The game that was
Georgia Tech’s new defense did what coach Paul Johnson hoped: after the Bulldogs experienced some success on their first two drives, coordinator Al Groh made adjustments and was able to limit the yards. On offense, Tech’s rushing attack stuck primarily with the triple option play and moved fairly easily down the field, totaling 372 yards on 6.6 yards per carry. Playing against an FCS-level team, even if it was its conference champion, doesn’t provide a good barometer of the improvement a team may have made in theoffseason . It may seem like Tech wasn’t entirely happy with the win. Being a defending conference champion tends to raise the expectations.
What we learned
1. Roddy Jones appears to be back. After a sub-par 2009 season in which he was hampered by a dislocated wrist sustained during the spring, Jones scored two touchdowns on Saturday and provided a home-run threat from the A-backs that Anthony Allen gave them last season.
2. Groh kept things fairly vanilla against S.C. State, so we didn’t learn how effective Tech’s new pass rush may be. Often, Groh went with three-man or four-man rushes in an attempt to keep as many people in the passing lanes as possible to confuse Bulldogs quarterback Malcolm Long.
3. Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt doesn’t look comfortable throwing the ball to this set of receivers. He tried to make a few passes to Stephen Hill, but was able to complete just one. Another did lead to a pass-interference penalty, but that ball wasunderthrown. Tyler Melton didn’t help when a pass hit him in the chest and bounced out, leading to an interception.
There were just two injuries sustained against S.C. State, neither of which seem serious. Starting guard Will Jackson left with a sprained knee. Johnson said Jackson couldn’t play if there was a game tomorrow, but it’s too early to tell if he can play against Kansas on Saturday.
Starting safety Cooper Taylor didn’t return to the sidelines after halftime with what Johnson said was a heat-related condition.
Even with Tech running fairly basic defensive schemes, S.C. State could only average 4.2 yards per play. Tech gave up 6.1 yards per play last season.
“What we are going to try to do to move the ball. The big problem would be if they took somebody out of the game and stopped you otherwise. … There’s not anybody alive that you can’t take out of a game if you’re willing to risk it with the other guys.”
– Johnson on S.C. State limiting Tech’s B-backs to 14 carries
Johnson said he was impressed by the play of Jones on offense, middle linebacker Brad Jefferson on defense, and Julian Burnett on special teams. Jones averaged 11.2 yards on four carries, Jefferson had four tackles, including 1 1/2 for loss, and Burnett had 1 1/2 tackles. … Next week’s game at Kansas will beTech’s first regular-season game against a team from the Big 12 since it hosted Baylor in 1993. … It will be Tech’s first trip west of the Mississippi River since the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho in 2007.
Tech will travel to Kansas, which was defeated 6-3 by FCS-level North Dakota State on Saturday. The Jayhawks had 293 yards, but they also committed three turnovers, including an interception in the end zone.
“I just said to them that it’s one game and that’s how you have to take it and move on from there,” Gill said. “We have to take the things that we did do well and obviously the things that we need to work on. From an offensive standpoint, we just have to get those things collected and execute better. That’s the bottom line from that standpoint. Again, we’ll just take it as one game and move on. The next opponent is Georgia Tech and that’s who we have to get ready for.”