Ed. Note: I wanted to apologize for the tardiness of a post about the Spring Game, and the general lack of football coverage lately. Unfortunately, we are just a bit understaffed in terms of football coverage. In that regard, if you would be interested in writing about football with FTRS, you can apply here.
Georgia Tech wrapped up its first Spring Practice under (now) full-time head coach Brent Key with the annual Gold-White game on Saturday afternoon. In what turned into a very high-scoring match, Team Wreck ‘Em outlasted Team Swarm, winning 42-24.
Since it has been a few days, I’ll spare the recap and jump right into the analysis. For this article, I’ll be giving a few notes on each side of the ball.
There are a lot of storylines to look at with the offense. From Buster Faulkner’s new offense to the QB battle to just how good the offensive line looks, there are a lot of questions on the offensive line.
I’ll start with a few general thoughts on the offense. In short, the offense was a lot of fun. With the different quarterbacks, we were able to see several different looks, but it was consistently quick, and everyone looked like they were doing what they were supposed to be doing.
I was pretty impressed with the quarterback play throughout, especially that from Haynes King and Zach Pyron. Gibson was able to show off a little bit, but I think it’s safe to say it’s a two-horse race at this point. There was a play in the second quarter that showed a lot of maturity from Pyron, even though it did end up in an incompletion.
Here, the blocking breaks down, and Pyron has to break off from his initial target. He does a good job feeling the pressure and steps through the hole to try to find his guy. It falls incomplete, but it was a heads-up play by Pyron. On his touchdown to DJ Moore, he did a phenomenal job hitting Moore in stride.
While on the surface, King played well at quarterback, he struggled a good bit when he was rushed. That’s natural of course, but he was forced to throw off his back foot several times throughout the game and struggled there. I will say, though, he shows really good touch on his deep ball.
Whoever ends up at quarterback will have no shortage of targets. Aside from Malik Rutherford’s incredible 154-yard performance, several other receivers had remarkable plays. Avery Boyd is a guy I have been high on for a while. He has yet to really make an impact during the season, but the guy is absolutely built. He had two catches on Saturday, but they were both touchdowns. The second touchdown, in particular, was just a nice pitch-and-catch from reserve QB Brody Rhodes.
Transfer Christian Leary is another guy who really stood out to me. He received the ball on the first play from scrimmage and made his presence known throughout the game. He and Rutherford will be a very formidable duo in the slot.
At running back, Evan Dickens stood out quite a bit, both on the ground and in the air. Tech relied on him heavily throughout, with Dontae Smith and Trey Cooley, so it seems likely that will continue in the Fall.
Generally, I’m not as keen at defensive film-watching, so this section will probably be a bit shorter. It was nice to see Trenilyas Tatum have a TFL, but I don’t have much else to say about linebacker play.
I’m not sure if it’s a product of the offensive line or not, but since I have so much written about the offense, I’ll include it here. The defensive line kept the pressure on quarterbacks consistently throughout the game. With it being the spring game, I don’t have any way to look at pressure or havoc rate. Between both sides, the teams only managed two sacks, but it looks pretty promising.
Kenyatta Watson seemed to have his name called on quite a bit in the secondary. He finished the game with three pass break-ups. Ahmari Harvey also stood out in the secondary. He finished with six tackles and a forced fumble.
It was a little disheartening that the first field goal attempt of the game sailed wide left, but thankfully, that was really the only miscue from anyone kicking the ball. Aidan Birr’s lone field goal attempt was good. David Shanahan punted well. All but one of the kickoffs sailed for a touchback. Really, you can’t ask for much better of a performance there.
Honestly, I think this team is night-and-day different from what we watched under Geoff Collins. I know it’s tough to take much from a Spring game, but it’s just clear that this team has a different feel. As evidenced by Key’s post-game comments, this team is really learning how to play a different type of football than under the previous coach. I don’t know how this season is going to go, but you can be [Steely Dan] sure I’m excited to see what happens.