Good morning and welcome back to another edition of the Monday Morning Report Card, where the rules are made up and the points don’t matter. I answered a mailbag question last week where I said I expected Tech would lose its three remaining games. I realize that’s not a hot take or anything, especially considering two of those games are against Top Ten teams. Well, it’s looking like I (along with what I’m sure is a large number of fans) will be correct. I also said it might make watching the games more fun, but I was wrong. Maybe it was the stark drop in temperature after the sun hid behind the Coke building, maybe it was the lack of fans in the stadium, or maybe it was because after jumping out to a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, Georgia Tech would give up 24 unanswered points, fail to make anything that resembled defensive adjustments, and squander away all hope at finishing the season on a high note. Translation - zero fun, sir.
Now - I still maintain what I said last week. I believe the talent on this team has the capability to win big games, and I still love watching these players suit up in white and gold, but thanks to our coaching, any hope that the capability will become reality this season has finally faded to black. Jahmyr Gibbs is the most exciting offensive player on The Flats since Calvin, and even though he tried for the second straight week, one man cannot win you a football game. That is especially true when your team’s defense gives up 448 yards and 30.2 points per game (469/31.7 against FBS teams). Let’s do this...
In his postgame presser, Coach Collins said that Jordan Yates is a guy that doesn’t have to get ready because he stays ready. It certainly looked that way early in the game. On the first two offensive drives of the game, Yates came out and went 6/7 passing for 63 yards, found the end zone twice (one was a beautiful back shoulder pass to Malachi Carter, the other was a 2-yard run up the middle), and made a couple runs to keep the BC defense on its heels.
After that, however, Yates would go 11/21 for another 63 yards, and threw a goal-line interception that cost Georgia Tech a chance to take the lead late in the third quarter. He outran one tackler and could have potentially scored on the ground, but instead made a poor decision to try and hit a closely guarded receiver in the end zone. The pass didn’t have any height on it and was picked off by a BC defender directly in the passing lane.
Running Backs: A
Each member of the three-headed monster had plays of 10+ yards and averaged 5+ yards per carry. Jahmyr Gibbs led the way, with 96 yards rushing on 19 attempts while adding 29 more yards through the air on 5 receptions. He found the end zone twice, once on the ground and once on special teams. Jordan Mason had some bruising runs, and Dontae Smith found a little success outside, as well, but it’s clear that the staff has finally realized that Jahmyr Gibbs needs the ball in his hands as much as possible. Gibbs was responsible for 69% of all RB touches on Saturday (rushing and passing).
Wide Receivers/TEs: C-
After the 12-yard TD reception by Malachi Carter early in the game, this group failed to find the end zone and failed to eclipse 100 yards on the day once again. For the second straight week, the leading receiver was Jahmyr Gibbs, and he only had 29 yards through the air. The wealth was spread pretty evenly, but most of that occurred in the first quarter. The longest play through the air was a 22-yard 3rd down conversion to Kyric McGowan that showed we have the ability to get open. Yates extended a play by escaping the pocket and was able to find McGowan deep over the middle, but that ability is not displayed on a consistent basis.
Offensive Line: D+
The success on the ground was largely due to Tech running backs bouncing to the outside and finding room on the edge. Jordan Mason had a big run up the middle that would setup Georgia Tech’s third touchdown, but for the most part there wasn’t much of a push in the middle (story of the year), and Yates was consistently escaping the pocket. The BC defense sacked Yates three times and tackled GT ball carriers behind the line a total of five times.
Total Offense: D+
After putting up 21 points in the first 16 minutes of play, Tech’s offense would only score 9 additional points and failed to execute in the red zone when it mattered most. The team converted just over half of its third down conversions, which is actually an improvement as of late, but was not enough to win the football game. Additionally, the offense failed to convert its two fourth down attempts. Now, one was a 4th & 18 and the other was a 4th & 14, but it’s possible. Even Florida State can do it. One can only hope...
Boston College QB Phil Jurkovec threw for 310 yards on 13/20 attempts, with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. That’s ~24 yards per completion and 15.5 yards per attempt. He didn’t complete a pass that went for less than 10 yards all game. That is true.
Safeties were slow to roll on deep zone coverages, seemingly every corner got burned at some point during the game in man coverage, but like most games as of late, it didn’t look like anyone knew what to do. On the first TD of the game, it appeared as though Tech’s defense was lined up in a 2-deep zone. As the WR on Tre Swilling’s side of the field took off down the middle of the field, Swilling let him by, both safeties stuck with another WR running a deep crossing route, and the rest is history. One side of the field thought they were in zone, and the other played man. Utter confusion led to an easy TD to start the game, and that theme would continue throughout the matchup.
On top of the 310 yards that Jurkovec found through the air, yet another QB was able to find space at the second level and make plays with his feet. Boston College ball carriers not named Phil Jurkovec averaged 4.1 yards per carry and totaled 124 yards on the ground. Jurkovec added 71 yards, averaged 8.9 yards per carry, and found the end zone three more times on run plays of 8 yards, 14 yards, and 31 yards. Charlie Thomas and Ace Eley accounted for 2 out of the 3 team TFLs, but Eley’s targeting call in the fourth quarter extended a drive that resulted in points for BC.
Not here to argue the validity of targeting calls, but you have to learn to play within the rules.
Defensive Line: F
After what I thought was a pretty good performance against Miami, the Tech DL failed to replicate the push and pressure achieved a week ago. Zeek Biggers was the only player to register anything close to a havoc play for the DL, as there were zero sacks and zero official QB hurries on the day. Boston College is known for having some pretty big dudes on the OL, and that remains true, but the Tech DL looked slow and out of place against them.
Also, why is Jordan Domineck in pass coverage? He needs to be rushing the QB.
Total Defense: F
The 505 total yards given up against BC is actually about 60 yards less than the previous three-game average... A team is supposed to improve as the year goes on, and that just hasn’t happened. BC converted 26 first downs, but was only forced to convert 8 third down plays. They went 50% on those plays, and those four conversions went for 114 yards. That is terrible.
Tech gave up 8.7 yards per play on Saturday and allowed 40+ points for the third time this year against a QB that has been injured for the past month and a half. On top of that, killer penalties in the fourth quarter kept a BC drive alive that would extend their lead to 7.
Special Teams: A-
If Cimaglia would have made the fourth and final XP attempt for the Jackets, this would have definitely been an A+. In what was the one of the only bright spots of the game for Tech, special teams shined brightly. That missed kick certainly didn’t lose the game, but it would have tied the affair at 31 and potentially helped keep momentum in favor of the Jackets halfway through the fourth quarter.
Jahmyr Gibbs’ 98-yard KO return for a TD was a thing of beauty. He tied the game at 7 and shifted momentum right back to the good guys. He’s been SOOOO close lately, and he finally found the end zone. It wasn’t even a question, either. Once he broke through the first line of tacklers, he was gone. Punts were scarce, which is good to see, and they even executed a fake punt halfway through the second quarter to keep a drive alive. Lastly, after Gibbs torched the BC kick coverage, they ran a few “surprise” onside kicks. Credit to that front line for jumping on the ball and securing possession.
Not only is the coaching grade “Incomplete”, you’ll probably see a lot of incomplete sentences here because I’m just riffing...
This staff doesn’t know how to get players ready to play a full 60-minute game. That much is clear, and it’s not the fault of the players at all. The coaches don’t know how to make adjustments, either. Geoff Collins essentially said that in his postgame presser. Boston College runs a 12-personnel on offense (1 back, 2 TE, 2 WR), so that is what Tech prepared for all week. Great. A lot of teams in college run 11-personnel (1 back, 1 TE, 3 WR). So we know they’ve prepared for that multiple times this season (Miami, UNC, VT just to name a few). Or at least we think they’ve prepared for it... I don’t know maybe not, the defense has been giving up 500+ yards per game lately... Anyway. Tech jumps out to a 14-point lead. BC makes the necessary adjustments offensively to give themselves a chance to win, and starts running 11-personnel more often to switch things up and open their playbook in the pass game. What does Georgia Tech do? What do Geoff Collins and Andrew Thacker do? We don’t know. He literally just stops answering the question.
Offensively, it looked like CDP was putting together an offensive masterpiece early, but then he couldn’t find anything resembling success after the sun started to go down. Maybe he couldn’t see his play sheet... There was a 3rd & 22 in the second quarter where he called a slow developing toss play to not even our fastest RB out of the shotgun that only gained 4 yards. We ended up going for it on 4th & 18. If you were planning on going for the fourth down, run a play that gives you a more realistic chance at converting. BC is going to run soft man most likely, hit them for a little 8-9 yard pass and make things easier on Jordan Yates.
Penalties were bad again, and I still see coaches and players on social media. I see they didn’t take my suggestion from the mailbag.
Is the season over? Not technically, no. Tech still travels north to South Bend this Saturday, then plays in the 115th edition of COFH on 11/27 for a chance to shock the world. Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, winning either of those games would be a miracle, so that can’t be the goal. Improvements upon EPA numbers and team statistics would be nice, but since these are the two toughest opponents we’ve faced all year, that measure will make it difficult to assess progress. I’m sure the coaches will have “game plans” ready and we will be doing opponent previews as the weeks go on, but for me, I just want to have fun watching Tech football again. Will that happen this year? Maybe. Just maybe...
See you all next week. Go Jackets!