Johnson touts Watts

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Johnson touts Watts

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Chuck Burton / AP
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson speaks to the media at a news conference during the Atlantic Coast Conference college football media day in Greensboro, N.C., Monday, July 22, 2013.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson sent some optimisim and praise the way of outside linebacker Brandon Watts at the ACC Football Kickoff Monday.

“I think Brandon could really be a breakout player,” Johnson said. “He’s got a lot of athletic ability.”

Watts is coming into his second season as a starter after playing outside linebacker in Tech’s 3-4 scheme. He’ll stay at outside linebacker in the new 4-3 defense, but is returning from an injury that kept him out of spring practice.

“We need for him to have a good year,” Johnson said. “He’s a very talented young man.”

Talking option with Falcons

Johnson said he spent part of a day at the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch earlier in the offseason, mostly with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and the defensive staff, to share thoughts about option football. Johnson is good friends with Falcons coach Mike Smith.

Johnson said he was “just watching and looking at what they were doing against it and (sharing) my thoughts on ‘Is this good?’ ‘Is this hard?’”

Option plays have become an increasingly common element of NFL game plans, with quarterbacks such as San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and Washington’s Robert Griffin confounding defenses with their ability to run option plays.

The Falcons staff also went to Clemson to visit with coach Dabo Swinney’s staff in the spring to learn more about running and defending the option.

Isaiah Johnson returning

Johnson said he expects safety Isaiah Johnson to be ready when the team begins practice Aug. 1. Isaiah Johnson is returning from a knee injury suffered in bowl practice that kept him out of the bowl game and spring practice. At the other spot, Chris Milton will compete with Fred Holton for the starting job.

“I think Chris Milton is a really good football player,” Johnson said. “He’s got to play a little bit last year and I think the more he plays, the more people are going to see that he’s a talented guy. We’re excited about him.”

More from Johnson’s interview session will be posted on myajc.com

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