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Tuesday Thoughts 11/1: Screaming into the Pillow

In which we talk zachs, cider, and losing your grip on reality.

Georgia Tech v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Game Recap in Three Sentences

A nearly complete offensive failure, Tech gained just 24 first half yards and converted only 2 of 13 third down attempts.

The worst defensive showing all season, Tech allowed FSU to gain nearly 8 yards per play with a 54% success rate.

After a bit of a slow start the Noles finished each of their final five drives with a score: TD, FG, TD, FG, TD.

#404 Swag Champion of the Game

Zach Pyron. We were clamoring for him last week and this week we finally got to see what he can do; personally I was impressed. He looked poised, made some good throws, and showed a lot of energy and drive. I really hope we see more of him to finish out the season.

ATLeast We Ain’t Them of the Week

In probably the most insulting result of the week, Oklahoma State got absolutely boat-raced by Kansas State. The 48-0 drubbing didn’t even feature particularly gross stats for the Cowboys but 3 turnovers and 54 total rushing yards isn’t great.

Above The Line of the Week

  • The other Zach.
  • Stormalong Happy Holidays Cider.
  • Getting all your Christmas shopping done before November starts.

Stat of the Week

89%, the available yards gained by Florida State on Saturday (thanks Game on Paper!). Starting with an average field position of their own 25, the Noles gained just under 67 yards per drive on average; we were only able to prevent the final 8 yards to the endzone on average. For comparison:

  • UGA 49, Oregon 3: UGA 92% AY
  • UGA 55, Vandy 0: UGA 90% AY
  • USC 66, Rice 14: USC 88% AY
  • Baylor 69, Albany 10: Baylor 81% AY

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

Can I just not watch
Everything hurts, soul in pain
Who can we still beat

Screaming into the Pillow

This offense is a crime against humanity.

16.1 points per game (127th/131 in FBS).

1.01 offensive points per drive (127th).

305.5 yards per game (119th).

4.45 yards per play (122nd).

28.2% third down conversion rate (125th).

28.6% fourth down conversion rate (125th).

57.1% passing completion rate (103rd).

133 total first downs (119th).

177.1 passing yards per game (117th).

128.4 rushing yards per game (97th).

63% red zone scoring rate (130th).

3.8 sacks allowed per game (123rd).

8.8 TFLs allowed per game (126th).

27 minutes average time of possession (113th).

33% available yards (120th).

110.86 passing efficiency (118th).

Collectively this is much worse than where we were in 2019 - the year we literally rebuilt an entire offense. I’m almost impressed at how bad these numbers are. Not only are we probably the worst P5 offense, we’re giving the bottom dwellers of the G5 a run for their money as well. We had at least been marginally improving year over year on offense up to this point but now we’re seeing a complete and total regression to below our starting point. It’s maddening and painful to watch.

I don’t have any magic bullet solutions here but I do have some things I’d like to see in the remaining four games:

  • Make Zach Pyron the starter for good. Let him skip one game so we don’t burn his red shirt, but otherwise give him the ball. Plan on him being the starter next season and start getting him valuable experience. Jeff Sims has done some good things for this team but I’m just no longer convinced he’s going to make the next step. The staff has completely failed to develop him since 2020 and I think it’s time to reinvest.
  • Stop with the excessive penalties. So many drives are cut short by untimely OPI, holding, and false starts. It’s hard enough to get production as it is; stop making it harder.
  • Stop with the nonsensical play calls. I’m going to absolutely lose it if we do another “call a long passing play on 3rd and 1 and then don’t go for it on 4th”. I’m similarly going to lose it if we call another end zone fade or a slow developing pass play. 3rd and 10? How about anything but a slow screen behind the line of scrimmage?
  • Figure out how to better feature the run game. The offensive line is nowhere near where it should be (wanna know why we shouldn’t just give the job to Key?), but Hall and Smith are still each averaging 5+ yards per carry. Get them the ball, exactly like we used to do with Gibbs. Be creative and figure it out.

* * *

I don’t think I have to say this out loud, but these last four games are incredibly important for the future of this program. Finishing the season 0-6 (again) is going to make it that much harder for us to find a legitimate head coach. We need to show potential candidates that the program has life and can be worked with.

Look Ahead

Up next is Virginia Tech (11/5, 12:30pm, ESPN3). At the beginning of the season I would’ve told you this was our easiest ACC win. The Hokies are on a five game losing streak and their only two wins are Wofford (a bad FCS team) and Boston College (maybe the worst team in the ACC, just lost to UConn). Still, SP+ now favors them by ~3 over us and we have to play on the road. I really think this needs to still be a win; if we can’t beat a failing 2-6 team then things are truly ugly. Here’s to hoping the offense can find some rhythm and the defense can get back to not getting burnt every other play.