Notes: B-backs struggling to produce for Tech

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

140 comments Add your comment

Marine Jacket

October 30th, 2012
9:44 pm

Hope this week is better.

Go Jackets!!!

Ignition

October 30th, 2012
9:46 pm

This guy CPJ is so pompous and arrogant. How can you continue to be an a-hole when your team is getting Molly Whooped on it’s own field.?

pw12

October 30th, 2012
9:49 pm

time to play some new faces

pw12

October 30th, 2012
9:50 pm

thats because pauls wife runs the show at the house..so he takes it out everyone else..

Frustrated fan

October 30th, 2012
9:58 pm

Ken, how we’ll is snoddy coming along? I feel like with his speed he could be the next breakout bback. It’s be nice if he could turn into a Dwyer 2.0.

Jacket Time

October 30th, 2012
10:03 pm

Wow real classy comments there. A little worried about maryland’s D but how many pts can u put up with a fifth string qb? Any word on our qb situation ken?

bp

October 30th, 2012
10:18 pm

this offense does not work against big teams.They just overpower it. every time.

gt40pinhd

October 30th, 2012
10:19 pm

is lasky injured? i was surprised to see him in the byu game as much as he was. sims seems bigger but lasky gets more yards. always wanted a BIG back at this position. but when i read cpj’s option offense article, he doesn’t seem to think size is as important.

kingster

October 30th, 2012
10:22 pm

Thanks Ken, you’re doing a fantastic job, keep up the good work and keeping us informed.

IndianaGT

October 30th, 2012
10:26 pm

a 7.5-point favorite over a team starting its 5th string QB….not sure if serious…..

dagnabit

October 30th, 2012
10:32 pm

Pretty classy reporter.

gt40pinhd

October 30th, 2012
10:43 pm

7.5 point favorite? why? we just played the 8th defensive team and they kicked our b….
now the 4th? with or without a qb, they are real.

Jacket Detective

October 30th, 2012
10:51 pm

Anyone else notice how BYU modified their shovel pass to turn it from a 5 yard gainer into a 40 yard TD and game breaker.
And that is called what?
Being out-coached?

GTGirl

October 30th, 2012
10:52 pm

Thanks Ken for the new article. I was getting tired of reading all the ajc articles about D-Rat, I mean DRad leaving us for Clemmons College. He looks awful in orange! Wonder if he is going to change the ‘IPTAY’ fund like he did the A-T fund and tick off all the Clemmons fans too. I hope we beat them in every sport we play them in from here on out! Go Jackets!

ibidGT

October 30th, 2012
11:15 pm

Is it possible to compare how many rush attempts the B backs are having this year as opposed to previous years Ken? Since TW has been the QB he has more carries than anyone else.

Briefly looked into it. Allen and Dwyer as B backs both led the team in carries the years they played. Granted now we rotate the B backs a lot more the last 2 years so maybe the carries are still about the same.

GT Joe

October 30th, 2012
11:27 pm

Tech rush yards/game rankings:

2009: #2
2010: #1
2011: #2
2012: #5

Take home message: rush yards are the same, roughly. If B backs are getting less, another position is picking up the slack. Yards is yards. Who cares about production of one specific position.

Next subject.

GT Joe

October 30th, 2012
11:29 pm

I’ll say what I said last week: Maryland (BYU) is top 10 against the rush, so let’s pass. Which QB can throw?

TechBoy

October 30th, 2012
11:33 pm

That Orange Jacket is Ugly with a capital “U”. I can’t believe DRad turned down the likes of Texas A&M for Clemson. It still sells funny. Time will tell.

1 4 GT

October 30th, 2012
11:44 pm

I don’t see any comments on this yet. 2 guys playing out of the BBack slot have 149 yards total in 4 games with a combined total of 305 yards….156 against BC….149 against Clemons, MTSU & BYU. REALLY!! Really!! And it’s taken a whole year for the BBack coach to notice a drop off in the speed of one of them. What the hell has he been doing? 305 yards! 4 games! 2 RB’s! Total! Combined! That tells me the offense might be worse than the defense. SHEESH!!

1 4 GT

October 30th, 2012
11:50 pm

The stats for rushing Joe put up might be right, but with a total of 149 yards in 3 of the last 4 games, if that trend continues, and that is a big trend IMHO, GT will do good to be in the top 20 in rushing without improvement.

fuzzybee78

October 31st, 2012
12:00 am

Folks, JDwyer was 230 lbs and never got caught from behind, never, I saw them all. Never saw that with another back over there career in 50 years at Tech.

AAllen was also 230 and just a step slower then Dwyer. That’s half the reason we were ACC champs in 09, and JNeb, BB Thomas, Derrick Morgan, and Morgan Burnett were the rest.

Sims and Laskey are good but there not on the same level as the last 2 guy.

One other important point about B back production, TW is not JNes and opposing D are by design plugging the B back and forcing the QB to run because he is the lesser of the two runners plus it wears out the QB.

Thats it— 1) size/talent at B back 2) D forcing TW to run, not the B back.

gt40pinhd

October 31st, 2012
12:17 am

our running backs have speed but not elusiveness. b backs don’t have the size needed for this position.

1 4 GT

October 31st, 2012
12:22 am

You are right about that fuzzy. I thought Laskey might be the guy after his 70 yd TD catch & run. He’s fairly quick & tough, but fair isn’t good enough. Snoddy played some at BBack last Saturday. I don’t know his size, but if GT can get thru the line, he could be magic with his speed.

1 4 GT

October 31st, 2012
12:27 am

Snoddy is 5′9″ & 190#. Maybe a tad small for BBack. Time will tell. I just wanta see that speed put to good use.

gt40pinhd

October 31st, 2012
12:46 am

thought sims was 220#? good size.

Wasted opportunity?

October 31st, 2012
12:54 am

No one seems to show any great flash or burst of energy on the offense. I guess it’s good that the ball is distributed amongst many players but there is no standout player. I see no potential NFL caliber player, at least on the O side of the ball currently. Good teams need a GREAT player that can carry the team when it’s not doing well, this team doesn’t have a single individual that can do so.

Are these players just lacking any greatness or does that say something about how these players are developed?

Hill/Thomas were praised for their natural athletic ability, not so much their route running or other skills. Dwyer has only now started showing his skills on the field after being on the bench for 3 years. Yeah these guys made the NFL but it was in no part thanks to the offense run by CPJ, they all had to be developed by their current teams to show any real production.

ylojkt

October 31st, 2012
1:17 am

I don’t know what universe you’ve come from, but the NFL LOVES Tech receivers because they have learned how to block downfield AND they have great athleticism.
Ask Denver how much they love BeBe, or Detroit how they feel about Megatron.
Hill has only himself to blame for his stock not being higher, he got wide open a lot, but would get stone hands when the ball was thrown to him while at Tech, that’s not a coaching problem. The other two had the same type passes thrown to them, some good, some terrible, but they still managed to catch the ball with amazing regularity.

Wasted opportunity?

October 31st, 2012
1:28 am

Yeah since Calvin Johnson was obviously a CPJ product.

Blocking? I’ll give that to them sure.

Route running? Hill/Thomas, the ones who actually played for CPJ unlike Calvin, were noted for their poor route running.

They’re all big, tall/lengthy, and fast. They’re all athletic yes. I stated that in my original post.

As for Hill’s stock value? You realize when he declared he was projected 6-7th round. He only went up because of his speed and beastly athleticism, nothing CPJ did for him.

Jacket Time

October 31st, 2012
1:29 am

Agree ylojkt but megatron was never coached under CPJ. I hear announcers get this wrong all the time when they bring up tech receivers and CPJ.

ylojkt

October 31st, 2012
1:30 am

Also, B-back is hardly any different than tailback in the Pro-Set, both are a few yards behind the QB and running (mostly) to the inside gaps, straight ahead running. Dwyer was low on the rotation behind two featured backs who were proven pros, you don’t sit an all-star player for his third string back-up; but when Dwyer has gotten his chance, he’s carried the mail with a purpose.

Ken Sugiura

October 31st, 2012
1:34 am

Frustrated fan – I think coaches want to get Snoddy on the field, but he still needs to improve his blocking. I think that’s the big thing keeping him from getting more chances.
Jacket Time – They gave both quarterbacks time with the first and second strings. I got differing reports on if that is out of the ordinary. nothing’s determined yet.
gt40 – laskey isn’t hurt. in fact, i think the b-backs are as healthy as they’ve been. as for the point spread, it’d be hard to make it larger considering that tech’s offense put up three points at home this past week.
1 4GT – i’m confident Bohannon noticed the difference long before. he brought up the maryland game last year as an example or point of reference.
GT Joe – I’d say it’s important because ideally every option is productive.
dwyer in 09: 16.8. allen in 10: 18.5 sims/lyons in 11: 14.8 (not entirely apples to apples because they both missed games. laskey/sims in 12: 16.4 (same deal)

GT Fan

October 31st, 2012
2:18 am

Bback has to be a threat to put 100+rushing vs any opponent. And that hasn’t been the case since AA left after 2010. Too many MLBs & S are making takles on the Abacks b/c there’s absolutely zero threat from the Bbacks.

ray gunkel

October 31st, 2012
5:10 am

I doubt drad turned down anybody…more likely, clemson was 1st and only offer…i understand he approached them…for whatever reason(s), looks like drad wanted out.

superDawg

October 31st, 2012
6:11 am

I’m loving it.

GT71

October 31st, 2012
7:10 am

PJ’s offense is perfect. I cannot be stopped when run perfectly. It is a thing of beauty to behold. When it runs ‘perfectly’.
But have you stopped to wonder why so few colleges run it? And no pros?
It is because it MUST run perfectly to run at all consistently. If players were robots, it would run that way, but fortunately (or not), the game is played by humans – lots of them compared to basketball or baseball. And they are not perfect by any means – especially 19-22 yr. old male humans. Have you ever seen a late-teen do ANYTHING perfectly more than once or twice? I haven’t.
And ’skill’ positions. In most offenses, the ’skill’ positions include the QB, the RBs and the WRs. All others are not called ’skilled’ positions because they aren’t – and more importantly do not have to be. They just need to be big, strong and get in someone’s way so the ’skilled’ players get a chance to show their skills. In PJ’s offenses, ALL the players must be ’skilled’ players – they must execute perfectly or the play’s a bust. Even the WRs must not only be good route-runners and great-hands ball catchers, they must ALSO be perfect blockers. Quite a bit to ask of the 19-22 set.
Turnovers (more frequent in the triple option), penalties and errors simply destroy a triple option offense’s chances of moving the chains. And that’s why it came and went as a popular offense at all levels. Too few true ’skilled’ players, to many opportunities for mistakes and mistakes canno tbe made up for by a good pass and catch by the ’skilled’ players.
PJ did very well with the Gailey recruits and players because they were, mostly, rather highly ’skilled’. He hasn’t been able to replicate that skill level.
Sorry, but we should take our chances with getting as many ’skill’ players (5-7 per team) a regular offense requires and stop hoping that perfection exists.
In a word, PJ’s offense is ‘over-engineered’ – that may sound nice at a school like Tech, but it doesn’t make for a successful football program.

matt

October 31st, 2012
7:35 am

Middle Tennessee state

matt

October 31st, 2012
7:36 am

aw

October 31st, 2012
8:00 am

One huge problem we have is no wide rec,it seems the coaches could spare a good athlete with speed, and convert him to the wr spot. If Snoddy can’t hack it at b-back, they could make a wr out of him…..do something….. it does not matter who the qb is if you don’t have any wrs to throw to. A good, not great wr would make a world of diff….We have a bb coming in travis c

treyisgeorgia

October 31st, 2012
8:00 am

3 words for you about P Johnson and that offense…. ” HIGH SCHOOL OFFENSE “

Yellow Jacket

October 31st, 2012
8:28 am

Laskey is trying to play with a seperated shoulder…I hardly consider that being healthy.

GT

October 31st, 2012
8:31 am

The pass will open up the middle for the B back. Vad Lee must have some problems picking up the offense mentally, or he would be starting. He is a pinpoint passer. With Washington, they don’t need more than a one on one defense his passes are so wobbly they take forever to get where he did or didn’t aim it. He is not big enough to run it himself with any consistence or that would compromise these defenses, you can arm tackle him unlike Nesbitt. Either get a really big quarterback that plays like a fullback or pass over these people’s head.

JoeFan

October 31st, 2012
8:34 am

Lack of B Back production is just a further indictment of Tech’s recruiting and coaching.

10per

October 31st, 2012
8:36 am

I have been ranting about the lack of production at B-back for two years now. Apparently, there is nothing that can be done about it since it only seems to be getting worse, not better. If the personnel we have at that position cannot get it done straight up the middle, how about trying running outside a bit? Getting the B-back involved more rolling out in the flats? Something, *anything* do put a wrinkle in our scheme. We are so one dimensional now it’s scary

. The whole point of the option is to make up for less talent with unpredictability…now we don’t have that we can’t convert on 3rd for a whole game.

uafuneman

October 31st, 2012
8:37 am

Maybe, just maybe the reason the B backs are not doing as well as previous B backs at Tech is because THEIR NOT AS FREAKING GOOD.Does anyone on this coaching staff really think that these guys have the talent of Dwyer and or Allen. It’s all about recruiting baby and this is what we didn’t know about CPJ when he was hired. Now we know and it’s time to go.

DOC 51

October 31st, 2012
8:41 am

S.DAYS is the worst waste of talent ever at GT.I don’t see how CPJ can look him in the face.

Coach Z

October 31st, 2012
8:43 am

After reviewing tape, I noticed over the last year or two Tech doens’ commit nearly as many “chop-block” penalties as when the TO was first implemented. That’s a sign of good coaching, so there is a good thing fellas. Look for the silver linings in this cloud of darkness that has overcome Tech. We will be good again. Weather the storm mates and let the coaches, players, fans fall where they may.

GT

October 31st, 2012
8:45 am

When Vick was at the Falcons he ran real well for a season or so then the defenses got smart took an assigned man to shadow him, Thomas Davis was the first shadow at Carolina to break the code. Once they saw this on film ever team in the NFL had Vicks number. That when Arthur took the dogs over to Vick’s house and dropped them off.

It is the same with Tech. They keep a linebacker or two in the middle expecting the run, from either the quarterback or the B back. Tech doesn’t have a tight end to distract the linebackers. These backs we have can’t run over anybody especially big linebackers like the ones BYU had and go down too easy. Washington is a basketball looking athletic not a football player, who cannot pass.

Montylick&ass

October 31st, 2012
8:46 am

Sad that we are only a TD favorite over a team with a linebacker playing QB being backed up by a tight end. We all thought CPJ’s edge and attitude was cool when we thought he could back it up, now he just comes off as an @hole.

DOC 51

October 31st, 2012
8:56 am

CPJ never changes.He needs to show some enthusiasm for a change.Communication is obviously lacking between coaches and players.

observer

October 31st, 2012
9:00 am

GT offense is bad and over-all they are a bad team. This is due to bad coaching on part of Paul Johnson. GT players don’t give much effort against good teams..I suspect they have given up on PJ and don’t want to play for him.