Tech goes for fourth game-opening TD

Greetings-

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?

Thanks for reading. Please follow on Facebook and Twitter.

By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat

304 comments Add your comment

managing turf

September 23rd, 2011
2:12 pm

first, and while i don’t believe it will be a trick play, if the offense executes, sure why not!

soega jacket

September 23rd, 2011
2:13 pm

Don’t care about the first play. Just beat North Carolina.

Brent

September 23rd, 2011
2:19 pm

“You’ll be unimpressed” sounds to me like a FB dive.

Bob Smash

September 23rd, 2011
2:21 pm

No. Lighting doesn’t strike 4 times.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
2:21 pm

Really screw with UNC mind and Quick Kick on 1st down. LOL

Ol'JacketFan

September 23rd, 2011
2:24 pm

LOL@CPJ……..”you’ll be unimpressed”. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if a fb dive got busted for a 1st play TD??????????????? :-)

wes

September 23rd, 2011
2:26 pm

Go deep!

Gotta at least try going 4 for 4.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 23rd, 2011
2:28 pm

Got to believe that Tony gets to take it to the house on the 1st play. 45-17. Feeling it.

My Favorite Number is 21

September 23rd, 2011
2:30 pm

I vote for the screen to Hill. Let him stiff arm the corner to the turf and take off.

AMG

September 23rd, 2011
2:31 pm

Run the B-Back sweep to X backup QB David Sims and have him throw it to Stephen Hill for a quick strike = 4 in a row. Nice thought, but I even doubt it. I will settle on a TD in the first possession. Don’t care if it is 15 plays or one play.

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
2:33 pm

I love a coach who can make a comment like “you’ll be unimpressed” and cause me to wonder “Okay, is he messin’ with me so he can hit a huge pass over the middle or is he thinking that’s what I’ll be wondering so it’s actually gonna be the basic veer…?” Coaches at UNC have gotta be sweating this game. Coaches at NCSU are DEFINITELY sweating next week’s!

demjackets

September 23rd, 2011
2:34 pm

What is the record anyways?

Jacket Man

September 23rd, 2011
2:34 pm

No turnovers and limit penalties (minimize mental mistakes) and the Jackets should be okay. I suspect there will be a few pass plays throw in to keep the Carolina defenders honest; even some new formations based on the North Carolina defensive schemes. If anyone thinks Paul Johnson isn’t expecting blitzes and end crashes, well, they don’t know Paul Johnson very well.

Also, people may not know this, but Al Groh has owned North Carolina’s offense for the past several years with his 3-4 defense, so I hope he’ll be dialing it up tomorrow. This may be the game we’ll finally start to see GA Tech’s defense starting to open up it’s playbook a bit.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 23rd, 2011
2:36 pm

Doesn’t matter who does it, that would be really impressive. Stephen may be due after his good blocking last week.

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
2:36 pm

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 23rd, 2011
2:37 pm

AMG, saving that for VT.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
2:40 pm

Play depends on where we start the drive. The Dive Trap was not expected to go 95. It was to get us from out of the endzone shadow……HAHAHAHAHA

AMG

September 23rd, 2011
2:41 pm

Their are endless options for the GT offense this year, I can not wait to see what CPJ comes up with for this game and the rest of the season. It will be a great fun to watch no matter who we play.

fan of shorter passes & longer runs

September 23rd, 2011
2:42 pm

Impressive would be no turnovers in the first (successful) drive…one or several plays…no matter.

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
2:46 pm

The last two were designed based on defensive tendencies seen on film and experienced in games last season. MTSU was seen to the corner up so it was a downfield bomb to an A-back. Kansas “flowed hard to the A-back in motion” so CPJ dialed up a counter. UNC’s defense hasn’t changed much since last year, but they are heralded as a fundamentally sound defense. What I take from that is that perhaps they have a tendency we can try to exploit with our very first play from scrimmage, but more likely this defense will be shedding blocks and at not allowing anything to go all the way to a TD. We might bust a long gain or surprise them, but they’re bigger and faster. Therefore I expect them to stop us even when we break a runner past the first or second level of their defense. TD’s in this game will be tougher to earn. We’ll do it, but it might be a lot slower.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 23rd, 2011
2:47 pm

Thanks. PCJacket, that was awesome.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 23rd, 2011
2:49 pm

We’ll see against NC how to rate Tech’s speed. I think it will prove to be very good.

duece coupe

September 23rd, 2011
2:53 pm

The first offensive play,
I see the Tar Heel defense focusing on Orwin Smith.

Loran Waddaya Got

September 23rd, 2011
2:55 pm

Has Tech run the ‘tackle eligible’ pass that they executed in Johnson’s first year in Athens for a big gain since then? Dust it off before late November please!

Jackedjacket

September 23rd, 2011
2:55 pm

FORGET THE OPENING PLAY TD!!!!! I want a 20 play 15minute drive and score on the mesh from the 1 foot line!!! Would that be freakin cool or what. From 1 second drive to the entire quarter!!! What do you think the chances are on that Ken??? All seriousness the DDDDDDDD will win or loose this game. It’s that simple!!!!

GTman

September 23rd, 2011
2:57 pm

I loved that counter play that went for the TD. First and last time I have seen that play run out of this offense (with the pulling guard and pulling tackle). Are we not allowed to run it again? Usually CPJ is good at milking a play until the defense stops it, but we did not run that play again (to either side) the whole game.

Ken Sugiura

September 23rd, 2011
2:57 pm

dem – i don’t know if anyone actually keeps the record. but i’d kind of be surprised if anyone’s actually ever done it three times in a row.

Maryland Jacket

September 23rd, 2011
2:58 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rambling_Wreck_Sheet_Music.jpg
Back in my day, it was Wreck with a W. Granted, it also had that g in Ramblin’…

It’ll be an interesting game!

BigTimeTechFan

September 23rd, 2011
2:59 pm

I bet Tech gets opening kickoff and O Smith broke it all the way open, then instead of scoring get tackled at the UNC 1 yard line. Next play Tech scores to keep the streak alive.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 23rd, 2011
3:00 pm

GTman, saving that,too. Didn’t need it. I wouldn’t want to play Chess with CPJ.

Maryland Jacket

September 23rd, 2011
3:00 pm

And of course, by “Back in my day”, I mean that I Googled the sheet music, since I’m young. Although, I just don’t like the look of two apostrophes next to each other.

BigTimeTechFan

September 23rd, 2011
3:01 pm

Play will be pass
S Hill over the middle, draws defense then A-Back goes wide open down the sideline for 80 yard TD catch.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 23rd, 2011
3:05 pm

Bet we’re all wrong. Tevin on a keeper.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
3:11 pm

Zack Laskey returns the first UNC punt for a TD the O doesn’t even get a chance to score first. that would be great.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
3:12 pm

Zenon on a reverse sweet……………………

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
3:12 pm

Brock

September 23rd, 2011
3:18 pm

GTman- they actually did run the counter play again in the second half with Orwin. Got a couple of yards. Just watched the game again last night

ATLER (Ramblin Wreck)

September 23rd, 2011
3:18 pm

@PerimeterCenterJacket

Awesome video, wish it could make it to ESPN pre-game!!!!

100% Jackets courage Ken and we’re luvin it!!!!!! Keep it up!!!!

Ol'JacketFan

September 23rd, 2011
3:19 pm

Lots of interesting posts :-) I too, would love to see a patented CPJ death march to open the game. Let’s wear on that defense and control the clock as well as the game.

Go Jackets!

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
3:21 pm

WDE
Please don’t tell me you think every girl at UGA is a thin super model. The MU’s have their share of Chunks check on the web and see for yourself.

Ol'JacketFan

September 23rd, 2011
3:23 pm

The You Tube trailer is freaking awesome!

Ol'JacketFan

September 23rd, 2011
3:24 pm

5150 is that a sweet sweep???? ;-)

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
3:27 pm

Personally, the Death March drive is most satisfying when its a close game with Tech up by a score in the third quarter and the other team really desperately wants to score but our defensive adjustments have just put our offense on the field. The it begins. 4 yard run after 4 yard run. First down after emotional first down. The defense gets more and more desperate and out of position. 13 plays later we’re on their one yard line, but instead of the QB sneak we run the pitch to a wide-open A-back just to show we could’ve busted it open anytime we wanted to, but we chose to run the clock down. THAT is how wills are broken.

ahsoisee

September 23rd, 2011
3:28 pm

The odds are immense against it, and North Carolina will be watching for any long play, however, does a kick-off return count as a first play?

Rodney Kent

Ol'JacketFan

September 23rd, 2011
3:29 pm

@PCJ, there is nothing more demoralizing to a defense than for an offense to just pound and pound and pound eating yards and time. Even when they what’s coming they can’t stop it and get off the field!

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
3:32 pm

That was a George P. Burdell film not to be mistaken for the GDBurdell troll on the blogs.

Go Tech

September 23rd, 2011
3:34 pm

first play will be the B back up the middle. Go Tech

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
3:37 pm

OJF, true. And it’s always best to score end it in the endzone.

Fun Fact – GT is 100% in the redzone this season so far! That won’t stay that way, but it’s WAY better than last season!

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
3:38 pm

*score by ending the drive in the endzone

Ol'JacketFan

September 23rd, 2011
3:43 pm

Hmmmm would a pick 6 or fumble return for a TD count toward extending the streak? ;-)