Looking back, looking ahead

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.

Injury report

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.

Numbers game


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.

Sound bite

“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

Loose ends

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.

What’s next

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.”

33 comments Add your comment


September 6th, 2010
6:00 am

The Jackets will be fine.This will be a good one for the offense and defense.I’m concerned about Cooper Taylor having heat related problems.Hope he can get past that. Go Jackets!


September 6th, 2010
6:24 am

I thought the jackets improved and looked more comfortable as the game progressed. While it was not an impressive win, it was a step in the right direction. Wish I felt more confident about the passing game. We know what happens to the offense when the run game is limited. By the way, how do you keep Julian Burnett off the field… talk about on a mission.


September 6th, 2010
7:45 am

I was unable to watch the game and haven’t heard much about individual performances on defense. Does anyone have some insight on how various players looked on that side of the ball?


September 6th, 2010
8:33 am


The defense got off to a slow start, but rebounded nicely after their first two drives.


September 6th, 2010
8:40 am

I watched the game in ESPN3 which had some problems.

I thought Walls played well at DT. Cross had his moments at DT. The DB’s all played well. Tarrant did have one dumb play.


September 6th, 2010
8:41 am

Defensively, we still appear o get pushed around up front. This is a huge concern, because they had big backside holes on their stretch play, running right up the middle of the field. It looked like Georgi and Iowa. Once a decent passing team can run up the middle of your defense, it’s pretty much lights out. Also, there was no pressure generated by out front 3 or even 4. Blitzes will help, but a good measure is can you get some decent pressure without having to blitz.

Dawg-Hatin' Jacket

September 6th, 2010
8:42 am

Good job by the defense to make adjustments. SCS started pretty well with running the ball, but after the first two possessions we looked much better defensively.

SCS dropped a lot of passes that will give us trouble against a better team. Time to start adjusting. At half time they actually had more time of possession.

Offensively I thought we looked a bit sluggish at times. CPJ said something about playing without a sense of urgency, and I agree. I know CPJ will fix that.

Good to see the depth chart have a change to get some experience. It was great to see Washington lead the team down for a score in the 4th quarter.

All in all, good win, now back to work for Kansas.


September 6th, 2010
8:54 am

A brief change of subject. Is there another team in the country that has three ex-players starting at qb at other schools? That is rather unusual. A good win this week, keep it up. This should give the coaches a chance to see what changes are needed. By the way, how did Jackson do at linebacker?

Damon Evans

September 6th, 2010
9:05 am

A martini for all my friends on North Avenue.

bama fan in atlanta

September 6th, 2010
9:49 am

so this is what you tech fans have been bragging about the entire summer? nesbitt has run this system for 3 yrs and he still has not improved you will not get far with him at qb. sc.state’s oline pushed your dline around. im not a tech or uga fan but after seeing both teams play you guys gave them way to much credit that they didnt earn. i said it once and i will say it again gtech is going to look like notre dame did when charlie weis took over they looked great with ty willingham’s players but once they were gone it was back to life and back to reality. roll tide!!!!


September 6th, 2010
10:21 am

Bama fan( aka UGA fan trying to hide himself) As a tech fan I am not at all satisfied with the opening game. Too sloppy and too many mistakes. However, the triple option with Nesbitt ran just fine except for Peeples taking his eye off the pitch and causing a fumble. Nesbitt runs the system with ease and has improved greatly. As a Uga fan, oops I will play along sorry. As a bama fan you seem to be just looking at the passing stats. Which I do agree will have to improve greatly if tech is to take the next step into the elite teams in the nation. Thanks for coming on the blog and trying to talk about something you really haven’t paid attention to. Good luck to your bulldogs against SC, wait crap did it again. Sorry, good luck to bama against Penn St.


September 6th, 2010
10:34 am

Doug any idea how many of the unc players that were out against lsu will be back in 2 weeks?

Tokyo jacket

September 6th, 2010
10:42 am

Dawg hatin’, you’re right on. Our defense made adjustments after two posessions. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember forcing 4 straight punts at any time last year. GT has made strides. We will make strides again at Kansas and be ready to play against a depleted UNC. I’m thinking 7-0 when we go into Death Valley.

Doug Roberson

September 6th, 2010
10:58 am

No idea on the UNC players. It all depends upon the NCAA, which to say moves glacially would be a compliment to glaciers everywhere.


September 6th, 2010
11:12 am

Further down the road, what about UGAG and Green being held out. With UGA’s culture, I guarantee you that there is something to be found on a kid of his abilities at UGag, be it academic help, under the table gifts, or about anything else he may like. I just hope the NCAA is able to find what UGA is very good at covering up.


September 6th, 2010
3:01 pm

I am taking a dirt nap, but I was spinning after AD Damon Evans got nailed drunk with red panties and a tramp.

GT Faux Faux

September 6th, 2010
6:15 pm

Ok, GT Offense Ran all over a Third Tier Football team, DId THe Offensive Coord. Even Think to try to test out some Passing Patterns??? Like when we Play a REAL Team ??? Nary a Clue


September 6th, 2010
6:33 pm

Those YJ looked a bit tentative on Sat, but it should be a good season. I was not as impressed with anything new on defense, but it’s early.

GTfan vs. Concern

September 6th, 2010
7:14 pm

I’m very concerned for this offense. Not so much the run, but the ability to throw the ball. Does anyone else think Nesbitt passes poorly because he want the ball in his hands? Could he be that selfish?
I’m thinking the defense will take a year to mature, implement.
Not very optomistic right now, I hope we crush Kansas because a pumped up, playing motivated and hungry UNC team awaits.


September 6th, 2010
7:31 pm

Bama fan-according to the experts, Gailey’s recruiting classes were average at best. Even the class with Dwyer, Burnett, and D Morgan was around 18th or so. The rest were in the 40s and 50s. The same people on these blogs were bashing Tech for Gailey’s awful recruiting. Make up your mind. Can’t have it both ways.


September 6th, 2010
8:53 pm

we got the acc easy


September 6th, 2010
8:54 pm

the years of doubt are over they we play hard with the will to win with great coaching an hard play on every down. cant wait to play a real team


September 6th, 2010
10:09 pm

It’s hard to walk away from that win too mad, but I feel let down just a little. The players seem to lack intensity and the D looked sloppy while tackling. I don’t expect to see the O open up to much more against Kansas, but I would love to see the D get a little nastier. The passing game will come and I don’t expect to many tries when your puting up 372 on the ground. I’m sure Melton will be kicking himself for that brain fart.

go Jackets

September 6th, 2010
11:40 pm

congrats to boise st, hahahahahaha would not cheer for VT if they played the taliban, nothing but shame and you blank sheep too

GT Sambo

September 7th, 2010
9:13 am

Hey bama fan,
This whole myth about Chan Gailey’s great recruiting is just that, a myth! Check the facts. Chan had ONE good recruiting class, 2007. His other 6 recruiting classes were worse than lousy. Paul Johnson’s recruiting classes in 2009 and 2010 were higher ranked nationally than all of Chan’s classes except 2007.

GT Sambo

September 7th, 2010
9:22 am

Not too worried about the passing game or the defense, at least not yet anyway. If we can’t have some success throwing the ball @Kansas or @UNC then I’ll be worried. As far as the D, I was happy to see Groh make some adjustments and shut down some things. That’s exactly why we hired him. I’d definitely like to see a bit more passion and fire from the D, but I hope that will come from getting more comfortable and playing some bigger opponents.


September 7th, 2010
10:48 am

I haven’t seen Tech play yet, but watching some of the competition on our schedule this weekend, I am more optimistic. UNC played LSU tough, but I thought both teams were weak, causing a good game. VT is not a normal VT team. Foster has a long way to go on defense. They shut down BSU for one quarter. I’m anxious to see Miami this weekend. The tough competition on our schedule doesn’t scare me as much after seeing them. Hope Nesbitt’s passing gets better and GO JACKETS!

Yellow Fuzzy

September 7th, 2010
12:08 pm

I was blindfolded for most of the second half. How did we look?

joe schmoe

September 7th, 2010
1:05 pm

Need TJ Barnes at NG. Walls is too small and got pushed around.

Groh SUcks

September 7th, 2010
1:51 pm

Worst thing PJ ever did was hire Al Groh. This is the same “vanilla” defense UVA used for 9 years. Groh never did do anything to take advantage of his playmakers. I hope he’s gone after this year.

Josh Jihad

September 7th, 2010
4:16 pm

Nesbitt’s passing numbers must improve or Tech will be in for a long season. Todd Grantham will be able to scheme against Tech’s High School offense while he’s sleeping.

I told you Groh was a bad hire and that assessment is holding true. The guy’s too old to tie his shoe laces let alone coach a modern defense.

Face it, with the resurgence of Miami and FSU, Tech will be relegated to the bottom of the ACC along with Wake and Duke. It’s time for your AD to see if you guys can get Lou Holtz to take over.


Richard Brown

September 7th, 2010
7:34 pm

So far, so good but I believe Kansas will be a more meaningful gauge of the team’s performance. Our depth seems to have improved and the “D” looks much better — Go Bees !!

Groh SUcks

September 9th, 2010
11:09 am

Dick Brown, Kansas sucks worse than Groh!