Paul Johnson: Mistakes in Duke loss reflect on staff, himself

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Brittain Brown #22 of the Duke Blue Devils scores a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Credit: Grant Halverson

Credit: Grant Halverson

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson expressed severe disappointment with himself and his coaching staff for the team’s play in the 43-20 loss at Duke on Saturday. Johnson said that there were “a lot” of missed assignments from grading the game video, mistakes that players shouldn’t be making 10 games into the season.

A player is judged to have made a missed assignment when he fails to carry out an assignment. It is more a mental mistake than a physical one.

“That’s a reflection on me and a reflection on our coaches,” Johnson said Monday after the team’s first practice of the week in preparation for Georgia. “That’s ridiculous.”

Tech lost to the Blue Devils after giving up the final 30 points of the game. Tech was outgained 288 yards to 83 in the second half. Given that Tech was playing for a bowl berth, that Duke had lost six games in a row and that the Blue Devils won so convincingly, it was among the most unexpected results of Johnson’s 10 seasons.

Johnson said of reviewing the game video, “It was frustrating to watch.”

Johnson said that the team had a decent week of practice. The offense started well, scoring touchdowns on three of the first four possessions. The Jackets did not score in the second half, the first time this season that they have not scored in a half.

The Tech defense allowed Duke to score on its first seven possessions. A key segment of the game, he said, was the end of the first half and the start of the second, when Duke scored touchdowns to end the first half and start the second, changing the score from 20-13 in Tech’s favor to a 27-20 Duke lead.

“You get a 14-point swing without touching the ball, and then we went three-and-out (on the first drive of the second half),” he said. “I think we ran six plays in the third quarter. So by the time you get to the third series, you’re down 16.”

Johnson said that there were “a lot more (missed assignments) on defense than offense.” He also said that the number of efforts – demerits given for not giving full effort on a play – was higher than normal.

Quarterback TaQuon Marshall suggested that the team may have lacked focus in the game.

“It was frustrating, very disappointing, watching the film,” Marshall said. “I made some mistakes late in the game that probably cost us some scoring drives.”

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