Georgia Tech Blog

A sports blog about the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Johnson wants tighter pass coverage

Notes from Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson's Tuesday's news conference.

1. Johnson wants the defense to ratchet up the pressure in pass coverage.

“Get up there make them beat you,” Johnson said at his weekly news conference Tuesday. “We’ve got to help them with that, when we pressure we’ve got to know when we’re pressuring and get up there and play tight.”

Johnson urged using tight coverage situationally.

“You’ve got to play down and distance,” he said. “If it’s third-and-5, there’s no use backing up. If it’s first-and-10 and there’s a minute to go in the game, maybe you need to back up. It’s just playing the situations.”

Tech opponents are completing 65.3 percent of their passes, which is 115th in the country. It has been a strategy to prevent big pass plays and also a concession to a weak pass rush, albeit a plan with some unsurprising consequences. Tech is tied for 30th in pass plays allowed of 40 yards or more but is also tied for 112th in pass plays of 20 yards or more with 31.

2. Johnson didn’t have an answer for kicker Harrison Butker’s struggles from relatively short range. Butker missed Saturday from 37 yards (into the open end of Heinz Field, a notoriously windy location) and is now 2-for-2 inside 30 yards and 2-for-2 between 40 and 49 yards but 1-for-5 between 30 and 39 yards.

“He’s a talented kid and I still have confidence he's going to make them when I put him out there,” Johnson said. “He makes them in practice. ... I know he's as disappointed as anybody else.”

He continues to excel on kickoffs. Butker is sixth in the country in touchback percentage at 69.4 percent.

3. Johnson said he doesn’t see B-back Zach Laskey (shoulder) playing Saturday. He wasn’t sure about A-back Charles Perkins (knee).

4. Johnson was asked what he gives out for Halloween at his house: “You mean, when you don’t just turn out all the lights?”

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About the Author

Ken Sugiura covers Georgia Tech sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.