Much has been said about Georgia Tech’s loss to Miami, and the ineffectiveness of all three units.
An offense that generated just 95 yards rushing.
A defense that couldn’t get to quarterback Jacory Harris and was shredded for three passing touchdowns, and gave up more than 100 yards rushing and 250 yards passing, to use two benchmarks.
A special teams unit that put the defense in bad positions with poor coverage, not to mention the safety on the bad snap on the punt.
So, using this as the benchmark for the worst game of the year, how does Tech improve and get back into the ACC’s Coastal Division race?
After last year’s loss to Virginia Tech, the Jackets bounced back and got on another roll that only North Carolina stopped (Tech still had 400 yards of offense but couldn’t overcome its own turnovers in that one) during the regular season.
But last year’s team had a different feel that does this one, from the few games that I observed and from talking to the reporters who covered it.
Last year’s team had a leader, Darryl Richard, who got into his teammate’s faces and got them headed in the same direction. I’m not sure this year’s team has that player. Yes, I’ve written about leadership on this team before. But that, in my opinion, is what this team needs from one or two of the players. The coaches can only do so much.
It’s a hard team to gauge. Coach Paul Johnson said as much in his press conference in Miami. When asked if the team appeared ready by its energy level before the game, he said he can never tell with this team. He alluded to “drive” two weeks ago when he talked about the tradition of winning at Georgia Southern as the motivator there, and the fear of failure the players had at Navy as the motivator in Annapolis.
I don’t want to guess at what he thinks about his team, that’s a job for our fine columnists. But I do wonder if he wonders what motivates these players. For three weeks the players have talked about not executing their assignments after games, in one form or another. To me, that goes to motivation and drive. I’m not questioning the character or intelligence of Tech’s players. You could see on their faces in Miami that the loss hurt and humbled them. Some of them appeared angry, some crestfallen.
But different things motivate different players. The challenge of coaching a team as large as a college football team, with so many players, is keeping everyone focused on the same goal and moving in the same direction.
I’m very curious to see how the Jackets come out this week against the Tar Heels.
Tech dropped out of both the AP and coaches polls with the loss. Does that surprise you?