Archive for September, 2009

Big plays against big plays

It could be a real (cliche alert) barn-burner Thursday night at Land Shark Stadium when the Jackets take on the Hurricanes.

Why?

Because these two teams make big plays and a lot of them. Granted, the season is young.

But Miami quarterback Jacory Harris had nine pass plays of at least 20 yards in their win against Florida State. Nine.

In comparison, Josh Nesbitt hit his ninth play (running or passing), in the third quarter of the Virginia Tech game last season.

That in no way means Harris is better than Nesbitt. Different quarterbacks. Different systems. Different expectations. Different everything.

It’s just used to illustrate the big-play potential that Harris possesses.

Now, Tech knows a thing or two about big plays, having scored six touchdowns using them this season (and others that didn’t lead to TDs), and having made 67 of them last year.

So, it would be easy to say the team that makes the most big plays will win the game. 

I’m not sure if it’ll be that …

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Through two games, what’s been learned?

Georgia Tech is 2-0, largely on the strength of big, big plays.
It’s easy to say that big plays aren’t always going to happen, but it’s also easy to point out that Tech had 67 plays of 20+ yards last year.
So, what is known so early in the season?
First, defensive end Derrick Morgan is a beast again this year with five sacks already.
Jerrard Tarrant is a one-man wrecking crew on special teams, producing two touchdowns this season on punts. He’s also played pretty good as a cornerback.
Speaking of cornerbacks Mario Butler isn’t too bad, either.
The offensive line’s pass blocking has improved. Zero sacks allowed this year.
The team has enough weapons on offense that Jonathan Dwyer can have a bad game and it not be the deciding factor.
That the interior of the defensive line is still an unknown. Both Clemson and Jacksonville State fell behind so fast neither worried about running the ball a lot.
That no one is taking any pressure off Derrick Morgan from the other side of the …

Continue reading Through two games, what’s been learned? »

Two down….

Well, both of Georgia Tech’s wins have been full of exciting moments, even if they haven’t been the prettiest games you’ve ever seen.

Through two games, what concerns do you have and why?

I wouldn’t make too much out of Jonathan Dwyer not cracking 100 yards in a game yet. He could have done it against JSU. Clemson was determined to keep him from breaking a long one, keying all four defensive lineman and a linebacker on him almost every play. Five guys on one. 

As I wrote, Nesbitt’s consistency, or consistency, with accuracy is something to discuss. He looked great against JSU, but was scattergunning passes through the first three quarters against Clemson. I asked him if the interception on his first pass caused him to really try and fire fastballs with the rest of his passes. He said no.

I could be wrong about this, but I think Tech’s quarterbacks have only attempted one pass to a wide receiver not named DeMaryius Thomas, and that pass was a Hail Mary to Stephen Hill at the …

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What’s the key

What’s the key to tonight’s game?
And it’s not as easy to decide as you may think.
Because both teams feature so many weapons all over the field, it’s hard to single out just one area.
So, how about by elimination at a few key positions or position groups.
Dwyer and Spiller cancel each other out.
Ford and Thomas cancel each other out.
Sapp and Morgan cancel each other out.
Nesbitt gets a significant edge over Parker.
The rest of Clemson’s defensive line gets a slight edge over Tech’s.
Tech’s offensive line gets a significant edge over Clemson’s because of experience.
Georgia Tech’s secondary gets an edge over Clemson’s.
Clemson’s special teams get a slight edge over Tech’s.
So, what to make of this?
It’s going to be yet another close game between the two teams for the 11th consecutive year.

Continue reading What’s the key »

Nesbitt’s passing

First, some of you may have known that the Davey O’Brien Trophy folks are allowing people to vote as a component of their award. So, here’s the link: http://www.voteobrien.org/

And that brings us to today’s topic: Josh Nesbitt.

As yall know and I’ve proved many times in my rudimentary analysis of Tech, I enjoy football, but I’m not a coach. 

Having said that, I thought Nesbitt looked very sharp in Saturday’s win.

He said afterward that he was very happy with his accuracy. The only pass that I can remember that looked similar to last year was the pass down the seam to Anthony Allen in the first half. Based upon the times I saw that route, or one similar to it in the spring, it’s a pass that Nesbitt and Shaw sometimes have trouble completing. I have no idea if that’s one of the more difficult ones to hit, perhaps any former QBs who read the blog can chime in.

He showed good touch on the TD pass to Allen later in the game. He underthrew Demaryius Thomas on the 56-yarder, but …

Continue reading Nesbitt’s passing »

What to wear, what to wear

 If you wear white to Thursday’s nationally televised game against Clemson, and you see someone else wearing a similar outfit, don’t panic and rush back to the car to change. 

It’s a whiteout by design, meaning fans of the Institute are supposed to dress up like they are headed to Wimbledon.

During last year’s whiteout I thought it would have been cool to see Tech come out in the white helmets. I don’t know if it’ll happen this time.

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Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said there was no big key to the 24-yard catch he made to beat Clemson, 21-17, last year in Death Valley:

“Get open. Get the corner to bite and get open. Catch the ball.”

He did, catching a pretty pass from Josh Nesbitt with 5 minutes, 22 seconds remaining. This after dropping one a bit earlier.

“I had dropped the ball earler in the game. I just wanted to come back and make the play,” said Thomas, who caught four passes for 101 yards in Saturday’s win against Jacksonville State.

Clemson running back …

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Looking for a leader

Every great college football team has THAT GUY. The leader. The guy who rallies his teammates when they aren’t focused. Who keeps them in line when they get too high, or picks them up when they are too low.

Tim Tebow’s “something good will come from this” speech leaps to mind after last year’s loss to Ole Miss at The Swamp propelled the Gators to a national title.

Who is going to be that guy for Georgia Tech? Who is going to be the guy who brings that killer instinct that coach Paul Johnson wants to see? Darryl Richard filled that role last year.

During the summer, during a story I was reporting on about leadership, many of the players said that they though anybody could step up and be THAT GUY.

Now may be the time.

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Borrowing from an email from a former esteemed colleague of mine, who are you going to take in the ACC-CAA challenge?

Virginia, and embattled and embittered (but not embiggened) coach Al Groh found out that the CAA’s reputation as one of …

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I think you’ll enjoy this

So, I was riding home from the Falcons game last night with a friend of mine and I got a call from a producer of the Scott Wetzel show on Sirius Radio.

He asked if I had time to come on. Sure, I said. I assume yall want to talk about Georgia Tech, I asked.

Yep, he says, my boss has picked Georgia Tech to win the whole thing.

Short pause on my end.

The ACC, I ask.

No, he says, the BCS championship.

Short pause on my end.

I turn to my friend Scott, who can hear the conversation, and say to him, Sure, why not.

A few minutes later I’m on the phone with Mr. Wetzel.

Yes indeed, he is picking the Jackets to win the whole thing, defeating Ohio State for the title.

He asked a couple of interesting questions:

Other than Georgia, which team does Georgia Tech want to beat more than the others. I said Virginia Tech, reasoning that they are the defending champs, and that Georgia Tech lost to them last year.

He asked which team does Georgia Tech need to beat to make people stand up and …

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Oh captain, your captain

Coach Paul Johnson said on Wednesday that the team will name three captains on Thursday for Saturday’s season-opener against Jacksonville State. 

He said it’ll be one senior from the offense, one from the defense and one, wait for it, from special teams.

So, question No. 1, with those criteria, who do you think should be THE MEN on Saturday?

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CPJ was pleased with the team’s practice on Wednesday, which was a little bit shorter than usual. The same will be true on Thursday. As Johnson has said, the important thing is to get the first game healthy, and Tech is close to meeting that goal.

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Hope you got a chance to read esteemed colleague Mark Bradley’s column on Johnson, as well as my story on Johnson’s “freaky” knowledge of the offense and his intuitive play calling. Both are on ajc.com right now.

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Johnson said the depth charts on ramblinwreck.com should be the starting lineups for Saturday’s game.

Here they are, cut-and-pasted from that site, to save you a …

Continue reading Oh captain, your captain »

Johnson presser on Tuesday

I know it has a headline on ajc.com, but I’d be surprised if Roddy Jones plays on Saturday. I wrote as much last week, based upon what Paul Johnson said then.

He repeated that today.

That’s really the only development that occurred today.

Here’s a transcript of Paul Johnson’s quotes from today’s press conference, courtesy of the fine people in Tech’s Sports Information Department. 

Opening Statement
“It’s hard to believe game week is finally here. This has been the
longest camp that I can remember. We have had five weeks from the day we
started until we play the first game. I think we have gotten a lot of
good work in. We hit a little bit of the doldrums in the middle as guys
did not have much to look forward too. The intensity and pace has really
picked up. We will have another work day today and try to polish on
Wednesday and Thursday, take Friday off and come back and play on
Saturday. The main focus right now is to get everyone to the gate
healthy. We have some guys …

Continue reading Johnson presser on Tuesday »