First off some bad news that Jordan Leggett will be suspended for violation of team rules for the Thursday night game. Not a good sign for his long term future, hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call. Hearing it is a one-game deal and don't think it is associated with any arrest or anything like that.
I watched PJ's press conference for the Yellow Jackets. It was highly entertaining. He starts the press conference kind of licking his teeth because it looks like he just got done eating a sandwich and that only adds to his aura of smugness. Each response to a question is a lesson to the media about why their question is beneath PJ and how it should have been asked.
He was quite candid too. This quote is making some rounds already--it seems like he is disrespecting Beasley (he is to a certain degree) but to be fair he was asked who other than Beasley had caught his eye. Beasley gets a lot of the fanfare but who did PJ think was also important for Georgia Tech. He rightly pointed to Corey Crawford and Grady Jarrett as being those guys because they did play well last year.
I think that the inside guys are the guys for us. No. 50, the guy from Rockdale County (Ga.), Grady Jarrett, he's one of their captains. Stephone Anthony, their linebacker, has gotten better. The other DE, Corey Crawford, is a good player. Vic Beasley is a pass rusher guy, and that's probably why he gets more notoriety because when you play against those teams it becomes a bigger deal. I don't know if he's a squeeze and scrape guy, which is what he'll have to do against us, so we'll see how he plays
NFL scouts will be watching and will be interested in how well Beasley holds up against the run. Certainly his value is as a 3-4 OLB rushing the passer but a solid performance on Thursday night might cement a place in the first round. I think it is also a big game for Anthony if he decides to try and jump after this season as well (which I hope he doesn't). He struggled in this game last year (although Tig might have been worse), which led to his replacement by Shuey late in the season. Hard to imagine he played less than 15 snaps in all of the remaining games last year.
I think it was clear that Johnson believes that GT can win this game and that he feels like they should have won last year. I think we forget how close that game was and that GT was up by one in the fourth quarter. Tech is playing much better in the last three games then they were at the beginning of the season. Everyone should be ready for another 4 quarter game, especially on a cold Thursday night.
Last year up there, I don't think the score was indicative of the game. I think it got away from us, but we were up one in the fourth quarter and had the ball on the 12-yard line on fourth-and-one and we fumbled the snap. So they've been good games. This may be the best team they've had since I've been here.
So about our press conference. Someone had the audacity to ask "What's realistic now, given the success Florida State is having?" Hey genius if you were paying attention, FSU has already won the Atlantic (the question wasn't referring to the future either or national title implications) so not sure where you are really going with that one. Dabo actually nailed it though.
Florida State, we've won two ball games since then. We just want to be the best we can be. We're 8-1, top 10 in the country and everybody knows what's at stake. Never at Clemson have we started in the top 10 and finished in the top 10. If we play well and beat them, you're 9-1. That's the best we can be with where we are right now. I'd be very proud of the guys for that.
Dabo had this to say about the topic of bullying.
I have a policy with how everybody treats everybody. Treat everyone with respect and class. With young people there will always be foolish type stuff in the locker room, but there's no tolerance for disrespect. Sometimes things happen and coaches have no idea, but once you find out you have to take care of it. We are far from perfect around here, but we try as hard as we can from a character standpoint. I don't know all the details, but it's a distraction for a football team that's trying to win games.
Venables was glad to get another week in of practice and it is clear that no one enjoys playing Georgia Tech. The Virginia Tech tape has kind of been the ideal model that the coaches want the interior or the defensive line to try and emulate. The players are not particularly fans though. D.J. Reader said this about practice:
I get mad everyday in practice. You never know when you're going to be walking somewhere and someone is just going to be crawling around your feet, so it's uncomfortable. You just have to learn to deal with it.
Self indulgent note: I think David Wilkins deserves a ton of credit for cleaning house in such a timely and organized manner. TDP and Phillips were upgraded and the hire of Jim Clements was big time. This is a guy that any University would want as their president and we are lucky that he has strong family ties to the area.
Garry Peters will be available to play on Thursday night but CJ Davidson will not be, "not quite there yet." Glad to have Peters because he is one of the more physical CB's we have in run support if he is close to full speed (Robinson looked better against Virginia in that area but it was just Virginia). Geohaghan will be available but limited. Leggett is out.
Ryan Norton has a problem with his labrum/shoulder and it shifts out of place on occasion. At Clemson you just play through messed up shoulders and things popping out. I think this helps us understand why Norton has been regressing despite the sweet gnome-like beard he is sporting.
Ard had a nice interview with Morris about player development that mirrored the things I have been hearing. Nothing earth shattering. As I mentioned before Crowder is getting his weight down (as opposed to others who will need to get it together quickly or they will be moving along) and squatting 385. He still needs another solid offseason of working out to get close to an ideal 315-320 but he has those quick feet and will challenge for at least 2-deep reps at right guard it sounds like to me. Maverick Morris is still a year away and 'learning' the position.
Dye is the heir apparent at RB if healthy. The plan was for him to get a lot of carries this year and really emerge as the premier back next year because Morris likes him a lot. He runs with good balance and not upright like all the rest of the backs. Wayne Gallman has impressed as well and is further along than most people thought he would be at this point. He is adding the needed weight to his frame and runs violently.
And DJ Greenlee "has the capability of getting bigger and being a thud guy." So for everyone who questioned why we were so critical of this take when we were so tight on numbers and limiting ourselves in other areas--there you go. Venables never wanted him at LB so he went straight to TE where it sounds like his ceiling is being places by our OC as a 'thud guy'. While glue guys are important and there is no denying you need 'thud' guys, if you wanted to specifically recruit one you can find a lot harder hitters and much better athletes to mold into thudders. Don't worry though we have a lot more 'thudders' coming down the pipeline (or clogging it up to be more accurate).
Donte Grantham and Gabe DeVoe both signed their LOI in basketball. Grantham is an elite prospect and will compete for playing time as a freshman. DeVoe reminds me a bit of KC Rivers, a compact combo guard with a good feel for the game. Will have more on these guys after the game on Thursday.