September 20, 2009

Jackets begin picking up the pieces

Following a tough loss on the road to Miami Thursday night the Jackets flew home and began picking up the pieces on Sunday evening during tremendous rain showers. Head coach Paul Johnson said there will be several lineup changes for the upcoming game against North Carolina on Saturday including on the defensive line.

"Logan Walls has moved up and he will be the first team defensive tackle in place of Jason Peters and we are going to take a look at our freshmen snappers," Johnson said.

Snapper Jeff Lentz had a bad snap on a punt out of the Jackets' end zone that forced a safety against Miami and he had several other bad snaps in the previous two games as well.

Coach Johnson said after practice Sunday, Thursday night performance against Miami was one of the worst games a team he has coached had.

"We played very poorly and Miami has a great team and I do not want to take anything away from them," Johnson said. "We played about as poorly as I have ever had a team play. It was embarrassing. We did a bad job of coaching them and getting them ready to play. Too many missed assignments and we are messing up many little things that make the other things look bad. We need to go back in and focus on improving on the little things."

Several players feel that the team is underachieving and has not played up to the level they are capable of. Junior center Sean Bedford was one of the most outspoken players following the Miami game and the team's performance.

"We had a lot of times Thursday night where the play was there and we would have broken it if we had one little block made or one step in one direction and we just did not do that and as an offense we should apologize to Yellow Jacket nation," Bedford said. "We have been talking all year about how much better we are going to be as an offense and how we are going to execute and we have not done that to this point. The time for talking is over and we have to go out, work hard and get better."

Bedford says there is no excuse for the team's play Thursday including the fatigue factor of playing three games in 12 days.

"I thought at the beginning (of the Miami game) emotionally we were in it and it just did not amount to any points," he said. "This is a division loss and a loss is always tough. I think the old saying goes, 'you have to hate losing more than you love winning.'" I hate this right now and my personal being from Florida side and as a player knowing that we got beat like this hurts."

Coach Johnson said the team was beaten physically in every aspect of the game.

"It is easier to correct things when you are not getting beaten up physically. The line was getting killed and run over physically. That is pretty hard to correct," Johnson said. "You can do some things with technique, but we have to get better mentally and do a better job preparing now. When we make as many mistakes on both sides of the ball that is a reflection on us as poor teachers. We have to do a better job teaching than we are doing."

Looking at the game against the Tar Heels, Johnson is impressed with the North Carolina defense and says they could be the best team Georgia Tech has faced this year.

"North Carolina has a great football team and they have played three football games and they have given up less than 200 yards per game on defense," Johnson said. "I don't care who you play, that is pretty sporty. They have a good team and they may be the best team we have played so far."

Injuries

Starting B-back Jonathan Dwyer did not practice on Sunday due to his shoulder injury. Linebacker Steven Sylvester was also held out of practice on Sunday with his concussion. Sylvester should return to practice on Monday.

Starting left tackle Brad Sellers did not practice and was sporting a cast on his right hand/wrist similar to the one Roddy Jones wore during fall camp. Safeties Dominique Reese (shoulder) and Cooper Taylor (undisclosed injury) were held out of practice on Sunday.

"I am not sure how long Dwyer will be out, but we expect he will play this week," Johnson said. "Cooper Taylor is questionable and Dominique might be questionable

Quarterback Jaybo Shaw could play against North Carolina this week if he gets the okay from the doctors on Monday or Tuesday to begin hitting. Shaw is currently listed as questionable.

Defensive end Robert Hall is out indefinitely with a knee injury and will not play this week. Anthony Egbuniwe will start in his place and Osahon Tongo will move into the rotation along with Derrick Morgan and Izaan Cross.

"Robert is out this week and they are still evaluating him and we will know more about this later this week," Johnson said. "He is definitely out this week."



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