October 12, 2009

Jackets go inside to begin Hokie prep

The Georgia Tech football team headed inside the Georgia Dome for practice on Monday afternoon, as they get ready for their big showdown with number four Virginia Tech on Saturday. For the second time this season to avoid rough weather in the Atlanta area the Jackets made use of the Dome which made for a quick practice session.

"It was a quick one. We probably could have gone outside, but it rained all day so we might as well use it," Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. "We got a great football team coming in with a lot of great players. It will be a challenge for us to get ready for them. It is a great opportunity for us. Hopefully we will have a good crowd here."

After giving up 44 points against Florida State, defense was the main topic of discussion after practice Monday. Coach Johnson said there would be minor adjustments defensively this week to allow the team to play faster. As far as major personnel changes go, Johnson says they will go with what they got.

"There will not be drastic changes. We got who we got. There is no waiver wire," he said. "What we need to do is to clean it up and try to simplify so we don't have so many mistakes."

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack simply wants to see his guys fly around to the ball and make plays. After several key injuries to the secondary and defensive line, the Jackets have been using a hodgepodge of players and he says that showed the last two weeks.

"We have to go out there and play better and have some continuity about what we are doing," Wommack said. "I think there have been so many changes in personnel and I am not using that as an excuse for how we played because we played poorly, but when guys have not done something a thousand times and you get into new formations they are out of place. You would like sit here and say at this point in the season that we are not making mistakes, but we are. We are making too many mistakes and those mistakes are costing us yardage, points and that is what is hurting us."

"We are at the point where we do not have a lot of guys to make changes with," Wommack continued. "We have lost some people here and there and the average person they don't care or want to hear about that, but players play and coaches coach."

Wommack cites too many defensive schemes and a lack of understanding what to do in certain alignments for many of the problems the defense has had. During the five weeks of camp, they practiced specific defensive schemes with certain personnel groups and injuries threw all of that out of the window after the Miami game.

"We have too many guys playing in different spots and all the reps you have in camp and over the spring you loose when you put new people in new spots," Wommack said. "That hurt us. I think Dominique Reese coming back after a couple of weeks hurt him. I was proud of the kids and the way they bounced back. I think they had 133 yards in the second half. The kids played really hard in the game and they wanted to win."

As the Jackets get ready for Virginia Tech, Wommack says the defensive strategy is pretty simple, contain quarterback Tyrod Taylor while defending the pass and shutdown tailback Ryan Williams.

"The running back and the quarterback are the two key things. The quarterback is a multi threat. He could always run the ball, but he is throwing the ball a whole lot better this year, which has made them a better team, and they are scoring a whole lot more points. He has a season and a half under his belt since we played them, so he is a different guy this year and there is no doubt about it. I see the confidence in him


The Jackets have some surprisingly good news this week on the injury front. Safety Cooper Taylor returned to practice in limited action for the visit time since the Miami game week as he recovers from a heart procedure and defensive end Anthony Egbuniwe is close to being medically cleared after missing time with an illness. The only bad news was fourth string and former starting receiver Kevin Cone will miss some time with a broken ankle.

"Kevin Cone broke his ankle so he will be out and other than that, we will know about Egbuniwe tomorrow and hopefully we will have him in at some point," Johnson said. "Cooper is back out there and he ran around in practice. We will see how that goes."

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