After an interesting comeback win over the Tar Heels at Bobby Dodd, the Yellow Jackets turn their attention to the Virginia Tech Hokies for a Thursday night “White Out” in Downtown Atlanta. The Georgia Tech football team comes into the game still undefeated, but is certainly keeping their eyes open. After last week’s battle with UNC, there’s much to be examined as a team.
Paul Johnson, who is 1-4 against the Hokies in his tenure at Georgia Tech, is no stranger to VA Tech’s antics, as the Hokies have had their number in their past two meetings. In 2011, the Hokies held Georgia Tech to 192 rushing yards, and in 2012, to 243. Last year’s contest came down to a FG in overtime, with Cody Journell kicking a 17-yarder to seal the deal in Blacksburg.
Earlier in the game, Journell had missed a FG from 38 yards out, putting some doubt in his head. With 6 seconds left in regulation, Journell kicked a 41-yard FG to send the game into overtime, which was a first at Lane Stadium. Although the Yellow Jackets received the ball first in OT, QB Tevin Washington was intercepted by Kyle Fuller, allowing the Hokies to drive down the field and set up the game-winning kick.
The “Battle of the Techs”, as this game is called, has come down to one or two plays in the last few seasons. Intense from beginning to end, this game becomes a highlight reel to look back on. From 2005 until 2011, the winner of this game became the eventual Coastal Division champion and played for the ACC title. Virginia Tech currently leads the series 7-3, and will look to continue the winning streak.
I can’t speak for other Georgia Tech fans, but I can say that after the game against UNC, I see some issues that need major improvement. Special teams, for starters, almost let the first kickoff get out of hand. We all know that Virginia Tech is not a team that Paul Johnson wants to allow to get good field position, as they are quite proficient on offense.
Special teams also didn’t consistently set the GT offense up with the best field position last week. Judging by last year’s contest, field position can decide the game. Secondly, the defense was tested a great deal. The secondary looked lost as completed passes sailed to receivers effortlessly, and the defensive line struggled to get in the backfield, allowing UNC quarterback Bryn Renner all the time in the world to go through his reads and find open receivers. If Georgia Tech struggled that much with UNC, I’m afraid to see what may happen with Virginia Tech.
Logan Thomas is a very proficient QB. He’s confident in the pocket, puts the ball where only his receivers can get them, and he’s not afraid to use his legs. A redshirt senior, Thomas is probably looking to end his college career with another victory over Georgia Tech.
What can Georgia Tech do to defend a team that’s just as good as they are on the ground and in the air?
Defense: Stay disciplined. Georgia Tech, in their recent meetings with the Hokies, seem to get antsy, unfocused and frantic when Virginia Tech starts to move the ball. If they prevent the ball from moving in the first place, there’s no need to panic. Limit the penalties, get to the QB and be aggressive. If all 11 men do their job, the GT defense should be able to wear down the Hokies’ offense.
Offense: Don’t get creative. Whenever a team ventures away from what they’re used to at the last minutes, things go horribly wrong. The offense has been balanced so far this season, and there’s no need to change things now. Yes, Virginia Tech has seen this offense before, but they haven’t seen enough of Vad Lee and this offense. Stick to the game plan.
Special Teams: Prevent Virginia Tech from getting more than 25 yards on kickoffs and punts. The closer they are to their own endzone, the easier it is on the defense to keep everything in front of them, and the more frantic Logan Thomas is. No QB wants to be near their own endzone. And if nothing else, LIMIT THE MISSED TACKLES.
May the best Tech win.