Spring Game & the Draft

Spring Game

I loaded up my oldest daughter and headed down to campus this morning for our annual spring game ritual. Its become a tradition of sorts. She enjoys seeing Buzz and the cheerleaders and I enjoy the opportunity to keep my GT brainwashing plan on track. (My wife will be happy to hear that she still plans to go to school at Florida State…so I still have work left to do…)

The weather had dampened the crowd both literally and figuratively but there were still a few thousand folks on hand. I suspect they were all curious about the Groh 3-4 defense and how different things might look this season.

The biggest thing that jumped out at me was the fact that this defensive shift in philosophy may really help out Brad Jefferson, Anthony Egbuniwe, and AT Barnes.

Barnes has always been a tweener of sorts, not really fitting at the DE or LB position under Tenuta or Wommack.

Egbuniwe always seemed a little light for a defensive end and seemed to play with his pads too high to really get in and battle offensive tackles.

In the 3-4 alignments we saw today, it looked like Barnes and Egbuniwe will benefit from Groh’s penchant to walk his outside linebackers up on the line from time to time. It gives the appearance of a five man front but also allows the OLBs the ability to drop into coverage, blitz, or spy a running back. Its a perfect role for guys like Barnes and Egbuniwe since they are obviously athletic and versatile. Both will play a large role in the defense this season and one or both may have breakout years.

Jefferson brings a tough, aggressive style of play to the inside linebacker position. He’ll be able to focus on reading plays and reacting with more focus than in previous seasons when he had to play more laterally as a conventional middle linebacker and cover more ground.

Offensively the star of the day was Stephen Hill. He’s put on weight since last season and looks stronger now. He’s not as big as Demarious Thomas was nor as silky smooth as Calvin Johnson was, but he’s positioned himself to be the next GT receiver to land on NFL draft lists. At a minimum he’s obviously going to be one of our main playmakers.

Before the rain and lightning ended the scrimmage early, Hill had gone up over a defender to wrestle away an under thrown ball and had also burnt freshman safety Isaiah Johnson deep on a 79 yard TD completion.

In short…Stephen Hill has matured and looks like a collegiate wide receiver in every sense of the word.

The other guys who stood out to me on offense were Tevin Washington (looks like the obvious #2 behind Nesbitt) and Orwin Smith. Smith is poised for a huge season in my opinion. He just has “it” and looks like a threat to break a long gain every time he has the ball.

Anyone else have any impressions from the abbreviated scrimmage this morning?

For the record…I had a chili cheese dog and fries at the Varsity. My daughter got her first Varsity Orange and approved heartily.

NFL Draft

Our four early departures have all been drafted at this point.

Derrick Morgan and Demarious Thomas obviously went in the first round. I figure they went about where they should have gone.

Morgan was probably the best defensive lineman we’ve had on the Flats since Greg Gathers. He was over shadowed when he was playing with Michael Johnson, Vance Walker, and Darryl Richard but people who were paying attention knew that Morgan would ultimately make the biggest splash.

Thomas was the first receiver chosen this year. He has all the tools needed to succeed at the NFL level and was an excellent exhibit of how Paul Johnson’s offense can showcase a receiver if he has the talent and skills to take advantage of it. Maybe now the haters and negative recruiters will hush. If not, then when Stephen Hill goes pro in a couple of years that may do it.

Morgan Burnette went in the third round, which seems about right. After a huge sophomore season he seemed to disappear last year. While still productive, he just didn’t seem to make the same impact as he had the year before. But still…his obvious physical tools warranted a third round pick. He’ll make big money when he comes up for free agency at the end of his initial contract.

And finally, Jonathan Dwyer fell all the way to the 6th round. This was largely the product of some injuries that hindered his combine showing. But it was also due to concerns that he wasn’t in sufficient shape and may have appeared a bit soft compared to his sophomore season. (GT fans wondered if he had put on weight…)

The media fumble of the NFL drug test results were probably a extremely minor factor here, if any.

Dwyer has a HUGE upside ultimately. He’s capable of being a feature back if he can stay healthy and deliver on the field. Pittsburgh may well have gotten a steal in the 6th round. And its a good organization for Dwyer to land with.

32 comments Add your comment

JMB

April 24th, 2010
8:28 pm

quite a “steel” for the steelers, i agree

Kay

April 24th, 2010
8:31 pm

Chris, who were the 2 fellows following Coach Johnson around on the field?

TiftonJacket

April 24th, 2010
8:44 pm

Doug,

Thanks for the update. For me the key thing coming out of spring is the overall health of the team. I personally haven’t seen any reports of injuries that will impact the team when Fall practice starts in August. Spring is about closing the book on 2009 and looking ahead and staying healthy for the upcoming season. Anybody other than Kyle Jackson that is questionable to start fall practice in August? Will Kyle be ready to go? Plugging him back in the middle would be a tremendous help to our run support that was terrible late in the season.

I am excited to see how the OL plays in 2010 considering I believe this unit has overachieved in the last few years given the lack of depth and talent minus the two bowl games. In those games we did see how much improvement is needed from this unit, but I hope the recruiting focus up front since CPJ arrived will improve their consistentcy.

The two areas of concern going into 2010: DL depth and play and placekicking. Really not sure how the front 3 will play in 2010 and watching teams go up and down the field on the D last year got a little too much. Finally, Scott Blair knows if he doesn’t kick well in 2010 he will lose his spot. IN two years under CPJ Tech has played a number of close games and fortunately only the Clemson game at home last year came down to FGs late. I literally kneel and pray the last two years during FG attempts. If we don’t get better in the phase, it will bite us sooner or later. Tell Blair the tailgating on west campus might help him take the edge off before each game.

Thanks and now the loooong wait until August begins. Hopefully the baseball team can play well into June because the Braves will be done by early July. Enjoy your summer.

Can't wait too see the future flagboys

April 24th, 2010
8:45 pm

oh and Coach Johnson, might wanna wear a helmet in Athens this year , lmao…see you and your 2010 baton twirlers soon!!!!!!

TiftonJacket

April 24th, 2010
8:50 pm

As for JD, hate to see what happened to the young man. Great rep for the school since he arrived. To be honest, all four of the JRs that left early were great SAs for the school. Congrats to 2 deserving players in DM and Bebe for going in the 1st round.

To me, JD got caught up in the others leaving, almost a thing of not wanting to be left out. It was great to watch JD play each week and I wish him all the best, but bad advice in leaving early. Watching him drop to the six round was painful for the fans as well. But it sounds like a tough lesson in understanding the amount of work, effort, and grit it takes to play in the NFL. Hopefully this experience will push him to work even harder to prove how big a mistake other teams made in letting him fall to the sixth round. Good luck DM, MB, Bebe, and JD. Thanks for the tremendous turn around these last two years and all the best as a pro.

juvenal

April 24th, 2010
9:28 pm

liked the way Sims ran..

Jacket Backer

April 24th, 2010
10:10 pm

i thought the offense looked very efficient with NO turnovers……washington, allen, hill, cox, orwin smith, roddy and on and on…….man, we have a bunch of guys who can make plays with the ball in their hands…..if the defense improves as i think it will then its going to be fun in the fall !!!!!….

hey chris, keep up the brainwashing…..its works!….my youngest of three will enroll at Tech in august…..all of them have been yellow jacketsl!!

Go Jackets!!!!

Can't wait to see the future flagboys

April 25th, 2010
12:13 am

Im obsessed about GT football. Why else would I be on here talkin trash in APRIL?!? Man, I need to get a life! As usual i think my team is god’s gift and your team is terrible. Its my own personal opinion but in typical UGA fashion I state it like its fact.

Go Dawgs! We will win the national championship every year forever!!!

1980 was so long ago

April 25th, 2010
7:47 am

“Go Dawgs! We will win the national championship every year forever!!!”

In your dreams of course. 1980, some 4 decades ago was a farce. Even then Notre Dame dominated all statistics in that “championship” game. This the same. ND team that was outplayed and tied by a 1-9-1 GT squad that year. After their performance in Atlanta in 1980, by today’s bowl formula ND would have played their bowl game in Shreveport that year.

mwh6767

April 25th, 2010
8:27 am

The development of Hill is huge for the jackets this yr. I dont expect him to come in and take up all the slack of thomas but it he can give you around 800 yrds. and 5-6 tds this yr. then I dont see the offense missing a beat. Factor in a couple of reverses or other trick plays that tech uses with him and you will be fine. To really make this offense explosive tech needs one of the other wrs to step up. You would be amazed how much this offense would open up if tech could get another wr to step up with about 500-600 yrds this season.

Brock

April 25th, 2010
9:25 am

Chris- What did you think about Simms? He looked like a copy of Nesbitt under center. He also made some good reads on a few carries he had. Looks like he may be pushing for the #3 spot. Luallen needs to beef up and get more agressive.

I also think the kickers/punters looked a lot better and stronger from last year. Blair actually kicked one to the endzone and the punter(can’t recall his name) that nailed one for 72yds…….that was amazing.

Looks to be a good year on the flats!!

dagnabit

April 25th, 2010
9:27 am

Spring and summer will help keep the “blues” away ’til august. I am already looking foreward to this year’s football season. Can’t help it.

St. Simons

April 25th, 2010
7:58 pm

(((((((((((((((UGA 30 – GT 24))))))))))))))))))))))!!!

(((((((((((((((UGA 73 – GT 66)))))))))))))))))))))))))))!!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAHHHA!!!!

WE RUN THIS STATE!!

vahokie

April 25th, 2010
8:27 pm

Groh sucks. He is just going to make your defense worst.Im glad you guys got him .

lucky21

April 25th, 2010
8:34 pm

The kicker you are talking about is Sean Poole and we may actually punt the ball if he can do that distance because the kick wen 60 yards and then rolled 10

Just in the past week

April 26th, 2010
6:50 am

Woman robbed near Tech
Georgia Tech students carjacked, robbed at gunpoint early Friday
Man carjacked near Georgia Tech campus

Frank and Honest Discussion

April 26th, 2010
7:31 am

You may run this state but its too bad you have nothing else to do on Sunday night at 7:58, St. Simon’s. You must live a pretty lonely existence, even for a mutt.

And I don’t know why uga fans point out the crime near GT. If anything, it will keep people from moving to Atlanta, which hurts the potential student base that uga draws from. I guess they only care about football players, and not the rest of the students.

Anyways, on topic.

Not sure how you don’t mention Allen first. He’s going to have a stupendous year and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him rack up 1,500 yards on the ground with another 1-200 through the air. There’s a reason he averaged 10+ yards a carry last year and he looks better this year at a more natural position.

I think Roddy is primed for a comeback too. He had a few nice runs. Now that Allen is gone, I’d imagine Roddy will be the benefactor of a lot of those pitch sweeps CPJ used to call (I think he called it 3 or 4 times in a row in the UVA game).

I agree that Orwin should bust out. Embry Peeples too. They should be strongly in the mix at A-Back and Embry will be part of our pass package, along with Chris Jackson.

Egbuniwe is going to have a huge year. He really laid out some hits on Saturday.

Don’t remember even seeing Luallen play on Saturday (if he did must have been during my hot dog run). Washington is a very sturdy #2. He threw a duck that Stephen Hill managed to rip from the defenders hands and misfired a deep ball to a relatively open hill, but he’s at least as good as Nesbitt throwing the ball with some wheels toboot.

I disagree that Sims had a good game. He’s still at least a year off. Sims isn’t as quick to turn upfield, and it seems he moves a good yard or two off the line of scrimmage when he’s running the option. That adds time to the play (he has to run more yards) and makes us have to make up the yards on the pitch or the keep (at least 1-2 yards more than usual). Seems that he didn’t move the ball nearly what Washington did, but a lot of that could be playing with the ones. Still, no doubt needs another year to get better. Not picking on the kid, still a freshman.

reality

April 26th, 2010
4:50 pm

Hey vahokie…our D will not have to be that good to kick your butts again this year.

Dawgs about to lose another QB. What a program…

William Shattner

April 27th, 2010
4:22 pm

GA Tech fans love me — I am like their God!

Keep on Trekking!

Reality Bites

April 27th, 2010
4:23 pm

DAWGS 30
Jackettes 24

Joe Hamilton

April 27th, 2010
4:24 pm

Hey man did anyone see where I left my doobie?

Saint Simons

April 27th, 2010
4:25 pm

I was really pulling for Reuben Houston to not get captured by those US Marshals.

someguy

April 28th, 2010
4:55 pm

not all good coordinators make good head coaches, ultimately I believe Al Groh will do fine.

I mean think about big raplh, he has been terrible at Maryland but he was a great offensive coordinator for us. sure he has had a couple of good years at Maryland but Groh had a few good years at Virgina, but was bad overall. some coaches are not as good as their records indicate (richt and gailey) and some are better than their records. Oh, Richt is a good Offensive coordinator but ultimately lacks developmental skills and motivational skills and thus lose to teams they shouldn’t (06 vandy, kentucky, 07 south carolina, 08 none, 09 kentucky, okala state, and Tenn) but will by some way or another win against teams they shouldn’t (07 Florida, 09 Tech).

someguy

April 28th, 2010
4:59 pm

georgia is incapable of scoring 77 points

1. that high of score rarely happens (off hand I would say less than 10% of the time)
2. only someone who is not a true fan of football would make that kind of projection
3. the season is far away from now.

m

April 30th, 2010
9:40 am

The best news of the spring game is that Gomer Gailey, absolutely the sorriest coach that ever lived, is STILL gone forever. Thanks to God and Greyhound, he is STILL gone. All Tech fans, especially the idiots on the Hive, that ever supported him or propped up his pitiful resume, everyone of you suck as bad as he does.

Myrtle

April 30th, 2010
9:40 am

Hey, Saint Simons – Keep repeating old woes over and over. Don’t look towards Athens; there’s nothing naughty happening over there. The high character of the team is evident. Let’s talk about GT players from a decade or two ago. That’s real fun dirt. Better enjoy the “we run this state” tape now, because GT is the only team going to BCS bowls and the NCAA tournament, eh? Oh, yeah…let’s talk 1980……

christian lemay

April 30th, 2010
11:53 pm

Why didnt Ga tech offer me??? I really wanted to run that wing t offense…NOT!!! go dawgs 30-24, Good luck recruiting rb’s…I’m sorry qb’s….

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Nothing but the Truth

May 5th, 2010
10:53 am

Once again GT dominates in the state of Georgia in terms of the quality of the bowl game and the number of recruits to the NFL. UGA recruits come in with glorified rankings but like the school itself, they end up being nothing but a big heap of hot air

haha!!

May 17th, 2010
12:57 pm

Best quote ever!!! This from Kenny Anderson who just graduated from some podunk school.

“”I’d ask people for help,” Anderson said. “This wasn’t like college. They’d say, ‘I’ll give you an idea, but you have to do the work yourself.’”

LOL!!! Apparently Kenny isn’t used to doing his OWN work in college. Hmmm…..where did he attend school at for 2 years again? LOL!!!

UGA (STUPID REDNECK FANS, 7-5, 1980)

May 26th, 2010
9:54 am

st simon- you are the biggest tool…I bet your some fat @$$ that sits alone in his parents basement and plays with himself.

1980
INDEPENDENCE BOWL
KENTUCKY
TENN
ZACK METTENBERGER
RAPE

THE LIST GOES ON AND ON SHREVEPORT F^%$S