Georgia Tech might still win the Coastal, but that’s about it

Duke's Jeremy Cash tackles Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas for a loss during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)

Duke’s Jeremy Cash tackles Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas for a loss during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)

Duke's Jeremy Cash tackles Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas for a loss during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)

A cosmic bringdown: Jeremy Cash snares Justin Thomas. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)

I know what you’re saying: Georgia Tech lost consecutive games last season and went on to win the ACC Coastal Division, almost win the ACC writ large, win the Orange Bowl, finish 11-3 and beat two SEC opponents along the way. If it happened then, why can’t it happen now?

Because last year’s Jackets were a better team facing a softer schedule. This year’s Jackets will have to upset somebody to go 8-4.

Another Coastal title is possible because it’s the Coastal and nobody looks good. Duke lost to Northwestern. Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina yet again. Virginia has lost three times. North Carolina lost to South Carolina, which has already lost twice. Pitt lost to Iowa, which is undefeated but hasn’t beaten anybody of note. Miami hasn’t lost and actually beat Nebraska, but nobody’s ready to crown the ‘Canes just yet. (That game against Nebraska? Miami wasted a 23-point fourth-quarter lead.) As Jared Shanker of ESPN notes: No Power Five division has more losses than the Coastal’s 10.

Back to the Jackets: After starting last season 5-0 with wins over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and Miami at the Flats, they lost in Weeks 6 and 7 to Duke and North Carolina. This time Tech lost to Notre Dame and Duke in Weeks 3 and 4. An optimist would say, “Hey, they got the L’s out of their system even sooner, and only one was a conference loss. No problem!”

Here’s the thing, though. Tech visits Clemson on Oct. 10 and plays host to Florida State a fortnight later. Big problem.

(No, we don’t know exactly how good the Tigers and the Seminoles are, either. But they remain the ACC’s most talented teams, and between them they’ve won the past four conference championships.)

A year ago, Tech came off the two losses and plopped into the soft midsection of its schedule. The Jackets got Pitt, which would finish 6-7; then Virginia, which would finish 5-7, and then N.C. State, which would finish 8-5 but 3-5 in ACC play. Tech won those three games by an aggregate score of 147-61.

A year later, Tech’s next three games after consecutive losses are against North Carolina, which is 3-1; Clemson, which is 3-0, and Pitt, which is 2-1. Then comes FSU. Later will come Virginia Tech, which some people — I’m not among them — believe will take the Coastal, and Miami, of which I remain leery. Then, two days after Thanksgiving, will come Georgia, which could well be bound for the SEC title tilt and maybe the College Football Playoff.

I picked the Jackets to go 9-3 and win the Coastal, but that was without a loss at Duke. More to the point, it was also without the offensive collapses against the first two decent opponents on the schedule. Tech was simply outmanned in South Bend, which was something Tech never was anywhere last season — not against Clemson or FSU, not against Georgia or Mississippi State.

The absence of almost everyone who handled the ball last season save Justin Thomas has begun to show. The Jackets’ starting B-back is Patrick Skov, a Stanford transfer who rushed 14 times for 25 yards in three seasons with the Cardinal. Nothing against Skov, but he’s not Zach Laskey or Synjyn Days. And there’s no receiver who yet compares to DeAndre Smelter or Darren Waller. The upshot is that Thomas has to do everything, and he can’t do everything.

In two games against real competition, Tech has averaged 326.5 total yards, meaning rushing and passing. (And 127 of those yards came after Notre Dame took a 30-7 lead.) A year ago, Tech averaged 342.1 yards rushing — just on the ground, against everybody. As sleek as Paul Johnson’s offense can be, personnel does matter. The Jackets’ personnel isn’t what it was last season.

Neither is the schedule. I still won’t rule out a Coastal repeat — it is, after all, the Coastal — but I’m thinking I overclubbed with that 9-3 projection. Be honest: Do you really see this team winning seven of the next eight?

Reader Comments 0

244 comments
Jmonty
Jmonty

Fire Ted Roof!!! Fire Ted Roof!!!   Fire Ted Roof!!  Fire Ted Roof!!!  Fire Ted Roof!!!

Ole Techs
Ole Techs

Tech would have beaten Notre Dame had the referees been able to see. Given having a better attitude after beating Notre Dame, Tech would have beaten Duke. Certainly Tech's inexperience at running back and receiver have made it difficult. The UNC game will be where Tech gets it back together.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Good article, Mark.  This is definitely a much different situation from last year.  Last year they had already beat Va Tech and Miami before losing those two games, and really, no one had Tech picked to do anything.  This year, the preseason hype bullseye is squarely on the Jackets.  They are going to get everyone's best shot.  Its a much tougher schedule too.  Add to that, Clemson, UGA, Va Tech, and Miami will have revenge on their minds.

IMO UNC just became a must win game...for a bowl.  If they lose to UNC, there's no way you can convince me they will go win @Clemson the next week.  This 2 game losing streak will likely turn into 4 games.  That's 4 losses with FSU, Va Tech, Miami, and UGA left to play.  They would have to split those 4 just to get to 6-6, and that assumes they don't trip up to Pitt or Virginia.

RBR
RBR

Tech has to win at least 4 more to get into a bowl.  I'm hard pressed to find that four.  UVA and Pitt are almost locks, but what then?  UNC could whip us with thier offense (like last year).  at Clemson will be a LOSS if D Watson is still playing.  FSU at home will be a loss if our O cannot block their big, fast, physical D lineman and safeties downfield.  Miami will probably pass right by Tech by halftime with Kaaya at QB and a big, fast D-line. And the Miami game is at Miami where GT usually duds out.   UGA might run all over GT based on talent alone and rrevenge factor from last year.   VT might have one of the best D's in the nation and has always played well against the TO.  So again, I argue where we might find 4 more wins?  

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Thinkin 7-5 this year will be a success.

We have NO blocking as our O-line cannot grasp Fish-fry's schemes.

Justin, trying to shoulder responsibility as any good QB would, is getting himself into too much trouble as a result.

JBW2868
JBW2868

Any word yet on the 2tech linemen that "got blown up"? I hope all they suffered was public humiliation from Coach Perfect Game Plan.

DawginLex
DawginLex

POAD


Police just closed the investigation regarding IMac


No arrests


Just kids mouthing off at each other


Never happens at the Varsity


Amirite???

FalconUGAFan
FalconUGAFan

@GTBob @DawginLex  Maybe it was a case of some college kids blowing off some liquid-induced steam...NAW lets put on our tinfoil hats and think the worst cuz its an UGA player involved!

GTBob
GTBob

@FalconUGAFan All I know is that when it happens to players on other teams UGA fans are quick to condemn them and demand they be kicked out of football for life. Maybe this will be a lesson to you guys.

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Grant1296 search? HAHAHA it is right there on my computer with now trending links...lol now searching necessary. 

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Grant1296 if the MUTTS lose to BAMA who will you called to be fired or hung in the town square?

Grant1296
Grant1296

When have you ever seen me call for anyone to be hung or fired???

Wreck13
Wreck13

@FalconUGAFan it is all Don Leebern's fault. He has more Devil Juice flowing into Athens than the legal age people can drink. Well his tramp Suzanne Yoculan can drink barrels but that still leaves way too much liquor for the legal age UGa students to drink.  

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Grant1296 many UGa fans do that so I was just guessing you get on the FIRE EVERYBODY bandwagon too. Sorry if that is not true. 

Jmonty
Jmonty

@DawginLex No arrest.  But, CMR should talk to this kid and let him know you can't just go around shouting what you want.  I think CMR will probably bench him for a about a qtr..  Just to get his attention.  Should he be banned?  No... These are kids and well.... we were all young and did some pretty stupid things..  So... no.  Just let him learn his lesson and move on.  To me... mouthing off, isn't something to go media frenzy over. 

Grant1296
Grant1296

I've been around awhile POAD... You know I don't trash the coaches on these blogs....If we were to have a beer together it might be different ...

GTBob
GTBob

@DawginLex Sounds like some of the Tallahassee police have moved to Athens.

Grant1296
Grant1296

Don't confuse me with Dawg fan or flat tire...

Grant1296
Grant1296

You sure spend a lot of time searching the internet looking for stuff that has nothing to do with the embarrassment you call the institute POAD....

North Carolina will destroy Tech....

Grant1296
Grant1296

Damn Monty , I agree with you for once....

I think your way off base when it comes to Ted Roof... The defense is fine....

Peachs
Peachs

North Carolina historically has always had our number.  It is the iceberg on our schedule. This year is is planted with explosives and could really wreck us. 

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Peachs  We are 8-2 against UNC in the last 10 years, 15-5 over the last 20, and 28-19-3 against them all time.  If by historically you are referring to 1990, then yes they had our number that year.  Most other years, not so much...

-sting-
-sting-

teach? lose this week and you might see only 3-4 wins. tops out at 7 no matter what. this team does not go 6-2 the rest of the way with a loss at uga. no way.

TOJacket
TOJacket

I knew if UGA had a problem child this year it would be the I-Mac kid..........CMR needs to have a looooooooonng talk with that boy?........They are going to need him Saturday.

leefrommeeks
leefrommeeks

If a team is not ready to play that's on the coach. Tech was not ready to play the pass two games.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@leefrommeeks Maybe we just aren't as good as we all thought? We could use a W this week!

Bogan
Bogan

If Carolina brings its A game on Saturday, Tech will be hard-pressed to beat them.  UNC has talented QB(s),  running backs, and wide receivers.  Their offensive line is very experienced, but does not run-block well.  Their defense has not given up many points, but has been poor against the run (Tech's calling card).  It could be a shoot out and the team that gets stops at critical times will win. This could be a very entertaining game.  

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Bogan 28/30 TECH.... 17/20 UNC is my call even if it is rainy

Jmonty
Jmonty

I predict that the offense will score points Saturday...  But, UNC torches the defense  UNC 44 GT 38

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Jmonty What indication do you have for this?  Real data, not hyperbole please...

Jmonty
Jmonty

@AugustaJacket @Jmonty  No data, other than just a prediction.  I seriously hope I am wrong... I fact... I would love to be wrong..  But, to me.... I just don't see any improvement on the defensive side.  Roof still comes out in this (almost) prevent formation.  His soft zone play coverage, sets the tone.  The players are not in attack mode.  They are in passive mode..  Regardless of what anyone says..  We don't have the 4 & 5 star athlete speed and size to run a read and react defense.  Roof just runs an outdated scheme that is too easy to read.  Even the commentators mentioned how easy it was to tell that we were blitzing.  and that's WHEN we blitzed.   I have 0 confidence in Roof and his abilities. 

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Jmonty @AugustaJacket "I just don't see any improvement on the defensive side."


What exactly are you looking for?


Improve 3rd down efficiency by greater than 10%  (46% to 31%)  Check

Improve pass defense  (Currently ranked 19th)  Check

Improve pass rush  (Already well ahead of last years pace, even though we've played a tougher schedule than last year so far)  Check

Improved Tackles for loss  Check

Improve scoring defense  Check

Improve rushing D  Check

Improve Total D  Check


Every aspect of our defense is not only better, but is in many cases significantly better than last year.  


No data, other than just a prediction.


So what you are really saying is you are doubling down on willful ignorance.  Anyone can lob statements out there.  In your case, you are completely ignoring objective data that disproves your theory and instead generalizing.  


You're better than this...

Jmonty
Jmonty

@AugustaJacket @Jmonty  I know the numbers...  But, they can be a little misleading.  We are figuring in 2 cream puffs..  I am going off what I saw the last 2 games.  Maybe I expect too much?  Last year was really bad... I just feel that unless the offense can take the ball, control the clock and score a ton of points, our defense is going to fail.   Is there a way to just use the last 2 games and omit the first 2?  I think that gives a better picture.  Numbers can be skewed based on who you play.  Again... I will gladly admit I was wrong, if our defense shuts UNC down.  As for a base.. I was comparing games played last year.  Last year Duke didn't rack up that many points.  Given... our special teams play was terrible.  But, we can't say Duke wouldn't of scored anyways.  We're assuming that the defense would had stopped them.    I think the UNC game will give a better picture on whether they improved or not.  I never liked Roof from day one...  I admit it.  I think he teaches a laid back, non aggressive style defense that gets ran up and down the field.  However; it is what it is... I'm not saying we bring in someone that is going to blitz every play.  But, I would like to see more complexity in our defense.  For an engineering school, we sure dumb down our defensive style.  I just think it's too basic and too easy for teams at a collegiate level.  I keep hoping Roof proves me wrong...  But, minus a few games... He hasn't . 

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Jmonty @AugustaJacket

I know the numbers...  But, they can be a little misleading.  We are figuring in 2 cream puffs..


You are also figuring in a top 10 offensive team in Notre Dame, so the numbers should average out.  Also remember, our numbers against the "cream puff" were worsened because 3rd string and walk-ons got so much playing time.  For instance, Tulane converted more third downs against us than either Duke or Notre Dame.  


Last year Duke didn't rack up that many points.  Given... our special teams play was terrible.  But, we can't say Duke wouldn't of scored anyways.  We're assuming that the defense would had stopped them.


That would be a good assumption.  After the first quarter, our defense pretty much shut Duke down.  Of the 6 third downs that Duke converted all game, 3 were in the first quarter.  To take that a step further, of the 11 first downs that Duke had the entire game, 6 were in the first quarter.  Assuming our defense would have held Duke is no real stretch based of the evidence of this years game...

JBW2868
JBW2868

How are the two tech linemen that "got blown up" doing. Did the suffer serious injuries or was it only public humiliation from their classless coach?

Lowcountry Jacket
Lowcountry Jacket

What was noticeable from the sidelines was a definite lack of energy among the Tech players, practically from the first kickoff.  When it looked like Tech might make a game of it in the 2nd half, there was a little bit of excitement, but overall it was like a lot of the players were still asleep.  The Duke players looked crisp and ready on their end of the field.  You have to come prepared to play.

JBW2868
JBW2868

CPJ had a great game plan the last two games but the players screwed it up.

Jmonty
Jmonty

From what I've seen GT doesn't have a prayer of winning the Coastal.  I would be shocked if we make it to a bowl game.  I think we'll sneak in with 6 wins...  I have zero faith in Ted Roof and his abilities as a coach.  Adding to that CPJ needs to get his team back to basics...  We aren't blocking well, we have gaps in special teams coverage and our defense has poor game plans. We had the talent to overcome this with lesser quality opponents.  We are now hitting tougher games.  Pitt, VT, UVA and UNC are winnable.  Doesn't mean we will win..  Just winnable. I think FSU, UGA, Miami and Clemson are games that we will have some serious issues in.  We'll see how the season goes... You never know... Any given day...

Lowcountry Jacket
Lowcountry Jacket

@Jmonty Ted Roof's defense isn't the weak spot this year.  It seems to be a steady improvement over last year's defense, and they're actually getting timely turnovers like before.  D.J. White isn't the only guy making interceptions now.  The problem is that the turnovers aren't being converted into points by the offense.  If anything, the defense has kept Tech reasonably close against both ND and Duke before collapsing due to being on the field too long.  The defense actually did really well against Duke.  Two of Duke's TDs were attributable to poor special teams play.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Jmonty " I have zero faith in Ted Roof and his abilities as a coach."

_________________________________


At this point you are entering into willful ignorance territory.  We are the 31st ranked total D, 19th ranked passing D, 43rd ranked scoring D, 26th in interceptions, 2nd in fumbles recovered, and we are actually getting off the field on third down.  (31% vs 46% last year)  What exactly do you expect from CTR that he isn't doing?

Lowcountry Jacket
Lowcountry Jacket

I was at the game on Saturday, and Skov looked like a really big running back on the sidelines.  He didn't play much at Stanford, and the little he did play didn't result in much yardage.  He pulled off some good runs at the end of the game against ND, but kept getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage against Duke.  Wasn't sure if he was tripping over his own linemen or the blocking wasn't good.  Seems like he's too big and muscular to keep getting stopped all day like that.

CPJ made a comment that the offensive line wasn't that much better last year (excepting the presence of Shaq Mason), and that the running talents of Laskey and Days was what made running between the tackles so successful for Tech.  They were able to get 2-3, maybe 5 extra yards after initial contact, overcoming bad blocking.  Skov looks bigger than either of those two, so maybe he needs some coaching on how to run.  Ken Sigiura made the comment a number of weeks ago that Skov ran the ball like he was falling forward.  If only he kept his head up, he might gain an additional 2-3 yards per run.

Dawgonnit
Dawgonnit

The competition is getting better because they are recruiting better too.  What is somewhat bothersome are two points..the

staff couldn't see the problems developing in the special teams area and make on the field, in game, adjustments. Two, the staff is asking Thomas to do things he is not confident in doing at this point, playing out of his ability. I would add a third, the short passing game was or could have worked and the staff couldn't see that either. What happened to the "Run and Shoot" that Johnson said was part of his triple option scheme. Sometimes the pass opens the run up particularly controlled passing. We're not asking Thomas and team to be John Elway but more like Joe Montana.  this is with both games Notre Dame and Duke, both losses. Instead of 4-0 with top 12 or so ranking Tech has dropped out and is 2-2 and looking a up hill road.

Wreck13
Wreck13

and UGa fans say Tech isn't safe?

An Athens-Clarke County Police report police report names Georgia wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie as being involved in making terrorist threats towards a woman.

The incident happened Monday night at the Chili’s on Alps Road. According to an Athens-Clarke County Police Department report, a woman told police that McKenzie said he was “going to call some friends and they were going to come out and he was going to kill her.”

Georgia safety Dominick Sanders, wide receiver Terry Godwin, linebacker D’Andre Walker and safety Jarvis Wilson were all listed in the report as being witnesses.

There is no comment yet from UGA Athletics or head coach Mark Richt.

No arrests have been made in the incident.

http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/26310180-story

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Wreck13 @DawginLex  Plus it was justified


Chili's is not a real restaurant so that was fraudulent reporting


Plus the waitress is probably much bigger than IMac if she is from Bama so he was just defending himself

Grant1296
Grant1296

So glad you were there POAD...Thanks for the first hand update...

The Athens police don't play, he was released ,and not charged...You positive it went down that way???

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Grant1296 well SOMETHING happened. You dwags say Tech is unsafe but it looks like the same crap happens in Athens too. Did you see the RAPE that happened to on campus? How many reported rapes is that now?


An arrest report obtained by FOX 5 News states the victim was raped inside her dorm at East Campus Village during the early morning hours last Sunday. She was taken to St. Mary's Hospital for treatment.

Oluwadare remains in the Clarke County Jail.

http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/26269105-story

Jmonty
Jmonty

@Wreck13  I wouldn't jab at a kid making a dumb mistake.  I'm sure that UGA will handle it.  CMP shouldn't comment on it.  He should let the kid have his privacy and let the authorities do their job.  If found guilty, he'll serve a suspension. 

Classof98
Classof98

@Wreck13 @Grant1296 You're right, we dwags say Tech is unsafe... and so does everyone else with access to police reports and crime statistics.


All I can say is I didn't have to spend my college years with the noise from the friggin downtown connector traffic in my ears the whole time.


You may beat us in football once or twice a decade, and you may make more money than us (sometimes), but we got to spend our college years in Athens.


We win. 

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Classof98 post those police reports of crime on the TECH CAMPUS as compared to crime on the UGA campus. 

Wreck13
Wreck13

 I guess you missed to other post about the RAPE on campus. 

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Wreck13  No arrests have been made


Key point


Another key point


The waitress's Dad is head of the DOC in ATL and attended college at Bama


Carry on