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Know The Coach: Mike Sewak

Jan. 30, 2008

The third in a series of interviews with the new members of the Georgia Tech football coaching staff. This week’s Q&A is with co-offensive line coach Mike Sewak. The questions were asked by the Voice of the Yellow Jackets, Wes Durham:

Click the “Video” tab on the front page to watch Wes Durham’s interview with Mike Sewak.

Q: Mike, your familiarity with Paul Johnson dates back to when?
A: 1985. I was down at Georgia Southern and I met Paul (there). He went to Hawai’i and I followed him to Hawai’i. I ended up going to Ohio University and Paul ends up going to the Naval Academy. Then Paul got the head job down at Georgia Southern, so I followed him back down there. Paul was the head coach and then he took the Naval Academy head coaching job and I stayed there. But I followed in his footsteps and took the head job at Georgia Southern. So this has been quite a thrill ride for us together. He is a good man. I have enjoyed working with him and he is a good friend and someone you can trust and believe in.

Q: Tell me about when Paul Johnson got the job. A lot of people were very excited about the staff he was going to put together. I think your renewal with him excites a lot of people because of your head coaching position and the success you guys enjoyed in Statesboro.
A:Well, it is exciting. The brand of football that we play is hard-nose. It will take some transition to it, but we are not going to expect the kids to pick it all up in a day. We are going to try to do what the kids do best and tailor some of our option offense to them and by saying this means we want to get to what we have been doing in the last 24 years.

Q: You start looking at option football and everybody remembers Adrian Peterson and everything he did at Georgia Southern, and then the Naval Academy. While it’s the same basic plan, was it different though for him at Navy than it was at Georgia Southern?
A: It has to do with your talent. Find a couple good slots, so we have the ball off the slots. We have some gap receivers in the past, we had a thousand-yard receiver in Hawai’i. It depends on your personality. You are going to cater to it and in football it’s a team thing. There’s no ego really involved when you are running the option. If slots are blocked for the wide receiver, and the wide receiver blocks for the slots, what happens to the play action pass is that it is a huge play and it is a very aerobic offense. Because what will happen is that you will be watching and everyone stands up to cheer and you will see the guy. And they will be running with them and bobbing and weaving and some of those great long runs that some of our fans will enjoy because they will be standing up for quite some time.

Q: Why are we not seeing option football as much in today’s college games?
A: A couple reasons, I think everybody gets caught up in the recruiting wars that it becomes such a big deal to say we got this five-star athlete or we have this four-star athlete and you just go along the lines… for some people it takes a little bit more in-depth to find a good football player. What you are looking for is some guy with some athleticism, can move, change direction, sometimes unselfishness too. And you don’t see any option offense at the next (NFL) level. As opposed to just run the option, a lot of our players have gone on to the next level, and the reason being is their athleticism — being able to move with the ball, being able to block people in space… We do concentrate on the lower body balance, lower body power, and I think when they find if you get yourself in a goal-line situation, on every level, you have to knock somebody down at the goal line. You have to have somebody underneath your pads and we just do it from 99 yards away to one foot away.

Q: … What are the things that are going to be most important to offensive play at Georgia Tech?
A: There are a lot of things. First, we have to analyze and evaluate the (players) we have right here now, because they all came highly recommended. They have played really well and they have had some success. They have had a thousand-yard rusher. So, we are going to try to mold those kids into our scheme and as we go out to recruit for our offense, we will try to find some guys that can slide a little bit more. Not so much lateral movement but more up the field movement. So, I think the terminology will be conducive to making the change work because the kids understand offense. When they are running the zone plays they understand A-gap, B-gap. The thing about option is you try to go where you have the numbers, then you try to go where you have the angles, then you try to find any personnel mismatches. Where sometimes in the other offenses you try to find the personnel mismatches first, then try to either elevate them or not elevate them. For us the personnel mismatches aren’t something that we are trying to get to because we try to put ourselves in positions to make good plays. Let your athletes make the plays. That is what we are going to try to look for and try to find in our guys and slide our offensive line to that.

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