Well I just returned from Miami, and I have been thinking about what I was going to write after witnessing the 33-17 victory for Canes over the Jackets. If you saw the game you know it wasn't that close.
A week ago I wrote an article, where I thought the Jackets were still on track for an ACC title, and that the second half of the Clemson game was just a hiccup. Unfortunately it wasn't just hiccup and now the Yellow Jackets are facing a must win situation against North Carolina next Saturday or face being eliminated from the ACC race before October.
What the heck the happened down there? Are the Canes that good? Have teams figured out Paul Johnson's offense? Was Miami just highly motivated to beat Georgia Tech? Are the Jackets holes defensively just too big to cover up? Is it a combination of all of the above?
I think that the root of all Techs' problems are defensively. What started as a late season concern last year, giving up 42 to Georgia then 38 to LSU, is now a full-blown major Achilles heel. Clemson scored 27 and Miami scored 33. The Canes probably could have dropped 50 on Georgia Tech had it not been for their own miscues.
That fact is the Yellow Jackets are not creating pressure on the quarterback with their front four. Opposing teams have it pretty simple, double-team DE Derrick Morgan if necessary and let the other three guys beat you. Jason Peters, Ben Anderson, and Robert Hall aren't getting it done so far. It's not really their fault either. None of them are over 275 lbs. They just don't have the size to make a dent in a good offensive line.
Jacory Harris sat in the pocket so long Thursday night, he could scan the field several times over, make sandwich, and call his mom before throwing the ball. I couldn't understand why Johnson and Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack didn't blitz more. You were getting burnt dropping 5-6 guys in coverage, so at least try to create some pressure, and if you get beat downfield so what. That is what was happening anyways.
Frankly, I'm starting to wonder about Wommack. I haven't really seen where he's done anything special in his one and a years at Tech. Unless the scheme changes or the personal changes, I'm getting visions of 1999 where the Jackets would give up points as fast as they could score them.
Miami played a very good game defensively, but I am not as concerned about the Jacket's offense as defense. Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt actually threw the ball pretty well, but offensively you'll sometimes have games like that. Just the previous week against Clemson they ran for 301, so here I think they just got behind early, and the triple option offense just isn't suited for playing from behind. I know the Jackets came from 16 down last year at UGA, but I don't think that's going to happen often.
If the offense struggles again against UNC next week, then I may start really being worried about the offense. Poor Jonathan Dwyer, those Heisman hopes are just about history.
I just have to go back to the defensive line, though. They played awful against Miami. If Wommack can't figure how to mask his issues at defensive line, Georgia Tech is going to find itself on the wrong end of three or four more games this year.
Last thought on this game, Miami is a very good team. Jacory Harris is playing as well as any offensive player in the conference. Do you realize and this is a big if, if Miami beats Virginia Tech and Oklahoma in their next two games, they are a legitimate national title contender.
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