Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday News & Notes.....

Not much going on today other than practice, which we hope to attend, but a few links to pass along & a couple of thoughts:
  • Chris Brown of Smart Football, one of our favorite bloggers & a very astute fellow, picked up on our use of the shotgun at practice the other day and provides video of the "Ski Gun" offense which incorporates the triple option into it's shotgun package. The video is great but we think it HIGHLY UNLIKELY we will ever run the ball (other than a QB scramble) from the shotgun. A couple reasons for this: 1) CPJ has said he "doesn't like giving up real estate he's paid for" i.e. the shotgun makes you cover ground you've already gained without offering a great advantage, & 2) having the QB under center forces quick decisions from the defense which we may then exploit. The fact we practice the reads for the triple option constantly gives us a huge advantage over a defense that rarely practices reading what we do offensively on a regular basis. My point is don't expect us to run the ball out of the shotgun. If we're in the gun it will be to throw the ball & exploit personnel mismatches. Just my 2 cents.....
  • Georgia president Michael Adams has been quietly campaigning for the job of NCAA president since the death of Myles Brand last year. For once I AM NOT BASHING GEORGIA HERE, but Adams would be a horrible choice. Divisive & controversial are two of the NICE ways to characterize the man. Hell, the Georgia fans I know don't even like the man. Now Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe has weighed in on the subject with a pretty scathing column. We'll allow a little Yankee interloping in this case as Ryan is dead right......
  • Derrick Morgan answered some questions on ESPN yesterday. As always, humble & well spoken. We continue to wish him well.....
  • Clemson blog ShakintheSouthland continues to put out terrific football content. This week it's defensive backfield terminology. We gotta' give these guys serious props as their football knowledge is way up there......Read, learn, enjoy....
We'll get a practice report up tonight........

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Scoop....Spring Practice #1....

We were fortunate enough to have a couple hours of free time & wander down to Rose Bowl field to catch the first spring practice of the season. A crowd of around 30-40 folks, including many media types, watched as the Jackets went through drills in shells (helmets & shoulder pads) for two hours in a brisk wind. Our observations:
  • Injuries/attendance: Austin Barrick was not at practice due to a class conflict. Nesbitt was there with a boot on his left ankle. Kyle Jackson is in red & doesn't have a boot on. Ben Anderson & Robert Hall were both in red, as was Chris Jackson. Phil Smith was in yellow & jogging on the side.
  • Tevin Washington ran with the first team while Luallen & Sims split 2nd team snaps, as we expected. Washington looked fine but his arm strength, while improved, is questionable. Luallen certainly has a strong arm but continues to run upright. We'll see what happens when they begin to hit. David Sims looks in much better shape than last season and has most certainly revamped his throwing motion. It was diificult at times for all three QB's throwing the football due to gusting winds. Maybe it's me but we did seem to work a lot on throwing the football. There were several fumbled exchanges & the ball did spend far too much time on the ground but that's to be expected in our first practice. All three QB's had their moments, both good & bad. They will need to make faster decisions in the passing game & coach Bohannon was emphatic about this; they simply can't hold the ball too long.
  • Offensive depth chart: (Parenthesis indicate 2nd team)
WR - Hill (Moore)
TACKLE - Claytor (Foster)
GUARD - McRae (Beno)
CENTER- Bedford (Finch)
GUARD - Uzzi (Jackson)
TACKLE - Krish (Johnson)
WR- Melton (Sims/Cone)
A-BACK - Jones (Wright/Paige)
QB- Washington (Luallen/Sims)
B-BACK- Allen (Watson/Perkins)
A-BACK- Peeples (Smith/Godhigh)
*note Phil Smith & Barrick were absent. We expect a battle between Claytor & Barrick at one tackle spot while Smith should take over for Krish when he's healthy....
  • Charles Perkins, while a bit light for the position at this point, is a B-back. Perkins stood out to us as his acceleration is just tremendous; he reaches top speed in three steps and runs very aggressively. At first glance the future for Perkins is sooner rather than later & he has a chance to be a very good one....
  • Stephen Hill impressed with good hands & body control. He's clearly our #1 WR.
  • Orwin Smith & Robbie Godhigh ran as an A-back tandem through most of practice & both looked good.
  • Offensive highlight of the day was a great over the shoulder catch by Tyler Melton from David Sims in 1 vs. 1 drills.
  • Yes this happened:

We ran multiple snaps from a shotgun in 1 vs. 1 passing drills & in 7 vs. 7. The QB's & centers seemed comfortable with it. It's a no-no to discuss formations in depth but let's just say it's a run & shoot look with an off-set B-back. If you have specific questions email me at gtbarrelofrum@gmail.com & I'll answer them privately so as not to risk practice closing.

  • Defensively the tone was aggressive with lots of focus on teaching & fundamentals. All the coaches, including coach Groh, were very vocal & spent lots of time going over fundamental principles such as positioning, angles, etc....Groh might be 65 but he certainly doesn't act it, displaying great energy & enthusiasm on the football field. The players also obviously respect him.....
  • Defensive depth chart:
DE: Cross (Dieke)
NT: Walls (Barnes)
DE: Peters (Cummings)
JACK LB: Egbuniwe (Tongo)
ILB: Sylvester (Burnett/Machen)
ILB: Jefferson (Watts)
OLB: A.T. Barnes (Rocker)
CORNER: Butler (Reid)
SAFETY: Tarrant (Taylor)
SAFETY: Edwards (Thomas)
CORNER: Reese (Peterson)

  • It's notable that Domenique Reese & Jerrard Tarrant have flip-flopped positions; Reese to corner & Tarrant to safety. This makes sense to us as Reese has good hips & Tarrant always appeared stiff to us at corner.
  • It's pretty hard to tell anything about the defense with no pads involved. Once they strap them on, we'll know more.....
  • Defensive play of the day was in 7 vs. 7 when Mario Edwards made a leaping interception which really fired up his teammates.
  • The defense was very vocal & energetic on the day. The new opportunities under coach Groh seems to have given them new life....
If you have any questions leave them in the comments section & I'll do my best to answer them....Hope to see you at practice Wednesday.....


Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Practice: Five Questions.....?

Football returns !!!!!!!!! (if only briefly)

Hallelujah!!! Football is back, Albeit it temporarily but we have found a lush oasis of sanity in the midst of a cruel world without college football. These three weeks are a blessed relief. Practice begins today for the Jackets (3:45, Rose Bowl field, for those who would like to attend) and there are many questions Tech will need to answer heading into the Fall. The five most interesting story lines at Spring practice this year:
  • The defensive transition, particularly the front seven. Three new coaches (Groh, Speed, & McCollum). A new scheme. Position changes. New terminology. There's a lot to learn on the defensive side of the ball this spring. We're not really hung up on "how the defense plays". If you remember a couple years ago we had 8 fumbles in the spring game & everything turned out alright during the season. Don't get caught up in the hype if the defense has a bad afternoon. We're much more focused on who is playing where & how they are adapting to the new defense. Particularly the front seven. Who emerges at nose tackle? At outside linebacker, particularly the hybrid "Jack" position? These are questions we need to make progress answering this spring. With several returning starters in the secondary we've got a pretty good idea of what we have heading into next season. The front seven is a big question mark & we'll be watching to see who emerges.
  • The offensive line. We've lost three starters from last season but we could be better this year than last. How? We have a very strong group of redshirt freshman who are now ready to contribute. Who steps into the void with the departure of Howard, Gilbert, & Sellers? This will be key & we really feel like this year's offensive line could be better than lasts. Our continued success in 2010 will hinge greatly on improved offensive line play.
  • #2 quarterback. With Josh sitting out & Jaybo transferring, the door is wide open for Tevin Washington, David Sims, or Jordan Luallen to cement themselves as the backup this year & heir apparent to Josh in 2011. One of these three need to step up & show command of the offense this spring. All will get plenty of reps so the competition is wide open......
  • Wide Receiver. BayBay Thomas' departure for the NFL leaves a great void in the offense heading into next year. BayBay was hugely productive in limited touches in our offense & someone will need to step up & replace part if not all of that production. We're anxious to see if a "go-to" receiver develops this spring. (Cough, cough, Stephen Hill, cough....)
  • The freshman. We have three highly touted early enrollees who will participate in spring ball this year: Isaiah Johnson, Charles Perkins, & B.J. Bostic. How quickly they adjust to the college game will be interesting & will determine whether or not they play as true freshmen this season. We have high hopes for all three.....
So it begins. A solid month of football. We're excited to see how we look coming off our first BCS game ever. Perhaps our biggest goal this spring is to come away with a two-deep depth chart so we know where we stand heading into the Fall. Hopefully we accomplish this & much more.....

Drummond Ruled Ineligible.....


Redshirt freshman B-back Daniel Drummond has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA for at least the first 10 games of the 2010 season. The B-back from Flowery Branch violated NCAA eligibility rules and will be able to practice with the team but will not play in games this year. The nature of the violation has not been disclosed. Yes we have heard the rumors. Many times. Yes we have a suspicion as to why Drummond was suspended. But we have no confirmation of anything so we'll leave you to your imaginations at this point. If we do get confirmation as to the reason for the suspension we of course will share the news. Until then we wish Drummond the best & hope he gets his football career at Tech back on track....

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Couple Brief Notes.....


This work thing is getting onerous. Oh lottery, wherefore art thou? Some brief news & notes:
  • Tech picked up our second commitment of 2011 yesterday when running back Quartterrio Morgan of Mt. Zion-Joneboro pledged to the Jackets. A dynamic runner with almost 3,000 yards in high school after his junior season, Morgan will play either A or B back, depending on his size, team needs, etc....Welcome to the Flats, sir....
  • Playhouse, Work Shed? Whatever the use, this is truly epic.....Someone must know this person. If so, please contact us so that 1) we may buy them a brown liquor drink, & 2) we can steal the "T". (h/t: acowa @ The Hive)
Fine work, & true dedication.....
Enjoy the weekend......

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Welcome to Atlanta...

where the players play and we ride on them things like every day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CPJ's Spring Practice Presser....


Coach Johnson held a press conference yesterday to discuss the state of the team heading into spring practice. Below are the first seven minutes of what ended as a 25 minute question & answer.


As always, CPJ was funny & direct (and VERY concerned about where we start next season in the polls...). Some highlights & things we thought worthy of passing on:
  • As many as 8 players may miss spring practice due to injury and several players are still recovering from off-season surgery. Off the top of our head those who most likely will sit out spring: Ben Anderson (DL/ACL), Robert Hall (DE/knee), Chris Jackson (A-back/PCL), Phil Smith (OT/ankle), Josh Nesbitt (ankles), Preston Lyons (B-back/shoulder), & Kyle Jackson (LB/foot). That's seven, damnit, who's the eighth....?
  • Roddy Jones will be at all football practices unless there is a chance he will "play meaningfully" in a baseball game. CPJ expressly stated that pinch-running in a 15-6 game was not "meaningful". If a situation arises they will work it out....
  • Spring practice "is a chance to focus on fundamentals & coaching....as opposed to game planning."
  • There really isn't a depth chart at this time, particularly on defense, & people are listed simply by seniority. According to CPJ, "it's not worth the paper it's printed on". One goal of spring practice is to enter the Fall with a 2-deep depth chart.
  • With Josh Nesbitt out this spring the majority of quarterback reps will be split between redshirt sophomore Tevin Washington & redshirt freshmen Jordan Luallen & David Sims. Washington will start with the "ones". Just a guess but this most likely is simply due to seniority. This spring will "be a good opportunity find out where Luallen & Sims are & what they can do...". We expect one of those two to emerge as the back-up to Nesbitt in 2010 & his heir apparent in 2011.
  • With the new scheme things on the defensive side of the ball are in a state of flux. "Defensively we're going to move some guys around until we see where they fit. More than likely I'm going to move a defensive lineman or two to offensive line....maybe a week into spring". CPJ mentioned weight & conditioning as factors that would play a role in defensive linemen moving over to offense. T.J. Barnes was named as a likely candidate. Coach also pointed out the move(s) would help even out the numbers between scholarship offensive & defensive players.
  • CPJ singled out two prospective B-backs for praise: "I'm excited about Richard Watson. We're going to start Charles Perkins out there at B-back & see but I've been really impressed with him in morning drills. He's definitely a player. I mean, it's not like, ok, you're the anointed one, here you go partner. There will be some competition there, too....". Take note: CPJ has not proven effusive in his praise of players since his arrival on the Flats. For him to single out a true freshman who has only been on campus since January is HUGE. Expect Perkins to be in the mix for playing time at B-back early.
Expect Charles Perkins to be in the mix early.....
  • We are deep & experienced in the secondary & at A-back, according to Johnson.
  • On Tech's preseason ranking: "if we're not picked in the preseason polls I'll be just devastated". As I'm sure you already know, his tongue was firmly planted in his cheek & this remark drew universal laughs from those in attendance....
  • Johnson is looking for consistency on special teams & as far as placekicker Scott Blair is concerned, "we're just going to tell him everybody we play is Clemson...."
  • Johnson included this nugget in a response about Josh missing the spring (he will be at practice, although not participating physically, & will be counted on for leadership & mental reps): "we're going to do some different things this spring, some stuff we're going to add. We're to the point now where we can add some things, a little bit, to the package." When asked about replacing BayBay, Johnson added "we're probably going to get the A-backs more involved in the passing game". Will we see the run & shoot look? Doubt it, but the possibility is there. I do expect a more diverse route tree for the A-backs & more use of the "stack" set this season as Jones, Peeples & Jackson all have good hands.
  • Freshman B.J. Bostic will start at A-back & may see QB reps, if necessary. Johnson is "trying to find a way to get him on the field the fastest". Johnson has also not ruled out using Bostic on returns this season.
  • CPJ singled out the offensive line as a point of interest this spring: "the spot where it's going to be interesting in the spring, I think, is offensive line. You know, we've got some young guys who we're going to get a chance to get a really good look at. I think that they may be an upgrade, but they have to show us & we'll see". Paging Messieurs Foster, Beno, Finch, & Jackson, please meet coaches Johnson, Sewak, & Spencer at the opportunity gate. Your ticket to the big time awaits....
CPJ was, as always, direct & engaging, with little coach speak or beating around the bush. It's wide open this spring & it will be very interesting to see which players seize the opportunity.....

Because we can.....



A rough day ahead in the kitchen so we don't know how much we'll be posting. In the meantime, enjoy.....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Grab Bag.....


Tired of politics, healthcare, & stuff that really doesn't matter? Some news & notes on the important stuff to keep you entertained & away from the fray:
  • Spring practice begins Monday, March 29. Practices are every Monday, Wednesday & Friday at 3:45 & every Saturday at the crack of TBD. We will of course let you know when Saturday practice times are announced. The T-Day game is April 24th at 12:30. We'll try to attend as many practices as possible & keep you up to date on all the news......
  • The Spring Media Guide has been released & is chocked full of info. An interesting read. I am particularly curious to see if the height & weights listed in the guide are accurate....
  • With the current economic situation times are tough all over, including the Georgia Tech Athletic Association. A tuition increase across the board for state schools will drive the cost of scholarships up significantly. We will be fine in the long run but things are tight on North Ave. just as they are for many of us at home.....
  • Quarterback Synjyn Days of Hillgrove, who will arrive on the Flats this summer, has big plans for his first season. Great to see players that are ready & willing to compete from the time they step on campus. We're anxious to see Days run the Spread Option, an offense he led for four years of high school, & will be interested to see how ready he is to play on the next level.
  • Regular readers of the Barrel know we have little use for ACC commissioner/Carolina homer/buffoon John Swofford. Imagine what we thought when we found out that Carolina's spring game would be televised on ESPN. Are you F#$%^ing kidding me? Carolina? The last time they won an ACC football championship was 1980!!!!! What the hell have they done to garner this attention? If you told me Florida State, VPISU, or even Miami was having their spring game on ESPN I wouldn't bat an eye. Hell, those programs deserve to be on TV; their accomplishments past & present warrant it. Even Clemson & their fan base deserve it more than UNC. Yes Carolina will be good next year. Yes their defense will be fearsome. And yes, Tyler Yates will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at least twice during the season. You can't win with a mistake prone sock puppet at quarterback, even in the ACC. At least we'll get to watch the UNC offense crap itself twice this year; once in the spring & again this Fall. I smell the nefarious work of John Swofford for UNC in this case.....
  • Finally, for those in need of a grand TV viewing experience, there will be a sequel to ESPN's "The U". I'm actually giddy at the thought. For those of you who missed the original documentary, it essentially detailed, mostly by the player's own accounts, the thuggery & loutishness surrounding the Miami program of the 80's & 90's. Bounties paid by rap stars (Luther Campbell, a toast to you!), stealing car stereos, drug dealing, you name it, they did it. So essentially the documentary confirmed everything illegal you thought was happening at Miami during that period & so much more. You even get quality air-time from a bloated Bernie Kosar, who obviously spent the day of filming drinking gin in an airport bar. Classy, Bernie, stay classy.....So we wait for the sequel with baited breath & wonder how it could be any better than the first. In the meantime, nothing has changed at ThugU......To quote the poet Dr. Dre, "smoke weed everyday...."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beware of Wolves on Your Bus.....

How does one get ready for spring practice up yonder in Raleigh? Why how about some fisticuffs with a 65 year-old bus driver? That's a fine idea! NC State defensive lineman Josh Sweezy doesn't like the way you drive your bus. And he doesn't like your tip jar. He'll ride on your damn bus if he so wishes. Just try to remove him from your bus, he dares you....Manly stuff, Mr. Sweezy. Enjoy the long break that Tom O'Brien is about to bestow upon you. Too bad it's not San Fransisco....

Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full.......

The F/A-18 fly over before the Wake Forest game was probably the coolest non-football moment of last season. Complete bad-assery. We remember watching them coming from a distance & as they passed by & out of the stadium thinking, "damn, that was loud & they were really low! Imagine if they were releasing ordnance on us?" It was hot, by any standard.



It looks like we were correct in our assessment: they were really low, too low for the Navy's liking in fact. So low that two Tech alums, Lt Cmdr. Marc Fryman & Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Conlon, have been permanently grounded by the Navy. We think this sucks. But the Navy doesn't care what we think. Being that The Barrel "family" includes a former Admiral amongst its ranks, we'll refrain from any stupid pronouncements that will only serve to display our ignorance of all things Navy. Suffice it to say we thought the fly-over rocked & are bummed for the two Tech men who now feel the consequences.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Angus Dominico’s…And Other Fine things

Angus Dominico is the alias used by a personal friend of Hash and Frank's to protect the innocent and the guiltly. He is as sophisticated as he is powerful.

Pont du Bier, France

I’m Angus Dominico and I appreciate chaos.

That’s why I appreciate the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Men’s Basketball Tournament. It satisfies my need for chaos while Collegiate American Football is on hiatus. Chaos is not the result of man’s folly. No, it is the force that creates folly. No matter how simple the chain of events, chaos drives the results towards the inexplicable. Chaos is what widdles the field of sixty four down. Of course, for the most part, the higher seeds slip through to the latter rounds, but which high seed will fall, that is the choice of Chaos and its minions.

I salute you Tennessee

You are not a finely tuned basketball machine. No, you are the anti-Duke. Your complete disregard for any tactics beyond “everyone run around like your hair is on fire for 40 minutes” proves the maxim “Quantity has a Quality all its own".

I salute you Ohio University

Your name causes constant confusion with Ohio State, Miami of Ohio, and through the transitive property Miami of Florida. You proved the regular season does not matter in collegiate basketball by destroying a traditional basketball poser.

Shalom Murray State, I salute you

You come from some dark corner of Kentucky known for soil grown rich with hard work and the blood of outsiders. You showed those townie Commodores.

I salute you Ishmail Smith, Wake Forest Point Guard

The way you throw yourself into the air with no idea what you are going to do with the ball reminds me of a rubber bullet fired off a concrete ceiling in a room filled with 50% child molesters, and 50% nuns.

I salute you Cornell

Bon Homme!

And I salute you Bobby Morris

For never giving up the ship.

Now I’m off to watch the evening’s festivities.

I’m Angus Dominico and when people ask me “Monsignor Dominico, why are you wearing a tuxedo in a sports bar.” I say, “because I appreciate chaos . . . and other fine things”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Apologies....

for the lack of posts yesterday. The (almost) paying job intruded heavily on our day & rendered us ineffective. But we're back with some links & a few thoughts:
The Opelika Turnipseeds.....they abhor fake grass & love donuts....
  • "I never travel far without a little Big Star". Great lyrics & even better advice from '80's pop monsters The Replacements. They were referring of course to the Alex Chilton led Big Star, a band whose music & influence is hard to under-estimate. Chilton died yesterday at 59 & American music is not the same today. Chilton's raw guitar playing & dark lyrics inspired generations of musicians from the above named Replacements to REM, Husker Du, & even Cat Power. They were ground-breaking, raw, powerful, & a damn fine band who had an indelible influence on music as we know it today. If you haven't ever listened to them, do yourself a favor & seek out some Big Star. You won't be disappointed. We leave you with The Replacements tribute from 1987, the aptly titled "Alex Chilton". "Children by the millions scream for Alex Chilton..." R.I.P.........


I'm headed off to New York City for the weekend to sling some hash with the big boys so Frank is leading the charge. Enjoy.....-Hash

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pro Day Recap.....

CPJ & Tech alum & Cardinal's coach Ken Whisenhunt at Pro Day....

A brief recap of yesterday's Pro Day on the Flats for those interested. Bullet style, cuz we rollin' like gangsta's:
  • roughly 20 NFL teams sent representatives to the Flats. Head coaches Ken Whisenhunt of the Cardinals, Lovie Smith of the Bears, & Mike Smith of the Falcons were in attendance. Former Browns head man & current Kansas City defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was also there. Pretty obvious that CPJ & Mike Smith are close as they spent a lot of time together....
  • BayBay's left foot is still in a cast & he didn't participate in any drills. He hopes to begin running again on April 12th. Thomas did spend some one-on-one time with Whisenhunt.
  • After a much maligned Combine performance Jon Dwyer looked very good yesterday, running a 4.52 in the 40 & performing well in position drills. Here's his 40 from yesterday:



  • Morgan Burnett has a stellar day, running 4.42, leaping 39.5 inches in the vertical jump, a 3.94 short shuttle, & a 6.87 in the three cone drill. He also broad jumped an incredible 11 feet, a feat which even Burnett admitted "surprised" him. We've long been bullish on Burnett's draft prospects & yesterday certainly didn't hurt him. We don't expect him to make it out of the second round. The Smooth Criminal in action:



  • Derrick Morgan vertical jumped 36 inches yesterday in one of two drills he participated in (three cone was the other). Morgan was satisfied with his numbers from the Combine & elected to stand on those. Seattle & Jacksonville had large contingents there & put him through a series of position drills. Derrick did nothing to hurt himself yesterday & remains a top 20 pick in this year's draft.
  • Cord Howard was the real star of yesterday's testing, looking strong & quick at 6'4" & 314 pounds. Howard ran a 5.12, which would have placed him 6th had he been at the combine. He also vertical jumped 30 inches & completed 25 reps on the bench at 225 pounds. Most importantly, Howard broad jumped 9'8", which would have been the best for an offensive lineman at the Combine. The significance of this is that the broad jump generally equates with explosiveness, an important trait for an offensive lineman, particularly someone like Howard who projects as a predominately run blocking right side player. Howard says most teams are projecting him between the 5th & 7th rounds and see him as either a right tackle or guard.
  • Former Tech stars Tashard Choice & Jamal Lewis were in attendance & both looked ready to strap it up & go, Choice for the Cowboys & Lewis for the UFL's Las Vegas squad.
  • Laura Okmin of Fox Sports es muy flacca e bonita.....
That about wraps it up....

Yet Again.....


Another bulldog has a run in with the law. This time they've taken the festivities on the road, all the way to Chattanooga. Pepper spray & a taser? Nice work.....Georgia reportedly has some depth at the position so a suspension shouldn't hurt them too badly....

Good on Ya'......


Former Tech linebacker Gary Guyton has been a busy man of late. First he signed a new one-year deal with the New England Patriots as an exclusive rights free agent. Then he dragged home a nice performance based bonus check. What does one do for an encore? Throw a charity sports festival in your hometown, of course. Congrats on the cheddar & more props on the great work in the community. Good on ya'......

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just Like Lil' Wayne Says.....



A quick update from Pro Day today at Tech. Jon Dwyer looked very good in drills & ran a 4.55 forty. Morgan Burnett, as we predicted, stood out with a sub 4.5 40 (4.45), a 39.5 inch vertical leap, & a strong broad jump. Derrick Morgan looked good but only participated in position drills. Perhaps no one helped themselves more than two time All-ACC guard Cord Howard. Howard clocked a 5.1 in the 40 weighing in at 314 pounds. He also completed 25 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds & had a 30-inch vertical. Cord certainly interjected himself into a few teams draft considerations. Martin Frierson & Sed Griffin also took part in all activities. BayBay was in attendance but remains in a boot from his foot surgery. Tech alum & Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt was back on the Flats as well as Tashard Choice, who was there giving former teammates encouragement. Bear's head coach Lovie Smith & Falcons coach Mike Smith were also present. Members of the Seahawks & Jaguars scouting & coaching staffs were present, presumably to check out Derrick Morgan. Get that money.....We'll have more tomorrow....

An Interesting Question......????


When we think of Dabo Swinney, savant isn't the first thing the first thing that comes to mind. Not really sure you want a savant as your football coach, so Clemson fans have that going for them (along with the fact that Clemson is essentially Auburn with a lake...). So imagine my surprise when I read that Dabo was playing the role of corporate "idea man" for the ACC & suggesting we turn our spring games into actual scrimmages against OTHER teams. Hmmmm, got to give Dabo credit, at very least he got us thinking....
Why not change the annual spring game, in our case "T-Day", to a scrimmage against another team? It would be compelling to play Bama or Auburn in the spring instead of just beating up ourselves. So what say you? There are negatives to this plan, for most likely we would have to travel to the spring game every other year (when we are away). But it is an interesting idea & one worth pondering. Give us your thoughts: would you like to see the annual spring game turned into a scrimmage against another team or do you like the fact we play ourselves?

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Friday Five.....


Some thoughts, musings, & things of interest to us, other than the legal proceedings of the 2010 Oregon Ducks backfield, which really amuse us more than interest us. Guess we get to see how powerful Phil Knight really is in Oregon. Should be interesting.....
  • Derrick Morgan has returned to Alanta from training at Athletes' Performance Institute in Arizona for the Tech Pro Day on Monday. Here's his latest journal entry from The Sporting News. We'll have a Pro Day update on Tuesday & let everyone know what went down....
  • Wondering what to do without football this off-season? Michigan blog Maize n Brew has a surefire way to wow your friends & fellow message board participants. For the record I am seriously considering changing my name to Helmut von Thunderpenis. Sheer genius. What's more creepy, a moonlit dinner with Linda Cohn or the visage of Tom Lemming? Tough choice, there. Now you know where we get all our "info". Damnit......
  • South Carolina (Sakerlina) suffered a brief setback recently as backup quarterback Aramis Hillary was arrested on various alcohol related charges. This didn't surprise us or pique our curiosity. He's no Stephen Garcia, after all. What caught our attention was the abdication of parental responsibility in Hillary's case. No, not the damn drinking, we could care less. It's all in a name. Or specifically his brother's name, CoCo. Hopefully, CoCo is a nom de guerre. If not, shame on the Hillary's parents. IF YOU NAME A CHILD ARAMIS, YOU MUST SURELY NAME ANY MALE SIBLINGS THAT FOLLOW ATHOS OR PORTHOS!!! Proper manners & social grace simply demand this be the case. Now you've left your son as the Lone Musketeer. A tragedy, in our eyes, to be a lone Musketeer, bereft of your other brethren, all alone in the wilds of Columbia. No one really fears CoCo in the same manner they tremble at the thought of confronting Athos or Porthos. For God's sake, parents, FINISH THE DRILL!!!! And while you're at it, name the family dog D'Artagnan, just for the joie de vivre. Come to think of it, Spurrier & Cardinal Richelieu bear a striking resemblance.....

Lovers, Tyrants, Rulers of Crumbling Realms.....
  • Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples takes a good look at whether anyone in the ACC is ready to emerge on the national stage this year & the early season games that will define an "elite" ACC team. Tech is mentioned but we're not in the group of five teams from which he predicts an elite team will emerge. That's actually a pretty fair analysis in our opinion & we're fine just sneaking right into another ACC championship game. We agree with Staples 100%, what the ACC lacks as opposed to other conferences is a dominant team that is able to contend for a national championship on a perennial basis. Hopefully CPJ & his crew can rectify that.....
  • Was there ever a doubt that Mike Leach is a pirate? Well, the language is certainly salty enough. If you value your pristine ears or are easily offended, you; 1) probably shouldn't be reading this blog, & 2) definitely shouldn't click here or here. Damnit, someone hire this man ASAP, if not for his prolific offense then for the material he provides for all of us to marvel at. Arrgghhh....avast I'm comin' for ye' wenches & treasure, & ye' whole head....(h/t Doc Saturday)
Enjoy the weekend.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama......


where when you don't have any money to buy season tickets you do what any self-respecting Bama fan does - steal! More correctly, embezzle. Who needs a swiss bank account, just buy you some Tide season tickets!!!!! Admirable commitment from the guilty party. First they come up with novel training methods. Then Saban has more Facebook fans in Alabama that God. Now this......Sweet toilet paper on a stick & a box of Tide!!!! Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, take your ass to the Slammer.......
By Gawd, that there is commitment......

Just remember the mantra of the entire SEC (we do not include Vanderbilt for obvious reasons): if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'. And don't forget...

Addendum #1 (also known as the Alabama Postulate)*: if you ain't stealin' to get your season tickets, you ain't a true Bama fan...Loyalty is thy name & nothing shall tear you asunder, Alabama.

* not to be confused with the other Alabama postulate involving relatives, axle grease, a car on blocks, & a Moon Pie. We'll detail at a later date for those wondering....

(h/t: Friends of the Program via EDSBS)

Spring Practice Outlook: the Offensive Line....


If I told you that this year's offense has a chance to be better than last year's ACC championship team you'd probably ask if I'd been up with Frank all night smoking peyote again. The answer is no, that's tonight's agenda as today is Frank's birthday. Felicitations, sir, & I'll see you in the sweat lodge for a hallucinogenic evening later. If Hunter S. Thompson were alive he's be proud! But I digress. I was postulating that our offense this season could be better than last year. I know we lost Dwyer but frankly, while a great player, I see him as replaceable, especially with Anthony Allen & Charles Perkins on board (yes, my expectations for Perkins are extremely high). Harder to replace will be BayBay Thomas & his big play ability. Hopefully Stephen Hill & others can step in & fill that void.
But my main basis for optimism about this year's offense is the improvement I expect to see in our offensive line. The offensive line is the heart & soul of any offense. This is where everything, both good or bad, begins. A good offensive line is the single defining characteristic of every great offense, whether it be passing or running oriented. I could go on but you get the point. So how & why will we be better in 2010 than last season, particularly after losing three starters (Howard, Gilbert, & Sellers)?
Well, we'll have better players, that's the main improvement. The coaching staff chose not to burn redshirts of a couple players that most likely would have contributed last year, giving them more time to learn the offense. Couple that that with the experience gained by those who played last year & you have what I expect will be an improved offensive line in 2010. Spring practice will be a key time for this unit to learn & gel. Here are the player's in the offensive line mix for 2010. We'll go by position:

Sean Bedford will be counted on heavily for veteran leadership in 2010.....
  • Center: Sean Bedford (6'1", 285) returns to anchor the offensive line after an ALL-ACC campaign in 2009. He's an AE major (aeronautical engineering, for those not down with slang) so we know he's 1) crazy, & 2) really, really smart. Thus understanding our offense isn't really that much of an issue. While not the most physically imposing lineman, Bedford plays with good technique & great leverage, allowing him to block physically superior defenders. In short, Bedford is the rock this year's line will be built around. Redshirt freshman Ray Beno (6'1", 295) will back up Bedford & might also play some guard. Beno is a mauler who in time will inherit the center position & we expect him to have a significant impact along the line, whether this year or next. Zach Fraysier (RS freshman/ 6'3", 285) is 3rd on the depth chart.
#62 Omoregie Uzzi is poised for a breakout season in 2010.....
  • Guard: things might appear weak at guard after losing both our starting guards from last season, All-ACC performer Cord Howard and Joseph Gilbert, but I feel guard will be a real position of strength this season. At the left guard spot expect to see redshirt sophomore Omoregie Uzzi (6'3", 304). Uzzi is an imposing physical presence who played significant minutes last season. This experience will prove invaluable & we expect Uzzi to be a difference maker this season. Will Jackson (RS freshman/6'4", 290) is our guess to start at the other guard spot heading into spring ball. Jackson will have a chance to lock down a starting role with a strong Spring. Also in the mix for playing time are redshirt sophomore Nick Mcrae (6'4", 295) & redshirt freshman Jay Finch (6'4", 275). McRae came to Flats a highly touted prospect and has yet to make an impact on the field. This Spring will be a chance for him to place himself in the mix for playing time entering the Fall. Finch also has a chance to impress with a strong Spring. Zach Krish (6'5", 285) returns for his redshirt senior season (it was once thought he was leaving for law school), giving us much needed depth. As we mentioned earlier, Ray Beno may also get a look at guard.
Phil Smith is still recovering from a broken ankle & will miss Spring practice....
  • Tackle: Phil Smith (RS sophomore/ 6'6", 295) will miss spring ball as he rehabs the ankle he broke in the ACC championship last Fall. A starter midway through last season, "Philthy" brings the "nasty" snarl to our line that every good offensive line possesses. Once the ankle is fully healed, we expect Smith to start in the Fall & play a major role in the improvement of our line. At the other tackle things are up for grabs. Redshirt senior Austin Barrick (6'3", 260) returns for his final campaign. A starter for much of last season, Barrick is undersized & will be pushed for his job by senior Nick Claytor (6'6", 304). Claytor has a world of physical ability but injuries ( a bad back in particular) have hampered him throughout his career. If Claytor can fight through the injuries we expect him to start in the Fall. We really haven't seen Antonio Foster (RS freshman/ 6'4", 290) and will be interested to see him in action this spring.
We enter Spring practice with some questions on the offensive line but the answers are within the program - it's a question of finding the right roles for our guys. It will be great to see who amongst the redshirt freshman (Jackson, Beno, Finch, Foster) is ready to step up as the staff feels strongly that this class of offensive linemen is a good one. Expect this year's incoming recruits, Morgan Bailey & Catlin Alford, to be redshirted so they can learn the system & bulk up. Uzzi & Smith have the potential to be All-ACC players before they finish at Tech & we'll need both to have big year's for us. A lack of depth is the only potential problem we see along the offensive line in 2010. Let's hope we stay healthy. The offensive line is where games are won & lost & we'll be watching closely this Spring to see who is ready for an increased role in 2010....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mesmerizing.....



We honestly don't know where to begin......

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We're Fixin' to Get Hoodwinked......

ACC Commissioner John Swofford

Mark my words, folks. We're fixin' to get swindled. And not in that Every Day Should Be Saturday kinda way. Beginning on March 1st the ACC entered an exclusive negotiating period with ESPN on a new television contract. Well, we certainly need a new deal as our current one, A) has expired, & B) pays us $73 million per year, a paltry sum when compared with the SEC ESPN deal of $205 million per annum (the SEC also gets another $205 million from CBS, FWIW). How'd the SEC get so much money, you ask?
Well, SEC football is king. That's a fact. More people, more money. But the "X factor" is SEC commissioner Mike Slive. A former lawyer, Slive is smart, aggressive, & a very astute businessman. He drove a hard bargain and every SEC school is better for it. How the hell does this relate to our TV contract? Well, the SEC had Mike Slive negotiating for them when they got their deal from ESPN. Who do we have? You guessed it.....John Swofford. The sound you just heard was indeed a painful groan. John Swofford is heading the charge on our behalf. The same guy that ran the BCS (you may now punch yourself in the groin). This is something akin to the settlers (ESPN) negotiating with the Indians (the ACC) upon their arrival in the New World:

ESPN: we want your somewhat valuable sports commodity but we simply won't pay you anything near market value for it.

Swofford: those beads look pretty. And some whiskey. Love me some whiskey.

ESPN: so we'll take all your land, countless natural resources, and anything else we want, whenever we want to take it. All for $19.95, beads, whiskey, and a pack of smokes?

Swofford: Don't need the smokes. I'm from Tobacco Road. But I do like Moon Pies. Will you throw in some Moon Pies?

ESPN: we'd love to. And a Carolina Blue sweater vest. We'll even give you small pockets of TV time that no one gives a shit about. Sort of like the pale face gave the Indians reservations?

Swofford: well, if Carolina hoops is covered prime time, I'm in. Could give a rat's ass about anything else. But let me check my options...

Swofford: I'm back. Checked with the folks at NFL Network. They seemed alright and since NOBODY gets their channel it would certainly be an option for us. Also called Versus, but they're Canadian so that's a no go. Something called FitTV offered me a stake in their network. Lotsa' folks running around in tights. And Raycom is always an option. Love that retro-equipment they use. It's like you're back watching TV in 1973.

ESPN: well John, we're gonna let you sweat then low-ball the shit out of you since you think you can get a better deal elsewhere. We know you want $120 million but we're not even in that ballpark.

Swofford: that's ok. I'm just gonna hang out here & play some tiddlywinks. Fun game that tiddlywinks. Should try it sometime. Just remember the Moon Pies....

That's our next ACC television deal in a nutshell.....Enjoy....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Move Along, Nothing to See Here....


Just in case you were wondering if this year would be any different than last at the Cesspool the answer is NO. The criminal stylings of those in red & black continue unabated. This week's culprit is redshirt sophomore QB Zach Mettenberger, who was slapped with 5 charges after an evening at an establishment named "Flip Flops". Certainly a decided step below the glorious Flora-Bama Lounge. Well played sir, & we appreciate you keeping the U(sic)GA program in the depths to which we've become accustomed, at least legally. Once again, while your behavior might be suspect, it's the fact that you were apprehended that is the true crime here. Hope you enjoyed the evening in the county lockup:

What a sporty coiffure, Zach! We love the sideburns....

And just in case you any vague idea that the ACC was gaining any ground on our SEC neighbors? Not a chance. While we went O-fer on arrests this weekend, Mettenberger & LSU wide-out Terrance Toliver both racked up multiple charges for the SEC. In Toliver's case, even his vaunted "SEC speed" couldn't outrun the lightning...... On second thought, Les Miles probably uses a Taser regularly at practice.....

Jeremiah Attaochu......


Come on Down....you're the next contestant on "meet the 2010 Georgia Tech signees". A 6'3", 223 pound defensive end at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., Attaochu will play the "Jack" position (rush linebacker) in our new 3-4 defense. The first of two players that followed Al Groh to Tech, Attaochu chose Tech over Illinois, Maryland, UVA, & Minnesota, to name a few.


Hash's Take: prototype size for the "Jack" linebacker position; long arms will help keep offensive linemen away from his body. Good speed for a player with his size. Will add another 20-25 pounds in the weight room once on campus. Relentless pursuing the football. A nice variety of pass rush moves for a young player. Good balance & ability to get through trash at the line. Will need to learn to play in space as a linebacker but has all the natural tools. Expect a redshirt year but Attaochu has a bright future on the Flats.

Player he reminds us of: we'll go with former Groh protege Chris Slade.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Warning: Actual Football Content.....


Of course, only a small amount is ours. We straight gangstarred the other content. After whooping Clemson twice this year, we feel like we owe them something. First, we gave them some of this:

Then they got to nibble on this:


So we though we'd throw some props their way. Clemson blog Shakin the Southland is chocked full of good content. In fact, their football content is some of the best we've found anywhere; knowledgable, easy to decipher, coherent. Just damn good. They are in the midst of a series of posts on defense on the blog & if your interested in football strategy, we highly recommend you check it out. Here's an easy link to a wealth of defensive info, including two great posts directly related to us (defending the triple option & midline). Enjoy. And if you're interested, here's a brief primer we did earlier this year on our new 3-4 defense under Al Groh.

The Friday Five.....


An interesting week for sure as the NFL wrapped up the Combine in Indianapolis while Jaybo Shaw's transfer became official. Mass paranoia continued on the big three Tech message boards as the Jackets have yet to land a commitment for the class of 2011. Holy Hell, Batman, at this rate we'll sign no one in 2011! Pack up the plantation, folks, we might as well just begin to forfeit all our games beginning this year. The angst! Some thoughts as we wring our hands & ponder the impending doom of our beloved program:
  • The NFL Combine concluded Tuesday with mixed results for our four invitees. BayBay didn't participate in any drills as he recovers from his broken foot. Too bad, he most likely would have helped himself. Derrick Morgan was, well, Derrick Morgan; steady, fundamentally sound, and reliable. He certainly didn't hurt himself in Indy. The jury's out on Jon Dwyer's Combine performance. His measurables weren't great & according to many he looked a little "soft" around the midsection. Reviews on his performance during drills were mixed. We're afraid the Diesel's status may have dropped a bit. Morgan Burnett was hampered by a hamstring strain and only participated in interviews & the bench press, where he completed 16 reps (at #225), a most respectable showing. Morgan will hopefully be able to run at Tech's pro day on March 15. The more we think about the draft the more convinced we are that Burnett will be drafted early & have a stellar career. You heard it here, folks. To all those that blasted Uno for leaving early, we'll be sure & remind you of your stance when the draft is complete.
  • Just when you thought it was safe to leave the house, back comes former Tech corner Reuben Houston. The gift that keeps on giving. Be a hell of a lawyer who could wrangle him back on the team this time. Nothing like the Feds hunting your ass. Houston's is a sad story littered with poor choices & missed opportunities. It's a shame.....
Have you seen this man????
  • Just in case you are amongst the group that feels the end is nigh because we've reached March of 2010 without a commitment, you'll be pleased to know Andy McCollum, our new recruiting coordinator, is hard at work. We're angling for bigger fish this year. The big uns ain't nearly as plentiful & the waters be infested with other mean & nasty predators. Fear not, we shall land a few whoppers & turn a few minnows into sharks of our own.
  • If this interview is any indication, redshirt sophomore T.J. Barnes is looking to contribute at nose guard this season & has a new sense of purpose under the auspices of coaches Groh & McCollum. Keep running, get your pads low, & stay away from the buffet, big fella. We need you this year....
  • Finally, a watershed announcement. April 24th is the T-day spring game & frankly we can barely wait. What in the world could make that hallowed day any better? Why only one thing: Hall & Oates. That's right, I said it: Darryl Hall & John Oates. Live & in concert, BITCHES. Is there any other way to end a perfect spring football Saturday? Hell no! The smooth stylings & dulcet tones of those two troubadours will make the 24th of April a day & night to remember. A few cocktails, an afternoon at Bobby Dodd, the unveling of our new 3-4 defense; and "Maneater". Or maybe "Kiss is on my List". Oooh, don't forget "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)". We can hardly wait.....Private Eyes, their watching you.....better have your ass at that show after the game....After a day devoted to the manly pursuit of football, what better way to thank that lovely lady in your life? WELCOME TO THE PLAYAZ BALL, LADIES!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Inside Paul Johnson's Soul

Stealing an idea from The Seventh Floor, we slipped into Paul Johnson's soul as passive voyeurs and recorded the results. How? By combining tantric massage, a stuffed and mounted wombat, a sandwich bag full of methamphetamines and a sheet of acid, that's how. The resulting time lapse video documents the images of Paul Johnson's soul. The weird thing is, even though we only blacked out for an instant, there's almost five seconds of video.
video

Spring Practice Outlook: the Wide Receivers.....


I mentioned just the other day that I thought A-back was one of the deepest positions on our team in 2010. The same can't be said of our wide receivers as heading into 2010 this is one of our biggest question marks. Of the four juniors who declared for the NFL, it will be BayBay Thomas who is the hardest to replace. BayBay's ability to stretch the field & beat one-on-one coverage was key to our success last year & we need to find someone to replace his big play ability and prolific blocking. We're young & very inexperienced at WR entering 2010 & spring practice will be key in determining who is ready to step for us in the Fall. The candidates:

  • Stephen Hill (sophomore/6'4", 195); a rare talent, Hill started 9 games for us last season as a true freshman. Terrific frame & amazing leaping ability. Showed how dangerous he could be in the open field on several reverses throughout last season. Has good body control & hands. Showed a willingness to block but needs to work on strength & technique. Hill has the physical tools to be a superstar at Tech. Another off-season adding both strength & practice reps should put him in a position to excel in 2010. Has a chance to be a very special player on the Flats & the heir apparent to BayBay.
  • Tyler Melton (junior/6'0", 205): a knee injury cost Melton much of last season but he returned late in the year & gained valuable starter reps during our championship run. A steady, unspectacular player, Melton does many things well but nothing spectacularly. More of a possession type receiver than a deep threat. Good route runner. An adequate blocker but could improve in this area. Melton's experience will be counted on in 2010 as he is one of our veterans at WR.
  • Jeremy Moore (redshirt freshman/6'3", 195): not familiar with the name? You will be as Moore excelled in practice as a redshirt last year & was frequently cited as a much improved player over the course of the season by the coaching staff. Added 25 pounds of muscle since enrolling at Tech & has great size for our scheme at this point. Good hands, adequate speed & a very good blocker. Will surprise people in the Spring & Fall. Our guess is after a productive off-season Moore enters 2010 the starter opposite Hill. Look out world...
  • Kevin Cone (redshirt senior/6'2", 210): came to Tech as a walk-on & began last year as a starter opposite BayBay until an ankle injury & Stephen Hill greatly limited his time. A legacy on the Flats, Cone is an high effort player who blocks well but has rarely been thrown to. Will be counted on for leadership amongst a young group of WR in 2010.
  • Quentin Sims (redshirt sophomore/6'2", 190): a converted high school quarterback, Sims is a fine athlete who is still learning the WR position. Not blazing fast, Sims has great short area quickness & is excellent running after the catch. Has a chance to contribute as a role player in 2010. Don't be surprised to see Sims get some QB reps with our depth issues this spring.
  • Daniel McKayhan (redshirt sophomore/6'0", 195): saw time towards the end of last season on kickoff returns. A very shifty & elusive player. Hasn't seen the field as a WR yet but may crack the rotation this year.
Those six players should see the majority of reps this Spring at WR although Zach Fisher & Geoff Greco could put themslves into the mix with a good couple weeks of practice. Hill almost assuredly has a starting spot locked up & we'll really need him this year to replace the majority of BayBay's production. He certainly has the talent to do it, it's all about execution & experience at this point. We expect Moore to push Melton for the starting spot opposite Hill & eventually win the battle sometime this Fall. It will be interesting to see how Sims & McKayhan develop & if they are able to push for playing time this year. We lost a huge weapon with BayBay's departure and will need our young guys to step up & fill that hole this season. It all begins with Spring practice & wide receiver will certainly be a position to watch. It will be interesting to see how things sort themselves out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Got Five Minutes

Of course you do. It's March and you're reading a college football blog. You're probably at work, going fucking mental.

Scouting Report.....


Derrick Morgan came to Tech a highly touted prospect from Coatesville, PA. and leaves as the reigning ACC defensive player of the year & one of our best defensive players ever. Morgan always plays with tremendous effort & desire, a quality hard to find in many players. The NFL seems to think very highly of Morgan also, as he's a sure bet to be a first round pick and many "experts" have him as a top ten selection. Here's my scouting report on Morgan:
  • Frame/Size: 6'4", 270 pounds. Very thick base & long arms.
  • Agility/Lateral Movement: excellent short area quickness. Pursues the ball relentlessly. Needs to keep a wide base as feet sometimes get tangled & he can go to ground easily.
  • Quickness/Explosion: tremendous burst off the snap. On the offensive lineman in a flash, often before they can set their base. Able to dip shoulder around the outside edge. Very good short area quickness.
  • Strength: not huge up top but not weak, either. Wide strong base with a thick butt & thighs - this is where he generates his power. Frequently played against double teams & held his own. Low pad level & excellent technique help him play very strong.
  • Pass Rush: gets off the ball very quickly. Uses long arms to keep defender away from his body. Very adept at dropping his shoulder & turning the edge. Pad level is excellent. Shows a variety of moves; swim, bull, spin, has a complete arsenal. Tremendous effort player; if he's stopped on his initial push will continue to play until the whistle blows.
  • Run Defense: good instincts & recognition. Active at the line. Long arms & good technique allow him to stack & shed blockers. Able to get through trash at the line. Would like to see more size & physicality from Morgan in the run game.
  • Tackling: an active & solid tackler. Will make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Technique: outstanding technique; low pads, wide base that generates great power, low butt-high hands. Needs to work on punch but hands are generally inside. Superior in this area.
It's hard not to love a player that plays with the motor Morgan does. An effort guy with great technique, he's proven durable & versatile on the college level. I do think that scheme will be important to his success on the next level. Morgan is really a 4-3 left defensive end; his greatest attribute is his ability to rush the passer. He'd be challenged to play DE in a 3-4 (size) & isn't fast enough to play rush LB in that same defense. Landing with a team that plays a 4-3 would really benefit Morgan. We've seen projections of him going as high as number 3 to Tampa Bay & while we'd love for that to happen, it's a stretch. I expect if he's around at #10 the Jacksonville Jaguars will snag #91. Tennessee at #16 is also a possible landing spot & there's no way he lasts beyond the Falcons at #19. In sum, we expect Morgan to be an excellent pro. That player he compares himself to is Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen. Morgan is clearly the better citizen, but on the field we think it's an apt comparison; both guys have great motors & are relentless rushing the passer. We expect that kind of success from Derrick on the NFL level...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring Practice Outlook: the A-backs.....


Perhaps no position on our team will be deeper than A-back, where we return three players with a great deal of game experience & three others with some experience and a great deal of potential. While it's the B-back in our offense who is essentially the "feature" back that gets most of the carries & notoriety, the A-backs are vital to our success & can't be overlooked. The A-back has essentially three jobs in our offense: 1) block, 2) run the ball when called on to do so, & 3) act as a receiver when necessary. It is vital to our success that all our A-backs are able to perform those tasks. Note that I placed blocking first among an A-backs responsibilities as their ability to seal the edge & block on the second level of the defense greatly defines how successful we will be running the football. I'll break down the A-backs blocking responsibilities in another post (arc vs. load, etc...) but suffice it to say there's a lot going on for an A-back, both pre & post snap. So let's look at who will most likely man the position in 2010. A quick reminder: we use two A-backs on almost every play & CPJ likes to be at least five deep at this position so depth is critical. The A-backs:

  • Roddy Jones (RS junior/ 5'9", 194): Roddy's coming off a tough year in which he never really got on track after dislocating his wrist lifting before Fall practice. The injury was a painful one & greatly hampered Roddy to the point it seemed he just couldn't find a groove. A two year starter, Roddy is primed for a big season in 2010 as his responsibilities will increase in the offense. A tough runner with a low center of gravity, Roddy is an effective blocker & adequate receiver and we expect a big year from #20. A brief reminder of Roddy at his best. FWIW, baseball won't be a problem, he'll be at all our spring practices.
  • Embry Peeples (Junior/5'10", 175): perhaps the fastest of our A-backs, Embry is a threat to go all the way anytime he has the ball (ask Vanderbilt). One of our better receivers, Embry will need to improve his blocking in order to garner more playing time. Watch for him in what I hope is an improved passing attack this year...
  • Chris Jackson (Redshirt sophomore/ 6'1", 205): originally a Tech commit, Jackson, a high school wide receiver, ended up at Alabama after Gailey was fired & CPJ was hired. Jackson played on special teams as a true freshman at Bama but was released from his scholarship after the season & transferred to Tech where he will play A-back this year after sitting out all of last year per NCAA rules. Big things are expected from Jackson as he is a strong runner with very good hands & the size to block effectively. Expect him to be a fixture at A-back this year but he does have the ability to move to WR if we need him there. Perhaps our most productive newcomer when all is said & done....
  • Marcus Wright (Junior/ 5'7" [maybe], 178): the "Super Smurf" is a fan favorite in our section & it's easy to see why: he's blazing fast & blocks like crazy. No one throws themselves around out there more than #3 and his effectiveness at blocking players much bigger than him is a credit to his desire & technique.
  • Orwin Smith (Sophomore/6'0", 195): saw time on special teams as a true freshman last year & limited offensive snaps. A steady, workman-like player who doesn't do anything spectacularly but does everything well. A strong runner who relies on toughness & not moves. If his running style is any indication, should be a good blocker. Coaches wanted to get him on the field more as a true freshman but learning the offense is very complex & Smith simply needed more time. Spring & Fall camp will give him that time & we expect a big year. Our offensive "sleeper" this season.
  • Robbie Godhigh (redshirt freshman/5'7", 175): a preferred walk-on last season, Godhigh impressed during Fall camp with his toughness & willingness to block. Very thick with a low center of gravity. We expect him to contribute this year & he'll end up with a scholly before his Tech days are over.....
  • We're also bringing in two freshmen this year at the A-back slot, Deon Hill & Tony Zenon. While we don't expect either to contribute immediately, we'll closely follow their development once they are on campus. And don't forget B.J. Bostic. CPJ will find a way to get the ball in his hands & it might be at A-back, either this season or in the future.
So those are the A-backs heading into spring practice. We'll of course keep you up to date on what happens during Spring practice & heading into the Fall. And it's 194 days until toe meets leather....