1. Two weeks ago, Georgia Tech B-backs Zach Laskey and David Sims combined for 156 yards in the Yellow Jackets’ win over Boston College. It was a bit out of the ordinary.
Against BYU, Clemson and Middle Tennessee State, Tech’s three other most recent games, the two backs had 149 yards combined. The feature position in the Tech offense is having some problems.
“We need to get more production out of that position,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said. Against BYU, “Nobody played particularly well at that position.”
Laskey is averaging 54.0 yards per game and Sims’ average is 31.0 yards per game with a 3.6 yards-per-carry rate. It’s a far cry from the numbers of 2010 B-back Anthony Allen, who averaged 101.2 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry.
“If (the B-backs) can get, say, 100, 150 yards every game, that’ll open up the lanes for Orwin (Smith), Tevin (Washington) and the other guys,” Sims said.
It’s a layered problem. Laskey and Sims have dealt with injuries. The offensive line hasn’t met expectations. Against BYU and Middle Tennessee State, the entire offense didn’t play well. But the Laskey-Sims duo is about on pace to match the combined total of Sims and Preston Lyons from last season, when B-back play was below par.
Sims, who began the season recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his shin, has been laboring.
“I feel like I’m starting to get back to that point where I was, say, last year,” he said.
Bohannon said in watching video from last year’s game against Maryland, Tech’s opponent this week, he was struck by the difference in the speed.
“He’s not moving like he was a year ago,” Bohannon said.
Maryland will be a rough go. The Terrapins are No. 4 in the country in rushing defense.
2. It was 14 years ago Wednesday that Dez White returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown for Tech against Maryland. It was the last such touchdown for the Jackets until Saturday, when Jamal Golden broke the streak with a 97-yard return for a touchdown. Reached Tuesday, White had no idea he had been the last to score on a kickoff until Golden.
“That’s very surprising,” White said. “That’s a long time. You’re talking about a lot of kickoff returns in 14 years.”
It was, in fact, tied for the fourth-longest drought in FBS. White said he remembered “running through a pretty big hole and cutting the ball all the way across the field and having a footrace with the kicker. I remember (offensive coordinator) Ralph Friedgen being really happy he didn’t have to call a series.”
White, living in Gwinnett County, is president and founder of the Body Firm Atlanta, which runs exercise boot camps in Gwinnett and Atlanta.
3. Coach Paul Johnson said that wide receiver Anthony Autry is out for Saturday’s game with an unspecified injury. Asked to confirm a Twitter message that Autry’s younger brother Myles sent out after the BYU game that the injury was a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Johnson replied, “You can confirm that with Anthony’s brother, I guess.”
Cornerback Louis Young and offensive tackle Will Jackson both were held out of practice with injuries. Both are uncertain for the Maryland game. Young was injured in the BYU game. His replacement would be Jamal Golden. Jackson missed the BYU game after getting injured one game prior against Boston College. He was replaced by Morgan Bailey.
4. ESPN will use its six-day option in determining the kickoff time for Tech’s Nov. 10 game at North Carolina. The network will have until noon Sunday to announce the start time and broadcast outlet. … Johnson said he had not been informed of any potential problems for Saturday’s game due to Hurricane Sandy. The Washington area didn’t take the brunt of the storm, but power was knocked out for hundreds of thousands in the area. Maryland school officials closed the university for Monday and Tuesday. … Georgia Tech is a 7.5-point favorite for Saturday’s game.
Thanks for reading. I’ll post more Wednesday. I didn’t clear time to do the post-Tuesday news conference summary. I’ll have something along those lines and hopefully one or two other things Wednesday.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog