Friday, September 2, 2011

Breaking Down Georgia Tech's Win Over Western Carolina (Updated)

Georgia Tech displayed a passing attack not seen since the days of Joe Hamilton in trouncing Western Carolina Thursday night 63-21.

The Yellow Jackets 365 yards passing were the most (in a season opener) since 1987 and were more than a third of Tech's total passing yards from last season. (UPDATED: Evidently the GT Athletics department needed a statistics overhaul and forgot about George Godsey's 400+ yard game against UVA in 2001.)

With every game there are positives and negatives. Here are my takeawys from Thursday night by position.

We heard how hard Tevin Washington worked on his passing in the off season and I think it showed last night. Washington looked much more comfortable in the pocket and was much more accurate. The Redshirt Junior was 8 for 13 and that included one drop and another pass that could have been caught; I only saw one poor pass in an overthrow to Orwin Smith in the flat.

Tevin had one fumbled snap and one bad pitch but recovered both himself. We did not get to see alot of him running the option, but outside of the two fumbles he looked in command of the offense.

Backup Synjyn Days had fumble issues again and still plays too fast. He looks like he wants to do everything himself and does not consistently make the correct reads. However, Days athleticism will keep him in the hunt for the starting job as long as he can limit mistakes.

I think Washington at the very least maintained his grip if not tightened it on the starting job.

David Sims started the game and had nice runs moving the pile. He did not have a break out run you would hope for, but Tech's offensive line had trouble getting to the second level to help make that happen.

Preston Lyons had the best run of the game literally shedding four tacklers on his way to the end zone. He just did not want to go down.

Charles Perkins fumbled on his first carry and it took him a while to get back into the game. He did make a nice block on a third down late in the game to spring Days for a chain moving play.

Richard Watson got into the game late with the third string and made a nice run to cap off the night.

I would expect Sims to start the next game, but we may see more of Lyons.

Orwin Smith went untouched for a 77 yard touchdown in the first quarter and had a couple of nice receptions with yards after the catch.

Roddy Jones had a nice touchdown reception, but did not look 100% to me as he failed to get much going in the run game.

Redshirt freshman Tony Zenon had a nice reception making a couple of WCU defenders miss.

Embry Peeples, Robert Godhigh, and Deon Hill all saw action as well with Hill scoring the final touchdown of the game.

Wide Receivers
Stephen Hill looked like the player the coaching staff thought he could be. He took a simple sideline pass 82 yards down the sideline for a touchdown after stiff arming the cornerback. Hill also hauled in a long pass over the middle running the additional 50 yards into the end zone.

Tyler Melton also caught a sideline pass and nearly took it the distance before being caught inside the 10 yard line.

True freshman Jeff Greene and Darren Waller also saw action with Greene rotating in with the first team a good bit.

The groups blocking effort was ok considering the competition level. On several big runs I saw Melton and Hill down field blocking which is a good sign.

If Hill can be a consistent downfield threat this offense could be very dangerous. Tonight was a confidence builder for him, but lets see how he does when the competition level steps up before making any declarations.

Offensive Line
You would have liked to see the line create more holes inside for the B-Back. The dive and option to the B-Back are the bread and butter plays of this offense. When it is working it is very hard to stop, but when it is not then it forces Tech to go outside which causes more pitches and potential fumbles.

However, to be completely fair though Western Carolina really committed to stopping the run which opened up the pass game.

The unit did a nice job in pass protection and designed QB runs. Like the passing game, lets see this unit versus a real opponent before any declarations.

Defensive Line
I thought this unit did a better job getting off blocks in the run game, but still struggled to get much of a pass rush which is very disappointing against a bad FCS team.

Where this unit is better this year is with depth as Tech can go two deep here.

Again some good and bad here. I thought the unit did a nice job tackling, but really struggled in pass coverage over the middle.

My biggest concern with the front seven is they don't have the speed to make up for the lack of size. I think a good offensive line will have this unit struggling again.

The biggest takeaway from the defense is the lack of depth in the secondary. I think Tech will have to play true freshman Jamal Golden and/or Chris Milton this season.

Staring Cornerback Louis Young played the entire game and looked hobbled on multiple plays where he probably should have come out against better competition. Every other starter was out of the game by midway through the fourth quarter except Young.

I think we will see Jemea Thomas filling in at CB and one of the freshman playing Safetey before Tech gets into ACC play.

Special Teams
Lets just say this unit was SPECIAL all night long.

Between the botched punt return giving WCU the ball inside Tech's 10 yard line, another almost botched punt return, and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown this unit has a long ways to go.

I honestly think the Tech player thought the Jackets were punting when he tried to grab the ball on the turnover. That is only explanation I can think of why you would jump on a ball that bounces your way.

On the blocked field goal, the kick barely got above the Tech players helmets and WCU broke two or three guys through the line that were just waiting there to block it. And considering how good their return was it was almost like they saw somthing on film and ran a special alignment for that play.

Kickoff coverage was ok. It has to get better when the competition steps up. We only saw two punts from the Jackets so not much to evaluate there.

Final Thoughts
Tech came out of the gate hot going up 28-0 in the first quarter. It seemed as if they relaxed a little bit in the second quarter, but came out strong again in the third.

The biggest positives were Hill's catching and running, Washington's accuracy and poise, and that the defense only gave up one score on their own doing.

The biggest negative by far was Special Teams. Scott Blair may turn out to be the biggest loss from last year's team. You would have also liked to see the defensive line get more pressure on the QB.

Besides scoring plays the biggest cheer of the night came when a "Always the 2009 ACC Champions" banner was unveiled in the North stands right before halftime.

Georgia Tech's offensive performance was certainly dominant and it did cover the 35 point spread, but I want to see the Jackets versus better competition before proclaiming any conference championships or the like. Remember, Tech opened the 2007 season with blowout wins over Notre Dame and Samford before fizzling to a 7-5 regular season.

I am still holding steady with my 8-4 prediction for this season.

Looking Ahead
Up next is a road game at Middle Tennessee State next Saturday night at 6PM CT. The Blue Raiders are two touchdown underdogs at Purdue this week. Tech beat MTSU 42-14 in Atlanta last season.


  1. "The Yellow Jackets 365 yards passing were the most since 1987"

    Not true. We've had plenty more. George Godsey was responsible for 2 games of over 400 yards passing. See link below.

  2. GT Athletics needs to fix their notes then.

    "Tech's 365 yards passing were the most since having 373 vs. The Citadel on Sept. 12, 1987"


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.