December 29, 2009

Johnson worried about timing

The Georgia Tech football team held their next to last home practice for the 2009 season Tuesday morning in Atlanta. The Jackets will depart for Miami Wednesday afternoon after a brief early morning session Wednesday. Yellow Jacket head coach Paul Johnson has not been overwhelmed by his team's practice performances since returning from their holiday break.

"Practice has gone okay. We had a pretty good break and we are getting back into the grind," Johnson said. "We are getting back to doing our thing like keeping pad level down and those types of things. We are working on it."

So much of Coach Johnson's triple option offense relies on timing and timing is a major area of concern for the coach.

"We had a regular practice today. At the end today we did 15 minutes of the ones versus the ones live. We are trying to get ready. The timing is what worries you so much and being ready to play the speed of the game because we have been off for so long," Johnson said.

When fall camp opening the first week of August, the Jackets had no idea their season would stretch all the way to Jan. 5. For the staff and the players the year has been incredibly long.

"It has been a long year. We played 15 games a year at Georgia Southern, but it was over by Christmas. This is the latest bowl game we have ever played in so it is probably the longest year we have had," he said.

Looking at the upcoming matchup with Iowa, Coach Johnson sees a solid Hawkeye team that presents a strong challenge.

"Iowa has a good football team and there is a reason why they are in the Orange Bowl. They are 11-2 and have a really good defense. Offensively they have some really talented skill guys," he said. "I am looking forward to the game. We have played for a long time and this has been a year that has gone on and on. It will be good to finally get to game week."

On the injury front, things remain pretty much the same as the ACC Championship game only the starting tackles will change from Phil Smith to Austin Barrick.

"I think we are as healthy as we have been. We are not going to get anyone back that we have not had other than Austin Barrick. We lost Phil Smith so we are one-for-one there. I don't think we will get anyone else back."

Business and pleasure

Playing in Miami is an extra special treat for the Tech players, but coach Johnson wants the players to think of it as a working vacation and keep their minds focused on the task at hand.

"I think you have to work and you have to play, hopefully we can mix in some fun and the guys can have a good time because they have earned it," Johnson said.

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