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Back Seat Coachin’: Virginia Tech 26 - Georgia Tech 17

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GT’s passive defense made Burmeister look like an All-American

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 26-17 on Saturday, October 30th. The Jackets are coming up candy corn this season, in what is Year Three of the Geoff Collins era in Atlanta, GA.

Hokies head coach Justin Fuente is on the fast track to being unemployed, but managed to pull it together long enough to beat GT, in a fairly convincing manner, while on the road at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Halloween weekend.

I’m sure Adidas has a GC5-only Halloween costume he can wear while trick-or-treating with his kids so no families in his neighborhood throw eggs at him.


On the dash

GT finished a barfing up some Now or Laters worthy 3-of-12 on 3rd downs and only 1-of-3 on 4th down conversions. That’s just not going to cut it, even in the weak ACC Coastal. Tech also committed seven penalties for 77 yards and turned the ball over twice compared to VT’s zero turnovers.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackets only had three receivers with double-digit yards per catch averages, which just isn’t enough to beat the Hokies. VT only had two receivers hit on big plays, but one was Tre Turner who averaged 26.7 yards per catch and a touchdown on the afternoon.

The GT defense held VT to 9-of-19 on 3rd down which isn’t bad, but did surrender Va Tech’s only 4th down conversion attempt. Again, one side of the money down battle always seems to fail week in and week out.


GT offense

Georgia Tech only scored 17 points but it’s sort of a mind boggling stat. On the surface, you would’ve assumed more points were scored. The Jackets ran for 6.1 yards per carry on the back of Jahmyr Gibbs’ 113 yard performance. But even while rushing for 10.3 yards per carry and averaging 12 yards per catch, Gibbs failed to score a single TD against the Hokies.

QB Jeff Sims threw two TD’s but also tossed an interception while averaging only seven yards per pass attempt. Sims ran for 60 yards but also failed to score on the ground.

Kyric McGowan scored again while also averaging 17.7 yards per catch. Sims threw one pick and fumbled away another turnover on the afternoon. Sims truly is a boom or bust player either scoring a TD or turning the football over. The offensive line surrendered only two sacks and two hurries on the afternoon.

Above- GT runs stretch for a nice gain, but Jahmyr Gibbs looks a little sluggish at times, like he’s taking too many hits and required to pick up yards after multiple contacts too often.

Above- The throws where Jeff Sims looks like an All-American are such things of beauty. Here it’s hitch with a slot fade and he drops the dime in there for a TD.

Above- Sims gets time, no one gets open, he creates time by creating space, then drills one in for a 1st down. Again, these are the All-America throws that are met with the mind boggling dumb turnovers every week.

Above- This goes for a TD so hey, it worked. But my question to the offense is why does Sims continue to boot into trouble? If he just half rolls this boot he stays away from the force defender the RB is blocking, instead he runs right into him.

Above- Gibbs has a nice explosive play here in split zone. The H comes across to kick the DE allowing Gibbs to cut back on the defense and break this open.

Above- Nothing says easy interception like staring a guy down in an obvious passing situation. These are the little things I thought Sims would’ve ironed out by now. Well... maybe next year.


GT defense

The Jackets defense played extremely passive and allowed Braxton Burmeister to average 10.2 yards per attempt while tossing two TD’s. GT’s defense also allowed three rushers to break four yards per carry, including Burmeister. Malachi Thomas ran for 103 yards against GT’s randomly passive odd front defense.

The GT defense picked up only two sacks and one hurry while logging just four TFL’s. I’m not sure what’s happened since UNC but Tech has gotten really passive since blitzing Sam Howell on every snap and seeing really good results from it.

Instead, DC Andrew Thacker’s game plan has been to drop eight and watch QB’s pick apart the Tech defense. Also when GT does bring pressure, it looks like no one has ever been taught how to blitz and how to run these stunts and twists.

Above- When you run a lot of screens and RPO’s the old “money” play comes in handy. The QB pumps the screen and drops the fade to the WR who pretends to block before going vertical. It’s worked for me since 2012 and I don’t plan to stop running it any time soon.

Above- You may be seeing the worst cornerback play in the nation. The Jackets CB’s are struggling mightily in ‘21. Here the dude just slips off a move, and allows this big play to happen. Stiff hips, no instincts, bad pursuit angles, no ‘finish’ (PBU’s, INT’s, or tackles)- this group really needs to be re-focused ASAP.

Above- More piss poor CB play. This is a sprint out to a one man concept and the CB can’t stay on his man in a five yard window. Miami will eat these CB’s alive if this isn’t fixed.

Above- VT runs a post snap RPO that leaks the TE out in the flat and up the numbers. I love post snap RPO’s especially if you can get away with the ‘man downfield’ issues. Really hard to defend this thing.


In the rearview

GT is now 3-5 on the season and head to South Florida to face the Miami Hurricanes. The game will be broadcast on Saturday, November 6th at 12:30pm on ESPN3. The ‘Canes are 4-4 now and have knocked off NCSU and Pitt in back-to-back weeks on the arm of Tyler Van Dyke. If GT plays passive football against Van Dyke he’ll pick the Jackets apart all afternoon.

The SP+ has GT ranked 58th overall, 55th on offense, 54th on defense, and 91st in kicking. Bill Connelly’s same metric has Miami 25th overall, 15th on offense, 42nd on defense, and 39th in kicking. As of this bloggification, ESPN has Miami’s win probability at 80.9%, while Odds Shark has GT winning 32-25 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Prediction: Miami by 7.