After forgettable season, Tech’s Young can start fresh

A year ago, Louis Young did not travel with Georgia Tech for the Sun Bowl, having to sit the game out with an NCAA suspension. The Yellow Jackets lost to Utah in overtime in a game that the cornerback could well have made a difference.

This season, Tech is back in the Sun Bowl, arriving Wednesday in El Paso, Texas, to play USC Dec. 31. This time, Young is with the Jackets.

“I guess it’s just fate,” Young said. “I guess it’s bittersweet thinking about last year, but the good thing about it is I feel like, just me being here this year, I can contribute in a major way and help us get that win.”

Young’s trip through the calendar pretty much hit for the cycle of college athlete woe, some of it self-inflicted – NCAA suspension, injuries, the firing of the coach who recruited him and poor play on the field. On top of that, the Jackets failed to live up to the expectations they held for themselves. They reached the ACC Championship game but will face the Trojans with a 6-7 record. In particular, the defense has been exploited repeatedly, allowing 40-plus points six times.

Young, who was dependable as a sophomore starter in 2011, has played a role in the ineffective play. In particular, Young has tackled poorly and hasn’t been nearly the playmaking presence he was last year. In 12 starts in 2011, he had 52 tackles, three tackles for loss, one interception and five pass breakups. This year, in 11 games and eight starts, he has 28 tackles, no tackles for loss, one interception and one pass breakup.

“I’d say it wasn’t where I wanted it to be,” he said.

Young sounds like he spent the entire year in a cloud. He ran afoul of NCAA rules for selling his tickets to the 2011 Georgia game. Young sold them to a friend, thinking that the NCAA only prohibited athletes from selling tickets to boosters, agents and the like. After being kept home for the Sun Bowl, he practiced through the spring and trained in the summer with the remainder of the two-game suspension hanging over his head.

To fulfill the penalty, he sat out the season opener against Virginia Tech, another overtime loss. Prior to that, Young broke his thumb in preseason practice. In the Miami game, he dislocated his shoulder. He has played the season managing both injuries.

“When healthy, I’ve been able to make stuff happen, but it’s not the season I wanted,” Young said.

After the sixth game, defensive coordinator Al Groh was fired. Young had been recruited by Groh out of Good Counsel High in Maryland since Groh was head coach at Virginia. He considered him a father figure.

To interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, also Young’s position coach, his on-field struggles began off the field. Missing two games, one due to the suspension and the other because of the shoulder injury, disrupted Young’s preparation and mindset. He said Young’s fundamentals deteriorated and he then began to press.

“You get in structure, it seems like things fall in line,” Kelly said. “When something happens like this, it kind of gets you out of your schedule.”

Young, though, said he feels the healthiest he has felt all season. Kelly has seen him return to the fundamentals of his position and, correspondingly, Young has had his two best weeks of practice of the season.

“I’m hitting with my shoulder, I’m not hesitant,” Young said. “Back to my old ways.”

Tech will need Young at peak form in the Sun Bowl. USC will attack the Jackets with wide receiver Marqise Lee, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver and perhaps the best player Tech will have seen all season. At the other wide receiver spot, Robert Woods is another pro prospect. Young sees the opportunity to make amends, bury the mess of 2012 and get a head start on his senior season.

“A lot of people say I fought through what I had to fight through,” Young said. “I’m really going to make my mark in this game and cap a rough season off.”

In case you missed it…

Tech 2008 signing class delivers in classroom

Tech blows past Citadel

USC’s Barkley reportedly unlikely to play

Notes: Successful career for Tech long snapper

Orwin Smith tries for strong finish

35 football players make dean’s list

Notes: Milton likely replacement for I. Johnson

Notes: USC defense loaded

Dan Radakovich Q&A

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

59 comments Add your comment

juvenal

December 27th, 2012
10:04 am

Amen, 5150-sad so many folks think a crystal football means more than graduation rates & dean’s list………

Ho hum

December 27th, 2012
10:35 am

Tek should be commended for its graduation rate. Student – Athletes have a tough road to follow.

Fortunately Tek graduates students because they obviously don’t have any athletes.

D2Football@GT

December 27th, 2012
4:17 pm

Oh Tech… with your hyper-inflated sense of imaginary self importance, you amuse me. GT is, at best, a slightly above average state-funded technical school. (cue the outcries of national “rankings” in, ahem, U.S. News & World Report (seriously?) with no regard for the fact that those “rankings” are based completely on *self-reported data.*… no bias there, nope, none) It’s not Stanford; it’s certainly not MIT; and no one but GT students and grads are impressed… no one. If they were, you guys wouldn’t have to keep telling each other how special your school is, would you? It would be common knowledge. But,it’s not, is it? Because you have to keep repeating the same justification… and deep down, that’s what scares the crap out of you. You bought into the big lie from GT that if you just sacrifice yourself in the short term, you will be rewarded after you graduate. I believe Al Quieda uses a similar recruiting pitch, by the way. As Shakespeare wrote, “Me thinks you doth protest too much.” The part that would be funny were it not so sad is, the average “Tech man” will *never* be able to admit to this truth because that would color not just your blind alligence to your school, but would undermine the fragile construct of your underlying view of life because just the thought that, possibly, you put yourself through several years of masochistic misery in a draconian “college experience” for no discernable advantage in the long run…. well that would just be too much to bear. So, as I say, you amuse me. Cheers. .

5150 UOAD

December 27th, 2012
4:25 pm

D2football…………….you are an idiot but not that you know much about TECH or it’s National and World ranking.

High achievers admitted to Georgia Tech
By Laura Diamond
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Students are not imagining it if they think it’s harder to get in to Georgia Tech.
Those admitted for next fall boast an average 3.9 GPA and a 1430 out of 1600 on the math and verbal SAT. By high school graduation these students would have taken an average of eight college-level courses, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate.
About 14,700 students applied for one of the 2,400 spots for fall or the 250 spots for this summer. The admitted class represents 86 countries and 49 states. No one from Wyoming was admitted.
The University of Georgia is scheduled to announce admission decisions by April 1.

11 of 12

December 27th, 2012
5:22 pm

I am not going to say CPJ needs to go for now but I do not totally agree with GT Bob. I am tired of hearing that same old excuse and O’Leary didn’t do it or use it. Recruiting has not been on the up and up under CPJ and bottom line is a coach can only do so much with lesser talent. Gailey was a good recruiter and CPJ won with his 2008 and 2009 players. Spurrier is a great coach and it took him 4 or 5 years to get SC competitive and it took good recruiting. He could not do it on good coaching alone.

If CPJ doesn’t pick up the recruiting (not sure he can with the offense he runs and lack of defensive focus) then he will have more 6-7 seasons than 9-3 and eventually get run off. Tech can win and be competitive on a national scale and O’Leary and Freidgen proved that in the late 90’s early 2000’s. Quit making excuses GT Bob and look closer at your recruiting. That is the key. I still think CPJ can turn it around but he has to do a better job selling these kids and get a good defensive mind to run that role as a coordinator and recruiter.

yellowfever

December 27th, 2012
8:02 pm

dawgfan, trust me UGA has enough of it’s own problems so you don’t need to come onto the Tech blog putting down jacket fans when we all know UGA is up to it’s ears in problems. Go solve those then come back and solve ours.

gt4ever

December 27th, 2012
9:35 pm

@D2 Football….

You are a COMPLETE and total idiot! I know you have a computer so why don’t you do some research before you make a complete fool of yourself… GT is known all over the world, and is just as well respected as any of those other institutions you mentioned. Good grief, just get some help!

[...] After forgettable season, Young can start fresh [...]

[...] After forgettable season, Young can start fresh [...]