With BYU next, no-huddle issues loom for Tech

The scoreboard granted Georgia Tech a 20-point win Saturday and an end to its three-game losing streak. But for their own mistakes, the Yellow Jackets could well have won by at least 10 more.

As it prepares for BYU this coming Saturday after a 37-17 win over Boston College, Tech has to also wrestle with the reality that, save for the Eagles’ mistakes, the margin could well have been tighter, too.

“We did some good things,” coach Paul Johnson said of his defense. “We’ll take it and build on it.”

There was indeed much to build on, particularly better tackling. Still, the Jackets owe the Eagles some amount of gratitude for highlighting areas that still need attention.

Tech continued to have trouble with the no-huddle offense, a problem that hardly makes the Jackets unique. Regardless, the Eagles experienced their most ease of advancement when they went to no-huddle for much of their two touchdown drives in the second half. On the two possessions, quarterback Chase Rettig drove Boston College 138 yards in just 13 plays. The yardage made up 46 percent of the Eagles’ entire game output. On the two drives, Rettig completed seven of 10 passes for 127 yards and touchdowns of 40 and 12 yards. One of his incompletions was a dropped pass in the end zone.

Part of the problem was that the pass rush had trouble disrupting Rettig. In the game, he was sacked twice in 31 attempts, but one of those stops came on Boston College’s final possession of the game with the game’s fate sealed. The Jackets used blitz pressure, and at least once tried dropping nose tackle T.J. Barnes into pass coverage in a “fire zone” scheme. But, particularly on those two scoring drives, Rettig had comfortable space and time in the pocket.

“We played some more basic coverages and defensively, I thought that everyone was more on the same page,” Johnson said. “We still need to work on it, and we have got to get better pressure on the quarterback, especially.”

Boston College’s success on the two drives created cause for concern when Tech punted away on its first possession of the fourth quarter with the score 31-17. The punt was wiped out by a needless roughing-the-kicker penalty, a play Boston College coach Frank Spaziani called “inexcusable.” Rather than Boston College getting the ball back on its own 40-yard line with 9:38 to play, the flag gave the ball back to Tech. With new life, Tech drove for a game-sealing touchdown.

Given Tech’s fourth-quarter struggles this season – it’s the only quarter in which the Jackets have been outscored this season – what might have happened had the penalty not occurred is not a question Tech fans likely don’t want to ponder too deeply. Tech safety Jemea Thomas did intercept Rettig out of the no-huddle after the Jackets went up 37-17, but the game was in hand by that point, also.

Whatever the solution, Tech will need to figure out some answers to combat no-huddle offenses. Miami, Middle Tennessee State and Clemson all used it with success against the Jackets. With the compressed time between snaps, Tech players sometimes got the play calls just as the snap was being made, a factor in defensive coordinator Al Groh’s dismissal. That didn’t seem to be an issue Saturday.

However, they are certain to see more of it. All five of Tech’s remaining opponents – BYU, Maryland, North Carolina, Duke and Georgia – use it to some degree or another.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

81 comments Add your comment


October 21st, 2012
9:39 pm

Tevin did a great job… Lee did too. I can see why CPJ is doing what he is doing with consistent versus scrambling play making ability. Lee will be fun to watch mature into our offense.

Ponte Vedra Jacket

October 21st, 2012
10:07 pm

Gotta get better players on D. When the DBs give a 5-10 yard cushion to the WRs, any decent QB will pick them apart. Every opponent left on the schedule has a drop back accurate passer who will hit wide open receivers. I can see more 42-36 or 47-30 defeats unless the defense makes huge improvements.

Tokyo jacket

October 21st, 2012
10:18 pm

@PVJ, Rettig is actually not that bad. He guided his offense to 500 ypg against a couple decent teams. Our D actually played pretty well for a lot of the game against BC. If they can get a hair better, we should have a 10+ point win against BYU.


October 21st, 2012
10:28 pm

Surely the coaches can come up with some type of stunts from different spots on the field to put some pressure on the opposing QB. We have got to disrupt their timing in some manner, even it means getting burned deep on a play here and there.

Ga Tech Old Timer

October 21st, 2012
10:30 pm

Ken – The most profound statement of this article was the last one. We have no gimmies for the remainder of the season – they all could go either way. Having trouble with the “Hurry up offense” is nothing new to most defenses. I’m just wondering out loud – What would OUR offense look like to the remaining defenses if we also installed the “Hurry up” version instead of substituting running backs and ends to get the play in. Just wondering??

Old Tech

October 21st, 2012
10:33 pm

I hope that Coach Johnson can convince the team that they are not hockey players and need to play more than 3 periods.


October 21st, 2012
10:41 pm

Given the unfortunate (2-4) start to the season…….I sincerely hope we end with atleast 6 wins; resulting in a bowl appearance. I am still a die-hard GT fan.

Glad we secured a W against BC!

1 4 GT

October 21st, 2012
11:38 pm

As a once upon a time player and a guy that considers himself fairly knowledgeable of the game, I was glad to see the defense playing with more enthusiasm against BC. I was amazed to see TJ drop back into pass coverage & actually, he didn’t do to bad. He was very close to where the receiver was brought down. TJ also had a solo tackle for loss. And a good form tackle to boot. That is somewhat rare for a NT in a 3-4 alignment. From what I saw, TJ had the best game I have seen him have. I admit I was not locked in on him. I watch all the guys from time to time while following the ball. Our defense looked a good bit better than in the past. Still room for improvement though. The offense did some good things too. Both Tevin & Vad had their moments to shine. I expect we will be seeing more of Vad in the future. If the modest gains made in the last game can continue to expand thru the remaining games, GT will be a pretty formidable for for Georgie. I will not be holding my breath yet, but I do see improvement & am cautiously optimistic for the guys and their success. GOOOOO JACKETS THWGeorgie

1 4 GT

October 21st, 2012
11:56 pm

On an up note for GT….J Dwyer had a real good game for the Steelers tonight. Michales & Collinsworth talked about him quiet a bit with good words for his play making. If memory serves, Dwyer had 22 carries for close to 130 yards as the starting RB tonight against the Bengals. I guess it was sheer blind luck that got him drafted, albeit in the 6th round. He was overweight at the combines & proday, but still had enough talent for the NFL. I don’t know why though, since he played @ GT in a system that does not put players in the NFL and a coach that holds him back with his poor coaching skills. (insert sarcasm)


October 22nd, 2012
12:38 am

dwyer rushed 17 times for 122 yards for 7.2 yards/carry.

yeller bug

October 22nd, 2012
2:12 am

Hopefully, the D can get a little more “complicated” next week. Never see any line stunts—just rushing Sneezy from the strong LB slot doesn’t do much. Add a twist, bring a corner or Watts from weakside OLB.

Keep opening up the offense—need to be unpredictable against BYU—tough D especially their line. Be creative CPJ—run Vad from the pistol, bring Days in motion, hand the ball to him and then have him run the option to the outside with Snoddy trailing for the pitch—a handoff and a lateral—no one would see it coming and with Snoddy getting the ball with a running start, it could go for 6. Just saying there’s a lot we can do with this offense without being under center.

Island Jacket

October 22nd, 2012
4:34 am

The Defense will build from the last game. The coaches saw what they needed, and I am sure some additional things will be added after they watch the film. The one thing I like is that the guys feel a lot more comfortable with the defensive system. That is what counts. Now we just need to Tackle.

See you on the Flats…



October 22nd, 2012
5:41 am

While I’m die hard Jacket fan and with way we are playing I can’t see us winning another game this year. I realy wanted this to be a great year!


October 22nd, 2012
7:40 am

We have not had a pass rush all year!


October 22nd, 2012
7:47 am

Gotta agree with ToeMeets. On some plays, looks to me like the D is going to have to go man to man on the receivers and bring the house to get to the QB. I know it’s a gamble but when a QB is hot and hitting everything, does it matter if they score in 1 play or 8? And GT just might get enough pressure bringing 6 or 7 to get a hurry up or sack.

Ice eater 1969

October 22nd, 2012
7:48 am

TJ played better in quarters 1 2′ but went back to guarding his spot with no arm push keeping distance in 34. We need to send in the freshman AU to see if he now much quicker he is. Our nose tackle stands up more than most and does not come off blocks. Time to transition

North Avenue Rules

October 22nd, 2012
7:54 am

Can someone please comment on this? If no huddle is so hard to defend, why aren’t we using that type of play calling in our offense? I can’t imagine having to defend an Oregon type offense with our current defense.


October 22nd, 2012
8:07 am

Tech is going to have a hard time coming up with 3 more wins to get bowl eligible…and we need a bowl game, if only for the extra weeks of practice to help gte Vad ready for next year.


October 22nd, 2012
8:23 am

Finally ran a play out of that crazy fourth and short alignment. And got a first down! I nearly passed out!

Jim 70

October 22nd, 2012
8:34 am

I think Dwyer is still making up for showing up at camp out of shape after being drafted. It looks like he is taking full advantage of the opportunity he has been given.

Making my annual trip for HC – been great the last few years, hopefully another great weekend.

Go Tech

PJ needs to wake up

October 22nd, 2012
8:56 am

we play well for quarters 1 and 2. Not so much in 3rd and 4th quarters. PJ needs to find that “pair” he had in years 1 & 2!


October 22nd, 2012
9:12 am

we still are bing projected for a bowl game by some of the so called experts, i am really struggling to find 3 more wins but hoping for the best. im not sure how we are favored this week against the foe(i refuse to say their name) coming to the flats this week,

Same Old

October 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

Been there, done that, got the jersey!
Seems there is a recurring problem at Tech.
When the defense lacks, the offence prospers.
The next year, the defense prospers and the offence lacks.
Recruiting problem?
No bowl this year, sorry to say.


October 22nd, 2012
9:28 am

If we don’t find a DB who can replace Sweeting, we won’t be bowl eligible.

Jacket Detective

October 22nd, 2012
9:33 am

I’m a homer I guess but I think we have bottomed and are heading up.
I think BYU are going the other way.
We are at home with homecoming game.
D is getting better.
And CPJ is listening to the genius who wanted finally a run out of 4th and one set up.
No sarcasm, I’m serious.
It worked and will work again.
I watch that play again from bed and before the ball is snapped, I fall asleep.
Maybe we do influence things.
Perhaps we should ask for 10K a year as football consultants.
Here’s my advice for 10K.
Don’t try to block the punt after that rarity of rarities: a stop.
Both BC and Kentucky blew their last serious chance by roughing the kickers.
Durn it.
Now they won’t send me any money because like the rest of us, I spoke before I had a contract.

Next Step

October 22nd, 2012
9:35 am

The D righted the ship against BC and will keep improving through the remainder of the season.

Good thing – the competition gets better every week.

CPJ noted that the next issue is pass rush. This is not a problem of insufficient athletes; Tech has the players on the D line who can pressure a QB. I expect better technique and some sacks this week; maybe throw in the occasional blitz.

Smart like a fox

October 22nd, 2012
9:36 am

I’m driving up for homecoming but I don’t expect much….this hurts…The Fighting Mormons of BYU by 10…Never been to the big fish tank , might just check that out and make the trip a positive

Jacket Detective

October 22nd, 2012
9:45 am

About switching players on D.
If Tennessee does not sub 3 players Dooley’s 1st year vs LSU, they pull a huge upset.
About 20 seconds left with Tenn ahead and LSU QB does not expect snap and loses ten with no timeouts
No substitutions and game is over.
Yet Tennessee D coordiantor was channeling Al Groh and sent in 3 players while the ones already there stayed on the field.
Poor Tenn thought they had won and started to carry Dooley to midfield.
Opps there is a flag.
14 men on the field.
Even the dumbest SEC ref will spot that one.
Tenn wins without the substitution.
Had they won, what a difference in the program.
The players might have decided maybe their coaches know something.
Instead they decide (like the fans) same overpaid fools who ought to be pumping gas.

Vermont Yellow Jacket

October 22nd, 2012
9:48 am

A simpler defensive scheme will help handle the no-huddle. When the opposing offense lines up in 10 seconds, it’s a little difficult to make 3 defensive adjustments.

BC’s QB looked pretty good. It’s a shame for him that his supporting cast is so bad.

Vermont Yellow Jacket

October 22nd, 2012
9:56 am

@ Ga Tech Old Timer regarding running the no-huddle with this offense. I’m a NE Patriots fan, and while they’ve had mixed results this season, there have been a couple of games where they’ve featured the no-huddle with a strong running attack. Whether that could be translated to CPJ’s option offense would be interesting to watch. Unfortunately, I think the BC game would have been the one to use for such an experiment. The week off and facing a team that runs no-huddle would have been a great opportunity to scout it.

Jacket Detective

October 22nd, 2012
9:58 am

Our defense is not that bad.
It is a huge handicap to play on a team whose D coordinator thinks sending the 4th guy is a blitz.
Tenuta blitzed too much.
Groh blitzed too little.
C’mon CCK and blitz unpredicably.
If CCK thinks for himself, we get a winning streak.
If a Groh clone, abandon all hope all Tech fans who enter BD stadium.
I refuse to evaluate our secondary (except Jamea Thomas who is good and may become very good) while we allow QBs to play in Bobby Dodd stadium like it is their home away from home.
The other team’s offense starts to click in 2nd half every week?
It dawns on them we have no rush and refuse to blitz to get one.

Technically Correct

October 22nd, 2012
10:03 am

Virtually no pressure on the QB. If Tech was that poor in pass rush – even with some blitzing – that doesn’t bode well for the remainder of our games.

Jacket Detective

October 22nd, 2012
10:10 am

What are final scores of our game vs BC and Uga’s game vs Kentucky if un-special teams coaches do not try to block punt?
We still hang on for win hopefully but dawg fans really have to sweat one out.
Instruction should have been, don’t go within 10 feet of punter.
Who knew I had special team coaching possiblities?
Well any lug nut is smarter than most of them.
I mean why risk giving the other side a 2nd chance on offense?
You demoralize your own defense.
They did their job and you ask them to do it again.
People get paid hundreds of thousands to do that?
I went into the wrong profession.


October 22nd, 2012
10:19 am

CPJ, ever heard of the word, BLITZ?!?


October 22nd, 2012
10:21 am

Vlad Lee should be starting.

danny c

October 22nd, 2012
10:31 am

Did Nealy play Saturday? Never heard his name mentioned.

Tech dropout

October 22nd, 2012
10:41 am

CPJ can win without running the no huddle and he will probably tell you himself if you can in to his radio show, so he isn’t going to change it now. Who needs innovation and unpredictability anyway. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th down and goal within the 5 – QB dive baby!!! and I’m not even a defensive coordinator and I can predict that one.


October 22nd, 2012
10:46 am

Ok guys, now that I got rid of Groh (been trying for weeks) how bout the way things are going? The D looked awesome Saturday. And how bout the new sign in the end zone and the pink GT. By the way, did you stop by the McCamish pavilion Saturday before the game. If not it will be open again this weekend before we play Army. And the new 4 ticket, 4 hot dog promotion for Saturdays game brought in loads of fans. We were mostly full in the lower level, West stands between the 40’s.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
11:20 am

Well folks, I’ve been calling for Vad Lee since after the VT game (and really since after the bowl game last year).

We’ve all seen him in action. And now I’m seeing about half the folks on the blog calling for him to start. And if you polled the fanbase, I bet 3/4 would want Vad to start.

I feel like a proud papa, look what has become of the fruit of my loins!


October 22nd, 2012
11:35 am

THE decisions made or not made will be crucial and will affect GT for the next 8 years. Do you want an average program that hides behind excuses or do you want a very good program? Both can be had, options are many. It will be interesting to see if the Braine bee-livers (we can’t do no better} win or those who feel like a great program can be build at GT.


October 22nd, 2012
12:06 pm

It’s not that TW looked especially bad out there, it’s that when you see VL on the field right after him the comparison is stark. Crisper passes, better footwork and faster acceleration when running. TW gets tackled by a stiff breeze too many times. VL was making guys miss.

NW Jacket

October 22nd, 2012
12:24 pm

What is Tenuta doing? How about bringing him back as DC?


October 22nd, 2012
12:28 pm

So you guys are saying that Coach Johnson is wrong about who he thinks is the best QB for this team to win. You watch him a few plays on Saturday and make your decisions and Coach watches him every day in practice. Call Coach Johnson and tell him. Or are you telling me that Coach Johnson is not the guy to run our program. I know Bill Curry is available next year?


October 22nd, 2012
12:43 pm

The Vad Lee boosters are showing their lack of football knowledge. Sure- he ran some pretty decent plays, but he has yet to show good understanding of the TO offense and reads. Like it or not, (and I like it!) that is our offense. If you can’t make the reads, you won’t be effective. That said, he sure seems to be coming along. He just has not shown that he is the best QB on the team.

CPJ is the best man for the job at Ga Tech. He will win regularly again, once he figures out how to get the right combination of assistants and how to get them to do their jobs.


October 22nd, 2012
1:01 pm

Sorry to sound like a pessimist, but I’m struggling to understand how GT can win ANY more games this year. Based on performances year to date, they should be the underdog in each game. And once this team starts going downhill, it REALLY starts going downhill.


October 22nd, 2012
1:04 pm

Seems to me that we have enough good defensive linemen this year to play a 4-3, although changing mid-season might be too confusing. We have so much trouble on pass defense, I’d like to see 4 linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs as the basic scheme.

GT Fan

October 22nd, 2012
1:10 pm

Vad Lee has SO much more potential than TW (and Nesbitt) running this offense. He made it obvious with the 24 yd TD run, and the beautiful, ON THE MONEY, TD pass to Autry.

However, it’s also obvious that he still hasn’t grasped the option/reads part of the O, since the overwhelming majority of the the run plays called with him under center are the pirouette quick pitch to the Aback.

GT Fan

October 22nd, 2012
1:12 pm

SteveC … It’s a theory many have used before, and it’s called: That’s why they play the games.


October 22nd, 2012
1:27 pm

Steve C- You must be a youngster! Every game left, including the leg-humpers, is winable. Not to say we will, but as the FAN said, thats why we play the games.


October 22nd, 2012
1:53 pm

All the remaining games for Tech are winnable, some more so than others. However, Tech could just as easily loose all 5. If the defense makes some positive strides, then Tech might just win the 3 it needs to get to a bowl game. However, what is more important playing in a very low tier bowl game or getting Lee ready for the 2013 season? Maybe Tech can do both but I had much rather have Lee get the needed experience, than have him starting on the low end of the learning curve next year.