Tech Talk Live Notes for January 14, 2013

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on January 15, 2013
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James Johnson

It felt good to get an ACC road win. Johnson was happy with his players for rebounding on the road after going through a tough stretch.

Robert Brown didn’t play against Boston College because of the flu, and then missed a couple of days of practice. Johnson wasn’t sure how effective Brown would be against Georgia Tech. He had a tough shooting day, but he came up with two big shots in overtime. He showed a lot of toughness for playing through his illness. He’s a diverse player, and he’s still learning what’s a good shot and what isn’t.

Jim Larranaga texted Johnson on Saturday and congratulated Johnson on his first ACC win. Johnson joked that it’s easy for Larranaga to be nice right now, with the way he has Miami playing. Johnson does a lot of things similar to Larranaga in the day to day running of the program. He was on Larranaga’s staff at George Mason.

Tech was down by 11 in the second half against Georgia Tech. Johnson stressed “believing” in the pregame. He told the team they had to believe they could win, and believe they could compete on the road. Johnson never sensed the team would fold on Saturday.

Johnson has a couple of players who get their heads down when their shots aren’t falling. Tech did a better job of staying in the game defensively when their shots weren’t falling on Saturday, and that’s something they need to continue to do. Erick Green certainly makes it easier when he scores 28 points.

Johnson wasn’t paying any attention to what music Georgia Tech was playing on the loudspeakers on Saturday, but his players told him that they played Enter Sandman at the beginning of the game and that got them fired up.

C.J. Barksdale was huge in the win against Georgia Tech. He had his first career double-double. A lot of guys have a misconception on what playing hard is. They think they are playing hard, but the head coach doesn’t. Sometimes if they sit on the bench for an entire game, they can get a better perspective. Sitting out against Maryland probably helped Barksdale. He has to practice hard as well. That’s like a rehearsal.

If he and the other players do well in the rehearsal, then Johnson will allow him let him go to Broadway for the actual play. Sometimes that’s tough to get across to players.

Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory didn’t say anything to Johnson when they shook hands on Saturday, and that’s normal after a tough game. But Gregory did say something to assistant coach Kurt Kanaskie. He commented on VT calling a timeout up five points with 2.4 seconds left. Johnson said he wasn’t taking any chances with such a young team. Johnson wasn’t coaching just for that game, but for future games as well.

Tech ran a lot of 2-3 zone against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets didn’t have many good three-point shooters. It’s tougher to play a 2-3 against Boston College because they put four three-point shooters on the court at all times.

Johnson felt like his players were very confident in overtime against Georgia Tech. They had come from 11 points down in regulation, so they knew they were very capable of winning the game.

Virginia Tech is 10-3 against Georgia Tech since joining the ACC. Georgia Tech is generally a big inside team without great shooters, and the Hokies have been able to control the inside and make the Yellow Jackets beat them from the outside, which they haven’t been able to do.

Tech took Sunday off, and the players just lifted with strength coach David Jackson. They had a practice at 10am on Monday, they will be off on Tuesday, and on Wednesday they’ll start focusing on Wake Forest. The Tech staff will also spend a lot of time recruiting this week.

Marshall Wood is healing well, but he’s still out indefinitely. He’s shooting now, but he’s still not ready to practice or play in a game. Joey van Zegeren nearly passed out at the beginning of practice Monday, and he has been throwing up and dizzy. Greg Donlon, the walkon, also is throwing up from the flu. Cadarian Raines got his foot stepped on in Saturday’s game, and then retweaked it in the weight room on Sunday. He missed Monday’s practice. It’s a banged up team right now.

Wake Forest has a lot of new faces this year, but sometimes new is good. They have a couple of veteran players in C.J. Harris and Travis McKie, and they are All-ACC type players. McKie is a matchup problem. Harris scored 29 in his last game. Both of those guys visited Tech’s campus as recruits, so the Hokies know a lot about them.

Monday was Day 2,971 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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