Though allowing a few third down conversions is an inevitable byproduct of a “bend-don’t-break” defensive philosophy like the one Tech has employed under Ted Roof, the team must work to improve its effectiveness on third down plays early in games. The Jackets have routinely struggled to get defensive stops in the first halves of games all season long, allowing a high point total early before effectively shutting down opposing offenses in the third and fourth quarters. It at least shows that the defense has the potential to be a very good unit, but inconsistency like that makes it difficult to win games when the offense is performing at an equally unreliable level. It’s unfortunate that the defense is being forced to shoulder so much of this burden given its relative inexperience compared to the offense, but allowing 300+ yards in the first half is not a winning formula. Look for more effective and potentially more aggressive playcalling this weekend against Pittsburgh.
The ACC has made some key changes to its baseball championship format, moving from a 10-team field to a 12-team field in accordance with the conference’s recent(ish) increase in membership. Not to insinuate that the Jackets should ever have missed the tournament under the old format, but failing to make the field when 12 teams qualify would be completely unacceptable given the type of program Danny Hall has built in Atlanta. The goal of the move is apparently to “provide as many student-athletes with a championship experience” as is humanly possibly, and that should certainly be accomplished; no team should miss the tournament for four straight years when only two are left out annually.
For a Pittsburgh perspective on tomorrow’s game in the Steel City, take a look at Cardiac Hill’s Against the Odds segment on Georgia Tech. It’s amazing how humble every single fanbase in college football looks after back-to-back weeks of Clemson and Miami fans. I mean, there’s only one call for a Pitt blowout anywhere to be seen and it comes with reasonable justification beyond just “we shut down Florida Atlantic, Florida A&M, and Appalachian State and are therefore the greatest defense of all time”. Tomorrow’s game unquestionably has the potential to be the most fun of the season so far, with two like-minded teams with plenty to prove going at it. Win or lose, we are going to learn a lot about this Tech team. This weekend is the point where the 2016 season becomes either 2014 or 2015.
Have a great weekend!