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Johnson is Preseason ACC Player of the Year

July 24, 2006

Jacksonville, Fla. – Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson was the overwhelming choice as the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, according to media voting at the ACC Football Kickoff in Jacksonville, Fla.

Johnson, the junior all-American, received 50 of the 65 votes to easily outdistance runner-up Kyle Wright of Miami.

In the preseason poll, Georgia Tech was voted third in the Coastal Division, behind Miami and Virginia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets did garner three first-place votes. Florida State edged Clemson in the Atlantic Division.

Coastal Division1. Miami (52), 3742. Virginia Tech (10), 3163. GEORGIA TECH (3), 2794. Virginia, 1665. North Carolina, 1656. Duke, 65

Atlantic Division 1. Florida State (49), 373 2. Clemson (13), 322 3. Boston College (3), 269 4. Maryland, 163 5. NC State, 124 6. Wake Forest, 116

Preseason Player of the Year Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech, 50 Kyle Wright, Miami, 5 James Davis, Clemson, 4 Drew Weatherford, Florida State, 4 Lorenzo Booker, Florida State, 1 Gaines Adams, Clemson, 1

Quoting Georgia Tech Head Coach Chan Gailey

Opening with Notre Dame:

“It’s big for the program. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. It’s a big game and a great opportunity, and everybody in our program is looking forward to it. One of the reasons you to play Division I-whatever is to play the big game.

General thoughts on the team:

We’ve got some great returning players, and we’ve got some good returning players. We’re thin in the secondary. I don’t know how good we’ll be back there, but probably every other position on our football team is pretty good. We don’t have the depth, but our starters, except in the secondary, may be the best group overall that we’ve had since I’ve been at Tech.

What else can Calvin Johnson do?

He’s a great player, but he doesn’t know everything. He’s still learning, and he wants to learn. The great thing about him is he still wants to get better. That’s what’s going to allow him to be very successful for a lot of years. He doesn’t think he has arrived. He’s a better person than he is a football player.

What does Patrick Nix bring to the table as offensive coordinator?

I think he’s a very intelligent football coach. He’s on top of the new things that are going on in football today. He’s an excellent motivator and organizer. I think he will incorporate the things I believe into what he is trying to get done as an offensive coordinator. It will be his offense. I’m not going to be a meddler. The worse thing I can do is meddle, and I understand that because I’ve been on the other side. It’s either his or it’s not his.

What other things does not calling the plays enable you to focus on?

First of all, I’m going to have to be aware of what’s going on with the coaches’ challenge. If I was talking to the offense and something happened on defense that needed to be challenged . . . my focus has got to be on the game all the time. The other thing that is going to be important for me is to be more involved in personnel. How can I make sure that the entire team is using our personnel to the best of our ability, whether it’s offense, defense or special teams. Are there changes that need to be made? Is there a guy on the sidelines who needs to be in the ballgame? When you’re involved with one side of the ball, you can’t pay as much attention to the big picture.

Are you in favor of the coaches’ challenge?

I like it, but there are some problems with it. We don’t have video equipment in the coaches booth to help us decide whether or not we should challenge. Every player is going to say, Coach, I caught it. You have to be sure before you challenge something. You don’t want to use it in the first half and then get to the fourth quarter where something happens but you don’t have the challenge left.

I wanted to have a challenge. Do I think this is the right way? No. I think if you challenge and you’re right, you should retain your challenge. But that’s not the way we’re doing it.

How has Pat Clark adjusted to cornerback?

He got a ton or reps in spring practice because we didn’t have anybody else. He got to practice and do a lot over there right off the bat; he didn’t just work his way into the position. We’re grooming him to play right away. He has a much better understanding of what is going on the secondary because he has played receiver. He is a much better defensive player for having been an offensive player.

To what do your attribute the tremendous recruiting success you are having this summer?

I don’t think it’s any one thing, it’s a combination of a lot of things. I think Dan Radakovich has made a difference. He’s spoken to our camps and he’s met with people on campus to help in our recruiting process. I think the new contract has been a part of it. And I think we have some fresh ideas in the recruiting process. There are a lot of things that are a part of it, not just one thing or one move or one change.

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