The Morning After: GT 37, JSU 17

Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

What a day…tailgating with friends, a 37-17 GT win, a quick visit to a pool party complete with a live band, catching the end of the UGA loss to Oklahome State, catching the end of BYU upsetting the Sooners, and then suffering through a Bama vs Hokies game in which Virginia Tech’s offensive ineptitude threatened to rival even North Carolina State’s woeful showing against South Carolina earlier in the week.

So, lets look at the Good, Bad, and the Ugly from yesterday’s 37-17 scrimmage against the Gamecocks.

Game Day Experience:

  • The Good - I really liked the upgrades to the stadium.  The new video screen (MegaJacketTron?) and sound system are light years ahead of last year.  Everything looked and sounded awesome.  I also liked the use of the ribbon screens around the stadium to display more details and stats.  I was originally concerned that the ribbon screens would make the stadium feel like Phillips during a Thrashers game but Tech used them judiciously and they weren’t a distraction.  The new signage and upgraded concessions on the west side were well done also.
  • The Bad – The crowd was late to arrive and a bit sparse, in my opinion.  I realize that it was Jacksonville State and wasn’t a very compelling matchup, but come on…it was a chance to get down on campus and see some football.
  • The Ugly – Did I really spend $10 for a footlong hotdog and a bottle of water?  Are you kidding me?  If I hadn’t been getting some major munchies after our pre-game libations and cigars I would have passed and avoided paying the exorbitant prices.

The GT Offense:

  • The Good – Dwyer went 74 yards on the first snap of the game and it was 7-0 just like that.  The Jackets led 31-7 at the half without really trying hard and showed an ability to throw the ball down field to open a-backs and receivers.  Thomas went over 100 yards on four receptions.  497 yards of total offense, 37 points, and noone got hurt.  Nesbitt completed over 50% of his pass attempts despite a few drops.
  • The Bad – Outside of Dwyer’s opening snap romp and Thomas’s 56 yard reception we didn’t really break any big exciting plays…something we’ve come to expect from this offense.  We didn’t break anything on the dive play and we didn’t seem to try to get the ball outside that much.  I’m not sure if JSU played well or we played halfheartedly after jumping up early.  We seemed content to grind the ball down the field 3-4 yards at a time.  I didn’t see a killer instinct on offense…something we need to develop before Thursday night.
  • The Ugly – Fumbles and dropped passes.  We put the ball on the ground five times and lost three of them.  Two were fairly deep in JSU territory and took points off the board.  We absolutely CANNOT do this against Clemson and Miami in the upcoming weeks.  If we do, we lose.  We also can’t drop open, well thrown passes that would have gone for big gains.  By my estimation we dropped three balls that would have gone for at least another 100 passing yards and probably 7-14 points on the day.  Nesbitt should have been something like 9 of 11 with 200+ yards and 2 TDs.

The GT Defense:

  • The Good – Derrick Morgan and Morgan Burnett both showed up and played excellent defense.  Morgan was unblockable all afternoon and Burnett snagged a beautiful interception to begin what should be a solid All American campaign in 2009.  Jerrard Tarrant looks like he’s going to be a very good contributor at corner as he gets more playing time under his belt.  The linebackers were very active and Julian Burnett is a tackling machine…he may be our next star at linebacker very soon.
  • The Bad – We look soft and vulnerable in the middle of the defensive line.  The linebackers were having to make plays because the DL wasn’t performing like we’ve been accustomed to seeing in the past.  Its one thing to be small, quick, and mean like Joe Anoai was…but we seem to be missing the quick and mean portions of that equation right now.  When the offense is double and triple teaming Derrick Morgan, someone else better take advantage and get into the backfield.
  • The Ugly - JSU had two long drives in the fourth quarter and scored 10 points.  The first drive was 14 plays and 75 yards.  The second drive was 11 plays and 75 yards.  As a result, we lost the second half by a score of 10-6 and JSU wound up with almost 300 yards of total offense.

GT Special Teams:

  • The Good – Jerrard Tarrant, Jerrard Tarrant, Jerrard Tarrant!  Wow…can you say playmaker.  We’ve heard the coaches saying that he had natural talent and a knack for punt returns.  Yes, yes he does.  He may be a weapon for us like we haven’t had since Jonathan Smith.  Orwin Smith also looks decisive and fast on kickoff returns.  Definitely improvement in both facets of the kick return game.
  • The Bad – Kick coverage still looks lacking.  If JSU can get almost 20 yards a return on average against us, what do you think Clemson and Miami will average?
  • The Ugly – We missed a PAT attempt.  Are you kidding me?  That’s supposed to be a free point.  That’s why its called an EXTRA point…its EXTRA.  You just take it!  And don’t even get me started on the punting game.  If we take that long to get a punt off against ACC competition we’re going to get one blocked down our throat and returned for special teams points against us.

The Verdict?

A win is a win…but I don’t think I’ve ever been as underwhelmed by a 37-17 thrashing of an opponent as I was by this one.  I hope it was just a product of our opponent and that Coach Johnson uses it as a teaching aid and object lesson to get the team focused and motivated to face our first real competition this coming Thursday night.

Go Jackets!

THWG!

A quick note to everyone:  Trash talking is part of the blogs and I’m not a big proponent of moderating or removing posts, since the AJC.com doesn’t require registration to post comments.  But I do have the ability to remove profanity and things that cross the line enough to warrant complaints.  If you want your comments to remain visible in the blog…keep it clean.

63 comments Add your comment

Saint Simons

September 6th, 2009
11:03 am

24 -10 hahahahahahahahahahahaha

EW

September 6th, 2009
11:59 am

Totally agree. Eventhough we won I left the stadium feeling like something was missing. Both QBs hold the ball like a loaf of bread. I made comments within 1 or 2 plays of JNs and TWs fumbles that if they don’t do a better job holding onto the ball it wil come out. That must be fixed. The D-line also worries me. Up the middle we are very soft. They can’t get off blocks and make plays. Hopefully, they will wake up against Clemson.

misterwax

September 6th, 2009
12:14 pm

Outside of the glaring fumbles, one can only hope the Coach Johnson was not revealing too much of what he will offer on Thursday night….Fumbles killed us in 2 of our losses last year that should have been victories….As for Blair…we need some foreign graduate student / soccer player to take his place….could not do any worse. Maybe some Chinese kid in the Mech. Engr. Dept…who knows?

Vincecomeback

September 6th, 2009
12:26 pm

You idiots played a high school team.

chris o bomb

September 6th, 2009
12:27 pm

i said its great… to be… willie martinez! i said its great… to be… uga or bobo! i said it great for Richt… to lose to Gundy!

haha thwg

jacketbacker

September 6th, 2009
12:34 pm

i actually thought the crowd was pretty good…stadium looked about 90-95% full…..still concerned about the turnovers and kicking game…..hope we see big improvements on thursday night…..but hey, any saturday that Tech wins and ugag loses is a great saturday!!

Go Jackets and THWG!!!!

gtbabe

September 6th, 2009
12:35 pm

gtbabe

September 5th, 2009
7:34 pm
We have a tough row to hoe in September, Clemson hasn’t beat us in 3 yrs and Miami in 4 yrs, those teams will be gunning for us with everything they have and I’m sure we would all like to see payback against UNC.. Winning in Miami is extremely difficult, I was there 2 and 4 yrs ago so I know…so please let’s get through this month before anyone starts dreaming of an ACC title or the BCS…like CPJ said, we need more intensity and fire…

Doubt if we have anymore games like Jax State but would have like to have seen Dwyer have the opportunity to run up more yardage because I believe he is legit for the Heisman and has a shot.. (OU’s Bradford went down with shoulder injury) You never know…

Go get ‘em Jacktets!
go get’em Jackets!

gtechsta

September 6th, 2009
1:06 pm

Would agree with most of what you said. I was somewhat amazed at how long it took us to get a punt off. Tarrant is ridiculously talented.

Hey vincecomback, you played like a high school team.

AMG

September 6th, 2009
1:25 pm

Where are the Georgia fans????? Huh , what? Don’t hear a squeek from them now. Oh that thing is creeping up onthem. What is? Reality, Dawgs will lose at least 5 games this year and Tech will destroy them later this year.Hahahahahaha

Life Coach

September 6th, 2009
1:34 pm

A lackluster win. We looked like we were asleep. I think Jax St was better than last year and they are not a bad team in their league. I HOPE we were looking ahead to Clem. We will know a LOT more about our team Thursday night. THWG

Life Coach

September 6th, 2009
1:37 pm

Miami is loaded with talent. But can Shannon use it to win games? Maybe not and maybe he is on his way out. Miami has something rotten down there. Too many players quiting. A real tough game for us. THWG

morgwreck243

September 6th, 2009
1:40 pm

I’m glad Tech won, but not how they won.

The offense looked sloppy and when they had some good drives they would fumble it away. I just wonder how much of that was due to rotating players opening game “rust.” The good news is that a lot of teams make great improvements between the first two games. How they play against Clemson is going to tell everyone how this season is going to go. Here’s hoping they show that killer instinct that was missing against Jacksonville State.

I’m still worried about the defense because Jacksonville State, with their back up QB, was able to move the ball pretty well and converting 3rd Downs.

At least the Special Teams showed some improvement and with Tarrant returning punts things should be very interesting. I haven’t been this excited about a punt returner since Rhino’s kid was doing the returns.

The stadium did look nice. I just wish they would display the Conference Championships that Tech has won.

On a side note, I’m glad they matched the pants to the helmets. It just looks a lot better.

reebok

September 6th, 2009
2:55 pm

Underwhelming, to say the least. Clemson will flatten us if we don’t play a lot better than that. I like the new unis, much happier with the gold than with the banana yellow of last year. What was the official game attendance?

contactbuzz

September 6th, 2009
3:09 pm

‘You idiots played a high school team’

What do you expect – we run a high school offense (thanks, Eric Zeier). Unfortunately, for you guys, CWM runs a JV defense.

AlabamaRamblinwreck

September 6th, 2009
3:15 pm

reebok: official attendance was announced as just over 46000.

GTBuzz85

September 6th, 2009
4:28 pm

Stadium looked good. I thought that the attendance was good for Div II opponent and what was supposed to be sunny and upper 80’s temp. Depressing though how we fumbled 5 times, missed PAT and FG, and dropped so many balls. Should be better in these areas than last year.

I went to the Clemson game...

September 6th, 2009
4:35 pm

…other than their return game – 96 yard kickoff return by Spiller to start the game and a 60 yard punt return for a TD by Ford, plus several other long punt returns that only netted 2 field goals (and one missed field goal)they were awful – and Spiller is hurt. Game should be a cakewalk for GT.

AMG

September 6th, 2009
4:45 pm

Athens has hotter dudes, I will give them that.

GT For You and Me

September 6th, 2009
4:50 pm

Just a little GT for you and me! Go Jackets! THWG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GT For You and Me

September 6th, 2009
4:59 pm

BobbyGodd

September 6th, 2009
5:01 pm

GTBabe…

So you would risk getting Dwyer injured and losing him for the year just so he could gain a few yards? The Heisman is nothing more than a popularity contest and with the QB’s all back for the nationally known programs (Texas and UF) it is really a far distant possibility for Dwyer to win. CPJ did the right thing to develop playing time for the backups and to limit the injury risk for the upcoming crucial ACC games.

Great coaching CPJ!

Hopefully the lackadaisical attitude will improve since this weeks game is going to be tough!!!!

GT For You and Me

September 6th, 2009
5:07 pm

GT For You and Me

September 6th, 2009
5:10 pm

Another whoopin coming! THWG!!!!!!!!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5Ji7ke5sQE

GT For You and Me

September 6th, 2009
5:13 pm

Big ED

September 6th, 2009
5:36 pm

I left the game filling a little nervous about Clemson on Thursday. After watching the Clemson/Middle Tennessee replay this morning, I feel much better. Clemson’s freshman quarterback wasn’t impressive nor was their so called experienced offensive line. spiller had a 96 yard kickoff return and a good punt return, but wasn’t too impressive running from scrimmage. We can blow them out if we play to our potential. I think CPJ will blast them in practice this week and get their attention.

juvenal

September 6th, 2009
6:06 pm

one of those high school players played at uf last year…i think sometime Tech players get too cerebral

EEJacket

September 6th, 2009
6:34 pm

I agree with Big ED…..I looked at the stat lines and I guarantee you their fans are saying the same things about their team……Our boys just need a wake-up call and they will be fine, and I don’t think PJ’s going to hesitate to give it to them this week. Also, please refrain from any conference/nat’l champs talk…..its nerve-wracking.

THWG

September 6th, 2009
7:02 pm

surfrider

September 6th, 2009
7:31 pm

Take one game at a time. We beat Gardner/Webb by 3 points and the Bulldawgs by 3, however they both could have gone the other way too. This offense seems to have a ton of potential particularly if it can keep improving in the passing game. Think what this article said we coud have had another 100 plus yard of offense and the ball was spread around. The defense sounds interesting as experience should improve Dline in the middle. Tech had a linebacker named Mackel Harris under Pepper Rodgers that sounds kind of like this fresham, a tackling machine. WE have our work cut out in this tough ACC, even with some of the losses yesterday.

Who is GT??

September 6th, 2009
8:17 pm

GT IS IRRLEVANT!!

dogcrap

September 6th, 2009
8:34 pm

“Who is GT” is an ignorant, red neck, sister loving, inbred idiot, who is also irrelevant.

Jkt4Life

September 6th, 2009
8:56 pm

GT is here to stay, haters. Under CPJ, the gold & white will win the ACC and compete for the NC. I love the Yellow Jackets and will enjoy seeing UGA get trounced this year. Go Jackets!!!!! THWG!!!

Jkt4Life

September 6th, 2009
9:02 pm

GT will easily put up 65+ points on Klumpson. GT is going all the way this year under CPJ, baby!!! I cannot wait to see the Ramblin Wreck destroy that redneck SC team. More destruction on the way in November at The Flats when UGAy comes creeping into town. GT 51 – UGA 7.

Jkt4Life

September 6th, 2009
9:18 pm

Stinger

September 6th, 2009
10:33 pm

Jkt4Life, I think you may have under estimated the Jackets against the Dawgs. I predicted we would beat them 56-3. You could be right though if we pull the starters in the 3rd quarter. I just don’t know what happened to all the dawgs running their friggin mouth for the past month. I had forgotten how they leave the game at halftime when they are getting blown out. Quess that is why they are shying away from our Blogs now. I seriously look for them to lose their first 3 games and be calling for Mark Richt to be fired. They may be over rated more this year than they were last year. It is going to be awful for them to be playing before an empty house by the 3rd Quarter every game this year.

Football Lifer

September 6th, 2009
11:11 pm

“morgan was unblockable all afternoon”. Really…how many sacks did he have? How did the defense do against a qb starting his first game ever in hostile territory? How did they do against a no-huddle offense in a 2 minute drill?
I’d say you guys were lucky to be playing someone you were favored by 38 points to beat. Obviously underperformed. Or wait…maybe one person here could give the other team a little credit. JSU – you played with heart and didn’t give up. Good job, and good luck at FSU next week.

LMG1011

September 7th, 2009
1:54 am

Tech’s defense gave up a lot of plays in the middle especially on draw plays to the JSU running back or a a slant in patterns to a wide receiver. For a QB starting his first career game against a ranked team, I thought the JSU QB played well. It should have been a blow out but Tech did enough to keep it interesting and not for the good reasons.

The only “buzz” I heard was the reaction from the crowd every time the ball was put on the carpet by the Jackets.

GT9

September 7th, 2009
7:14 am

31-7 at half. 17-0 end of 1st quarter. You don’t want to play your A-game against a Jax State.
I’m really excited about Thursday night. What I hope to see:
Dwyer 170 yards
2 interceptions by M. Burnett, 1 by Reed
2 receiving touchdowns by Wright

GO JACKETS!

BIG BEE

September 7th, 2009
9:20 am

Hey Tech Guys and Gals, don’t get too excited about out win Saturday. From what I saw, we need a lot more work. Also about UGA’s loss, don’t get too excited there, because again, I don’t know that we are that much better than they are.

Saint Simons

September 7th, 2009
9:27 am

I won’t be any problem for us to win ACC!!!!! Weren’t we the only ACC team with a win? WOOT!!! WOOT!!!

GT

September 7th, 2009
11:52 am

Enter your comments here

GT BACKER

September 7th, 2009
11:57 am

misterwax,

Being a little hard on Blair? CPJ said the XP miss was due to bad snap. He missed the 42 yd FG. That must improve, BUT did you know he was the most accurate kicker inside the 40 in the NCAA last year. I think he will get better on the over 40 this year. Seems like his leg was much stronger. I think he will be fine.

GT4Ever

September 7th, 2009
12:13 pm

It definitely looked like our intensity level dropped after the JD run. It seemed as though our players felt they had this one wrapped up and didn’t go all out the rest of the game on cruise control. I did like the passing of JN though even with the drops. Boggs is right he could have had a great day if not for that.
We do have one thing in our favor for the Clemson and UM games is their QB’s are young and if we canrattle them we should win both without a problem. Clemson didn’t do anything to impress me either. Stop Spiller and we should take care of the rest. While UM does have talent I don’t think they can win consistantly because of the youth factor. Just not enough experience.
I quarantee our guys will be ready for both teams. How can you not get pumped up for Clemson which is our second biggest rival. We have to prove last year was no fluke.

MalibuGT

September 7th, 2009
2:33 pm

I was out of town and had to miss the game (and new stadium features). The reviews seem pretty consistent. No need to start obsessing on any/all faults after one game (see dogs). I’m sure CPJ was holding back things for Clemson, particularly after the 31-7 lead. Let’s take them one at a time – looking forward to a big win Thursday!

Not Disappointed!

September 7th, 2009
6:19 pm

I do believe GT can win Thursday night, but we have to play our games.

We are Georgia Tech!

Paul's Johnson

September 7th, 2009
10:49 pm

Definate losses:

Clemson
VT
UNC
FSU
Vandy

possible losses:

WF
UGA

Cane Captain

September 8th, 2009
8:07 am

To all the little Bee’s out there. Please take note of last night game vs FSU. There a storm brewing for you in Miami on the 17th!!!

RAMBLE ON!!!

September 8th, 2009
8:14 am

Maybe the “Canes” can keep it competitive into the 2nd quarter this year.

I look forward to going to S. Beach and slapping the “Canes” again for the 5 straight time.

….but first Clempson.

Tech82

September 8th, 2009
8:31 am

Cane Captain – From what I saw last night, your Canes are VERY lucky to have won the game. If not for some inept play calling by FSU in the final minute you would have lost.

I will say this, both FSU and Miami looked very fast and both have incredible return games. It was a fun game to watch.

Tech

September 8th, 2009
8:33 am

The “U” also scored 39 on FSU last year and we all saw what happened. I am worried since yall have momentum now and 10 days to prepare. Gonna be a tough game in front of the 10K at Landshark.