Have a couple notes from a few interviews Tuesday.
1. Both Paul Johnson and assistant coach Brian Bohannon took questions about backup quarterback Synjyn Days and their answers provided enough evidence to conclude that his ball security problems still require considerable improvement.
“Synjyn has to take care of the football,” Bohannon said. “It has to be of the utmost urgency when he is in the game, to take care of the football.”
I think I included some of this answer in the post Tuesday following Johnson’s news conference, but Johnson said he put Days in late in the loss to Miami to see if he could provide a spark. He got a first down on a pass to wide receiver Tyler Melton and had a quarterback draw that could have been a gainer had it been blocked better and then fumbled.
“That’s been his thing,” Johnson said. “If he takes care of the ball, he’s going to play more. Synjyn, he’s a talented kid. He can do some things, but you’ve got to take care of the ball.”
2. Quote from Johnson about the offense: “You could say execution, you can say whatever you want. It doesn’t matter what you do on offense, if you’re not moving the ball and scoring, it usually comes back to (the fact that) you’ve got to do that better. We need to help ‘em, maybe, with a better plan. Maybe some of the stuff that we’re trying to ask them to do, they can’t do.”
Roddy Jones thinks the offense isn’t too far from re-gaining its form.
“When we go back and watch the film, it’s not like everything’s going wrong and we’re all falling apart,” he said. “You see a stop in the backfield or a play by [an opponent], what you don’t see is everyone else did their job. If we get that one guy, we’re out of the gate. It’s just the little things we need to correct, and I think we’ll do that.”
I imagine you get tired of the “we just need to execute better” answer as I do, but I’ve seen the offense work enough times to great effect (and you have done so even more, I suppose) to think that the problem isn’t that opponents have figured out the offense. It’s poor decision making, missed blocks, bad throws, dropped passes and faulty play calls. That leaves room to say that those failures are a result of a talent shortage and that the Jackets wouldn’t have those problems with better coaching. Perhaps the remainder of the season will determine that if you haven’t already drawn your own conclusion. But consider that as poorly as last season went, the offense, with a lot of the same pieces as this year’s team, led the nation in rushing. (Which is a different thing than leading the nation in scoring, or wins, for that matter, but is not an accomplishment to be taken lightly.)
Take Washington as an example. He’s shown the ability make the right reads, both this year and last, and has enough speed to make plays. I don’t know how you’ll receive this, but I’ve included a clip of the second half of last year’s Virginia Tech game. Watch from about the 4:30 point on. Washington has some clunker plays, but he hits downfield passes, makes a first-down run out of nothing, manages the clock and leads Tech nearly the length of the field in two late-game drives. The very last play, you’ll remember, was not one to remember, but everything to that point would indicate that when he’s right, he’s more than capable.
I think right now a lot of it’s between his ears. Perhaps the same might be said of his teammates. How do they escape this predicament? That’s for them and the coaching staff to figure out.
3. A few people asked me about the offsetting penalties that wiped out Jones’ long first-quarter run against Miami, specifically if Tech could have declined Miami’s penalty and taken the facemask penalty against Jones as a spot foul. I asked Doug Rhoads, the ACC officiating coordinator, and he said no, that they were automatically offsetting because both were live- ball fouls. So, there’s your answer.
4. This is sort of random, but I’m wondering if someone out there can do a former Tech player a favor. You might remember I wrote a story prior to the Virginia game about the 1990 team’s comeback win at Virginia. Anyway, Calvin Tiggle was one of the former players I talked to, and I asked him about watching replays, and he said he’d lost his copy of the game. (He was one of Tech’s biggest stars that day.) He asked me if I had any idea how to get a copy of the game and I said I’d look into it. My first step failed. You are the second step. Would any of you have a copy of that game you’d be willing to make a copy of? E-mail me if so. I imagine Calvin would be grateful. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat