Sorry I haven’t had anything up . Friday’s kind of supposed to be my day off (not complaining) and I’ve got some projects I am trying to get to. (Anyone want to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Buckhead?)
Anyway, I hope you’ll accept this story about Georgia Tech’s streak of touchdowns on the first play of scrimmage as my blog for the day. It’s going in Saturday’s paper and will be up online before too long. Hopefully you also read a story posted Thursday about the Ramblin’ Wreck. (The newspaper’s style, I’ve learned, favors Wreck over Reck. My apologies to the Reck purists. I think history favors your spelling.) Another story should be coming up this afternoon about Paul Johnson’s practice of inserting three or four extra plays into the game plan designed to be momentum changers.
To put Georgia Tech’s first-play success into context, consider that Virginia Tech is the only other team in the ACC, SEC and Big 10 that has reached the end zone on its first play from scrimmage in any game this season, a combined 1-for-104.
The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, are 3-for-3. Tech will try to make it 4-for-4 against North Carolina Saturday. Tar Heels coach Everett Withers said he won’t be thinking about the streak. Defensive coordinator Art Kaufman said he wouldn’t approach it any differently than any other play. But Withers said he thought his players would be more heightened to avoid becoming the fourth consecutive victim.
“I don’t think you have to mention it” for them to be aware, Withers said.
The first score was a relative gimme, a 5-yard toss to A-back Orwin Smith after Tech had forced a turnover deep in Western Carolina territory. The second was designed with the intent to score, a 73-yard touchdown pass to A-back Tony Zenon against Middle Tennessee State. The third, a 95-yard run by Smith against Kansas that became the longest run from scrimmage in Tech history, was a good play call bolstered by superior execution.
“You always have an expectation (a play will break open),”coach Paul Johnson said. “Was I counting on it? No.”
Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken, who was an assistant to Johnson for 13 years, thinks Johnson’s option-based spread offense might be more conducive to opening strikes. First, the offense has big-play capability and second, teams often aren’t prepared for the speed with which Tech runs it because it is difficult to simulate in practice.
It doesn’t hurt that Tech has home-run hitters like Smith, Zenon and wide receiver Stephen Hill.
“We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve hit some big plays,” Johnson said. “I think we all know that [streak] is probably coming to an end.”
Whatever the reason, it’s a curious and mind-boggling streak. Several FBS schools queried haven’t scored on the first play of a game in several years.
Asked Wednesday, Johnson said he already knew what play he was going to call first.
“You’ll be unimpressed,” he told reporters.
The more important opinion will be rendered by North Carolina’s defense.
What do you think? Does Tech go 4-for-4?
By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat