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Jackets not content with 5-0 start

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

ATLANTA -- Paul Johnson says it shouldn't be difficult for his Georgia Tech players to remain humble and hungry after opening the season with four lopsided wins in his team's five victories.

The No. 13 Yellow Jackets, who play Maryland on Saturday, have scored more points through five games than any Atlantic Coast Conference team in 16 years.

Looking Ahead

WHO: Maryland (2-2, 1-0 ACC) at Georgia Tech (5-0, 2-0 ACC).

WHAT: Georgia Tech's third ACC game of the season.

WHEN: Noon Saturday.

WHERE: Atlanta.

TV: ESPNU.

RADIO: WALG-AM 1590.

LINE: Yellow Jackets by 14.

Still, running back Orwin Smith suggested after last week's win against N.C. State that the Yellow Jackets have not been tested.

Johnson said he is far from satisfied and has given his players firm reminders he still expects improvement.

The coach said he would be content only if the Yellow Jackets, who are averaging 52 points, score on every possession. So far they've scored in every quarter but one.

That's not good enough for Johnson, even if Georgia Tech's 258 points are a five-game high for the ACC since Florida's State's 279 in 1995.

"My job as coach is to try to get this team to play the best they can play," Johnson said. "It's not to pat them on the back and 'rah rah' when they do something good."

Georgia Tech (5-0 overall, 2-0 ACC) scored more than 60 points in wins against Western Carolina and Kansas and has topped 40 points in two more games, including last week's 45-35 win against N.C. State.

Smith said after the win against the Wolfpack that he already was looking forward to back-to-back games against Clemson and Virginia Tech on Oct. 29 and Nov. 10, respectively.

Smith said, "in my mind, we haven't played real competition to really test our skills."

Added Smith: "We've played great teams this year, but I'm looking forward to the tough games -- Virginia Tech and Clemson. Those really are going to make a statement on what this team is about."

Predictably, Johnson said he's not looking for better tests for his team.

"We've been tested plenty enough," Johnson said. "Just as much as I want to be tested."

Johnson said Smith probably was looking at Clemson's win against Virginia Tech last week when he said he couldn't wait to play those ranked teams.

Georgia Tech beat North Carolina, 35-28, in its first conference game, providing another indicator that defense has not been the Yellow Jackets' strength.

Georgia Tech, second in the nation in scoring, ranks first in rushing and second in total offense.

Smith, who already has rushed for seven touchdowns, boasts a gaudy average of 15.11 yards per carry, the top average among the nation's top 100 runners.

The Yellow Jackets rank only 10th in the ACC with their average of 25.8 points allowed. The defensive weak spot hasn't mattered when Johnson's spread option offense is averaging almost 52 points per game.

Johnson said he'll keep demanding more from his team.

The coach said he drove the point home last week, which he said was the first time he had to challenge his players in practice.

"I talked to our team last week before the game and tried to explain the difference between a good team and a great team," he said. "Great teams don't care who you play. They go out to play against themselves. They want to get better and they want to execute at the highest level when they play, no matter who you play.

"Good teams are satisfied to sometimes just get by. If you do that long enough, at some point it's going to catch up with you."

Johnson said his players are not content to be good.

"I think with this crew, they try," he said. "I think they work hard and they try."

NOTES: Georgia Tech could be without two starting linebackers this week. Johnson said OLB Jeremiah Attaochu and ILB Daniel Drummand are questionable with leg injuries. Attaochu leads the team with 4 sacks and is second with 29 tackles. Junior Malcolm Munroe could start for Attaochu. Freshman Quayshawn Nealy and junior B.J. Machen are bracketed below Drummand on the depth chart. ... Maryland coach Randy Edsell, the former Connecticut coach, was the defensive coordinator on Georgia Tech's 1998 team which shared the ACC Championship.