OK, fine, we'll address this quickly and succinctly:
No, the intensity, focus, and drive weren't what they needed to be Saturday. Yes, the Jackets only have until Thursday—when they host Clemson—to get it right.
But traits like those (often called intangibles) aren't subjective or measurable. They're either there or they aren't, so there's no sense in analyzing how Georgia Tech might get better at them. That's where the phrase "put up or shut up" comes from.
There were things the Jackets did well:
- They put up almost 500 total yards of offense.
- Josh Nesbitt looked more comfortable in the passing game than he ever did last year, even if it still left something to be desired.
- It's also clear Nesbitt and his buddy Jonathan Dwyer have every intention of picking up where they left off and so does a re-stocked defensive line, now led by Derrick Morgan.
- Jarrad Tarrant scored a touchdown on a punt return, something the Jackets hadn't been able to boast about in a few years too many.
- Perhaps most importantly, no one got seriously injured.
Still, aside from the dead horse of intensity (see above), there were some other noticeable negatives as well:
- Fumbles. Tech had five and lost three. I go back to the stat mentioned in this space just two days ago; in Tech's three regular season losses in 2008, they gave away the ball nine times, including six fumbles. So, fumbles are indeed a problem.
- Giving up almost 300 yards to Jacksonville State probably had a lot to do with the intangible issues. But if it didn't, that could be a problem. The four sacks do lessen that blow significantly.
- There's an awful lot of chatter about this game, and it's just Jacksonville State. Now that comes with the territory of calling yourself a legitimate championship contender, but now the Jackets had better understand just what it takes to truly wear that title. How they react in the next two weeks dictates the rest of the season.
So that's that...I have saved everybody the trouble of even watching the game. You can thank me—or hit me—later, I tend to evoke both responses in equal measure.
Sorry this came so late, but I had family in town all day. Check back soon for some random mid-week thoughts and the obligatory, but never boring Clemson preview.
By the way (I'm totally not bitter), I was just a couple of re-directed possessions away from calling the score perfectly.