5 things to know before Georgia Tech-Georgia Southern

October 1, 2016 Atlanta - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Dedrick Mills (26) celebrates after he scored a touch in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 1, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech freshman Dedrick Mills leads all FBS freshmen with seven rushing touchdowns and is third with 71.4 rushing yards per game. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Not out of it?

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is not convinced that the Yellow Jackets are not out of the race for the ACC Coastal Division title.

“You just keep playing,” he said. “You play one game at a time and you just keep playing and see what happens. I’ve seen everybody now on tape with the exception of Virginia Tech, and I’ve watched them play a little bit. I know they’re really good defensively. I don’t know that anybody else is just way better than anybody else. So there’s going to be a lot of teams beating each other.”

Tech is 1-3 in the ACC with league games remaining against Duke and Virginia (home) and North Carolina and Virginia Tech). Since the ACC split into two divisions in 2005, there have been three instances where teams won the division at 5-3 – both divisions in 2008 and the Coastal in 2012.

It’s highly unlikely, starting with the low probability of Tech winning its final four conference games, although it’s conceivable. To represent the division in the ACC championship game, however, both Miami and Pittsburgh – or at least one of them – would need to finish at 4-4 or worse.

Lynch’s impressive numbers

For the story I wrote about A-back Clinton Lynch that has been posted on myajc and is in Saturday’s paper, I was trying to figure out a way to put his productivity in context with other A-backs who have played at Tech. In some respects, Lynch compares quite favorably with arguably the three best to play the position, Robbie Godhigh, Roddy Jones and Orwin Smith.

Player G Touches YFS Y/T TD T/TD
Roddy Jones 52 266 2259 8.5 19 14.0
Robbie Godhigh 33 173 1889 10.9 17 10.2
Orwin Smith 51 243 2654 10.9 22 11.0
Clinton Lynch 18 84 1112 13.2 10 8.4

Touches are carries or receptions; YFS – yards from scrimmage ( yards gained either on carries or receptions); Y/T – yards per touch; T/TD – touches per touchdown. 

The notable part to me is that Lynch has averaged two yards more per touch than Smith and Godhigh. It speaks to the knack he has for exploiting defenses. He’s not an explosive runner like Smith, but he’s quick and smart. He also has the fortune of playing with quarterback Justin Thomas, who has found him repeatedly for big downfield pass plays.

If he maintains his pace, avoids injury and plays out his career, Lynch will be far and away the most productive A-back that Johnson has had. Further, it would stand to reason that Lynch’s numbers could well increase as he gains experience and strength. Also, he’ll likely be playing this season and the next two with J.J. Green and Qua Searcy, who could develop into a fearsome trio.

What’s in a number

I wasn’t able to fit the following into the story, either. Lynch wore 49 last year as a redshirt freshman but switched to 22.

“I just thought the number 49 was kind of ugly,” Lynch said. “It’s too close to 50. I felt like that was just a linebacker number. I just wanted more of a skill-position number.”

Lynch wore No. 2 at Norcross High. The new bearer of No. 49 is linebacker Jakob Brashear, who is redshirting.

Hometown rivalry

Center Freddie Burden has a lot of Georgia Southern in his blood. His mother Velma is the registrar at the school. His late father Willie was a professor in the school’s sports management department. His brother Willie Jr. played football for the Eagles, though he is now an academic adviser at Tech.

His mother and brother support Georgia Southern, Burden said, “but they’re obviously pulling for me. A little bit house divided.”

Offensive line Mike Sewak is in a similar boat. Sewak, of course, coached in Statesboro for several years, first as an assistant to Paul Johnson and then as head coach. Sewak’s son Nick is a backup long snapper for the Eagles. Sewak’s wife Robin is also a Georgia Southern graduate. In fact, Sewak himself earned a master’s from the school when he stayed in Statesboro after he was fired. In fact, Sewak took classes from Willie Burden.

Communication has been sparse leading up to the game between Nick and his dad.

“He goes to his mama now,” Sewak said, “which is what we decided.”

The younger Sewak has earned his bachelor’s degree and is working on a master’s.

“He’s put his time and effort in there,” Sewak said. “He’s a good team player.”

Quotable

“Parker’s doing better. The more he plays, the better he gets, just like any freshman. I’m excited. I think he’s got a bright future. I think he’s going to be a really good player.” – Johnson on first-year freshman guard Parker Braun. For Johnson, this is atypically high praise.

 

 

 

 

Links

Inside the numbers: Georgia Tech-Georgia Southern

Q&A with Georgia Southern beat writer Nathan Deen

Tech among options for Peachtree Ridger’s Connor Heyward

How a betting insider sees Georgia Tech-Georgia Southern

3 questions: Georgia Tech’s KeShun Freeman

Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Southern: 3 things to watch

Upon his induction, telling Calvin Johnson stories

Antonio Simmons becoming playmaker for Georgia Tech defense

Jackets ‘way more resilient’ than media, fans

Georgia Tech return game flourishing

Georgia Tech bowl projections, computer rankings for week 6

When protected, Justin Thomas playing at high efficiency

 


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