Andrew Jones details Georgia Tech's international appeal and 'Canes RB Duke Johnson.
By ANDREW JONESFS South
Georgia Tech football has gained a reputation for doing things a bit out of the box since Paul Johnson took over in 2008.
Yellow Jackets proudly run the triple option offense in a manner like no other school, and Johnson is rather unique in his own right. This week, however, the program will again stray from the norm.
On Thursday, the Tech coaching staff and players will host more than 100 Georgia Tech International students for a clinic about the general rules of American-style football. The students will not only get a crash course on the game's rules, but will also run through the tunnel and onto Grant Field. They will finish the day mingling with the players at a barbecue.
"The goal of the clinic is to help the international students understand the game of football a little better," Johnson said. "American football is not as popular in other countries, so we are trying to make their experiences as a Georgia Tech student even better with the hopes of encouraging them to come out to games next fall and the years to come. ...
"We want the students to have a great time with us," says Johnson. "We want to provide them with the best experience we can give in hopes that they leave the event having not only had a great time, but also that they learned something new about football."
According to a release by Georgia Tech, approximately 4,000 of its students, including 2,700 undergraduates, are from other countries.
In addition, the Yellow Jackets will play their annual spring football game Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon, which is the tradition just about everywhere else in the nation. Along with an afternoon Tech baseball game vs. N.C. State, many other activities will highlight the experience for fans on Friday. There will be a concert before the game kicks off at 7:30, and afterward will be another concert and fireworks.
Miami Wants A Lot Of Duke
If Hurricanes offensive coordinator James Coley has his way, the Miami offense will have a lot of Duke in it this fall. Not in the Blue Devils, who are Coastal Division foes, but in the talents of true sophomore tailback Duke Johnson.
Following Miami's spring game last weekend, Coley said he wants to get Johnson an average of 24 touches per game this season. Last year, Johnson ran the ball from scrimmage 139 times, caught 12 passes and returned 27 kickoffs for a total of 178 touches in 12 games. That’s an average of 14.8 per contest.
He finished with 947 rushing yards, 221 receiving yards and 892 kickoff return yards, for an average of 171.7 all-purpose yards. Such an increase would put Johnson at around 3,500 all-purpose yards and in contention for some major national honors.
"He’s a first-, second-, third-down back," Coley said. "I tell him he's got the limbs of a 6-foot man in a 5-10 body."
Johnson carried the ball 10 times for 120 yards in the Hurricanes' spring game last weekend.
Big Plays In Death Valley
Clemson’s school-record crowd of 30,000 for its spring game last Saturday was entertained by a wild affair in which seven touchdowns of 34 or more yards were scored.
Six of the seven scores were passing plays thrown by three different quarterbacks and caught by five different receivers. Receiver Sammy Watkins hauled in TD passes from Cole Stoudt for 41 and 50 yards. A possible Heisman Trophy candidate in the fall, Watkins caught seven balls for 156 yards and those two touchdowns.
Stoudt threw four touchdown passes overall, senior Donny McElveen, and a 16-yard scoring pass was thrown by redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Kelly. Unfortunately for Kelly, the nephew of NFL Hall of Fame signal-caller Jim Kelly, he suffered a torn ACL later in the game and is out indefinitely.