A few notes from today:
ATLANTA — While most Georgia Tech students likely spent Monday morning sleeping in because of the Labor Day holiday, Paul Johnson’s pupils were on the practice fields bright and early for their first workout in preparation of Saturday’s game at Kansas.
Slightly bothered by the way the Yellow Jackets played last Saturday when they beat FCS-contending South Carolina State in their season opener 41-10, Johnson has been hankering for any solution that will get his team to play with full and complete crispness the rest of the season.
According to him, there is only one way that can be done.
“You demand it, that’s how you get it,” Johnson said. “You don’t accept anything else.”
Although Mondays generally are a light day football-wise, they tend to be heavy on conditioning. At the end of their mid-morning practice the running exercises commenced, with coaches likely looking for effort more than anything else.
“That’s correct. It is demanding it,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said.
Upon reviewing film from Saturday’s blowout victory, Bohannon said it was clear that across the team, there was a slight lack of energy. The Yellow Jackets weren’t firing off the lines of scrimmage like they expected to after a strenuous preseason period.
“I don’t know, we just weren’t playing fast,” Bohannon said. “Guys want to be good and they watched the tape. They’ll work to get better this week and I look for big improvement.”
There was still no word Monday on whether the Yellow Jackets believe they will be able to get either Cooper Taylor or Will Jackson back when they kickoff against Kansas at noon Saturday.
Taylor, one of Georgia Tech’s starting safeties, left the South Carolina State game with a heat-related injury. As of Monday morning, he was sporting a red no-practice jersey. There still is no concrete timetable on when his return will be.
Jackson, a redshirt freshman left guard who started in the season opener, left in the first half of the game with an apparent left leg injury. Trainers later confirmed that he had sprained both his knee and ankle. During his post-game comments, Johnson seemed optimistic that Jackson could return this week.
As of Monday, he had no updates, but said he will make a determination as to Jackson’s status by Wednesday or Thursday.
Also out this week was defensive end Emmanuel Dieke, a sophomore who has missed much of the preseason. Instead of sporting the sling on his left arm as he has been, however, Dieke was without it for the first time Monday.
Catching Johnson’s eye
A pair of young Yellow Jackets turned Johnson’s head on multiple occasions Saturday, starting with Macon native Julian Burnett.
“(He) was a man on special teams,” Johnson said. “He cracked a couple people.”
Burnett, the former Westside product who started three games as a true freshman last season, finished with a pair of tackles. Both came as the inside linebacker contributed in Georgia Tech’s kick coverage game.
With new safety-issue rules in place preventing return teams from forming three-man wedges with blockers, Burnett should have a field day this season flying down the middle of the field on kickoffs.
“He’s a heat-seeking missile,” Johnson said. “I don’t think a wedge would have stopped him from going through. He was looking for somebody to run into to.”
In addition to the sophomore, true freshman Jeremiah Attaochu had a strong first performance, Johnson said. Also working in what Johnson considered a very “athletic” Yellow Jackets’ coverage game, Attaochu had two tackles.