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

William Casey

November 21st, 2012
9:39 am

I’m not delusional, Birmingham. I’ll take GT +37 for $1,000. Hundred dollar bills as they say on “Pawn Stars.” LOL

1 4 GT

November 21st, 2012
10:23 am

My silly cheerios joke musta struck a raw nerve with Old Dog. Anyone getting raw over something that stupid has to be……………….well, I won’t say. If I did he might get apoplexy.

Sugar Hill Dawg

November 21st, 2012
10:33 am

Looking forward to Saturday – always a great show! Like most Dawgs fans, I’m a bit nervous re: Tech’s offensive attack. I think totally shutting Tech down is unrealistic, but just having played Georgia Southern should be helpful. I still have nightmares of the last Tech victory in Athens! Protect the Hedges!

Sugar Hill Dawg

November 21st, 2012
10:41 am

1 4 GT – just saw the cheerios comment – FUNNY! Made my day. Both my boys are Auburn men – can’t wait to use it on ‘em! To all of my Tech brothers – have a Happy Thanksgiving! (I’m pretty sure Saturday won’t be as joyful!) THWGT! (Tech fan 364 days of the year – NOT ON SATURDAY!!!)

Skeptic

November 21st, 2012
10:57 am

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

GTFan

November 21st, 2012
11:01 am

UGA is a joke!!! Easiest schedule in the SEC EAST!!!! OVERRATED!!!

Gorilla Biscuit

November 21st, 2012
11:12 am

Georgia will run through Tech like a pack of angry Gorillas, snatching arms out of socket and causing mayhem along the way.

GT Lee

November 21st, 2012
11:19 am

Gorilla Biscuit

November 21st, 2012
11:12 am

Georgia will run through Tech like a pack of angry Gorillas, snatching arms out of socket and causing mayhem along the way.

Ga week translation: MilkBone Monkey Still In Shock After Death Of Father Ivan At Atlanta Zoo

Gorilla Biscuit

November 21st, 2012
11:25 am

Ivan was only a distant relative.

I will not be able to attend the funeral of the Georgia Tech football program next week, though I will go to Walmart and buy a card expressing my approval of it.

Did the real 1 4 GT really write this...

November 21st, 2012
11:45 am

…”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.”

If so, and I really try not to get into name calling on these blogs, but, as mentioned in my post that is the subject of this rebuttal, some Tech guys are really, really, dense.

The point of my comments was that both Tech and UGA played really “soft” schedules, with one going 10-1 and the other 6-5, so far. However, they both reached their goals of playing for their league championships, so to denigrate one for playing a “soft” schedule, as mb94 did, and now you write, is really, really “not smart”. UGA did not rank themselves #3, or UF #4 – unbiased observers did that, so deal with them, don;t blame UGA.

Now, if Tech beats UGA, kudos to Tech; and if UGA beats Tech, then kudos to UGA. But to try to belittle a team who played within the rules and won most of their games (they can only play the teams on their schedule, which, by the way, they do not make up in their entirety) is quite silly, especially when one team went 10-1(so far) and the other 6-5 (so far)…

Georgia Tech University

November 21st, 2012
12:02 pm

I just hope we can escape Athens without every major record being set against us. Can I get an AMEN!

mgdawg

November 21st, 2012
12:29 pm

Johnson has won an ACC title? You might want to talk to the NCAA about that.

5150 UOAD

November 21st, 2012
12:37 pm

mgdwag…..I saw the game. I’ve seen the rings. I know TECH won an ACC Title.

Go Dawgs!

November 21st, 2012
12:54 pm

Go Dawgs!

November 21st, 2012
12:55 pm

UGA Fan for Life!!!

November 21st, 2012
12:59 pm

I have been a big UGA fan for a long time, since I failed out of high school my freshman year which was a while. I follow them every day. They will beat Bama this weekend and will win next month against Tech! Go Dawgs!!!

blackandwhitestripes

November 21st, 2012
1:21 pm

the leg-humpers are focusing on Georgia Tech and Alabama is focusing on the National Championship game.

blackandwhitestripes

November 21st, 2012
1:23 pm

are all the georgie players out of jail and ready to play this Sat?

blackandwhitestripes

November 21st, 2012
1:24 pm

Roll Tide!!!!!!!

GT4Life

November 21st, 2012
1:29 pm

Sorry guys – I was an out of state student (Florida) so I never really had to true hate for UGA like my instate classmates did. Call it sour grapes, but I’ve never really cared if we beat or lost to Georgia. Win, lose or draw, I think we have bigger fish to fry in FSU. We lose to the mutts and so what? We lose to FSU and we go to the toilet bowl.

harleyman

November 21st, 2012
1:31 pm

And what do the fans say when the Tech cheerleaders run onto the field? GO DAWGS, SIC ‘EM, WOOF!WOOF WOOF! WOOF!

Stiffneck

November 21st, 2012
1:47 pm

Jackets need to get ready for FSU who they can be beat. UGA has too much talent and will win by at least 21 points.

1 4 GT

November 21st, 2012
1:59 pm

Did the real 1 4……yes I wrote that. You basically, in your response to me, more or less seem to agree with me. Yes, we both had relatively easy schedules. We had a couple of bad losses that better D play could have prevented. Then we had one super bad loss when the team seemed to be in the doldrums & demoralized. Tech could have been sitting on a 9-2 or better record right now, but the overly complicated defense of our departed DC (I won’t call a name that is not here to defend himself) prevented that. Our record is what it is. Not offering excuses. Our record just shows how the ball bounces at times. We have been playing better from week to week & continued to improve from week to week. While y’all prevailed over the teams that gave you trouble, you’ve only been truly tested for a complete game twice and one of those was about to take a late lead when they committed their 6th turnover. Hence your lofty rank & gaudy record & possible rewards. Is Tech as bad as most folks think? Is Georgie as good as the “experts” think? I say no to both questions. In the comment you have referred to, I was merely trying to point out how our seasons closely resemble each other. All real, honest Georgie fans have to know how close y’all were to be sitting where you are, but, again, y’all prevailed. Y’all overcame trouble, we didn’t. Good for y’all! (that was hard to say) Y’all might have more highly thought of players (hs star rankings), but we have some players too. Personally, I think the desire to upset the apple cart for Georgie & reclaim some glory for themselves, is a bigger motivator than Georgie will ever have. But that’s just me. We shall see. Let the game begin. If Tech can continue to play & make adjustments like they have, it will be an old fashioned slobberknocker of a game that just might keep all on the edge of their seats until 00:00 shows.

Black Out Pro Combat Dawg

November 21st, 2012
2:09 pm

Any Tech fan with common sense will be more worried about “Gurshall” than Murray. Tech has seen Murray twice and everyone knows he’s capable of having big games as well as meltdown games when the going gets tough.

What Tech hasn’t seen since Knowshon Moreno is a star RB in red and black. Yeah, Crowell had a decent game last season but he was hurt and taking himself out all the time down the stretch. Marshall is better than Crowell and Gurley is the best freshman RB UGA has seen since 34. If you remember the famous “We Run This State” game when UGA lined up and pounded Tech into submission using only decent RBs, the prospects of the 2012 UGA running game should have them worried.

This is a textbook mismatch. Tech has no choice but to focus on stopping the run which means play action and straight one-on-one bombs by UGA should be there for the taking. Tech’s only shot is for Mike Bobo to relapse and forget how to call plays that work (abandon the run and nullify play action). Any high school coach in America can coach UGA to a victory this weekend.

BullDawgRick

November 21st, 2012
2:40 pm

To all the Tech fans –

Happy Thanksgiving & safe travels to & from the Classic City Saturday..

Skeptic

November 21st, 2012
4:03 pm

BullDawgRick

Very tasteful post, thanks. Is GA 316 still called the bloodiest highway in the state?

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