What’s wrong with Tech? Bay-Bay went away (boo hoo)

This pass was dropped Saturday in Pickens County, S.C. (AP photo)

This Yellow Jacket pass was dropped Saturday in Pickens County, S.C. (AP photo)

I’ve actually had requests to write more about Georgia Tech. This is noteworthy because I usually only get asked to stop writing about something. But enough about me.

Georgia Tech, I’m afraid to say, is what I thought it was when last I mentioned the Jackets. It’s bad on defense and limited on offense. To say the Tech D has gotten worse under Al Groh would be statistically incorrect: The Jackets were 54th nationally among FBS teams in total defense last season; they’re 53rd now. What’s hurting Tech, believe it or not, is that Paul Johnson’s stylized offense isn’t holding up its end.

The Jackets are second in the nation in rushing offense, same as a year ago. The difference is that Tech ranks 48th nationally in total offense, down from 26th last season. What has gone wrong? There’s no Bay-Bay.

Demaryius Thomas, known as Bay-Bay, averaged 82.43 receiving yards per game last season — pretty darn good for a wideout on a team that ranked only 116th in passing yardage. With Thomas now gainfully employed in the NFL, Tech averages only 84.75 yards passing as a team.

A year ago, Bay-Bay made Joshua Nesbitt look like a competent passer: Tech actually finished 12th nationally in passing efficiency. (Didn’t know that, did you?) This year Tech ranks 106th in passing efficiency, and Nesbitt’s personal rating has dropped from 148.69 to 110.51. His completion percentage was 46.3 last season; it’s 38.2 now. His yards-per-attempt average was 1o.5 last season; it’s 6.61 now.

Put another way, whenever Nesbitt threw the ball last season there was (almost) half a chance he’d complete it for a first down. This year there’s roughly one-third of a chance the ball will be caught for substantially less yardage. Yes, that’s some difference.

Part of Nesbitt’s problem is that he’s rarely asked to make an easy throw. He can’t just dump the ball over the middle to a tight end because Tech has no tight ends on the roster. And Stephen Hill, billed as the Next Bay-Bay? He has 12 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. Thomas had 46 catches for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games last season.

This shows us, not for the first time, that Johnson’s stylized offense has its limitations: It cannot win at the highest level with a passing game this poor. And we can’t say that Tech has been set back by having to break in a new quarterback: This is Nesbitt’s third year as a starter in this system.

Bay-Bay made PJ’s offense look good because he made astonishing catches on demand. Bay-Bay was also signed by PJ’s predecessor, Chan Gailey, who ran a pro-style offense. Georgia Tech isn’t apt to sign a receiver so talented again anytime soon.

We went back and forth over the summer in trying to decide which of the four junior Jackets who left early for the pros was most indispensable, with defensive end Derrick Morgan being the early favorite. But now it’s clear: Thomas was the man Tech couldn’t lose. With him to bail out Nesbitt, the 2009 Jackets didn’t sustain their second loss until two days after Thanksgiving. With Bay-Bay as a Denver Bronco, the 2010 Jackets lost their third game eight days before Halloween.

524 comments Add your comment

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

October 26th, 2010
7:50 am

Good article Mark. Fish Fry Johnson is also staring down the face of three more losses to Miami, Va Tech and the annual loss to THE University of Georgia as the Dawgs make it 9 out of 10!

Matt

October 26th, 2010
7:52 am

Well, someone hasn’t watched much of GT this season. Nesbitt has been throwing the ball well, for the most part. Just that the receivers couldn’t catch herpes.

GT BS04

October 26th, 2010
7:53 am

It’s not a matter of Bay-Bay there to bail out Nesbitt….it’s a matter of the receivers Tech has not being able to pull the ball in. Nesbitt’s accuracy has rarely been the issue, it has been the dropped balls in every game.

GT BS04

October 26th, 2010
7:53 am

But I would expect no less of a comment from a U(sic)GA gomer

ss

October 26th, 2010
7:56 am

matt,

nesbitt has NOT thrown the ball well. Its either over an a-backs head, or the ball is dropped due to the poor foot work these a-backs have when their trying to catch the ball on the move in the open field.

Hill has been awful. Nesbitt cant throw an accurate ball.

Should beat duke at home before the turkey game against georgia, but the other games, I have no clue since its not easy to figure out which team shows up on a week to week basis this entire year.

T-Bone

October 26th, 2010
7:57 am

Am I first? Tell me I’m first.

ramblingbuzz

October 26th, 2010
7:59 am

Agree on one point, GT’s offense is not clicking. Everyone may want to blame it on the loss of Thomas, but it goes deeper than the lack of a passing attack this year. I believe we miss Dwyer equally as much as Thomas. The offense has to score TDs in the red zone, not just kick field goals.

Jacket Attack

October 26th, 2010
8:02 am

The Robot will turn this around. I am hearing word from classmates that Joshua made a Tebow-like promise to his teammates after the Clemson game and that most beleive now that Tech will not lose another game. Report on that Mark.

destin dawg

October 26th, 2010
8:02 am

Nesbitt for Heisman !

ss

October 26th, 2010
8:02 am

rambling buzz,

Dwyer was a leader, which this team doesnt have. The team has no intensitiy and Dwyer had a line that new what they were doing last year. This years o-line sucks. I have never seen so many poor blocking attempts make nesbitt run for his life.

Not blaming any one of those four guys for leaving. They got paid, it happens. Thomas made a big impact on the outside running last year and thats missed. How many big plays has this offense put to togther this year? I dont think its many.

F-105 Thunderchief

October 26th, 2010
8:04 am

Nesbitt’s passing, or inability to, shocks me. Wasn’t he recruited as a passing QB? Johnson’s offense at Ga. Southern always had a competent vertical passing game. Love Nesbitt, but he’s got no touch whatsoever.

ss

October 26th, 2010
8:04 am

jacket attack,

Nesbitt cant stop the two headed monster the turkeys have at tailback next week. He can only do so much.

Its a little too late for making promises. If they can win 8 games that would be nice, but not really counting on that

yellafan

October 26th, 2010
8:05 am

I was so upset about Saturday’s loss,I left my two season’s tickets to Ga.Tech football on my car’s windshield at the Varsity,hoping someone would relieve me of my misery,while i dined inside. When I got back to my car,there were four more!

T-Bone

October 26th, 2010
8:06 am

Sixth? Dang, missed again.

I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. Bay-bay is gone, but so is Dwyer. Allen is simply not as good in the back as he is on the edge (I forget whether they are A-backs or B-backs; I wish PJ would call them fullback and slot-back). Defenses are pounding through the line, because we lost some O-linemen to graduation and eligibility, and taking away the dive and many times taking away Nesbitt as well. And then certainly the receivers we have haven’t made catches.

What concerns me is that PJ’s play-calling doesn’t seem as astute as in years past. We haven’t gotten better this year. We looked as bad against Clemson as we did against Kansas. PJ is going to have to show me something the rest of this year and the next.

StayAwhile

October 26th, 2010
8:08 am

PJ needs to stay another 50 years at tech. Maybe he’ll get a win or two against the dawgs in that time. Every now and then a squirrel finds a nut.

Eastside Jacket

October 26th, 2010
8:11 am

We do miss Bay Bay but our biggest problem is the offensive line. I don’t care what offense you run, if you can’t block anybody you’re in for a heap of trouble.

Hurt Kurbstreit

October 26th, 2010
8:14 am

Stephen Hill made a big mistake going to Tech. Paul Johnson doesn’t want to throw the ball and Nesbitt is not very accurate. The defense lost a lot of good players and needs to restock.

The Grinch

October 26th, 2010
8:14 am

Tech has slid because they don’t have Thomas? You mean that kid who was recruited by that bum of a coach Chan Gailey? The coach who couldn’t coach? I thought Johnson was so great that he could coach up anyone. If that’s the case, then why doesn’t tech have a better passing game? Do you think that maybe the elite receivers don’t want to play for a run oriented team? Or maybe Johnson cannot “coach up” wide blockers, er, uh, I mean wide receivers. Or maybe, just maybe, Gailey wasn’t that bad of a coach. Hmmm………..

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

George Stein

October 26th, 2010
8:14 am

Everything you say is correct, Mark, except that you neglected two key facts: 1) the number of drops has been staggering and, 2) Bay Bay was a no-name receiver out of high school who only held offers from Duke and Indiana. Someone like that will sign again.

Josey Wales

October 26th, 2010
8:16 am

yellafan

October 26th, 2010
8:05 am
I was so upset about Saturday’s loss,I left my two season’s tickets to Ga.Tech football on my car’s windshield at the Varsity,hoping someone would relieve me of my misery,while i dined inside. When I got back to my car,there were four more
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Please get some new material. That joke is older than Richt’s haircut.

Jan Kemp's Advisor

October 26th, 2010
8:17 am

I have advise everyone to make it a red letter day and celebrate when this cat finally retires.

JB

October 26th, 2010
8:18 am

Disclaimer: Dawg fan: Tech appears to have inferior OL and DL lines, little to no depth, average speed and a one dimensional offense that is game plan limited. Fish Fry’s first two recruiting classes have been very average, even by ACC standards, an a heavy dose of Gailey recruits out of the program has not helped. Now, hate all you want, My business partner, a Tech grad, a season ticket holder, fills my ears at lunch weekly. It’s true, you know it, we know it.

Josey Wales

October 26th, 2010
8:19 am

JB- As a Tech fan, I agree

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, BH. BH said: Painful to watch all the dropped passes. RT @MarkBradleyAJC: What's wrong with #gatech? Bay-Bay went away. Boo hoo. http://bit.ly/csKaCj [...]

George P. Burdell

October 26th, 2010
8:26 am

Mr. Stein is correct but also remember that its not exactly like Stephen Hill was sitting around hoping Tech would offer because no one else was calling. I’ll agree that he is, at least so far, no Thomas, but he was a pretty highly regarded recruit. There will be others as well and I hope Mark is at least man enough to admit it when he is proven wrong. Its amazing how much better every player looks when you have a good offensive line.

Poor Paul

October 26th, 2010
8:28 am

Just like most of us thought when Tech hired Paul Johnson. A good high school offense that will not attract top receiving talent. Bay Bay hung around to grab the NFL gold ring. What top-rated high school receiver in his right mind would pick Tech today?

Tech must now focus on getting the very best QB and running backs they can recruit, and hope that is good enough to win in the ACC.

Rduck

October 26th, 2010
8:28 am

The main problem I see with this years team can be summed up in one word.. SOFT! This team has not shown itself to be tough in any game this year. Even against the weaker opponents, we have struggled to keep the intensity needed to force our opponents to play our game. The UNC game was the closest we have been all year to being the team of the past two years who imposed it’s will on the opponent and forced them to play our game. Yes we miss Bey Bey terribly. This years crop of receivers has been the worst I have ever seen at Tech. having said that, I would like to say that Tech has had one guy step up and play hard when called on this year and his name is Orwin Smith. This kid has been a bright spot in the running and passing game and looks like he could be a stud for the next few years…

Jethro Bodeen

October 26th, 2010
8:29 am

The coaching is the problem! Even a person with a 5th grade education can see that!

The Grinch

October 26th, 2010
8:32 am

Josey Wales
October 26th, 2010
8:16 am

“That joke is older than Richt’s haircut.”

Speaking of old jokes…….

Hammer This!

October 26th, 2010
8:32 am

BUZZ ME

October 26th, 2010
8:32 am

Nesbitt is a great kid but he couldn’t hit himself and our receivers couldn’t catch a cold. CPJ needs to incorporate short passes to backs out of the back field with Joshua in the bootleg. Also we need JOSH back

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

gt4life

October 26th, 2010
8:39 am

Well, I guess we need to fire PJ and get the search committee organized. Mack Brown, Urban Meyer need to go too. College football fans kill me. Tech fans are some of the worst. 3rd year in, 2 bowl games, ACC champs and you fools are ready to throw in the towel on CPJ. You fall right into this putz Bradleys trap of always trying to stir things up.

Teams go through transitions. Tech is not a football factory and never will be. We will be competetive under PJ and good times lay ahead. Be patient, positive and get behind your team and coach. Don’t let this idiot Bradley get you worked up. We’ll be OK.

unbuzzable

October 26th, 2010
8:40 am

How about Tech beating UGA one of eight times,everybody knows that even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while!

lilhomer

October 26th, 2010
8:40 am

keep this up and shreveport won’t even be calling….

Honey Bees

October 26th, 2010
8:40 am

Matt and GT, you are just reinforcing Bradley’s point. GT isn’t catching the ball because they don’t have the receivers. Bay Bay is gone and there is noone on Tech’s roster that can step in and replace him. Good receivers wouldn’t have dropped all those passes, right? Without Bay Bay, GT HAS NO GOOD RECEIVERS. You must not have been watching much of GT this season..

Jingle Dingle

October 26th, 2010
8:40 am

Let’s be honest. We all new this was going to be a rebuilding year for Tech. On the other hand, noone thought that Tech would potentially lose 4 to 5 games. I think the big problem this year has not only been the Defense, but the fact that Nesbitt has lost all ability to pass. Now granted, Stephen Hill SUCKS (had to get that one off my chest). That still is no reason for Nesbitt to over/under throw people like he has been. By my estimate, there has been at least 12 times when they had a man WIDE OPEN for touchdowns and Nesbitt missed the mark badly. In two games in particular, Clemson and Kansas, there were key passes that would have won the game. I am just hoping that if CPJ’s offense starts going to pot, D-Rad won’t be afraid to drop unlike Tech did with Gailey for all those years.

Ramblin' Wreck

October 26th, 2010
8:42 am

http://pricezack.wordpress.com/ this site has some great college football articles, pretty interesting reads

Paul in RDU

October 26th, 2010
8:44 am

I agree that losing Thomas has had a drastic affect on the offense. That’s not the only drop off from 2009 – the OL hasn’t been as good and Allen, though a good player, does not have the breakaway speed of Dwyer.
I don’t agree that the D has not improved. The ranking in yards allowed may be similar to 2009, but GT’s time of possession has dropped from 33:49 a game to 31:25 a game. The D is on the field almost 10% longer
GT may not get a WR as good as Thomas again, but to put it in perspective, in the last 30 years they have only ever had 3 WRs drafted in the top 100 (Thomas, Calvin Johnson and Dez White)

jfreak13713

October 26th, 2010
8:44 am

Last year Johnson was playing with the prior coaches talent and now we are seeing this offense with the type of players Johson generally get to come to Tech and I’m sorry to say it doesn’t look good! The really talented players won’t come play in this system for the most part and because of that Tech is playing with less talent against much faster teams than Johnson faced at Navy.

I see another year or two and Johnson will be fired. Not because he isn’t a good coach but because he just simply won’t have the talent needed to win aginst top schools. We’ve seen with good not even great talen Johnson can win with this system, but he doesn’t have even good talent this year. Its average talent and you aren’t going to beat even ACC teams with average players!

Honey Bees

October 26th, 2010
8:47 am

Everyone knew this was a rebuilding year for Tech? The pollsters had GT at 16 and 17 in preseaason polls, and Tech was marketing Nesbitt for the Heisman. Everyone knew it was a rebuilding year?

Cecil34

October 26th, 2010
8:47 am

Without a competent passing game (and I am not referring to those Heave-Ho passes that Nesbitt throws up for grabs) of short and intermediate passes, this team will not be able to win consistently.

And when I say win consistently, I am referring to beating SEC teams, top ACC teams, and other conference teams in any possible bowl game.

Teams that have the size and speed to stymie an option offense.

Combine ineptitude on offense with a hap-hazard defense, and this is truly a recipe for football disaster.

Trust me, if this doesn’t get resolved, then in 2013 Tech will have another head coach roaming the sidelines.

mrb

October 26th, 2010
8:55 am

Enough with the CPJ can’t recruit like Gailey. That’s b.s. revisionist history. Look at the facts, people! Johnson’s first two classes are actually better than Gailey’s first two. In his 7 years at Tech, Gailey only had three top 50 recruiting classes. The ‘07 class was very good, besides that? Average doesn’t even begin to describe Gailey’s recruiting.

The problem with Tech this year is not the fact Thomas is gone. The problem is the OL and DL lines haven’t manned up in one single game. We’re getting pushed around on both sides of the ball. You want to blame CPJ for something, there it is.

ga_tech_92

October 26th, 2010
8:58 am

Guys there is also the “small” issue of offensive lineman carrier starts.

This link shows the total career starts of o-lineman for 120 college teams.

GT is 104th of 120 with only 37 career starts.

Guess who is number one with 155?…UGA.

So, yeah, loosing Bay bay hurts a lot, Dwyer, etc…but let’s not pretend having a basically inexperienced O-line doesn’t matter.

Then there is the ‘new defense playbook’…takes time.

There are a lot of things that add up to what we have today.

http://blog.philsteele.com/2010/06/02/ol-career-starts-returning

George Stein

October 26th, 2010
8:59 am

Bingo, mrb. But facts dint always fit the UGA story so they just ignore them.

Herschel Talker

October 26th, 2010
9:00 am

Where is that tool RAMBLE ON!!!!??? Anyone heard from that dork? When the Dawgs whip Tech’s sorry arses yet again, he’ll be crying like the little baby that he is. Oh, and by the way, he likes men.

Instant karma

October 26th, 2010
9:00 am

When tech fans spend sooo much time on the BLOG, enjoying the mishapse of children and using words like THUGA, what do you expect.

TomB

October 26th, 2010
9:00 am

Tech’s biggest problem this year has been offensive blocking or the lack thereof. Bay Bay was a great receiver and yes did help tremendously catching the football and making defenses honest, but honestly his biggest contribution to the team was as a blocker. He was a tight end playing wide receiver and he consistently knocked defensive backs to the ground.The result was many more break away td runs by our backs. This is whats missing from the 2010 jackets. They are not a good offensive team because they are not blocking like the 2009 version.

ga_tech_92

October 26th, 2010
9:02 am

mrb – good point. I will give Gailey credit with one super year of recruiting, probably the best we have ever had. Even then, it wasn’t as good as UGA’s on an average year. These things matter. We’ve NEVER been able to out recruit UGA or the other football factories. CPJ is a good guy for us, because his system lends it’s self to ‘doing more with less’. We need a system guy like CPJ to work a little magic with smoke and mirrors. He kicked ass for us for two years and we are down this year due to a lot of things, but let’s not get on the cpj should go bandwagon…that’s crazy. The man has won more than anyone ever almost at Tech. yes Gailey had ONE stellar year of recruiting, but that’s not enough to go toe to toe with schools who consistently out recruit you……………unless you work a weird system like CPJ. Trust.

Chris

October 26th, 2010
9:02 am

Those of you who are saying PJ isn’t a good coach because he won with Gailey’s recruits are actually just proving the oppositions point that he is a good coach. Gailey couldn’t win with the players he recruited because he was a terrible coach (Just look at what is going on in Buffalo). Johnson was able to come in and use a completely different offensive scheme and win right away with the same players Gailey had at his disposal. This shows he actually is a good coach. The defense is going to take some time. You are going to take some lumps when you lose 4 of your 5 best players early to the NFL. Just look at Florida. Anyone really believe Meyer needs to be fired? Get Real!