ATLANTA — Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has spent this week challenging his team to stay focused.
It’s been a frustrating season for the Yellow Jackets, whose top achievement is a Sept. 14 win at Duke.
A blowout loss at Clemson last week ended their slim chance of returning to the Atlantic Coast Conference title game for a second consecutive year.
The performance was so uneven that Johnson has called on his players to use today’s game against FCS opponent Alabama A&M has a proverbial measuring stick.
With next week’s home game against Georgia looming, Johnson says Georgia Tech (6-4) must clean up the blocking and coverage techniques that broke down at Clemson.
Against Alabama A&M (4-7), Johnson says the individual matchups are “as much about Georgia Tech as it is about who we’re playing.”
He told his players and assistant coaches that the team has yet to play up to its potential.
“Our goal is to get win number seven,” Johnson said. “That’s the push.”
Alabama A&M had lost four of five before winning a Southwestern Athletic Conference home game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Even though they gave up 55 points to Clemson, Georgia Tech has improved on defense under Ted Roof, back this year for his second stint as the school’s defensive coordinator.
The Jackets have moved up 30 spots against the run to rank No. 11 nationally. They’ve allowed 29 touchdowns, 21 less than in 2012, but Johnson wants the number of takeaways to improve, too.
Georgia Tech has gotten another solid season from senior end Jeremiah Attaochu, whose 27 career sacks are second-most among active FBS players.