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Tuesday Thoughts 12/8: Fine, Whatever, Okay

In which we’re just surviving

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Boston College Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Hey y’all, welcome back. The 2020 season is slowly grinding out it’s allotted time on earth and we’re almost to the end. The NC State game wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t particularly invigorating either. Perhaps having a huge chunk of our main players out was too big a mountain to climb but this was certainly a winnable game.

Game Recap in Three Sentences

Yet again the Jackets outgained their opponent in a loss, going for 412 total yards to the Wolfpack’s 397.

With Jahmyr Gibbs out Jordan Mason and Jeff Sims shined on the ground, running for 192 yards and 1 score between them.

It was a solid defensive effort overall, but yet another bad second quarter where Tech allowed 17 points was the downfall.

#404 Swag Champion of the Game

This week I’m awarding this to the designer of our all-white uniforms. I still wish we did gold accents instead of the navy, but these are absolutely top-notch kits. The helmets are especially exquisite and I’d put this ensemble up against any non-special-occasion uniforms in the country.

ATLeast We Ain’t Them of the Week

Got two for y’all this week:

Duke got themselves Thanos dusted by Miami 48-0. Chase Brice threw for 94 yards and the Blue Devils coughed up 5 turnovers, their FOURTH game this year in which they’ve given up 5+. Thank GOD we beat this team.

Marshall (ranked 21st) came into their matchup with Rice 7-0 and got blanked by the 1-2 Owls, 20-0. The big culprit? Five interceptions.

Above The Line of the Week

  • Winter beer
  • Actually making field goals
  • The return of Pressley Harvin

Stat of the Week

0. This is the second game this season (Louisville being the first) in which we have not given up a turnover. All three fumbles on Saturday were recovered.

5 Star (7 Star, 5 Star) Developmental Program Haiku of the Week

This game was boring
Can we get another win?
Season winding down

Fine, Whatever, Okay

At this point I guess I’m just a little burnt out on losing winnable games and having to think “well at least it’s getting better”. And it’s true, it is getting better (sort of). We’re on pace to average nearly 100 more yards and 8 more points on offense than last season. Sims and Gibbs are talented and fun. But we average two and a half turnovers per game. The defense is giving up 450 yards and 37 points per game. Special Teams is a trainwreck. We average 9 penalties for 74 yards per game. We give up backbreaking third down conversions and disappear for entire quarters. Now, some things can be chalked up to a young team in a super weird season. But other things feel enormously fixable, yet we do them week in and week out. And that’s the frustrating part of this season. Yes we’re probably overall better than last season, but we’re not really better here in week 9 (?) than we were in week 1. Sure we’ve looked okay in our three wins, but those have come against opponents that are a combined 7-21 (4-21 ACC) - not exactly first-class competition.

For starters, there is no reason on God’s green earth that we should be averaging 9 penalties every game. Against NC State we were penalized 12 times for 111 yards. And sure, a couple of those PI calls were questionable but they weren’t entirely egregious. False starts and holding calls were the real problems. We had a first and goal at the one yard line and managed to penalize our way to a field goal. We’re also missing the little things all over the field. Blockers are missing assignments. The defense is missing assignments. Handoffs aren’t secure. Playcalls don’t make sense given the situation. We’re leaving yardage and points on the field with these kinds of things. Make it stop.

These kinds of things can make it hard to watch a team that clearly has a lot of potential. If this team played it’s best in all 9 games I think we could easily be 5-4 right now. NC State and Syracuse were not good opponents (Syracuse finished the season with just one win - us!). What’s more, I think we also would have had a real shot at beating Boston College and maybe even UCF.

With Pitt and Miami left on our schedule there’s a solid chance that we finish with 3 wins for the second straight year. And that’s not good for proving that you’re “lightyears” ahead of where you once were. Now, Pitt is a team that I think we could beat if we played our best. If that happens then I’m probably willing to call this season an improvement over the last and move on. But it’s frustrating that it even comes down to that given the favorable opportunities that 2020 has presented us. Clean up the mistakes and let’s finish this year with something to be happy with.

Look Ahead

Up next is the rescheduled game against Pitt. Not a whole lot has changed since the original date, so I’ll just reiterate what I said a few weeks ago: Pitt is a decent team with a strong defensive line, but they still aren’t amazing. If we play our best then we can win. If not it’ll be a long day of allowed sacks.