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Johnson wants consistent effort from Ga. Tech

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ATLANTA -- Paul Johnson is more confused than panicked by Georgia Tech's .500 record after four games.

Georgia Tech was overwhelmed by North Carolina State in Saturday's 45-28 loss to the Wolfpack. The loss left the Yellow Jackets at 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference as it prepares to play at Wake Forest this week.

Johnson said splitting the first two conference games was not devastating. One year ago, Georgia Tech was 1-1 in the league after a 33-17 loss at Miami. The Yellow Jackets didn't lose another conference game and won the ACC title.

Johnson said this team was more puzzling.

"It's kind of Jekyll and Hyde, not a lot of consistency," Johnson said.

Georgia Tech was upset by Kansas on Sept. 11, ending the Jayhawks' eight-game losing streak. The Yellow Jackets regrouped for a 30-24 win at North Carolina before giving up 527 total yards in the loss to North Carolina State.

Johnson said he doesn't have easy answers for Georgia Tech's struggles in two of the last three games. He said he's looking for the team's leaders to help the coaches.

"If I knew exactly what it was, maybe I could fix it," he said. "We need leadership. It's probably inexperience. There are probably several factors."

Georgia Tech has struggled at times in new defensive coordinator Al Groh's 3-4 scheme.

N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson completed 28 of 41 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets also gave up 159 yards rushing.

Johnson said there were too many busted plays on defense.

"It would be a lot worse if you just got manhandled physically, because I don't know if you can fix that," Johnson said. "We can beat some, and I don't want to take anything away from N.C. State ... but we did a lot of it to ourselves as well."

Georgia Tech already was without backup center Jay Finch with a hamstring injury when starter Sean Bedford left the game with an injured shin.

Johnson said Finch is expected to return this week. He said Bedford was kicked on the shin and is not ready to return.