Georgia Tech solved problems on defense. The special-teams unit is still looking for answers.
“It’s like putting your finger in a dyke,” coach Paul Johnson said. “You get one fixed, another one pops.”
After poor special-teams play in recent seasons, Johnson hired David Walkosky to be his first-ever special-teams coordinator in the offseason. The return game has shown flashes and the punt team has been stable, but there has been little consistency. Saturday’s problems were in the kicking game. David Scully had a 22-yard try blocked and then missed a 28-yarder.
He was replaced after making one of three field-goal attempts in Tech’s last game, the Oct. 6 loss against Clemson.
Justin Moore, who took placekicks last year, took over in the second half, making a 32-yarder before missing a 41-yarder and then a point-after try. Johnson said Moore told him that the ball was on the ground when he tried to make the point-after. It was Moore’s first extra-point miss after converting all 56 of his tries last season, a school record.
The Jackets missed three field goals in one game for just the second time in the last 10 years, the other instance occurring in the Sun Bowl loss to Utah last December.
Said Johnson, “You’ve got to be able to make those kicks.”
Moore’s elevation mixed up the operations for the field-goal team. Moore had replaced Sean Poole as Scully’s holder after Poole was injured. With Moore becoming the kicker, his holder was David Sims.
2. With interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly calling the plays, the signaling process went more quickly, according to inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy.
“Being able to be lined up by the time the ball is snapped is a great accomplishment compared to the last couple weeks,” Nealy said.
Defensive players wore wristbands with plays printed on them to help expedite the signaling process in case Boston College went to a hurry-up offense. Miami, Middle Tennessee State and Clemson all ran no-huddle offenses, which often compressed the time between snaps. Inside linebackers coach Andy McCollum and graduate assistant Maurice Duncan both signaled in plays from the sideline. Evidently, only one set of signals was active.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what that was all about,” safety Isaiah Johnson said of Duncan’s signals. “I wasn’t even concentrating on Coach Duncan.”
3. Quarterback Tevin Washington joined an elite club Saturday, becoming just the second quarterback (along with Joshua Nesbitt) in Tech history to run for 2,000 yards and pass for 2,500. He passed the 2,000-yard mark in rushing by gaining 63 yards on 17 carries, two of which scored touchdowns.
“I compliment the o-line and other guys around me,” Washington said. “They helped make that happen.”
4. Three key offensive starters left the game Saturday with injuries, offensive tackles Will Jackson and Ray Beno and B-back Zach Laskey. Jackson and Laskey had shoulder injuries and Beno injured an ankle. They were replaced by Morgan Bailey, Bryan Chamberlain and David Sims, respectively, and none returned to the game. On his last carry, Laskey cleared the 100-yard rushing mark for the second time this season.
After the game, Johnson did not have an update on their conditions.
5. Tech’s 91 plays were a season high, passing the 79 run against Presbyterian. The Jackets piled up 407 yards in the first half, the third time they’ve gained 400 yards in a half since 1975. Tech did not commit a turnover for the eighth time in Johnson’s tenure. The Jackets held the ball for 43:45, a high under Johnson. Since 1975, no Tech opponent has held a ball less than Boston College did Saturday.
6. Safety Isaiah Johnson wore No. 40 Saturday as the team continues to honor former linebacker Julian Burnett by wearing his jersey number. … The “GT” logos between the 30- and 40-yard lines on both sides of the field were painted pink as part of breast cancer awareness month. Players also wore pink towels. … Tech wore white helmets, gold jerseys and white paints. It was the first time that Tech has worn gold at home since the N.C. State game in the 2010 season. … Among those in attendance was Falcons great Tommy Nobis.