1. Among the many indignities suffered by Georgia Tech in its 38-31 loss to North Carolina Saturday was this indicator of what is ailing the Yellow Jackets offense.
The long running play of the game was provided by quarterback Justin Thomas, who ran for 20 yards in the second quarter. As the team’s long run of the day, it was the shortest such carry since the 2013 Music City Bowl, when the longest rushing attempt was 17 yards.
“We need to have explosive plays, especially against better defenses,” coach Paul Johnson said. “It’s hard to have 14-, 15-play drives and six yards a pop without screwing it up. Somebody’s going to get a penalty or miss a block or miss an assignment or do something, so you need to have some explosive plays.”
Despite a 77/23 run-pass ratio, Tech is tied for 32nd in run plays of 20 yards or more against FBS competition with seven. It was indicative of Tech’s run-game issues that Thomas actually broke the 20-yarder against the intended direction of the play. It was a triple-option play to the left, and Thomas, after pulling the ball out of the mesh from B-back Patrick Skov, saw an opening and took off to the right, which set up the Jackets’ third touchdown of the game and a 21-0 lead.
It goes back (and you may have heard this before) to the challenges Tech is facing in blocking on the perimeter with the A-backs and receivers, who are almost all learning on the job. Not having A-backs Broderick Snoddy and Qua Searcy, perhaps the two A-backs most likely to break big run plays, doesn’t help, either. Searcy is out for the year with a broken leg and Snoddy missed the UNC game with a hand injury. His status for Clemson is uncertain.
“There’s just some things he just doesn’t see, that he hasn’t seen,” wide receivers coach Buzz Preston said of first-year freshman Brad Stewart, comments that likely could apply to a number of other skill players. “It’s all new. Sometimes you learn on the run and that’s unfortunate, but he’s minimizing those and I’m excited about his progress.”
It’s hard to think it won’t improve as experience accumulates and health improves, but the wait may be longer than some might find tolerable.
2. An opposing viewpoint of Saturday’s game, from a story on the North Carolina athletics website:
“The first three series, our eyes were kind of all over the place,” linebacker Jeff Schoettmer said. “We were just getting used to the speed of the game. That first drive, we were just trying to get a feel for what they do. We finally settled down. Coach (Gene) Chizik came in at halftime and said, ‘We’re not changing a thing. It’s up to y’all to execute it.’ At the end of the day, it’s all about physicality and beating the block in front of you.”
3. Ticket packs for the Tech men’s basketball team’s nine ACC home games went on sale Tuesday morning. The packs start at $275. The games are against Clemson, Duke, Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Single-game tickets for Tech’s non-conference games also went on sale. The two more notable games are against Tennessee (Nov. 16) and Virginia Commonwealth (Dec. 15). The home opener is against Cornell (Nov. 13).
For more information, visit here or call 1-888-832-4849.
4. Tech diver Shannon Lumbra was named the ACC’s female diver of the week Tuesday. Lumbra won on the 1- and 3-meter boards last Friday in a meet with Liberty and Penn State. Lumbra, the school record holder on the 1-meter dive, scored NCAA qualifying marks in both events (293.95 on the 1-meter, 281.55 on the 3-meter).