Notes: Smith doubtful, Finch probable

1. Georgia Tech A-back Orwin Smith was listed as doubtful on the injury report Thursday in advance of the ACC Championship game against Florida State on Saturday. Center Jay Finch was assigned a “probable” status.

Smith did not practice again Thursday due to an ankle injury suffered in Tech’s Nov. 17 win over Duke. Coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday that if Smith didn’t practice Thursday, he wouldn’t play against Florida State. Finch practiced Thursday after suffering an undisclosed injury in Tuesday’s practice and then missing Wednesday’s practice.

Smith’s likely absence is a considerable disadvantage for the Yellow Jackets, as it would keep their most potent offensive player on the sidelines. Smith had struck a hopeful tone Monday, saying that he thought he would play in Saturday’s game. Without Smith, Johnson will likely move up Synjyn Days, Deon Hill and B.J. Bostic in the A-back rotation alongside starter Robbie Godhigh.

Finch’s availability, meanwhile, would provide stability and continuity for Tech’s offensive line, which, last Saturday’s loss to Georgia aside, has shown improvement in the second half of the season.

2. It won’t be quite enough of a challenge for Georgia Tech to face a defense ranked second in total defense in FBS and an offense averaging 7.1 yards per play, the second highest rate in the country. The special teams of Florida State, Tech’s opponent in Saturday’s ACC title game, will also be the best that the Yellow Jackets have faced this season.

So says Tech special-teams coordinator David Walkosky.

“There’s no question,” Walkosky said. “You watch them, you see the guys all accomplish their goals in their blocks in what they’re trying to do. They’re all in the right position throughout the play. The other thing is they’re very physical. Their kickoff team, when they run down the field, they’ve got bad intentions.”

Kicker Dustin Hopkins has made 24 of 28 field goals, including 5-for-5 from 50 yards or more. He has 40 touchbacks on 95 kickoffs. The kickoff cover team is ranked first in the ACC with an average opponent start point just shy of the 22-yard line. The Seminoles have returned three punts for touchdowns.

By comparison, Tech is ninth in the ACC in punt net, 11th in kickoff coverage and last in field-goal accuracy. Last Saturday, Tech opened the door for Georgia by allowing Malcolm Mitchell to take the opening kickoff to the Tech 44-yard line. The kickoff and punt return units are both fifth, which is moderately encouraging for Tech, as FSU is 11th in punt net.

“We’ve got to eliminate the bad ones this week in order to win,” Walkosky said.

3. At the ACC media days event in Greensboro, N.C., prior to the season, Tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu didn’t spend much time talking with Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel.

“There were a lot of people,” Attaochu said. “But he’s a big dude.”

Manuel, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, is ranked No. 8 in FBS in passing efficiency, completing 67.4 percent of his passes and throwing 22 touchdown passes. His size and agility makes him tough to bring down either in the pocket or in the open field.

“You’ve got to hit, wrap and give everything you have to bring him down,” said Walkosky, also the defensive line coach. “He’s a big, physical man.”

4. The Ramblin’ Wreck will not lead the team onto the field Saturday, driver Stephen Webber said. ACC spokesman Mike Finn said it is due to Bank of America Stadium policy. Florida State’s Chief Osceola and Renegade will also not take the field. Webber said he’ll still bring the Wreck to Charlotte for fan events and park it outside the Stadium. … Safety Jemea Thomas will wear jersey No. 40 for Tech as part of the team’s season-long tribute to former team captain and linebacker Julian Burnett, who suffered a career-ending neck injury in last season’s Sun Bowl. … Thursday night, the least expensive tickets for the title game were available on ticket re-sale website Stubhub for $2.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

33 comments Add your comment

pw12

November 29th, 2012
9:03 pm

Let tevin wear 40 he played the best with it on..

pw12

November 29th, 2012
9:23 pm

Also if orwin can go and needs to not practice all week then so be it..kid deserves to play..

GT Fan

November 29th, 2012
9:29 pm

IDK, I think I’m smelling academic issues for Orwin.

It appeared his ankle injury was minor. Now he’s out 2 weeks later? Something ain’t stirrin the koolaid, Ace.

pw12

November 29th, 2012
9:32 pm

semister is not over yet. so he can play in this game…..if he issues he shouldnt have played a long time ago..

Jacket Time

November 29th, 2012
9:32 pm

Well we are where we wanted to be at the begining of the season so lets finish strong!

Jacket Time

November 29th, 2012
9:33 pm

Hopefully udofia comes back sooner than smith will.

Ken Sugiura

November 29th, 2012
9:51 pm

put away the tin foil hat, GT Fan. it’s an ankle injury.

pw12

November 29th, 2012
10:00 pm

tellem ken….troll…hope we come out like i did on this post fast,furious, and first..

FL Jacket

November 29th, 2012
10:02 pm

Can’t Orwin take “the shot” like in Varsity Blues??

j/k

Jacket Time

November 29th, 2012
10:12 pm

Is that Ms Davis?

Tech Fan Since 1950

November 29th, 2012
11:01 pm

Memo to the file: Why have a venue for the ACC Championship where they do not allow the Rambling’ Wreck on the field? Shame on Charlotte and Bank of America Stadium! Kinda makes one hope these Tech to The Big Ten rumors might come true.

Tech93

November 29th, 2012
11:49 pm

We don’t need to worry about them not allowing the Rambling Wreck on the field. We need to just be thankful they are letting our team on the field after this season!

yeller bug

November 30th, 2012
1:41 am

Good one Tech93. It has been an UUUGGGLLY year—more pathetic to look at than the UGA mascot. OK—not quite, but close.

But hey, we’re at the ball so let’s dance. To maintain this ugly streak and add further insult, injury and embarassment to the ACC, it would be most appropriate for us to win given we got there by the scandal of another and le coup de grace pour tres ugliest would be to win on the last play by a bad call by the ref.

We get a championship we shouldn’t have won to make up for the championship we shouldn’t have lost.

you can't fix stupid or bulldogs

November 30th, 2012
5:33 am

Just line up and play and see what happens if you put an effort into it.

TVFan

November 30th, 2012
5:54 am

Days, Hill and Bostic are the future and have shown they can get the job done. Too bad about Smith. He hasn’t had a great season and now with the injury, I don’t see him in the NFL draft, maybe a free agent.

ToeMeetsLeather

November 30th, 2012
6:39 am

Glad to see Walkosky has come to the conclusion that we need to eliminate the bad plays on special teams. It only took twelve games but I guess that’s progress. Seriously, I sure do hope the Buktner(sp?) kid has a strong leg.

Orwin has been a solid player for Tech, but he sure has missed a lot of big games. Need Days, Bostic and Zennon to step up. They all have big play ability.

I guess the big question remains, who gets the majority of the snaps at QB? Hope it’s Lee, I think it would make for a more exciting game and help with recruiting to see a more “open it up style” on offense. Just MHO.

djack0062

November 30th, 2012
6:56 am

Get well Orwin, hope you can make the bowl…if not appreciate the dedication on the field!

wreckbone

November 30th, 2012
7:18 am

W have done horrible OOC. But in conference NEITHER ineligible team had a better record. Its not like e were 5-3 and they were 7-1. We were all 5-3. Coastal was down not just tech. Johnson take it to the knoles! Was taking to one on a call for work yesterday. Same arrogant Lotty that they usually are. Let’s get that TO going and make a game of this. I hope Vad gets some real play time. Just seems him playing in north Carolina he did very well at chapel hill. Hope he has a lot of fans in Charlotte and has a great day. I still don’t think these noles are like they used to be. They got man handled by Florida like we did by Georgia. Go jackets!

Tech Actuary

November 30th, 2012
7:36 am

Some strange and bizarre posts here..I haven’t stumbled into the UGA blog have I?

dagnabit

November 30th, 2012
7:38 am

Who is next years DC.

juvenal

November 30th, 2012
8:13 am

our best player on O if he brings his best is Vad…………TW’s best does not win this game……….

btgt69

November 30th, 2012
9:35 am

thanks Ken,, thanks for the info.. Find me at the Blackfinn Rally,, I’ll buy you a beer

juvenal

November 30th, 2012
10:12 am

yeah, Ken, i hope you get by, i had to miss the duke game…….will even spring for scotch, isn’t that what you journalists drink?

TechApp fan

November 30th, 2012
10:27 am

Note….teams that score first in playoff games are hard to beat! Johnson, please score first! Do not kick to fsu at the start!

Get well Smith.

LiveattheOmni

November 30th, 2012
10:45 am

Too bad about Orwin…we shouldn’t be in this game in the first place, so I hope CPJ opens up the playbook for the boys…If we win the coin toss, let’s take the ball first and set the tone early. And can we kick a ball out of the end zone, please! Go Jackets!

[...] head coach Paul Johnson stated Wednesday that, if Smith didn’t practice the next day, he wouldn’t play in the ACC championship game against Florida State [...]

ACC Championship opportunity

November 30th, 2012
12:35 pm

`

It’s time for the Jackets to win a big game and get some respect.

GT Dude

November 30th, 2012
12:51 pm

Its time to take advantage of a good situation.

By hook or crook we made it to the Ball, now let’s go Dance and bring the ACC Championship trophy back to the Tech campus (besides we have an open spot waitng for it)

Go Jackets!!!!

GT Fan

November 30th, 2012
1:29 pm

Ken, I watched every snap of the Duke game. Orwin wasn’t carried off the field. In fact, it was tough to even see where/when in the game he got injured. Plus, the sideline reported even said it was questionable that he might return to play that day, showing him walking/standing on the sideline. OS sure didn’t look like he had a miss-the-next-2-games injured ankle.

Tommy

November 30th, 2012
1:53 pm

If you can’t put the kickoff in the endzone, kick it out of bounds!

10per

November 30th, 2012
3:10 pm

Not having Orwin hurts us.

But isn’t it time to see what Days really can do? Put him in coach!

Our Special teams are so bad at kick coverage…I hope those fast FSU kick returners only burn us for 1 touchdown.

PLAY ORWIN

November 30th, 2012
8:32 pm

I think the trainers are nutts….who says Orwin cannot play? At least a play or two…give the guy a cortosone shot, wrap it up and play ball, wtf

PLAY ORWIN

November 30th, 2012
8:36 pm

not even sure why you would interview Walkosky..he is a lousy coach for GT. Pray he is gone after this season.

Hey AJC sportswriters, I hear Coley Harvey is coming back to AJC…GT fans will be glad.