Myself and the man himself, AD Dan Radakovich at GT Fan Day 2012.
I had the privilege of attending GT Fan Day on Saturday, and while I was there I was able to conduct interviews with a few players and sit in on Coach Johnson's press conference. I took some neat photos too, so please sit back, relax, and join me on my journey to fan day!
I started the day by entering into the Edge Center and sitting in a conference room with a number of reporters (all the guys I read -- Ken Sugiura, Kelly Quinlan, etc) for Coach Johnson's press conference. He had some great insights to this season, saying that the team has had a phenomenal offseason and that the attitude is one he's very impressed with. He's excited to get them started in Blacksburg.
Some more things he and the players talked about, as well as the rest of my Fan Day experience after the jump!
Johnson spoke to the great talent that we have at the A-Back position. He sees Orwin Smith on the field most offensive plays, and beyond him there are 5-6 guys that need to see time, including B.J. Bostic, Tony Zenon, Robbie Godhigh, Deon Hill, and Dennis Andrews -- he also directly alluded to Synjyn Days getting into the mix.
He mentioned that Adam Gotsis is progressing well in adjusting to life at Tech, though there are some slight cultural differences (apparently he'd never seen a Philly Connection before when they got the food after practice one day).
Fred Holton's return will be very welcome, he's a "big body" who can be really effective if used in the box. Said he's big for a safety and tackles really well -- hopefully we see him make a lot of impact.
Brandon Watts will start at OLB opposite Jeremiah Attaochu -- kid's an interesting case as one who played QB in high school, then started at Tech as a safety and has since moved to linebacker. He brings lots of speed and athleticism to the position, which is always welcome, and his experience will also prove to be a strength.
Johnson spoke to the size of WRs that we have being a strength. Darren Waller being 6'6" with speed, and Jeff Greene being an imposing 6'4" with speed (also wears a Size 15 shoe, for what that's worth). The freshmen, Jeremy Moore, and Chris Jackson have all looked good so far in shorts, so CPJ isn't too worried about the production there.
Our O-Line depth is really incredible, in that we have 8-9 players who have started a few games. Also very young -- Uzzi is the only senior. We have 4-5 guards and tackles (each) who will likely rotate and see playing time.
When asked about how much bowl game layoff affects timing in the offense, he mentioned that he didn't think it had much effect (if any) and that when at Navy they had 2-3 years when they were setting offensive records in bowl games. We should have won last year but gave up 14 in the last 7 minutes of the game after missing 3 field goals, and then should have won the year before but made an awful lot of mistakes (especially surrounding special teams).
Lastly Coach Johnson talked about us having lots of DL depth, mentioning that all of the 4 freshmen at that position could see playing time (Gotsis, Gamble, Chungong, Kallon). Each have lots of physical talent (namely Gotsis and Kallon in particular), so we'll look to coach them up and get them to make contributions where needed.
After "interviewing" the above players (I'll admit, it was total amateur hour for me in there), we were able to head out to the field where the fans were just entering. I grabbed a poster and walked over to have it signed by some guys. I got it signed by Rod Chungong, who when asked if he was enjoying Tech so far replied with, "It's HOT!!!" Which I guess means it's a good time....a very muggy, sweaty good time. My poster was signed by the entire linebacker corps, and when I turned around to go to another table, the lines were enormously long and my motivation was running on fumes. So I need to get it signed by as many folks as possible, though unfortunately that may take a while. Got to hang out with a friend of mine and this year's Reck Driver, Stephen Webber (along with fellow Reck Club member and friend John Noojin), and got to see a picture of Paul Johnson holding a baby whose head he'd just autographed....yes, that really happened.