Last year’s blue print for UVA didn’t work against these Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

What a difference a year makes in defending the triple option.  After reading all of the post game discussion last season coming from the UVA program about the benefits of having extra time to prepare against the triple option, one would have thought that this season it would have been easier than painting by the numbers.  After all, once you have the formula in hand all you need to do is follow the Nike Motto; “Just Do It!”  What happened?

Apparently the real formula was that Georgia Tech was feeling a little too good about themselves last year after that 6 and 0 start to the season and got a little ahead of themselves in the process.  So give the Cavaliers credit for dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage in that game and derailing the Yellow Jackets 24 to 21 up in Charlottesville.  Perhaps that defeat alone has set up this season’s Yellow Jackets into developing the frame of mind that better reflects the attitude of their head coach; Paul Johnson.  Learning how to be humble is part of the process required in becoming a winner, and each step along the way is part of that maturation process known as leadership.

So now that the Yellow Jackets have evened their ACC record at 1 and 1, they have no time to feel good as they face a very talented Miami squad that has dominated them for the past three seasons on both sides of the line of scrimmage.  Nice as it is to score 56 points in a conference game, it is not likely to keep up as Miami has some weapons on both sides of the football.  Georgia Tech has been able to successfully play around some injured players this season, most notably Fred Holton at safety who has yet to hit the field.  In his stead redshirt freshman Jamal Golden has been playing some good football that can only enhance the depth in the secondary when Mr. Holton returns.

Also, Jabari Hunt-Days who started the season at inside linebacker in place of Daniel Drummond has been a force the first three games and my hunch is he has solidified himself as the starter even after Mr. Drummond returned last week against Presbyterian.  What can anyone say about the performance of Zach Laskey at B-Back this game as well as against Presbyterian?  Let’s hope he didn’t suffer anything more than a shoulder bruise, which is what it sounds like as Coach Paul Johnson did say he was available to return in the second half if needed.

The play of Tevin Washington all season long has really shown what can happen when a QB is given time to throw the football by the offensive line.  He is doing exactly what this offense is designed to achieve; hurt teams with long passing plays when they play their safeties close to the line in order to stop the triple option running game.  After the first long pass to Zach Laskey on a wheel route out of the backfield to open the game with a 70 yard touchdown, I didn’t have time to even notice that Tevin was wearing Julian Burnett’s # 40 this week.  So when he broke free on that 60 yard QB keeper on a pitch play, I thought Paul Johnson had inserted a B-Back at QB and was running him out of the wildcat formation.  After the stadium announcer confirmed that it was in fact Tevin Washington that cleared up the confusion.  

Against Virginia Tevin was not only making the correct read on the triple option plays, but his pitches were leading the A-Back perfectly as he led Orwin Smith seamlessly on the pitch who once he turned the corner had an outstanding block from Robert Godhigh, then just cut up field off the block of Jeff Green who was dominating the Cavalier cornerback that opened a free path to the end zone for a 77 yard touchdown run.  Just a great job blocking all day long by the offensive line who had inserted left guard Will Jackson at right tackle this week and had Shaq Mason taking over his spot at left guard. 

 For the third week in a row the defense just played some more great football in getting UVA off the field time and time again on Saturday.  Nose tackle Shawn Green made a great play on fourth down and one getting into the UVA backfield and making a play at our own eleven yard line to prevent any points after the Cavaliers had returned a kickoff nearly scoring a touchdown but for the outstanding hustle of redshirt freshman A-Back Chris Milton who came all the way across the field to make a tackle around the Yellow Jackets twenty yard line.  It’s that type of play from this team that is really showing on the field this season.

It was nice to see plenty of reserves get into the game for the second week in a row and once again QB Vad Lee made some nice plays including a 56 yard touchdown run to the end zone on a keeper.  I also liked the effort of Shawn Green at NT, and Anthony Harrell made some nice stops from his inside linebacker slot during his time on the field.  I’m not sure who had more hits in this game; LB Quayshawn Nealy or DB Jemea Thomas, but it’s nice to have multiple players to choose from in that category. 

One play in particular I remember was a Cavalier running back catching a short pass in the left flat and when he turned around he was immediately knocked flat by Mr. Nealy for no gain and probably lots of pain.  Quayshawn also had an interception that the offense turned into a touchdown.  Just another outstanding game for Mr. Nealy and all of our linebackers who are really making some outstanding plays this season now that the entire team better understands the 3/4 Al Groh scheme.

So after this 56 to 20 win Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium to open the ACC home schedule, Georgia Tech needs to step up their play in order to get another conference win this week against the “U.”  The Hurricanes always have lots of talent on their roster and for the past three seasons have whipped this team pretty good on both sides of the line of scrimmage.  So now the Yellow Jackets will have an opportunity to break that streak as this is another big Coastal Division challenge early into the season.  Go Jackets!

Comments

  1. GT Nuke says

    Hey Mike, great review as always. In addition to the offensive and defensive improvements, I think the special teams did a respectable job for the most part. I was a bit dissapointed by the kick return that almost got run to the house by the Hoos, but we saved the day with our D. I also am noticing along with many in the Tech blogosphere, that Coach seems to be play calling somewhat more conservatively as of late. Is he less desperate or less confident in the team? Food for thought.
    I’m looking forward to us opening up a category 5 can ‘o whoopass on Da U this Saturday!
    Go JACKETS! THWG!

    • Mike says

      Hi GT Nuke,
      I was at the game so sorry for getting back to you so late. Tough loss to the U on Saturday. The team needs to dig deeper to finish up these games in the 4th quarter. Not really sure what the problem is but they just have to start getting it done in crunch time.

      • says

        The problem is that GT doesn’t have the recruits to run the 3-4 and never has and never will. Al Groh is a worthless bum and was fired everywhere he has coached. If you don’t have the personnel then you can’t run the 3-4! They haven’t recruited worth a darn and look at PJ’s comments after the game. “I don’t care about the defense it was an aberration.” That says it all and he should be fired immediately. You cannot simulate the speed of an offense with a scout team of DIII players! Furthermore, Tevin Washington is Reggie Ball * 5. If PJ doesn’t believe in him, and he sure doesn’t based on the play calling in the 4th quarter again!!!! Like Utah and many other games. GT does not pass the ball!! it is a joke!! If this offense was so good then why doesn’t anyone else run it who is in the top 25? Exactly. It’s good against the crappy teams and bad against everyone else. Paul Johnson ruined GT football for years to come. What an embarrassment!!!!! What a LOSER!

    • Mike says

      Hi GT Nuke,
      I was at the game so sorry for getting back to you so late. Tough loss to the U on Saturday. The team needs to dig deeper to finish up these games in the 4th quarter. Not really sure what the problem is but they just have to start getting it done in crunch time.

  2. JasperJacket says

    Mike:
    Nice reviwe of last Saturday I really appreciate your insight. My frustration with the past performance by the LB’s on this squad are begining to waine a bit. I am still frustrated with the TE’s getting in between the DB’s & LB’s (i.e. VT on their final drive) but for the most part, this defense, is really growing up in particular the play of Green & Barnes at NT along with the LB’s.
    The U coming up will be a real test. Lots of speed on their D side of the ball and a strong and very large OL the biggest & best we have seen thus far I am sure. If we repeat the performance we had against UVA then we are really set for a show down with Clemson in 2 weeks after we take care of biz against MTSU.
    Maybe, just maybe, this squad is learing fast that you do’t win at this level by just showing up. Blocking and tackeling are the keys, always have been and always will be.
    Tevin is a real tough kid that has all my respect. The real test’s are coming up in the next 3 weeks remains to be seen if he can perform consistently in the really tough games like this one coming up on Saturday, I for one believe he will.

    • Mike says

      Hi Jasper Jacket,
      Glad you enjoyed the review of the game. The U always has players on both sides of the ball, but so far GT has shown the ability to get after folks this season on both sides of the football. Our defense will be challenged this week, but they are playing very good team football and putting some licks on folks. Miami always has plenty of speed, so we need to get some pressure this game on their QB to hurry some throws.
      Our defensive linemen will have their hands full with another big line, but if you want to become a contender in conference play, these are the games you need to make a statement by winning it in the trenches.
      Tevin is running the offense very well and he just needs to keep playing at this level as everyone around him is getting their jobs done too. When the assignments are being carried out this offense is fun to watch. A-Back Robbie Godhigh is just a terrific hustling blocker on the edge on option plays.

      • says

        I’m sorry I failed to see “Any” defense against the U. Al Groh really makes me want to puke! Three seasons is what they said it would take. Well, its season three! Guess what GT’s season is OVER in September! What a joke Paul Johnson and GT football has become. 600 yards! You have got to be kidding me!

        • Mike says

          Hi Scott Davis,
          No doubt a very dissapointing loss. However, the kids are aligned where they are supposed to be, and now just have to tackle and wrap up. The defense is much better than last year when we were just constantly getting gashed and out of position. That hasn’t been the problem this season.
          Against the U we had two bunny interceptions that were either dropped or right through the hands of the defender. That means the players are where they need to be, now they just have to make a play.
          The U was able to bounce back after getting shellacked by Kansas State. Now Tech needs to do the same. The ACC Championship is out of reach of this point but still lots of football yet to be played. This situation is nothing compared to Arkansas who were supposed to be playing in the BCS National Championship Game. Look at them now.

          • says

            Mike, with all due respect, I could care less about Arkansas and what has happened to them. GT’s season is over in September! Paul Johnson is a JOKE! He is no HC in any way shape or form. He is overpaid by 2 million bucks! He is nothing but an OC. Al Groh is a piss poor excuse for a DC. He was fired everywhere he has been! GT is in shambles and will NEVER and I repeat NEVER beat anyone worth a crap on a consistent basis. PJ has set the program back light years with recruiting. Miami had Frosh and Soph playing while GT had Juniors and Seniors. That does not bode well for the future! Wake up Mike, GT is done in relevancy in college football. GT doesnt have the players nor does it have the HC to be successful at this level of football. GT should consider joining DII and the sunbelt conference. I personally know a dozen season ticket holders that have sold their tickets and won’t renew them. I truly dislike PJ now more than I ever did Chan Gailey! That is really really hard to do!

          • Mike says

            Hi Scott Davis,
            The OT loss is hard to accept especially after coming back with 36 straight to take the lead only to let Miami back into the game. So the players actually did a good job once they stopped making silly mistakes; i.e. safety in the end zone. Until the team starts making the necessary plays when they are in position to do so; interceptions, tackles, etc., they will have a hard time putting a team away in these games.
            GT isn’t getting gashed this season, other than the blown coverage on Miami’s first drive of the game, the rest of the time they had to make plays to keep drives going. The past couple of seasons teams would have huge scoring plays time and time again.
            Football is blocking and tackling with the extra component of intensity factored in during the fourth quarter. If the Yellow Jackets were getting shallacked 52 to 0 every game then I would agree with your position.

  3. JasperJacket says

    Mike:
    Nice reviwe of last Saturday I really appreciate your insight. My frustration with the past performance by the LB’s on this squad are begining to waine a bit. I am still frustrated with the TE’s getting in between the DB’s & LB’s (i.e. VT on their final drive) but for the most part, this defense, is really growing up in particular the play of Green & Barnes at NT along with the LB’s.
    The U coming up will be a real test. Lots of speed on their D side of the ball and a strong and very large OL the biggest & best we have seen thus far I am sure. If we repeat the performance we had against UVA then we are really set for a show down with Clemson in 2 weeks after we take care of biz against MTSU.
    Maybe, just maybe, this squad is learing fast that you do’t win at this level by just showing up. Blocking and tackeling are the keys, always have been and always will be.
    Tevin is a real tough kid that has all my respect. The real test’s are coming up in the next 3 weeks remains to be seen if he can perform consistently in the really tough games like this one coming up on Saturday, I for one believe he will.

Trackbacks

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>