Don’t expect a fiery speech from Paul Johnson before Georgia Tech’s game against Miami at noon on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets’ head coach knows that success comes from execution rather than emotion and emphasized that point again this week.
“I tried to stress to our guys last week that everybody thinks it’s all about these locker room speeches and come out and beat your head into the wall and ‘Man, I’m fired up,’ ” Johnson said. “But you better be poised and execute. All the pregame stuff is gone after you get hit in the mouth a couple of times. You’d better execute and play.”
Execution will be at the forefront this week against the 14th-ranked Hurricanes, whose defense is ranked No. 2 in the nation overall and No. 4 against the run. If the Yellow Jackets fail to clean up their issues, they could face the second verse of what happened last week against Clemson.
It would be easy to look at the offensive line and point fingers toward those players, but Johnson said the problems go deeper than that.
Never miss a local story.
“It’s a mixture of mental mistakes, missed blocks and missed assignments,” he said. “You are going to have guys that miss blocks, and that is why you play the game. If everybody was perfect on every play, they would all be touchdowns.
“What I’m talking about is you can’t have missed assignments on top of playing a good team. … We have got to help coach the techniques and do a better job at blocking the guy. Nobody does it on purpose, but you have to have more poise, and you can’t do it against better teams.”
The Yellow Jackets managed only 95 yards rushing and 124 total yards last week against Clemson. They were especially poor on offense in the first half, which forced the defense to stay on the field longer and allowed Clemson’s dangerous offense to have more possessions.
Miami traditionally has plenty of talent on defense, just like Clemson. The Hurricanes have allowed only two touchdowns in three games and allow runners to gain only 1.6 yards per attempt. Despite the gaudy numbers, Miami doesn’t have one or two individuals who have dominated the stat sheet.
When Mark Richt was hired as the Hurricanes’ head coach, he hired Manny Diaz as the defensive coordinator, and the Hurricanes are using a different scheme than what they showed previously.
“You use your best judgment on what they’re going to do,” Johnson said. “What we try to do offensively — you wouldn’t have known it on Thursday — but we get ready for each defense — four-man fronts, three-man fronts, cover two, one-high safety — and we just practice against all of it, and then we adjust as we play. Historically, through the years, that’s been a good way to do it.”
Kickoff set for Pitt: Kickoff for next week’s game at Pittsburgh will be 12:30 p.m. It is the fourth time the Yellow Jackets have had an early kickoff this season.
ACC refund: Anyone who purchased a ticket for the ACC championship game through an official ticket outlet will be given a 100 percent refund — ticket price, taxes and service charges.
Baseball coach gets extension: Georgia Tech baseball head coach Danny Hall has signed a new contract that will keep him in place through 2021. In 23 seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Hall has led the team to five regular-season championships, five ACC tournament titles, 20 NCAA regional spots and the program’s only three College World Series appearances. With 961 wins, Hall is the program’s winningest coach.