Posted: 2:36 pm Monday, September 1st, 2014

6 takeaways from Tech-Wofford 

By Ken Sugiura

1. I’m not sure there’s a lot to take away from the defensive effort. Wofford averaged 5.4 yards per play. (Tech’s defensive average last year was 5.5; Wofford averaged 5.0 on offense last year.) I’m not quite ready to commit to the opinion that Tech’s defense is worse than half of the defenses Wofford played last season. Then again, you’d think the defense would be better prepared to stop an option offense than just about anyone.

Of course, the yards per play average was increased considerably by the 92-yard run by Ray Smith. If you even halve the run, the yards-per-play average would be 4.7. (The play can’t be discounted, obviously, but was an example of what can happen in this offense. As I’ve heard countless coaches say, the danger of it is that if one person makes a mistake, the play can go the distance.)

There were no sacks – although there were only 13 pass attempts, and Wofford quarterback Evan Jacks often through quickly, and there often was pressure – and no turnovers. (Wofford was sacked 12 times last year in 88 pass attempts.) The Jackets had a sack in every game last season and forced a turnover in 10 of their 13 games (Duke, Virginia Tech and BYU). If I were a little more ambitious, I’d figure out the last time Tech didn’t have either a sack or turnover, but not today.

The tackling and pursuit angles weren’t great, but maybe that’s to be expected in a first game.

2. End Roderick Rook-Chungong played a sound game against the option. Nose tackle Shawn Green was often disruptive and had two tackles for loss and also blocked an extra-point try.

Defensive tackle Pat Gamble, the only backup lineman to get significant playing time, had four tackles including a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.

Maybe the ultimate grade should be the 19 points allowed. That’s eight fewer than Clemson allowed Wofford in 2011 (a 35-27 win, a game that wasn’t decided until Wofford’s last possession). Clemson went on to win 10 games that season.

Hard to judge, although the lack of turnovers presumably did not sit well with defensive coordinator Ted Roof.

3. Offensively, the unit gained momentum as the game went on, particularly after the 92-yard touchdown run. As I noted previously, Tech averaged 5.9 yards per play to that point and then 11.2 afterwards. (I suppose by the same token that Wofford’s 92-yard touchdown run spiked the Terriers’ numbers, so did DeAndre Smelter’s 71-yard catch and run touchdown. Had he been tackled at the reception point, it would have been about a 30-yard catch. The yards per play after Smith’s touchdown would still be 9.9, hardly shabby.)

B-back Zach Laskey produced 70 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, nearly matching his career high (15 carries, against Duke in 2012). Quarterback Justin Thomas wasn’t sacked in 15 attempts and not pressured much, either, and was highly efficient in his passing.

Aside from Broderick Snoddy’s 65-yard run (technically a pass reception), Tech didn’t have a run play of 20 yards or more, which is unusual and indicative of downfield blocking.

Again, it’s not entirely clear to me what there is to take away. Thomas was making his first start and was shaky in the first half. Had he played the first half the way he played the second, it’s hardly out of the question Tech could have gotten in the 50-point range.

The 226 rushing yards is rather puny by Tech standards, but, a) Snoddy’s play, while clearly a forward pass, came out of the running game; b) Tech ran only 43 times, because of the limited number of possessions in the game (and also because of two plays that swallowed up 136 yards). The Jackets averaged 54.8 rushes per game last season. The team still ended up with 508 yards of offense Saturday. No. 11 Stanford defeated UC Davis 45-0, but Tech averaged more yards-per-play than the Cardinal (8.6 to 7.4).

Tech shut out Elon 70-0 last season. It didn’t prove a harbinger of greatness.

It’s hardly shoddy, but just doesn’t reveal a great deal beyond demonstrating the potential that the offense has.

4. Starting A-backs Charles Perkins and Tony Zenon both were productive. Zenon had three catches for 70 yards and one carry for 14. Two of his catches were critical, a 33-yarder at the end of the first half on an out-and-up route on the sideline to set up Harrison Butker’s half-ending field goal. (Johnson chastised Zenon after the game for not getting out of bounds, a mistake he evidently made in a game last year, as well.)

Perkins had three carries for 19 yards (one for 17) but more notably had at least two defenders to the ground. One was the 65-yard carry by A-back Broderick Snoddy that was ruled a forward pass.

The rotation was largely Perkins, Zenon, Deon Hill and B.J. Bostic, with Snoddy sprinkled in.

5. Harrison Butker had five touchbacks on six kickoffs. That is quite a start, and perhaps a demonstration of strength he has added since last season. It is a little reminiscent of his career debut last season against Elon. He had seven touchbacks on nine kickoffs. He had 23 touchbacks on 62 kickoffs the rest of the way.

Jamal Golden had five returns on kickoffs. One went for 40 yards, out to midfield, that set up the go-ahead field goal at the end of the first half. His other four took the ball out to the 23-, 28-, 29- and 20-yard lines. That’s a bit below standard. It’s been almost a year since Golden has returned kicks, and the scheme is new also. That will have to improve going forward.

6. Because Tech was not able to secure a decisive lead until late, coach Paul Johnson did not dip very far into the bench. I believe the starting offensive line played every snap the whole game. Given that right tackle Chris Griffin and center Freddie Burden were playing their first college games, it wasn’t the worst outcome, but one reason for playing an FCS teams is to hopefully give backups playing time. On the line, for instance, given that backups like Shamire Devine, Trey Klock and Errin Joe have either played little or not at all, in an ideal situation they might have played the entire fourth quarter.

“We had planned to try to roll some guys on offense,” Johnson said. “You couldn’t get it done. You had to try to score every possession. Couldn’t roll ’em out.”

Defensively, freshman cornerbacks Lance and Lawrence Austin and Step Durham all played on defense, as did defensive ends KeShun Freeman and, I believe, Tyler Merriweather.

In an ideal world for Tech, either or both of the next two games (Tulane or Georgia Southern) will be decisive enough for backups to get considerable time in advance of the conference opener against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. If necessity required Klock to play against the Hokies, for example, he would not be well served for it to also be his college debut. A deafening crowd at Lane Stadium is a bit of a rough welcome.

7. It was interesting that Tim Byerly didn’t get in. Johnson has made fairly strong statements that Thomas is the quarterback, and that there weren’t plans to divvy up playing time. … Attendance was 45,403. It tracked with last year’s season opener, 45,759 for Elon. … In College Park, Md., former Tech quarterback Vad Lee had a rough start with James Madison against Maryland. Lee was 16 for 37 for 141 yards and two interceptions in JMU’s 52-7 loss to the Terrapins. … Rick Strom sent me a text during Saturday’s game. Strom, you may recall, had been the radio analyst for the past six seasons, but gave up the position in order to watch his children’s athletic endeavors. He said Roddy Jones, Strom’s successor, “sounds like a natural.”

154 comments
5DayHiker
5DayHiker

If you're not going to spend the time finding the statistics which would be worth knowing, at least you should research the difference between "threw" and "through".  This won't get you the Pulitzer!!

WilliamCoit
WilliamCoit

Cupcake opponent. Waiting for them to play a team with some pedigree in order to evaluate this Ga Tech team. Noticed the defensive struggled. Need them to mature very fast or this will be a LONG season. 


Need a Shipping Container For Storage? 

http://youtu.be/OFHGmqZtKGo

GTBob
GTBob

The defense is taking alot of heat for this game, most of it deserved, but I will give them props for one thing. In the middle of the 3rd quarter, Wofford had a 5 minute drive. Then our offense gets out there and scores in one play. Then Wofford has a 9 minute drive. We follow that with a three minute drive taking a minute. Our defense had to have been exhausted at that point, especially with the heat, but held it together to get a three and out when they were getting grinded all game. That showed some toughness and good conditioning.

nevrenuftime
nevrenuftime

5-7 prediction looks as solid as ever. 

Lost to Tulane and it could be a 3 win season.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

I have a question for all the season ticket holders out there.  Did any of you take cokes into the stadium in your clear bags?  The verbiage from the GT site says  " sealed bottled water/ non-alcoholic beverages and food items " but they were making the people ahead of me dispose of their sealed Coca Cola bottles.  Seems like there is a miscommunication somewhere.  I brought a few extra bottles of water and had no problem


http://www.ramblinwreck.com/ot/football_allowableitems.html


NEW IN 2014: Season ticket holders can bring sealed bottled water/ non-alcoholic beverages and food items into Bobby Dodd Stadium in their official Georgia Tech Gameday clear tote bag. Single-game ticket purchasers and season ticket holders without the bag will not be allowed to bring in food or drinks. Each season ticket holder account was sent the clear Gameday Tote Bag in early August. Please direct all questions to tickets@athletics.gatech.edu.

GTBee
GTBee

Harrison Butker is great. Touchbacks finally! After years we finally have a kicker to kick it out of the end zone. Keep up the good work.

Although no sacks - didn't we have multiple tackles for loss yardage? Basically the same thing.

All that being said - time for Johnson to move on. Tulane could be a tricky game.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

For those of you always claiming that Johnson loves scheduling these FCS teams, you might want to take that one up with Ken  (all you haters, please take note here).  In one of his MyAJC columns written since the game Saturday, the following sentence is the lead off one ---


In Aug. 2006, Dan Radakovich was less than six months into his tenure as Georgia Tech’s athletic director when he contracted with Wofford to play the 2014 season opener.

Aug, 2006 was 2 years before Johnson was hired, so he had absolutely nothing to do with scheduling Wofford, nor any of the other FCS schools we have played under Johnson.  That also means that in all likelihood, any OOC teams we have scheduled for 2015 were scheduled before Johnson arrived also.  As the late, great Furman Bisher would say, "Selah"

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Is James Madison D2 or whatever its called now? 

Why was Vad starting/playing otherwise?

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The Turtles certainly had to impress their new bosses. 

It won't be fun watching MD supplant GT in the CFB pecking order by reaping those B1G rewards! :(

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Looks like Bama and GT found QBs Saturday, of course we played a real team, not a glorified HS program.

Flak
Flak

Let me clean up any uncertainty, give the man a chance to finish the WORK he has done. Good faith has a way of making things right!

Flak
Flak

One game does not make a season.I'm not a big cpj fan but i swear let it play out. GO JACKETS

GT-TN
GT-TN

Easy to say lost to Tulane..I bet you wouldn't put your money on it!

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@nevrenuftime

As much as I don't care for the TO, Johnson's offense does not seem to be the PRIMARY factor in whether we win or lose.  This has been correctly pointed out by several Johnson supporters.

FACT:  During Paul Johnson's six-year tenure at Georgia Tech, the Jackets are 37-8 when allowing 150 rushing yards or fewer in a game.  We are 11-24 when allowing more than 150.

That is the fact that worried me prior to the season, having lost 5 defensive starters.  That is the fact that concerns me even more after an FCS team, Wofford was able to move the ball on the ground against us, with the TO no less--- an offense that our defense should be very familiar defending.

That is the fact that makes me think a 5-6 win season is a very reasonable guess.

Hope I'm wrong.  I've been know to be every now and then...

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

I did. Brought both sodas and several gatorades. I thought it was a great idea.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@AugustaJacket I had coke to go with my JACK If I was not with 1-4 GT and they let me take it in. 

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@AugustaJacket 

I believe what I printed out when I got my parking pass said even bottled (sealed) soft drinks.  But somebody sitting near me came in with 3 cans of Diet Coke in his bag. Somebody at Tech should be notified that there was a problem.  They should also be notified that, at least where I went in, there were not enough people manning the gates, and the scanners were slow as molasses.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt 

"any OOC teams we have scheduled for 2015 were scheduled before Johnson arrived also"

I read the comments about DRad scheduling Wofford but I am not so sure that the 2015 teams were scheduled before Johnson arrived - isn't GT playing ND next year as part of the recent agreement between ND and the ACC?

GT-TN
GT-TN

A real team that isn't any good. WV was 4-8 last year and lost 6 of their last 7. By the way, your HC doesn't think you found a qb. He said both will play Sat against the mighty Owls from Florida Atlantic.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@BigCrimson75 The B1G made 284 million last year that it dispersed to teams.  Nebraska got 17 mil and the other 11 got 24 mil.  If they make similar money next year,  then they will be on par with the SEC and the ACC in terms of payouts per school.  Maryland is short 32 million to begin with so they might be a while before the "riches" help them out.  Easily the dumbest decision they ever made.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@BigCrimson75 

James Madison is FCS - they are in the Colonial.  UNH usually pounds them.

Glad to hear Saban found a QB - when is he going to put him on the field?

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@Birmingham__Jacket 

We just proved how hard it is for anybody to stop the option, even a team that runs it regularly.  Wofford probably faces it several times during their season, so they have learned some effective ways to stop it.  We practiced against it once (for this game), and we didn't do very well.  We may get another chance at it with GSU, although with a new coach, I'm not sure how much option they will be using.  I still think 8 wins is likely, although the defense DOES have to do a better job than they did Saturday.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@PaulinNH @SupersizeThatOrder-mutt 

ND is not an OOC game.  I was talking about whomever we open with.  Although I just checked, and there is nothing in the opening weekend spot yet, so who knows?  Tulane, however, is the second game (in Atlanta), and I'm sure DRad scheduled that one.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@AugustaJacket @BigCrimson75 why is Neb taking 7 mil less than the rest of the Schools..... Are they that dumb! 

As for the Terps, watch their once proud BB program ascend to where they rightfully belong!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@PaulinNH @BigCrimson75 Hardy Har....

Strangely enough Paul, I felt much better about my team leaving the Dome this year than after last years VT game.

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @Birmingham__Jacket  The option can be stopped by having the safeties focus on the run.  As CPJ noted, that was Wofford's plan. It was also VT and UGA's plan last year. They dared us to pass. 

This will be the plan for many teams this year and I hope CPJ practices and comes prepared with a passing game plan ready.  We have the best set of receivers at GT since CPJ has been here.  JT got flushed from the pocket at least twice---one he ran for a decent gain, the other he crossed the LOS and then threw the ball. If JT sees some daylight, he needs to just run the ball and get some yards and possibly make a big play.

I don't think that was an experienced OL that Wofford had.  That could be concerning.  Special Teams had some misfires, but also some good plays.

I agree, Super, 8 wins are achievable...if not more. 

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@AugustaJacket I don't know which gate the guy with the cans came in, but at the North gate, they barely looked.  My guy was more concerned with the towel I had in the bag.  He didn't say anything about my GatorAde bottle.  I didn't notice anyone being stopped at all during the few minutes it took me to get through

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

I am reasonably confident that, other than the Alabama A&M game last year, all the OOC games we have played to date under Johnson were scheduled by either Braine or DRad.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@BigCrimson75 @AugustaJacket As for the Terps, watch their once proud BB program ascend to where they rightfully belong!

______________________________________________________


With the addition of Louisville, Pitt, ND, and Syracuse to ACC basketball, I would think MD would have been better off in the ACC.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@BigCrimson75 @AugustaJacket B1G policy.  You don't get full shares right off of the bat.  Again, like I said, this was a dumb move for Maryland.  They get a smaller share and leave 32 million with the ACC. 

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@BigCrimson75 @PaulinNH 

You need to tighten up at the back - you lost a lot from 2013.

I've been following a live blog on the Guardian - it is FIFA deadline day.  The transfer window closed at midnight, Swiss time.  ManU have officially hit the big red panic button - just signed Blind from Ajax and they are completing a $25MM loan for Falcao.

Juvenal isn't going to be happy - no moves by Wenger for a replacement CF.  To top it all City just sold Aguero

GTBob
GTBob

@Yellerbug Passing isn't the only way to burn a team when safeties are playing up in the box. Plays designed to get outside quickly like the rocket toss are also effective, assuming the receivers on the outside secure their blocks. Playing the way Wofford did is actually pretty risky, im sure they felt it was their best chance to slow us down though.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt Considering MBobs been with us for barely a year tha'ts a reasonable conclusion.  :)

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@BigCrimson75 @PaulinNH 

ROFL - I can't hear wee Davey over my own laughter!!

POAD2014
POAD2014

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

9 Conference games....(5 at home)

2 OoC games(no FBS teams)....(2 at home)

1 Championship Game or Bowl game

............12 games...................

3 Playoff Games........if you make it........

Best teams play at most 15 games.....best for the safety of the NON PAID players and a good season.....NFL is 16 regular season games and 4 preseason playoffs but look at what they are paid to play that much.