due to the high resource usage by Eclipse (I have to use that unfortunately because of my professor) I've temporarly dropped GNOME and now I'm using Awesome for a while.
Ok let's say the problem: the keyboard. Do you have different languages, layouts and so on among several configurations (GNOME, X, ...) and your keyboard layout is messed up with awesome?
Just do it:
setxkbmap -layout YOURLAYOUT
Where YOURLAYOUT for me is it.
I've found this utility in this mailing thread. Yet you can read that awesome is still too young and lacks some keyboard configuration features.