BC Interruption: Boston College has struggled mightily against the run, and especially the triple option. The Eagles have let up 500 or more yards to every opponent. Other than Tevin Washington, what players should Eagles fans be aware of for Saturday's game?
From The Rumble Seat: One of the major guys to know about is Senior A-Back Orwin Smith, who's had YPC averages of 9.7, 10.1, and 11.3 the past two years and so far this year, respectively. No, that is not a typo. Orwin is a very balanced runner and pretty tough to get off of his feet, so it makes sense that when he gets the ball with some open field on the outside (which, for the record, isn't too often), he's able to do a lot with it. Another guy to watch is Sophomore A-Back Tony Zenon. Kid's 5'7", 175lbs if I remember correctly, but he's very fast and shifty with a lot of potential to make a big play. He's helped out a lot in the passing game this year too. Finally, one of my personal favorites to watch is Sophomore A-Back Robert Godhigh. Besides being in the running for most ridiculous name, Godhigh is like Orwin in that he's difficult to get off of his feet, except that being a solid 4-6 inches shorter and having a seemingly iron will to stay on his feet means that gets multiplied. He hasn't gotten many touches this year, but when he does, the defense has quite the chore to tackle him. Long story short, watch the A-Backs (slotbacks).
BCI: BC and Georgia Tech both have had monumental losses this year, BC falling to Army and the Yellow Jackets to Middle Tennessee. Where has GT struggled this year?
FTRS: Georgia Tech's struggles have without question come on defense, even dating back to the Sun Bowl last year. I look at our last 5 losses, and all of them can be directly attributed to the defense. They've had a lot of trouble holding onto a lead once they get one, which becomes very infuriating. Our losses to Utah (last year), Virginia Tech, and Miami all came after we led in the last minute of the ballgame, with our opponent stacked up against huge odds. Utah threw a 35-40 yard touchdown pass on 4th and 18 with maybe 20 seconds left, Virginia Tech drove down the field to kick a field goal and send the game to overtime after we scored a touchdown with 40 seconds left, and Miami drove 91 yards without us forcing so much as a third down. You can imagine how irritating that is for a fan to watch. Also infuriating is our mind-boggling inability to get off of the field on third down. Our third down defense in the last 3 games has allowed opponents to convert 31 of 46, good for about 67%. It's great too because it seems like the farther an opponent has to go to get the first down, the more successful they've been...it's truly beyond explanation. When Georgia Tech struggles, people want Paul Johnson and his offense gone. Let's just say that Johnson and his goofy offense have been anything BUT the problem this year.
BCI: Georgia Tech proactively fired--how novel-- Al Groh, a coach whose approach was not working for the Yellow Jackets. What led to his dismissal?
FTRS: All that stuff mentioned previously has a lot to do with it. I think the idea that we were losing games because of our defense had a lot to do with it. In his press conference announcing the move, Coach Johnson talked about how Groh is a genius without a doubt, but that his ideas and plans just weren't making it out onto the field for whatever reason. This was our third year with him as our Defensive Coordinator, and the year we were supposed to see things "click". Instead, Johnson mentioned how he watched the Clemson film and saw well over 40 missed assignments across the game. I agree with Paul here -- I think that Groh is a great defensive mind, but when he can't communicate what he wants and really reach the players, the defense becomes a liability. With Groh gone, secondary coach Charles Kelly has been put in charge of the defense, with Johnson making it well known that this is basically a 6-to-7 game interview for him. Have a lot of success, and he'll likely be our next DC. If the struggles continue, it'll be open season on defensive coaches come season's end.
BCI: GT enters the game two back in the ACC Coastal race. How do you think the remainder of the season plays out for the Yellow Jackets.
FTRS: It's really shocking to a lot of our fans that we're 6 games in and unsure of whether or not we're going to make a bowl game, especially with some good teams left on our schedule. We still have a mathematical shot at winning the Coastal, but it involves such a slew of wild things that would have to happen that it's almost not even worth mentioning. Here's the thing: to become bowl eligible, Tech needs 4 wins in our 6 games against BC, BYU, UNC, Duke, Maryland, and georgia. Honestly, this team is probably capable of winning 5 of those (georgia being a lost cause at this point). How many they win though is yet to be seen, and between our track record to this point and the teams we have left on the schedule, let's just say I won't be shocked if we don't make a bowl game. Here's to hoping though.
BCI: Ok prediction time. What have you got?
FTRS: Gotta go with my Yellow Jackets here. I think they win in a fairly high scoring game. If our secondary isn't on top of its game, I have a feeling BC's pass-heavy offense will torch us -- not that it would be the first time this year that we got torched. With a huge 13-point spread, I think Georgia Tech wins but Boston College covers. This may come down to the last possession, in which case I hate our defense's chances based on recent history.
Thank you for your answers, and make sure you stop by From The Rumble Seat for all of your Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets news and opinions.