Will Tech be ready for Virginia power game?

Georgia Tech outside linebacker Brandon Watts didn’t need any review of game video to recall last year’s loss to Virginia.

“They just beat us up front,” Watts said following Tech’s win over Presbyterian Saturday. “They beat us on the edges, on the perimeter, just ran the ball right down our throat.”

In case you don’t remember as well as Watts does, a refresher. Tech went to Charlottesville with a 6-0 record and No. 12 ranking. In defensive coordinator Al Groh’s first professional return to his alma mater since his firing after the 2009 season, the Cavaliers trampled the Yellow Jackets with 272 rushing yards in a 24-21 upset.

Virginia controlled the ball for 10:59 of the fourth quarter, including the final 5:58. In that final period, the Cavaliers running game was so commanding that their fans expressed their dismay (to put it gently) every time quarterback Michael Rocco dropped back to pass.

“Those tall guys, once they get a hold of you, it was pretty hard for you to get off,” defensive end Izaan Cross said that day.

That brings us to this week and an opportunity for Tech to reveal how far it has come. The Jackets looked considerably better against Virginia Tech, holding the Hokies to 17 points and 302 yards in regulation. For whatever it’s worth, they dominated Presbyterian.  A cynic could discount the performance against the Hokies with the argument that they’re not a very good offensive team this season. Tech’s defensive effort against the Blue Hose was considerable, but it was a poor-to-average FCS team. One could also point out that Virginia may not actually be that good, requiring the aid of a remarkably errant placekicker to beat Penn State at home on Saturday.

All that to say, Saturday’s date with Virginia should reveal far more about the state of the Tech defense than we’ve learned to date. The Virginia offensive line has three returning starters from the unit that controlled the Tech defense with stretch plays and tosses last year. Running back Perry Jones is back, too. Tech should expect to face plenty of power football from coach Mike London’s bunch.

Said Watts, “I think we’re better prepared this year. We’ve got a whole lot better players. We’ll be better.”

216 comments Add your comment

www

September 10th, 2012
2:20 pm

juvenal

September 10th, 2012
2:26 pm

QB depth chart?

George Stein

September 10th, 2012
2:33 pm

How the heck are we 10.5 point favorites on Saturday?

GT-06

September 10th, 2012
2:35 pm

I like how CPJ used Synjyn inside the red zone. He’s a helluva runner, just need to hold on to the ball.

Ken Sugiura

September 10th, 2012
2:42 pm

juvenal – plan to ask this afternoon. may not find out till later.

SansWorld

September 10th, 2012
2:42 pm

I suspect our D will shut them down Saturday.

Max

September 10th, 2012
2:49 pm

I actually feel fairly confident in our defensive players this season, I’m still a little worried about Groh though. The last possession against Va Tech in regular time was his fault, not the players. A strong showing against UVA would go a long way with me in terms of confidence in our coaches.

GT Fan

September 10th, 2012
2:49 pm

GT-06 … that’s the problem with Mr. Fumble.

Vs. teams like UVA, GT can NOT have fumbles that result in 14 pt swings. Yes, unlike the Blue Hose, UVA would score on GT if given 2 shots from the 1 yd line.
————-

No clue either, Stein, on the 10.5 line? IDK how they got to that # based on what, IMO, GT has shown so far.
I saw passes in the Penn St game that I know UVA won’t consistently miss 2 weeks in row. Then they have those 2 small RBs that hide behind the big, pulling OLmen that can gash Ds for bunches of yds.

Freezekalo

September 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

UVA always has played the line of scrimmage very tough against us. They are very strong on both sides of the ball.

This will be a great test for GT but I think the line at VT was equal to UVA’s line, if not better. However, it will be a good game to see where we are.

GT needs to pull out this win and next week against UM to stay in the hunt.

I believe our O-Line is the best in the conference and I think with TJ Barnes living up to recruited potential so far, I think we will not only take UVA and their “power” game down this Saturday, but I truly believe we will do it with eye poppinp force!

Freeze

Marietta Buzz

September 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

Are the Jacket a Contenda or a Pretenda? Saturday sets up the rest of the season.

Also, notice how there is not a mention of the fabulous special teams play? That’s the way it should be. Coach W is the find of the year!

GT Fan

September 10th, 2012
2:53 pm

Max … checkout how easy it was for VT to convert that 4th & 4 on that final drive too!

What in the heck coverage was AG thinking!? 4th & 4, and the DB covering VT’s slot receiver is lined up NINE (9) yds deep??? Check a replay and watch how wide open the slant was. GT’s only chance on that was a WR drop or a bad throw by LT.
AG’s gotta be better, yes.

DS CE'91

September 10th, 2012
2:54 pm

This week will be most illuminating in distinguishing us a “bad” team or a “not bad” team. It’s kind of like the golf analogy of how you can’t win the tournament on Thursday, but you can sure lose it. We can’t establish ourselves as elite this week, but we can pick up the dreaded “mediocre” label with a loss.

That said, I like our chances, and will be there Saturday pulling hard.

GO JACKETS!!

GT Fan

September 10th, 2012
2:57 pm

Looking ahead to “the U”, freezekalo ….. let’s hope the Canes’ D that has given up a zillion pts in its 1st 2 games shows up vs. the Jackets …. GT will need it!

JustinSyder

September 10th, 2012
2:57 pm

Good news! It’s been confirmed that we play Miami at 3:00 following this week. Staying away from the noon games. I like it.

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
2:59 pm

Time for Vad. Please.

lumberjacket

September 10th, 2012
2:59 pm

Remember Kansas last year? I’m not saying the score will be anything like that. But I do think CPJ remembers games that Tech should have one and lost to a inferior team. The final will be double the 10.5 spread….at least.

Haynes Killen

September 10th, 2012
3:00 pm

In the 3rd-to-last paragraph: “requiring the aid of a remarkably placekicker to beat Penn State at home on Saturday.” Adverbs cannot modify nouns. Ken, you are a remarkably bad writer. (you see, the adverb modifies an adjective in this case)

lumberjacket

September 10th, 2012
3:00 pm

oops, thats “won” not “one”. ha

DS CE'91

September 10th, 2012
3:17 pm

Weighing in on the QB debate. I am in the camp with those who think TW is pretty limited in his ability to run the TO efficiently, and who think VL demonstrates great promise. That said, I don’t get the personal vitriol that Tevin Washington gets from some folks. Comparisons to Reggie Ball? RB was a completely selfish player – even a “couch expert” like me could see that. TW is by all accounts an excellent leader whose work ethic provides a tremendous metric for our younger players. There should always be room for someone like that on the Jackets.

Now, as for who (whom?) should be starting. I am not a CPJ apologist or fawning acolyte, but I acknowledge that he is our Coach and has to make the decisions regarding personnel. I want him to start and play whoever gives us the best chance to win THIS SATURDAY!! The season is NOT lost (although some on here seem to think it is), and I am not ready to blow off 2012 for the future. Folks who keep talking about letting VL play now so he can get game experience now for some future payoff don’t seem to understand the nature of college football. The best players…. play, as long as there are team goals to be met.

Now, if you think Vad Lee gives us the best chance to win right away, there is an argument to be had there – although I am not sure we have enough evidence to support that conjecture. Alternately, if this season does go in the toilet (say we are 2-3 entering Oct), then we can start looking to the future – and starting VL starts to make more sense.

GT-06

September 10th, 2012
3:17 pm

GT Fan – I agree that our D is still suspect. But in the red zone, I’m not sure Tevin can get us that 3rd & 2 that Nesbitt always got. IF (and a big one) Synjyn can just hold on to the ball, he can get us those short yards better than Tevin. I doubt that CPJ will employ a 3-QB system though. That’ll be little over the top.

Burdell

September 10th, 2012
3:18 pm

I’ll bet you’re a real hoot at parties, Haynes Killen.

I agree GS about the spread…saw that earlier today and thought it was an error. Looking forward to the game…I hope that same cool breeze blows in the stadium like it did on Saturday night.

Great news about the UM game time.

GO JACKETS!

DS CE'91

September 10th, 2012
3:19 pm

One more thing – there are FAR more examples where rotating QB’s turned disastrous than when that strategy succeeded….

GT Rich

September 10th, 2012
3:19 pm

For the first time in CPJ’s career — his D nationally outranks his O in the two big categories — Points Scored vs Points Allowed and Yards Gained vs Allowed. The O is ranked 30th and 27th in Scoring and Yards, but the D is 18th and 25th in allowed points and yards. We’ll see how they do against a more seasoned O-line for UVA.

OptionBee

September 10th, 2012
3:22 pm

Good special teams work! It only took CPJ 3 years to admit and make the change of adding a special teams coach where it took most fans one season to decide that his “friends on staff” could not get that job done well! Now, he needs to make the necessary changes in this staff to bring in decent D1 recruiters. He chose D2 friends as coaches instead of guys that can get the job done on all fronts (coaching, recruiting, etc.). PJ look at the successful coaches (Saban, etc.) who make staff evaluations for the good of the team, not the good of the friends.

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
3:23 pm

DS CE: Why is it that people who think TW should be benched have “vitriol”? He’s nice guy. Hard worker. Not good enough to be a starter. Guy is 2-6 in last 8 games vs. FBS teams. When does he become accountable? Never, because he is a nice guy?

As a QB, no better than Reggie Ball. Both made really bad mistakes in games. Off the field, TW is a better person than Ball was.

wreckmaniac

September 10th, 2012
3:25 pm

If this team loses to Miami for the 4th time in a row, the entire team should resign. Miami is the worst team in the nation.

juvenal

September 10th, 2012
3:29 pm

Reggie won some big games-like Tev, inconsistent-but a lot hotter when he was hot, like his win at VT…still, not planning on kicking Tev around after this year…so far, Tev has the same record vs. uga…

DS CE'91

September 10th, 2012
3:32 pm

GT Joe @ 3:23,

Some folks aren’t looking for accountability – they are simply making personal attacks. I have neither the time nor the inclination to scroll through the comments sections of recent posts to point out specific examples, but I know they are there (there were some particularly nasty things from someone named “GT 1990″ or something similar).

DS CE'91

September 10th, 2012
3:34 pm

And do you really think TW deserves to be lumped in with this?

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Reggie%20Ball

Lee R.

September 10th, 2012
3:35 pm

No the worst team in the nation is Savannah St.

DS CE'91

September 10th, 2012
3:37 pm

One final thing, then back to the grind – which QB gives us the best chance to win SATURDAY?

juvenal

September 10th, 2012
3:38 pm

Reggie beat Auburn twice, & the u when they were good, & clemson-the good win tev has-but it was not a close game-any game where it is on the line late, Tev does not find a way to win…an observation, not a personal attack, don’t know him personally…

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
3:39 pm

Obama is a nice guy, does a lousy job though. He’s hired!

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
3:42 pm

Vad Lee gives us the best shot this week. He can get through mistakes with athleticism. TW cannot.

gtfan1951

September 10th, 2012
3:47 pm

fire Obama
Gt will run off 10 wins

just the truth

September 10th, 2012
3:54 pm

The spread is a teaser. GT to cover. Everybody thought the lock last week was ND and look what happened.

JustinSyder

September 10th, 2012
4:04 pm

How can you possibly compare TW to Reggie Ball. Reggie Ball was the most selfish player I’ve ever seen. TW works hard and is a leader. The dude takes shots more than any other QB in the country and still gets up. He wants to win more than anyone else. If we’re held to less than 24 points on Saturday, then I’ll start listening to some of you.

ToeMeetsLeather

September 10th, 2012
4:17 pm

Time for the OLine to step up and show us something. We “think” this is the best and deepest this position has been since CPJ has been on the Flats, but this group has not shown me much this year. For once, the D and special teams appear to be holding up their side of the equation. It is now time for the big uglies to do their “thing”!

Oh, and get the ball to Zenon, that kid is a player.

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
4:19 pm

Ball was selfish? TW works harder? TW is a leader? TW Takes shots? FINE. Does that excuse his fine 2-6 record in the last 8 FBS games?

NO.

Time for some accountability. Yes, a foreign word in these times.

TW just doesn’t have the tools to be a big time QB. Despite his work ethic. That’s life.

BigTimeTECHFan

September 10th, 2012
4:19 pm

GT will hold VA to 6 points

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
4:20 pm

How do I compare TW to Ball? Let’s see:

Ball throws the ball away because he thought it was 3rd down instead of 4th.
TW DOESN’T throw the ball away because he thought it was 4th down instead of 3rd.

LOL.

razorjacket

September 10th, 2012
4:22 pm

Reggie was a a strange dude, with limited talent, and selfish at times. But, other times he was a baller, who made some great plays. the problem was maddening inconsistency. Fans seem to remember only the bad plays, but the dude made a lot of good plays too. When he was on, he showed much more upside than TW, and would have probably done well in this offense.

JM

September 10th, 2012
4:27 pm

So is UVA bringing in the same o-line and RBs that they had last season?

FL Jacket

September 10th, 2012
4:29 pm

Haha, GTJoe is back trolling…

juvenal

September 10th, 2012
4:29 pm

Reggie was selfish enough to want to beat Auburn, & worked hard enough to do it….you youngsters probably did not have as many long days vs. au as i did, & it felt good to beat them the 1st. time since “79-Tev has nothing that compares…& before someone tells me it’s a team thing, there are 8 other baseball players-at a minimum-on the field, only one gets credit for a win…

macrotech

September 10th, 2012
4:31 pm

I felt like Reggie Ball got jealous of all the attention Calvin Johnson was getting….seemed like Ball stopped trying to get the ball to Johnson….used to frustrate me!!! That said, it would’ve been fun seeing Ball run this offense!

DS CE'91

September 10th, 2012
4:34 pm

“The most popular player on any football team is the backup quarterback” – too many folks to cite.

Congrats, GT Joe, you are a cliche. Good, on-point Obama reference as well, because the starting QB on your favorite college football team is certainly analogous to the leader of the free world. Although that perspective does shed light some of your recent posts…….

I hope Vad Lee is uniformly excellent too – he’s just one or two bad Saturdays away from being “another Reggie Ball” as well, at least to you I’d guess.

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
4:35 pm

not trolling, truthing.

FL Jacket

September 10th, 2012
4:40 pm

truthing? Correlating every loss back to who the starting QB is is hardly truthing…whatever that is. Inserting your opinion when you have no idea what the alternative result would be has a name…it’s called “monday morning quarterbacking”. You must have been the same idiot who called up CPJ and asked why didn’t we manage the clock better and scored as time expired…instead of taking the lead against VT at 44 secs left.

GT Joe

September 10th, 2012
4:40 pm

DS CE: Are you happy with Tevin’s 2-6 record in his last 8 FBS games? Are you happy with his 5-9 record vs. BCS conference teams not named Duke?

Leader of the free world? Doh.

Yes, we should stop with the Reggie Ball comparisons. Reggie was WAY better as a starter.