This will be brief, as I’ve got a full day ahead and am already, not at all surprisingly, behind.
1. In the loss to Virginia Tech, no passes were completed to the Georgia Tech wide receivers. By my cursory count, I had four “targets” to wide receivers that were incomplete. If memory serves, I think only one of them had much of a chance, a deep ball from Tevin Washington to Jeremy Moore in the second quarter.
It’s just the second time in Paul Johnson’s tenure that that’s happened. (vs. Iowa in the Orange Bowl) There’s a pretty simple explanation for it, that being three wide receivers (Darren Waller, Jeff Greene and Moore) playing against experienced corners (Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum) and the protection wasn’t always the best. Stephen Hill would have come in handy.
That said, Tech will need to get the wide receivers involved, even on a very limited basis, to give the running game some more room and take pressure off the offense. While there is a certain aesthetic to a 20-play, 75-yard drive, it requires the offense to be precise for a longer duration. Monday, there was a Washington run for 22 yards and a pass to Orwin Smith for 20 and another to B.J. Bostic for 19. After that, the next longest play was 13 yards.
2. I saw this a lot on comments, so I won’t delve too deeply, but the defense’s performance was improved, excepting the last two possessions. The Tech media guide has a useful stat in it for which sports information director Dean Buchan deserves my thanks – point per possession. In some ways, it is as telling a statistic as there is. Last year, the defense averaged 2.17 points per possession, not including overtime. Monday, it was 1.42, which was better than all but two games (Maryland and Western Carolina) and tied with the Clemson game.
3. This is not exactly a daring opinion, but I think only time will tell what the Virginia Tech loss ultimately means. The Hokies may end up winning the ACC and the defense, as Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster believes, may prove to be one of the best ever in school history. In that light, a three-point loss in which the Jackets had offensive malfunctions, were without three defensive starters and yet were one play from winning in a night game at Lane Stadium doesn’t look so bad.
Perhaps Tech’s defense turns out to be solid, the offense gains some traction and the Jackets roll through Virginia, Maryland and the rest of the schedule.
Or it may well be that the flaws from Monday’s game – subpar performance by the offensive line and a nosedive by the defense in the fourth quarter – were but omens for a season in which losses are many.
Personally, I think it’s way too early to tell.
More later from Johnson’s news conference.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog