Archive for December, 2012

Tech notes: Johnson, Barkley out

1. Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson will not play in the Sun Bowl with a lower-body injury suffered in bowl practice in Atlanta, coach Paul Johnson confirmed. Isaiah Johnson is Tech’s leading tackler and had started 26 consecutive games. His likely replacement in the starting lineup will be Chris Milton, although Demond Smith and Jamal Golden will likely get snaps at safety also.

2. USC quarterback Matt Barkley sent out a Twitter message Thursday saying that he hasn’t been cleared by doctors, so he won’t be playing in the Sun Bowl. Barkley, the Pac-12’s career record holder for passing touchdowns and yards, suffered a shoulder injury against UCLA Nov. 17.

He’ll be replaced by Max Wittek, a redshirt freshman who was 14-for-23 for 186 yards (one touchdown, two interceptions) against Notre Dame in the Trojans’ final regular-season game.

3. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu called submitting his name to the NFL draft advisory board “basically the thing to do as a junior.” He …

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Some highlights, but Tech special teams still lag

There’s little difficulty in selecting the highlight of Georgia Tech’s special-teams efforts this season – kick returner Jamal Golden’s two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

After that, it gets a little murkier.

After four years of largely sub-par special-teams play, coach Paul Johnson went against his career-long pattern of dividing up kicking-game coaching among the staff and hired David Walkosky to be his first assistant to coach only special teams. As Golden’s touchdowns would suggest, the change has paid off in some ways and has yet to return an investment in others.

“It’s been a lot like the team,” Johnson said. “It’s been hot and cold.”

The biggest weakness was the placekicking. Tech’s three kickers have made 11 of 18 attempts, 10th in the ACC at 61.1 percent. Remarkably, Tech was also 11-for-18 last year, all but one kick off the foot of Justin Moore.

This season, all but one of the misses came in a stretch against Clemson, Boston College and BYU when David Scully and …

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USC stands up Tech at Sun Bowl dinner

USC stood up Georgia Tech for a Sun Bowl dinner Wednesday night, reportedly showing up more than 90 minutes late for a function. By the time the Trojans party arrived, Tech had already left to return to its team hotel.

A later-than-scheduled practice was partly to blame, according to an online report from the L.A. Daily News.

It is another faux pas for USC in its relations with the host city of El Paso, Texas. Shortly after the team was chosen to play in the Sun, a Trojans linebacker sent out a Twitter message critical of El Paso. Another USC football player sent out a tweet Wednesday describing El Paso as an “(expletive) city.”

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

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McCoy arrested in purse snatching

Former Georgia Tech signee Denzel McCoy was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing a woman’s purse in a Buckhead nightspot and then using four of her credit cards. Because of a heart condition, McCoy never played for the Yellow Jackets and was placed on medical scholarship.

Link to story here.

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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 …

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Tech 2008 signing class delivers in classroom

After her son Nick graduated from Georgia Tech in August, Lisa McRae hung up his diploma on a wall in her bedroom.

Said Lisa McRae, “I get to wake up and look at it and smile.”

Nick McRae’s playing career at Tech never lifted off; the offensive lineman from Dublin has played 42 games for the Yellow Jackets line but started only two. However, McRae can lay claim to a more noteworthy achievement. Out of the 15 players in the 20-member 2008 recruiting class – coach Paul Johnson’s first – who were on the team four or more years, 13 have graduated. The final two, nose tackle T.J. Barnes and outside linebacker Malcolm Munroe, are on track to graduate in the spring. (What’s more, the five who transferred earlier have either graduated or are on track to graduate at their schools, which would produce a stunning 20-for-20 mark.)

The senior Jackets will complete their playing careers against USC in the Sun Bowl, Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas. Starting with the 2009 season, their on-field …

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UPDATED: Tech blows past Citadel, 73-41

Updated, 8:15 p.m. – Georgia Tech wanted The Citadel to come to McCamish Pavilion so badly the school even agreed to pay for its bus ride to and from Atlanta on top of writing a $75,000 check.

Saturday’s game made the reason for Tech’s interest fairly clear. The Yellow Jackets claimed an easy win that provided plenty of playing time for their reserves in a 73-41 win over the Bulldogs. It was Tech’s fourth consecutive win, the first time the Jackets have done that since the 2009-10 season.

“We’re making some progress, there’s no doubt about it,” coach Brian Gregory said. “And we still have a long way to go.”

The Citadel, which entered the game No. 347 out of 347 Division I teams in RPI according to realtimerpi.com, never had a chance against a Tech team that has loaded up on relative weaklings in its final five games before the start of ACC play in January.

Playing before an unusually revved-up holiday crowd of 7,769 that was supported by hundreds of walk-up customers, Tech …

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Barkley reportedly unlikely to play

Georgia Tech may not have to face USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the Sun Bowl. A Los Angeles Times article observed that “will almost certainly refrain from playing and risking further injury to his right shoulder.”

Barkley, a possible first-round pick in the April NFL draft, injured his throwing shoulder against UCLA Nov. 17 and did not play the following week against Notre Dame. He has yet to take part in bowl practices. He has been expected to join practices with the team when it arrives in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 26.

The Times story was the strongest indication that Barkley will not play. He and backup Max Wittek, who started against Notre Dame, are listed as co-starters. Wittek was 14-for-23 for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Wittek told the L.A. Times, “I’m prepared to lead this team.”

Tech interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly said he would not approach Wittek any differently than Barkley.

“If he’s the backup quarterback or listed as the backup, …

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In audition, Kelly addresses Tech defense flaws

On the morning of Oct. 8, Paul Johnson came to a conclusion – Georgia Tech’s defense wasn’t very good, and it showed no signs of improvement. The Georgia Tech coach fired defensive coordinator Al Groh and called on secondary coach Charles Kelly to serve as the interim coordinator for the remainder of the season.

In seven games, Kelly hasn’t worked miracles. At the least, he has begun the clean-up job for the mess that the Tech defense had become.

“I think it’s gotten better at times,” said Johnson, not a man given to undue praise. “For sure, it’s better than it was.”

Kelly has one game remaining as interim coordinator, against USC in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31. To make one last impression on his employer, all he’ll have to do is contain the nation’s best wide receiver, USC’s Marqise Lee, and an offense dotted with NFL-bound stars.

“It’s a big challenge,” Kelly said of facing the Trojans. “But you know what? That’s why you play the game.”

The statistics don’t make a slam-dunk case …

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Familiar name at the Citadel, Tech’s next opponent

An excellent piece from my colleague Carroll Rogers on the coach of Georgia Tech’s opponent, the son of an ACC legend

Chuck Driesell comes from good recruiting stock. His father Lefty, the legendary college basketball coach at Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State, was a recruiting wizard, attracting the kind of talent to take four programs to the NCAA tournament, three of them from relative obscurity.

Stories have been passed down over the years about Lefty sleeping on a mattress in the back of his station wagon while recruiting for Davidson on a $500 budget. And he still was able to turn the small liberal arts school into a national power in the 1960s.

The running joke is you can’t Driesell without “S-E-L-L.”

Even with that pedigree, Chuck Driesell has taken on a tall task. He is three years into his first head college coaching job at The Citadel, the military school in Charleston, S.C., with demanding requirements, tough academics and 53 losing seasons in its …

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