Against Clemson, slowing pace crucial for Tech

If you’re looking for a reason to believe Tech has a chance Saturday, I’ve got a couple. At the risk of being Lucy with the football…

I think Tech will give a far better effort against Clemson than it has the past two weeks, particularly defensively. I think having Jeremiah Attaochu and Louis Young will help, and not only from a talent consideration.

“They come out there with a lot of energy every day,” linebacker Brandon Watts said. “They get everybody going during the game. They’re two of our playmakers. You can never have enough playmakers on the field.”

As best I can gather, I think the Middle Tennessee State loss, rather than fragment the team, got players’ attention and served as something of a slap in the face. Also, Tech will be the more desperate team Saturday, and I think that means something. It certainly did last Saturday. This team seems to handle itself well when it gets counted out.

“We will get their ‘A’ game,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “We’ll get the best they’ve got, and our guys know that.”

Attempts at mind-reading aside, consider this. Clemson averages 3.0 points per possession. Tech averages 2.97. (Even if the Presbyterian game is removed, the number is still 2.8.) Clemson’s defense has given up 1.96 points per possession. Tech’s number is 1.94. (The number does jump to 2.47 without the Presbyterian game. That said, Clemson’s numbers might be a little skewed having played Ball State and Furman.)

Clemson has produced 28 plays of 20 yards or more but given up 32. Tech has 27 for and 22 against. Boston College put up almost as many points on Clemson (31) as it did against Maine (32). Clemson’s defense is talented but young.

That said, as Paul Johnson put it Tuesday, “You can take numbers and make them look any way you want, twist them around any way you wanted to twist them. You guys understand that, I think.” (The second comment was classic Johnson.)

Of course, it wouldn’t take me long to build a convincing statistical case that Tech will get its doors blown off Saturday. I’d probably start with 91 points and 1,119 yards of offense allowed in the past two games. I might also mention that the 31-17 win last year at Bobby Dodd Stadium was built on the backs of four Clemson turnovers, the most costly being a fourth-quarter interception in the Tech end zone on what looked like a miscommunication between quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins. A touchdown would have made the score 31-24 in Tech’s favor.

All that to say, I think the number of possessions and the speed of the game will go a long way towards determining the outcome. Tech’s best chance is for something akin to last season’s game.

Clemson had 12 possessions (the last when the game was out of reach), ran 65 plays and held the ball for 21:00. The Tigers have averaged 13.4 possessions this season, maxing out at 15 last week. They’ve averaged 80 plays per game. Clemson thrives on big plays, obviously, but also volume.

“You got to try to get some turnovers, force them to continue to execute,” coach Paul Johnson said. “If you don’t give it to them all in one or two plays, make them have to grind it out. They can do that. Clearly, if you watch, they can. But that’s a far better chance of trying to stop them than the other when you give it up in one or two plays.”

105 comments Add your comment


October 4th, 2012
5:02 pm

Not falling for it….we are going to get blasted by Clemson….Clemson 56 Ga Tech 7


October 4th, 2012
5:08 pm

We dont have a chance against South Carolina…….This will be our first tail kicking

Jacket Man

October 4th, 2012
5:17 pm

I believe Vad was involved with one turnover, and that was due to an errant running play, which was a dropped handoff or a pitch issue by a running back due to poor blocking, not a pass play or him dropping the ball of of his own accord. He has been doing fantastic in practice and if you look at his passing stats when he’s been in games, he’s been outstanding. Also, his yards per rush in games is also outstanding. In other words, Vad is doing everything he needs to get serious snaps. I would also say that the team seems to gravitate more to Vad as a leader than they do towards Tevin, so I would think it’s getting to the point that if the team needs to start to rally around someone, it will be Vad Lee, and you’ll see him playing quite a bit.


October 4th, 2012
5:26 pm

Let’s just hope we don’t get a big lead. If we do, we’ll forget what got us there and start trying to run the clock (instead of getting first downs….) and start with the prevent defense.

yeller bug

October 4th, 2012
7:34 pm

Maybe we can get a big lead and then hope that lightning strikes a car out in the parking lot and they have to stop the game. If we get past the mid-point of the 3rd Qtr—does it count as a full game?

dry dirt road

October 4th, 2012
8:41 pm

lets see if Tech can remember what they wore for their first two games this Saturday, or if they’ve forgotten for the rest of the season; doesn’t pot make one have diminished short term memory? yes; well, then Sammy Wadkins should be the player who forgets, not Tech players

dry dirt road

October 4th, 2012
8:48 pm

Tech might need to shop for a new head coach, and d c, and a d; Radikovich allows CPJ to behave abnormally compared to all other football coaches who use shotguns on about every offensive play; CPJ’s faking so much wastes time moving toward the end zones, shotguns waste no time and go for big gains according to the law of averages, with big gains occurring on about every drive, no 3rd down and then punt CPJ stuff


October 4th, 2012
8:54 pm

You guys on this blog can believe the smoke that Tech is going to get better with the same Head coach and DC if you want to, ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, what do you guys expect, we get a season changing victory, nobody is going to lay down for Tech, Tech cann’t even beat Duke, everyone knows Tech offense and how to defend it and whats to say about the Defenese, and pass defense(oh boy!) Duke passes more than anybody. What makes me cry is Paul Johnson is always claimming he only goes after certain player for his offense(bul_sh_t) no good player wants to play in that offense, lineman, Tightend (doesn’t use one) quarterback, fullback, running back, wide receiver, so on and so on. Basically what I am saying the few recruits he has are taking a second look, the quarterback recruit Damon Mitchell is taking Officals visits now and I feel he may not be the only one, heck we only have 13 recruits, half of them are not even rated, WAKE UP, STOP BELIEVING THE PAUL JOHNSON BULL, TECH CAN WILL, BUT NOT WITH THIS COACH, its going to be tough to start over, but the sooner the better, Tech not be in this same position next year with the same coach. I can see Tech losing next year with someone different working of getting his program together, drop the weight of Paul Johnson NOW before we all become very, very sorry.


October 4th, 2012
9:50 pm

You’re right, Kingster. No amount of misplaced and desperate optimism changes the fact that the CPJ experiment is a failure.

GT Rich

October 4th, 2012
9:52 pm

Lot’s of good mojo in death valley for GT, Calvin’s spiderman catch…Kerry Watkins game winner in the endzone. The Clemson D is almost as bad as Tech’s. There is hope…a few big plays could really spark GT to a shoot-out win. If we have to play catch up, would rather see Vad in the pistol. About time for a Synjyn halfback pass…

Tech Guy

October 4th, 2012
10:07 pm

Beat Clemson and all is well. Lose to Clemson and we’re looking at Bill Lewis revisited. It’s that simple.


October 4th, 2012
10:15 pm

www-thanks for reminding us to vote for Orwin including the website.


October 4th, 2012
10:16 pm

I want to believe and can even see a scenario where we win this game (since that’s pretty much our style to win big games and screw up against lesser opponents), but this time I just can’t. I’m an alumni and bleed gold and black, but I think we’re toast this year for a number of reasons. However, the biggest thing I just can’t see is Al Groh finding any way at all to stop Clemson’s offense. We wil give up 500 yards or more again. We could score 52 points Saturday and it might not be enough. Al Groh is more over-rated as a football mind than Chan Gailey and that’s saying something. The 3-4 just sucks if you aren’t Bama or the New England Patriots. Clemson is going to have a bippy heyday against it. Also, the last time that team morale was this toxic was way back when Reggie Ball was throwing the ball away on 4th down and running out of the back of the end zone. That Miami game really seemed to break a psyche that was weak and devoid of leadership to begin with.


October 4th, 2012
10:23 pm

Another comment…..I’m sick of hearing everyone dog the triple option. The offense isn’t the biggest problem. It has been proven to work here and work well. The problem is Johnson’s dogged stubborness in not making adjustments to OTHER areas of the game, such as…..

1) Defensive staff. I don’t get the idea that Johnson has anything more than a rudimentary grasp on defensive theory. He wouldn’t have even HIRED Al Groh if he did. Even Johnson seems to forget that GT probably averaged 45 points agaist the Wahoos when Groh was coach. There’s a reason he got canned at Virginia. He can’t afford to be loyal to him past this season at all. He needs to completely clean house on this side of the ball.

2) Personnel and recruiting. This offense really isn’t THAT different from Oregon’s. What is different is the players running it. If we had 4 star and 5 star talent instead of 2 and 3 star guys, we would shred almost any defense in the country. We would also be able to have a wider arsenal of passing plays and option runs, since we would have guys that could actually EXECUTE. Ask any coach. PLAYERS matter more than whatever system you pick. Whatever you do pick, though, you have to execute it well. For awhile, GT did do that.

3) Special teams. My gosh…until this season how many times did these guys lose the game for us?

yeller bug

October 4th, 2012
11:03 pm

Bleed Gold and Black Bobo? What are you a Vanderbilt fan?

People yap about the star quality of recruits and Tech should be competitive, but there are 50 schools that are consistently going to bowl games and they all want 4 and 5 star recruits too. The thought was that CPJ was reasonably successful with the TO at a service academy and with better talent (not great talent) we could compete with virtually anyone. Though frustrated with our lack of offensive balance (e.g passing the ball), our offense has performed well in the CPJ era.

As for D, you may be right regarding Groh (evidence shows you probably are), but when it came time for CPJ to find a DC, the logic of hiring CAG made sense—he’s a former head coach, he has Pro Experience, has a Super Bowl ring (impresses recruits), coached under Parcells and Belichick—-that’s a very strong resume. CPJ wants to focus on offense and having a former HC who can take over the D and build something strong with it without a lot of meddling, then the decision to take a chance on Groh seems even more logical. Hey I’m as disappointed as anyone, but I cannot fault the choice of Groh for DC. IMO, CAG has tried to implement something too complex—these kids are not pros and can’t study the playbook all day long—they have classes to go to. It’s evident that they seem lost at times on the field. But we’ve got to finish the season…so we dust ourselves off and getting ready to play the tiggers and let’s get after them and then see where we are at the end of the season.


October 4th, 2012
11:03 pm

Don’t compare GT and Oregon. GT only has the run, Oregon on the other hand has both the pass AND run. Two different beasts.

Secondly, this offense operates well, in small spurts that last a quarter or two. 2nd half against MTSU we scored 7 points, against MTSU? You are telling me that the offense is working well there?

1 4 GT

October 4th, 2012
11:05 pm

Bobo….We all know that Erk Russell hired Paul Johnson @ GaSourtern when not many knew a thing about him. How many know what his job was for Erk? HMMMMMMM? Wait for it! DEFENSIVE Coordinator. That’s right! He was DC for Erk @ GaSouthern before he was Offensive Coordinator. Then HC. He was OC @ Hawaii. He also knows how to use the passing game. I wish I knew why he doesn’t use it now. He won 4 NC’s @ GaSouthern, 2 as OC & 2 as HC & runner up b/4 winning as HC. I know, it’s FCS, but still, no mean feat.


October 4th, 2012
11:49 pm

There’s nothing wrong with Tech’s offense. There’s nothing right about Tech’s defense. Retire Al Groh.

Tech Actuary

October 5th, 2012
7:05 am

@GT Joe,
That’s not really fair to Tevin. Against VT in his first game (after Nesbitt got hurt), he drove us right down the field for the tying score. We proceeded to give up a kickoff return of a touchdown on the next play. Against UGA that year, he drove for the tying score, only to have us miss the tying extra point. And then this year against VT he engineered (see what I did there?) a clutch fourth quarter TD drive including a 4th down conversion only to have our D blow it in the final 44 seconds. He has been clutch at times in the 4th quarter many times but we just can’t seem to give him any help.

Wal-Mart Retards

October 5th, 2012
7:59 am

I watched the MTSU game last night. Riley Skinner had some really good comments about TW. There were a few mistakes for sure, but had the defense shown up at all, he would have looked much better. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be said about the defense – out of position every play, allowing MTSU’s blockers to chew ‘em up and missed tackles a-plenty.

Maybe the defense that played VT and UVA will show up on Saturday?

Newland Hick

October 5th, 2012
8:32 am

Fire Paul Johnson, Tech has no “A” game to bring.
I lost all hope and gave up my season tickets.

tech vs clemson

October 5th, 2012
8:40 am

Must win for tech. If tech loses this game, the next home game at bobby dodd will be even emptier than the mtsu game!

DOC 51

October 5th, 2012
8:44 am

CLEMSON 56–GT 13————Clemson will take no prisoners.Reality is GT DEFENSE is terrible,and Clemson will force several turnovers.SPEED and up-tempo passing attack will crunch Yellow Jackets.As we have seen the last 2 weeks,GT is slow to defend and slow to adjust.

Sammy Dawg

October 5th, 2012
8:56 am

Clem – 61
Tek – 21
Good night Al Groh. Sleep tight


October 5th, 2012
9:01 am

“the Middle Tennessee State loss, rather than fragment the team, got players’ attention and served as something of a slap in the face.”

Happens every year…


October 5th, 2012
9:09 am


I think you need to be more concerned about what is going to happen in the middle of the state of SC come Saturday night.

Bulldogs will lose…guarantee it.

I bought my GT gear at WalMart

October 5th, 2012
9:11 am

Middle Tennessee State????? Really?????


October 5th, 2012
9:13 am

And if we beat SC, what will you say then, Sammy???


October 5th, 2012
9:15 am

What happened to my Tek friends who posted all the time on UGA blog? We miss you guys.


October 5th, 2012
9:20 am

Hopefully, it will be a long way home for the fans of the insects from NORTH AVENUE TRADE SCHOOL!


October 5th, 2012
9:20 am

Murray will probably fumble the ball 3 or 4 times. At least.


October 5th, 2012
9:35 am

“I bought my GT gear at WalMart”

funny attempt at turning the joke around but everyone knows that wal-marts throughout the state are 95% bulldog gear.

try again, and this time come up with your own material.


October 5th, 2012
10:49 am

The secondary is in for a long long day.

Sad Sight

October 5th, 2012
11:07 am

You are done. Your season is over. You will loose Saturday by 21 points to Clemson. You stink. Your coach is awful. Your players have little skill and don’t play with heart. Your stadium is a joke. Go ahead and shut the score board off.

Sad Sight

October 5th, 2012
11:08 am

Walmarts not stupid…. Who buys tech gear anyway?


October 5th, 2012
12:38 pm

The “D” is in trouble. Our only hope is that Boyd flops and has a bad game. With Groh still in charge of the defense… I don’t think we can win any games… Sadly.. how far does GT has to drop before CPJ gets the balls to fire Groh?? Before or after we miss the chance to go to a bowl game? We’ll score plenty of points vs Clemson. But, I think they score more 48-35

Tech Troll 13

October 5th, 2012
12:47 pm

@ Tech Guy

You must not have been around for the Bill Lewis era. There is no way this compares to that fiasco.

Blue Fox

October 5th, 2012
1:20 pm

Where can I find the “Al Groh’s Got to Go!” web site??


October 5th, 2012
1:36 pm

besides the the fact that clemson is a better team, they have the revenge factor on their side and they will be highly motivated to blow us out and they probably will.


October 5th, 2012
1:56 pm

i always thought gt’s colors were white and old gold. hmmmm. i know my dawgs have always worn red, black, and silver pants or white. when did tech change to blue and gold? or no gold at all? lack of tradition, i suppose. i remember that old song, ‘up with the white and gold, down with the red and black. ‘ or ‘if i had a daughter, sir, i’d dress her in white and gold, and put her on the campus to cheer the brave and bold.’ gone, i guess, along with winning.


October 5th, 2012
2:06 pm

Lucy with the football . . . that’s funny. I keep waiting for you to show up in a Harold & Kumar flick. There has to be room for you in there somewhere.

Mike S.

October 5th, 2012
2:30 pm

The option’s got to go. It had it’s day in the sun. Now everyone is used to seeing it, and there arent any more tricks in the bag. Its the ultimate mirage if you really think it can consistently beat out top recruits with lesser talent. Add to that the fact it jobs the defense out of practicing against the level of speed, strength, and precision they will see against the teams Tech has struggled against.

Gt 4 life

October 5th, 2012
3:29 pm

Gt Joe. You’re an idiot. If vad was a better all around player right now, he’d be starting. Like it or not, ALL things considered. Tevin is better.


October 5th, 2012
3:41 pm

Tevin is at best a .500 qb. He doesn’t rally the troops in the 4th quarter or in ot. It is way past time to give Vad his shot and if he’s not the man, then Justin Thomas and if not him Days or someone else until Tech finds a qb that is a winner.


October 5th, 2012
4:08 pm

If GT doesn’t win this game, it may be time to try something for a spark. I’m slowly coming around to playing Vad Lee. Definitely don’t think on the road against Clemson is the right time/place, but it could be necessary, and it could make a lot of sense to get Vad Lee ready as our starter during our bye week. Tevin was put in his position to NOT MAKE MISTAKES. While his performance has been ok and the offense has been relatively effective, Tevin had MADE CRITICAL MISTAKES AT CRITICAL TIMES. Since we can’t replace the whole defense and we wouldn’t get any benefit out of replacing the DC immediately, our only option to provide a spark is to replace the QB.

I hope all this isn’t necessary and that Tevin comes out and has the game of his life against Clemson and solidifies his starting job. But I fear that it could be necessary so I think it is good to prepare for every eventuality.

yeller bug

October 5th, 2012
5:55 pm

I always have hope—our offense should score, but I don’t think Clemson’s punter will see action at all. Our only chance is that the Gatorade that the Clemson players drink is contaminated with salmonella. Even then, they may still out run us. Our containment strategy 3-4 Defense is about as sturdy as the walls of Jericho post Joshua’s horn-blowing—there’s even a parallel–the ref blows his whistle and our Defense falls down. Maybe a miracle will happen, but having to hope in miralces before the game even starts is a low precentage bet.


October 5th, 2012
6:07 pm

Without a defensive turnaround, we have no chance unless we can control the clock with long sustained drives.

Fair n Balanced

October 6th, 2012
1:29 am

Ignition: hey number guy! You have too much time on your hands! You must be part of the 47% of America dependent on the govt. gee ma….what is all that?


October 6th, 2012
8:12 am

Tackle, simple as that. Clemson like every other team has discovered we cannot tackle. Lots of run plays and short passing that isolates one on one then when we fortify the middle they go long. This puts pressure on the offense, which starts trying to grind the clock so the defense doesn’t get the ball back, Washington starts misreading, corner backs come in to contain, letting defensive ends go headhunting. It all starts with no defense, which can’t tackle. This team would be 4-0 with an average division one defense, or eleven slow guy on a field that could tackle.


October 6th, 2012
8:16 am

GT….ditch your offense and then find a new coach