Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

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 …

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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, …

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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, 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 …

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Orwin Smith tries for strong finish

Orwin Smith will leave Georgia Tech with at least one keepsake.

“I think we can actually buy the helmets, so I plan on taking that,” he said. “And even if I can’t buy it, I’m going to plan on taking it.”

Smith, Tech’s illustrious A-back, chuckled. The reality is, whatever he does with his helmet, he’ll leave the Yellow Jackets with far more than that. Smith, whose Tech career will conclude Dec. 31 against USC in the Sun Bowl, will take with him a reputation as one of the most explosive players in school history, one who approached the game with a professional mindset.

“When he came in here, he was a really quiet guy and I think as he’s played more, he’s blossomed into more of a personality guy,” coach Paul Johnson said. “But he’s had a really good career here. A lot of good games and a lot of big plays.”

The numbers are hard to dispute, starting with a 9.4 yards-per-carry career average, the highest in ACC history for any player with at least …

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Tech notes: Milton likely replacement for I. Johnson

1. Georgia Tech defensive back Chris Milton has made his mark this season with excellent special-teams play. He’ll likely have an opportunity to close out 2012 by starting at safety in the Sun Bowl.

Milton, a redshirt freshman, is the probable candidate to replace the injured Isaiah Johnson, who will not play against USC in El Paso, Texas, Dec. 31.

“He’s earned it,” interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly said. “He’s worked his rear end off.”

Milton, who played at Folkston’s Charlton County High, has taken most of the practice snaps with the first-string defense this week since Johnson’s injury, which coach Paul Johnson described Wednesday as “lower extremity” and “a major injury.” Jamal Golden and Demond Smith have also taken turns with the first unit.

“It’s kind of bad for Isaiah, what happened, but I’m just trying to help my team,” Milton said.

Milton’s special-teams play earned him limited time with the defense toward the end of the …

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Tech notes: USC defense loaded

1. It was no season of triumph for the USC defense. The Trojans, picked No. 1 overall to start the season, completed the regular season ranked 45th in scoring defense and 63rd in total defense.

Regardless, Georgia Tech, which plays USC in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31, sees a defense teeming with talent. Safety T.J. McDonald and outside linebacker Hayes Pullard in particular caught the attention of quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon, who said the two “have stood out as awfully talented players.”

McDonald is “big and he plays all over the field,” quarterback Vad Lee said. “That’s somebody we’ll definitely have to look for.”

McDonald, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior, was an All-America as a junior and will likely be one of the top players at his position in the NFL draft. McDonald was one of nine USC defensive players receiving All-Pac-12 first-team, second-team or honorable mention recognition. Pullard, a freshman All-America last season, was named All-Pac-12 …

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UPDATED: Jackets dump Alabama State

Georgia Tech forward Kammeon Holsey scored 11 points to go with five rebounds in the Jackets' win. CURTIS COMPTON/AJC

Georgia Tech forward Kammeon Holsey scored 11 points to go with five rebounds in the Jackets' win. CURTIS COMPTON/AJC

UPDATED, 10:32 p.m. There was little in the way of either drama or mercy Monday night.

Georgia Tech treated Alabama State the way an ACC team ought to handle an opponent from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, dispensing a 75-41 thrashing of the Hornets at McCamish Pavilion.

The game grew loose at times, but the Yellow Jackets exploited their advantages in size, athleticism and cohesion for most of the 40 minutes.

“We wanted to play our game the whole game and take them out early,” forward Robert Carter said.

In their first game after completing final exams, the Jackets clubbed the Hornets with a 19-2 run midway through the first half that provided a 20-point lead. Tech was never threatened thereafter. The performance drew in comparison to Tech’s last game, in which the Jackets permitted an inferior UNC-Wilmington team to nearly steal a win out of …

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UPDATED: Jackets close strong to escape upset

UPDATED, 11:28 p.m. It was not the sort of win that Georgia Tech will relish. It was the sort of win the Yellow Jackets will gratefully accept.

With McCamish Pavilion tensed up with the prospect of a big upset, Tech pulled out a 73-66 win over UNC Wilmington Saturday night. Freshman forward Robert Carter and guard Marcus Georges-Hunt provided the heroics, combining for nine consecutive points that pulled Tech out of a 62-57 deficit and into a 66-62 lead with 2:33 to play. The Jackets withstood the Seahawks for the remainder.

“I’m not pleased with the way we played, but I’m pleased with the way we finished,” coach Brian Gregory said. “Our execution in the last five minutes was exceptional, both defensively and offensively.”

Carter and Georges-Hunt scored 19 and 10 points, respectively, to lead Tech. Georges-Hunt managed his contributions despite playing with foul trouble much of the second half.

Tech improved to 6-2, the first time Tech has been four games above …

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Tech fired up by USC bowl pairing

1. Georgia Tech’s opponent in the Sun Bowl may be finishing a down season, but USC has caught the Yellow Jackets’ full attention regardless.

Wide receiver Darren Waller said he was pumped up when he learned that Tech would be facing the Trojans, who began the year ranked No. 1 before going 7-5, in El Paso, Texas.

“Just when I was growing up, USC was, like, the program in the country,” he said before naming a string of Trojans stars past and present. “Getting a chance to play Georgia, FSU and USC in three (consecutive games), that’s pretty much why I came here, for opportunities like that.”

Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu had a similar reaction. He said he grew up watching the Trojans, admiring their standard of excellence.

“I was excited,” he said. “I mean, it’s a great opportunity, a program with so much history like ours. It’s just great to play against that type of competition.”

2. Safety Jemea Thomas declined to answer a question about …

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Rebounding on Tech’s mind

It is perhaps not Georgia Tech basketball coach Brian Gregory’s preferred way to chart progress, but here it is – when the Yellow Jackets were outrebounded last year, they were 2-11.

Going into its Saturday night game against UNC-Wilmington, Tech has been outrebounded in its past four games, but has won two of them. Gregory, for whom rebounding and toughness are bedrock principles, may take encouragement that his team has been able to win when it hasn’t gotten the job done on the glass.

Probably not much encouragement, though.

“If we don’t get better, it’s going to come back to haunt us,” Gregory said. “There’s no question about that.”

Following its win over Georgia on Tuesday, the Jackets have five more non-conference games before opening up the ACC schedule Jan. 5 against Miami. Fixing the rebounding is Gregory’s highest priority. How much has Gregory mentioned getting outrebounded in the past four games?

Said center Daniel Miller, “A lot.”

Gregory …

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