As we close in on a game day where we look to exact revenge on a team that has had our number for a few years, here are a few things to watch on Saturday.
1. Miami Run Defense vs. Georgia Tech Run Offense. Miami's run defense has been far from impressive in the past two games, giving up over 200 yards in each game against teams that don't really have much business running for that much yardage. They're young, and missing arguably their best defensive player in LB Denzel Perryman. If they don't come in with a solid game plan and execute well, it could be a long afternoon on the Flats for the Hurricanes.
2. Miami RB Duke Johnson. The most explosive player on the Miami offense, how will he do against our improved defensive front? The Tech defense will have to work to keep him contained, or else he's very capable of taking one to the house from any part of the field.
The plot thickens....after the jump.
3. The Georgia Tech B-Back Situation. Zach Laskey is reported as healthy, although he missed the second half against Virginia, while David Sims is still not 100% and sharing the 2-spot with Broderick Snoddy. (It must also be reported that Charles Perkins is facing yet another setback, and will miss "significant time", possibly meaning the rest of the season.) If Laskey needs a break (or worse, breaks), who will step in? How will the youth in that position affect our offensive output?
4. Can the Jackets hit the big play? I'm starting to notice a bit of a pattern, that says that our team has a lot more success when we hit big plays. There's nothing that says that our offense can't pull off a bunch of 15-play drives for touchdowns, except for the fact that it would involve a lot more consistency and clean fundamentals than any college team not named "Alabama" can expect from their players. Games where we're aided by 2-3 big plays tend to go a lot better with this team. I'll keep better track of the tendencies surrounding this as the season progresses, but let's just say we have a better chance at winning a game where we have a few plays that go for 40+ yards. Hopefully we can make this happen against Miami.
5. Vad Lee and Synjyn Days. I'd wager that we expected to see a little more of these guys in Games 2-3 than we did, and I'm not sure if it's an issue of comfort with the offense (in Days' case) or that we want to keep Tevin in rhythm or what. We saw them in both games once they were blown wide open, but will we see either if this one's close? Hey -- it's a home game (not a hostile atmosphere), and Johnson's always spoke highly of what they bring to the team. Now I'm interested to see how much he truly believes that.
What are you watching this Saturday? Stephen Morris? Darren Waller after the departure of Jeremy Moore? The effect of momentum on a young Miami squad?