In my portion of the Roundtable Discussion prior to the game last Thursday, I said that I was looking more for signs of improvement from young players, hoping for improvement in the future. I decided to break down the film in order to get a better look. I've split up the game by quarter, and for each quarter I'll talk about plays, situations, and players that stood out to me as pivotal in the game and for the future.
- Virginia Tech came out in a bit of a different look than Georgia Tech has seen in the past. The Safeties were split outside and deep over the WRs, with the corners up close on the WRs. The CBs were looking into the backfield, and seemed to primarily have a run support role. The safeties, instead of the corners, were primarily tasked with containing the WRs. Upon thinking about it, I think Foster's goal with this was to limit Georgia Tech's edge blocking options. When the Safeties are further inside, the offense can choose to have the WR block the corner or crash inside and "crack" block the safety. By splitting the safeties, crack blocks are no longer feasible, and it can be difficult for the WR to get leverage against a corner who breaks inside quickly. The disadvantage is leaving the alley open for the QB, and Thomas was able to exploit that a couple of times.
- On the 2nd play of Georgia Tech's first drive, the Hokies brought the safety up for a a blitz, but the corner doesn't notice and comes up in run support first. Jeune slips behind him for a huge gain. The throw was a little behind Jeune, or perhaps this could have gone for a TD. Pass blocking was ok on this play.
- The Jacket's 1st TD was a beatifully executed Zone Dive to Marcus Allen. Freddie Burden and Errin Joe blow Luther Maddy out of the hole, then Joe scrapes off to get the MLB. Nice block by Will Bryan on the DE as well. This play looked like last year.
- Virginia Tech's 1st drive, 3rd and 8. Secondary drops into zone and does a good job of holding onto it's coverage. Pass rush is late, but eventually flushes Brewer, who throws it away to force a punt.
- Georgia Tech's Second Drive, 1st and 10: Zone Dive, but with a blocking scheme adjustment. Will Bryan crashes down hard into the OLB, who is shooting the B-gap. Clinton Lynch runs up to the second level to cut down the MLB. The DE stays outside, thinking he has the QB on the Option, but it's a straight Dive. Decent run by Allen, who runs off tackle instead of straight up the gut. 8 yards. At this point in the game the offense is really looking like its old self.
- Same Drive, 1st and 10 again. This one is a pass, and is the first big breakdown in pass protection. Will Bryan tackles his man, getting away with fairly blatant holding, but it was Klock's technique here that made me frustrated at the coaching. Klock stands straight up and "plays patty cake" with the DE. When playing OT, you kick-slide out in protection, set your base, then punch into the chest of the pass rusher to stun him and control him. Klock doesn't do this and gets beaten. I don't blame Klock for this. This is coaching. The guy has been here 2 years, and hasn't been taught how to pass block? It's not just him, either. OL coaching has been so bad. Allen also whiffs badly on the blitz pickup. 4 guys sack Thomas with 6 Jackets in to protect. That's not a typo.
- After the Sack and an incomplete pass, CPJ keeps it on the ground with a simple Triple Option. VT stays wide, showing a dive read. Thomas hands the ball to Allen, who gets about 10 yards. The Hokies seemed to give quite a few give reads on the option in these types of situations, knowing they could stop Allen before the first down.
- After the fantastic punt coverage by Chris Milton to down the punt, VT threw an incomplete pass to set up 2nd and 10. Fearing punting from the end zone, they went to the run. Kyle Cerge-Henderson does a great job of knifing into the backfield, and Marcordes comes off the edge unblocked. Marcordes hit the RB in the end zone, but the RB does just enough to get out and avoid the safety.
- 3rd and 1 for VT after getting out of the end zone on a throw to Bucky Hodges. Ted Roof actually gets aggressive and dials up a blitz. Austin and Davis blitz for a total of 6 rushers. Freeman does a great job of bull rushing his man into Brewer'r face, but the VT QB does a great job of getting the ball out to his WR in the flat. Golden gets juked badly and it's off to the races. Marcordes does a great job of pursuing and stripping the ball and Golden doesn't give up on the play, getting the recovery. Good result, but we need to do a better job of covering WRs in the flat and tackling. It was a big problem.
- 1st play after the Fumble recovery for GT. Zone dive with Marshall in at B-back. Luther Maddy submarines Errin Joe and trips up Marcus Marshall for no gain. The rest of the blocking was there. This could have gone for a good gain with Marshall's speed.
- Next play, Johnson pulls out the load option, with the BB becoming a lead blocker instead of an option. Burden misses the MLB here, and not because he couldn't get there, he actually over-ran him here. This play was frustrating, because it should have been 6. The MLB makes the play despite Marcus Marshall getting a chip on him. It went for 11 yards, but should have gone the distance. Exhibit A:
- After seeing how wide open that was, CPJ goes back to it on the the other side, Marshall knocks down the MLB, but he gets up and stops Thomas for a gain of only 4.
- After getting the first down, CPJ goes back to the Zone dive. Sounds great, except the DT splits the double team attempt by Burden and Joe to drop Marshall for a loss of 1. Split. The. Double. Team.
- Very next play, CPJ goes back to the Load Option, but the backside isn't cut off. In addition, Marshall misses his block on the MLB. Thomas is swallowed up, but VT gets his facemask. HUGE penalty at this point in the game.
- 2nd and Goal after the penalty - Rocket Toss to Lynch. Edge blocking is fantastic on this play. Mikell Lands-Davis gets just enough of his man, and Klock throws a cut block on the edge, getting one guy down and sliding into another. We blocked 3 guys with 2. Not bad even though it didn't look exactly intentional. Touchdown