Mercy! Georgia Tech’s defense didn’t exactly shut down Mercer

September 10, 2016 Atlanta - Mercer Bears quarterback John Russ (7) gets off a pass under pressure from Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive lineman Francis Kallon (92) in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, September 10, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Bearing with it. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

These short takes are presented as an adjunct to the Georgia Tech-Mercer game column, which can be found here. Tech won 35-10.

1. The most troubling sign for Tech’s defense: Mercer held the ball for 29:42. Even when the Jackets lose the game, they often win in time of possession. (In four of their nine losses last season, they held the ball longer their opponent.) Mercer is an FCS program. Tech is a Power Five program that prides itself on its running game, and running teams tend to control the clock. Through three quarters, the Bears were leading in TOP. In all, the Jackets would rush for 364 yards but shade Mercer in possession by all of 36 seconds.

2. How is that possible? Because the Power Five defense couldn’t stop the FCS program on third down. Mercer was 10 for 18 in third-down conversions. (And 1 of 2 on fourth.) Tech didn’t induce a turnover. It managed two sacks for a total of six yards. Mercer scored on a 32-yard pass to take a 7-0 lead but mostly threw underneath if not sideways. No fools, the Bears sought to wrong-foot their bigger and faster opponent with a succession of screens. On their 61-yard drive — that consumed 8:25 — to start the second half, they ran 17 plays. Only one of those gained as many as 10 yards. But Tech’s defenders, as Paul Johnson said, “had a hard time getting off the field.” Against Mercer, we remind you.

3. Full credit to Mercer: This didn’t look like a program starting its fourth season after a 70-year hiatus. Bobby Lamb and his staff appeared to maximize resources, and they trailed only 21-10 deep in the third quarter and appeared to have stopped Tech’s first drive under backup quarterback Matthew Jordan. Tech’s successful fake punt changed the dynamics, but still: Anyone accustomed to seeing Johnson’s offense amass 60 points and 700 yards against FCS opposition had to applaud this effort by the visitors. Oh, and not since 1892 had Mercer hung more than six points on Georgia Tech.

Reader Comments 0

88 comments
LOGS1973
LOGS1973

All GT needed was a power five SEC team to make

Bradley think again.. This rout today was for you

Bark Madley!!

TideDawg
TideDawg

Game #3 coming up this weekend. GT plays an improved Vanderbilt team. They should match up as equals. The score....probably 35-29...you pick the winner, I don't have a clue. Ga. has got to beat a good defense. I think Lambert will start and "the arm" will come up big when he gets the call. The Tide has to exorcise some demons against Ole Miss and it's not going to be easy in the demon's backyard. I think Saban and Kiffin patch up their differences, but you have to wonder why Sarkisian is there......the future, maybe?

Jmonty
Jmonty

@TideDawg I don't think either team goes past 30.  24-20 GT with a close one.  Clemson will be the team that torches GT for 30.  Just hope the offense is on a roll and can match TD for TD. 

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@TideDawg You are a genius aren't you? That's why you are a dog, with little or no education!! The final was

ready dog  ?... 38-7   GT . That Sec is mighty tough...LOL 

TideDawg
TideDawg

I think Roof is a good DC. He's coaching what he has to work with and that ain't much. That's not a knock on the kids, they give their best but it's not good enough in a power conference.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@TideDawg I think Roof's style was good in the 80s.  However; that style is outdated.  Most teams have complexed offenses and that scheme struggles.  Added to that, his laid back style, transfers into a laid back approach in playing on the field. I would like to see some teeth into the bite on the defense. 

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@TideDawg Must be more than enough, as Roof's defense gave up 7 big points to Vandy.. 7...

GTroller
GTroller

Roof coached a heck of a game.  I think we're playing better now that he's on the field.

The rest of you guys need to try to be more positive.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@GTroller Meh...  Roof plays too soft.  Way too soft.  I think he needs to get a little more aggressive and needs to get the kids to play more aggressive.  

Jmonty
Jmonty

UGA gets a pass for barely winning, GT gets bashed for a 35-10 win.  Yep, sounds like the AJC.   Our defense does need help, apparently UGA's does too.  How many points did the "mighty" UGA allow to their Div 2 school??  Thank you...  UGA is NOT as good as the AJC thought they were, so they go to slant the focus onto GT.  It's easier to do that, right?  But, whatever; GT just needs to focus on what they have.  If we can get our offense rolling, UGA will be toast this November. 

forexbomb
forexbomb

@Jmonty Well, we all know that the media, lives and dies SEC..  It's crazy but true...

forexbomb
forexbomb

It was hot, and our defense looked like they had concrete shoes..  Very slow and was basically pushed around the field for most of the day.  Yes our defense didn't allow too many points,,, but we are talking about Mercer.  Just my opinion.. I was up front and close to the Mercer sideline.  You could tell that had some players.. The receiver comes to mind.(8)  He was a baller, and their interior line was not that much smaller on either side of the ball.. They were very athletic and ready to play.. Good coach, and passionate players.. We will lose at least 5 games this year, because we are just not that good.  IMHO, your opinion could be different.

forexbomb
forexbomb

Nice article... I can't find anything to dispute..  I mean hey, what's the problem people... He wrote exactly what happened.. We have a defense that is not very good... Vanderbilt will score more points than Mercer...  Unless something changes between now and Saturday, then we LOSE.

GTHoschton
GTHoschton

just win baby!!!


that's the name of the game!!

TOJacket
TOJacket

How the he!! Does Bradley dog the jackets when the mutts almost lost to an FCS team? I was laughing my a$$ off. Dawgs always plays down. Can't blame preacher this time

HomerAdams
HomerAdams

Not real good GT.  Two (2) wins that should had been very easy. The O line needs help/work.  The D allow 200 + yards passing to Mercer.  


What the heck is going on???  


TideDawg
TideDawg

Game #3......GT//Clemson....Alabama/Ole MIss....FSU/Louisville.....Ga./Mo.......ND/MSU....Auburn/TexA&M.....OSU/Ok.......Just to name a few games that will make or break them. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

Tech's 2-0.....Georgia is 2-0! How bad can that be?? That's why the Bowl Committee waits until the 5th game to rank teams. Both teams are 2-0 and that's better than 0-2. They both could have been 0-2....but they aren't. It doesn't matter how they looked getting there. They found a way to win. Alabama didn't look so good in the early going against USC and they definitely didn't look good against WKU in the early going. Worry if they don't look good in the 3rd game because everybody else is going to get better by the 3rd game. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TideDawg

Ahhh, a rare whiff of sensibility on a sports blog. Kinda refreshing after wading through the abject stupidity and slop posted by LOGS1973, who's clearly still stinging after his moronic predictions of UGA losing to UNC and subsequently being unranked failed to materialize.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@TideDawg Actually, the bowl committee does look at early season games.  If there is a tie, yes...yes they do.  A slight win over a non power 5 school will not get the nod in a tie breaker.  Does that mean both programs have things to fix, yes.  GT has and has always had issues with the defense.  That's no secret.  UGA has a stable of RB's and has no great QB's, that's no secret.  Both teams have defenses that could be better.  Last year our offense was horrible, again, no secret.  Point is, both are 2-0.  Both need to keep winning, so at least one can help the other with a better bowl.  Us being 3-9 didn't exactly help UGA get a better bowl placement.  Us beating a 3-9 UGA team wouldn't help us either.  Which is why I root for both teams, just not that day in November.  I hope UGA gets out of the pattern of having their starting RB going down during the season.  I think Smart is wise enough to rest Cubb, while Richt wasn't.  Just my opinion. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Jmonty @TideDawg I'm sure that's true about the bowl committee, however, they don't post their standings until after the 5th game. I understand what you say about rooting for both teams. I'm a lifetime Tide fan and Dawg fan since I moved to Ga. I want all of the Ga. teams to do well. There's nothing to gain by beating a 3-9 team....no matter who it is. The exceptions are ND, and any team in the big something conference mainly MSU, Mi., and OSU. They get points for beating a winless team.

MikeS777
MikeS777

A lot of complaints in here, but Mark is right.   This was not in any way a good performance.   After a bad offensive outing against a BC team that finished 0-8 in ACC play last year, this was not a good sign.   Mercer wasn't good last year either.    They finished 2nd to last in the Southern Conference with only 2 conference wins and a 5-6 overall record.

They need to fix things in a hurry because now they start a 5 game stretch that could be bad otherwise.   Vandy, Clemson, Miami, @Pitt, and Ga Southern in consecutive weeks.    Miami and Pitt have looked good so far.   Vandy and Ga Southern are classic trap games here.   Both teams are playing well enough to beat Tech if they overlook them.

Vespidae
Vespidae

You "may" have a point that Tech should have done better. But let's look at objective measures here ... Tech was +8 of field position, had 7 penetrations to Mercer's 3 and scored 6 times - 5 of them TD's. Net punting improved 12 yds vs BC.

Except for the turnovers, Tech played a decent game. Not perfect, but decent. Yes, they should improve.

And btw, they blew UGA out on yds per play. UGA needed 14 possessions to Tech's 9 ... because they couldn't move the ball. At all.

V

MikeS777
MikeS777

@Vespidae They didn't play UGA so really I don't know why that matters.  UGA has issues of their own for sure, but it doesn't change that Tech is actually very fortunate to have beaten a bad BC team in week one.   The schedule doesn't line up well for them this year, and that typically has resulted in losing streaks under Johnson.

MyMourningJacket
MyMourningJacket

Keep in touch with Lamb. We might need him as replacement head coach in a couple of years

merlynbrown
merlynbrown

Mark, reading your analysis is puzzling. Many thoughts came to mind. I was going to respond about all of them, but just thinking of the many made me tired. I thought your evaluation about  this game

was distasteful, not in keeping with the esteemed reporting that you have done in the past. How many years?  Anyway, Mercer is a good football team & probably can beat  a few FBS teams. Too, you are laboring the wrong statistic. 35-10 is all you need to know. No, wait a minute, that's all I need to know. 

You like 'stirring' the pot. You're proud of your journalism,aren't you?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

A week 2 game against Mercer - I am not sure what that says about GT.  We'll know more after the next 2 games.

sthompson1
sthompson1

Unbelievable Mark! With several close games between top 25 FBS and FCS programs you choose to write / bash Georgia Tech. Looks like you are not paid for your ability to prioritize ...

GaTechOldTimer
GaTechOldTimer

@sthompson1 You're making a big assumption that Bradley has the ability to either write or prioritize. So far, most of the bloggers who have responded to any any piece Bradley has ever written for the AJC rag - are far superior to Bradley in intellect and the ability to compose an article based on fact rather than meaningless personal drivel. I suggest we read Bradley for his comic opinionated representation of any sport on which he "reports"  - rather than expecting professionalism - factual details of actual events. It's obvious the AJC doesn't expect more than this - so why should the readership?           

Voltaire?
Voltaire?

Mark Bradley is a clown. Real talk.

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

This article is exactly why the AJC's readership is going down like the Titanic. Worthless drivel. Your agenda is showing Mark. And it's sad.

Vespidae
Vespidae

I think the most kind way to put this is that on Saturday, Georgia Tech won and Mark Bradley lost.

First, Re TOP, GT's 2016 metric was 31:08 ... So at 29:42, Mercer is average. But ... TOP is meaningless for a speed offense. In fact, I would expect more points on less time.

Second, so the defense struggled. Guess what? Alabama wasn't too happy either on a similar result. These 2nd week games are to fine tune, so next week is the "look for", not this week.

Third, GT plays a different game than the average FBS team. Without the size, they have to go for agility and speed. Which they did. How do I know? They won.

As a FBS team, we should expect a higher quality football product from Tech and let's hope they win. But as a seasoned sportswriter, we should equally expect a higher quality writing product from Mark Bradley. Cheap shots, from someone so accomplished, tells me Mark just "phoned it in".

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Vespidae: "These 2nd week games are to fine tune . . . ."

__________________

True that, although it appears after yesterday that my Dawgs need a few additional "second-week games."

Vespidae
Vespidae

I nearly fell out of my chair. Fourteen possessions? The whole game was punt, punt, punt.

They should do better ... But no powerhouse.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Vespidae I agree in part to what you've written except for the agility and speed. Most of the FBS teams have 300 lb. defensive lineman with agility and speed and the linebackers run like race horses. Tech won that first game because they refused to lose. They won the second game because it was a mismatch. They're putting the ball in the air a little more to go with the running game. That's the only way to beat the big time FBS teams. Game 3 is tell all for a lot of teams. I thought Clemson was the #1 team in the country but I'm not so sure now. Tech has a chance.

Vespidae
Vespidae

Yes but ... Tech has never been able to recruit the quantity of big lineman that the state schools (Bama, UGA, TN, etc.) can recruit. They've always relied on having good players who can think and are athletic enough to be a danger. I think that's why they sought out Paul Johnson ... His system just sets up well for the type of player Tech is likely to get.

Bobby Dodd put it this way ... "We aren't as big as those guys, but ... We are smarter."

GTDano
GTDano

I give Mercer's coaches some credit. Apparently, they didn't show much of yesterday's playbook in their 1st game. So, Roof was caught a bit off guard. And they they scored all of 10 ppoints! Mercy!!

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Actually Bradley GT did just about shut down Mercer! 

Mercer posted 10 points.. By the way, Mercers lone

touchdown was off  a GT fumble//

UpWithTheWhiteAndGold
UpWithTheWhiteAndGold

TOP stats from yesterday


Troy 33:20/Clemson 26:40

Nicholls 31:26/UGA 28:34

Charleston Southern 29:41/FSU 30:19




LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Bradley riding the Tech defense that gave up 10 points.

That's 10 points.. Yards  given up between the 20's mean little

if you can't score.. GT won 35-10  ... Maybe your comments

should include the strong showing by the team that owns you

in Clarke County..woof,woof

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

Just when you think you have this game somewhat figured out, a weekend like this happens.  My Dawgs could have easily lost that game and GT seems to have forgotten how to play offense in the style they are accustom.  Wins are wins and everybody can breath easy now and our teams need to show us WHY we continue to be so loyal.  I'm headed to the beach for a few days with as much Bud as I can carry.  Catch some Pompano or whatever is biting and grill till this memory ceases to bother me.

Voltaire?
Voltaire?

Beer is for girly men, Quack. Take some Grey Goose vodka or Cognac. Have fun though!

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@Voltaire?  The Vodka is my wife's drink.  But if I'm going brown I go with Makers Mark.  But beach, fishing and grilling is a man's deal and you must have beer.  Cognac??  Not on the beach, they would ask me to leave and put me on 24 hour probation.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Quackmeyer

Man, I'd be grilling forever if I was waiting for yesterday's foul-smelling memory of that game to cease bothering me.

Voltaire?
Voltaire?

Cognac is one of France's greatest contributions to the world and it's discovery was by accident. Napoleon requested it during his exile. Beer wouldn't even phase me my friend. I had Cognac, Rum and a Long Island before I made it to the game. When I got to the club section I went ahead and got my two free wine drinks out of the way! No visible signs of intoxication and no hangover the next day. Not good for my long term health though, 26 is getting close to 30....