The T-Day verdict: The O’s a given, but the D’s still a guess

Georgia Tech’s offense is going to be great. Not pretty good, not really good — flat-out great. But the same program had fabulous offenses under Ralph Friedgen a decade ago and never won as big as it should because the defense reeked. Will these defenders prove similarly odiferous?

Derrick Morgan thinks not. Morgan is the lone holdover along a star-spangled line, and before he’s done he could prove to be better than Michael Johnson or Darryl Richard or Vance Walker, all of whom should get drafted next weekend.

“I’ve definitely got to get better,” Morgan said Saturday, speaking after Tech’s spring game, “and the supporting cast has to step up. But I’m 100 percent confident we can.”

The T-Day final score was 31-28, which wouldn’t indicate much resistance. But it was worth noting that the Gold, which included Morgan and the first-string defense, beat the White, which included Jonathan Dwyer and the first-string offense (minus quarterback Josh Nesbitt).

Said Jaybo Shaw, who quarterbacked the White squad: “The [remade defensive line] can fly around. The whole defense — they can fly around.”

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Said linebacker Sedric Griffin, who induced a Shaw fumble on the game’s first snap: “We did fairly well. The D-line was great. They were getting double-teamed, which meant [fellow linebacker] Brad Jefferson and I could make plays.”

Indeed, Griffin made so many he felt moved to say he was sorry. “I apologized to Jaybo,” he said. “But I was trying to set the tone for the season. It’s going to be hit, hit, hit. We want people to know we’re here for the long haul. Not just the first half of the season — all 12 games.”

Surely there’ll be a 13th game for these Jackets, maybe even a 14th. Tech went 9-4 in its first season under Johnson and is dreaming way bigger this time around. “We’re trying to win an ACC championship,” said the fierce safety Morgan Burnett, and the Jackets missed playing in the 2008 conference title game only by weight of a tiebreaker.

There is, however, a key difference: Last year Tech surprised us by being so good; this year we all expect it to be better than 9-4. Ask that team from Athens if increased expectations can’t become a burden.

As spring games go, T-Day was more entertaining than most. For the second consecutive season, the Jackets fumbled on the first play, but this year they finished with only eight fumbles, as opposed to last year’s nine. Improvement! That said, the kicking game was so awful Paul Johnson yelled at Scott Blair for dropping a punt snap and staring at the loose ball. (Johnson: “I mean, show some urgency.”)

But the offense is close to being a given, and Johnson runs so many fake kicks Tech barely needs a punter. It will, however, need a defense, and for all its good work in 2008 it must be noted that Tech yielded 80 points over its final two games. And now three stalwarts are gone.

And Derrick Morgan is undeterred. “I definitely think we can win a championship — the ACC, the national,” he said.

If it can stop somebody when it matters, this team should play in a BCS game. Maybe even the BCS game.

170 comments Add your comment

brewdawg

April 18th, 2009
4:45 pm

So mark, I’m assuming you see a CMR-type 2nd year for GT? 13-1? If that happens, I hope Tech is more fortunate than UGA was and gets into the BCS title game. (I still think UGA would have beaten either Miami or Ohio State that year. Nobody was playing better ball at the time.)

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
4:46 pm

Very good and interesting game. Tevin Washington looked promising as a back-up quarterback. Other than that, it’s kind of hard to tell if the defense was playing real good, or if the offensive line wasn’t that awesome. Maybe both?

And I honestly hope that Morgan keeps to his promises. We can’t just throw around phrases like “We can play for the NC” and not mean anything. We have to work up to that.

All in all, go Jackets!

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
4:48 pm

Brewdawg: I surely hope you’re right.

Act like you've been somebody

April 18th, 2009
4:53 pm

I understand the enthusiam and excitement of Tech fans. You want to believe that CPJ will make your program closer to that of CMR at UGA. After the win last season, your expectations have soared, and some of you have joined your coach in mocking and gloating about your program.

Why can’t some of you take the win for the miracle that it was? Now, if CPJ pulls off a multi-game winning streak versus Georgia, then that would be a different story. If CPJ can win over 80 games through eight seasons, actually sell out every home game along the way, while seriously upgrading facilities, get on tv because of your program rather than because of your opponent, then I can see some room for all of these wild expectations.

History says it wont happen. Prove it wrong and act like you’ve been anywhere near the top before.

Also, you need to put the robot stuff in check…you don’t need any more help looking like dorks who still play with dolls. I mean this with respect.

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
5:02 pm

Act like you’ve been somebody:

I dont think scoring 26 points in the third quarter (or something like that) was a miracle. We didn’t throw a Hail Mary or anything. Are you disappointed that your spring game wasn’t as interesting as ours? Because you sure act like it.

GT EE Class of '93

April 18th, 2009
5:03 pm

Mark,

Couldn’t make the game today. At work.

What specifically worried you about the defense?

I know in ‘01 and ‘02 lack of speed was a real problem.

Don’t tell me our D-line was getting pushed around by our O-line. That’s not good at all.

Thanks.

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
5:04 pm

GT EE Class of 93

No, it was more like the D-line was pushing around the O-line

brewdawg

April 18th, 2009
5:07 pm

I for one would love an undefeated Tech playing an undefeated UGA at the end of the year (with UGA winning of course)! It looks like now that’s at least a possibility at some point.

Gordon

April 18th, 2009
5:08 pm

BCS? Why don’t we win our division first? And before we win our division, we have to beat Virginia Tech and North Carolina. I’ve seen this before. The LSU game is a perfect example of what happens when you think you are better than you are. Tech football has a bright future, but CPJ needs to get their heads out of the clouds first. Just play one game at a time like you did last year.

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
5:14 pm

Gordon:

I agree. I’m starting to get worried about all the NC talk that’s going around. That only puts a bigger target on us.

GTchemE

April 18th, 2009
5:25 pm

Brewdawg: “I for one would love an undefeated Tech playing an undefeated UGA at the end of the year (with UGA winning of course)! It looks like now that’s at least a possibility at some point.”
Wow, wouldn’t that be something? That would probably be one of the biggest/most watched games of the year. Of course, I’d rather Tech win though.

GTman

April 18th, 2009
5:27 pm

brewdog,

Get Serious. UGA go undefeated?! Have you seen your schedule? You will be lucky to have less than 4 losses coming in to the GT game and FORGET about beating UF as long as Urban Meyer is there. UGA will play for second place in the SEC EAST and second place in the state of GA for a long long time.

45-42 in your house in CPJ’s first year! Get used to losing Mutts.

THWG!

Go gators

April 18th, 2009
5:30 pm

Ok Guys cool it with the NC stuff, I did go today as I needed a football fix :) . I enjoy watching the Tech offense, overall I give C+ to B- but it is just spring, as long as you guys hammer the bull pups I’ll be happy.

brewdawg

April 18th, 2009
5:30 pm

GTchemE,

Hell, I’d settle for them both having one loss, making the game a sort of playoff to stay alive in the BCS title race. If Tech does as good as expected, and UGA is as good as I think they are going to be (despite all the down-year talk), then maybe, just maybe, it could happen as soon as this year.

hha

April 18th, 2009
5:34 pm

Enter your comments here

brewdawg

April 18th, 2009
5:36 pm

GTman,

We were all having a nice discussion, and then you come along with the immature, tired “let’s bash the rival team” banter. Sorry, it’s just not my thing. I prefer to keep things civil. And seeing as how UGA beat the great Urban Meyer 2 years ago, you’ll forgive me if I don’t concede the SEC until he’s gone. But good luck to Tech, I truly hope they become a powerhouse program, and that the UGA-Tech game becomes one of the biggest in the country in the next few years.

BILLY JACK

April 18th, 2009
5:46 pm

DID ANYBODY NOTICE THE PICTURE OF THAT EMPTY STADIUM AT TECHS SPRING GAME???DAMN THATS EMBARRASING.

BUZZTIME

April 18th, 2009
5:50 pm

The Good – We will have good depth in the backfield behind Jones & Dwyer. Anthony Allen & Embry Peeples looked good.

The Bad – The Offensive line looked like last spring.

The Ugly – If Nesbitt gets hurt the talent level & Arm Strenght falls off a cliff after him.

Big Al

April 18th, 2009
5:56 pm

Man, that’s a pathetic little stadium you nerds have, convenietely located in the hood. You have a great coach, but your program is a joke. You will never come close to the success of Georgis. Never. I try to keep it classy, but you dweebs keep talking smack. And it is laughable. Go Dawgs!

P.S. This is the first time I’ve ever posted on a Tech message board and I’m deeply embarrassed.

yellowblood

April 18th, 2009
5:59 pm

I see many great Tickle Piles in our future!!!

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
6:00 pm

Billy Jack:

DID ANYONE WATCH THAT EMBARRASSMENT OF THE SPRING GAME LAST WEEK AT GEORGIA?

But in all seriousness, one side of the stadium was closed due to construction.

Big Al: We have 4 NC’s. Want to compare our programs again?

NRBQ

April 18th, 2009
6:02 pm

14th game, Mark?

I suspect Tech will be better next year, but NC hopes – c’mon.

Last year, they beat Gardner-by-god-Webb, BC, UGA, and FSU by 3, and Climpson by 4.

Lost to VTech, UVA, to UNC by 21, and were shredded by LSU by 35, and failed to win a conference of weak sisters.

Not trash-talking, just saying.

Honest Lee

April 18th, 2009
6:04 pm

brewdawg, thanks for the comments and your good sportsmanship. We could use more of that around here.

I must agree with Mark. If the defensive line can improve and the skill players remain healthy, GT should have another great year.

Go Jackets!!

GT 79

April 18th, 2009
6:08 pm

All the talk of championships is way too early. You have to be very good, not get injuries and be very lucky. Remember that most of this team lost to UVA and UNC last year and almost lost to a Div 2 team.

That said, this team can grow and should win the ACC with a few breaks – mainly because most of the ACC is weak and doesn’t hold a candle to the SEC. But there is one other thing that GT has that many other schools don’t have and that is 5 National Championships. Plus with the recession and a real education counting for more GT will be able to recruit better.

But its got to be a game at a time for GT. The top tier – Texas, USC etc – are still a whole different league. Enjoy this while we can because GT seems to have long spells of sub par teams.

Jed Zeppelin

April 18th, 2009
6:09 pm

So, Big Al, Tech is conveniently “located in the hood”, huh? What are you trying to say?

Brewdawg, you’re right, it is tired. I enjoy the rivalry, but we should stay classy.

That said, I hope Cox gets one past Meyer or Saban. A victory against Georgie at home will be even more satisfying then. Love that high school offense.

fortebuna

April 18th, 2009
6:09 pm

Big Al I’m ashamed and embarrassed of you also.

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
6:10 pm

NRBQ:

Weak sisters? During the regular season, we had more wins against the SEC. And please, take into account that GT lost some close games because of inexperience with the TO. If we could play those games again this year, we’d have a much better game (not saying that we’d win them, but it’s possible).

And Paul Johnson explained the LSU game. He didn’t prepare them at all. He was definitely not used to going to real bowl games, rather than ones at Navy. We were horrible, and we’ve said that over and over.

But I’m not trash-talking. I didn’t insult anyone, whereas you did.

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
6:11 pm

GT 79:

5 championships?

Big Al

April 18th, 2009
6:16 pm

4 National championships before the facemask was invented. Congrats nerds. And I believe Colorado won the National Championship in 1990. I’m just trying to be realistic, guys. You are the Joke by Coke.

Justin

April 18th, 2009
6:17 pm

What NC talk? Tech fans are the most ignorant sports fans I have ever seen. The only National Championship GT will se is in the academic bowl. One good season out of 10 isnt cause for an eruption, one win means nothing, do it for say… 7 years then talk to me (us)…..

Alabama Jack

April 18th, 2009
6:20 pm

Hey act like you’ve been somebody. Lets play charades. Two words, first word one syllable, action word. Second word, one of the states of ON/OFF and it ain’t ON.

For you…..

PN

April 18th, 2009
6:25 pm

Big Al, thanks for dropping in. But before you leave, you mind trimming around the mailbox too? You always forget, silly pup!

PTC Jacket

April 18th, 2009
6:26 pm

Big Al:

Yeah, well the NCAA doesn’t believe that. Sorry, but you’re biased.

Justin:

Try 8 years, then talk to me (us).

Jed Zeppelin

April 18th, 2009
6:27 pm

Hey Big(ot) Al,

Do you think Mark Richt would trade the remaining follicles on his joke of a haircut for a “share” of any National Championship 2001?

I think so. And I also think you’re a dawg turd.

Go gators

April 18th, 2009
6:27 pm

Big Al, and your program has done what? Bow before the Gator Glory you POS, as for the hood I visited today, the property value of that facility is worth more than the entire town of REDNECK athens, Ga…It amazes me how insecure the UGA fans are posting blogs after a spring game LOL how pathetic, just make me want to call another timeout…

Go gators

April 18th, 2009
6:27 pm

fridge

April 18th, 2009
6:29 pm

does the gold team get a ring for the victory?

Link

April 18th, 2009
6:31 pm

I think anything less than winning the ACC will be considered a disappointment for the 2009 season. Expectations are insanely high. Still, if Paul Johnson’s record is any indication, our chances aren’t bad. Last year, the team’s supposed preseason goal was to “beat Georgia.” This year, it’s to “win championships.” Skeptics said our goal was out of reach last year. It could happen again.

Tech’s win in Athens last year was amazing, but for all the wrong reasons. No one thought Tech stood a chance against UGA. I hope UGA has another reasonably good season next year so that the game will mean more to both sides. The reason Tech fans are still talking about that win is because the rivalry is so one-sided. If both teams show up to the Flats in November with one loss or less, it would push the significance of our rivalry back towards the top for the other side too.

I’ll glady scream “To Hell With Georgia” until the day I die, but I want nothing more than for the Dawgs to go undefeated until we get the chance to shatter their hopes at the end of the season. ;)

SugarHillDawg=Nerd Tormentor

April 18th, 2009
6:37 pm

By the looks of the crowd, those players felt like it was a REAL game. Your defense will SUCK and ours will throttle your offense. Prepare for the BEATDOWN NERDS!!!Oh yeah, Link, you are DELUSIONAL if you think the NERDS will snap a UGA win streak! We can beat Florida but not Tech–that’s RICH!!!

gold and white

April 18th, 2009
6:41 pm

Lets cut it with the NC talk for now guys. We have to win the coastal to have a shot at the ACC, then win the ACC to have a possible shot at the NC. We are definitely a program on the rise, but we are still learning how to completely utilize our skillset along with our offense. I’d love winning a national championship, but realistically don’t see that happening this year.

Lets just work hard, do what we can, and take one game at a time. We don’t want to turn into Clemson of last year (who had NC aspirations and then went 8-5 i believe). So let’s expect success but be realistic and know that an NC is a longshot and even an ACC championship could be tough.

Go gators

April 18th, 2009
6:46 pm

Go Gator=sugarhill’s king,

Go clean my stables you POS, and tell the rest of your pathetic people, TIMEOUT…

Sudheer

April 18th, 2009
7:01 pm

the first Defense was playing pretty well until the final few minutes or so, so it shouldn’t be that much of a cause for concern. Tevin Washington and Jaybo shaw looked really good, besides the fumble to start the game. Marcus Wright was kind of a disappointment, though. Also, UGA’s offense looked pretty bad in their spring game, so UGA fans really shouldn’t be commenting on this blog.

Pi$$onaDAWG

April 18th, 2009
7:03 pm

The O-Line is a Joke for now. People playing out of place and we still don’t have a few good player in school yet, or Voss at Center. The O-Line did well but guards at center, Tackles at Guards, and trying to get comfortable learning all the O-Line positions. on the schedule: @ miami going for 5 in a row with a new OC will be a fun game. UNC @ home is a good thing we don’t play them well @ The HILL or UVa. in Charolettsville either. Beating FSU was a big step since we have not beat them they joined the ACC & Tally is a hard place to win no matter. Va. Tech here will be a GREAT game with many of their fans in the ATL, Show-up and cheer LOUD, but again UVa there is always a gimmie. Vandy will be a fun road trip for Dad and I, Mom might even go to that one. Wake I not “Skeered”, and Duke is still DUKE. No players are allowed to go home for Thanks Giving. You players get TURKEY after you pound UGA into the turf in Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field on the Flats. I know I didn’t say anything about CLEMSON. Well, I visited when Calvin was here, and I sat there as DEBO got his welcome but as it is said the Tigers are the UGLY and I will place that bet when I see our health and progress early in the season. We should win because THURSDAY NIGHTS are OUR, but only a 5 day rest and prepare time.

carober

April 18th, 2009
7:06 pm

calm down, folks. it was a SPRING game.

GT 4 LIFE

April 18th, 2009
7:12 pm

I think alot of UGA fans 4get that GT has more NATIONAL TITLES than they do and that GT has Won the most recent of TITLES between the 2. Although UGA had (keyword is had) a 7 game win streak on us but alot of those games could have went either way. this year is gonna be the stepping stone for paul johnson at GT. Remember when tech had 2 bobby’s ROSS/CREMINS and GT was a force in both sports now we have 2 PAUL’S (HEWITT/JOHNSON) so look out ACC foes the sting is back. GO YELLOW JACKETS.

Smells Like Victory

April 18th, 2009
7:23 pm

I think it would just satisfying crushing the dawgpiles at Bobby Dodd in 2009 in front of 50,000+; or the 2008 humiliation of the “pre-season #1″ in front 80,000 rednecks at The Cesspool of The South. Oh well, both are satisfying.

Oh Al

April 18th, 2009
7:27 pm

You could work a double shift at your Micky D’s job for 100 years and not afford a condo “in the hood” near Tech. When was the last time your left your trailer and came to Atlanta? 1980? You’re the guy who bashes Atlanta, then goes out of state, and tells everyone that’s where he’s from.
UGA fans,
Thank you for your concern. Good luck with Joe Tereshinski part deaux. See you in November.

SugarHillDawg=Nerd Tormentor

April 18th, 2009
7:29 pm

Go Gator=SugarHill’s QUEEN! Bring your mouth over here.

SugarHillDawg=Nerd Tormentor

April 18th, 2009
7:32 pm

Oh Al, why would you pay that much for a condo to live amongst CRIMINALS? Smart investment MORON!!!

John

April 18th, 2009
7:33 pm

Daily crap posted by trailer-trash redneck UGAg fans…….CHECK!!!