Notes: Pass rush crucial for Tech


1. Stopping the Georgia running game is priority No. 1 for Georgia Tech and interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly. It is no small task – freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall average 6.3 and 6.5 yards per carry, respectively.

“They’ve got some playmakers, so they’ll make some plays,” Kelly said. “We’ve just got to stop the run, eliminate the big plays, get some turnovers. That’s going to be huge. Then get off the field on third down.”

After that, the Yellow Jackets will attempt to pressure Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray, who leads FBS in passing efficiency. Murray, who dissected the Jackets last year with four touchdowns and 252 passing yards with one interception, has completed 65.7 percent of his passes and has thrown one interception per 43.3 attempts. Throw out his three-interception performance against Florida and the rate is one pick per 69.8 passes.

Tech’s pass rush has improved in recent weeks, as demonstrated by outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu’s five sacks in the past three games and a third-down efficiency rate of 38.1 percent in the past two games.

“The biggest thing is not necessarily in sacks that you judge it, but how you affect the quarterback and make him move his feet,” Kelly said. “That’s when you get those cheap interceptions, when a guy gets his hand up or gets in a guy’s face and his release point’s a little high. That’s when you get those picks. (The pass rush) has been better. That’s something that we concentrate on, but this week’s going to be a huge challenge.”

Outside linebackers coach Joe Speed said that Murray has a strong arm, can connect on all the pass routes in the Georgia playbook all over the field.

“He knows exactly where he’s supposed to throw based upon coverage, so we know we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us,” he said.

While Murray, listed at 6-foot-1, does not have the height of the prototype drop-back passer, Kelly paid him a high compliment, saying he is “very similar to Drew Brees in that he finds (throwing) lanes. Those guys that find lanes, it makes it a little bit harder from a rush standpoint, because if you widen the gaps, then he can find those alleys to throw. So you have to be disciplined. He can run. He’s a good athlete, but not so much for the scramble as much as giving him those lanes to throw.”

Wide receivers Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell have proven a dangerous pair, and Kelly is wary of tight end Arthur Lynch, as well. Last year, tight end Orson Charles was one of the most impactful players in the Bulldogs’ victory, catching five passes for 95 yards.

“They always have athletes at tight end,” Kelly said. “There’s some things we’ve looked at that we’ve got to be conscious of.”

Nose tackle T.J. Barnes has improved in pushing back the pocket. Coaches will continue to try to find Attaochu one-on-one matchups to attack. They’ve put plenty of work into improving pass rush techniques in general “because right now, we’re not getting enough wins to produce those big negative plays,” Speed said.

2. A-back Orwin Smith’s availability will likely be a game-time decision, Johnson said Wednesday. Smith suffered an ankle injury in the second half of the Duke game and did not return. Smith, Tech’s most dynamic offensive player, was limited physically for last year’s Georgia game, also. He came into the game with a turf-toe injury that later required surgery.

Losing Smith would be no small setback. He is averaging 9.0 yards carry this season and has 14 plays of 20 yards or more on 92 touches from scrimmage.

There is no set replacement for Smith.

“It would depend on what we’re doing,” coach Paul Johnson said. “It could be B.J. (Bostic), it could be Synjyn (Days), it could be Deon (Hill).”

Johnson was vague on who will take placekicks and kickoffs. The choices would likely be either Chris Tanner, who has done both for the past two games, or David Scully.

Said Johnson, “We’ll see when the game starts. We’ll see if those guys are healthy, if they can kick.”

3. Provided Tech stays with its quarterback rotation of Washington and Vad Lee, Tech’s visit to Sanford Stadium will be the most treacherous game atmosphere for Lee, who since he began receiving considerable snaps has played at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Maryland’s Byrd Stadium and North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium. The combined attendance at Byrd and Kenan won’t match the 92,000 awaiting the Yellow Jackets Saturday. Lee didn’t play in road games at Clemson and Virginia Tech.

“I don’t know that it’s that big of a deal,” Bohannon said. “We’ve played in some pretty good environments, so I think he’ll be fine.”

4. Miami coach Al Golden on Tech’s ACC Coastal title: “You can try to discredit Georgia Tech and how they got there all you want. But I believe Coach (Johnson) was sitting there at 3-5 and made some transitions and pulled the team together, So here’s what I’m going to say. It’s a credit to Coach Johnson and his team, and the adversity that they’ve overcome, and they really have they played well down the stretch. Obviously, we’re disappointed we don’t have that opportunity, but I think at the same time, Coach Johnson will tell you he’s proud of the way his kids held together.”

5. Athletic fields manager Jon DeWitt shipped off the stencil to paint the end zone for the ACC Championship game earlier this week. The stencil is a plastic sheet measuring 160 x 30 feet. With paint build-up and shipping pallet, the stencil weighs about 120 pounds and was packed into a box 48”x40”36″.

The stencil spells out “Georgia Tech.”

6. Inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy will wear No. 40 against Georgia in honor of former team member Julian Burnett. Nealy, who played alongside Burnett at inside linebacker last season, will be the first sophomore to wear it. … ESPN will carry Saturday’s game. Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Brian Griese (color) and Jenn Brown (sideline) will call the game.

In case you missed it…

Updated Tech bowl scenarios

Notes: Johnson raves about UGA ‘D’

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

37 comments Add your comment

Flapjacket

November 23rd, 2012
2:46 pm

Flapjacket

November 23rd, 2012
2:46 pm

Oh, and first.

Coach Z

November 23rd, 2012
2:56 pm

Great info about the stencil Ken.

George Stein

November 23rd, 2012
2:59 pm

By off the field on third down, I’m assuming he doesn’t mean give up a touchdown. Because, y’know, we kick ass at that!

I Iove Jan Kemp

November 23rd, 2012
3:17 pm

The D actually HAS improved some,whether it’s enough,I don’t know.Will have to play their BEST game to have a chance.O’s definitely stepped up recently,gonna have to execute,get on the perimeter and block!GO JACKETS!

Wrecker

November 23rd, 2012
3:18 pm

What will kill our defense (I hope not) will be the play-action pass. I expect our safeties to get suckered at least once, maybe twice, into letting King or someone else behind them by biting on the fake. Murray is no Greene with the play fake, but he is pretty good.

RamblingWreck87

November 23rd, 2012
3:19 pm

I wonder if the # 40 thing will become a new tradition? I kinda like the idea, each game a single tech player takes on the mantle of the yellow jacket, to give it all on the field they aren’t playing for personal recognition and are instead playing as the embodiment of the team’s spirit. Each player that has worn # 40 this year has played with heart.

FL Jacket

November 23rd, 2012
3:20 pm

GS…you’ve become such a negative Nancy…

fuzzybee78

November 23rd, 2012
3:43 pm

On defense , if we do what we did last year we are going to get the same result.

I think we will need to take some chances with either a corner or safety blitz at unexpected times perhaps to create a sack or force an interception. Ide rather go down trying to make something happen than get picked apart!

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2012
3:45 pm

Before the trolls jump in with their 70-0 predictions, the current betting line indicates 39-25 (14 point differential and 64 over-under). That is close enough for some optimism.

I Iove Jan Kemp

November 23rd, 2012
4:00 pm

Don’t want any “moral victories”,that’s for losers!Gotta give em their best shot!Winning tomorrow would make up for ‘09&’06 when Tech had the better team and the mutts stole two games.GO JACKETS!!pull out ALL the stops!leave it ALL on the field!!!!

Jacket Time

November 23rd, 2012
4:14 pm

Optimism is tough for this one. Are there any Saints on our team cause we need a miracle?

Trust me I want this win more than anything but we need to be realistic. The dargs know what is at stake and will be very prepared. We won’t have any edge and given that uga is way better than BYU on both sides of the ball…yes…. Miracle

Keep the faith

Jacket Time

November 23rd, 2012
4:19 pm

Ugh 2006, the reggie ball fumble and then the camera shows him smiling and laughing on the sidelines. Still gives me shivers. This would be the greatest victory of all time we’re talking US vs Russia 1980 hockey gold medal match type victory.

Tony

November 23rd, 2012
4:23 pm

Stopping Murray is the top priority! He can carve you better than a Thanksgiving turkey. That is to his credit; he’s that good! If Tech cannot get any pressure on him, it will be over before it begins. Good luck Jackets!!!

JetBuzz

November 23rd, 2012
4:25 pm

I like tomorrow’s match-up between sidelines. I’d put a game-day CPJ up against anyone.

Go Jackets! What’s the Good Word?

ramblingbuzz

November 23rd, 2012
4:30 pm

Yep, think Coach K has his priorities reversed. Whenever teams have stopped UGA’s run game, Murray has torched them with the pass. Can’t ignore either phase, but the passing game worries me most. Murray put on a clinic against Groh’s defense last year.,

I Iove Jan Kemp

November 23rd, 2012
4:31 pm

Easy now JT,wouldn’t have to be a miracle,just make the right reads and make the blocks.It’s no mystery what Tech’s gonna try,they’ve GOT to execute.Tech has made about 250 “knock down blocks” in their past three games.Gotta keep that up,they’ve came together and they need to KEEP it going.

ramblingbuzz

November 23rd, 2012
4:32 pm

I hope CCK is throwing out a red herring or two re: his game plan.

Freddie Miller

November 23rd, 2012
5:22 pm

It IS whether you win or lose and if our guys are going to win they are going to have to counter Georgie’s dirty play by playing dirty and by playing tough and playing smart: don’t do anything that the refs HAVE to call, but if Georgie is doing it to you, it is something you can get away with doing to them. All you pencil necks who know it all and whose daddies played pee wee football save your whining for your mamas. This is going to be a fight and the men who are still delivering the punishment at the end of the day will win the game.

Jacket Time

November 23rd, 2012
5:57 pm

K Kemp but the odds are against us. uga is motivated and by no means are they looking past us and will be ready. Our best may not be good enough is all as they will be at their best. Yes we are playing better but we will not win a shootout like vs UNC and even Duke’s offense gave our guys a run for their money. We have to play unlike anything we have seen this season. We have to be more than perfect and better than our best to win this.

Ignition

November 23rd, 2012
6:06 pm

It’s gonna be a complete annihilation …

I love Jan Kemp

November 23rd, 2012
6:26 pm

Agree with you JT,but it’s within reach.If everyone does their job,they will have a chance.GO JACKETS!!!TCB!DO YOUR JOBS!!!!!

Ken Sugiura

November 23rd, 2012
6:51 pm

Coach Z – i’m not sure if you were being sarcastic, but thanks. not exactly earth-shattering news, but i thought it was kind of interesting.

UGA Frank

November 23rd, 2012
6:54 pm

Orwin Smith is questionable? That’s not good, I hope he plays. Doesn’t Tech have several good A-backs though? I’ve heard Days was good.

ToeMeetsLeather

November 23rd, 2012
7:07 pm

Hate to say it, but we need Vad to play practically the entire game to have a chance. We will need the UNC game offense in lieu of the Duke game offense, particularly with O. Smith at less than 100%. Vad has the ability to change busted plays into TDs and we will need that type of playmaker to keep the chains moving. I’m sure we will see Washington for a few series, but our only chance in this game is to get into a shoot-out and in up with the ball last. Just MHO. TML in a few hours folks.

93 Dawg

November 23rd, 2012
11:20 pm

jet buzz – I have to ask, how did a game day cpj turn out againt vt, miami, mtsu,clemson byu? Paul’s Johnson wil get embarrassed again tomorrow. And you will have to apply for the Tech Waiver (previously known as the Bowl Eligibilty Waiver)

Coach Z

November 23rd, 2012
11:48 pm

Not at all Ken. Those are details that you don’t hear about, but often wonder how the end result comes about. I appreciate it!

Coach Z

November 23rd, 2012
11:51 pm

Not at all Ken. Those are the details that you don’t hear about, but often wonder how the end result comes about. I appreciate it!

Coach Z

November 23rd, 2012
11:52 pm

So much so I said it twice.

MC

November 24th, 2012
7:45 am

If we can’t stop the run game it’s over. They’ll eat up the clock and without the ball we’re dead in the water.

RMikel58

November 24th, 2012
8:44 am

Im sure Tech is gonna blitz on almost every down to help with putting pressure on Murray. I just hope that Georgia sees that and Murray passes slants and dumps the ball off to the RB or TE for big gains.
Picking up blitzes is one of our weak spots around the ends. Im sure Tech watched S Carolinas film against us and saw some opportunities there.
Clowney got in so much that it threw off the rhythm of Murray passing game and so our passing game sucked that day.
This is the only way Tech has a chance is by blitzing us on most downs. Give Murray time and he’ll complete alot of passes and grow confident with each play.
Its not only Georgias offense you have to worry about……….we have a pretty good Defense as well infact #20 in the nation against the pass.
I hope that nobody gets hurt on either side and that Georgia shows up for this game. I know Tech will play above their abilities as long as Georgia just doesnt play below theirs.
Should be a good game and i hope its not even close by the 3rd Quarter and Georgia can put in their 2nd and 3rd string players to finish the season.
No predictions because anytime its these 2 teams then anything is up in the air.

END the RIVALRY

November 24th, 2012
9:19 am

One post says UGA has NFL caliber players at five positions, and Tech has none. This is no rivalry.

Ol'JacketFan

November 24th, 2012
10:44 am

Let’s see 6 senior starters for Tech, of those Uzzi, Watts, Smith and Cross have an excellent chance to be drafted and play at the next level. TJ and Sweeting have an outside chance as undrafted FAs. So much for no NFL caliber players on the Tech sidelines.

Ol'JacketFan

November 24th, 2012
10:45 am

Oops 7 senior starters, Tevin will not play on the next level ;-)

Ol'JacketFan

November 24th, 2012
11:01 am

Oops my bad, Watts is a RSJr he will be back next year! and then go to the NFL :-)

5150 UOAD

November 24th, 2012
11:16 am

TCU over #16 Texas @ Texas
Arizona St over #24 @ Arizona
Washington St over #25 Washington

#7LSU looked bad against @ Arkiesaw only by 7.
#14 Nebraskea looked bad against @ Iowa by 6

Anything can happen.

POT Dawg

November 24th, 2012
2:23 pm

I don’t know whether to say yikes or ouch