Posted: 5:33 pm Monday, July 14th, 2014

Tech opponent preview: Wofford 

By Ken Sugiura

The first in a series of previews of the teams on Georgia Tech’s 2014 schedules, with analysis provided by writers who cover each of the teams. We’ll start with Wofford, courtesy of Myron Hosea, who covers the team for the Greenville News. You can read his stuff here and follow him on Twitter here.

Wofford

Record in 2013: 5-6

Conference: Southern

Sagarin rating in 2013: 176

Semi-interesting fact: Wofford is one of at least four colleges nicknamed the Terriers. The other three: Boston University, Hiram College, Saint Francis College.

Recent games against FBS teams: 69-3 loss to Baylor last year, 24-7 loss to South Carolina in 2012, 35-27 loss to Clemson in 2011.

 

Q: I know Wofford has been relatively successful in recent years, with FBS postseason appearances in 2007, 08, 10, 11 and 12. What has contributed to that high level of consistency?

A. One reason for that high level of consistency is the word “consistency” itself. Wofford is one of those programs that has developed a system, annually finds the players that fit that system and run it well, and they execute week-to-week. As you know from covering Georgia Tech, the offense that Wofford runs (very much like Tech’s) can be difficult for teams on the FCS and FBS levels to defend if they prepare for it just once a year.

Wofford also always seem to be outmanned defensively, but again, they have a system on that side of the ball that leads to big plays at key moments. Head coach Mike Ayers once told us after a game in which Wofford’s defense was pushed all over the field and yet the team won that “until they cross that last line (the goal line), it’s just stats.” I think Wofford’s year-to-year success mirrors the offense/defense. You don’t think they’re doing much, but at the end of the game the Terriers have 400-500 yards of offense and more points than you. They know what works, they know who they need to make it work, and they go put it together.

Ayers being head coach since 1988, of course, is a big factor in that consistency. The staff has not had a lot of turnover until the last few years. The long-time defensive coordinator left for Appalachian State after the 2012 season. Another long-time assistant replaced him last season, but he left for a new career after 2013. Yet another long-time assistant has the defensive reins this season.

Q: Is the 2014 team expected to be on par with the recent teams that have reached the postseason?

A: Certainly the system remains in place, and I think the players are there for the 2014 Wofford team to be on par with the recent teams. This is a program that has had just two losing seasons out of the last 12, so you think Wofford will rebound this season. The revamp of the Southern Conference football alignment (Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, and Elon out; Mercer and VMI in this year), should work in their favor.

To make the playoffs this season, four road games are important: at Gardner-Webb, at Samford, at Chattanooga, and at Furman. All four of those teams beat Wofford last season – the last three in that season-ending four-game losing streak last year. After the season opener, all of Wofford’s games are winnable.

The 2013 team wasn’t as effective at making plays consistently as teams in the recent past. Wofford seemed to lose its ability to make a big play or a big stop or not turn the ball over as it lost the final four games a year ago. It was clear during spring practice that the emphasis was on finding the players who could do those things consistently this year.

Q: Who are one or two players that Tech needs to be concerned about?

A: Defensively: Kevin Thomas, the returning starter at one of the inside linebacker positions will be the key to the defense in 2014. Ayers has said he is the man they will depend on to be the leader. D-linemen E. J. Speller and Tarek Odom are pretty good.

Offensively: Fullback Jonny Martin will need to have a good season for the offense to get back to its usual effectiveness. If one of the four quarterback candidates takes control in August practice and becomes the clear starter, then he will be a player to watch.

Special teams: No one, really, at this time.

Q: How would you describe what the wingbone offense is?

A: Wofford’s version of the wingbone is very similar to Tech’s and Georgia Southern, especially in its base look. It has become more multiple in the past couple of years, however. I think they tend to run one-back and two-back sets a lot with an extra wide receiver split out or one of the HBs wide. They’ll even run a shotgun look. Still, it comes down to having at least a couple of options on each play. I think which sets they’ll run out of the most in 2014 will depend on who wins the QB job and how many of the HBs step up this year.

Q: Has Wofford or its fans harbored any hopes of making the jump to FBS?

A: I have not felt that Wofford or its fans see a need to jump to FBS. With an enrollment of 1,600 students, Wofford is one of the smallest schools in Division 1. I get the sense that the Terriers athletic program wants to be the best it can be right where it’s at in Division 1/FCS. As an athletic program, they’ve had their most success in FCS football and men’s basketball (Wofford won the Southern Conference tourney last season to make the NCAA tournament and has almost everyone back).

Additionally… You may have already seen this, but Wofford has 16 players from the state of Georgia plus three signees from Georgia. Three of the four players vying for QB are from Georgia: Evan Jacks (Johns Creek), Brandon Goodson (Dacula), and Brad Butler (Rome). Some other players from Georgia who could have big roles are HB/WR Nick Colvin (Bogart), HB Cam Flowers (Damascus), WR Wade Francis (Alpharetta), and TE Taylor Bragg (Thomasville).

 

74 comments
Steverino
Steverino

Until Aug.31, the Wofford game is the only one that matters.

DallasJack
DallasJack

Hey BC75, there's another thread about Tulane. Go troll over there blow hard.


Tech never stole those wins from Auburn. They played better ball and won on both occasions. By boss at the time  (Auburn Graduate) said that he was surprised the first time and shocked the second time.


Trying to be the new wrexie is not a good idea. BTW POAD what is wrexie using for a handle these days?

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

Since everyone is so concerned, here are the OUT OF CONFERENCE SOS Rankings for 2013.  With a weaker slate this year, GT ranks 78th.  Right at the bottom of the middle third.  Notable schools:  Auburn 74th, LSU 79th, Arkansas 85th,  Michigan 87th, Baylor 94th, Oklahoma 95th, Stanford 97th, Texas A&M 101st, Louisville 105th, Florida 113th, Bama 116th, Miss St 120th, Vandy 122nd.


Half of the SEC has OOC schedules ranked lower than GT's.  


http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2014/2/26/5401692/2014-college-football-out-of-conference-schedules-best-worst


Currently, Georgia Tech has the 43rd ranked schedule for 2014 based on SoS.  Alabama's is 95th.  That includes ALL  Bama's SEC games as well.  


http://www.collegefootballuniverseblog.com/blog/college-football-strength-of-schedule-preseason-2014


Now.  NO ONE, not even me, likes seeing GT play FCS schools.  I would much rather see us play Auburn again.  That being said, playing an FCS school a year is the reality we have to face.  It's not simply a "GT" thing.  I would love to see the power 5 conferences split and agree to only play each other.  It's not going to happen though.  

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

Eliminate the media reviews and comments, and just concentrate on game-preparation.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

GT/PJ cheat themselves with the schedule.

Something has to change. UGA being the only decent ooc game doesn't do anything for the program.

No one outside the state cares about this game.

Tech needs another BCS Conference opponent.

What happened to playing Aubie?......y'all actually got lucky & stole 2 W's.

GTBob
GTBob

For everyone complaining about playing a cupcake, do you really want to be the only team in the conference or in the south east that is giving up home games to play tougher opponents? You really want to put GT at a disadvantage against their peers for no reason? Cupcakes are annoying but they are a college football problem, not a GT problem. Ill gladly cut them out if everyone else agrees to as well.

jquick5342
jquick5342

You know, I'll beat there were some fans at the Cumberland - Georgia Tech game complaining about the offense not passing more.

GT_Rich
GT_Rich

You guys need to figure out the meaning of "blindside".  Wofford knew exactly what they were in for when they signed with GT. 

BigTimeJacketFan
BigTimeJacketFan

Understand the need for the game; however, I will not be there for a 12:30 kick on August 30th.  Too hot.  That Elon game was physically painful last year, had to leave in the third quarter.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

Let's just clear the air.  I'm almost positive that none of us enjoy watching us beat up on FCS teams ever year.  However, as others have stated; almost every other team in the country does the same thing (even the "big boys" in the SEC) so it's going to keep happening.  Second, neither CPJ nor Bobinski scheduled this game.  You want to blame somebody, blame D-Rad.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Ken S -- Quality stuff as usual. Nice of you to bring back the "ask the opposing beat writer" this season.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Good synopsis Ken. But that game really shouldn't be on our schedule. Wasted home game if you ask me.

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

@BigCrimson75 Stole 2 games?  We won here by 2 TD's and there by 9 pts and it wasn't that close.  We didn't steal anything.  We whipped their butts all over the field.

GTBob
GTBob

@BigCrimson75 For those wondering, here is Alabama's massive OOC schedule this year: West Virginia, Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, and Western Carolina. Man, if only GT could play tough exciting schedules like that, we would be destined for greatness. Somehow Alabama has only scheduled one home and home since Saban has been head coach. Im not sure a supporter of their team should be complaining about anyone else's schedule.

GTBob
GTBob

@BigCrimson75 Well we scheduled Alabama, and that keeps getting postponed. We scheduled South Carolina and they just called it off. We scheduled Ole Miss and they keep postponing the series. Apparently you think GT can schedule any team in the country any time they want. It doesn't quite work like that.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@BigCrimson75 Got lucky? Ya"ll? We have played AU around 100 times and they have won 7or8 more than we have.

Jmonty
Jmonty

BleedingGold, you are right on that.  I think D-Rad did everything to almost railroad GT.  I have very little respect for him.  While I would like to see better opponets, going for the big name teams is a stretch. We tried Bama and they backed out.  I would like to see games against teams like Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas and East Carolina.  Mid level teams..  Heck, at least you have a better chance for them having a fan base and buying tickets.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Bham -- No doubt it's a waste. Does PJ actually think blind-siding weaker opponents helps prepare the squad for VT, the U, Clemson, etc.? I hope not.

Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB
Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB

Agreed BJ. Maybe it's a good warmup for Ga. Southern? Clemson struggled with them so I guess we gotta be ready each and every week.

GTBob
GTBob

@gtcaryd To be fair though, we generated most of that record in the early days. From 1938 to 1956 we won 16 of 18 games against them. Starting in 1957, which is when the Tech football decline started we are 10-22-1 against them. If you look a little more recently than that starting in 1969, we are 5-16 against them. Only one game better than we are against UGA.

GTBob
GTBob

@BigCrimson75 You sound like Birmingham Jacket from last year when he claimed we would struggle against Elon.

GTBob
GTBob

@Jmonty I think to an extent we have done that. We had BYU the last two years. Kansas the two years before that. We played Miss St and Vandy shortly before that. We have Tulane the next two years. Vandy and Ole Miss are on the schedule shortly after that, although I expect Ole Miss to bail out at some point. We are one of the few teams with a major OOC rival we play every year and we do a decent job of scheduling other mid to big name teams. If we are talking about dropping the FCS game and adding another mid level team, I would ask, why do you want to be the only team doing that?

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@BigCrimson75 you should ask Nick Saban why he has Western Carolina on the schedule. Glass houses and such...

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@BigCrimson75

What about the patsies that virtually every other school in the country play?  Do those coaches think blind-siding weaker opponents helps them out?  I HATE those games, but sadly, everybody does it, except Notre Dame and maybe a couple more.  And, just as GaTechOldTimer said, the AD's make the schedules; the coaches don't.  DRad scheduled Wofford.

GaTechOldTimer
GaTechOldTimer

@BigCrimson75


It's not the coach who schedules opponents. It's the athletic director's office. CPJ has no say in the process. He just lines up his players in front of the folks that show up on game day.   

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@GTBob @gtcaryd I know that Bob but it sure as he!! looks good in Black and White..........GO JACKETS!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@GTBob @BigCrimson75  Breaking in a couple of unknown QBs. Anything can happen.

Who's running the 1st team?.....JT or Byerly?

......I know who deserves it based on Spring Ball.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@AugustaJacket @BigCrimson75

Bama and UGA are different.  They don't need quality opponents for fan support.  If they opened their weight rooms to the public 28,000 fans would show up just to watch their players lift weights.

We don't have that privilege.  We can't even sell our season tickets, and scheduling Wofford and Elon doesn't help.

There will be more people at the next tractor pull that comes to town than the Wofford game.  That can't be very inspiring to our players or potential recruits.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

SS & OldTimer -- C'mon, the HC(especially one banking 2.5 mil per) has some say-so on the opponents.

Where GT currently stands in the CFB pantheon, y'all need to upgrade the schedule. Y'all need quality opponents. Y'all need quality wins.

It'll help recruiting..........................Tremendously!!

GTBob
GTBob

@BigCrimson75 We were breaking in an unknown QB against Elon as well. We won by 70. The Wofford game isn't going to be even moderately competitive. Also, JT is the starter, and no Tim doesn't deserve it over him. Wasn't it last year that you were crying about how JT should have been playing over Vad? Now you are already crying for him to lose his job as well and he hasn't even started a game. Maybe Tim can win the job and you can start crying for Matthew Jordan. 

MarineJacket
MarineJacket

If that is true, why is attendance for SEC home games down. You can search for this article yourself, last season Nick Saban went on a rant about fans not showing up for games and the ones that did leaving early. Florida hasn't had a full stadium in years, you can find those articles also. What do you attribute that to?

Go Jackets!!!

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@BigCrimson75 False.   If anything, Tech should be adding more of these games.   Everyone seems to have a hard o- for Baylor these days, so look at their non-conference schedule.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@GTBob @BigCrimson75 last year GT needed the backup several times. Vad was awful a lot.

Byerly was the talk of Spring. Apparently he outperformed JT. PJ said as much.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@gtcaryd @GTBob @BigCrimson75

I am an athletic supporter of Tech.  The key word being A-T-H-L-E-T-I-C supporter.  I've already got my degree, and don't give a flip about the academics.  The real trolls IMO are those who believe good academics (which Tech does not have a patent on btw) somehow justify mediocrity on The Gridiron.  

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@MarineJacket

Yes... Instead of 100,000 fans only 90,000 are showing up for SEC games.  And some fans are leaving early.

That's what happens under new security measures that make it more difficult to smuggle booze and they don't serve alcohol.

Still.... Apples and oranges from what we are talking about at Bobby Dodd.  When we play these FCS high school teams, we get high school attendance. 

I discuss this several times a year when folks at the AD are pestering me for donations and to buy more and better season tix.  But they don't care.

GTBob
GTBob

@BigCrimson75 Byerly had a nice spring. He is a good fit for the offense. He isn't really all that close to stealing JT's job though. JT has more experience in game and out of game and is obviously the more dynamic player. Maybe you should let him play a real game before you call for the backup to overthrow him.

MarineJacket
MarineJacket

So you can't explain why the attendance is down. That kind of takes the steam out of your argument.

Go Jackets!!!

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Birmingham__Jacket Still.... Apples and oranges from what we are talking about at Bobby Dodd.  When we play these FCS high school teams, we get high school attendance. 

_________________________________________


Attendance at the Elon game was 45,759, or 83% capacity. Attendance at the Bama A&M game was 49,194, or 89% capacity. The largest high school stadium in the U.S. is Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, TX. It seats 23,000 people, or half of our attendance at the Elon game. 


Again, facts.  They seem to be your downfall. 

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@BigCrimson75 I'm indifferent, but they have been mentioned multiple times.


Look, the games suck.   We all know it, but we also have to understand that the system encourages it.

forexbomb
forexbomb

@GTBob @BigCrimson75 JT has little or NO experience Bob...  How you come to the conclusion that he is the more dynamic player is confusing..  I would expect CPJ to start the best QB possible.. I mean, CPJ needs to win games to be around the next year...  It makes no difference to me, although it makes sense to start the guy who wins the job.  IMHO...  Yours opinion will differ..  BTW, comparing Alabama's schedule to ours, makes you look silly..  Just sayin..

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@juvenal @BigCrimson75 @MarineJacket  Juvie -- My confidence in Mourinho is waning after the Cup!! 

The devil Lukaku showed out & Schuerrle looks like a much better option than Torres.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@AugustaJacket @Birmingham__Jacket

That reported attendance is complete BS!!!

I was AT those games.  You couldn't have gotten 45,000 if you were adding fingers and toes of the people in those stands.

Some of your facts are correct.  Others are FOS and taken in very specific and often irrelevant context.  

GTBob
GTBob

@forexbomb JT has one more year in the offense than Tim does. He ran 50 plays from scrimmage last year, alot of which were in real game situations. Tim ran 18, none of which were in real game situations. During the spring JT was nursing an injury, didn't play in the spring game, and was playing every scrimmage against the #1 defense. Tim played well against the #2 defense all spring, but im not sure that is unequivocal proof he should win the starting job over the more experienced and expected starter.

As for Alabama, they play a complete joke of an out of conference schedule and their cross divisional games are against Tenn and Florida, two losing teams from last season. Overall, their schedule is a a bit of a joke. They play 2-3 real games next year, 

juvenal
juvenal

@BigCrimson75 i pull for non-Bundesliga teams in proportion to DFB players(hence, Gunners, & reluctantly, Real)...

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Birmingham__Jacket "That reported attendance is complete BS!!!"

__________________________________________


Not really.  That is tickets sold.  EVERY school bases their attendance figures on tickets sold.  Plus, I was at both games.  Those figures weren't far off.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Birmingham__Jacket "Some of your facts are correct.  Others are FOS and taken in very specific and often irrelevant context. "

____________________________________________


Please point them out.  So far all I have done is prove most of your arguments specious at best.  Please point out a "FOS" fact above.  If you want to argue that, although the amount of sold tickets was north of 49,000, that there were less than that at the game, then fine.  But if you make that point, you can't claim that the SEC schools are packing the house for their cupcakes based on attendance numbers that are calculated by tickets sold.  They aren't.


This isn't your first brush with hyperbole either.  You recently told me that, of our 34 sacks last year, most since 2008 by the way, that they all came against the FCS cupcakes.  I proved to you that HALF came against the toughest half of our schedule.  (Only 5 against the cupcakes, BTW)  


I was at the Elon game.  There was easily 40,000 plus at that game.  Same with Bama A&M.  Either of which is DOUBLE the LARGEST high school stadium in the nation.  Maybe your eyes need to be examined so you can better read facts before you keep spouting off with misguided opinion.  

GTBob
GTBob

@Birmingham__Jacket I didn't go to the Alabama A&M game but I would say 45k was about right for the Elon game. It isn't that hard to draw a decent crowd for the opening game. Especially when they are giving free tickets to season ticket holders.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@AugustaJacket @Birmingham__Jacket

Sacks are SOME measure of the DLs effectiveness.  Yes.  But so are "pressures", ttl. yds. passing, incompletions and even INTs.  An OL can miss an assignment and give up a sack every single quarter if they are otherwise providing a pocket and time.  Our DL stopped the run pretty well last year--- the exceptions being Miami and OT vs. UGA.  It's not that our front 4 were bad.  We just lacked depth--- a KEY characteristic of good DLs.

Regarding attendance, I know several season ticket holders that declined tickets this year and last bc of the weak home schedule.  No reason to fork out 4 figures for 4 seats when you can buy really good seats for Wofford, Ga. Southern, Elon and Bama A&M for $10 at the game.  

Those games ARE GOOD for families with small kids.  Early start times = better behaved fans and more room for the kids to run around the aisles.  And I can tell you by 3rd qtr there was PLENTY of room even in sections 104-108 for kids to run around against the FCS teams last year.  Need to stop scheduling those.  Period.  I don't care what everyone else is doing.  There are too few home games each year.  Scrimmage is what the spring game is for.