The meaning of Tech giving up 609 yards

Could Georgia Tech’s 609-yard meltdown have been an aberration? From one perspective (and probably many others), possibly, but most likely not.

In 2011, there were 22 games between BCS conference opponents in which one team gave up yardage within 25 yards either way of the 609 surrendered by the Yellow Jackets to Miami. Some defenses were torched multiple times, 16 teams in all.

Of those 16, 10 finished 81st or worse in total defense at the end of the 2011 season. The rest were Wisconsin (15th), Arkansas (47th), Oklahoma (55th), Missouri (61st), Clemson (71st) and Purdue (73rd). Tech finished 44th last season at 359.3 yards per game. Those six could be well explained by their opponents.

The opposing offenses, with 2011 rank in total offense, were No. 4 Oregon (vs. Wisconsin), No. 7 Texas A&M (Arkansas), No. 5 Baylor (Oklahoma), No. 12 Oklahoma (Missouri), No. 15 West Virginia (Clemson) and No. 14 Wisconsin (Purdue). It’s a lot of Big 12 offenses and defenses, though in some ways that makes Miami’s 609 number even more concerning. The Hurricanes hadn’t cracked 600 yards since 2000, and that was against McNeese State.

To provide a more apples-to-apples comparison, 10 ACC teams gave up 500 or more yards against in a league game last year – Boston College, Duke (twice), Maryland (four times) and Wake Forest (twice). They finished 70th, 92nd, 108th and 74th, respectively – all worse than Tech.

The point being, if a team gives up 500 yards or more, chances are pretty good that it’s not a fluke. A defense does not give up 609 yards (or 584 in regulation) by accident.

Further, there were few, if any, cheapies that Miami got against the Jackets. Besides the 65-yard pass play from Stephen Morris to Phillip Dorsett at the game’s outset, Miami’s longest play was 32 yards. And the 65-yarder was the product of excellent pass protection and an apparent mistake in the secondary, and not, for instance, a player tripping or running into an official.

(Speaking of which, in his Sunday teleconference, Miami coach Al Golden said that the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was called against Miami after an incomplete pass to Jeff Greene on Tech’s first scoring drive was “a sideline infraction.” Golden said that a side judge ran into someone on the Hurricanes sideline. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. I digress.)

The tenth team to give up 500-plus yards last year in an ACC game may come as a surprise. Virginia Tech surrendered 519 yards to … Miami. The Hokies finished 10th in the country in total defense despite getting trampled by the Hurricanes in Blacksburg, Va., in a 38-35 Virginia Tech win last October. Two weeks later, Miami gained 262 yards against the Jackets. If you’re looking for a glimmer of hope (if the blog comments are any barometer, I think many of you are looking for something a little pointier than a glimmer), there you have it. That said, Virginia Tech has a wee bit more of a track record than the Jackets do.

Where does that leave Tech? Unless this game does turn out to be the crazy outlier, improving pass rush is the start of a long list. The protection afforded Morris gave Miami’s wide receivers considerable time to work free of pass coverage.

“Part of it was good design, certainly, with (offensive coordinator) Jedd (Fisch) and the offensive coaches,” Golden said Sunday, explaining how Dorsett repeatedly ran free in the secondary. “Part of it was the protection that we were getting up front. Throwing 52 passes and not having a sack is excellent by any measure.”

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

186 comments Add your comment

Todd

September 24th, 2012
2:00 pm

Squirmin'

September 24th, 2012
2:15 pm

Ugh. Very disappointing.

GTBob

September 24th, 2012
2:27 pm

Kansas St, a team that is ranked 55th this year in total defense, and was 72nd last year in the same category held this team to 262 yards. We manage to follow that up by giving up 609 yards, the most Miami has had against a major opponent since 1998. That can’t possibly be an aberration. We are pretty bad defensively.

Wrecking Ball

September 24th, 2012
2:28 pm

This sucks. Being blown out feels bad. Losing a close game in OT feels even worse. Especially when that keeps happening. I’m happy we came back from a 19-point deficit — any offense that can run up 36 points in a quarter and a half deserves at least some recognition, I think. But what it comes down to is that if out second stringers aren’t out on the field when fourth quarter rolls around, meaning the game is still close at that point, we are in trouble. I don’t know if it’s an issue of physical conditioning, or mental toughness, but our players right now have problems finishing games. I hate to rag on Washington, but all this talk we keep hearing about his leadership does not seem to materialize. A Nesbitt or Dwyer he ain’t. Those guys ran harder under pressure, whereas Washington unfortunately caves.

gt4ever

September 24th, 2012
2:29 pm

All of it was the fact that our Defense is just a little bit worse than our Offense… Pathetic! We got torched by a very average team….

RambleOn84

September 24th, 2012
2:29 pm

Groh’s got to go.

And Paul Johnson deserves plenty of blame, too. First off, you can’t tell me this team was ready to play when they give up 19 quick points like that. That falls on Coach.

Secondly, the decision to punt with 2:00 left on the clock was passing the buck by Johnson. You have ONE YARD to earn to win the game. You fancy yourself an offensive mind and you don’t have a play rung up for that situation? The defense was getting torched all day. Who cares if Miami has to drive 50 yards or 90 yards? Everyone watching that game knew Miami was gonna score.

I still support PJ, but he has some major thinking to do after that game.

Some think the answer is to start Vad. Some think it’s to add in more passing plays (presumably with Vad at QB). I think ANY change at this point will help…what you’re doing is not working. Quit playing not to lose at the end of games…that is what got Gailey fired.

Remember the Paul Johnson all of us Tech fans loved a few years ago? The one who was going to go for it when the game was on the line? What happened to him?

BigDawg

September 24th, 2012
2:30 pm

Imagine what would happen to GT if they played in the SEC! hahaha

tooltime432

September 24th, 2012
2:33 pm

UGA and Clemson are gonna smoke us. It is going to be ugly. This makes it really hard to want to get to campus by noon to see the middle tenn game.

gt4ever

September 24th, 2012
2:33 pm

Absolutely, he makes ONE yard in regulation and we win this football game. Paul Johnson wimped out and he passed the buck to a defense that couldn’t stop Buford. Pathetic! Paul Johnson should be FIRED!

mulk

September 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

No playmakers to be found on that side of the ball, especially on the line. Offensive linemen look like they have velcro when blocking Tech defensive linemen. I’m sure that Coach Groh knows how to coach defense but he can’t make chicken salad out of chicken $hit.

Somebody needs to recruit some defensive players.

Silly Mutts

September 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

@ Big Dawg – They would beat everyone but ALA, LSU and UGA. However, I have no doubt it would beat everyone else (USC, ARK, Vandy, Miss, Missouri, TT, etc) just like those aforementioned do.

George Stein

September 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

I get no enjoyment in saying a man – or woman – should lose his job, but the time has come for the Groh experiment to end. The defense has not improved in several seasons and has hamstrung the team from being decent to being great.

I think Johnson should be blamed with hiring him, but he should get one more shot to get it right. This is a team that should be 4-0, ranked in the top 15, and playing for a banner in December. Now we’re playing for Shreveport, and that’s not good enough with the rest of the performance.

crackbaby

September 24th, 2012
2:36 pm

It was difficult to watch the 4th Qtr. Our D line was completely ineffective and there was not even a scent of a pass rush. This was compounded by the offense’s inability to get 1st downs.

Dawgs are gonna roll Tech like yesterday’s laundry. It’s tough to be a Jacket fan – always has been.

White Goodman

September 24th, 2012
2:36 pm

it is what it is

September 24th, 2012
2:37 pm

wrecking ball right on the money…how did we beat them in 08 but not 09? One more NFL player on defense Michael Johnson…I heard a guy on radio who coached at Nebraska years ago who said Nebraska won 6 of their games they should not have won because they had ONE player on defense who ate the quarterback for lunch because he was a 5 star and was that good. This guy said no one else mattered. This kid could win it by himself.

Coaching is accountable as well to allow Miami to come back from 14 down. TW is a 1AA quarterback who had a good game vs Clemson but that was it in the last two and a half years.
Even against Clemson, it wasn’t perfect. He threw an interception while attempting to reach Orwin while Stephen Hill was wide open and by himself.

crackbaby

September 24th, 2012
2:39 pm

@Rambleon84 – CPJ went for it on 4th and 1 in OT and TW got stuffed by two unblocked defenders. Punting in the 4th Qtr was the right call IMO.

Silly Mutts

September 24th, 2012
2:39 pm

And Clemson gave up 70 to a “real” offense btw.

GT Dude

September 24th, 2012
2:39 pm

Now is the time to double down,
to put in perspective how bad last weeks defence scheme was, just to get back to last years 360 yd/gm avg we need to hold MTSU to 119 yds
hope the old man Groh, can learn some new trick

BTW never saw the injury report how are we looking after Miami?

Silly Mutts

September 24th, 2012
2:41 pm

@crackbaby….I agree. The punt was the right call. I think he Tebowed and prayed our defense would make a play which, as usual, it didn’t. I don’t think he will rely on the defense “ever” again. He should just try to score 70 on everyone.

it is what it is

September 24th, 2012
2:41 pm

One thing I learned in my lifetime, those who are losers or fired for being losers aren’t going to help you win in the long run. All they are going to do is drag you down to their losing level. Because that is all they know. Maybe they won 30 yrs ago but they were fired for their losing ways before we hired them. And we have more than one of those coaches on this coaching staff.

www

September 24th, 2012
2:42 pm

there’s still time to turn it around but EVERYONE needs to step up and make fewer mistakes.

and some QB hurries/knockdowns/sacks/TFLs wouldn’t hurt.

OkieDawg

September 24th, 2012
2:43 pm

Tech loses two games in overtime and all the fan base is calling for the coaches to be fired. Yeah, the defense needs fixing and the numbers didn’t look good against Miami but all is not lost. And all the talk about calling the AD and even the President of GT to request coaching changes. Really?

Now is when the players need to feel fan support. And that will not happen if they play Saturday in a half empty stadium. I mean come on…2 games in OT!

George Stein

September 24th, 2012
2:45 pm

Never thought I’d live to see the day when a UGA fan was more rational than a Tech fan.

Groh does need to be replaced, though, OkieDawg.

it is what it is

September 24th, 2012
2:47 pm

GA TECH needs to do whatever it takes to win. Whether its a new offense, a coaching change, definitely an Arts degree so that we can get some 5 stars we cannot get or just PAY THE PLAYERS like Miami did. They are going on probation but what does that do? They still get to play all their games, win them and probably play in a bowl game maybe the Orange Bowl. I am serious.

You ever wonder why UGA gets all the 4 and 5 stars in the state? Because they really do not have to share most of them with GT. Alabama and Auburn fight each other for recruits. And both schools come over to this state and take what they want too. I am SICK OF IT.

Augusta Jacket

September 24th, 2012
2:49 pm

In years past we’ve had playmakers on defense that have stepped up to make big plays at the end of the game, ie. D. Morgan, M. Johnson, and P. Wheeler. Attachu is the closest thing we have.

AB

September 24th, 2012
2:50 pm

The problem is not complicated. Tech has no pass rush. That make it pretty darn difficult to defend the pass. Then, the secondary tackling is atrocious. I expect 60%or more of Miami’s passing yards came after the catch. Tech’s DBs missed far more tackles than they made on Saturday. Looked to be a very poor effort.

The problem is not Groh’s defensive scheme or CPJ’s offense or anything else so esoteric. Tech needs better pass rushers and DBs who want to put ball carriers on the ground.

tooltime432

September 24th, 2012
2:50 pm

GS and okiedawg. I don’t think it’s that we lost, it’s how we lost

SansWorld

September 24th, 2012
2:50 pm

Thanks Okie Dawg, Wish we had more fans like you.

Reebok

September 24th, 2012
2:50 pm

Tech is an average team. We will beat the out-of-conference powder puff teams, split the games within the ACC, and get trashed by Georgia. Let’s just hope Richt doesn’t feel like running up the score, because with all the weapons Georgia’s got on offense, they could hang 70 on our “defense.”

Silly Mutts

September 24th, 2012
2:51 pm

@OkieDawg – I would agree with your assessment except for the following:
1) This is not the first, second, third, fourth or fifth time GT has played like this under PJ
2) Fan support is earned and GT has not earned the support. You can get “free” support when going to a game doesn’t cost you money to park, attend the game, get refreshments and gear showing your support
3) GT’s record against quality opponents under PJ
4) The way GT loses (ST, Defense and some bad offensive play calling)
5) There are other coaches out there you can pay less than 2.5 million and are just as good
6) PJ is a buffoon and Al Groh is a JOKE

George Stein

September 24th, 2012
2:53 pm

That’s part of it, tooltime.

lee

September 24th, 2012
2:54 pm

If you don’t change, you can expect the same result.In the open field, teach and reteach D backs to go for the areas below the knees and hang on. At least the breakaway back will eventually stop running.Have a number 2 quarterback trained to either throw a certain pass route or exucute a straight forward QB sneak for one yard or less and a first down .Films showing same D backs missing open field tackles or not defending well on long passes should be replaced with other candidates.Defensive line needs subs to give them rest to face the rugged 4th quarter in better condition.

Augusta Jacket

September 24th, 2012
2:55 pm

I don’t remember Tenuta’s defenses being word beaters or Wommacks for that matter, but they always seemed to dial up something when we needed. I think it was NC State or Maryland game and M. Johnson got back to back sacks to stop a game winning drive…we just don’t have that and I don’t know if it’s the coaches or players

JasperJacket

September 24th, 2012
2:58 pm

ESPN

“Miami was the first team this season to have an offensive play longer than 46 yards against the Yellow Jackets, and the first team to score a rushing touchdown on this defense. Georgia Tech allowed more than 20 points for the first time this season. The Yellow Jackets allowed more than 500 yards in total offense for just the fourth time in Paul Johnson’s five seasons and for the first time since 2010. And Miami’s 609 yards of total offense is the third-highest total Georgia Tech has allowed all time and the second-highest total in an ACC game. Miami’s 30 first downs are the most allowed under Johnson.”

Going backwards on D. Offense is not the issue. Not acceptable, for guys earing the $ these guys are.

Silly Mutts

September 24th, 2012
3:01 pm

@Jasper…thank you as you nailed it. If Johnson wants to be a HC (not an offensive coordinator) change is needed immediately. If Groh is around another season, I will personally remove everything GT from my thoughts.

GTFan

September 24th, 2012
3:05 pm

@OkieDawg…..are u freaking serious?

I can remember the same exact comments coming out of Dawg fans mouth last year, and the years previous to this. The only reason Dawgs fans are quiet is because they are winning. It only takes one loss, and then the tables were turn. I am definitely not one of the one saying fire the coaches, but if the season doesn’t change, they definitely will be in the hot seat.

Ignition

September 24th, 2012
3:06 pm

Tech could easily be 4-0…
Instead it’s 2 & 2 while loosing in OT twice..
The sky is not falling, Tech is still young and I personally feel that the better talent is in the underclasses ..
I don’t like the arogance of CPJ but he is a winner & Al Groh is a 3 time COY, and is highly regards as a defensive guru. I’m not ready to give up on so hastily on all that proven knowledge and experience
Continuously changing coaching staffs is not the answer either..
Maybe I’m a glasses half full guy but it appears to me the GT is on the verge up some very special seasons in a few years to come..

September and it's over

September 24th, 2012
3:07 pm

Who cares? It is still Sept. and we have nothing to play for. If you want to say UGA, I’d say that we pathetic to even have to look forward to that. I’d also say they are gonna kill us. Aaron Murray is better than that Miami freshmen that lit us up. I sold my Clempson tickets and gave away my B.C and BYU. Unlucky for me my wife went to MTSU and I’m forced to go. I’ll leave after a quarter and there will be 15k left in the stands.

George Stein

September 24th, 2012
3:09 pm

I wish I could say the same, Silly Mutts, but I know I’ll buy season tickets again.

It has been awfully frustrating to go back and think of all the games we would have won with a competent defense. Johnson would be 3-1 against UGA if we had one.

Silly Mutts

September 24th, 2012
3:09 pm

@Ignitiion – you must have been one of those guys that backed Gailey and his stupidity too. This team sucks and the players are DII talent on both offense and defense. Only because of the Spread Option can GT score and its defense is the most pathetic thing I have EVER seen.

GTFan

September 24th, 2012
3:11 pm

@crackbaby….

Dawgs are gonna roll Tech like yesterday’s laundry. It’s tough to be a Jacket fan – always has been.

Why? Just because we lost, and played horrible. I will always support my Jackets to the end. I will never support UGA because of the fan base. Rude, Obnoxious, and many more reasons.

fuzzybee78

September 24th, 2012
3:12 pm

Said it before–
CAG cannot TACKLE for our guys. Missed tackles at crunch time IS the reason we lost those 2 games. Yards after the catch is the problem. O is putting up points. We keep talking about TW as if we scored 10 points a game! TW gets put in this position BECAUSE the D cant TACKLE.

ibidGT

September 24th, 2012
3:13 pm

Till when does CPJ’s contract last?

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 24th, 2012
3:13 pm

I don’t agree that Tevin caved. He was coached not to change the play more than once. That sounds like he is a very disciplined player. I still believe that Miami’s speed disrupted everything GT did.

mulk

September 24th, 2012
3:13 pm

rambleon84,

Coach Johnson is the same but the guys trying to get that yard are not named Nesbit or Dwyer. One guy hardly ever tackled Nesbit but almost any guy’s arm can, and does, tackle Washington.I’m not blaming Washington but he is not that athletic or strong. And, I’m beginning to question his athletic smarts.

fuzzybee78

September 24th, 2012
3:14 pm

Ken, did I miss an update on Louis Young? Will he be back for Clemson? Also Fred Holton, getting thin at DB.

The New ACC

September 24th, 2012
3:14 pm

Throughout the Miami game I PRAYED for Tech defense to get a 3-and-out. I don’t recall even one during the entire game. Did Miami ever punt?

Sure, there were turnovers by Miami. But, a defense has to be able to stop an offense in order to win a game!

We did not.

Silly Mutts

September 24th, 2012
3:15 pm

@ George…I respect that you support GT even through the bad times. Its just not how I am going to handle it. Why would I continue to dump money into a 1960’s loser? Let’s face it. GT should concentrate on academics and dump athletics. They don’t really care. Students don’t really care about the athletics. They just want to make sure they are employed after graduating. Why waste all that money on good facilities for the players and coaches when the outcome doesn’t really matter to anybody of consequence. PJ got his chance at a high profile job and it was an epic failure because GT isn’t a school with athletics in mind.

GTBob

September 24th, 2012
3:15 pm

I mean come on…2 games in OT!

We have lost three of our last 5 games in OT after blowing a late 4th qtr lead. I think we have a right to be critical here. It would be different if we mounted a comeback to tie a game and fell short in the end. Thats not what happens. We seem to choke every game away.

GTFan

September 24th, 2012
3:16 pm

I just think the value is no longer there DR raised the ticket prices as if we were a mayor contender. I was fine paying $35, and expecting those kinds of results. But now he brings an over priced coach, adds contribution categories and gives equal, if not worse, results than Chan. He’s only wining 7.5% more than Chan did, and in four years, he’s already lost to more teams with a loosing record than Chan did in his entire 6 years! Those defending CPJ need to step back. Do you know his record against teams that finish .500 or better is 14-33! Ok, so he can beat the Middle Tennessee’s and Samfords of the world, one (what now looks like) fluke season in 2009 should not excuse you for the rest of your contract. Very disappointed overall. Not even going to go to MTS. Too early, would rather cure my hangover