Though B-Back Patrick Skov has been arguably the most productive skill position player on the team outside of Justin Thomas himself, coach Paul Johnson and the rest of the staff still see an area of the former fullback's game that needs further developing: his cutting ability. While the steamroller approach has generally worked for Skov and the Jackets so far in 2015, there have been some big opportunities missed when the former fullback elected to crash into a linebacker rather than cut into a nice hole created by the offensive line. This is by no means a criticism of Skov's game -- his ability to run defenders over is nothing short of amazing -- but I do wonder what his stats might look like if he made a few more cuts. By the way, kudos to one of our community members (whose name I can't find) for bringing up this exact point in the comments of a past post before the article came out. Your knowledge and clairvoyance are greatly admired, o' mysterious one.
The recent rash of injuries that has struck Paul Johnson's team has led the head coach to propose what he sees as somewhat of a solution to his newfound depth issue: eliminating redshirt years all together and granting each player a fifth year of eligibility. When you really think about it, a coach forcing a player to redshirt is basically the same as Nick Saban making a promise -- it is given and then immediately burned. Was that a slight exaggeration to allow me to insult Nick Saban? Yes. But the fact that redshirts are still pointless still stands. Why force an athlete to sit out a year of what (for a non-NFL player) is his prime? It doesn't make sense. If anyone can give me one good reason why redshirts are beneficial, I'll give you a shoutout on Monday and mail you a cookie for your troubles.
When the Jackets invade Durham tomorrow for a pivotal matchup with the Duke Blue Devils, they won't be the only ones seeking redemption after a tough week three loss -- David Cutcliffe's team also fell by a frustrating margin to an admittedly confusing Northwestern team. I really wish I could use that game to fuel some more anti-Duke banter, but I'm honestly not sure if their performance versus the Wildcats was impressive or not. On one hand, they lost to a top-25 Northwestern team which has a win over Stanford (which has a win over then-No. 6 USC) by just nine points. But on the other hand, they lost to... Northwestern. To be honest, the Wildcats could be the best team in the nation and it would still feel like an upset every time they won a game versus a power five team. Oh well, such is the life of a highly-regarded academic school trying to hack it in the B1G. It happens.
I touched on Duke's supposedly tough run defense yesterday so it only seems fitting to wind down out countdown to kickoff with a bit of offensive information on the Blue Devils. In particular, the main facet of the Duke offense that simply hasn't been there this season is the downfield passing game. Any time you lose a tremendous deep threat like Jamison Crowder along with your starting quarterback, that is to be expected. In fact, we are experiencing some of that at Georgia Tech -- the losses of DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller have our passing game all out of whack for the time being. In the case of Duke, however, I'm not sure that there is much hope for improvement. Quarterback Thomas Sirk's little modus operandi has always been as a goal-line basher -- he played a role similar to Tim Byerly's last season for Duke -- and the receivers just aren't there for the Devils. Of course now that I've said that I'm sure we'll give up 758 passing yards. That's just how it goes.
Should college football keep the redshirt or grant players five years of eligibility?