4 things learned this week at Georgia Tech: Justin Thomas ‘dialed in’

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 10: Justin Thomas #5 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets calls out to Mikell Lands-Davis #37 during their game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas responded to his team’s loss at Clemson with what his coach thought was his best practice of the season. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

1. As can be said about virtually every member of his team, Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas has not played as well as had been hoped thus far this season. Thomas, who has sometimes tried too hard to make plays and gone outside the structure of the offense, has put in good work this week in practice, coach Paul Johnson said.

Johnson said Tuesday on the ACC teleconference that he thought Tuesday was Thomas’ best practice of the year.

“He’s had a good week of practice,” Johnson said. “He’s dialed in, pretty focused.”

Regarding the “back to basics” efforts, his remarks were quintessential Johnson.

“It’s been good,” he said. “Whipped the (stuffing) out of the scout team. We’ll see on Saturday.”

 

2. The losing, and the manner of it, is taking a toll on the staff. Offensive line coach Mike Sewak said that the offensive inefficiency is something that he has never experienced in his career. Sewak was on staff with Johnson at Hawaii and Georgia Southern prior to their reunion at Tech, and they were part of offenses that won two FCS national championships and set scores of school records.

“It’s disheartening,” he said. “It’s more than disheartening. It’s crushing, in my opinion.”

 

3. In explaining the challenges the line has faced, Sewak mentioned that the line has always had a “bell cow guy” who could see everything that the defense was doing and relay it to him on the sidelines. Two who were really good at that role were Sewak’s All-American guards, Omoregie Uzzi and Shaquille Mason.

It requires what Sewak described as a “controlled” personality, a player who can recognize and remember alignment and depth in the midst of the chaos on the line and communicate all of it.

Mason “could see his area, his gap, he could see the backside, he could see the linebackers,” Sewak said.

Sewak said he is developing center Freddie Burden to take on that role – “I think Freddie’s going to be part of it,” he said – but the upshot that he isn’t quite there yet.

 

4. Tech is in jeopardy of not making a bowl game, which would the team’s streak of 18 consecutive bowl trips.  At 2-4, the Jackets need to play the second half of the season at 4-2 or better to gain bowl eligibility. That’s not entering the motivation of safety Jamal Golden.

“I’m not thinking about that right now,” he said. “I’m thinking about playing Pitt on Saturday and trying to get one more point.”


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