1. One sure way to irritate Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is to suggest that his offense can be vulnerable if an opponent has more than one week to prepare. Johnson’s typical response is that it also gives Tech extra time and that any defense would fare better against any offense with more preparation.
Having Johnson debate the topic with Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid might make for interesting theater, then. Last season, the Cavaliers had an open date before playing the Yellow Jackets and gave them their first loss of the season in a 24-21 victory. In becoming the first team that season to hold Tech under 300 yards of total offense, Reid freely gave credit to the extra time Virginia had to work in practice against Tech’s option-based spread. The two teams play Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“It is just absolutely a terrific advantage when you can have one extra week or have a preseason like Virginia Tech was able to have,” Reid said this week in a teleconference with Virginia media.
With a standard week of practice this season prior to Tech, Virginia devoted time in spring practice and in the preseason to the Tech offense. An additional challenge is that the Cavaliers defense lost seven starters from last season. Reid was concerned about his young secondary getting reeled in on play-action fakes.
“This is a very difficult offense to duplicate in practice, very difficult,” Reid said. “The speed of the offense is hard to duplicate when you have scout-team players running it.”
The standard rationale for Reid’s line of thinking is that the option-based spread is so rare in college football that players aren’t used to facing it and that it requires a more disciplined style of play that is difficult to learn in a week’s time.
“You’ve just got to depend on your players to fulfill their assignments, and it’s not easy, because this offense conflicts you on assignments,” he said. “It’s really hard to do.”
2. Inside linebacker Daniel Drummond, safety Fred Holton and B-back Charles Perkins will not play Saturday. They were listed as “out” in the injury report released Thursday. Drummond re-aggravated a high-ankle sprain in last Saturday’s game against Presbyterian College, Holton has a lingering foot injury. Perkins’ injury is undisclosed. B-back David Sims (shin) did not practice Thursday and is listed as questionable.
Zach Laskey is listed as the starting B-back on the depth chart, with Broderick Snoddy on the second string. Drummond’s replacement is Jabari Hunt-Days. Safety Jamal Golden will again sub for Holton, who has yet to play this season. Offensive tackle Morgan Bailey, returning from a high-ankle sprain, practiced and is expected to play.
3. Offensive lineman Will Jackson was befuddled by the Jackets’ loss to Virginia last year, saying that he felt the team was mentally prepared, but then he missed assignments that he’d “never missed before in my life” and was completely unable to explain it afterwards when watching the game video.
“That’s kind of how it is for everybody,” he said. “Just kind of anything that could have gone wrong went wrong for us.”
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog