The Morning After: GT 37, JSU 17
Johnny Crawford / firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.