Georgia Tech-Utah matchups to watch

Greetings-

Two more days until the Sun Bowl. Had a few thoughts to reel off as I get ready for the press conference featuring the coordinators from both teams. Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon will fill in for Paul Johnson as the Georgia Tech offensive coordinator, if you’re wondering.

1. One of the biggest matchups will be Tech center Jay Finch, with help from guards Omoregie Uzzi and Will Jackson/Shaquille Mason, against Utah nose tackle Star Lotulelei, a first-team All-Pac-12 pick. If Finch consistently can’t get him on the ground or create some push, it will bog down the dive play and make the Jackets less diverse in their options.

You may remember that Utah has a lot of past experience against an option-spread offense, having played Air Force in the Mountain West Conference annually until joining the Pac-12 this season. Lotulelei (lo-too-leh-lay) said Utah will defend Tech the same way it did Air Force.

“I think it’s helped, because we have pretty much the same guys we have from last year, so I think we’re pretty used to this kind of offense,” Lotulelei said, “but I think they have some better athletes than Air Force did in their backfield, so it’ll be a lot more challenging to compete with those athletes.”

Said Finch, “I’m looking forward for myself to see where I stand, see how I compare.”

Fact: Lotulelei’s given name is Starlite.

2. I think probably the more important matchup will be Tech’s run defense against Utah running back John White and the Utes offensive line. Tech is allowing 162.9 rushing yards per game, which is tied for 70th in the country. White is No. 10 in the country at 117.0 rushing yards per game. End Izaan Cross described him as “slippery.”

The onus will fall again on ends Jason Peters and Cross and nose tackle Logan Walls to hold the point and maintain gap integrity.

“Our defense in particular, we’ve had games that we’ve done very well, we’ve had games that we played poorly,” Cross said. “We just want to finish the season out on a high note.”

A matchup to watch is Peters vs. Utah offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom, who is pegged as a mid-round draft pick.

“Really big, really good and really fast,” Peters said. “Great player, great athlete, uses his hands well, moves his feet well. I’ve got to make sure I bring my ‘A’ game.”

Of note: Bergstrom, who served a two-year mission with the Mormon church out of high school, is 25 years old and is married with a child.

Utah offensive line coach Tim Davis: “We’re not going to get anything like home runs off ‘em. We’ve got to bang away and do our stuff and we’re got to hold up against them at the start because they do have a lot of speed. They do come at you.”

Fact: Cross said he got a mini-refrigerator for his dorm room for Christmas.

3. Tech can finish No. 1 in the country in third-down conversion percentage with a strong performance against Utah. The Jackets lead at 54.88 percent, but Wisconsin (54.1) is a close second. If Tech repeated its worst third-down performance (4 of 12 against N.C. State), it would drop to 53.4 percent. Kind of hard to believe, but Tech’s best third-down day was against Maryland, 13 of 20.

After a cursory look at the media guide, I couldn’t find the school record for single-season third-down percentage, but I’ve got to believe it would set the record, at least going as far back as records have been kept.

Links

El Paso Times feature on Julian Burnett and Tech notebook.

Salt Lake Tribune notes and feature on Lotulelei.

Deseret News home page for Utes, including a note that starting defensive tackle Dave Kruger is out with a leg infection.

171 comments Add your comment

5150 UOAD

December 29th, 2011
10:56 am

Play hard Tech

5150 UOAD

December 29th, 2011
11:00 am

Phil get your head in the game if you want to play for TECH. No more stupid mistakes IF CPJ lets you back on the team next year.

Saban

December 29th, 2011
11:02 am

Good luck Jackets.

Supersize that order, mutt

December 29th, 2011
11:09 am

Let’s go, Jackets !!!

Supersize that order, mutt

December 29th, 2011
11:10 am

Ken, hope you get a chance to drop by the pre-game brunch at the Mesa Grill

SanDiegoJacket

December 29th, 2011
11:33 am

GOOOOOOOOOOOOO JACKETS!!

Sorry for the off-topic but I’m out here in Missouri and I’m teaching the MIZZOU folks how to cheer TO HELL WITH GEORGIA!! and they’re getting the hang of it. Once I told them that Ugag is like Kansas to the tenth power, they understood what to look for in Columbia on Sept 8, 2012 and they say they’re ready to play the 2012 MNC’s.

TO HELL WITH GEORGIA, EVERY DAY IN EVERY WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Supersize that order, mutt

December 29th, 2011
11:36 am

SanDiegoJacket, you go, man !!!

pete dawg

December 29th, 2011
12:04 pm

don’t see you winning this game. teams can easily prepare for the one dimensional offense and you have no playmakers. you do have some decent recruits coming in so maybe that changes in a couple of years on offense.
utes 30 gt 21

chris

December 29th, 2011
12:10 pm

will there be 500 GT fans at the game?

BigTimeTechFan

December 29th, 2011
12:11 pm

Missouri does not need much help, they played pretty good in big-12 which was way better then SEC this year.

Oklahoma St (11-1)
Oklahoma (9-3)
Baylor (9-3)
Kansas St (10-2)
Texas A&M (6-6) – played 3rd best team Arkansas better then all SEC team but Bama and LSU, but had losing record in Big-12
Texas (8-5) – out recruited SEC team and still has losing record in Big-12

That’s a lot better then
LSU
Bama
Arkansas
Vandy
Ol Miss
Miss St
Kentucky
South Carolina
UGA
Florida

Ok St should be in title game because it play and won in a better conference then Bama. Most years you would say this in favor of SEC but not this year

BigTimeTechFan

December 29th, 2011
12:12 pm

Burn Vad’s red-shirt and win the game. /sarc

Razorjacket

December 29th, 2011
12:14 pm

I hate to say it, but it looks like a bad matchup for GT. Top tier defensive linemen seem to disrupt our offense in most all of the losses this year, and in the past. And, we can’t stop the run well either. Utah may statistically have a poor offense, but if they run right at us, I expect them to be able to hold the ball and score, while we’ll end up with only 17-20 points due to the aforementioned DL-OL mismatch. I see another 24-17 loss, like the UVA game, with lines getting manhandled (again).

But, GO JACKETS!! anyway. I hope they can step up and change the pattern and, if so, credit the players and coaches for getting over the hump.

GT Man

December 29th, 2011
12:24 pm

If Utah knows how to play our offense, get ready for another loss.

ahsoisee

December 29th, 2011
12:26 pm

An important game and Johnson is not calling the plays??? The cohesion from the sidelines for sending the plays into the game will be lost. Also, the quarterback and entire team is familiar with Johnson’s call on any given situation, so this might cause more motion and movement penalties by the backs and linemen. It may cause some time penalties as well.

A question? Is there a another major college looking for a new coach other than Penn State, or are they all filled? Would Johnson possibly be interested in another school and/or is his assistants in consideration for a head coaching job or offensive coordinator at other schools?

This seems like a poor time to be experimenting with this change at this time unless other options are on the table for some coaches.

The Old Man

Ken Sugiura

December 29th, 2011
12:42 pm

i did not communicate the note about Brian Bohannon very well, evidently. Bohannon spoke at the press conference in place of Johnson. He won’t be calling plays.

DEK

December 29th, 2011
12:42 pm

Ahsoisee, I think you are misreading the comment. Bohannan is just doing the press conference as Tech’s OC, since Johnson is both head coach and OC.

jj

December 29th, 2011
12:44 pm

Linebacker Nick Menocal inviting locals to Sun Bowl in Spanish

http://www.elpasotimes.com/sports/ci_19568642?source=pkg

ahsoisee

December 29th, 2011
12:48 pm

DEK: Yes, it does sound like tongue-in-cheek!

The Old Man

collegeballfan

December 29th, 2011
12:56 pm

GT will score enough points to win but will give up way more than it scores.

GT’s problem is not offense, it is defense. And for some reason GT, UGA, GSU (both) on occasion just fail to show up on both sides of the ball.

Interesting to see if it will happen this time.

dawgfan

December 29th, 2011
2:03 pm

I’m sure Missouri fans are thrilled to know that Tech fans have another SEC team through which to live vicariously. If it wasn’t for Georgia losing to SEC teams what would you Techies ever have to cheer about, beating Duke?

Georgia Tech=JOKE.

Supersize that order, mutt

December 29th, 2011
2:17 pm

dawgfan, if it wasn’t for beating Tech, you mutts wouldn’t have anything to cheer about, other than the fact that because of your pansy schedule you won the SEC Least this year and probably will again next year for the same reason.

really

December 29th, 2011
2:20 pm

Dawgfan please get back to licking your sack and go away…

dawgfan

December 29th, 2011
2:49 pm

Oh I know, the SEC East is a terrible mess. That’s why South Carolina absolutely destroyed the ACC Chump and your joke program lost to Georgia by two touchdowns.

Tech fans=NOT BRIGHT.

5150 UOAD

December 29th, 2011
2:58 pm

Tech football players got their Bowl Game Swag! Looks like it will come in handy for campus walks.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2547611166013&set=a.2547611126012.2113632.1125810748&type=1&theater

Have fun guys but WIN the DAMN GAME.

Better not show...

December 29th, 2011
3:13 pm

…that “swag” back on campus or near campus – it will be just the thing the thugs nearby would like to have to take at gunpoint…

Ramblin Man

December 29th, 2011
3:22 pm

Guys give dawgfan a break. He has no life and lives on these blogs as his only interaction with people. He is probably the most pathetic UGA fan out there and lives for the next thing Ken posts.

Marietta Buzz

December 29th, 2011
3:47 pm

Ken, Did Synjyn get many snaps in practice? What’s the chance of him playing?

GAJackets22

December 29th, 2011
3:54 pm

I hope Days starts over Washington…I know Washington has more snaps, but the offense seems to have more momentum and swagger when Days is at the helm.

GT Man

December 29th, 2011
4:05 pm

After Vad becomes starter in spring, then Washington can go back to holding the clipboard.

Marietta Buzz

December 29th, 2011
4:05 pm

Every story I have read seems to be written by the same guy, whether in El Paso or ATL newspaper. Common Ken, stir something up. Tomorrow’s headline: Days Starts Over Washington in Sun Bowl.
Just mail the check to the same address partner.

Phil Smith = THUG

December 29th, 2011
4:07 pm

What does Phil Smith say? Give me some more DOPE

Ghost

December 29th, 2011
4:10 pm

Supersize, if Tech were to play georgias pansy ass schedule , they would have 4 maybe 5 wins.
Tech in SEC east might finish ahead of Kentucky and that would depend if played in Lexington or Atlanta.Better coaching and better talent throughout SEC.

killerj

December 29th, 2011
4:20 pm

Nay Sayers Kill Me to base your whole life on a football game,Cheer,s to the Ramblin Wreck of Georgia Tech a top 100 school of the world! All a Pup fan need,s to know it,s “4 to 1 baby”! where it matters,I love that trade avenue school,THWG! Roll The Bones!

5150 UOAD

December 29th, 2011
4:33 pm

For all the Dawg fans that can’t make it to the game they are having a huge. http://www.accessatlanta.com/atlanta-holiday-guide/ga-town-prepares-to-1280185.html?cxntlid=thbz_hm

kevdawg

December 29th, 2011
5:04 pm

Good luck to the Jackets – Hope to see some Synjyn Days in the game! Do Georgia Proud!

crackbaby

December 29th, 2011
5:26 pm

Utah is very good. It will take Tech’s best effort to win. Go Jackets!

GT65

December 29th, 2011
5:45 pm

Go Jackets..

FIRE JOHNSON

December 29th, 2011
6:24 pm

Im going to lose the game for all you fans that dont like me!

Tybee island

December 29th, 2011
6:33 pm

Ga Tech d better be ready to play. Chow leaving could be a big help.

For more info on tybee island vacations: http://www.sandysbytheshore.com

HighTech

December 29th, 2011
6:56 pm

Tybee island…what is your impression of The Crab Shack? http://www.thecrabshack.com/
I had it on my agenda to eat there but couldn’t make it in time. Word is it’s outstanding.

Lt. Frank Drebin

December 29th, 2011
7:20 pm

Supersize that order mutt got really quiet this afternoon after he had no reply to the fact the South Carolina destroyed the ACC chump this year….glad those mattreses in the hotel are comfortable for Coach Fish Fry and the total of 5,000 travelers coming in for the Joke bowl game against Utah….bwahhhhh, hahahahaha

2,200 Tickets Sold

December 29th, 2011
7:25 pm

Can’t bear to watch another bowl humiliation, as the triple joke is crushed?
If I we’re you I wouldn’t go either.
But I’m glad I’m not you, because I would hate going to Comicon every year.

Lt. Frank Drebin

December 29th, 2011
7:27 pm

BigTimeTechFan – SEC has won 8 of the 14 BCS National Championships with 5 different teams….no conference can even come close to claiming to have 5 or 6 legitimate teams to win the national championship, that is how you get the benefit of the doubt over 1 hit wonders like ok state….

ACC = TOTAL JOKE

December 29th, 2011
7:35 pm

ACC, REALLY?? What a laughingstock of a conference. John Swofford should resign. UNC gets smoked. FSU is struggling against a bad Notre Dame team. More shame and embarrassment to come for ACC.

JAY FINCH = CHEAP SHOT ARTIST

December 29th, 2011
7:44 pm

Jay Finch is a THUG too!!! He is a cheap shot artist who should be suspended and punished. Karma will get him, and I cannot wait to see it.

5150 UOAD

December 29th, 2011
7:46 pm

JAY FINCH = CHEAP SHOT ARTIST

I guess you have never seen Fat Pig Ben Jones play football

5150 UOAD

December 29th, 2011
7:46 pm

what are you basing your opinion of Jay Finch on?

BS Patrol

December 29th, 2011
8:11 pm

Everyone check out killerj’s post @ 4:20. A real brain surgeon.
Dude, you had better lay off that stuff.

George Stein

December 29th, 2011
8:17 pm

Apparently the pro-style offense of FSU and the spread of ND have been “figured out.” I bet they both have offenses that, given more than two weeks to prepare for, can be shut down.

George Stein

December 29th, 2011
8:21 pm

That Brian Kelly looks so mean. I bet no players ever will want to play for ND.