1. Georgia Tech’s search for a defensive coordinator will proceed at coach Paul Johnson’s pace. For now, that means nothing is likely to happen before the Yellow Jackets play USC in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31.
“We’ll deal with that when the appropriate time comes,” Johnson said following the team’s Thursday practice. “I know people to talk to and there’ll be a process we go through and it’s going to be an important decision.”
Johnson said he thinks about the decision daily, “but I haven’t done anything yet.”
Interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly has led the defense since Johnson fired Al Groh on Oct. 8 after a 2 1/2-year tenure that ended with the Jackets giving up 40-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time in school history.
With Kelly coordinating, the defense has had its moments, particularly shutting out Florida State in the second half of the ACC Championship game. But the Jackets also gave up 50 points to North Carolina in a 68-50 win.
“I think there’s been some games better than others,” Johnson said.
In making and then working with the hire, Johnson said he won’t be tied to a particular scheme and will have more involvement with the defense. Kelly will be considered, Johnson said, as will other defensive assistants.
“I want guys to be able to play fast and not get bogged down in all the minutiae, just be able to play,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of ways to do that.”
There are also a lot of ways to hire a coach and Johnson will use his. He said he laughed when he received one email asking if he had a search agency.
After the season, he said, “I’ll sit down and talk to everybody and we’ll figure it out. We’ll have one by the time spring starts, I promise.”
2. Johnson’s lone comment on wide receiver Jeff Greene parting from the team: “Guys have to do what they’ve got to do.”
Greene and Tech coaches came to a decision late last week that it was best for Greene to leave the program. The team’s leading receiver with 18 catches and 284 yards for a 15.8 yards-per-catch average, Greene is expected to transfer and continue playing.
Wide receivers coach Buzz Preston wished Greene the best, but said he wished Greene would have stayed.
“I would have loved to have the opportunity to help him get to where he wanted to go, but the decision was made, so you go with it,” Preston said.
For the Sun Bowl, Greene’s vacancy opens up an opportunity for Corey Dennis, who switched over to wide receiver from defense during the season after wide receiver Jeremy Moore’s temporary departure from the team in September.
Said Preston, “Corey’s been doing some good things in practice.”
3. The team had its fourth bowl practice Thursday after a four-day break for final exams. The Jackets will practice Friday and Saturday, then Monday through Friday of next week before breaking for the holiday.
“We were rusty and trying to get back in the flow,” Johnson said. “After you take a few days off like that, I think that’s what happens.”
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Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog