With the events of this week, the preview will run Friday Night/ Saturday AM.
Every week we talk with a source from the opposition. This week we chat with Winfield, Dane, and the guys from FromTheRumbleSeat.com These are the guys who actually drive the Ramblin' Wreck.
Has some of the "new car smell" worn off of Paul Johnson? If so, has his performance so far been enough to make up for losing the new impact luster? Are people in Atlanta as excited about the program now as they were leading up to last year's Peach Bowl?
Yellow Jacket fans have been bred to build huge expectations for their team and then to expect their heart to be broken every year. Even Winfield fell for the trap when he always said, "I expect 8 wins this year simply because of personnel issues and implementing more of CPJ's offense." And what did he do? In our FTRS roundtable he expected minimal losses! People were very excited coming into the season (the LSU blowout was all but forgotten, probably because we beat Georgia last year) and we ignored our personnel issues, most notably on the defensive line. Tech fans also like to jump ship very early and after the Miami game a lot of them had given up on CPJ and his system. Then, bring on UNC and they're back on. We're a finicky bunch and it takes a lot of consistency for us to be satisfied but even then it's difficult for us to smile.
Click on after the jump for more.
Living in CSS range, I've watched a lot of tech football this year. I felt like Clemson really outplayed the wreck on offense and defense, but boneheaded special teams play allowed Tech to prevail. Against Miami, Tech's offense was again shut down and the defense looked bad. I openly wondered on twitter whether any of Georgia Tech's defensive linemen or linebackers outside of Morgan (who I think is a beast) would start for other ACC teams. Also in those two games, Tech faced 2 NFL DT's on both Clemson and Miami. It seemed to me that Tech's interior offensive line could not hold up, it messed up GT's angles, and then allowed the extra second for outside pursuit. And Nesbitt looked like he was flinging dog doo off his hand when he went to throw. Then came North Carolina, who also has two very likely high draft picks at defensive tackle, and a great defense overall. But they also have a putrid offense that makes Boston College look like the '98 Vikings. Watching this game, I thought that Tech's offense looked about the same, but that in the battle of bad UNC offense against to that point bad GTech defense, Tech's defense prevailed and got the ball back all the time (UNC ran only 44 plays), and that allowed you guys to run half a million (80) plays and eventually just probe UNC's defense enough to eventually expose their weaknesses. I think you should have beaten UNC by probably a touchdown more than you did. But last week was the first time I saw Georgia Tech's offense click. They threw well and also ran well. But it seemed the defensive progress shown against UNC was a mirage as Mississippi State racked up 487 yards on just 68 plays. So, to recap, I think Clemson should have beat you, Miami game was about right, think you outplayed North Carolina much more than the score indicated, and beat Mississippi State about right. With that in mind, a few questions.
First off, do you agree with that assessment?
Concerning Clemson, the game is played over 4 quarters. If we got to pick and choose quarters to determine outcomes, then yes Clemson beat us in the 2nd and 3rd quarters just like you guys beat BC in the 4th quarter last week. However, that's not how football works. The reason we beat Clemson was because CPJ adjusted the triple option into a midline option. GT's offense then proceeded to drive down the field on Clemson two consecutive drives for the game-tying and game-winning field goals. Miami was inexcusable. We didn't execute and with our offense if someone misses a block it's the difference between a 60 yard TD and a 3 yard loss.
Tech's offense is kinda like a motor. It's gotta get heated up (hence last year's November explosion). The QB-fullback mesh has to be tuned for perfect timing. The read has to be perfected. The A-backs (slotbacks) have to hit their blocks. This year we brought back almost all of our offense but have struggled to find the big play because honestly we have played big, experienced defenses. Despite UNC's offensive ineptitude, they are a great defensive unit. Clemson and Miami are very good as well. FSU will also be a challenge. As the season progresses, we believe Tech's motor will be cranking no problem and the Reckbone will be rolling opponents up.
Finally, as Atlantan sons, From the Rumble Seat would like to remind you that on January 17, 1999 those illustrious '98 Vikings lost to the Dirty Birds. The Vikings had the superstars, the HOF coaches, and the stats but the bounce of the ball went in the Falcons favor.
Much was made of Georgia Tech installing the next element of their offense, a passing game heavy on run-and-shoot elements. So far, I haven't seen it as much this season as I would have expected. I'll assume that this is because of Nesbitt. Am I wrong there or are the receivers having trouble meshing as well. I know Georgia Tech won't need it to beat Florida State, but it's a curiosity.
We run a two wide receiver set. So two receivers are generally the only targets down field unless an A-back is not pass blocking. Demaryius (Bay Bay) Thomas is getting his touches. He's essentially a Calvin Johnson part II running buck wild in man-man coverage. So, Josh has a simple read, "Is Bay Bay on a tiny mismatched corner and the safeties are up tight playing the run?...Yes...launch the bomb to Bay Bay!" Stephen Hill, a true freshman, is also progressing along but Bay Bay gets easily 75% of the passes thrown his way because he is usually wide open and will make a play if he isn't.
All that FSU fans need to know is that GT hasn't passed for 50% since 2003. Right now Josh Nesbitt is passing for 50%. That's huge for GT fans.
Another new change has been Josh Nesbitt running his butt off. Last year, Nesbitt only had 2 games in which he ran more than 20 times. We're only 5 games deep this year and Nesbitt has already reached that mark, running 32 times against UNC and 23 times against Mississippi State. I understand that it is an option offense, but how concerned are you that the Dwyer injury/ offensive line issues have forced Paul Johnson to call so many designed QB keepers to this point? Are you worried that is too much flexing and not enough boning?
You mean "wrecking" and "boning?" No, We're not worried. Josh Nesbitt is a warrior and a leader. Paul Johnson has every single one of his players as prepared as they can be to take the load of the team and lead them to victory. This is why Jon Dwyer may not reach the lofty expectations that everyone set for him. People are gunning for the Diesel and stopping him. However, it is also opening up reads for Nesbitt, Anthony Allen, Roddy Jones, along with our passing game.
Who else can we expect to make a contribution on defense? Are any of those guys new starters? If so, have they stepped up?
The depth chart has changed a little bit since Jacksonville State. The WB position was the "Wolf" position (Nickel LB as a small LB). However, I think Wommack has kinda moved away from the 4-2-5 because of our recent inability to get any sort of pressure up front. Cooper Taylor is listed as an "undisclosed injury." As far as we know, he has heart palpitations and the last time we heard anything positive about his status was, "It'll be 6-8 weeks for observation." Cooper Taylor, son of former Tech QB Jim Bob Taylor, was the true freshman that forced the game winning fumble last year against you guys.
Concerning the 4-2-5, we moved our wolf player to free safety to replace Taylor and pulled in true freshman Julian Burnett to play the third linebacker position. Julian is playing like a man with his hair on fire. Another no name guy that's really stepped up is Anthony Egbuniwe (pronounced E-boon-a-way). He took the place of injured Robert Hall and was incredibly disruptive last week against MSU.
Be honest, you use the Wreck to pick up Bulldog chicks, don't you?
HELL NO! I don't want to have to dust flea powder throughout the interior of the car every time we wash it!
Do you have certain rules about the Wreck, like "eating is okay but Chili fries are not" ?
You must treat the Reck with respect. There are some certain rules that I stress to other members of the Ramblin' Reck Club regarding getting in and getting out of the car. Some of them have not adhered to the rules, so they've all been given the command: "If you treat the Reck with disrespect, I will not let you sit in the car for the rest of the year." Fortunately I have not had to enforce this rule yet. But I am wary!
The only time eating is allowed in the Reck is when we are parked out at the Varsity and being served by a carhop. This happens quite often!