Archive for November, 2012

Jackets give helping hand to Bulldogs in rout

ATHENS – Georgia didn’t need much help to beat Georgia Tech, but the Bulldogs received plenty. The result was predictable – a 42-10 loss for the Yellow Jackets on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

Seeking perhaps the biggest upset in the history of the rivalry, Tech turned the ball over twice, botched offensive plays, tackled poorly and gave the Bulldogs generous field position.

The No. 3 Bulldogs did the rest, plowing through Tech’s defense and proving themselves the superior outfit for the 11th time in the past 12 years. It’s the most one-sided 12-game stretch in series history, replacing 10-2 runs that spanned 1971-1982, 1972-1983 and 1986-1997.

The loss brought to a halt Tech’s second-half run in which the Jackets rallied from a 2-4 start with four wins in five games to gain bowl eligibility and a spot in the ACC Championship game. After this dispiriting defeat, Paul Johnson will have to re-train his team’s focus on what could be even a greater challenge – …

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Live blog: It’s Tech-Georgia

Whatever Georgia Tech’s chances were coming into Saturday’s game against No. 3 Georgia, the Yellow Jackets’ chances took a direct hit with A-back Orwin Smith sideline with an ankle injury suffered in the second half of last week’s win over Duke.

A couple thoughts

This is going to be a tough, tough climb. As I noted in a couple stories, I think it’ll take a near-perfect game for Tech and then a couple breaks on top of that. Georgia isn’t unbeatable, but the Jackets haven’t faced an offense like this since Clemson. The second-half run has been built on teams with mostly ineffective offenses.

Boston College (98), BYU (65), Maryland (120), North Carolina (17), Duke (87). Georgia is No. 25.

Similarly, the Tech is definitely improved offensively, but, again, Georgia will be a different kind of test.

Boston College (104), BYU (No.3), Maryland (No. 15), North Carolina (No. 55) and Duke (No. 95). Georgia is No. 20.

That said, I think Tech’s got a chance. The team is …

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Orwin Smith out, Attaochu sick

A-back Orwin Smith will not play in Saturday’s Georgia Tech-Georgia game. Smith, who suffered an ankle injury in last Saturday’s win over Duke, was considered a game-time decision. During warm-ups at Sanford Stadium, Smith stood on the sidelines in his jersey and warm-up pants as the team went through drills on its side of the field.

On top of that, outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu is feeling the effects of the flu bug that has hit the team in the past two weeks. Attaochu has five sacks in the past three games. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said earlier this week that he considered him the player that the Bulldogs offense has to watch out for most. He is Tech’s top defensive playmaker.

Smith is a considerable loss for Tech, as he is its most dynamic offensive player. 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. Coach Paul Johnson named Synjyn Days, B.J. Bostic or …

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Tech upset bid starts in the middle

By rule of physiology and physics, football players gradually wear down over the course of the season. For Georgia Tech B-back David Sims, despite playing a brutal position, the opposite has held true.
After starting the season recovering from a stress fracture in his shin, Sims has progressed through injuries to his ankle and hamstring before finally the ability to play pain-free blessedly returned. Sims, playing the feature position in Tech’s spread-option offense, said he feels the best he’s felt all season.
Told that it must be nice to run the ball the way he know he can, Sims replied, “You have no idea.”
Consider Sims, then, a fitting metaphor for the Yellow Jackets’ season. After stumbling through the first half of the season, Tech has found its groove heading into the showdown at Sanford Stadium with No. 3 Georgia (10-1). There are no shortage of reasons to believe Tech is doomed. The Jackets (6-5) have never beaten the Bulldogs when they’ve been ranked …

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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 …

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Quayshawn Nealy Q&A

To stand a chance Saturday against Georgia, Georgia Tech will probably require its best run defense game of the year. For that to happen, Tech sophomore inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy will have to be at his peak, taking on Georgia tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and fullback Zander Ogletree.

Nealy, tied for second on the team in tackles with 67 and the ACC co-linebacker of the week two weeks ago, talked with the AJC Wednesday about the Yellow Jackets, the Bulldogs, the flu bug plaguing the team and his tuba skills. Questions and answers were edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: Who on the team has the most hate for Georgia?

A: I’d probably have to say (defensive end) Izaan Cross, I guess because he’s been around for the longest, he’s built up the most hate for them. He tells us out there at practice, ‘Y’all need to get this together, because these boys aren’t going to play (around) with us,’ and stuff like that. I can tell, I can sense it in his eyes, …

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Tech hoops opens DirecTV Classic Thursday

With it being Georgia week, it’s easy to miss, but the Georgia Tech basketball team will open the DirecTV Classic Thursday night at 9 p.m. on ESPNU, a good way to wind down Thanksgiving. (Particularly if you actually get ESPNU.)

Tech will play Rice in its opener of the eight-team tournament. The Yellow Jackets will play either California or Drake Friday. After a day off Saturday, their final game will be against one of the four teams on the other side of the bracket – Drexel, Pacific, Saint Mary’s or Xavier. All games are on ESPNU or ESPN2.

You can check for updates and game times on the Tech website. The Jackets will go from there to Champaign, Ill., for their ACC/Big Ten Challenge (insert Maryland joke here) game against Illinois. It’s next Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

I spoke with Brian Gregory in passing Tuesday. He seemed excited to take the players on the road for what could be a potentially valuable time of forging chemistry. He spoke with media Monday, a session …

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Updated Tech bowl scenarios

1. Georgia Tech doesn’t need added incentive for Saturday’s game against Georgia. But if it wants it, here it is. The Yellow Jackets are likely destined for a repeat trip to the Sun Bowl if they fall to Georgia Saturday and then to Florida State in the ACC title game.

Should the Jackets beat Florida State, they’ll head to the Orange Bowl. But if they lose both, they’ll fall to 6-7 and probably be passed up by the two bowls that pick first and second after the BCS bowls in the ACC’s selection order, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Russell Athletic Bowl (formerly the Champs Sports Bowl).

The Sun Bowl, where the Jackets lost to Utah last year, is contractually obligated to select the ACC runner-up if it’s available. Tech players and coaches enjoyed the trip to El Paso, Texas, but likely would prefer a different destination.

At 6-7, the Jackets would first require a bowl-eligibility waiver from the NCAA to be considered as a team with a sub-.500 record, a matter that …

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Tech selects AD search firm

Georgia Tech has hired search firm CarrSports Consulting to assist in its hiring of an athletic director to replace Dan Radakovich.

The Gainesville, Fla., firm’s previous clients include Duke, Texas, LSU, Virginia, North Carolina, N.C. State and Florida. The firm will work with school president G.P. “Bud” Peterson and the search committee chaired by Tech graduate and Georgia Tech Foundation board of trustees member Stephen Zelnak.

Zelnak, who provided lead gifts on the basketball practice facility as well as the football team meeting room, said Tuesday that the committee has begun meeting and considering input from alumni and athletic department staff.

“President Peterson, I think, wants to solicit the best inputs that he can get,” Zelnak said. “I think that’s exactly what he’s doing. I don’t get any sense that there are any predetermined choices here. It’s going to be a wide-open process.”

Zelnak declined to name candidates nominated by alumni or …

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Tech’s resource at Georgia Southern

For Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, the video of Georgia’s 45-14 win over Georgia Southern wasn’t of great use.

The Bulldogs defended the Eagles’ spread-option scheme similarly to how they did Tech’s offense the past two years under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

“They played their base defense, which is what they’ve done against us the last two years,” Johnson said. “They didn’t do a whole lot differently.”

What was likely of greater benefit was a phone call between Johnson and Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken, who worked for Johnson for 15 years and brought the offense with him to Statesboro when he became the Eagles’ head coach before the 2010 season.

“I think the one thing you can get is who played these certain kinds of blocks the best, in the secondary, who was their best cover guy, who in their defensive line did you think was easier to knock off the ball than another guy,” Monken said. “Who was real stout and you had real trouble …

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