A sobering truth revealed: Georgia Tech just isn’t very good

Oh, no! Zach Laskey after muffing a punt. (AP photo)

Oh, no! Zach Laskey after fumbling away a punt. (AP photo)

Miami — Georgia Tech has messed up its season, and not in the way you’d think. The losses these past two weeks haven’t been examples of a gifted team losing to its inferiors; they’ve been cases of a team that, on talent, shouldn’t have been 6-0.

Yet 6-0 Tech was, ranked No. 12 the land as late as eight days ago. Now it’s 6-2 and perhaps bound for 7-5 and another holiday in Shreveport. Which is another way of saying: Water seeks its own level.

We see now that Tech isn’t very good, and the schedule, which seemed to have done it a favor, might not have been so favorable after all. Had Tech lost a couple of games early, it might have had cause to deploy Vad Lee, the freshman quarterback who might be the most talented player on this roster, as opposed to letting him sit out as a redshirt.

Who makes major changes when a team’s 6-0 and climbing in the polls? Nobody. But now, his team climbing no more, Paul Johnson was asked Saturday if there was a chance Lee would play this season. “Probably not,” Johnson said.

What happened here Saturday wasn’t a failure of effort, as had been partially the case at Virginia the week before. The inspired Cavaliers hit Tech hard at the start and held on. Miami didn’t seem long on either inspiration or execution, managing just 262 yards and two offensive touchdowns, both of those on mini-drives of 46 yards. But Tech, which gained 768 yards against Kansas in Week 3, was held to 211 in Week 8 — by a team that entered with the nation’s 81st-ranked defense.

“I think our kids played hard,” Johnson said. “It’s just frustrating we couldn’t find anything to do on offense.”

What worked earlier this season against lesser opposition — the pitchouts to the A-backs, the downfield throws off play-action — works no longer. The plays are the same; it’s the size and speed of the opponent that has changed. Where’d the wide stuff go? Said Johnson: “We can’t get to the perimeter.”

Does that mean quarterback Tevin Washington, whose efficiency has diminished in recent weeks, is making the wrong reads and keeping or handing to the B-back when he should pitch? Johnson: “He’s making the right reads. We’ve got five blocking four, and the four are winning.”

That’s not scheme. That’s talent, or the lack thereof. And it’s a huge deal. In 2008 B-back Jonathan Dwyer had nine 100-yard games; in 2009 he had seven; last season Anthony Allen, Dwyer’s successor, had six. Know how many 100-yard games David Sims, the new B-back, has had this season? None.

The much-lampooned defense hasn’t been so laughable. It yielded no second-half points last week, three this time. But a Johnson-designed team can’t win if it doesn’t score, and over the past two second halves the Jackets, in comeback mode both times, have managed one touchdown.

“We can’t overcome bad plays,” Johnson said, “because we’re not hitting big plays.”

Yet again, gaffes in the kicking game undid Tech. Freshman Zach Laskey waved teammates away from a bouncing punt, then tried to field it himself and saw Miami wind up with the ball in the end zone. And then, with a minute left before halftime and Tech having just gone 92 yards in 20 plays to halve Miami’s lead, a squib kick spawned a crushing Hurricanes touchdown. And get this: “It was supposed to be a deep kickoff,” Johnson said.

Not for the first time, we need ask: Why does a man as clever as Johnson not hire a special-teams coordinator? Instead, the kicking game is left to various Tech coaches to oversee piecemeal, and the result has been an ongoing farce. “We couldn’t overcome the special teams today,” Johnson said, “and that’s a reflection on me. Something we’re doing ain’t right.”

And now you wonder: Is there time — with a schedule that includes Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia — for Tech not to finish with five losses in the final six games? Is there any way to salvage a season that got so far ahead of itself?

Said Johnson, speaking of Washington: “We just have to find something he can do.”

At this late date, all the stuff Tech can’t do outnumbers the things it can. This is a team of limited means. Limited means, and not much time.

By Mark Bradley

498 comments Add your comment

mmgtfan

October 22nd, 2011
8:34 pm

Outside Observer

October 22nd, 2011
8:34 pm

Negative title, yet true. It’s going to be a rough couple of weeks for Georgia Tech football.

Outside Observer

October 22nd, 2011
8:41 pm

“Why does a man as clever as Johnson not hire a special-teams coordinator?… ‘We couldn’t overcome the special teams today,’ Johnson said, ‘and that’s a reflection on me. Something we’re doing ain’t right.’

I like Paul Johnson just as much as anyone else, but it is time for CPJ to eat some humble pie and realize that he is not an expert on special teams. Bring in someone who understands special teams and can focus on it. Let Johnson stick to the offense, where his knowledge lies. Like you said before, Tech looks talent-deprived on both sides of the ball. When an untalented team executes well, it can win against anyone. When an untalented team cannot execute, it can’t win. This season is a clear reflection of that.

Yellow Maggot

October 22nd, 2011
8:41 pm

Disappointment couldn’t come to a more deserving group of bags.

THWGT!!!!!!!

Reality

October 22nd, 2011
8:42 pm

Reality here is……

This is entirely accurate.

fbGuy

October 22nd, 2011
8:42 pm

Shut the door when you leave the stadium, jackets. And enjoy Shreveport.

Rafe Hollister

October 22nd, 2011
8:46 pm

Looked good when you were kicking soup cans!

dawg EAT dawg

October 22nd, 2011
8:48 pm

Eat dirt, yellow skeeters! At least Atlanta has one winning football team today: Georgia State!

Yellow Maggot

October 22nd, 2011
8:48 pm

I wonder if any Techies are still rocking the shirts they made after beating Kansas…..

I wonder if ESPN Gameday has a scout on Tech’s campus right this minute, looking for a suitable place to set up for next weekend

.

October 22nd, 2011
8:48 pm

Mark — Perhaps the answer to your question is this…. CPJ is not all that “clever”. That is hard for you to fathom, but only you and ‘Moobs’ are still buying the crock about his supposed “genius”. Your clinging to that notion only serves to make you look silly.

Matt for MN

October 22nd, 2011
8:49 pm

The Bee’s are just brutal right now. The beginning of the season was just a mirage.

1980 was a long time ago

October 22nd, 2011
8:49 pm

TECH MIGHT NOT BE VERY GOOD, BUT GEORGIA SUCKS TOO! GET OVER IT DAWGS BECAUSE 1980 WAS A LONG TIME AGO!

Mike

October 22nd, 2011
8:51 pm

@outside Observer – good point on special teams. UGA doesnt have one either, and they are making nearly killer mistakes on special teams every week. Johnson must hire a special teams coach and take that aspect of the game seriously.

As for the column, a bit harsh but nothing I havent already said. The argument of “maximizing talent” is bravo seirra bogus. It might get you an upset or two, but it won’t consistently hold up when week after week the other team lines up with better talent. If UGA gets its offensive mistakes under control, this will be a five loss season. Their defense is superior to Tech’s and knows how to stop this offense. I would say the Va Tech game is winnable because Tech doesn’t play the Saturday before, but neither does Va Tech. Opponents with over a week to prepare for Tech do very well against this offense and do very well. Which flipping that into a defense of Johnson makes no sense because it concedes bowl losses.

Cal Jacket

October 22nd, 2011
8:51 pm

Enter your comments here

Mako

October 22nd, 2011
8:54 pm

K

October 22nd, 2011
8:54 pm

Why not play Vad Lee??? That’s what he was recruited for!
Should play to win. Use your best players and start recruiting for bigger, better players.
Know we don’t have to tell Johnson this though.
It is just disappointing not only to the players but to all Ga Tech fans.

Van Dammit

October 22nd, 2011
8:55 pm

At least Duke’s coming up. Bwaa-haaa-haaa-haaa!

uga sux

October 22nd, 2011
8:56 pm

Throw the rest of this season in the trash. forget any miracles. tech is gonna end up 6-6. there is no inspiration or fire in these guys eyes and CPJ don’t know what to do. his offense is not working at all right now and tech keeps shooting itself in the foot with bad special teams play and the defense has been really bad for most of the season. Expect a good ole country butt whoopin’ at the hands of clemson next saturday night. I’ll bet there will be lot of no shows on the tech side because they know whats gonna happen.

Herschel Talker

October 22nd, 2011
8:56 pm

MB:

HAHAHAHAHA!!! Didn’t you recently say that you were going to have to rethink your UGA over GT pick? Do you now have to rethink that statement? HAHAHAHA

NERDS, NERDS, NERDS!!!

HT

Biff pocoroba

October 22nd, 2011
8:56 pm

Fire the worthless QBs coach and get a special teams coach

Tech fan

October 22nd, 2011
8:57 pm

One thing we know TW cannot do…hit long passes-so throw more like the two “screen” type that did get first downs today.

I’m beginning to wonder if the “special” greeting that Johnson utilizes when addressing all players that make mistakes as they come to the sidelines is as effective as he thinks. I suggest it is a downer and has a really bad negative slant the next time the player attempts to do his job.

TechRon

October 22nd, 2011
8:57 pm

As I have been predicting for weeks now, the chickens have come home to roost. Friends of mine were telling me early on that I ought to be celebrating the fat Tech wins. I told them that I could not, since they were against subpar opponents. When we beat UNC and NCS, still the defense looked bad. In the Maryland game, the offense was crumbling and the defense was poor against a bad team. The UVA game spoke for itself as does this one. UVA is a poor team. Miami is definitely a good team but hardly a great one. Next week, Clemson will destroy Tech. Face reality, Pollyanna Go Jackets crowd. This team sucks. The defense is terrible. Al Groh is a failure here. Tevin Washington is nothing but a latter day Reggie Ball. If we win 2 more games, I will be surprised. With Tech Basketball and Football in the tank, isn’t it time to get a real AD?

faultline

October 22nd, 2011
8:58 pm

My analysis stills shows a positive trend this season! Games 1 to 8, number of offensive touchdowns – 9 7 9 4 5 3 2 1. Following my UGA EMAT 4050 course notes for showing improvement in standardized tests scores that’s a slope of 1.17 What ‘ wrong ?

Arno

October 22nd, 2011
8:59 pm

Who hasn’t been sober? Didn’t everybody know Tech should not have been so high in the polls? Fix special teams failures and get on with it.

GTBob

October 22nd, 2011
8:59 pm

We are pretty bad right now. I’m not sure that I completely chalk it up to better competition though. We had close to 500 yds against UNC and then 300 against a lesser UVA team. I really think its two things. One, Tevin is not playing well. Two, the offensive line isn’t either. This has just thrown off the momentum we had earlier in the season. We might get it back, but probably won’t.

Mike

October 22nd, 2011
9:00 pm

@K – I think its too late for Lee. That’s basically throwing in the towel. Washington has the game experience. Lee does not. He hasnt been in a real college game yet. To throw him in to the Clemson game with only 4 left to play makes no sense at all unless Washington gets hurt. Like UGA in 2009 when Joe Cox was struggling, you let him finish the season. Ripping a red shirt off for 4 games is a waste of a year for Lee.

smilnjac

October 22nd, 2011
9:00 pm

I was happy with the effort of the defense, I was very disappointed in the offense especially the QB play. But then again Miami made the entire offense look SLOW. ,Tevin just needs to step into the throw and he is thlet it go , Thinking way to much.

BreakingNews

October 22nd, 2011
9:01 pm

Wait! What happened? 3 or 4 weeks ago, you guys had the most explosive offense in college football and were already clearing out a spot for that ACC Championship trophy! Absolutely love it!

David

October 22nd, 2011
9:01 pm

PJ is still a genius. Just ask him. And Mark Bradley of course.

JAWJeRDAWG

October 22nd, 2011
9:03 pm

Tough loss for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets today.

Cal Jacket

October 22nd, 2011
9:03 pm

I’ve been a Jacket fan for a very long while through lean times and very good times. They will always be my team. I have faith that they will work it out. This might not be their year, as this was suppose to be a rebuilding year anyway. It will not be long before they will be back on top. Keep your heads high and go JACKETS.

Reality

October 22nd, 2011
9:04 pm

UGA is mediocre, tech is not even that good. Playing cupcake teams pads your record and stats with meaningless numbers….tech was exposed today for what it is….slightly below mediocre.

.

October 22nd, 2011
9:04 pm

Mark — Another question one might ask is this….

How does such a “clever” offensive “genius” only manage 7 points against the 81st ranked defense in the country? A defensive ranking earned against ACC competition. For that matter, how does one explain his crapping the bed against a dreadful Cavalier team? I’ll hang up and listen.

Mike

October 22nd, 2011
9:05 pm

@TechRon – the thing about Washington is he likely spends far more time learning how to read and pitch vs throwing down field. The receivers spend more time learning how to block than route running. That combination translates to no passing game. The passes he hit early in the season were against teams that were sorry…wide open receivers running free…he couldnt miss. Ball suffered because of Patrick Nix who was fired from Miami shortly after Tech got rid of him…really bad OC.

O'Brien

October 22nd, 2011
9:08 pm

Mark,

CPJ’s best year came with Chan Gailey’s players. If Tech isn’t very good, whose fault is that? Shouldn’t CPJ be feeling some heat?

NCDawg

October 22nd, 2011
9:09 pm

I think you’re right on, Mark. The lack of talent is apparent which as you indicate is a serious problem. As good a coach as Johnson apparently is, if he doesn’t have enough talent, it could be a very serious ongoing issue. Tech was consistently beaten in the trenches today, and that’s a very bad sign going forward. Miami and Virginia aren’t that good, but Miami clearly had the better talent today. Going into the season, I think most would have been pleased with tech to be 6-2 at this point, but I think the early flurry of offensive dominance and big wins lulled many of us into thinking that they’re better than they are. I think tech will lose to Clemson and probably Va. Tech and UGA. Duke should be a win, but who knows. The thing I don’t understand. dearth of talent notwithstanding, is how Tech could all of a sudden be so bad offensively: 211 yards? Really? Somethig’s very wrong, and it seems to start with the lack of talent…..

manfur

October 22nd, 2011
9:09 pm

kool aid Jacket

October 22nd, 2011
9:09 pm

We are going to the national championship game this year. We also gonna beat Clemson, Va Tech and UGA like a drum. Our coach is so clever he is screwing up games on purpose so Clemson and UGAG will be overconfident. Mark it down, GT will finish 11-2 and go to a BCS game.

BG

October 22nd, 2011
9:10 pm

Tech had a joke of a schedule to start the year. Tech is not a very good football team.

Ramblin man

October 22nd, 2011
9:10 pm

HT, go sniff some red panties and i will rake a #4 with a coke please!!! Hey HT, does Boise state have a DREAM TEAM recruiting class? You guys got smoked in the dome with a “DREAM TEAM” by a team from IDAHO! Why isn’t you’re name herschel STALKER as much as you have a hard on for GT blogs?! Maybe you guys can go back to a bowl game and fail to score a TD with a top 10 WR vs a CONFERENCE USA TEAM!!! The mighty SEC was represented well by the former FULMER CUP CHAMPS vs UCF huh H. STALKER? LMAO

steve brown

October 22nd, 2011
9:10 pm

No special teams coach is minor compared to no passing attack. Does PJ not understand that the forward pass was legalized decades ago. He is playing football with one arm tied behind his back, his passing arm and it will ultimately lead to the fans souring on his “unique” style and he will be replaced.
Yes, this is on him.

Bob

October 22nd, 2011
9:11 pm

DRad needs to call PJ in Monday morning with the following message”

“You’re right – somethin’ aint’t right. You’ve got 4 games to fix it. Otherwise, we’re going to end this experiment and gat a coach witha real offense.”

We Own You....

October 22nd, 2011
9:13 pm

Same song–second verse. Might as well play Vad Lee because Paul Johnson won’t be around for his junior year. But that’s OK. He has bigger fish to fry.

Ramblin man

October 22nd, 2011
9:15 pm

GT was picked to finish 4th in the coastal. Ugag picked by many to win the EAST. I hope UGAG wins the EAST and loses to GT so we can call ourselves SEC EAST CHAMPS!! I hope you win the awful EAST HT, then i would love to see your face as you leave the dome when bama or lsu beats the living sh*t out of you mutts from the cess pool!! Yep, an a** whooping in the dome and you can take that to the bank!!! lol

(STILL) 2-10 against ranked teams

October 22nd, 2011
9:16 pm

OK Dawg fans……let it go…..piling on the nerds right now is tormenting your pesky little brother…..let it go.

We’ve got our own issues

We need to beat a ranked team before we start woofing too loud….

Mark in ATL

October 22nd, 2011
9:17 pm

Tigers are going to have 1/2 a hundred next week on this bunch…

Ramblin man

October 22nd, 2011
9:19 pm

UGAG= DREAM TEAM
DREAM TEAM= LOSING TO CONFERENCE USA (UCF)!!!
DREAM TEAM= 2 STRAIGHT YEARS OF NOT BEING RANKED IN TOP 25 AT SEASON END!!!
HERSCHEL TALKER= DOUCHE BAG

Only the cess pool feeds recruits such garbage as a dream team and only ugag recruits seem dumb enough to believe the hype!!! lol

kerryb

October 22nd, 2011
9:19 pm

Ramblin man, you have some anger issues going on there dont you? I cant believe you are going after a blogger from another team stating what they think about Tech when I see you on the UGA blogs doing the very same thing. Hypocrite.

kerryb

October 22nd, 2011
9:21 pm

Ramblin Man, In other words you can dish it out but you cant take it.

Moobs Johnson

October 22nd, 2011
9:23 pm

Just wait until I get all of my players in my system. Then my team will be great because I’m the smartest coach in CFB.