Thumbs-up for Georgia Tech special teams

Greetings-

Funny the difference a week makes and some kudos to BigTimeTechFan, who last Monday predicted “Yellow Jackets in a blowout.” He was a little more on the ball than Dawgfan, who prophesied that “CLAMPSUN WILL DESTROY THAT STUPID YOUTH FOOTBALL OFFENSE.”

A couple thoughts and I’ve got to get moving.

1. After taking a lot of heat, special teams gets a pretty big assist for its role in Saturday’s win. Clemson’s starting field position on its seven kickoff returns – the 28, 26, 50, 28, 30 and 11. Considering Sammy Watkins had been averaging 28.9 yards per return (24.6 if you factor out his 89-yard return) and Tech’s kickoffs were landing around the 10, that’s pretty good work. Jemea Thomas had one good stop and I think wasn’t credited for another. Watkins also ran into one of his own players and was downed on another. When that happened, it made me kind of think it was going to be Tech’s night.

Sean Poole and the punt team netted 44.0 yards on three punts. Tech had to, at least, play Clemson’s special teams to a draw, and the Jackets did at least that. (Clemson’s initial kickoff went out of bounds and Chandler Catanzaro missed a field goal from 40 yards in the second quarter.)

If Poole can develop consistency, he can be a valuable weapon.

2. I’m not a fan of repeating cliches – I am, however, a fan of Sushi Yoko, a Japanese restaurant in Doraville – but I’m going to go with “You’re never as good as you think after a win and you’re never as bad as you think after a loss,” if that’s the proper phrasing. Please don’t read this as “Georgia Tech got lucky,” because the Yellow Jackets were clearly the better team Saturday.

I think running back Andre Ellington being out was a pretty big break for Tech. I’m not saying it made the difference, but he would have given Clemson more of a chance. I’m sure if you go to a Clemson message board, you can find more “if only’s,” but that was a pretty big one.

It’s the same line of thinking, mind you, that the Tech-Miami game could have turned out differently had Roddy Jones not gotten the facemask call and Zach Laskey had avoided the punt inside the 10-yard line. Tech played pretty poorly, but the Jackets weren’t as bad as they showed that day. The result made it easy to think that Tech couldn’t beat Clemson (unless you’re BigTimeTechFan). Likewise, beating Clemson doesn’t mean the Jackets will beat Virginia Tech. Or Duke, for that matter (which could have easily beaten the Hokies Saturday).

I can think of plenty of reasons why both may happen, but I also had a lot of reasons why they would beat Virginia and Miami. I’m not saying it won’t happen – I’d say chances are more favorable it will – but banking on it is probably not wise.

Saturday was just a reminder of how much this game rests on the emotion and intensity of post-adolescents. A week after beating Oklahoma, Texas Tech lost at home to Iowa State 41-7. The Cyclones had lost their first four Big 12 games by an average of 24.3 points. I’m going to guess that the Texas Tech players’ (and maybe coaches’) heads were in the clouds all week. Same with Michigan State, which got drummed by Nebraska a week after upsetting Wisconsin in about the most euphoric manner imaginable.

“It’s hard to explain why we weren’t on top of our game, knowing we’re going to get their best shot,” Tommy Tuberville told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “But we weren’t. We just had no emotion — coaching or playing.

“It was kind of like, ‘Hey, it’s going to happen. We beat somebody last week. It’s going to happen.’ But no matter who you’re playing, they also have a football team. They also play hard, and they’ve got good players, and they’ve got good coaches.”

Paul Johnson, last week: “I expect to win every game, I want to win every game. But the reality is the other teams have 85 other scholarship players and they pay their coaches and they try to win, too. That’s why you play the games.”

Links

Game story, notes and Monday follow story from the Charleston Post and Courier.

Stories putting Clemson loss in perspective Anderson Independent Mail. The first has a funny detail. Writer Greg Wallace tweeted awhile ago that an Orange Bowl berth would be a great accomplishment for Clemson, and some fans responded that that statement was insulting. A whole bunch of more posts from the game.

No practice today, so this should be it for Monday. Thanks for reading. Happy Halloween!

Please follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

419 comments Add your comment

T3

October 31st, 2011
10:18 am

Nice work, Ken.

10-2…still looking possible.

Burdell

October 31st, 2011
10:20 am

Great game by the Jackets! That is why I buy season tickets!!

Enjoy the respite.

Coolio

October 31st, 2011
10:23 am

High school offense got the job done. Just win baby!

JM

October 31st, 2011
10:25 am

Go Jackets!

What a great win. They’ll be another great game in Atlanta Nov 10th. I can’t wait to see it.

shorter passes (as short as necessary!)

October 31st, 2011
10:30 am

What special teams problem?

dan the nerd

October 31st, 2011
10:33 am

I don’t understand why UGA fans feel the need to make fun of CPJ’s offense. I hear them say things like “it is boring to watch” or “it’s a high school offense”. But it has more big plays than any other, it produces points and wins. Are these experts watching the masterpiece that was UGA/UF and saying “that is beautiful football”? Because, in this guys eyes, that was worse than watching a neked lady open a jar of pickles.

juvenal

October 31st, 2011
10:35 am

good job, Ken….really have nothing to complain about, everything clicked………well, ok, refs were bad, funny the way they rush them out after the game….funny how often we get the all orange look, but they got carved like halloween pumpkins(the all purple is truly hideous)…..

Delbert D.

October 31st, 2011
10:35 am

Pretty good pressure on Boyd by the DL alone *and* with the blitzes. Pretty good coverage by the DBs and the LBs on passes. Good tackling by all; DL, LBs, DBs and special teams. Very good blocking by the O-line, B-backs and A-backs and WRs. Special call-outs to Stephen Smith and Shaq Mason (who had to play most of the game at LG) for blocking.

Peaches N Creme

October 31st, 2011
10:36 am

Nice reference to the Seinfeld episode, nerd. Same episode has Jerry repairing his bike in the buff. Hilarious.

BuggyTownSting

October 31st, 2011
10:38 am

Playing AT Dookie scares me more than VPI or the mutts. VPI is at home at night and, hopefully, have the same type of electric atmosphere as there was for Clemson. Same as the annual showdown with UGA. If TV dictates that to be a night game, the Jackets will beat them worse than they did Clemson. But sandwiched in between is historically weak sister Duke. The Blue Devils have put up a fight all year long and they will be gunning to shoot down our chance at a berth in the ACC title game. All that being said, one at a time boys. Let’s take of business with the Hokies Nov. 10th.

juvenal

October 31st, 2011
10:39 am

offense must be boring to some,the orange folks left during that 8 minute drive……..

Go Tigers

October 31st, 2011
10:44 am

Still can’t get over how well GT played Saturday night – all facets of the team were in gear and you guys, as Frank Howard would have said, just “whupped us” – no excuses, Tech played like a champion last Saturday.

Here’s hoping we can turn the table if we both get to Charlotte on Dec 3!

StingerSplash

October 31st, 2011
10:45 am

Ken, what’s the schedule for this week, since there is no game and PJ is sure to give the players a day or two off? By the same token, what’s your schedule for coverage if there is no practice and no opportunity to speak with players/coaches?

I sure wish...

October 31st, 2011
10:47 am

…I could figure out what makes 18-22 year olds click – I’d be a millionaire, and Tech would be undefeated! But, then again, if I could figure that out I would probably also be able to figure out women, and that ain’t happenin’, either!

Delbert D.

October 31st, 2011
10:48 am

That would be Stephen Hill; not Smith. Mr. Smith is an old friend of mine and a Tech grad. He will appreciate the mistake and get a laugh if he reads this blog.

shorter passes (as short as necessary!)

October 31st, 2011
10:51 am

Watched the game again this AM…Tech still won. Clem was offsides again!

Football seems a game of mistakes….make the least—usually win.

ps glad Hill was able to catch one lone one for redemption.

Brad

October 31st, 2011
10:52 am

Nice job Ken. Gotta beat Vt to validate the season. At least by beating them we avoid the dreaded indep bowl. Could see us in either orange, chickfila or music city. 2 of those would be against sec. If we don’t get the orange, would love to whip up on 2 sec teams back to back.

reebok

October 31st, 2011
10:54 am

That was by far the most complete game Tech has played this year. Defense was solid all night, and the O got going after those 1st 2 possessions…by the end of the half, the Clemson players on D were standing there with their hands on their hips, looking shell shocked…they had no idea how to stop the option. If we can bring the same passion and execution to the stadium on 11/10, we will beat V-Tech and then only Duke stands between us and a rematch with Clemson in the ACC championship. CONGRATS ON A GREAT GAME, JACKETS!

TampaDawg

October 31st, 2011
10:56 am

Congrats Tech fans! I am 0-3 the last 3 weeks with you guys. I picked you to win against UVA and Miami and to lose to Clemson. Who would have seen this coming?

The open week...

October 31st, 2011
10:59 am

…comes at a really opportune time – gives the players time to revel on their victory while giving the coaches extra time to bring them “back down to earth” so that they do not suffer the “Texas Tech syndrome”…

George Stein

October 31st, 2011
11:02 am

I’m not sure the issue is a product of 18-22 year olds playing the game. The Saints drilled Indy last week 62-7 and turned around and got hammered against a terrible Rams team. Those things just happen.

Clemson has a really good team and is full of extremely talented players. I’m happy we won the game because it shows what the team is capable of when they lay it all out there.

john

October 31st, 2011
11:02 am

Ken, I like that you hold the prognosticators accountable.

Chad

October 31st, 2011
11:04 am

Do these people even watch the games? What has VT done to show they will beat us? Their offense is crap and their defense isn’t average. I think we will beat them by 10. We will either play in the orange or chickfila.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/bowls/predictions

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 31st, 2011
11:05 am

shorter, I got up at 7am to watch, too. The announcers couldn’t say enough good things about Clemson, which was understandable. It was just funny knowing the outcome of the game. The ACC needs to make sure that offside miss by the officials doesn’t happen again.

George Stein

October 31st, 2011
11:10 am

People said the same thing about us, Chad.

Nice win, TampaDawg. I hope you enjoyed it and I’m sure it made for a fun drive home. It’s been a long time coming for you. Here’s hoping we have two 9-2 teams with top 15 rankings Thanksgiving weekend.

carolinajacket

October 31st, 2011
11:11 am

A story for those who ask about getting the refs away as quickly and safely as possible. Many years ago I attended, of all things, a freshman football game between UGA and UF, played in Athens. UF had a qb, Jackie Eckdahl, who was supposed to be the next Steve Spurrier. Anyway, UGA as leading towards the end of the game when Eckdahl threw a long pass and the refs called interferrence. the crowd is going wild. Then UF scores and wins the game. The refs ran to their car, but not fast enough. It was surrounded by UGA fans who started rocking it and beating it. Only the intervention of the state patrol saved these guys lives. And this was all over a freshman football game.

juvenal

October 31st, 2011
11:11 am

Ken, my prayer strategy for Logan is working!…..watched my dvr when i got home, didn’t rack till 4a…..wonder how many tix the buzzards will send back this year……

collegeballfan

October 31st, 2011
11:13 am

That long 4th quarter drive was a thing of beauty.

Remember the last drive of the 2009 conference game?

TampaDawg – It will not make you feel better but I picked the sameway, beat UVA & UM and get slaughtered by Clemson. And I suspect we are far from being out here alone.

BigTimeTechFan

October 31st, 2011
11:13 am

Thanks, Ken. I new it would take a home game against big time team, with fired up crowd to get this team back on track. I also knew Tech’s CB’s were up to the challange, L. Young and J Thomas may be best CB combo in the country. But Watkins is the Best WR in the country so you know he going to get some yards. overall I think they did good, J Thomas had Watkins thinking and picked off two because he disrupted Watkins pattern.
Both will be NFL 1st- 3rd round picks if they stay healthy and keep working hard.

Washington was on fire. I like a player that takes a challange and steps up. Not the greatest QB but showed a lot of heart to bounce back like he did. Hat’s off to TW.

Roddy Jones and O Smith were awesome, blocking was spot on.

5150 UOAD

October 31st, 2011
11:13 am

Clemson Fans were Leaving at halftime. I saw them when I was against the Fence Smoking. Who leaves at halftime of a football game?

Chad

October 31st, 2011
11:14 am

I also think it’s dumb the sec has 3 tie ins with the big 10 for bowl games and we have none.

Hey, carolinajacket...

October 31st, 2011
11:17 am

…you must be as old as me, if not older – actually, Eckdahl was the successor to “the ol ball coach” at UF, so if he was playing in the freshman game Spurrier was still in his “Heisman winning year – by Eckdahl’s senior year he was replaced by John Reaves as the UF QB…

The Truth

October 31st, 2011
11:21 am

Chad,

That would be because no one wants to watch teams (unless FSU) from your joke of a conference.

juvenal

October 31st, 2011
11:21 am

5150, they were taking comfort in the big city’s fleshpots…wow, dauug fans being rude?

3 bald headed yankees

October 31st, 2011
11:32 am

To any of my UGAG neighbors who are scavenging on this blog. If you see Eric “overrated Zoar. Loren Boring — ” Smith or that wrestling moron that does your pre-game show, plese inform them that the “yeller jackets” covered the 4 points against the future farmers of America and then some. Thank You.

carolinajacket

October 31st, 2011
11:33 am

Lets put it this way. I am now retired. And I never missed the big Thanksgiving game when I was a kid. It filled the stadium and had a larger crowd than most college teams were drawing back then.

macrotech

October 31st, 2011
11:42 am

Go Tigers…I think that we were ALL surprised by the outcome of that game! I’m not sure my heart could handle another season where we have to play Clemson twice…but, I’m willing to give it a try! Best of luck the rest of the season!

blazer

October 31st, 2011
11:46 am

When the offense is working, it looks great!!!!!!!!!!

i think the yoke is the weak SEC east!!

juvenal

October 31st, 2011
11:50 am

dawg-drunk awful white(as in trailer trash) goons……..

Junior Samples

October 31st, 2011
12:01 pm

Ken,
Have you tried Rise Sushi on Marietta St?

DS_CE91

October 31st, 2011
12:16 pm

Great day to be a Jacket. Conscience compels me to admit I did not expect to be feeling quite so chipper reading the blogs today.

Here’s hoping we can keep the focus and momentum.

GO JACKETS!!!

DS_CE91

October 31st, 2011
12:21 pm

KEN,

A question for you and any others. Given what you know and see about the Jackets, what would YOU choose to focus on during the off week? We have plenty to choose from given our sporadic performance.

I think if I were given the power to dictate practice reps, I would focus on ways to more consistently spring the A-Backs. I am not smart enough to know if that means to focus more on backfield or line execution (and I know the easy answer is BOTH).

GO JACKETS!!!

Technically Correct

October 31st, 2011
12:22 pm

The talk over the next 10 days will be whether Virginia Tech’s extra practice time (they have an off week just like Georgia Tech) will enable them to stop Georgia Tech’s rushing offense.

TampaDawg

October 31st, 2011
12:32 pm

5150 UOAD

October 31st, 2011
11:13 am

Clemson Fans were Leaving at halftime
—————————
The way they were playing, who could blame them?

Just wondering though, how you turn a win over Clemson into a bash session on the Dawgs. There’s more than a few comments on here taking shots at UGA or the SEC East or whatever. Just celebrate your win guys. You make other teams fans want to start crap when you do anything other than that.

Born2Buzz

October 31st, 2011
12:34 pm

That was a lot of fun Saturday night. Looking for the same Thursday 11/10.

I liked seeing Jamea returning punts. Ken, I did ask you to pose that choice to CPJ a while back but I won’t take any credit for it actually happening. But the kid just looks poised and confident in everything he does on the field. Now as for kick-off returns, I would like to see Embry Peeples given a shot. Ken, didn’t you do a story where it was stated he’s the fastest guy on the team? You just need that raw speed on the KO return.
Kind of like Sammy Watkins. And WOW, is that guy good. Jamea and the rest of the D did a great job of containing him, and he still had a lot of yards and a TD. He is definitely the best player I’ve seen against the Jackets this year.

Fear the Turkey

October 31st, 2011
12:35 pm

Still revelling in the win over Clemson. But here are the reasons Virginia Pseudotechnic Institute may beat us: 1. Our overconfidence. 2. Their special teams better than ours (The Beamerball trap). 3. Their good athletes. 4. Desire to protect their lead in the Coastal Division.

Born2Buzz

October 31st, 2011
12:39 pm

TampaDawg, you are right. Tech fans need to just concentrate on supporting our team. Leave the negative commenting about other schools to the woofin doggies.

carolinajacket

October 31st, 2011
12:39 pm

I agree with Fear. VPI will come in here with a real bad attitude. We don’t want to be like we were a couple of years ago when our players were talking about how bad we were going to rout them and they did just that to us. We’d better keep our feet on the ground. It may be good that we have some extra time to come down from the Clemson victory.

TampaDawg

October 31st, 2011
12:43 pm

@Born2Buzz, been on UGA blogs today? We don’t care about tech on our blogs right now (that’s not a shot, just a fact). The worst we have to deal with is the idiots who want to complain about every WIN instead of celebrating it and moving on.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 31st, 2011
12:46 pm

Good timing for the off week. Should help to avoid the letdown after the emotional win, especially since we will have a lot to play for, we should have no problem getting UP for the game. Will the extra time help VPI? They haven’t really solved our offense yet and they have multiple casualties of D starters. Sounds good on paper but we still have to play and win the game (winning isn’t easy).