Tag:Paul Johnson
Posted on: September 18, 2011 1:19 am
Edited on: September 18, 2011 1:26 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Sept. 17)



Posted by Chip Patterson


1. When it comes to expansion, ACC moves swiftly and silently. While Mike Slive and Larry Scott continue to make headlines with their cryptic quotes about realignment and expansion, ACC commissioner John Swofford once again made the moves necessary to protect the future of the conference. Before Legends, before Leaders, and before the Pac-12 matched their name with their membership; the ACC added Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College from the Big East in order to hold a conference championship game. I knew that September 17 would be a big day for the ACC, but I did not know it would be a day that defined the future of the conference.

Before Big East commissioner John Marinatto could say "clambake," Pittsburgh and Syracuse reportedly submitted formal applications to the ACC for membership. CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy broke the story Saturday morning, and Gary Parrish is reporting the ACC presidents could vote on the expansion as soon as Sunday. "It's done," a source said to Parrish.

The addition of the two schools paired with last week's decision to raise the conference's exit fee to $20 million protects the future of the ACC. If we are indeed headed towards superconferences, Swofford has prepared his league to be one of them. By the time the story broke, the deal was reportedly already done, and there was no need for cryptic quotes or loaded statements. While Texas A&M's move was the first domino to fall, Saturday's developments may have expedited more major moves. Buckle up folks, the shift is happening now.

UPDATE: At 11:37 p.m. (ET), the ACC announced a media teleconference for Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.. CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy is reporting that the university presidents will meet prior to the teleconference. Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more details of the conference's announcement, whatever it may be.

2. Florida State displays resilience in loss, but now what? The Seminoles fought with every ounce they could pull together from their beaten and battered roster in a losing effort to the top-ranked Sooners. The options were laid out plainly before the game: win and become a national title contender, lose and fall from the national title discussion entirely. Granted there are plenty of scenarios that could feature the Seminoles in the national title game as a 1-loss or even 2-loss team, but I wouldn't put any money on those outcomes.

The challenge for Jimbo Fisher's team is avoid a hangover from this frustrating loss. Florida State can still set their sights on the ACC Championship and a BCS bowl victory. The Seminoles haven't won an ACC title since 2005 and haven't won a BCS bowl game since defeating Michael Vick and Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl to win the National Championship for the 1999 season. There is plenty of room for growth, and the loss does not mean that the Seminoles "aren't back." The atmosphere in Doak Campbell Stadium was electric on Saturday night, and hopefully a sign of things to come in Tallahassee rather than a one-time occasion.

3. Miami got Jacory Harris back, but the difference was on defense. Jacory Harris may have matured, and changed in many ways off the field. But against Ohio State, Jacory Harris still looked very much like the Jacory we know and love. Great footwork, incredible athleticism, and wildly inconsistent in his reads and decision making. Harris finished the game with 123 yards passing, two touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions to match. The Hurricanes got their boost from their defense, which swarmed all over the field with high energy and held the Buckeyes to just 209 yards of total offense. Senior linebacker Sean Spence led the way in his first game back from suspension as the team's leading tackler while Adwele Ojomo and Marcus Forston provided depth on the defensive line that was lacking in Miami's season opening loss to Maryland.

4. Georgia Tech's offense is for real. Record-setting real. Georgia Tech's frustrating 2010 season included a 28-25 loss to Kansas. If the Yellow Jackets were out for revenge on Saturday, they certainly showed it in their 42-point second half output against the Jayhawks. When the final buzzer sounded 12 different Georgia Tech players had combined for 604 yards rushing in the 66-24 win. The total set a new school record, and the 12.1 yards per carry as a team set a new NCAA record. (NOTE: the official game notes list it as a record, but CBSSports.com's Adam Jacobi points out that Northern Illinois recorded 15.5 last November. Regardless, impressive performance by the Jackets).  Georgia Tech's offense has been steamrolling their opponents, using a stable of home-run threats to deflate their opposition with big plays. Against Kansas, the Yellow Jackets had scoring plays of 95, 63, 67, and 52 yards. Quarterback Tevin Washington has become a wizard in Paul Johnson's option offense, freezing defenders with fakes and reads while his teammates set up the perimeter blocking for the playmakers. High point totals against inferior opposition is normal for early season games, but hanging 66 on Kansas and giving the Jayhawks their first loss of the season made a statement. This offense is a force to be reckoned with.

5. Don't give Clemson WR Sammy Watkins any space. None. At least not if you plan on keeping him from burning your defense. The true freshman wide receiver has drawn the praises of coaches, fans, and teammates since arriving on campus this fall. On Saturday he made his presence known to the nation in the Tigers' 38-24 win over Auburn in Death Valley. Watkins led all receivers with 10 catches for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Both scores came on short/mid-range passes that Watkins reeled in and took to the house. Against a defense that carries the reputation of "SEC speed," Watkins looked supersonic as he left the Auburn secondary in his dust headed towards the end zone. Watkins is an early favorite for Rookie of the Year already, and likely will be giving defensive coordinators headaches for the foreseeable future.

6. Things have gone from bad to worse at Boston College. Heading into the season, all the buzz around Boston College was about an upgraded offense that would feature Preseason Player of the Year Montel Harris rather than rely on the star running back. The defense, ranked among the best in the nation, returned arguably the game's best linebacker in Luke Kuechly and touted sophomore Kevin Pierre-Louis. Kuechly still leads the nation in tackles, but that's about all that has been going write for the Eagles. Offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers has taken a medical leave of absence, Montel Harris is struggling to get back to the field after undergoing his second arthroscopic knee surgery in a year, and leading receiver Ifeanyi Momah might be lost for the season with his own knee injury. But frustrations have spilled over to kicking game as well, with Nate Freese missing an extra point in the second quarter and a 23-yard field goal with 43 seconds remaining in a 20-19 loss to Duke in the ACC opener for both squads. What started as a season of hope for BC (and even some chatter about ACC Atlantic dark horse) has turned into an 0-3 start with Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Florida State, and Miami left on the schedule.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: September 4, 2011 2:50 am
Edited on: September 5, 2011 4:41 pm
 

What I learned from the ACC (Sept. 3)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1) Unproven UNC QB Bryn Renner answered doubters with a record setting day. Renner only attempted two passes during his freshman year, one of them fell incomplete. In his first career start on Saturday against James Madison, the sophomore quarterback once again only missed his receiver once. Unfortunately it was intercepted, but it was the only miscue in Renner's 22-for-23 performance against the Dukes. Renner's 95.7% completion rate set a new ACC record and was a big reason the Tar Heels were able to give Everett Withers his first head coaching victory.

Renner's opposition will get much more difficult as the season goes on and teams get to prepare for the first-year starter, but that's where he will be aided by a two-headed rushing attack that also looked sharp on Saturday. Redshirt senior Ryan Houston and redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard both returned from injuries just in time to combine for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Combine their success with the reliable Dwight Jones receiving, and the quarterback position no longer looks like a question mark in Chapel Hill.

2) The ACC at least has the capability to put up big points - Of the ten ACC teams with a game under their belt, eight teams scored at least 29 points with the entire conference averaging AVERAGE points on the weekend thus far. Granted, only Wake Forest and Boston College played teams from an AQ conference (both lost) and six of the conference's opponents were FCS teams, but for a conference that has been criticized at times for a lack of offensive talent it was a nice change to see some points. For Clemson it took awhile before Chad Morris' signature offense got clicking, but the 31 second half points were testament that it is capable of wearing down a defense. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech's 60+ point performances can be attributed to a combination of their opposition (Appalachian State and Western Carolina) and some explosive playmakers. North Carolina and North Carolina State both piled on late TD's against their FCS opponents, and Florida State's defense contributed as much as their offense in the Seminoles' 34-0 shutout of Louisiana-Monroe.

3) FSU's greatest offense might be their defense. Speaking of Louisiana-Monroe, the Seminoles had a matchup advantage over the Warhawks as soon as the teams hit the field. But that fact should not take anything away from the impressive performance from the Florida State defense. ULM's offense was held to just 191 yards of offense and despite 39 rushing attempts, the Warhawks could not collect more than 99 yards. Brandon Jenkins and Tank Carradine were physical in the trenches while the Seminoles' back seven, led by safety Lamarcus Joyner, swarmed to the ball to stuff Warhawk receivers when quarterback Kolton Browning tried to utilize under routes on third downs. In fact, Florida State's ten third-down stops were a key in keeping ULM's running game from gathering any kind of momentum. The coaching staff will be focusing on Charleston Southern, but I'll say it: that kind of defensive performance will be needed if the Seminoles want to knock off No. 1 Oklahoma on Sept. 17 in Tallahassee.

4) Georgia Tech's offense shows explosion, and more of the same bad habits. Paul Johnson's first two seasons as Georgia Tech's head coach had 9+ wins both seasons and an ACC title. So there was no surprise that Yellow Jacket fans were concerned with 2010's 6-7 finish that included dropping five of their final six games. One of the reasons Georgia Tech struggled down the stretch was trouble holding onto the ball. No FBS team lost more fumbles than Georgia Tech (20) in 2010, and they ranked last in the ACC in turnover margin. So while there was plenty to celebrate with the offensive performance in the season opener, there are also plenty of red flags.

The Yellow Jackets totaled 662 yards of offense, the most for any Georgia Tech team since 2000. Tevin Washington had more passing yards in the first quarter (148) than any quarterback had in an entire game during the 2010 season. Stephen Hill's four catches for 181 yards provided support to claims that he was set to be the next great Georgia Tech receiver in the line of Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. But Georgia Tech still fumbled the ball six times, luckily only losing the ball twice. Thursday's season opener showed Georgia Tech fans that this offense is dangerous. They can be dangerously good, but also dangerously destructive if they can't fix their turnover issues.

5.) Maryland - Miami - The opening weekend in the ACC wraps up on Monday night when Miami visits College Park with a shortened roster to kick off the conference schedule. It will be the first game for new head coaches Al Golden and Randy Edsall, and I'm positive we will have plenty to learn about both squads. Keep it here at the Eye on College Football for all your ACC coverage.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: August 31, 2011 10:00 am
 

Ga. Tech captain Roddy Jones will play in opener

Posted by Chip Patterson

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson raised some eyebrows when he announced that senior A-Back Roddy Jones was questionable/doubtful for Thursday's opener against Western Carolina.

Johnson changed status while speaking on his weekly radio show Tuesday night, saying that Jones - who was selected as a captain for that game by the coaches - will play. Jones has 39 career starts for the Yellow Jackets, and has only missed one game.

Thursday begins a aggressive campaign for the Yellow Jackets to bounce back from a disappointing finish in 2010. After a 5-2 start Georgia Tech dropped 5 of their last 6 contests, only defeating Duke by an embarrassingly-narrow 30-20 margin. Jones will be joined in the offensive backfield by sophomore quarterback Tevin Washington and redshirt sophomore B-Back David Sims. But expect to see lots of rotation as the key players in the option offense must show improvement after finishing dead last nationally in both fumbles (37) and fumbles lost (20). Johnson has said that while Washington is the starter, backup quarterback Synjyn Days will see some time under center as well.

The Yellow Jackets will kick off against Western Carolina, Paul Johnson's alma mater, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 1:38 pm
 

RB Roddy Jones doubtful for Georgia Tech's opener

Posted by Chip Patterson

Last week the Georgia Tech coaching staff picked senior A-back Roddy Jones as a captain for Thursday's season opener against Western Carolina. But Jones' status for that game is up in the air after Paul Johnson listed the veteran running back as "questionable/doubtful" in this week's depth chart. Johnson said that Jones, who has started 39 games in his Yellow Jacket career, was "dinged up" and the official explanation is an undisclosed injury.

Senior Embry Peebles (46 rushes, 287 yards in 2010) will start in Jones' absence at A-back. After stiff competition in the offseason, sophomore David Sims will start against at B-back in the opener. Senior Preston Lyons and freshman Charles Perkins are both listed as the No. 2 back. Quarterback Tevin Washington has received praise for his leadership and improving ability to limit the turnovers that plagued the Yellow Jackets a year ago. Thursday will be his first opportunity to show Paul Johnson's trademark offense the new cast in the backfield.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 7:40 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:06 pm
 

Georgia Tech OL Phil Smith suspended 2 games

Posted by Chip Patterson

Georgia Tech's inexperienced offensive line took a hit on Wednesday when head coach Paul Johnson announced starting RT Phil Smith will miss the first two games of the season.

CBSSports.com's Larry Harstein reports that Smith has been suspended for violation of a team rule, though Johnson did not divulge what the nature of the violation.

Smith started eight games in 2010 and was expected to be one of the leaders of the offensive line along with Preseason All-ACC guard Omoregie Uzzi. Thankfully for the Yellow Jackets, the first two opponents on the schedule are Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee State. Smith will be back in time for the Yellow Jackets to host Kansas on Sept. 17, looking to get revenge on last year's 28-25 loss in Lawrence.
Posted on: August 9, 2011 5:20 pm
 

Seen/Heard at Camp: Georgia Tech

Posted by Chip Patterson

Training camp is underway in college football, with teams all over the country getting a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming season. Along with the help of CBSSports.com's Rapid Reporters, here is a collection of recent observations from Georgia Tech.

- By all accounts, junior Tevin Washington appears to have the starting quarterback position. But that doesn't mean that he isn't being pushed by redshirts freshman Synjyn Days or true freshman Vad Lee. Head coach Paul Johnson is impressed with Lee's rapid development, in particular.

"He's actually light years ahead of where I thought he would be in four days, with footwork and understanding what we're trying to accomplish," Johnson said. "He still drops snaps, he still makes freshman mistakes, but you can see a lot of potential there."

Still, senior running back Roddy Jones is fast to throw his support behind Washington as the leader of the team.

"[Washington] didn't have a great performance in the spring game and that's what everybody brings up," Jones said. "He looks great, looks confident, looks full speed. He's out there running and cutting and really leading us." [Rapid Reports]

- Georgia Tech's defense struggled in 2010, moving to a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Al Groh. At the ACC Football Kickoff, Paul Johnson admitted there were "growing pains" last season. Groh got very academic when referring to the unit's improvements with the new system.

"We didn't go from first grade to second grade," he said. "As with those apt pupils, we skipped a few grades." [Rapid Reports]

- Georgia Tech is one of many schools having to deal with extreme heat for these first weeks of fall practice. According to CBSSports.com's Larry Harstein, senior defensive tackle Logan Walls has been making extra effort to keep maintain his weight.

DT Logan Walls said he's losing six pounds every practice in the extreme heat. He eats a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, as he tries to keep his weight at 300 pounds. "It gets hard to eat when you're hot all the time, but you just have to keep forcing it down," he said.

That's dedication, holmes.

For more daily updates from Georgia Tech's training camp follow Larry Harstein's Rapid Reports and the ACC Blog.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: August 4, 2011 10:10 am
 

Ga. Tech DL McCoy sidelined by medical condition

Posted by Chip Patterson

Georgia Tech touted defensive lineman Denzel McCoy unfortunately will never get to see his time on the field for the Yellow Jackets, his career reportedly over due to an undisclosed medial condition. CBSSports.com's Larry Hartstein reports that head coach Paul Johnson has made the difficult, but necessary, decision to keep the redshirt freshman off the field.

"It's disappointing for Denzel, but we've got to look out for his well-being," Johnson said. "It's just not worth the risk.

"You just tell him, 'There are bigger things than football.' He came here to get a degree from Georgia Tech and hopefully he'll do that."

Just because McCoy can't be on the field with his teammates does not mean that Johnson plans to keep him from being a part of the program. According to Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McCoy will remain on scholarship and work as an assistant to the director of player personnel.

McCoy had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Stanford - to name a few - coming out of high school. Doctors first discovered this undisclosed condition last summer before his freshman year. It is disappointing that McCoy's football career could be over just as it was starting, but a lot of credit goes to the Georgia Tech doctors and training staff for keeping the players health as the top priority.
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Al Golden is tired of talking about 'swagger'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Emptying out the notebook from the ACC Football Kickoff earlier this week:

Miami head coach Al Golden on "Swagger":

"I'm so tired of talking about 'swagger.,'" Golden answered. "Swagger, as it was said to me by Alonzo Highsmith and so many of the other former players, was the by-product. It wasn't the product, it was the by-product.

"Just like throwing up 'the U' is the by-product, someone's making money off that. They sell t-shirts on that. For us, the swagger was developed from demonstrated performance, having a chip on your shoulder, and from work ethic. From being the hardest working team and being a tough team, playing with passion. All of the sudden you have people saying Miami plays with swagger.

"It only takes a couple years where you have kids that think you put on the uniform and automatically get swagger because you wear 'the U.' But they don't want to do the other things that made the U special. We have to get back to that, we have to get back to doing all those little things."

Maryland head coach Randy Edsall on his practice philosophy, and how the Terps reaction to the new speed:

"I'm not one of these guys that likes to waste a lot of time in practice," said Edsall. "Our practices are high tempo. I think if you ask our kids I think that was a shock to them, in terms of how we practice and how fast we practice. It's an up-tempo practice where we are going to get a lot of reps in and we're going to coach them on the run. Do our explaining in the meetings, but on the field we're constantly moving."

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson on the defensive struggles in the unit's first year under Al Groh:

"I think there were growing pains. With guys learning the terminology and the expectation level. But I'm excited about it, I think Al's [Groh] got a package. He's got a great reputation as being a defensive coach, and it's pretty evident if you're around the man for long he understands defense. I think that we'll have a good defense, their going to get better."

For more ACC Coverage, including much more from the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst cruise over to the ACC Blog.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com