Nov. 21, 2013
By Matt Winkeljohn
D.J. White goes about 5-feet-11 or so, and if he was just a bit taller perhaps Georgia Tech’s game at Clemson last week might have turned out a little differently.
White wasn’t the only one who could’ve used a stretch.
On several occasions, as Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd put the ball on the money as his receivers snatched a bevy of long balls, the Yellow Jackets were in pretty good position. Yet too frequently, they missed defending those balls by inches.
“We’ve got to find a way to get three more inches or six more inches,” defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. “There were some other things that everybody didn’t see that we’ve got to clean up. It’s a team thing. When we lose, we all lose.”
After a long night in Clemson, White and the rest of the Tech defensive backs have put in extra work on the practice field and in study.
Chances are when Alabama A&M (4-7) visits Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday, the Jackets (6-4) will not be over tested through the air or on the ground. Then again, the Bulldogs were proficient passing in beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 50-42 last weekend.
Quarterback Jaymason Lee completed 16-of-29 passes for a season-high 349 yards and three touchdowns, and wide receiver Montaurius Smith caught seven passes for 114 yards and a score.
The Jackets weren’t always in the right spot against Clemson, and White said that’s been a point of emphasis more than getting longer.
“It’s just discipline, making sure that we play the call the way it’s called. I think some of the calls we didn’t communicate across the board. The left side might have played one thing and the other side another,” he explained. “It was simple communication things.
“One side might have made a check, and the other side might not have gotten it. Just making sure we communicate quicker.”
The Bulldogs play at the FCS level, but this is no time for the Jackets to relax or simplify. Roof also said there is no plan going into the game to get work for younger, less experienced players. That’s especially true with Georgia looming a week later.
“It’s what we do every week is mix [calls] up,” Roof said. “The main goal is to win the football game. This is not going to be easy. We’ve got to improve and take care of Georgia Tech this week.”
Head coach Paul Johnson said much the same thing earlier in the week.
“Our goal is to get win number seven . . . that’s the push. Depending on how the game unfolds and what happens, we’d like to play everyone who can play – if we can do that,” he said. “But I don’t think we’re going in with that mindset because when you do that is when you get in trouble.
“I don’t have that mindset and I hope our players don’t have that mindset. I have challenged the guys this week by saying this is as much about Georgia Tech as it is about who we’re playing.”
White and the lads have been working.
“I think you can learn more whether you win or lose,” he said. “This game we didn’t come out on top so there’s going to be more to correct.”
Get Sting Daily in your e-mail box — it’s free! Just register here to get the latest features on Georgia Tech Athletics.