Tech’s Morgan: “We want to win the ACC championship”

Derrick Morgan: Even if you hold him, you can't contain him. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Derrick Morgan: Even if you hold him, you can't really stop him. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Most of the other Jackets trudged the two blocks from their practice field to the locker room, but Derrick Morgan, the splendid defensive end, rolled up in an SUV. A young woman had happened by and had offered Morgan and two Georgia Tech teammates a lift, and they weren’t inclined to say no.

“In the nick of time,” Morgan said, smiling. “That walk after practice feels long.”

What this tells us: Derrick Morgan is a pragmatist. He’s not one to traffic, so to speak, in posturing. Why walk when you can ride? Why jump up and down shouting, “Hey, look at us,” when you figure your team has the wherewithal to make people notice yet again?

Some Tech folks were disappointed the Jackets weren’t ranked higher than No. 15 in the coaches’ and Associated Press preseason poll. Morgan wasn’t among them. “I didn’t think we’d be that high,” he said. “We were embarrassed by LSU [in the Chick-fil-A Bowl]. I was expecting us to be lower.”

This isn’t to say Morgan expects Tech to underperform in Year 2 under Paul Johnson. “We want to win the ACC championship,” Morgan said, “and then we have to take it to the next level: We want to win a bowl game. We haven’t won one of those in I-don’t-know-how-long.” [Tech's last postseason victory: Dec. 21, 2004, over Syracuse in the Champs Sports Bowl.]

Morgan plays defense, but he also sees Tech’s stylized offense every day. A visitor posits the semi-popular notion that opponents will be better able to stop Johnson’s spread option in 2009 because they had a look at it in 2008. A valid point?

“Uh, no — just to be blunt,” Morgan said. “Seeing it can’t get you ready for everything. And how long are you really going to have to prepare for it? A week at the most.”

Morgan remembers the first time his defense went against the first-team offense in spring practice 2008: “We didn’t know what hit us. We knew what it looked like, but we saw its potential unleashed.”

And what’s it like to face that offense? “Not fun. You have to be really cognizant of cutback blocks and the blind side. You have to be really assignment-sound.”

As for Tech’s D: Much has been made over Morgan’s missing linemates — Michael Johnson, Vance Walker and Darryl Richard, all drafted by NFL teams — but it must be noted that the Jackets return a starter at every other defensive spot. It must also be noted that Morgan, whom Tech insiders considered the best of the linemen, believes he has improved.

“I was looking at some tape of last year,” he said, “and I think I’m a lot better now. I know there’s more attention on me, but we’ve still got a great defensive line.”

Will Tech win the ACC title?

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So, if you’re planning to categorize Tech as a one-year wonder, you won’t find a willing audience wearing No. 91. “I would not agree with that,” Morgan said, smiling again. He also said this: “With the type of talent we have, we can compete with the best teams in the country. Our goal is to win every game.”

And this, remember, is a pragmatist speaking, not some dewy-eyed dreamer. But before we leave Derrick Morgan, we must present his one blue-sky dream. That long slog from the practice field? He sees a workaround.

“We need one of those things they have in airports,” he said. “A moving sidewalk.”

At last check, there are a few engineers on campus. Get moving, people!

184 comments Add your comment

Try selling out a 55,000 seat stadium......

August 26th, 2009
2:35 pm

*****FREE Tech football ticket with valid police report proving you were mugged within 4 blocks of campus!!!! *****

12 wins vs. UGA since 1965

August 26th, 2009
2:40 pm

joke of a program, joke of a conference, joke of a coach, joke of a high school offense, joke of a schedule, joke of a student body, joke of a fan following…….

Saint Simons

August 26th, 2009
2:42 pm

(((((( 45 – 42 ))))) hahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

Born2Buzz

August 26th, 2009
2:45 pm

Wow, MB post the blog at 2:30 and 5 minutes later some doggie fan jumps on and post a derogatory comment.
What a douche.

1-8 in BCS games since 2000

August 26th, 2009
2:54 pm

Morgan wants to win the ACC, but he also wants to win a bowl game. Based on the recent history of the pathetic ACC in BCS games, I’d suggest those are two mutually exclusive goals.

Alabama Jack

August 26th, 2009
2:56 pm

dawg fans suck

SatchelBuzz

August 26th, 2009
3:00 pm

The joke is on you and your kind 12 wins. Like the DBT say,…Ain’t Never Gonna Change.

St Simons did it first.

August 26th, 2009
3:00 pm

Hey Born2Buzz, that’s the pot calling the kettle black.
Every single AJC blog about UGA finds “st simons” right at the top with the score.

So you’re calling your fellow fan I douche. Which is about right I’d say.

Stinger

August 26th, 2009
3:01 pm

Jox Coe or is it Joe Cox at quarterback? Regardless, what a joke. He couldn’t make our team. The only other team he could start for other than UGA is the Temple Owls. The Okies will absolutely destroy you, as will South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU, Florida, and obviously Tech.

Mister T

August 26th, 2009
3:03 pm

It sure looks like Tech has the attention of the dog fans. I thought Tech didn’t matter to the dogs. sure doesn’t look that way from here. Keep’m coming guys. show Tech how irrelevant they are. You crack me up.

THWg!

Good luck

August 26th, 2009
3:05 pm

I hope they win the ACC, would be a great story. The conference as a whole is relatively weak, so this might be the year. Would like to see more consistency from the peaks and valleys of the past two decades.

JR

August 26th, 2009
3:10 pm

I think Georgia Tech will be a good team, but Bradley makes it seem like Tech was incredible last year. The win over Georgia was huge, but Tech still finished the season with four losses. If not for a ghastly fumble by FSU at the end of the game, Tech was staring at another defeat in that game as well. There’s no way Tech deserves more than a preseason #15 rank.

Let’s also not forget that for as good as this offense was at times last year, the defense was hardly impressive. Even in the big win over a putrid Georgia defense, Tech gave up 42 points, and then 38 to a weak LSU team (who were experimenting with a brand new QB).

So yes, I definitely think Tech can match last year’s success, but is that all that impressive? A 10-4 season? Or a 9-5? Certainly not by the standards of that other state school.

Sting 'em Buzz

August 26th, 2009
3:13 pm

1-8 in BCS games….recent history shows that the win was last year. That history has little to nothing to do with how this season will play out.

Sting 'em Buzz

August 26th, 2009
3:15 pm

St Simons did it first… I expect that kind of childishness out of my 6 year old but not out of an adult. Just because someone else does something, it doesn’t mean that you have to stoop down to that level.

Brent S.

August 26th, 2009
3:18 pm

Hey 12….when UGA(Y) get’s THREE more National Championships to match Tech’s FOUR, THEN and ONLY then, come talk to me. Also, all you UGA(Y) fans are so diluted into your football team, you can’t see the forest through the trees!! You guys HONESTLY think your going to win 9-10 games this year with a ROOKIE QB, an UNPROVEN running back, and a suspect defense that was down 31-0 to Alabama last year at HALFTIME!!! And then Tech comes to Athens and beats you 45-42? You guys must be smoking the good stuff up in Athens.

reebok

August 26th, 2009
3:21 pm

Last year, I thought Tech would be lucky to win 4 games. this year, there is not a game on the schedule that the Jackets can’t win…not saying they WILL win all of them…but there’s no game where I look at it and say “we don’t have a chance.”

Don Barzini

August 26th, 2009
3:24 pm

Where is the ACC championship game this season? If Tech’s in it, you can believe it won’t come close to selling out…..Just like in 2006, when Wake Forrest beat Tech in the rain. Didn’t sell then, won’t sell now. Why? Because nobody gives a hoot in hell about ACC football.

Mutts-R-Stupid-especially-journalism-majors

August 26th, 2009
3:25 pm

UGAY is facing the NCAA DEATH PENALTY if they git caught CHEATING just one more time, so lets git snooping people.

GT Alum

August 26th, 2009
3:25 pm

JR, to rebut your points… FSU also would have been staring at a bigger defeat if Nesbitt wasn’t hurt and Shaw didn’t turnover the ball on both possessions following the injury. VT would be staring at a defeat if a “questionable” helmet to helmet call wasn’t made. LSU would have been closer if you completely ruled out every special teams play. Now if you forget about the excuses and look at it another way, Tech was 9-3 and every weakness was obvious. Fumbles, passing game, special teams. If they improve as you would expect a team to do on the obvious weaknesses then they “should” be better and in contention. But hey, it’s all hype. Lets just wait till toe meets leather and we find out first hand if Johnson is for real. My money is on yes.

WHAT’S THE GOOD WORD?

Knute

August 26th, 2009
3:28 pm

Yo! Responding to “12 wins over UGA since 1965″!!! Shhhh, your boss might hear those “joke of a……” remarks and send you packin’ to da dawg pound. At least Tech has a Johnson, unlike you!!!

Phoque Tech

August 26th, 2009
3:28 pm

The handle is, I think, self explanatory regarding my feelings about the North Ave. Trade School.

mike

August 26th, 2009
3:30 pm

st simons really works for the ajc, just tries to get blogs started. no loser in his right mind would exist just to type the 1st entry in every ga/uga blog. if he is a techmite, he may be the same stud I saw throw a punch at a grown UGA female fan at the tech/ga game a few years back, the same game where r-ball took a swing at one of UGA’s trainers on the sideline. It must be hell having to wear mustard yellow for your school colors and have an insect that wears tights as your mascot.

R. Randall

August 26th, 2009
3:30 pm

Hey “Mutts R Stupid” – and I’ll let the irony of your title speak for itsself – fyi Georgia has NEVER been on probation. Tech, however, has. So…what are you talking about again?

Jon Jenkins

August 26th, 2009
3:34 pm

Some tech fan please enlighten me – Can you guys possibly have a blog without referencing “I’m your Boss” comments, or counting your supposed MNCs on your fingers? Can you? I like reading about tech because they are an instate school, but you guys come off like complete losers making those kind of comments. Please somebody explain to me why tech fans do this.

Pi$$onaDawg

August 26th, 2009
3:35 pm

Well, Bill the bit.h on the buttlicker blog will not let me post because I made him mad. HAHAHAH. and UGA fans never say off color things on TECH’s site. But I Digress. to the dogfan SimpleDawg(blow me) GT and UGA both won the 4 OLD major Bowls. Rose: 29GT 1-0. Sugar: 44GT, 53GT, 54GT, 56GT 4-0. Orange: 40GT, 45L, 48GT, 52GT,67L 3-2. Cotton: 43L, 55GT 1-1 that is 9-3 and 75% of games played we won. UGA. Rose: 43UGA 1-0. Sugar 47UGA, 69L, 81UGA, 03UGA, 06L,08UGA but that was Hawaii joke game, 4-2(3-2). Orange: 42UGA, 49L, 60UGA 2-1. Cotton: 66UGA, 76L, 84UGA 2-1 that is 9-4 and 69% of games played you won. I like 8-4 because hawaii was a joke match-up so I say 66%. We have to now consider that the BOWl tie-in want let either team play in some of these bowls now. PS F..K Bill King. an pi$$ on a Fat good for nothing BullBlob I mean bulldog.

GT Alum

August 26th, 2009
3:36 pm

Jenkins, easiest counter would be to ask why Georgia fans can’t blog without making references to turbins or nerds.

Reggie Ball Sack

August 26th, 2009
3:37 pm

Seriously people…let’s get some things straight here. First off I’m not biased to your UGA/GT feud because I’m from the North and we dont know a thing about College ball. But it sounds like the Tech fan base seems to think they have caught up to talent level and national recognition that UGA has built during the Richt era. Not even close…Yes Tech had a great win vs UGA this year (about time) but they barely won a few of their victories this year and got embarrassed by a LSU team.
And the fact that the ACC has no power houses this year besides an over ranked VT they do have a chance to win the weak ACC this year. But that’s like saying you won a fart contest. If they played in the SEC they wouldnt win 5 games.

Excuse the grammer…I’m a yankee and i talk and type fast. J-E-T-S JETS, JETS JETS.

Kyle

August 26th, 2009
3:37 pm

1st in the nation to 2nd in the state. lol

juvenal

August 26th, 2009
3:38 pm

1965, that’s when MOST colleges stopped using real students to “play” sports: hence a 78% bankruptcy rate for guys 2 years out of the NFL-i don’t think Calvin will be broke-55K has a point(not about crime, you can get killed by a dui driver in athens game-time), sure atl is invaded by pro loving yankees, & a lot of nerds really DON’T care about anything except $, but you techies out there could buy a chunk of tics& throw a tailgate party..

J

August 26th, 2009
3:38 pm

I wouldn’t toot my horn too loudly if I were you, Techies. You lost your back-up QB, and Nesbitt is just one hit away from an injury……especially in an offense that paints a target on the QB’s head. What happened the last time Nesbitt was injured? Garner-Webb, anyone?

GA Tech Insider

August 26th, 2009
3:39 pm

I have been biting my tongue, but on this one I won’t. The obnoxious UGA fans started this idiotic, juvenile, game of trying to ruin the blogs for the rest of us this time, and frankly, the boorish names that the AJC “requires” is a joke as is the “required” e-mail address.

It’s time for all real fans to either unite and demand better, or find someplace else to get our sports on GA Tech. Personally, I’ve grown sick and tired of having to deal with this rubbish and I’m just about ready to cancel ALL of my subscriptions to the AJC, and I do mean ALL OF THEM.

vamosjackets

August 26th, 2009
3:39 pm

That was a very enjoyable read. Thanks Mark.

Jon Jenkins

August 26th, 2009
3:40 pm

GT Alum – I guess I can understand that…if I was five years old. What, the bulldog fans talk about your nerdy fan base and diverse ethnicity (i’ve been to several games at Grant, and it didn’t seem like much of a stereotype), so you go around talking about how EVERY tech fan is EVERYBODY’s boss? And you tally up MNCs from the days sans-facemasks. C’mon man, seems like apples and oranges to me. Just sayin.

Kyle

August 26th, 2009
3:40 pm

We play in the ACC and will get 3 wins against SEC teams this year, so I think we would be just fine in the SEC.

Pi$$onaDawg

August 26th, 2009
3:41 pm

Don if you could not drink, show your butt, and cuss around children at a UGA game I bet they would not sell out the game either. Tech people want to see a home win and still keep their class while enjoying a day with their family and friends. You know family that you don’t have to go on MAURY to get a DNA Test to prove “YOU ARE THE DADDY”.

db8

August 26th, 2009
3:43 pm

R. Randall, I believe he was talking about the 400 arrests UGA experienced last year. ;)

Dawg Guy

August 26th, 2009
3:44 pm

I love how “Pi$$onaDawg” talks about tech’s supposed “class” while at the same time posting under that moniker. Wow. Define Irony.

SEC Hunter

August 26th, 2009
3:44 pm

Other than UF, LSU and Alabama – SEC = 0. You have the big three then everyone else, including ruff ruff

R. Randall

August 26th, 2009
3:46 pm

db8: true, we had our fair share of 20 year olds getting busted drinking beer (Oh my GOD!!!). But, program-wide probation and a minor in possession ticket are two different things. Two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. Classic techie – get exposed in an argument and change the subject. Utter childishness.

J

August 26th, 2009
3:47 pm

GTAlum……You graduated from Tech, and you can’t spell “turban”?

huh?

August 26th, 2009
3:47 pm

So GT Alum… You seem to be full of excuses, but I didn’t hear your excuse for the game against UNC last year? 28-7… ouch.

Dawg Guy

August 26th, 2009
3:48 pm

Randall, don’t forget about the rapes, terrorism, and drug use (by a coach no less) on North Avenue. Yep, ole Athens sure is out of control compared to the genteel techmites on that dump of a campus.

Ropedawg

August 26th, 2009
3:48 pm

ONE three point win in 8 years, and you nerds think everything has changed? See you in Novemeber. It’s going to be a rude awakening… I can’t wait.

db8

August 26th, 2009
3:50 pm

R. Randall – And do you recall why GT was on probation?

dcjacket

August 26th, 2009
3:51 pm

I’m always amused when fans live in the past and tout past accomplishments, especially Dawg fans. The 8-1 record and other historical accomplishments mean very little to what will happen this year and in future years.

The main reason is that not only is Chan Gailey not here, but Dave Braine is also gone. The attitude and atmosphere has changed. No longer does our AD or HC believe that we would be lucky to win 7-8 games. A higher standard is not wished for but expected. For the first time, since probably the Bobby Dodd years. GT fans truely believe in its coach and staff and their ability to be successful and repeat it every year. We came close during the O’Leary years, but those years do not come close to what is happening on the flats today. In addition, while Richt has not changed and will always be a great coach. It seems that all is not well with the staff because of the disconnect and under performance with results to talent UGA has on campus, especially on defense.
Dawg fans, if you believe Willie M’s claim that if only players tackled better than…you will have a long, long season. I’m not afraid to say that our offense last year with an inferior OL outplayed (ie. converted TE playing OT)a Dawg D with supposedly superior talent.

Yes, there is change in the winds and it is not going away. BTW,GT is also beginning to enjoy similar success in its other sports because of our AD-DRad. MB-a good article would be the tremendous impacthe has made on GT athletics. He is the main reason UGA fans are irritated these days. He hired CPJ among other enhancements to GT athletics. I look forward to our annual grudge match, we’ll see who wins. Be prepared because it will be a war.

masivatack

August 26th, 2009
3:52 pm

“1st in the nation to 2nd in the state. lol”

If you are talking about rankings, UGA finished ahead of tech last year.

12 wins vs. UGA since 1965

August 26th, 2009
3:52 pm

AJC……. PLEASE be careful…. GA Tech Insider does. mean. ALL. of. them.

hahahahahahaha

Tuck Fech!!!!

Who is GT??

August 26th, 2009
3:53 pm

GT IS IRRLEVANT!!

Dawgs Fan

August 26th, 2009
3:53 pm

Hey Stinger, get you poker out yo nose boy! Dawgs Rule and tech well, they just keep on crying….wha wha….

Sting Buzz

August 26th, 2009
3:54 pm

Dearest Stingem,
You missed the point.
Step one: UGA fan insults GT with first response to a GT blog.
Step two: GT fan complains about UGA fan.
Step three: UGA fan points out the irony / hypocrisy of GT fans complaint by referencing a certain GT fan and his tendency to engage in STEP ONE on every UGA blog post.
Step four: You respond with the kind of attitude one would expect of a relationally challenged geek who will certainly raise dork kids.