 2012
5:05 pm

Dawgs 45 Insects 17 !!!!!!

Glory, Glory to manface Courtney

November 20th, 2012
5:06 pm

should i say it?

GT Lee

November 20th, 2012
5:11 pm

Nice job Ken……I like the extra humor (Go Go Gotzilla!!!!)

jhhjls

November 20th, 2012
5:13 pm

Nice article Ken! Fantastic insights from you in the ALL CAPS. The next two weeks are daunting but I cannot wait!

buzzy

November 20th, 2012
5:14 pm

buzzy

November 20th, 2012
5:15 pm

darn, fourth.

ice eater 1969

November 20th, 2012
5:18 pm

EARLY it is 8 man line – send 6 or more lookin gfor running back o way to QB – got to hit or hurry the qb within in 3 to 4 secodns and cover close or we are toast. Slow score death of sudden score – gt theball back to the OFFENSE. also 90 must get a across the line of scrimage – he is not supposed to standup and stay in his own spot – got to create mayhem. I thik we could do very well if we can get some Defense turnovers

IF weline up wdeep dafeties we will be slaughtered.

COASTAL CHAMPS

November 20th, 2012
5:19 pm

Enter your comments here

GT Dude

November 20th, 2012
6:04 pm

This is the Once in 10 games!!!

IOW – play this game 10 times, UGA wins 9, TECH wins 1

this weekend is the Once

GO JACKETS!!!!

PS Hope the flu doesn’t do us in

Stinger 1

November 20th, 2012
6:06 pm

Ken: Good info. you provide GT fans about the status of the team each week from
the weekly meetings with CPJ. He is heaping on the praise about the UGA team.
Good strategy. Don`t give them any bulletin board material.

Nothing like starting off an article...

November 20th, 2012
6:10 pm

…with a built in excuse for possibly losing – Ken, you have been an outstanding scribe for Tech this fall, so I am shocked that you would stoop to this – however, since you have been an outstanding scribe for Tech this fall, I will give you a pass on this – thanks for your efforts…

5150 UOAD

November 20th, 2012
6:12 pm

5150 UOAD

November 20th, 2012
6:14 pm

CW

November 20th, 2012
6:17 pm

Great write up Ken.

I really love the Georgia week interpretations “JOHNSON DISRESPECTS UGA CORNERBACKS”

Georgia has a great team and there are very good reasons why they are favored, but this Tech bunch has been through a lot this season and they seem to be coming together and playing their best football right now. I can’t wait to watch this game and I think Tech just might surprise surprise a lot of people by pulling off a win.

Tech is a joke

November 20th, 2012
6:23 pm

“A flu bug has hit the team”
Translation – When Tech loses to UGA again (11 out of last 12), this is the excuse we will use.

GO DAWGS!!!! THWGT!!!!!

5150 UOAD

November 20th, 2012
6:31 pm

UNLEASHING GOTSILLA

://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn%3A8643711

Footbllrules

November 20th, 2012
6:32 pm

Yeah, Dawgs are a Joke….it’s so easy, isn’t it? Faking a 100 plus degree fever. The joys of throwing up all over the place when you are “just funnin.”. Playing “Flu Bug” is a blast!!!!!

5150 UOAD

November 20th, 2012
6:32 pm

Delbert D.

November 20th, 2012
6:35 pm

6. On Maryland’s departure to the Big Ten: “I think in the landscape of college sports now, that’s going to happen more than you know, and if they feel like that’s best for them, then that’s what they need to do.”

(Translation – WE ARE IN THE LEGENDS DIVISION COME 2014)

Seriously, Ken, good article. I like the special touches.

mb94

November 20th, 2012
6:35 pm

Buffalo 4-7. Missouri 2 SEC wins. FAU 3-8. Tennessee 0 SEC wins. Kentucky 2 wins, 0 SEC wins. Ole Miss 2 SEC wins. UF is overrated and has no offense. UGA’s D didn’t look comfortable against GSU. Im not buying the hype of the UGA D. In the games against good offenses, UGA lost 35-7 against South Carolina, and UT scored 44 on UGA.
I like our intensity lately, we’ll see what happens, Go Jackets!!!!!

George Stein

November 20th, 2012
6:36 pm

It’s difficult to imagine an adult would post under the handle “Tech is a joke.”

The headlines made me laugh, Ken. I’m eagerly awaiting the first genius to read them and think Johnson actually said that stuff.

MaconDawg

November 20th, 2012
6:38 pm

Good article Ken. Looking forward to a good game “Tween the Hedges”. I just hope both sides keep it clean but that is unlikely. Hopefully no injuries for either side and they both can be at full strenght for their respective conference championship games.

Jefferson Davis Hogg

November 20th, 2012
6:42 pm

Objective Dawg fan here. First off congrats on your ACC Coastal title. I read where people say you guys backed in the same as we did after getting crushed 35-7. That’s all irrelevant now for every good team has to have some luck on its side to get to where they want to go. Yes, even Alabama!I This game could go one of two ways to me. First off, we could jump you guys early and the games over in the first half. Secondly, GT could get a couple stops, a couple turnovers, and UGA looking ahead and this game going either way. I watched enough football last Saturday to know what can happen. I see the biggest mismatch of the game being our offense against your defence. You guys will get your rushing yards as always but hit a couple unexpected passes and we got a game on our hands..If I’m betting, take the jackets and the points. I think Dawgs win but closer than expected….Good luck Jackets and GO DAWGS!

javier

November 20th, 2012
6:47 pm

great job, ken! thanks for your great work throughout the season. can you post your stuff as audio cuts this week? (dawgs fans ain’t so guud at the reeding theng)

5150 UOAD

November 20th, 2012
6:49 pm

JD Hogg……..The Over Looking only last about a quarter. If that is the case GT has to take a 14 point advantage early and hold on while still scoring. Once PUNCHED a fighter FIGHTS BACK and Tech needs to know that.
UGa learned that a few years back. Tech was Punched in the Face and the dWags thought it was over. Well they learned that TECH could take a punch. I think this TECH team can take a Punch as can this Dwag team.

ehaire

November 20th, 2012
6:56 pm

As a Dawg fan I look forward to playing tech each year and as a rivalry game, it is fun. I am always nervous about playing Tech. you never know what will happen with an option team. Hope both teams show up and play their best and no injuries. GO DAWGS!! And happy Thanksgiving!

fan

November 20th, 2012
6:56 pm

Cut blocking and chop blocking is dirty business.

Nice one, Kenner

November 20th, 2012
6:59 pm

I laughed so hard I almost soiled myself

(TECH FAN CONTRACTS STOMACH VIRUS FROM READING TECH BLOG)

Jefferson Davis Hogg

November 20th, 2012
7:01 pm

@5150 for the most part I agree about the overlooking thing but I also watched the UGA Kentucky game this year of which UGA overlooked them the whole game. As embarrasing as it is to say, if UK wasn’t so bad they would’ve beaten us that night looking forward to UF……This Game is different though as we have to beat GT to have a chance to get to the MNCG. UGA will want this one badly as will GT in wanting to spoil it all. This game could be historical in many ways and thats why I expect it to come down to the last 2 minutes……I still don’t trust this team, or yours either…lol

GTpack

November 20th, 2012
7:09 pm

Well, with “Johnson raves about UGA ‘D’”, they did the same on one of the the local radio stations, hint: fan, about our defense….Except it was the reverse. The two afternoon wanna be jocks called our defense “The Worst”. They said if NC could put up 50 against us, then no telling what UGA would do.

In a call in asking listeners to pick a number between 1 and 10, with 10 being “the jackets are gonna beat us”, and 1 being “this one is a gimme” or something close to that, most rated it between a 2 and 3. One wanna be said we would have to run for 330 yds, and Murray would have to throw 4 to 5 interceptions for us to have a chance.

Bottom line is they have seen us play, our defense is awful, our offense usually struggles against big lines, and face it, the ACC coastal is pretty bad this year.

I hate to say it, and don’t want to throw the team under the bus, but I think it will be yet another win for the dwags, and score will be something like 49-17 and that could be too kind. These last 3 games are going to be ugly. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but when BYU and MTSU can take us to the house, I don’t see any hope UNLESS….. Our team (defense and offense) actually plays every down like they want to win and don’t give up until the final whistle blows (OR the dwags all get locked up for their usual troubles).

ylojkt

November 20th, 2012
7:16 pm

Good points Jeff Davis. Nice to hear from a reasonable UGA fan for a change.
Your last statement is telling, neither of us knows who to trust, the team that plays down to their competition, or the team that looks like it could beat anyone.

Jasper Dawg

November 20th, 2012
7:20 pm

Anything can happen any week. Sitting down with my Tech buddy to watch the game while the kids runabout and play. What would really suck is catching the crud from the Jackets and runnin us down before Bama! Hand sanitizer and soap everyone!! :)

JD

November 20th, 2012
7:22 pm

Let me start by saying I am a UGA fan but I am quite worried this year. Tech seems to be able to score with ease and I am not convinced our defense is that great. Despite all the talk about staying focused on Tech it feels life the Dawgs are getting set up. I can’t believe Florida, FSU and Clemson are totally out of the discussion with 10-1 records. I just hope we don’t believe the hype about how good we are and fight for our lives on Saturday.

superDawg

November 20th, 2012
7:28 pm

Time for you nurds to get PUFFED UP!

William

November 20th, 2012
7:29 pm

You heard it here. This is a scary game for UGA. Tech has nothing to lose and will pull out all the stops. Fake punts, onsides kicks, going for it on 4th down, cut blocking, chop blocking, blocking below the waist downfield, etc. If we don’t play with some kind of urgency then it could be a long day. Go Dawgs, please come to play.

yeller bug

November 20th, 2012
7:36 pm

(TECH VIRUS SPREADS ACROSS INTERNET; SHUTS DOWN DOD SERVERS. CRITICAL BENGHAZI TAPE ERASED)

Hope can make one delusional, but always in a good way. I have trouble envisioning how GT can stop UGA—unless horrible play calling by Honey Bobo. Tech may be the best offense the UGA D has seen—however, I can’t see us having multiple 70 yd, 12 play drives that eat up 6 minutes of clock although that would be awesome. UGA has too many playmakers to make a big stop. I would even rotate QBs within a series—bring in Vad to either scramble or throw a pass or two, then back to TW for 4 or 5 option plays to include Days throwing a pass from the option, heck have Beno run a tacklerooskie play.

(PAUL JOHNSON USES KITCHEN SINK TO STOP UP UGA OFFENSE—RICHT PLUM MAD)

All you got CPJ—evil genuis has already defeated the dwags once this year—use every tool in the play book!

Tech is a joke

November 20th, 2012
7:38 pm

Tech is a joke…………DUI lawyer, now that’s sad

GTwreckinBee

November 20th, 2012
7:40 pm

@William
I don’t think a Tech player has been called for a chop block all season. Correct me if I’m wrong with game and player. We will CUT you like crazy though… great pic of the UGA player that was doing all the whining about cut blocks curled up on the couch sucking his thumb…
http://gtsportstalk.com/georgia-tech-football/3950-cut-blocks-chop-blocks-penalties-oh-my.html

GTwreckinBee

November 20th, 2012
7:43 pm

We have to be able to complete short screen passes to keep dwags D honest…
anyone else want to see Golden taking some offensive snaps?

OK, mb94, I'll play your game...

November 20th, 2012
7:45 pm

… Tech lost to a very bad Va Tech team; lost to an overrated UM team; lost to a D1A directional school; lost to a really bad BYU team (and these last three losses were HOME losses, too);and lost to a good Clemson team; beat a D2 school the has 1700 students; beat a really bad MD team, beat a so-so UNC team but gave up 50 points in the process; beat an Ok Dook team; beat a really bad UVA team; and beat a BC team that is the worst in school history.

And you want to make fun of UGA’s 10-1 record and # 3 national ranking – and here you guys think you have “superior” intellectual skills – tsk, tsk…

GT GRAD

November 20th, 2012
7:46 pm

The flu comments are concerning.

I really like Coach PJ and I think he is the best coach for GT!

Go GT…………….beat UGA & FSU (I might be dreaming, but that is what fans do)!!

How great would it be If GT destroys UGA, UGA beats Alabama & FSU gets a win against Florida?

OK, mb94, I'll play your game...

November 20th, 2012
7:47 pm

…and I should have said that the MD team was using a true freshman LINEBACKER as its QB in that game…

1 4 GT

November 20th, 2012
8:03 pm

Ok, mb94, I’ll play your game….I guess don’t teach logical thinking at Georgie….Losing to the teams that OK, mb94 listed, or at best barely beating them and summing the Tech season as pretty poor is about what everyone expects fro a team not even ranked in the top 50, I reckon. But, for Georgie to be ranked #3 by the so called “experts” and having the trouble they had with the teams listed bu mb94 shows that Georgie has fairly noticeable flaws.

5150 UOAD

November 20th, 2012
8:03 pm

The fact is that Tech doesn’t have a chance…we have no defense and a coach who makes poor decisions at crunch time!

1 4 GT

November 20th, 2012
8:03 pm

Georgie dwags think cheerios are donut seeds.

1 4 GT

November 20th, 2012
8:08 pm

OH YEAH!! BTW!! what the fire is a Georgie blog by CT doing on the TECH sports webpage?? HUH?!?! No self respecting GT guy wants to read that junk!

Rick James

November 20th, 2012
8:20 pm

@GT GRAD

How great would it be If GT destroys UGA, UGA beats Alabama & FSU gets a win against Florida?
———————————————————————————————————————————–
How great would it also be if Tech limps into the Orange Bowl at 7-6 gets 70 points hung on them like Clemson did last year after giving up 50 to Georgia and 45 to FSU and the Orange Bowl committe moves to disolve its relationship ACC…Better yet,7 regular season wins or no bowl games,conference champs included..Most likely scenerio Tech loses to Georgia,FSU and whoever they play in the Mucadine Bowl.

Buzzzed

November 20th, 2012
8:20 pm

I just hope Tech doesn’t miss any extra points. They have this problem when playing UGA. First thing that comes to mind is the last time we were in Athens to witness “The Blair Miss Project”

Larry

November 20th, 2012
8:25 pm

Ever heard of a flu vaccine?

Geez!

JB

November 20th, 2012
8:33 pm

If Dawgs bring A game and Murray is on, Tech fans can leave early and beat the traffic. Stop at the Varsity, have a Dawg and talk about next year…or FSU.