Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Tech’

Radakovich says Johnson is ‘right person for this job’

Paul Johnson's program has slid since a fast start but mostly because of defense. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

After 2-4 start, Tech coach Paul Johnson fired his second defensive coordinator. (AJC/Curtis Compton)

In his first two seasons at Georgia Tech, Paul Johnson went 20-7, including 12-4 in the ACC, and won a conference title (the whims of NCAA investigators notwithstanding).

In the 2½ years since, he is 16-16, including 10-10 in the ACC, and has lost nine of his past 13. He also just fired his second defensive coordinator, hoping to salvage a season that has some fans grumbling and wondering if those early results were some aberration.

Yet to be determined: Is this merely a step back before another eventual ACC title run (most optimistic) or ugly foreshadowing of a Bill Lewis collapse (most pessimistic).

Welcome to today’s sports world, which can be best summed up as: What a beautiful morning/Wait I felt A Raindrop/The Sky Is Falling! (Elapsed time: 12 minutes.)

For what it’s worth, the sky isn’t falling in Dan Radakovich’s office. The Georgia Tech athletic director affirmed …

Continue reading Radakovich says Johnson is ‘right person for this job’ »

Al Groh’s problems at Georgia Tech weren’t pure ‘fantasy’

Al Groh's teaching methods and schemes failed from day one at Tech. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Al Groh's teaching methods, schemes failed from outset. (Johnny Crawford)

Al Groh was a mistake. He was Paul Johnson’s mistake. It took about 2½ years for the Georgia Tech head coach to realize that.

Groh, who had success as a defensive coordinator in the NFL but was a disaster at Georgia Tech from the outset, was fired Monday by Johnson, who has seen the Jackets regress since Groh’s hiring in 2010.

It’s not surprising Johnson would fire an assistant. He fired Groh’s predecessor, Dave Wommack, even after winning an ACC championship in 2009. He fired a coach (Groh) whose defense had given up 42, 49 and 47 points in the last three games, collapsed late in overtime defeats to Virginia Tech and Miami and allowed 510 yards in offense to Middle Tennessee State.

The stunning part is that Johnson did this now. I had been asked several times by readers over the past two weeks whether I believed Groh would make it through the season. My answer always was yes, simply because it’s so rare …

Continue reading Al Groh’s problems at Georgia Tech weren’t pure ‘fantasy’ »

LIVE: Tech looks for win over Virginia, new life in ACC

On the video board: An ACC trophy and Orange Bowl promotion. Hey, why not dream?

On the video board: An ACC trophy and Orange Bowl promotion. Hey, why not dream?

Hello from Bobby Dodd Stadium. Can anybody explain what’s going on in Pittsburgh?

As I took a seat in the press box to read some game notes — yes, I actually do research, although I try to cap it at seven minutes — Pittsburgh was capitalizing on the third Virginia Tech turnover to take a 21-0 lead over the Hokies. This is the same Virginia Tech team that beat Georgia Tech in overtime in an ACC opener two weeks ago.

If you’re the Yellow Jackets, there’s two ways to look at this. There’s the depressing side: “We lost to a team that’s losing to Pitt … by three touchdowns?” And there’s the bright side: “They might lose! We’re alive!”

That game is far from over — actually, it’s 21-3 as I reach the second paragraph — but the game should be taken as a positive sign for a Tech. The loss in Blacksburg wasn’t a season-defining setback, despite the defensive collapse in the final 44 seconds of regulation and …

Continue reading LIVE: Tech looks for win over Virginia, new life in ACC »

Football special: Predicting Georgia Tech, game by game

Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets must open at Virginia Tech. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Paul Johnson's Jackets have a difficult opener at Virginia Tech. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

(This will run in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s football preview section. It’s my game-by-game prediction of Georgia Tech’s season. I have them losing at Virginia Tech, at Clemson and at Georgia. The only win I waffled on was at North Carolina. They should win all of their home games. — Jeff Schultz)

• 

Sept. 3, at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.

It’s not quite a year ago, when the Jackets had the luxury of playing their first three games against non-conference dumplings Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee State and Kansas. Paul Johnson’s option offense may have trouble against what is expected to be one of the nation’s top defenses. Johnson is 1-3 against the Hokies, with his teams scoring 17, 28 (win), 21 and 26 points. Prediction: Jackets lose

Sept. 8, Presbyterian, 7 p.m.

Somewhere it is written: No BCS school ever should lose to a team called the Blue Hose. Clearly, somebody at Tech knows …

Continue reading Football special: Predicting Georgia Tech, game by game »

Stewart Cink may have finally found his swing at Masters

Stewart Cink wasn't happy about his putting (like this one on No. 8) but shot a 1-under in the first round of the Masters. (AP photo)

Stewart Cink wasn't happy about his putting, like this one on No. 8, but still shot 1 under in first round of Masters. (AP photo)

AUGUSTA – Imagine being viewed for years as among the best in your field, then suddenly losing it. The swing goes, the confidence wavers, the fearless aggression of youth disintegrates.

“I was fearless,” Stewart Cink said Thursday of his younger days. “But this game gives you some scar tissue.”

Imagine being a professional golfer, surpassing $30 million in a career earnings, even winning the British Open, a career apex — yet believing down deep that magical week at Turnberry in 2009 was actually some aberration. Maybe not lucky, but certainly not an accurate gauge of where you believed things were heading.

“The Open week was kind of one off-week when I played really awesome,” Cink said. “I knew that even the shots I hit well, I was getting away with something. I could hit 10 in a row beautifully but in my heart I knew there was one that could go …

Continue reading Stewart Cink may have finally found his swing at Masters »

Tech’s lost title might seem unfair but it’s not unexpected

This moment and Georgia Tech's ACC title win over Clemson officially never happened, according to the NCAA. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

This moment following the ACC title game officially never happened, according to the NCAA. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Eight months ago, the NCAA issued a report that suggested Georgia Tech had all the morals and scruples of SMU’s checkbook football program of the 1980s, or Barry Switzer’s outlaws at Oklahoma, and maybe just a dash of Snidely Whiplash.

NCAA investigators labeled Tech’s general counsel an “obstructionist.” They said officials “hindered efforts to get at the truth” and tried to “manipulate” information. They suggested players were tipped off to the investigation and therefore had time to orchestrate phony responses.

The report read like a Grisham novel. Of course, it was about that close to reality – which is to say, it wasn’t. Tech isn’t devious or corrupt. It just screwed up — bad enough to lose a conference championship.

When the Yellow Jackets reached closure with the NCAA on Friday, losing an appeal of their sanctions and therefore the 2009 ACC championship, it …

Continue reading Tech’s lost title might seem unfair but it’s not unexpected »

How they really stand, from Braves (1) to Weasels (12)

Hey look, the Braves have new uniforms. So how about a new finish? (AP photo)

Hey look, the Braves have new uniforms. So how about a new finish? (AP photo)

Welcome to this year’s edition of “How They Really Stand,” my ranking of all area sports teams, taking into account wins, losses, direction, potential, coaches, general managers, owners, recruiting coordinators and whether anybody provides us with more civic pride than, say, The Big Chicken (the bar is low).

I’m unveiling this a month earlier than usual because it seemed like a natural break in the sports schedule with the Braves getting ready to start spring training and the Hawks taking an off day between personalities. Two tweaks this year: I’m adding Georgia State football and basketball and replacing the Thrashers with a new entry. (Last year’s ranking in parenthesis.)

1. Braves (1): The best team in town lost 20 of its last 30 games. How about a nice embalming smoothie to go with those chicken fingers? But the Braves looked like a potential World Series team on paper last season until the paper …

Continue reading How they really stand, from Braves (1) to Weasels (12) »

Tech’s signing party doused by another brain lapse (updated)

Paul Johnson would like a few months of peace, but no such luck. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Paul Johnson would like a few months of peace, but no such luck. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

(UPDATED: 7:45 p.m.)

On a day generally reserved for recruits having their hat-switching, Pepsodent-smiling, ESPN moment, when college football fans amusingly obsess over questions like, “Ooh-ooh, how many stars?” Georgia Tech added a hard-news element to the circus.

Seven months after getting hit by NCAA probation and being stripped of its 2009 ACC title (pending appeal), the Jackets finally officially confirmed that offensive line coach Todd Spencer had “resigned” (read: fired) over matters of excessive texting to recruits (read: stupid) and threw itself on the mercy of NCAA investigators (read: tea leaves?).

This shouldn’t take away from the 17 high school seniors who signed their letters of intent with Tech on Wednesday. It shouldn’t detract from the decisions of talented recruits such as Justin Thomas (quarterback), Marcus Allen (running back/linebacker) and Francis Kallon (defensive …

Continue reading Tech’s signing party doused by another brain lapse (updated) »

Weekend Predictions: Dogs roll, Falcons win boring (please)

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Legend has it that W.C. Fields was lying in a hospital bed, his organs significantly pickled, when somebody walked in and was astonished to see Fields holding a Bible. When asked why he suddenly had interest in the Bible, Fields responded: “I’m looking for loopholes.”

I’m not sure why this story reminds me of Georgia. Maybe because at 0-2, nothing short of locusts overtaking the rest of the SEC East figured to leave the door open for the Bulldogs. Then came the Stephen Garcia-Marcus Lattimore-John Brantley trifecta of Old Testament plagues and suddenly Mark Richt had a loophole to drive his F-150 through.

W.C. and the Dogs found the loophole.

W.C. and the Dogs found the loophole.

And now all the Bulldogs have to do is … beat Kentucky? This is sort of like the Allied Forces overrunning Eastern Europe and then being told, “OK. So there’s this nice little coffee and danish stand in Liechtenstein. Take over that, and we’ll declare you the winner.”

Georgia has won eight straight. It’s coming off a 45-7 win over …

Continue reading Weekend Predictions: Dogs roll, Falcons win boring (please) »

Potential first: Georgia and Tech both playing for titles

Mark Richt and Paul Johnson have their teams in posiition for title shots.

Mark Richt and Paul Johnson have their teams in position for title shots. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

This didn’t seem possible when Georgia opened the season with losses to Boise State and South Carolina and Georgia Tech followed a 6-0 start with losses to Virginia and Miami: But both schools can all but assure themselves of a ticket to their respective conference championship game this week.

The Bulldogs and Jackets never have played for conference championships in the same season since the SEC (1992) and ACC (2005) split off into divisions, nor have they ever won conference titles in the same season.

Here’s the backdrop:

Georgia (5-1 in SEC plays) holds a half-game lead over South Carolina (5-2) in the SEC East and is a whopping 12½-point favorite over Auburn Saturday in Athens. If the Dogs win, they need to only beat Kentucky at home the following week to clinch the East. The Gamecocks’ final conference game is against Florida, which was Georgia’s last SEC victim. They hold a …

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