Part of Paul Johnson's remedy for Tech's severe offensive struggles last week against Clemson is a group film session with the whole unit, a great opportunity for everyone involved to see what went right and what went wrong against one of the nation's top defenses. The good news for the Jackets is that both Clemson and Boston College are things of the past, meaning that Tech is likely through the two toughest run defenses on the schedule. That's not to say that there is nothing to worry about from an offensive standpoint for the rest of the year, just that Tech has gone 1-1 against two of the three teams that are likely going to be best-equipped to stop the option (with Virginia Tech still looming). I somehow missed the statistic that Justin Thomas accounted for -25 yards rushing against Clemson, a true testament to how bad both the pass protection and run blocking was plus another indicator that counting sack yardage as a negative run is stupid. Work on that, NCAA.
Mark Richt's game-plan for beating Georgia Tech for the 14th time in his head coaching career is as follows: to attack the Jackets early and allow his coordinators to do their jobs. As Dabo-licious as that second part is, it has truly worked for Richt in the past with guys like Todd Grantham, Mike Bobo, and everyone not named Brian Schottenheimer. This time around we will be seeing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who was hired at Mississippi State just four days after Tech blew the Bulldogs out of the Orange Bowl, and lesser-known offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. Diaz is as close to an inconsistent coordinator as you can find, having piloted some phenomenal defenses at a couple of stops and some absolute duds at others. Brown, meanwhile, could be called the running back whisperer after what he did with Melvin Gordon at Wisconsin and Sony Michel at Georgia following Nick Chubb's injury last season. Miami doesn't have anywhere near that type of talent in Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby, but they are more than capable of running over an unprepared defense. Hopefully Ted Rood is up for a challenge.
One of the nice things about playing a team as well-covered by the media as Miami tends to be is that you can get a nice overview of how just about everyone around the program is preparing to face the Jackets. The next group we'll focus on is Miami's young trio of linebackers in Shaquille Quarterman, Mike Pinckney, and Zach McCloud, none of whom have faced Paul Johnson's offense before. It's true that they are as talented as any trio of freshmen in the country, but it's likely that at least one of them would be riding the pine if it weren't for the dismissal of top defender Jermaine Grace prior to the season. The athleticism is there to stop the option, but whether or not the discipline is as well remains to be seen.
Have a great weekend!