Archive for December, 2012

For Jackets, Sun Bowl win means plenty

EL PASO, Texas – It was a non-New Year’s Day bowl game between teams with disappointing seasons. But for Georgia Tech, it ended up being so much more than that.

Most significantly, the Yellow Jackets’ 21-7 win over USC on Monday brought an end to their seven-game bowl losing streak, the nation’s second-longest active streak. It gave coach Paul Johnson his first bowl win at Tech. It probably ranks as Tech’s second biggest non-conference win in Johnson’s tenure, following the 2008 victory over Georgia.

Given the weight lifted from Tech’s shoulders, said offensive tackle Will Jackson, “It feels like we just won the national championship.”

The highlights were many. Quarterback Tevin Washington, maligned as unable to deliver in the clutch, came through with a touchdown drive that raised Tech’s advantage to two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter and then led two more that produced no points but swallowed up eight minutes of the fourth quarter.

Said Washington, “It feels real …

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Tech notes: Golden delivers again

Georgia Tech returner Jamal Golden came through with another big special-teams play, this one a 56-yard punt return at the start of the third quarter. Golden took the punt on one hop at the Tech 43 and burst through a seam and down the right sideline, getting stopped just shy of the goal line.

Quarterback Tevin Washington scored two plays later to give Tech a 14-7 lead over USC that held up the rest of the day.

“He under-kicked his coverage,” Golden said. “I was thinking, catch it on one hop and try to make it to the end zone.”

It was nearly his third return for a score this season. Golden broke Tech’s 14-year drought on kickoff returns by taking back two long runs for scores this season.

Golden also played more snaps on defense than usual. With safety Isaiah Johnson out for the game with a leg injury, Chris Milton started in his place, but Milton was forced out with an undisclosed injury. Golden, who typically plays cornerback, worked at safety.

“I was not going to be the …

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Georgia Tech 21, USC 7

Game story linked here.

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LIVE BLOG: Tech vs. USC

Some thoughts and notes. Game starts 2 p.m. ET on CBS.

1. I think Tech will enjoy considerable support from the Sun Bowl crowd, which is largely made up of locals. After the 16,000 tickets allocated to the participating schools, the other 34,000 are sold to the El Paso community. As you may have read, USC stirred up controversy by showing up late for a Sun Bowl dinner and with two tweets sent by players criticizing the city of El Paso, which I’m going to guess has not sat well with residents. Further, Tech’s coaches and players have done nothing but rave about how welcome they feel and are enjoying the experience (which I think is genuine).

2. Weather: It’s sunny and very windy. The forecast calls for winds 20-30 mph, and it certainly feels like it. The wind right now (12:30 ET) is blowing briskly to the south, I think. Left to right on the television, at any rate.

Watching warmups, David Scully and Chris Tanner had trouble hitting from 45 going into the wind. Scully, at …

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Long road worth it for Tech walk-on

EL PASO, TEXAS – If Georgia Tech A-back Jamal Paige plays in the Sun Bowl today, it probably won’t be for very long, and chances are it won’t be noticed by many. It wouldn’t be unfitting; he has played in 22 career games and only two this season.

And even though it’s Paige’s final game after five seasons, the first four of which he spent as a walk-on, he’s O.K. with it. Paige, who has all of four career carries to his credit, just wants to beat USC.

“(Playing in the Sun  Bowl) doesn’t even matter to me,” he said. “I hope to, and finish my career the way that I want to, but if not, I’m all for it.”

The greatest contributions that Paige, a graduate of Woodward Academy, has made have mostly been on the practice fields with the scout team.

“I couldn’t be prouder of him,” coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s going to be successful in whatever he does.”

Paige is the rare walk-on who has stuck it out this long. Most who don’t receive playing time eventually turn in their pads to give more …

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Georgia Tech gameday

THREE STORY LINES

1. Can Georgia Tech’s defense continue its improvement?

Given that their last game was almost a month ago, it’s probably far-fetched to think the Yellow Jackets can carry over the momentum of their defensive play in the ACC Championship game, when they held Florida State scoreless in the second half. Regardless, under interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, Tech at times has shown that it can play fast, aggressive defense. As usual, the Jackets’ priorities will be stopping the run and creating a pass rush without blitz help. They’ll also need another strong game from outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, who has finished the season well.

2. Who can handle shuffled lineups?

Tech will be without safety Isaiah Johnson due to a lower-body injury and wide receiver Jeff Greene, who has left the team and will transfer. Johnson’s loss is particularly crucial, as he’ll probably be replaced by Chris Milton, a redshirt freshman with limited …

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Lee ready for strong finish, start to 2013

If Vad Lee’s time as Georgia Tech quarterback doesn’t start Monday in the Sun Bowl, it will begin soon after.

Upon the Yellow Jackets’ return to campus for the spring term, Lee assuredly will gather up wide receiver Darren Waller and whoever else wants to join for some throw-and-catch. Perhaps then, as his spirals pierce the still air of the Tech indoor practice building, Lee will take over. Justin Thomas will be right on his heels.

“Vad’s time’s coming really fast,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said. “Whether it’s (in the bowl) or not, I don’t know, but after that, they’re going to have to be able to run it. They’re going to have to be able to do it.”

Tech closes the 2012 season against USC in El Paso, Texas, in the Jackets’ 16th consecutive bowl game. Tech can break its seven-game bowl losing streak, even its record at .500, provide coach Paul Johnson with his first bowl win at Tech and gain a measure of satisfaction from a season that has been something …

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Thomas, Godhigh, Uzzi share team honors

While Georgia Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi  has won wide recognition for his play, neither safety Jemea Thomas nor A-back Robbie Godhigh received a single vote from coaches or media for All-ACC selection. All three, though, earned plenty of respect and acknowledgement of their teammates.

Fifteen Tech players were asked for their choices for the Yellow Jackets’ top offensive and defensive players for the season, selected the two playmakers. Thomas won by a wide margin as the top defender, while Godhigh and Uzzi tied for having the best seasons on offense.

Even during the rockier moments of the season, “people don’t really realize this, but Jemea, he always played at his peak,” outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu said.

Said Thomas of Godhigh, “Robbie’s phenomenal. Robbie just does things when he gets the ball.”

Said guard Shaquille Mason of Uzzi, “Most people don’t see how effective he is, but as a one-on-one blocker, he’ll win the battle every time.”

Going into Monday’s Sun Bowl …

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Five Tech freshmen who have impressed in practice

They will carry the banner for Georgia Tech in autumns to come. This year, most of Georgia Tech’s 2012 signing class carried out scout-team assignments to prep the first- and second-string Yellow Jackets.

A handful have made an impression on their teammates with their ability and promise. Four of Tech’s 17-member class played this season – wide receiver Anthony Autry, defensive lineman Adam Gotsis, punter Ryan Rodwell and defensive back D.J. White. Of the other 13, the following five redshirting freshmen were repeatedly identified by players and coaches for having stood out on the practice field.

  • B-back David Sims described safety Lynn Griffin as “a physical specimen” who can hit with power and has speed. Sims holds the same hopes for Griffin that teammates have had for safety Fred Holton, another big hitter who has been out the past two seasons with injuries. Coach Paul Johnson said in November that, if not for an injury early on, Griffin (6-foot-0, 197 pounds) would have …

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Sun Bowl gifts include hair dryer (again)

The Sun Bowl isn’t just college football’s second-oldest bowl game, tied with the Sugar and Orange. it’s also a game with a tradition of providing hair care for the mothers and girlfriends of its participants.

Having been there last season, as well, Georgia Tech players know the routine. Among the bowl gifts given to participants in the Sun Bowl, where Tech will play USC Dec. 31, is perhaps the oddest present of all 35 bowls – a hair dryer.

When told last year about the hair dryer, defensive end Izaan Cross said, “I was like, O.K., my mom gets another Christmas present.”

By NCAA rule, up to 125 bowl participants per team can receive up to $550 worth of gifts from bowl game organizers. Typically, the most awarded gifts are watches, gift cards and gift suites, in which players are offered a variety of merchandise. This year, the Sun Bowl package also includes a Timely watch, Majestic fleece, Top of the World cap and a coin in addition to the hair dryer. The $350 gift suite from …

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