In our latest inside look we have so much Georgia Tech knowledge to share we couldn’t just talk to one person. I talk to Adam Brand of the website The Victory Formation. Adam is a Georgia Tech supporter and active on Twitter. You can follow him @younglefthander.
Adam, Nate, and I talk about the upcoming game between Duke and Georgia Tech. We discuss the Yellow Jackets struggles and if the winner of this game ends up taking the ACC Coastal Division or if that honor goes to someone else. I’ll start with Adam.
DSB: Georgia Tech really dispelled the notion last week that teams with an extra week of practice do better. Duke comes into the game with that extra time to heal and prepare, so is there any concern that the Yellow Jackets will be at any disadvantage as a result?
The coaching staff doesn’t really buy into that theory much, and neither do I. The guys at From The Rumble Seat
had a pretty good breakdown of this earlier this year. In 2009, Clemson lost to Tech in the second week after playing Middle Tennessee in week one, so you’d assume they’d spent a healthy amount of offseason prep on stopping Tech’s offense. Furthermore, that same Clemson team gave up 39 points to Tech the second time around in the ACC Championship Game. That’s probably the most prepared an opponent’s ever been to play a Paul Johnson team, and they still gave up points and yards by the bushel. One thing that might factor into Duke’s preparation that they probably hadn’t expected is the emergence of Vad Lee. Lee not only provides more of a passing threat than Tevin Washington, but he’s also a much more dynamic runner.
DSB: What if anything does Duke do that concerns you as a Georgia Tech fan? Are there any weaknesses that the Blue Devils might be able to exploit?
Defense continues to be a concern. Tech has been unable to stop the run virtually the entire year, and tackling has likewise been an issue, especially in the secondary, although it improved some last week. One area that is definitely ripe for exploitation is special teams. Kickoff and punt coverage units have been abysmal this season, and the rotating cast of placekickers has yet to yield a consistent touchback threat.
DSB: Surprisingly there is a lot at stake in this game. Georgia Tech can get to bowl eligibility and of course the division race is still in play. Are you as surprised as I am to see the Blue Devils in the mix for the Coastal Division?
AB: Definitely surprised to see Duke where they are at this point. I think David Cutcliffe is a great coach, and Ole Miss is probably kicking themselves for running him out of town. I had figured he’d get the program on the right track, and back to a bowl game, but this team is better and further ahead of schedule than I thought they’d be.
DSB: The winner of Saturday’s game could ultimately come out on top in the Coastal and Georgia Tech is a 13 point favorite as of Monday. Who do you think wins the game?
AB: I think Tech comes out on top, but I wouldn’t touch that line with a ten foot pole. Not even degenerates wager on this team, it’s so bipolar. However, the team has played with a lot more energy the last two weeks, and add in the fact that it’s Senior Day, and I think the Jackets will come out firing on all cylinders. There’s a ton on the line here for Tech, and I think that’s when Paul Johnson usually turns in his best work. If Tech manages a win, I’m hopeful that Duke can knock off Miami the following week. Or that Miami self imposes a postseason ban. I’d be fine either way.
And now part two of the Inside Look at Duke-Georgia Tech with Nate Muller of From the Rumble Seat.
DSB: Who do you think the key match ups in this game are for both sides?
NM: Georgia Tech is particularly weak on the defensive line, so if y’alls OL has anything resembling talent that should be a big factor in your passing game. Our coverage guys completely lose track of their zones if the QB has any semblance of time to throw the ball, so I could see Renfree having a big day out there. On the flip side, your DL better come ready to play because even though our OL is injury ravaged, they’re not playing like it. They cleared the way for 588 total yards (200+ of them passing…a rare feat for us) against a stout UNC defense. You might say they failed the one test their tutors couldn’t take for them.
DSB: What do you think is the key to slowing down the Paul Johnson spread option, or is it just something you can’t really stop if it is executed correctly?
NM: I’d like to address your second point first by pulling out the old CPJ adage here: any offense is hard to stop if the guys are taking care of business and blocking. Call it cliched, call it stale, but its 100% true. Now, that’s not saying a well-executed defense can’t stop the flexbone, or any offense for that matter. The key against us involves a lot of movement on the D-Line (tackles pulling and going to the edge, violent hands, etc) and well-executed outside contain. If y’all can get to the QB with your lineman and seal up the edges with your LBs while the corners stay tight on the receivers, we’re basically cooked goose.
DSB: I understand your stance on their being no correlation between teams with extra time to prep for Georgia Tech and those teams having better chances but if you had to try and prepare and were Duke, wouldn’t you want that extra time?
Of course. Again, PJ has a go-to statement prepared in his head here, and I think its the most accurate you can get regarding this issue: “you’d like to have extra time against anybody, its a lot less stressful. However, I don’t think it helps or hurts Jimmy any more than it helps or hurts Johnny.” UNC had an extra week, and you saw what happened in that game. We here at FTRS, being engineers and data junkies and whatnot,actually disproved
the “extra time” argument pretty glaringly a while back. I think that data speaks for itself.
DSB: A lot at stake in this game who do you think comes out on top and do you think that team win the ACC Coastal Division?
NM: I hate making predictions in any college football game simply on the virtues that a.) CFB is the most unpredictable game in human history, and I hate being wrong and b.) if I pick us to win and we lose, I feel responsible because I cursed the team with my hubris (as you can clearly tell, I’m not superstitious at all). However, I will make a prediction on who wins the Coastal: I think its going to be Miami. They won’t decide to take themselves out of it because the NCAA can’t take away this ACC championship if they win, they’ve never been to the ACCCG before, and it gives them an opportunity to get revenge on Florida State.
Thanks again to Adam and Nate for giving us a thorough look at this weeks game between Duke and Georgia Tech. Feel free to check out my responses to Nate’s questions in our Q and A here