Posted: 11:57 am Friday, January 10th, 2014

Tech ties in NFL playoffs 

By Ken Sugiura

Cornerback Rod Sweeting  was an undrafted free agent out of Tech, he was signed by the New Orleans Saints. (Johnny Crawford / AJC File)

Cornerback Rod Sweeting was an undrafted free agent out of Tech, he was signed by the New Orleans Saints. (Johnny Crawford / AJC File)

Six of the eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs have players or coaches (or other staff) with ties to Georgia Tech. Here’s the list:

New Orleans Saints
Cornerback Rod Sweeting received playing time on defense in the Saints’ wild-card round win over Philadelphia after starter Keenan Lewis left the game with a head injury. Lewis is expected to play Saturday at Seattle.

Photos: 25 players with Georgia ties in the playoffs

Carolina Panthers
Jason Benguche was a strength and conditioning coach at Tech from 2008 to 2012.

Indianapolis Colts
Running back Tashard Choice was picked up by the Colts a few days after he was released by Buffalo Dec. 4. Choice has played in all four games since, including the Colts’ 45-44 win over Kansas City last weekend.

New England Patriots
Tight ends coach George Godsey has been on the Patriots staff since 2011, coming from Central Florida. He is reportedly a candidate to join Bill O’Brien (a former Tech assistant under George O’Leary) with the Houston Texans as offensive coordinator. It would be Godsey’s first coordinating job, and one in which he could conceivably train the first overall pick in the NFL draft, which Houston holds.
James Liipfert, a former linebacker whose last season was in 2008, has worked in the team’s scouting department since 2009 and is now an area scout.

San Diego Chargers
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was scheduled to interview for three head coaching openings this week, Detroit Thursday, Tennessee Friday and Cleveland Saturday. San Diego finished fifth in total offense this season, Whisenhunt’s first with the Chargers, after finishing 31st last season.
San Diego’s offensive line coach is Joe D’Alessandris, who served on coach Chan Gailey’s staff at Tech and then followed him to the NFL with Kansas City and Buffalo. This is also his first year in San Diego.

Denver Broncos
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught 92 passes this season, ninth in the league, and his 14 touchdowns catches tied for second in the league and led all wide receivers. He was chosen for his second Pro Bowl in December.


The longer Paul Johnson is at Georgia Tech the more and more rare it will be to see any former GT player in the pros, not to mention the playoffs.


Been out of town and at Clemson fan cousin's home where I am emailing from today.


Have you gotten your season tickets yet?

You would see a different game if u did. (not to mention have some skin in the game and actually be standing with your team).

Groh lost the 2011 bowl game, the 2012 season opener vs VT and the Miami game where we had a 36-19 lead.

In all three, the other team's QB relaxed because Groh was the opposite of Tenuta and failed to supplement an inadequate pass rush with the occasional blitz.

Tevin had won all three of these games.

When a dumb coach lets the opponent back into the game, it is much, much, tougher to make a winning play.

They were whipped and the Groh and our "defense" gave them life.

The great Nesbitt, who everyone loves, was saved from blowing the 2009 season by a Derrick Morgan sack.

On fourth down in Wake territory with a few minutes left in a tie game and the season on the line, Nesbitt was sacked. Had this failed play been done by Tevin and Wake went on to a winning FG instead of being defeated in OT, poor Tevin (as now) would never have heard the end of it.

What happened to prevent Nesbitt from being the scapegoat of ignorant Tech fans?

Nesbitt was fortunate to have Morgan sack the Wake QB and push them out of winning FG range.

Morgan made the season-saving play which allowed Nesbit to be the hero instead of the goat in OT.

Tevin seldom if ever got such support from his teammates on the defense.

As mentioned, Nesbitt had 1st round pick Morgan, 1st round pick Bey Bey, 2 time ACC player of the year Dwyer (in effect a third 1st rounder) and 3rd rounder Burnett on his team.

And what future pros did Tevin have?

No 1st rounders and when has GT ever had 2 in the same year?

Not ever in past, present or future.

Groh was a menace to the program and many noticed the team starting to resemble the last team of Bill Lewis.

As the team started to fall apart, did Tevin cut and run?

No he held steady and got us to the ACCCG and nearly won it against a pro-laded FSU.

Meanwhile grads on both sides on me sold and I spent the BYU game surrounded by Mormons.

How delightful.

I was so impressed (sarcasm) with the grads who, as happens even during good seasons, sell their tickets to any fan base who will pay a good price.

I call it the cut and run grad refund policy.


Perhaps it was unfair to list Super with GTJoe as Super is actually a great fan who attends and would never sell his tickets to anyone but a fellow Jacket.

But he did remark one time (perhaps to tick me off since we are not getting along anymore) that criticism of Tevin was mostly deserved.

I disagree.

None of it was deserved.

And certainly not from wimpy fans unwilling to go like GTJoe.

Saban would go ballistic if he had this fan base but he would never be dumb enough to take the job.


Did any one notice this year how Phillip Rivers went from awful QB and about to become another David Carr to a top QB who has his team on such a roll that they at least once defeated Peyton's Broncos?

Why was that?

It was because he got ex-Jacket and ex-Superbowl head coach Ken Wizenhunt as his O coordinator.

The Chargers also got a great defensive game plan plus a lucky tipped ball into a pick to stop Peyton's last drive.

In conclusion all the games Tevin supposed lost were lost by defense and special teams.

Could we put GTJoe into Tevin' shoes vs VT on the road after the defense failed to stop VT after what should have been a game winning drive and clutch TD pass with 45 seconds left, then GTJoe would find out how much tougher it is to come through when your defense has let the other defeated team get back up and their fan base to get deafening loud.

Tevin and the WR should have gotten to walk around campus as heroes but the fool we hired making 3 million a year for our d coor blew the game as he did 3 times out of 5 games.

Those of us not at the games should refrain from knocking Tech QBs.

GTJoe is little better than Mike Banning (etal) in my book.


Vad is a quitter. Washington ran with more authority and while Vad was a better thrower, Washington played the position much better, stepping up in the pocket to throw and hanging in under pressure. Lee ran scared. Paul Johnson was right not to play Lee. Lee was overrated and you fools who think the fans are a democracy and should determine who plays quarterback rather than the coach are fools.

Blaming the coach because Vad Lee is a quitter is senseless. 


I was the one who thought Vad would be way better then Washington.

I missed on that one, now I'm thinking J Thomas will be the next Tracy Ham

KenAJC moderator

thanks. I like it, too. it has some different features that hopefully i can use to blog more effectively.


Loving the new format.  Glad to see it's on your blogs now, Ken.


I should have taken Tech QB defender as my blog name.

Supersize, GTJoe and the majority of Tech fan base have been mistaken to blame Tevin Washington for anything wrong with the football program. In fact most of you argued Vad Lee had that extra element Tevin lacked when in fact, Vad did not even see his years through while Tevin had to QB a team that nearly had a team-wide rebellion in 2012. Tevin also faced booing on the 2012 Homecoming game when Tech grads cut and ran by selling their tickets to the Mormons (BYU).

Joshua Nesbitt's 2009 junior year (his best) vs Tevin Washington's 2011 junior year.

Numbers are per game.

Team totals for JN vs TW. (running the offense)

Rushing - 295 vs 316

Passing - 126 vs 142

Total yards - 422.1 vs 458.8

Points - 33.8 vs 34.3

Tevin beats Joshua in every single category.

Joshua also had future pros Dwyer, D. Thomas, Burnett, and Morgan (2 first rounders) on his team.

I know it is very hard for you to do Super but you and the rest of the Tech fan base on Tevin's back owe him an apology.

And for once the state of Alabama got it right over Tech fans by giving Tevin an award.

Was it for most underappreciated player?

If not, it should have been.

No wonder Vad left.

Who would want to play for such a scapegoating fan base?

And clueless one concerning the facts.

Say something for yourself, idiots.

I know u will. (instead of stepping up and admitting a mistake).


Great info.  Thanks Ken.  Always nice to see people do well.


@Radar123 people who go to games should refrain from commenting on the blogs, because their opinions are uneducated, uninformed, and not objective, as they do not have the benefit of multiple replays, camera angles, and real-time news and commentary.

radar, if you are seriously trying to say that tevin was better, or even equal, to josh, you are delusional. Josh put that team on his back in big moments. Tevin? Never.

and remember, vad won that 2012 unc game for tevin (and thus preserved the bowl streak).

you keep blaming that vt int on the defense; our defense was on the sideline chump. Watch the replay after that pick: not a single teammate came to console tevin. Very telling.


@FreddieBlassie you sound very salty, I'd think you would be happy about his decision?


@KenAJC  I asked a question on Carvell's blog the other day and he referred me back to you.  

Right now we have 19 commits, and I know we are looking at adding a few more before NSD.  Can you give us a breakdown on what R-Jr/Jr's aren't coming back?  It looked like 19 was gonna put us at full until Vad transferred, which opens up a 20th spot.  Where are we getting those 3-4 extra spots?


@Radar123 By the way, I don't recall a Tech QB being booed in the last 20+ years, until Tevin.  Did Reggie get booed?  don't recall.  But if that 30,000 people at BDS thought Tevin should sit, and you didn't, maybe you should consider that YOU are the one who is wrong?


@Radar123 Concur with AJ. Most saw TW as a better game manager and runner of the TO. The excitement regarding Vad Lee was having a QB who could accurately throw the ball which is something neither JN or TW did with any consistency.  Some of us hoped for a dual QB system which utilized TW for the baseline offense and a special package for Vad Lee to take advantage of his athletic and playmaking skills.  CPJ did some of that---perhaps a B- in results.

This year Vad Lee struggled with running the offense and making good reads.  Some of us wanted CPJ to make greater changes to the offense to suit Lee's passing skills (e.g. run more diamond/pistol), others said to have the end we had a lower than expected year and concluded with our starting QB leaving the program.  I don't think Vad left because of the fan base. I think it was a realization that he wasn't improving fast enough in running the TO and a wholesale change to our offense to something like what Auburn ran this year wasn't going to happen. Thus, in the best interest of both parties, he left.


@Radar123 I don't recall super being on the anti-TW train in 2012.  I would ask you to provide some proof before making that claim.  GTJoe was pretty much a one man army during that time period.  Most of us understood that, while Vad was the more talented QB, Tevin was better at running the option and therefor generally gave us the better chance to win the game. 

All of us were excited about Vad running the offense this year.  I do believe, and have stated this on here before, that the over hyping of Vad by the fan base was not healthy for either party.  


@Radar123 oh yes, I understand now. Tevins 4 th down misread in ot vs Miami was al grohs fault. Did you get that incredible insight while sitting in the stands? I hear "genius" is contagious, I'm getting season tix right next to you.

tevin was a passable QB. He ran the option decently, but it takes more to win. I don't dislike tevin, he's just not a winner. Not a gamer. Nesbitt was. Vad was. They made plays. You only need to look at the uga games to understand this simple concept.


@GTJoe@Radar123 Personally, I think it's wrong to boo ANY amateur athlete, regardless of what you think of their performance.  The only exception might be if a student-athlete simply "lays down" and stops trying ... but I've not seen that from any of our guys.  As long as they are devoting their time, energy, and effort toward the success of the program, they deserve our support.


@Yellerbug@Radar123 Yeah, Tevin could run the TO better than Vad....that is the ONLY positive for Tevin vs. Vad.  Even with that supposed "disadvantage", Vad still won the same games as Tevin (that should tell you something: maybe running the option "precisely" isn't all that valuable?).  Folks say Tevin ran the option better than Nesbitt.  And that got Tevin where, exactly?

And Vad would have won AT LEAST 7 games last year (the 7 wins were easy wins), so he should have been the starter in 2012, just for the sake of Vad's development.  Instead, it was a wasted season.

The difference is that, unlike Vad, Tevin was a COMPLETE failure in big moments and big games.  An embarrassing, Reggie Ball-like failure.  Let me run down the list, since your rose-colored glasses are in full effect:

1. INT in OT at VT.  should have just thrown it out of bounds so we can kick a FG, but he throws it into double coverage.  I honestly think he thought it was 4th down.  LOSS.
 2. Misread the defense, calls audible, then run into the worst possible hole, on 4th down, in OT vs. Miami to lose the game. Loss.
 3. MTSU: 4 yards on 19 carries. Two sure TD passes underthrown, one results in INT. Loss.

4.  the 42-10 UGA debacle.

In fact, the only positive from 2012 was VAD LEE's performance at UNC.  Vad's game against UGA this year was the first time in years that I wasn't embarrassed of the QB performance.

I like CPJ, but he wasted 2012 on Tevin, for no benefit whatsoever, and Vad would have been so much more prepared for 2013.  8-9 wins in 2013, and I bet Vad stays too.


@Radar123 One last thing, Radar:  the difference between me and you is that you are "married" to players.  I'm not.  In your eyes, Tevin has not made any mistakes; you have a scapegoat for everything.  Not me.  when vad was playing awful in the first few games, I was the first guy on the blogs calling for him to sit on the bench and let Byerly play.  That's the difference.

If a guy isn't doing his job, he needs to sit.  Period.  Tevin, Vad, whoever.


@FBYJ@GTJoe@Radar123 I don't like booing players either, but it happened...

And I think they MIGHT have been booing CPJ for putting Tevin back in the game anyways.


@FBYJ@GTJoe@Yellerbug@Radar123 He might have left earlier if he started last year...  but I don't think so.

If I had to speculate, I think CPJ and Vad butted heads regarding playing time.  Vad was disappointed in redshirting, and I KNOW he didn't want to sit behind Tevin last year.  Then this year, there were a couple of occasions where Vad probably felt disrespected (being benched vs. Miami, among other moments).  I think Vad felt CPJ had more loyalty to Tevin than he had toward Vad himself.

Anyway, I like the kid, and I'll be watching him wherever he goes.

I would hate to see CPJ mishandle another QB.  He told JT he could play QB if he came here (when bama wanted him at CB).  so CPJ is now obliged to give the job to JT for 2014; I think Byerly is the right choice here though.

We were all concerned about the beating that Nesbitt was taking; imagine little JT taking that kind of punishment.  It's borderline inhumane.


@GTJoe@Yellerbug@Radar123There is one other possibility that you haven't considered.  If Vad had received significantly more playing time in 2012, he may very well have bolted one year earlier.  Personally, I believe Vad could have become an extremely effective QB in CPJ's offense ... if he had stayed at Tech and continued to work at it.  

Now ... if Vad had excelled in running the TO, would that give him a decent shot at playing on Sundays?  Probably not.  So if he really believes (as some apparently do) that he has the skills to play professionally, then it's probably better for him to find another home for the next two years.  I kind of get the feeling that his family and perhaps his high school coach were the driving forces in his decision to leave.  I wish him the best, and I hope for even greater success for the Yellow Jackets as we move forward.


@GTJoe@Yellerbug@Radar123 Few are as disappointed as I about Vad Lee leaving the program.  We'll be hard pressed to find another dual-threat QB with as good an arm as Vad.  You can quote his completion percentage stats, but we should filter out those passes where he was running for his life. Vad do not have a good field of view---like TW he often stated at his primary receiver, but he did deliver the ball especially if given the time to throw.

I like CPJ and I believe he is one of, if not the best coaching minds when it comes to option football.  That said, I wish he would have used his genius to significantly changed the play-calling and formation strategy to better suit Vad's skills. 

It's done now.  Look forward to Thomas, Byverly and the new Matthews kid to pick up the mantle and lead Tech. Maybe this works out for the best for all involved.