Grobe: Tech ‘team to beat’ in Coastal

Former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe believes Georgia Tech is a favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division in no small part because of quarterback Justin Thomas (GETTY IMAGES)

Former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe believes Georgia Tech is a favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division in no small part because of quarterback Justin Thomas (GETTY IMAGES)

It won’t score the Yellow Jackets any points on Saturday, but former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe likes Georgia Tech’s chances to win the ACC Coastal Division.

Said Grobe, now a panelist on Fox Sports South’s ACC Gridiron Live, “I’ve just got a feeling that they’re the team to beat in the division right now.”

A primary reason for Grobe’s opinion is, not surprisingly, quarterback Justin Thomas. Grobe called him a difference maker.

“I think they’ve got a kid that’s grounded,” Grobe said. “He’s got his feet on the ground, and not because they’re a rushing offense, but because he’s a very level-headed kid.”

Grobe offered the theory that, particularly in the first couple games, Thomas was hesitant to make plays on his own out of deference to older teammates and a desire to play unselfishly, pitching the ball when he might otherwise have kept it on an option play or passing when perhaps pulling it down and scrambling might have been the better choice.
“I felt like he was trying to be the good guy and distribute it to everybody,” Grobe said. “I think as the season goes on, he’ll be a better decision maker and I think he was against Virginia Tech.”

Grobe called Tech’s win over Georgia Southern and also watched the win over Virginia Tech.

“I was so impressed with him that last drive against Georgia Southern to win the game,” Grobe said. “It looked like nothing was going right and he kind of threw the team on his shoulders and said, ‘Let’s go.’ I think as the season goes on, I’ve just got a feeling this Georgia Tech team’s for real.”

That said, Grobe acknowledged the pitfalls of being called a favorite.

“That’s scary, because you’re dealing with 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds out there trying to play every week,” he said. “A coach’s toughest job is to get kids to bring their best effort every Saturday. That’s the key to coaching.”

Grobe further said that he couldn’t have been more impressed with Miami in its win over Duke last Saturday and noted that the Hurricanes are in a “do or die” situation with one conference loss already and a division matchup coming up.

“They’ve got to get it done on Saturday,” he said of the Hurricanes.


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