#10 Virginia Tech @ #20 Georgia Tech:
TV coverage: ESPN 8pm Thursday night
Vegas Line: VT is a 2 point opening line favorite
VT is a 1:1.17 favorite, GT is a smaller favorite at 1:1.03
As you can plainly see in the A.c.c. standings chart over on the right; Virginia Tech controls its own destiny. Beat Georgia Tech this Thursday night down in the ATL, and then beat hoo-Va up in paris on November the 26th and even a 6-2 Virginia Tech would still finish no less than one game up on everyone else in the Coastal Division standings. Win out and at 7-1 in the A.c.c. and Virginia Tech would blow the Coastal competition right outta the Atlantic Coast water.
However, taking an L down in the ATL would drop VT into a three-way tie with Georgia Tech, and france for first place in the A.c.c. Coastal in the all important L column, and one tiebreaker (i.e. GT’s ) would not favor the Hokies return to Charlotte when taken head-to-head.
That’s what’s at stake folks and the story lines entering this one are aplenty:
- How much more beat-up can Bud Lite possibly be before Bud Lite finally taps out?
- Which defense, schematically speaking, will Bud Lite deploy vs. the flexbone of Georgia Tech?
- Can the Hokie offense rise to the occasion and control the game, or maybe even win a shootout should the aforementioned Bud Lite finally run dry?
- Will the real Georgia Tech please stand up, please stand up? Is this the 6-zip season opening Georgia Tech that rose all the way to 12th in both national polls with a sizzling hot offensive attack? Is this the revitalized version of the Wrambling Wreck who just beat #5 Klempson 31-17 at home? Or is this the fugazi adaptation of Georgia Tech who recently was beaten at france and totally smoked out at Miami?
- And oh by the way, this one most likely determines the Coastal Division winner –did I mention the Coastal Division winner yet?
Yah; this one is big all right; about as big as they come in-season in A.c.c. terms between two football teams who don’t exactly like each other on top of everything else. Yessiree, this one is the biggest party of the year and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Only thing is … who will win?
That not enough for you?
- How many Hokies will get chopped down to size, legally or otherwise in this one?
- How long until bullet point ^#1^ costs Virgina Tech a defensive knee or knees?
- On a scale of one-infinity to thirty-gazillion infinities, how smug looking will Cyrano Jones, errrrrrrrrrrr, ahhhhhhh, I mean Coach Paul Johnson look over on the Georgia Tech sidelines?
- How much steam will you see coming outta Coach Foster’s ears if his brains boil once again trying to slow down his 1-gap defensive system and meld it into a stop-unit capable of playing assignment football vs. the much ballyhooed flexbone of Georgia Tech?
- What happens, sporting Heaven forbid, if Paul Johnson does catch a depleted Bud Lite pinned down under the heel of his boot, and decides to kick Virginia Tech good and hard?
Yah; there is a whole helluva a lot going on in this one men. I don’t know about you, though my O&M blood is already flowing as Thursday nite can not possibly get here soon enough!
- One. As in GT is #1 in third-down conversion in all of D-1 football (at 58%)!
- Two. Meaning, VT is 24-2 overall in its last 26 November football games.
- TFL. 3 letters that tell you that GT is 18th best in tackles for a loss allowed –an amazing stat when you consider that GT has carried the ball 3rd most in all of D-1 football right now.
- Four-hundred. VT already enjoys seven games in which the VT offense has gained 400+ yards this season. (BONUS: it has not taken more than 24 points to beat either Tech this year)
- Five. As in GT is 5-oh at home, and VT is 11 and “oh” on the road since 2009. The last team to beat a visiting VT? Yup; Gah.Tech. (BONUS: GT has played 5 lopsided games decided by 27+ points this season)
- Six. As in Bud Lite has only lessened by a staggering 6 full yards of total defense on average in their last three games. A staggering stat when you consider that Bud Lite has been down as many as 6 defensive starters over the same time frame!
- Seventy-five. Punter M.Branthover and his bionic leg now hold the school maximum punt record of 75 yards.
- Eight. GT has a mind-boggling eight TD drives of one single play already this year!
- Nine. As in 9 different Hokies have picked a pass off for an INT this season!
- 10. Meaning the O’Cain lead VT offense already has no less than 10 offensive drives for scores that have covered 80 yards or more. (BONUS: no VT opponent has scored more than 10 points in the first-half on VT all year long)
Georgia Tech offense: Flexbone (7 starters back)
Coach Paul Johnson’s plucky flexbone offense is a TSL.com entire article, if not perhaps a series of articles plural in and of itself. Well, at least it would be if wrote for GTSL.com or GeorgiaTechSideline.com. Now brace yourself, as we are gonna make the jump directly to hyperspeed and kick start the Millennium Falcon good and hard and try to at least knock down a few flexbone basics.
In its most, well, essential incarnation, the flexbone has 3 plays per side and one reverse behind that both left and right. Recall that in old-school nomenclature that odd is left, and that right is even. Which gives you the elementary diagram that I have included below for instructional purposes; left=odd, right=even as the old-school hole numbering system goes, as nondenomination A-gaps just will not do for this brief tutorial look at the flexbone.
- B-back (or Fb)=2
- Left-side A-back=3
- Right-side A-back=4
- Right-side Wr=6 (left would=7)
Most of the time, to begin a game, you will see the Belly take shape through either A-gap between (from left-to-right) the G-c or between the c-G A-gaps, this works out to mean the G-(1hole)-c on the left, or the c-(2hole)-G on the right.
Hence you initially get the 21-Belly to the B-back to the left or the 22-Belly to the B-back to the right. However, as we have seen quite a bit in the past outta Josh Nesbitt, and here and there outta Washington in his last 12 games, you can also have a Belly-Keeper run where the Qb hesitates for a split-second and then follows the B-back who becomes the Qb’s lead blocker right on up through the 1hole to the left or the 2hole to the right. Hence you can also initially get 11-Keeper or 12-Keeper, depending upon how the Qb reads the Ng or Dt closest to the Center.
After that you can move the Belly towards the left or right sideline into any Gap or into any hole that you so please. Using the right side, you could have 24-Belly, 26-Belly, or maybe even 28-Belly. Although most coaches only use the first two gaps: the A and the B-gap for their preliminary belly play, you can use every single Gap or hole that there is if you are so inclined. Hand-n-hand with all those Belly handoffs to the B-back (or the Fullback) is the Keeper right behind the B-back who is now the lead-blocker, ergo you also get: 14-Keeper, 16-Keeper, or maybe even a 18-Keeper. That’s the first option covered in totality to the right side. You have the very same options moving to the left side. Namely: 21-Belly, 23-Belly, 25-Belly, 27-Belly and every single associated Qb Keeper: 11-Keeper, 13-Keeper, 15-Keeper and 17-Keeper.
Now we segue into the second option, which virtually always begins with the Qb ridding the Fb with the football in his, well, belly or gut, on the mesh before the Qb suddenly reads the Dt or Ng and pulls the football out and heads left (or odd) or right (or even) down the line-of-scrimmage to potentially keep or pitch the ball to a given B-back or what we used to call a Wingback. Only numerical kicker here is that you eliminate the initial Belly Gap or hole and move the second-option at least one (sometimes more) Gaps or holes further outside towards the given sideline. Ergo, moving towards the right, and presuming the Belly is run into the A-gap to begin with (which eliminates the A-gap itself) you can get: 44-Pitch, 46-Pitch and 48-Pitch, with the associated Qb Keeper plays of: 14-Keeper, 16-Keeper and all the way to the right-side edge with the 18-Keeper. Bear in mind that the Qb typically reads the Defensive-End in the second-option (occasionally this is the OLb) to key his pitch or Keeper. Bear in mind as well, that the given B-back follows the Qb on any given Keeper up field and slightly behind him, so there is a possibility for a second option to occur after the Qb has broken line-of-scrimmage contain and heads up field. This can be described as the third-option as well … first-option on the Belly, second-option on the De, fake him out, head up field on the given Qb Keeper and option somebody beyond the line of scrimmage down-field, typically a Cb or Safety.
Now we come to the other third option, or the reversing third option to a Wr (GT has run six of these thus far on the year mind you) or to the trailing far-side Wing-back. Presuming we are running to the right-side, hence you can get the reverse heading back to the left-hand side with 67-Reverse or the final or triple part of the option attack itself with the left-hand A-back on the very final leg of the option or the 38-Pitch or even a final keeper (18-Keeper) after the Qb has declined the option hand-off once or the option pitch-out twice on a de facto 18-Keeper moving even or to the right-hand side. Dizzy yet? You should be, because after that you can run Sweeps (to an A-back) which I saw much more of this year than in previous seasons from P.J. on film; such as 46-Sweep to the right. In addition to all of that, you can even run pass plays from either A-back or potentially from either Wr. Georgia Tech has yet to attempt any A-back or Wr passing, though I do assure you, it is in the play-book indeed.
Finally, now observe that inside of all of those above mentioned three options, and any potential trickeration, you have a blizzard of blocking schemes, calls, changes, and toggles. Who blocks back? Who pulls and trap blocks or kicks out the De or OLb? Who double teams which Dt or Ng? When does the B-back become a lead-blocker? Which A-back might block which defender on a given play? How about some crackback blocks from the given Georgia Tech Wideout? Then, you can omit a given option layer and simply run a single Belly-option or just a double-option and be done with it all right there. And last, yet not least, note the plethora of cut-blocks –which are legal technically speaking inside the Ot-box and the equally hateful chop-blocks that occur on the fringe of the Ot-box or sometimes well outside the Ot-box, be that whistled or un-whisteled by the given officiating crew. Watch to see how Thursday nights A.c.c. crew will call all of this. Some officials simply let ‘em play, as they did in the last game vs. Klempson. Some officials mind the letter of the law. So do pay some first-quarter attention to this and see how effective Frank Beamer and company are in working the Refs.
Washington is a full one year old starting flexbone Qb and it shows; in terms of both Yin and Yang. To speak to the Yin, one could say that Washington is a wild and wholly looking option Qb who has not yet really been forced to learn or to have to figure things out the hard way. Just watch his very first snap vs. Klempson last week. Who in the “Wide wide world of Sports” teaches their starting option based Pivot to do a forward somersault over the pile and a header right into the turf on the very first play of the game? You can see watching Washington on tape that the option is still a very novel thing –novel meaning fun in this case, to him at this stage of the game. He’s as happy as a clam in mud out there, feeling rather froggy on his option keepers, and just straight butter doing his thang as he tucks the rock and heads up-field. This is his world right now and the O&M defenders are only living in it. On tape you can see a vastly, and I do mean vastly more ensconced looking Washington out there this year compared to the one who took over last year in Lane, at night, for the injured Linebacker in cleats otherwise known as Josh Nesbitt. Recall last year and someone subsequently writing about how very few option pitch-outs that Washington was comfortable executing as he was really no better than a undercooked yearling deer caught in the Lane Stadium lights. This years Washington will belly the rock, he will keep the rock, he will pitch the rock, he will fake the pitchout and keep the rock or he will reverse pitch the rock. Last year? Not so much as he logged a staggering and even more, an extremely predictable 21 second-half Qb keepers or rudimentary hand-offs on the belly-play to Allen the 2010 Georgia Tech B-back.
To speak to the Yang, or at least the proto-Yang that has not yet arrived, Mr. Washington’s option based and therefore option punishment absorbing body looks relatively fresh on film thus far to me for a kid who only goes 6`1“ 2o5 lbs. if that. Ask 2012 how that feels next year. As I have seen many a senior season Pivot slow down a bit or flat out strip a gear in the high velocity triple-option offense due to the pounding that the Qb position out of necessity must take game in and game out as the maestro to the flexbone itself goes. That said, in three of his last four football games, Washington has torched the opposition for: 120, 115, and a career high 176 if you need him last time out vs. the Tigers. I’d say that this is a option Qb who is just barely entering his ground gaining prime. Washington the passer however is another matter entirely as I have already fully detailed below. 13 of his last 34 pass attempts say so, as does his 0:5 totally ‘rong way passing ratio since the beginning of October.
One thing I noticed about Washington the passer is that he is what I can only describe as jump. Very jump at that. At times, he appears to jump, dart, and flity at times. Setting his feet is just not his thing. Ergo, there should be some turnover opportunities in play presuming VT can manage to negotiate favorable second or third down terms. That’s really only code for stopping Georgia Tech’s first-down carry. If there was ever a game to monitor the in-game Lo.FM count, it sure is this game without a doubt. And if you need the always trendy so-called X-Factor for this one, I give you one #5 for Georgia Tech. The monster sized 6`5“ 205 lb (see: above pic). Wr otherwise known as Mr. Stephen Hill who has amassed 608 total yards, good or should I say great for a staggering 30.4 yard average per catch. Yes, that’s per each and every single solitary reception folks. And Mr. Hill has 157 career rushing yards and one score on the ground above and beyond his pure pass catching work. Besides Washington’s sometime flighty passing, the only other bugbear I could find regarding the 2011 Jacket flexbone attack was that it appears to lack a true old-school Fullback or B-back to spearhead the internal Belly-option attack. Gone is Mr. Allen and long gone is Mr. Dwyer. Mr. Sims is actually a converted Qb playing out of position at B-back. To be fair, he is stronger than I expected, especially upstairs, though he has yet to fill in as a bona fide Fullback down below on the lower decks. Hence more option pitch-outs to the assortment of Georgia Tech A-backs where you find a confounding no less than seven different guys with at least one carry of 30 yards or more no the season, four of which have at least one carry of 48 or more. This year the Georgia Tech A-backs (or Wingbacks) have already logged 144 carries and the Yellow Jacket Wideouts have carried the mail 6 times their ownselves on reverses as well. Think a juvenile skinny and raily looking Mr. Washington was comfortable doing any of that last year down on Worsham Field? Think again.
(Georgia Tech overall offensive letter-grade: the highest possible A-, would be higher with a true Fullback or if Washington suddenly reverts to his September passing form)
Georgia Tech defense: 3-4 (5 starters return)
al deGroh, yes, that al groh who somehow managed to upset Frank Beamer one whole full entire time in the entirety of his eight seasons up at france with the dumb boo-hoos is still the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech. The chessmaster his ownself, a one man Kasparov who really should only be playing Go Fish, at night, by himself, in a tent, out in the middle of nowhere, while lost. Ok, ok, maybe that was a little tough on everyone’s favorite wannabe Vah.Tech foil, he did after all stick his nose into a fan, or some such nonsense such as that.
Now, that said, this Georgia Tech stop-unit is better. Noticeably better in fact since the return of #45 one WLb Jeremiah “the Nigerian Nightmare” Attaochu from what P.J. will only describe as: “a lower leg injury” (read: calf). Yah; this kid must be pretty important, when you consider that GT was 40 yards improved vis-à-vis their season rushing average yards allowed vs. the T.Rex sized Miami oLine; and an even more impressive 75 yards worth of improved as run-fighters go vs. Klempson. In case you had not noticed, the ‘Cane and Tiger oLines are unconditionally no less than second or third best in the A.c.c.’s Top-3 upfront as offensive lines go. So this is saying something indeed when you see *that* much improvement outta a defense overnight by making a 9% change in personnel. I’m impressed and you should be too, as this Attaochu kid is still leading Georgia Tech (after missing ~10 quarters mind you) in Sacks and is only half a TFL behind the tackles for a loss leader. To take this line of analysis to its rightful conclusion, it would be fair to say that Mr. Attaochu is the David Wilson of the Georgia Tech defense. Just look at the above pic; this kid is a fast, he’s built like he is ready to go kill B.Pitt and Ed Norton at the same time as he is clearly a “carved outta wood” powerhouse and he is nothing short of electrifying on defense out there. Additionally, Georgia Tech likewise got ILb Danny Drumond back at the very same time a couple of weeks back and their stop-unit is finally up and running on all cylinders for the first time since basically September. Or in other words, the last time these two Linebackers sat out? The Georgia Tech opponent wrecked Gah.Tech on the ground for 272.
Now, down to the basics, and that really is only to say that I did not see a whole lotta bland flavored basics outta coach deGroh when breaking tape on the Georgia Tech stop-troops. Yes I saw the base 3-4, I also saw a fifty-two (Bud Wilkinson, remember?) or 5-2. I even saw a 10-set. Yes! A ten with only one single solitary defensive downlineman in a 3 point stance and 10 2-point stance defenders all fully vertical behind him. I’ve not seen that since B.Y.U. used that as a gimmick single series change of pace during their national championship run way back in 1984. On top that, I even saw a freaking zero, yes that’s zero downlinemen in a fully upright 3-4 with the WLb blitzing as well and all 3 alleged downlinemen in the old Cowboy flex or what I can only describe as a motion-defense jumping all over creation and raising hell pre-snap to confuse blocking assignments before the Qb yells “hike”. On double top of that, I saw about as many variations to the traditional second layer of quad-backers and again in the Yellow Jacket secondary as you can imagine. Clearly al deGroh is feeling his oats and feeling no pain at the thought of emptying his play-book down in the ATL in only his second season at Georgia Tech. The wise old coaching idiom suggests that you do make your largest annual gains during your second season of scrimmaging –the proverbial all things being equal of course.
Among the wackiness that I saw would be: the triad or arrowhead linebacker formation on the inside with the Strongside-Lb nearly stacked smack dab right in the middle of the other two ILb’s. I saw off-man coverage from the Georgia Tech Cb’s on long-fields which tightened up to medium-man at or near mid-field and a 3-4 yard cushion in something sorta close to pressing man-to-man down in the red zone. Clearly field position dictated the Yellow Jackets Cb play as the given cushion diminished as the opposing offense marched downfield nearly no matter what. Lottsa Shell-2 behind all of that, with the Fs (field-side) a good 14-15 off the LOS (line-of-scrimmage) and the Ss shading him by a yard or two in a very modest forward stagger. Mostly, I saw at least 2 Linebackers (typically the ILb’s) dropping into hook-zones with a highly variable stagger (i.e. one deeper, one spying a Qb though still in pass coverage proper, the spy tended to be field-side by the way).
The three things that I know about the 3-4 defense are:
- First, you’d better field a human bowling ball right in the middle at Ng as the lynchpin of everything else you do. He and your De’s must keep the five oLine men off your four Linebackers as best they humanly can. If they can or mostly can, you actually then achieve a fair to middling chance to win a numbers game a couple of yards off the line-of-scrimmage.
- Second, you basically need to go out and find 3 or 4 De ‘tweeners and have them play Linebacker for you. As you need 4 guys who can cowboy up in lieu of the fourth downlineman vs. the run, and they have to be quicks or outright speed to move well sideline to sideline and downfield in pass coverage. This year -unlike last year- Georgia Tech appears to have grown into the 3-4 defensive set rather handsomely now that their second-layer (Lb’s) are back to full strength. Additionally, watch for our new found Slant routes to basically disappear vs. the Jackets 3-4.
- Tertiarily, your Secondary is the same, well, at least numerically speaking. As your Cb’s have a few more run-fighting responsibilities and typically line-up in 3-4 yard splits to accommodate such. The Cb’s must play outside-in and maintain said outside-in leverage at all times to laterally compress the field and squeeze plays towards the middle of the gridiron where the 3-4 will always have at least 7 would be tacklers ready to deal with any ground based assault. Note that deGroh has his Ss set a bit further back than the typical 3-4, or in a more pass driven alignment.
- greater overall defensive speed (sans one dLineman of course)
- greater pre-snap disguises, or multi pre-snap alignments
- ability to play as many as 7 in coverage full-time as opposed to substituting for a Nickel
- tougher blitz recognition
- Greater vulnerability to the inside power rushing game, and subsequent goalline or short-yardage scenarios
- Linebackers that sometimes cheat forward to help compensate for con #1 and get hurt vs. the pass
- Lack of prototype King Kong sized Ng’s in football today and no less than S.E.C. sized De’s
- Need for in-situ front-7 “layered” depth to help keep the smaller guys fresh for the duration, as the 3-4 can sometimes wear down a bit later on in a game after a fine start
(overall Georgia Tech defensive letter-grade: a smart looking flat-B with the two Linebackers out on the field with a bona fide chance to move up a half letter-grade if they all stay healthy for the duration; i.e. this GT stop-unit is better than you expect)
Georgia Tech special-teams: (1 specialist returns)
#86 Justin Moore is a sophomore FGK who is 55% (5 of 9) on the year on 3-pointers and 100% (44 outta 44) on 1-pointers. Note the sparsity of FGA’s from Georgia Tech year in and year out period. As Coach P.J.’s offense is typically a 4 down offense inside the red-zone as Justin is a perfect 0 for 0 from 23 yards and in. Accordingly, Gah.Tech has already gone for it on fourth down fourteen times this season; converting a very reasonable 8 of said 14 attempts. Justin is said to have a pretty good sized leg, however accuracy is not his thing, and he is in the midst of something of a cold-slump as he has only made one FGA in the last 41 days prior to this kickoff. To make matters all the worse, when Mr. Moore comes to town there is a 22% chance that you will block one of his FGA’s as Justin has already had two FGA’s snuffed out on the season. Punting is handled by sophomore Sean Poole who finally had a good game after no less than six suspect ones in a row since the middle of September. Right now Georgia Tech stands in at 81st best in net punting thanks virtually entirely to the 11th best punt coverage team in all of D-1. The Wrambling Wreck is a better than average 49th in kickoff coverage. The Yellow Jacket return game is 68th best in punt returns and an inert looking 99th best in kickoff returns on the season. Less one long-range 79 yard jaunt, the Wrambling Wreck combined punt and kickoff return teams have been hemmed in or limited to a mere 34 yards or less all year long. Hence my use of the term: “inert”.
Georgia Tech has blocked one punt on the season and zero returns for scores of any variety. (overall Georgia Tech letter-grade: C—, the coverage teams are pretty tight; beyond that, I’m not seeing anything better than modest to moderate special-teams play)
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Conclusion(s), illation, OPT digits:
As you can see below, right now I have Georgia Tech mildly favored to upset Virginia Tech even if Vegas does not. However, don’t fret too much just yet; my picking the Wrambling Wreck to beat Virginia Tech is not exactly set in Hokiestone. Here’s why…
First up, I wanna get a health update on Georgia Tech starting Center, one #50 Jay Finch. Finch’s position coach just described Jay as being “infinitely more talented” than his centering flexbone predecessor. As we all know, everything and anything with any Option based attack begins and possibly ends off the first option or off the belly-play itself. You stop that and you throw (pun exceptionally intended) any flexbone offense that only fields a 48% passing Qb with a 5:3 ratio way way outta synch. Ditto any flexbone offense who’s B-back (or Fullback) is actually a Quarterback (D.Sims). Now, do be fully awears –and you will be seeing this again up top- that the strongest part of the 2011 Georgia Tech oLine is their G-c-G internal blocking trifecta. Right-Guard Omoregi Uzzi and left-Guard Will Jackson are all-A.c.c. contenders on the inside, and Jay Finch is the full metal Jacket major upgrade at Center just like I very own Andrew Miller is down in the New River Valley.
Now, my sources say that both Finch (trick-knee @ Miami) and Jackson (bad neck vs. Klempson) may sit this one out. As neither of these stalwart internal offensive-linemen has yet to practice in preparation for mighty Virginia Tech! Don’t sleep on just how big of a blow or potential game-changer this one could be folks. As guess who’s coming to dinner with a very banged up Mike (MLb) position and a buncha Defensive Tackle injuries right up the O&M gut? That would be Vah.Tech; however, if Gah.Tech is without two of its three stud double-helix starters on the inside, things would even out more than a little bit as the initial belly-play goes. Ditto all the sophisticated oLine blocking calls and shifting of belly-play gaps that the extrinsically simple, and yet intrinsically savvy Georgia Tech much vaunted flexbone offense is predicated upon. One more time, do not sleep on just how big a difference there would be between all three G-c-G starters lined-up shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder vis-à-vis a Thursday night line-up that could indeed read: stud—back-up—back-up.
Second up, we come to the matter of Georgia Tech Qb Tevin Washington his ownself. As you can clearly see in the chart below, the September version of Tevin Washington was putting more than enough flex into the flexbone early on. In point of fact, he was going straight dual-threat gangster on the whole shebang down in the ATL. Well, at least he was right up until Georgia Tech visited the Wolfpac of NC.State. The Tevin Washington that returned home to hot’lanta from a chilly 33% day has simply never been the same. In fact, he has only busted 44% passing once in 41 days by the time this game kicks off if you are keeping score at home.
“I can’t explain it,”
-Tevin Washington on Tevin Washington.-
So even he does not know what has led to his inaccuracy, poor decision making and happy feet post NC.State. Qb and B-back position Coach Brian Bohannon has been said to have been working with Tevin Washington and his follow-through (or lack there of) as you can see him pulling the string and pulling a Karl Malone fall-away free-throw-attempt kinda pass on film of late. This tends to create underthrows, or flat-out short-armed misses that come up short. It can also leave a long-ball in play downfield for a heady Safety to break upon an underthrown deep route. As there are no physical injuries to report surrounding Tevin Washington, I am lead to deduce that this kid is suffering from a compound fracture to the head, or to his mental game itself. A confidence crisis if you will, as the (passing) start to Tevin’s game is critical to determining the outcome in this one. Tevin will get his one the ground, as he already leads Georgia Tech with 636 ground-gaining total yards, good for 10 TD’s and he does possess homerun hitting capabilities with his feet’s. It is however his arm upon which this one may indeed swing, as Mr. Washington has thrown precisely 65 different total passes since playing NC.State. 43 of which have been nothing short of bad. Of those 43, 38 have fallen harmlessly incomplete for 0 total positive offensive yards gained for Georgia Tech and the other 5 of those 43 got pirated or picked-off for 46 yards the ‘rong way in reverse.
So there is Hokie hope here folks, don’t let go of that O&M rope just yet. Let’s sort out the Georgia Tech practice reports and the participation (or lack thereof) of Finch and Jackson first.
Positivity, the antonym of negativity and the one thing that ensures instant credibility on the TSL.com message boards. Note the abstinence from responsive or reflexive posts on TSL.com when Will and Chris pick VT to win. You just do not see: “Will and Chris are ‘rong, VT will get crushed, here’s why…” You do see the knee-jerk Rx or highly reactive posts when Will and Chris pick the opposition to pitch and VT to be the one who catches an L. You also see their 100% FREE-view preview article metrics or rankings in free fall. Now down to a season low of 4.11 as of late night on Tuesday evening, about 48 hours away from having a verdict rendered in the technotronic case, be that either way.
That said, the one thing that finally swung me in picking Tech to win was the objective statement of qualitative class-rank. Fact is that this is really the 2013 future tense version of Bud Lite playing the present tense version of P.J.’s 2011 flexbone. Observe that the starting line-up for Bud Lite’s front-7 on Thursday night is nothing short of 100% sophomoric. 6 red-sophomores and 2 true-sophomores dot the Tech run fighting ground-troop front-lines for this one folks. Zero of which have faced the whacky flexbone offensive attack before in the position that they will play on Thursday night. (Fuller has played some vs. it, albeit it at Cornerback, not at Whip) Think there might be some confusion here? Think our guys might have a little trouble staying in their lane or minding the O&M store?
Further, we now have certified conformation that Tech will recover the front-line offensive services both Finch and Jackson alike for this one as they returned to practice on Monday. Will and Chris are right, as there is nothing Faustian about picking Tech to win this one. The devil is indeed in the technical details and asking no less than seven rookie sophomores to riddle out all of these tortuous flexbone details is bedeviling indeed.
In the game of golf, three bad shots and one good shot makes par. In defending the triple option, three good assignments and one missed assignment makes six. As in 6 points –right now for my money, it is asking quite a bit outta the 2013 defense to buck up and stop the 2011 Yellow Jacket offense. Prolly too much, beyond a turnover prone night from that very same Yellow Jacket offense; this can happen in the flexbone mind you. Or barring the VT offense winning something of a mini-me shootout game down in the ATL.
The whole entire key is our 100% sophomoric front-7 and their play at the point of attack on Bud Lite and their start on defense in this one. Spot Georgia Tech a two score start -or something even less friendly in O&M terms- and we are in a world of hurt. This would be the precise spot where P.J. would put his foot in our throat and kick us good and hard via running up the score in the ultimate self-centered smugfest of all-time. However, if we can hang around, or even better -manufacture a late first-half O&M lead- and then let Georgia Tech be the one to give chase; then VT has a very sudden chance to steal one out on the Coastal Division road.
When I studied the Home/Away splits, it was instantly clear to me that Georgia Tech is undeniably a hometown team. 43 points on average at home, vs. 28 out on the road says so. That’s about two majors (touchdowns) and a two point rub-it-in conversion thrown in for good measure. VT however drops by 5 points per game when visiting and in possession of the football (or on offense). This one has the look and feel of a wild one to me where anything can and prolly will happen and I for one expect this one to go right down to the wire. The last team to score … wins.
Virginia Tech=27, Georgia Tech=29