Notes and quotes from Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s news conference Tuesday
1. Defensive end Antonio Simmons is expected to be available for the Clemson game. Simmons was listed as probable for the Wake Forest game with an upper-body injury and played a handful of snaps.
“He should be good to go,” Johnson said. “He’s practicing this week.”
2. With multiple injuries on the offensive line, Johnson said that walk-on Bailey Ivemeyer is the No. 3 tackle behind Will Bryan and Jahaziel Lee and that freshman Connor Hansen is the No. 3 guard. Johnson said that guard Brad Morgan is expected back this week after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury.
3. Johnson expressed confidence in freshman kicker Brenton King on his radio show after his first career start in the place of Shawn Davis (out for the season with a torn ACL), noting his confidence and the likelihood that he’ll continue to grow and gain strength. He offered an evaluation of his performance against Wake Forest on Tuesday.
“I thought he did OK,” Johnson said. “He made the field goal right before half, which was a big play. We’d like not to kick the ball out of bounds on kickoffs. The one extra point he missed was a bad snap and didn’t get the ball down. All in all, I think he did OK. He had another kick that was kind of not ideal, but it died down on the 1 and it should have been easy to cover and we should have pinned ’em way back with that one. For his first game, I thought he did OK.”
4. Johnson was asked about Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster being friends and sharing ideas about crossover opponents in the ACC. Clemson and Virginia Tech have arguably been the two teams that have defended Johnson’s offense the best, Clemson moreso since Venables’ hire in 2012. Johnson was nonplussed.
“I wouldn’t put too much stock in that,” Johnson said. “People sometimes make a big deal about how they line up. Wake Forest lined up the same way Clemson did last year. Two years ago, they played the same as everyone we played but with different people. Sometimes, you can put too much into how they’re lining up as opposed to who is lining up.”
5. Johnson had a lofty assessment of Clemson’s defensive line, part of a unit that ranks eighth nationally in defensive yards per play (4.30 per game) and tied for 10th in tackles for loss per game (8 per game). Defensive linemen Austin Bryant, Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins are among the playmaking forces for the Tigers.
“They’ve got really good players, but they’ve had those since we’ve been here,” Johnson said. “I can’t remember a year when they didn’t have a big and good defensive line from the time I arrived here. Now, they’re probably got more of them. When I first came, there might have only been four or five; now there’s eight. So it’s like they roll them, keep ’em fresh and they’ve got a lot of erasers on defense. They can get lined up wrong and not fit right and somebody beats a block and comes to the rescue. They’ve got a lot of guys that can do that.”