After a great win by Georgia Tech last week against Miami, I decided to just take a look at the Yellow Jackets performance against the 'Canes instead of the opponent this Saturday. It's not very easy to find good film of the Blue Devils, nor is it very easy to find a Duke blogger to do a Q&A with. The offense and defense both showed a lot of encouraging signs, and I broke some of them down below.
(Edit: The videos are acting strange. When you click play, click the start of the loading bar to play the desired video. If you don't, it will only play the first video.)
Miami lines up on this play in the first quarter much like they did a majority of the night. Nobody is lined up in front of Center Freddie Burden, and he is free to get to the second level and block Denzel Perryman. Left guard Trey Braun does a great job of blocking his man to the inside to give Zach Laskey plenty of room to run.
Burden gets a cut block on Perryman, while Braun seals the inside for Lakey. Miami's safety is occupied by the pitch, and Tech gets a nice gain on the dive play much like they were able to most of the night.
On this play, B.J. Bostic goes in motion from the left, and it looks like a triple option to the right side of the field. Not so fast my friend.
Charles Perkins comes from the right side and is handed the ball on the misdirection. The offensive line seals the defensive line perfectly, and all of Miami's players on the second level are planted on their left foot trying to reverse fields. It was a well executed play by the Jackets that set up their first touchdown.
This time, Charles Perkins goes in motion from the right side, and the play looks like a triple option to the left side.
Tony Zenon gets the misdirection this time, and once again, Miami's defensive line is sealed off, and the second level is planted on their right foot trying to reverse field to get to Zenon. Waller was flagged on a bad holding penalty on this play, but it was executed well other than that.
Justin Thomas avoiding pressure
On this 2nd 17, Justin Thomas shows his great ability to avoid pressure and make a play. The pass protection was once again spotty against Miami, but Thomas has been able to avoid sacks all season and make something out of nothing. Thomas avoids two Miami defenders here before motioning Micheal Summers to go the sideline and delivering a crucial throw for a nice gain.
Justin Thomas rolling out
Tony Zenon goes in motion to the right on a third down to start the second half on this play. He runs a rounded out-route, while Justin Thomas does a designed rollout to the right.
Thomas rolls out and has a great window to throw through thanks to a cut block by Zach Laskey. Zenon runs a clean route and catches the first down. It's critical that Thomas gets as much of a window as possible when he's throwing due to his small size. He's often overthrown his targets when having to throw over defensive lineman.
4th down conversion
The 4th down conversion and touchdown was probably the biggest play of the game for Tech. Zach Laskey had been killing Miami all drive, and they made sure he wouldn't on this play.
All of Miami's linebackers crashed on the dive play, making it an easy decision for Justin Thomas to pull it away from Laskey. The key to the play was that even Miami's strong safety bit on the dive play. Charles Perkins barely had to make a block at all, and Thomas had the easiest pitch he could have imagined for. Darren Waller was able to block the Miami corner well into the end zone, and Deon Hill was able to score with ease.
On Miami's second drive, Ted Roof brings a nice blitz on third down to get to Brad Kaaya. All three linebackers blitz, while both defensive tackles drop back into shallow coverage. It's a confusing look that attempts to alter the quarterback's throw.
Kaaya has his tight end Clive Walford open, but he has to float the throw over defensive tackle Adam Gostis' head, and it allows Jamal Golden to get there in time to make a play on Walford. It was a well-timed blitz by Roof to force a punt by the 'Canes.
On this key third down in the fourth quarter, Ted Roof dials up a blitz with Paul Davis from the left side. Golden steps up in his spot and covers the slot receiver that Kaaya freezes his eyes on the entire time.
Davis gets to Kaaya immediately, and Kaaya never takes his eyes off the receiver he thought would be open due to the blitz. It was another good blitz call by Roof to force a punt. The defense didn't blitz as much as we may have expected before the game, but the few blitzes called were well-timed and executed nicely.
Staying in your assignment
In what looked like a blitz by the Tech defense, Miami ran what is usually a blitz killer - a reverse. Duke Johnson received a half back toss to the left and then handed the ball to Herb Waters on a reverse.
Quayshawn Nealy and Jamal Golden react to the reverse insanely quick and are able to get in perfect position to stop the dangerous play for no gain. The two leaders of the defense showed good awareness to not over pursue and stick to their assignments. the defensive line also did a nice job of sticking with the play and not making it easy for Waters to have a clear path once he received the ball.
We've been waiting for a complete game and it came last Saturday for the Yellow Jackets. The offense executed at an incredible rate and gave the defense less plays to worry about the Miami offense. The defense still allowed a good chunk of yardage per play, but Ted Roof made some nice play calls, and the unit was opportunistic once again. When the offense plays like it did against Miami, it's going to be tough for anyone to beat this team.
The Duke defense has struggled heavily against the run thus far this season and has no where close to the amount of speed Miami does. I expect Justin Thomas to be a bigger factor running on the edge on Saturday, and I expect Paul Johnson to air the ball out more on second-and-short situations when Duke loads the box.
It may be tougher for the defense to force mistakes against senior Anthony Boone, who won't be as easily rattled by blitzes and change of schemes like the last two opposing QB's have. It would be nice to see them force some three-and-outs and show the ability to limit offenses without only turnovers like they have many times this season. With that being said, nobody is complaining about forced turnovers, and if the defense can continue to create them, it'll obviously be a huge plus for the team.
I'm expecting a fairly high scoring game, but I can't imagine the Blue Devils will be able to force many stops in this one. Georgia Tech 38, Duke 28.