Post-practice notes from Monday. The note on Jeremiah Attaochu’s one-game suspension can be found here.
1. Georgia Tech’s secondary wasn’t on its game last Thursday against Virginia Tech, and will have the opportunity to show better Saturday against Duke.
The Blue Devils do not seem to need much excuse to put the ball in the air. Their 44-56 run-pass ratio tilts the heaviest to pass of any team in the ACC.
“We haven’t played very well” in the secondary, defensive coordinator Al Groh said. “We’ve addressed those things. Once again, we have to prove that we’ve moved on.”
Asked the nature of the problem, Groh replied, “Coverage. Too many big plays.”
The Hokies threw just 13 times but completed seven passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns, including a 63-yard scoring pass at the end of the first half. It was the first time Tech hadn’t produced an interception since playing Kansas in the third game of the season. No Tech opponent has matched Virginia Tech’s game averages of 16.1 yards per pass and 29.9 yards per completion in more than 30 years.
Groh said that the secondary also had trouble getting shielded by the Virginia Tech receivers in the red zone. Groh said that players are coached to “undercut” receivers so they’re in front of the target on any pass.
“We got outperformed in the area of getting the undercut,” Groh said.
It didn’t help the secondary that pass pressure against quarterback Logan Thomas was weak.
“Other than Jeremiah (Attaochu), nobody got close to [Thomas],” coach Paul Johnson said.
(Not a lot of pass-rush pressure plus underperformance by the secondary equals Thomas and Danny Coale being named ACC back and wide receiver of the week, respectively. Really the first game this season in which the secondary didn’t deliver some type of big play.)
2. The kickoff for Georgia Tech’s game against Georgia Nov. 26 has been set for noon. The game will be televised either on ESPN or ABC. The Jackets will go the seven-game home schedule without a 3:30 p.m. start. All seven of the games have had noon, 12:30 p.m. or night kickoff times.
(Kind of a strange year for kickoff times, for those of you who like to judge seasons by kickoff times. A noon start for me means I’m returning from Thanksgiving in Columbus a little earlier.)
3. Asked if any players stood out for Tech after watching game video, Johnson named wide receiver Tyler Melton, who caught two passes for 55 yards. He said inside linebacker Julian Burnett, who had a team-high 13 tackles, “was productive, but he usually is.”
Of center Jay Finch, who played after sitting out the Clemson game with a lower-leg injury, “It wasn’t his best game.”
Johnson said the number of “efforts” – demerits given for a player not giving full effort on a play – were in the 20’s for the defense and about 19 for the offense, which was a little higher than normal.
(Melton spoke with reporters after the game, and as he was leaving, he said he had an eight-page paper due Friday that he had yet to start working on. A rough night.)
4. After two primary team goals were dashed in the loss to Virginia Tech – winning the ACC title and going undefeated at home – the Jackets have had to adjust their sights. Burnett vowed that the team won’t let the loss to the Hokies linger.
“There’s only one way to prepare for each game, and that’s like it’s your last one,” he said.
How Tech finishes could shape their bowl destination. Multiple projections have the Jackets playing in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas.
Said Burnett, “We can still win out, and that’s what we plan on doing.”
(I think a few teams ahead of Tech will have to collapse for the Jackets to not go to El Paso. The Tech football historians among you will know that Tech played in the Sun Bowl in 1970, beating Texas Tech 17-9.)
5. Johnson said that he didn’t think there were any injuries to players that will keep them out of the Duke game. … Groh on Attaochu, regarding his suspension: “Nobody on either side of the field played harder in the game than Jeremiah. We certainly don’t condone that. It is out of character for him.”
(I think a lot of people would be very surprised if Attaochu ever did anything similar again.)
Thanks for reading. Another post Tuesday morning. Not quite sure what about. (Tempting, huh.)
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog