Live from Miami (or nearby) and curious about Tech’s direction

stadium2

Here's a look at the very early action. Georgia Tech players looked focus, don't you think?

MIAMI GARDENS — While there probably is some cachet in playing the ESPN Thursday night game two weeks in a row, as Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson lamented the other day, “Like they say, it is a fast turnaround. We are trying to figure out what day it is.”

Take comfort, coach. There shouldn’t be any confusion from here on out. After Thursday night’s game against Miami, the Yellow Jackets  were scheduled to play the remainder of their games on Saturdays, just like common folk, at least until the bowl season.

The only confusion that may still linger centers on Johnson’s team.

I’ve got to be honest: I was pretty high on Georgia Tech coming into the season. But the Clemson game last week threw me a bit, as I’m sure it did Johnson. Pulling out a victory after the relative trauma of seeing a 24-0 potential laugher turn into a 27-24 deficit on national TV definitely showed character. But the flaws the Jackets exhibited on defense and at quarterback raised serious red flags, particularly since they’re  in a difficult stretch of ACC games that continues against North Carolina, at Florida State, Virginia Tech and at Virginia in the next five weeks.

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Jonathan Dwyer ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns on only 10 carries against Miami last year. He wouldn't mind a repeat tonight.

There is no way of knowing this now. But the Miami game could wind up being one of those season-defining weeks. It certainly will have an impact in the ACC’s Coastal Division, which impacts the conference title game, which impacts rankings and bowls.

But this much seems certain: If the Jackets don’t improve defensively and gain some assurances they will be able to count on Josh Nesbitt for something better than a 3-for-14, two-interception performance, they are going to have issues.

“We need to throw the ball better — there’s no secret there,” Johnson said earlier in the week. “Our passing efficiency has to be better. We know we have to do better on third down. But I’m not going to become overly concerned unless that becomes a trend. Sometimes it happens like that. But looking at the film, I don’t think [there are problems] we can’t get correct.”

Nesbitt showed he can lead. He completed two key third-down passes on each of Tech’s final two possessions that resulted in the tying and winning field goals against Clemson. Those are intangibles a coach and an offense look for in a quarterback. But until those two possessions, the junior was 1-for-11 for 20 yards and two interceptions. Given those numbers, Tech was fortunate to be in the game, option offense or not.

Defense may be an even bigger issue. The Tigers scored on their first four possessions of the second half (two touchdowns, two field goals). They had big plays on every drive: a 20-yard run, 16-yard pass, 77-yard pass, 25-yard-run, 37-yard pass and 21-yard pass.

Johnson said, “If you take away those big plays, the defense actually played pretty well.”

But he knows better. Take away the iceberg, and everybody was having a great time on the Titanic. If an opponent can hurt you with big plays, they’re not going to be concerned about the six plays on that drive that didn’t work.

This has the potential to be a special season for the Jackets. If they navigate this difficult stretch, they face three opponents they should beat — Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Duke — and then have a week off before facing Georgia at home. But the Clemson game was somewhat of an escape, one they can’t afford a repeat of.

♦ ♦ ♦

I’ll be heading out to the stadium with Doug Roberson shortly, then I’ll kick off the live blogging. Meanwhile, here’s a few links for you.

Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald points out that the Hurricanes are 13-2 on ESPN Thursday night games, but that one of those losses came to the Jackets.

Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald discusses the problems Tech’s Derrick Morgan can cause for Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris.

Shandel Richardson of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel discusses how the Miami offense has improved under first-year coordinator Mark Whipple (who replaced the fired former Georgia Tech assistant, Patrick Nix).

958 comments Add your comment

Doc

September 17th, 2009
4:47 pm

Go Jackets!!!

Eastside Jacket

September 17th, 2009
4:55 pm

Not as concerned about our offense tonight as I am our defense. I hope we can get a rush on Harris and not give him all day to pass like F$U did. It should be a good one. Go Jackets !!!

Tuck Fech

September 17th, 2009
4:56 pm

YES!!!! Only about 5.5 hours til Tech fans will shut up for a while!!!!!!

bob

September 17th, 2009
4:58 pm

Enter your comments herePREDICTIONS FOR TODAY

1-NEXT JACKET WIN AT VIRGINIA

2-NO WINNING SEASON WITH NESBITT AT QB

Bull Butter

September 17th, 2009
4:58 pm

Tuch fech–Go clean up your trash.

Tech alum

September 17th, 2009
5:02 pm

Prediction: Bob and Tuck Fech both trash their trailers tonight in anger after THE JACKETS ROLL!!! YELLOWWWWWW!! JACKETSSSSSSS! Lets get it on.

looking for INT's ...

September 17th, 2009
5:04 pm

By Tech…not against Tech.

DawginLex

September 17th, 2009
5:06 pm

Arena league game. Whoever has the ball last wins.

GT 42
UM 37

Same in Fayettenam with a tad more D played.

UGA 27
Ark 20

GT Falcon

September 17th, 2009
5:12 pm

Bob….what was last year? Nesbitt was our man and it was a winning season. Retard.

Saint Simons

September 17th, 2009
5:12 pm

Got my thong on for the game tonight boys!!!! come n see me!!!!

B Davis

September 17th, 2009
5:15 pm

Have to admit this game gives me heartburn, but I suspect the jackets will do well.

Not sure the Miami team is taking this game as seriously as they should, and given what happened in Atlanta with Clemson, Georgia Tech is taking it real serious.

GT 24-13

GT

September 17th, 2009
5:18 pm

I think CPJ pulled his horns in too fast last Thursday so he wouldn’t give Miami much to study. I am not convinced Tech can’t pass better than they were passing, even the skinny kicker threw a completion ,how hard can it be when everyone is on the line of scrimmage. Who knew Clemson was going to wake up from whatever drug they were on that first half? Clemson may have had some of the worst gametime coaching I have seen in a while, then another team showed up the second half. Parker is a real quarterback and Clemson will beat somebody good this year. If they had Parker last year Bobby’s boy might still be coaching. Tech will be fine, FSU made Miami play four quarters and left a lot on film. One thing I do worry about is Miami lost our best defensive weapon in their offensive coach they fired from last year. If one of these teams beside Wake Forest or Tech gets a real coach on the side lines our days are numbered. UNC looks like the only team even trying to find one.

Cheese

September 17th, 2009
5:20 pm

I felt it needed some flare!

Mine Eyes Have seen the glory of the Stomping of the Canes
We’ll teach those porn dumb thugs they should stop taking names
When the Jackets are victorious we’ll give a might cheer
IT WILL BE 6 IN A ROW NEXT YEAR!

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 17th, 2009
5:20 pm

This should be a good test for Tech to see where they stand.

StormBrewin'

September 17th, 2009
5:26 pm

There will be a whole lot of disappointed GT fans tonight. They have no idea what awaits their GT team (that barely scooted by Clemson). Hey…..we’re not Clemson; we have talent and speed. We hit HARD. I expect a few GT helmets to come flying off after the Canes get cranked up. Nobody – NOBODY hangs 5 in a row on this university. There’s goona be some serious GT pain inflicted!!! GO CANES!!!!!!

GT-EE-'93

September 17th, 2009
5:28 pm

Word up: Florida State isn’t that good. Particularly their defense— and FSU’s secondary is not very good at all.

Clemson’s D is better than Miami’s. And there is no CJ Spiller on Miami to account for.

Miami plays this game against Tech closer than last year’s, but still loses.

Survive the 1st quarter, and it’s Tech 31 Miami 24

Ed-Covington

September 17th, 2009
5:34 pm

“Whipple wasn’t made available to reporters this week.”

Above is from Shandel Richardson article.

WHAT? Is he a child? Who did not make him available for reporters? Shannon? What was he afraid he would say? Does he have a big zit on his nose? Was he stabbed by a student?

Engy

September 17th, 2009
5:35 pm

The Miami Hurricanes will get rolled. I expect the spread to be 14 points.

Go Jackets

September 17th, 2009
5:36 pm

Storm, “The U” has been saying that same thing for years. If you don’t think Clemson has talent and speed then you know very little about football. If Miami thinks that athleticism without discipline will win the game then they, and you, will need to be satisfied with losing a 5th straight game to the wreck.

Slick Bic

September 17th, 2009
5:37 pm

StormBrein’ – you and all Miami fans are gay.

Sonny Clusters

September 17th, 2009
5:37 pm

Never was we so surprised as when we read Jeff is in Miami when the Braves are playing the Mets right here in town tonight. Imagine a baseball man like Jeff leaving town for a Tech football game! When we was playing ball we always like football but we was in love with baseball. We would oil our gloves and then we’d sleep on ‘em like they was pillows. Sleeping with your glove helps get in touch with it and helps with your fielding. We was always wanting to tell that to Kelly Johnson and we tried, but Jeff wouldn’t tell him. We was asking last night if wet weather was bad on a tugged groin and we found out it was when Chipper come up to pinch hit and that groin tug aggravated itself on television. Chipper was walking a lot like Ethel Merman on the way back to the dugout. He’s been playing third a lot like Ethel for most of the season but we blame that on the deerskin glove more than tugging of his groin. We know this is a football blog so we have some football comments so we won’t get reprimanded by Jeff. When we was playing ball we never run anything like the Tech offense because it required a lot of thinking and they was so many options on what could be done with the ball after the snap. Coach always said it was best to keep the game as simple as we could with you know who running around out there.

greg

September 17th, 2009
5:39 pm

Gt won the Clemson game because the officials won the game for them on that horrible holding call. GT will not win tonight…pay back…

macrotech

September 17th, 2009
5:40 pm

StormBrewin’, are you talkin’ about those ‘hard hittin’ canes? Saw them last year and that ’storm’ turned out to be a breeze! It won’t be a blow out, but Tech wins by two scores! GO TECH!!!

macrotech

September 17th, 2009
5:41 pm

someone get greg a tissue…..Tito?

Sonny Clusters

September 17th, 2009
5:44 pm

Blogging with Tech fans is a little harder than blogging with SEC fans because Tech fans will sometimes go multi-syllable. We was looking at Clemson when we was considering schools and at Clemson we fit pretty good. They are ACC and that’s where we was dreaming of playing and getting our landscaper’s degree. That’s just about the time the Braves called and made one of us a baseball player and the other a businessman. We don’t really have any regrets because second shift has been good to us.

Sonny Clusters

September 17th, 2009
5:47 pm

They is some good cigars in Miamil. We was down there awhile back and bought a box on sale. Jeff, if you see any maybe you can buy us some to share when we get to Dunwoody.

GT Falcon

September 17th, 2009
5:49 pm

Sonny….As much as I love my Bravos they are out of it. They may be on their longest winning streak of the year but its about a month too late. #14 GT @ #20 is much more important.

StormBrewin'

September 17th, 2009
5:49 pm

Go Jackets, don’t you see the storm coming? Harris will drill your Swiss cheese defense. Clemson passed all over your secondary so just think of that in roughly the third order (that’s times three to you, Tesla). GT stands no chance. We’ll see who knows about football, amigo. Now don’t get mad and change the channel in the 3rd quarter. I wish you could come down here and see the carnage first hand. GO CANES!!!!!!!!

m

September 17th, 2009
5:51 pm

Shultzie….you are basically the turd in the punch bowl….the chan gomer gailey of sportswriters….in other words you suck.

Now sit back and watch Paul Johnson and the mighty Tech team tear the thugs from Miami a new one.

You are nothing but a typical dawg ankle biter.

StormBrewin'

September 17th, 2009
5:53 pm

Slick Bic, that was deep. Very thought provoking. How old are you – 11?

Sonny Clusters

September 17th, 2009
5:53 pm

GT Falcon, we know that’s right but if Bobby had played the early games to win we could be in it right now. We was thinking about all those at-bats you know who wasted and we was remembering KJ playing and not letting Prado get much playing time. We was thinking about how Diaz would hit the ball real good then wait days for another at-bat. Then we was thinking about the bullpen and some blunders that was made there. Yes, they may be out of it but it didn’t have to be that way. Early games count the same as later games.

Jim Grogan

September 17th, 2009
5:55 pm

I strongly believe Paul Johnson and his staff are better coaches than Randy Shannon and his staff (no disrespect intended). Certainly their respective records support that observation. Talent wise I think Tech has the athletes to play with Miami and most likely would beat them 70% of the time on a neutral field. If both teams execute, the officials don’t decide the game, and luck is not a hude factor Tech will win either a close game or make a statement and win decisively. As fas as the Clemson game goes, and I was there for every snap, and Clemson was well coached, has some GREAT athletes and could win the rest of their games. As Paul Johnson so aptly said this week, “There are players and coaches on the other side of the ball trying to beat you.” Go Jackets!!! THWG!!

wreck'em

September 17th, 2009
5:58 pm

Enter your comments here

jeff, give us the weather forecast down there. go jacket’s!

GT Falcon

September 17th, 2009
5:58 pm

I hear ya sonny…..preaching to the choir.

The Dude

September 17th, 2009
6:06 pm

If Greg had been watching any football this year he would know that the focus for refs this year, as far as holding is concerned, is the play where the OL spins the DL and puts him to the ground. That is, by definition, holding; and that’s exactly what was called against Clemson. Furthermore, Tech was also flagged for a seemingly questionable holding foul during their last drive. The difference you ask? Tech overcame that holding call to win the game.

Not Disappointed

September 17th, 2009
6:07 pm

JRod

September 17th, 2009
6:10 pm

What is it with some of you douchebags calling Miami players thugs? That image vanished in the late 80’s/early 90’s… We haven’t had a player arrested or in trouble for quite some time… In all honesty it is wreckless and racist in my opinion, but that doesn’t surprise me coming from a Georgian…

Leek

September 17th, 2009
6:10 pm

Lets GO JACKETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Hey Dogtards

September 17th, 2009
6:17 pm

“But until those two possessions, the sophomore was 1-for-11 for 20 yards and two interceptions.”

Nesbitt is a junior, not a sophomore.

Hey Dogtards

September 17th, 2009
6:18 pm

“What is it with some of you douchebags calling Miami players thugs? That image vanished in the late 80’s/early 90’s…”

Florida International called, they disagree with that statement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami-FIU_brawl

The Nature Boy

September 17th, 2009
6:20 pm

Oh what a night. The Jackets are going down like Tully Blanchard at Starcade in 1984. I will be at the Peachtree Plaza celebrating another Hurricane victory.

Tech Fan #1

September 17th, 2009
6:21 pm

I think we are going to lose tonight. We will never be as good as the Bulldogs.

laughing....

September 17th, 2009
6:22 pm

Hey JROD, Looks like you’re right. According to the all-time Fulmer Cup, GT is ranked ahead of UM. Unfortunately, this is one poll you don’t want to lead. FYI . The Gator’s are number two. Didn’t Urban say they only recruit the top 1% of 1%.

49th: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8 points
73rd: Miami Hurricanes 4 points

Canes Rule

September 17th, 2009
6:23 pm

After tonights victory i look forward to returning to my cell for some tossed salad.

Da U

September 17th, 2009
6:24 pm

Ed-Covington

September 17th, 2009
5:34 pm
“Whipple wasn’t made available to reporters this week.”

Above is from Shandel Richardson article.

WHAT? Is he a child? Who did not make him available for reporters? Shannon? What was he afraid he would say? Does he have a big zit on his nose? Was he stabbed by a student?

Are U a child???? Football smack is football smack, but that stabbing comment was stupid. That kid that was stabbed at a Florida HS was someones child, if that happen to you or a family member it wouldn’t be so funny.

Got to go, will be back after the game.

Good luck to all and wish no injuries to either ACC team.

New Updated Score

Miami 48 GT 43

StormBrewin'

September 17th, 2009
6:25 pm

Nesbitt couldn’t hit a hippopotamus in the posterior with a frying pan. Heck, he couldn’t even pass a 0.002″ kidney stone. The Canes will make some picks tonight and probably run two back in for six. There’s a storm brewing way down here ~ 10′ above sea level. GO CANES!!!!!!

Harlee Talbai

September 17th, 2009
6:29 pm

Go Jackets. Not schooled there, nor state resident, fan for awhile, since late ’50s [esp:LB/FB McNames tackling & scoring to beat Bear/Tide (7-6), that’s did it, still have AJC sports page, somewhere? Must admit tho went to Chapel Hill. Coach & Tech have what it takes & will do it! Tight game, early esp. til 2nd half, tech takes over; total control. Got the weapons & thanks to Coach J, the macho. BLO-OUT end result. !!! 48(or 49) to 33. talbai

JoeV

September 17th, 2009
6:35 pm

Hey Randy Shannon, watch out for illegal substitution and phantom holding calls!

South FL Jacket

September 17th, 2009
6:37 pm

JRod,

What about the statement “Miami players are thugs” indicate a belief in the genetic superiority of one race over another?

StormBrewin'

September 17th, 2009
6:37 pm

Much, much easier said than done there Harlee. UM will score 33 but the engineers will fall short. Sorry.