Georgia Tech doesn’t look ACC ready, starting with defense

Paul Johnson's offense, led by Joshua Nesbitt, scored just one touchdown in its last nine possessions but struggled big-time defensively.

Coach Paul Johnson's offense, led by Joshua Nesbitt, managed just one touchdown in the last nine possessions, but the Jackets struggled big-time on defense. (AP photo)

LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the final game before opening the defense of its ACC championship, Georgia Tech missed tackles, missed assignments, dropped passes, roughed the kicker, roughed the quarterback, certainly roughed its own fan base, shanked a punt 13 yards, seem to float in and out of consciousness against a team that a week ago was dropped by North Dakota State and looked so bad on defense that one was tempted to ask, “So, anybody have Dave Wommack’s phone number?”

Forget the question of whether the Yellow Jackets are ready for next Saturday’s ACC opener against North Carolina. They’re not. The only question is: How deep is the hole?

“There’s nothing magic I can say, like,  ‘Abracadabra, kazaam,’ and it’s going to be fixed,” coach Paul Johnson said. “You just have to get better.”

The Jackets just suffered the worst loss of the Johnson era. Projected to win by two touchdowns, they lost 28-25 on Saturday to a Kansas team that a week before was dropped by North Dakota State 6-3.

Fortunately, North Dakota State isn’t also on Tech’s schedule.

Kansas receiver Daymond Patterson spins away from Tech's Kyle Jackson. He finished with seven catches, including a touchdown.

Kansas receiver Daymond Patterson spins away from Tech's Kyle Jackson. He finished with seven catches, including a touchdown.

Humiliation was well represented on both sides of the ball. Even Johnson’s vaunted offense struggled. The Jackets scored one touchdown in their last nine possessions.

But the problems really start with the one area on Tech’s team that figured to improve this season, and the one area that absolutely had to: defense.

When Johnson fired Wommack and hired Al Groh, he had no illusions that Tech suddenly would morph into Alabama. He just figured the Jackets would be better than Alabama-Birmingham. Hasn’t happened.

Tech continues to miss tackles and blow assignments. The middle of the defense looks soft against the run, even going back to last week’s game against South Carolina State (178 yards rushing) . When Kansas went to a no-huddle early in the game, watching Tech’s players was like looking at a kicked fire ant hill.

The Jayhawks scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions. They converted four of their first five third-down situations. It would have been five out of six, if not for a dropped pass. They had a freshman running back, James Sims, rush for 101 yards. They had a receiver, Daymond Patterson, with seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.

So much for the Groh effect.

To what extent this can be attributed to a slow transition to Groh’s 3-4 and how much of it is simply bad play can’t be certain.

“You’ve got to get off blocks,” Johnson said. “Sooner or later, it can’t all be the scheme.”

True enough. But who takes the fall for players coming out flat (linebacker Kyle Jackson: “We didn’t look like we were ready to play. We came out kind of dull.”)? Or failing in basics like making a tackle?

“I’m in charge of it,” Groh said. “If there’s any finger to be pointed, it’s at me.”

Groh said the Jackets have practiced enough against the no-huddle, so “to say that was the issue would be a cop-out.”

He said of the 3-4 scheme: “It is what it is. We’ve made the transition. We’re playing the defense. We just have to play it well enough. You’re not going to be competitively tough if you just start making excuses.”

When asked if Kansas — who managed only a field goal in 12 possessions against North Dakota State — is a team that should score four touchdowns against the Jackets, Groh got a little testy.

“That’s fantasy football. I just deal with what happened today,” he said.

But it’s not fantasy — Kansas really did score only three points.

Groh: “That was then. This is now. That’s not the game coaches play. Coaches play the game that’s played today. The rest is talk radio, those guys who have all the answers.”

If Groh has the answers, it doesn’t show. The Jackets go to Chapel Hill next week to start things for real, and as Jackson said when asked if he felt like the team was ready: “You know — I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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248 comments Add your comment

mmgtfan

September 11th, 2010
5:42 pm

First! Unlike Tech.

mmgtfan

September 11th, 2010
5:42 pm

Yes. I was first on Bradleys blog too! 2-0

flagboy?

September 11th, 2010
5:44 pm

When Kansas went to a no-huddle early in the game, watching Tech’s players was like looking at a kicked fire ant hill.
________________________________________

Ouch.

GT Man

September 11th, 2010
5:47 pm

We still need a defensive coach and not an 65 year old man from Virginia

flagboy?

September 11th, 2010
5:47 pm

When Kansas went to a no-huddle early in the game, watching Tech’s players was like looking at a kicked fire ant hill.
_________________________________________________

Ouch.

Gonna be a lonng season

September 11th, 2010
5:48 pm

Somebody must have drugged this tek team. They looked like they could care less. About as sloppy as it ever was under Chan. I would like to hear from yellow fuzz and ramble on. What you got to say boys.. or is it girls?

Dawgs2010

September 11th, 2010
5:50 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Tech Man

September 11th, 2010
5:52 pm

They look like they where surprised like when they played the muts last year. They thought they were going to blow them out and kansas wanted it more. It is a good thing that the muts lost or it would be a waisted week n!

hello

September 11th, 2010
5:54 pm

Hopefully this acts like the Miami game did last year….we won the next 8 straight after that beatdown in Miami. UGA fans talking trash kind of surprises me…you guys did not look any better…6 points in 4 quarters….just saying.

HugoStiglitz

September 11th, 2010
5:56 pm

Only positive thing I can think of is that we played possibly our worst game under CPJ and still had a chance to win at the end. We should have gotten killed the way that we played.

Ralph

September 11th, 2010
5:56 pm

Gotta agree with the headline.

A dwag laughs, evidently not noticing his overrated (yet bookie underdwag) team didn’t even come close to the spread. Both Tech and UGAy are in trouble if they expect to go bowling to any place better than Shreveport.

Gee

September 11th, 2010
5:58 pm

What happened to all the NC talk the mutts were yelling after last weekend? Focus on winning your division before you aspire for bigger and better things.

Mcsteveb

September 11th, 2010
5:58 pm

This loss was all on the coaches. Tech was confused in all 3 phases of the game. They looked as though they had no scheme for either the offense or the defense. Despite all their ineptitude, they had a chance to win this game at the end. But even then, they didnt really look like they knew what they wanted to do. The scariest thing was the offense. Just as in their last two bowl games: if the option gets stuffed, they have no way to adjust. They meekly go down in flames. If they can’t put up 45 points per game, this will be a long, cold sesaon…

the truth...

September 11th, 2010
5:58 pm

So much for the vaunted pro defensive gurus at both Tech and GA…..

Not Don Waddell

September 11th, 2010
5:59 pm

Man, remember the mid-1990’s when a Gt or UGa fan would watch some of their game, then get ready for the real games that day to follow. There is some form of relief in knowing that your team just isn’t in line for anything big, so you can instead watch the rest of the games and enjoy your day.

All The Way

September 11th, 2010
6:08 pm

Tech still has no defense, it is pitifal. Tyler Melton couldn’t catch a cold, and should never be allowed to play wide reciever, and Mr. Hill is not much better. Face it, without Thomas we have NO passing game, and for all the good Joshua does he is no passer. However, when he does put the ball on target no one can catch it consistantly. We looked lost out there at times, worse than CPJ’s first season. Looks like at least 4 maybe 5 losses for this team maybe more. Today was really pathetic, and feel that for the first time CPJ was out coached, and his team was not ready or focused, of course if somebody could throw and catch, it might have been different.

Tech Man

September 11th, 2010
6:11 pm

Both teams got a fat L and that is what the bottom line is!! Only difference is; the muts was supposed to lose and tech was should have won, but both are a Lost. Tech will probably not be ranked tomorrow. They better get it together or it is going to be long year.

Dooley

September 11th, 2010
6:12 pm

Say what you want to say but this team is in trouble. Until we develop a passing game, every team we play will put 8-9 men in the box and DARE Tech to beat them with a passing game. Tech’s passing game is an embarrassment. Our receivers had man-to-man all day and we could not capitalize. Without a passing game, the LB’s will play tight and crush the LOS on every play. A strong passing game keeps the defense honest and gives the running game space to operate.

The defense is a joke. Our defense looks like it is coached by Peewee Herman. They are not mean, dirty, nor nasty. Look at some of the top NCAA defenses. These guys look mean and act like they want to rip off your head. Our defense looks like they are afraid to get dirty. Defense wins championships but not Tech’s.

It could be a long day against UNC next Saturday.

Bama 13

September 11th, 2010
6:13 pm

Have you seen the carnage amongst ACC teams today? Tech looks like the best thing going!

SC

September 11th, 2010
6:15 pm

GT Man

September 11th, 2010
5:47 pm

We still need a defensive coach and not an 65 year old man from Virginia

You’d have to actually pay one of those GT Man. How embarrassing is it that you have Groh for no other reason than UVA is picking up the tab and your sorry program couldn’t afford to go out and get a quality DC.

reebok

September 11th, 2010
6:17 pm

We didn’t tackle, we didn’t catch the ball, we committed stupid penalties. Offensively we went away from what was working and tried to get too cute. The only positive is that this was a non-conf game. I hope the players are embarrassed by this, and I hope they use it as motivation. and hey, to all my Bulldog-loving frenemies who frequent the Tech blogs, let me offer this humble opinion…neither Tech nor UGA is very good.

Rich

September 11th, 2010
6:17 pm

The football team resembles the basketball team – overrated, under achieving and poorly coached

Pearl Bodeen

September 11th, 2010
6:20 pm

Missing Chan’s players it appears to me!

TDone

September 11th, 2010
6:21 pm

The problem is penalties, then a lack of execution. Our guys have defenders one-on-one in open field and they don’t make the first guy miss. On critical plays in the game, our guys make the stupidest penalties.

layinlow

September 11th, 2010
6:21 pm

What happened to the great Al Groh the super bowl champion? Thats all I heard from tech fans. Anybody with a functioning brain cell should have seen this coming after the debacle he had as head coach at Virginia. Al Groh is an old dud who rode the coattails of Parcels and Belicheck. He is now being exposed as a crappy coach, which turkey neck should have saw with his work at UVA.

Jeff Schultz

September 11th, 2010
6:22 pm

MMGTFAN — I’m not if that will open doors for you or not, but mazel tov.

Breaking News

September 11th, 2010
6:24 pm

looks like the domain name “nesbitt4heisman.com” is now for sale….weird

Art

September 11th, 2010
6:24 pm

Hiring Paul Johnson was a huge mistake. His recruiting will bury this program for 10 years after DRad fires his butt next year. I pity the poor coach that has to clean up his mess.

Dawgman566

September 11th, 2010
6:24 pm

Groh and Johnson. Grumpy Old Men.

Born2Buzz

September 11th, 2010
6:25 pm

I didn’t watch the game (recorded it) and may not. But did Groh have TJ Barnes sitting on the bench for most of the game like last week? Somebody tell me please.
Logan Walls may have a great motor but you’ve got to have a big dude playing NG in the 3-4.
But this sounded like a bad game all the way around. Only upstaged by VT losing to James Madison.

GWB

September 11th, 2010
6:25 pm

No talent, no coaching, no hope. It’s going to be a long year.

GTJeff

September 11th, 2010
6:25 pm

Hello are you serious? That was MIAMI, not a horrible Kansas team that lost to a BAD FCS school. And comparing UGA’s loss to a tough SC team to this is asinine. They played a HELLUVA lot better than Tech. Stick a fork in it…this season is DONE!

UNC 42
GT 13

Wake 54
GT 23

Clemson 35
GT 3

and so on…

Emmett Merchant

September 11th, 2010
6:27 pm

Paul Johnson showed a lot of class to that female sideline reporterette today…..he realizes that Chan Gailey’s best recruits are gone now and that he has a triple chin and manboobs.

ga gator

September 11th, 2010
6:32 pm

Jeff you are wrong, Tech does look ACC ready; they suck like the rest of the ACC.

Lil' Barry Bailout

September 11th, 2010
6:37 pm

stendek

September 11th, 2010
6:38 pm

safetydawg

September 11th, 2010
6:41 pm

Tech ACC Ready? How ready do you have to be? Lets look at all the notable conference glosses over the last four weeks. GT loses to Iowa, Kansas, and Georgia. UNC loses to Pitt & LSU, FSU loses to Florida & OK. VT loses to Boise & James Madison, Miami loses to Wisconsin & OSU, Boston College loses to USC. Clemson loses to SC.

Has there ever been a major college conference that has ever had this pathetic a stretch of football in history?

SRF

September 11th, 2010
6:42 pm

I do not see a single team on the schedule that GT can beat playing like this…..

smitty

September 11th, 2010
6:43 pm

yep, the ACC is getting drilled today…..fsu, gt, um, vt, etc are toast today…….not sure where to start with the problems at GT…….they were pitiful on defense….terrible penalties, turnovers, all of which can happen and put a team in the hole and yet GT still had a chance to win ( or tie ) at the end………and unfortunately it was GT’s passing game that needed to provide the lift which didn’t happen…….tech had several third/fourth and longs in which the passes fell incomplete…………nesbitt is spot on with his passes sometimes and then he misses a receiver by a mile…..too inconsistent…..maybe we need a platoon QB, using one who can pass when we need it………if kansas can do this to GT, you can bet NC, etc will too…….lots of work to do…….i love the option, the coach, but you gotta have balance to beat the big boys ( and kansas too)……go jackets

FUZO

September 11th, 2010
6:44 pm

+
A high school offense, Absolutely no passing game, no defense in spite of Groh expertise. It takes first class athletes to win. What athlete with a Pro career on his mind would accept an offer to play for Tech? The 4 that went to the pros early were Chan Gaileys boys. Thanks CPJ for killing the season early, Started listening and loving Tech in the late 40’s with my late Dad. Living retired in Florida–going boating. This offensive scheme will keep Tech a mediocre team until it is replaced. You freed up my Fall season and made my wife happy. I no longer care!

Tech Man

September 11th, 2010
6:45 pm

We don’t have a punter, kicker, or passer. Looks like a 7-5 season and the blue turf, if we’re lucky.

HugoStiglitz

September 11th, 2010
6:46 pm

The ACC does look pretty lousy today. I think the hype for basketball season might start a little early this year.

Bug Zapper

September 11th, 2010
6:47 pm

Now now now people…..Both UGA and Tech will be jus fine this year……This wknd is just a reality check for both teams…….UGA has found one heck of a QB and the D is good….Tech just ran into a desperate team…….Not an ACC fan but was really pulling for a better showing than what I’ve seen today from Mi, FSU, and VT…..Get ready ACC fans but the trash talk about the ACC is gonna continue….Jus sayin….

ben

September 11th, 2010
6:49 pm

I love Johnson, but it does seem like the playmakers on offense and defense were all Gailey recruits. Without Morgan, Burnett, Dwyer, and Thomas, this team looks very ordinary. Where are our future big time playmakers? I don’t see any. On either side of the ball.

JSS

September 11th, 2010
6:52 pm

It’s alive!!! Run from this blog before IT posts again!

And for a lot of you who have completely lost your minds and perspective… Flip over to the FSU-OU game… These kids deserve any perk they can get…

@ Jeff Schultz…
If you staying the night, see if the 23rd Street Brewery is still there

and tech signed who?

September 11th, 2010
6:56 pm

Just wait till PJ gets his recruits!!

ben

September 11th, 2010
6:59 pm

Born to Buzz: You can’t have a mammoth, unmotivated, weak pile of blubber in the middle. Which is why we must start someone who doesn’t fit the profile of a nose guard.

dagnabit

September 11th, 2010
7:01 pm

ga. tech looked confused.

St Simons friend

September 11th, 2010
7:02 pm

HugoStiglitz

September 11th, 2010
5:56 pm
Only positive thing I can think of is that we played possibly our worst game under CPJ and still had a chance to win at the end. We should have gotten killed the way that we played.

Considering who you played today, HugoS, you did get killed. I mean they scored 3 whole points against No Dakota State. That is a 31 point turn around against Groh’s defense. Wow!!!

Mark Bailey

September 11th, 2010
7:02 pm

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!