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Blogging Thoughts on 2013 and 2014 Camps and Conclusions

Discussion in 'Georgia Tech Football' started by Longestday, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. Longestday

    Longestday Helluva Engineer Featured Member

    What did we know coming out of camp 2013:

    There were significant fumble reports coming out of camp, which replayed in the open scrimmages. CPJ was downplaying Vad as a passer by consistently saying there was a difference between a strong arm and a good passer. Fans knew that we had the passer we needed, but I don’t recall much coming out of summer camp about passing other than Byerly’s pass to Smelter. I also found it interesting that Byerly was put in to help the defense practice pass defense in the open scrimmage.

    Vad revealed he had significant running ability in 2013 and the fans expected to see the same in 2014. There was an expectation to have a “Vad 2012 UNC” game output in 2013. I also remember stating one of Vad’s strong points was making something from nothing. But, there was not enough evidence coming out of camp to back the high expectations of the fans. The fans had enough evidence of Vad’s athleticism from 2012.

    The OL was an expected strong position before camp 2013. The OL came out of camp with the starting center and guard hurt but able to play hurt, and a starting OT and the backup center out injured for what turned into the rest of the season. There was much realignment at the last minute to get the best players on the field, even if some had to play through pain.

    WR was a significant spot of concern with Hill gone to the NFL, Autry’s injured leg, and others that left the program. Smelter looked to be a good addition as he seemed to be a great athlete, but how much could we expect from someone who had not played football in several years, much less at D1 level. The other WRs still needed to be proven.

    Everyone was worried about ABacks as the lead Aback Orwin Smith had graduated. There was a stable of experienced players, but none were proven for high yardage. Some fans recognized Godhigh for his flashes of athleticism and knew we had someone to step up, but no proven 600 to 800 yard back.

    B Back was expected to be solid. The team had solid players in Sims and Laskey with Snoddy as a backup.

    Ted Roof was installing a new system. What could we expect from a new system in the first year? Attaochu was changing to DE from LB and was going to have a learning curve. Many wondered how long Attaochu would need to get up to speed in the new position. Also, I. Johnson, the starting strong safety, was not healed enough to go for 2013.

    We had an exciting new kicker, and Golden to return punts and KO. Special teams looked to be strong in 2013.

    Spring is eternal and many hoped that Vad would carry the 2013 team. A few new pistol formations had many excited. A combination of lack of commitment to the option, interceptions, fumbles, false starts, difficulties in pass defense and an injured or young OL led to a 7 and 6 season.

    Reading the Current Tea Leaves:

    Hindsight is 20/20. Vad’s pass it as far down field as possible resulted in an interception in the spring game 2012. This was relived twice in 2013 game play.

    Vad came in the 3rd series of the 2012 UNC game and started with 0 of 3 passes complete. The third pass had an interference call that likely would not have caused a change in the outcome of the incompletion. The 1st down outcome kept Vad in the game and set the course of history and expectations. Vad played well but was gassed and dead legged by the last two processions. The 2012 bowl game also had some interesting hindsight and learning’s. Vad ended three drives by not trusting the system, a fumble, and an interception. These three series brought Tevin back into the game. Examining Vad’s 2012 work is closely reveals his dependence on his athleticism versus the offense as a whole. You can only play so many roll outs before the team stops them in the next game. CPJ knew what the fans did not. He knew Vad was a good athlete that was not yet ready to run the option offense.

    What can we look back and see about JT and Byerly. JT was said to run the option at least as good if not better than Vad. He had some questionable pitches that a more experienced QB might have not attempted. JT is not afraid of risks. The question becomes will he know when to take the risk and when to go down with the ball in 2014. JT is quick as quick indeed, but the speed comes at the cost of coming down easily. JT also had a high interception to pass ratio in 2013 with very limited time as QB. One thing is certain, there was not one play where JT where he does not trust the system and reverse the play.

    Byerly played very little. His play was solid with flashes and no fumbles in 2013. Byerly’s spring game had a significant fumble issue. Was this fumble issue just the heavy rain? He had one fumble during the open summer scrimmage pointing to positive improvements. Byerly has proven to be a strong runner and is able run the system efficiently. Again, there is not one play where he does not trust the system and reverse the play.

    I believe JT and Byerly to be better for CPJ’s system than last years QB. They both seem steady on the field and have an eye for reading the option. I also surmise they may not have as strong an arm as last years QB, but they may be better passers.

    The OL is pretty set on starters and all seem to be healthy. There are some concerns at one of the OT spot. The scrimmage and spring game showed there has been some improvement in this position. OT depth is a concern with freshman Klock as backup to Chamberlain (assuming Joe is hurt enough not to be able to press him for the starting spot). OG depth is good with DeVine ready to go and freshman Brown ready to play if needed. Center is strong with 2 deep along with revelations that freshman Marshal might be ready this season if needed. This 2014 OL team seems young yet in better over all shape than the playing injured and out of position 2013 OL.

    WR is a strength with proven players in Smelter, Summers, and Waller. They have the ability to block and receive.

    A Back reports are good coming out of camp 2014. Zenon has stepped up and we have reports of good blocking from Bostic. Perkin’s had some great play reports. Days had very little A Back publicity but he is now considered A Back, B Back and Q Back.

    The BB has Laskey to look to for experience and the ability to make yards at least as good as 2013 and possibly better. Connors is the backup that I hope proves to be Godhigh of 2014 in the run. Camp was very devoid of information concerning Connors. I wonder if blocking ability is the key issue for Connors as a true backup. Leggett is a Freshman that has had a lot of publicity out of camp. The assumption is that Leggett can run, but again there is no news on blocking skills. The big camp development is Days being used at B back. I suspect he is there for depth and for blocking.

    The defense had some bright spots with reports of good play from Lynn Griffin and the Austin twins. PJ Davis and Keshum Freeman have been singled out for their motors as both will make tackles coming from the other side of the field.

    We know we have some solid experienced players in Golden, Johnson, Nealy, and Gotsis.

    The biggest concern lies with the DL depth. Pat got some good comments out of camp and looks to be first off the bench. Kallon’s comments from coaches also improved from the past. What do we really know here?

    The defense was never able to completely stuff the offense in camp. There were many series in a row that ended quickly in the start of practice. The key read here is the ability of the offense to get things going as the defense tires.


    What can I interpret from the information? There is no doubt that we have QBs ready to run the option and an offense practiced to defend the gap blitz. The QB will still be sacked and plays blown up, but the goal is to make this a lot less likely than in 2013. We have running backs that can make good yardage in the run and WR that can block as well as make receptions. The OL is healthy with some good depth. I expect this offense to be as good as or better than anything we have seen to date. Give me a tall glass of offensive Kool Aid please.

    The defense is the biggest question mark in prediction. There are too many new players at one of the CB, both DEs, one LB spot, and one DT spot. I expect that the second year in Roof’s system to show defensive improvements with the return of Johnson helping to counter the loss of Attaochu and Thomas. Can GT stop the power run? Will pass defense improve?

    My prediction is that the defense will hold to 2013 performance level and the offense will play at to or above GT's current best year.

    Go Jackets!
    pinglett, awbuzz, YJAlleyCat and 3 others like this.
  2. Jay Alexander

    Jay Alexander Helluva Engineer

    So, have a prediction for end of the season record?
  3. GTJoeBrew

    GTJoeBrew Helluva Engineer

    I agree with every point that you made. There are tons of questions before every season and we are usually over-optimistic about our chances. I'm hoping that this year is a exception and that the team proves that they are a thread in the division (against what the media is saying). If we are able to hold onto the ball for extended amounts of time, we will limit our exposure on defense.
  4. techman78

    techman78 Helluva Engineer

    Great post!! So whats your prediction?
  5. Longestday

    Longestday Helluva Engineer Featured Member

    No real prediction for this blog. I was trying to see where we were at at the end of CAMP 2013 and thoughts versus 2014. I am trying to get "hindsight" for 2014 by looking back at 2013.

    Are we looking at JT and Byerly through clear windows? Are we really seeing the DE clearly?

    I said 8 and 4 last year, 2013. I lean 9 and 3 this year with a GSU win replacing BYU defeat and a VT win.
    jayparr likes this.
  6. AE 87

    AE 87 Helluva Engineer

    @Longestday good write-up, thanks.

    My 2cents, fwiw:
    Much of the expectation for the OL in the seasons building up to 2013 included Philthy, a healthy Bailey and backup from Alford. A starting OL of Smith, Jackson, Finch, Mason, Bailey for a whole season would have made a difference with Kidney, Braun, Alford, Chamberlain and Roberts off the bench. I expect this year to be more like 2008, play reflecting talent and inexperience. I'm not worried but not looking for completely dominating play either.

    I remember being in the minority last year in not worrying about our DL. I think our stats against the run and the fact that all 3 graduating players from our DL made NFL camps speaks to its quality, but the cupboard behind them had room. This year requires reading the silence. The fact that we're not hearing a lot of talk about moving Gamble to DE suggests we may be getting what we need from Stargel et al. I expect us to be very multiple in our attack of the los and QB, bringing pressure ftom all over even if only 4 guys. Our back 7 will be our strength this year.

    I expect our O will be closer to 2011 in efficiency, ~3 ppd, rather than 2009's 3.1-3.2 ppd. I think our D needs to do better than 2013. We can't afford games like dOh U, CU, and BYU this year, imo.

    F/+ Off: #17
    F/+ Def: #35
    11-3 #11 or 9-4 #21
    iceeater1969 likes this.
  7. Longestday

    Longestday Helluva Engineer Featured Member

    @AE 87 I agree... Keep in mind we could still beat GSU and VT with the same D and improved O for a 9 and 3 season.
  8. sidewalkGTfan

    sidewalkGTfan Helluva Engineer

    Coming out of last year's camp, I don't think any of us knew how bad/uncomfortable Vad Lee was at running our base offense.
  9. Yoda

    Yoda Helluva Engineer

    Bet we average 37ppg and can turn it on when needed. No idea on D
  10. Oldgoldandwhite

    Oldgoldandwhite Helluva Engineer

    Vad reminded me of Jeff Francour. Tons of potential, but it never came together except in flashes. I have low expectations of JT, so everything will be upward for me.
    vamosjackets likes this.
  11. Longestday

    Longestday Helluva Engineer Featured Member

    I think it is best to look at conference only ppg. That evens things a little between teams... even if we have to play Clemson every year.
  12. Yoda

    Yoda Helluva Engineer

    Yeah ACC 37 ppg
  13. Wrecking Ball

    Wrecking Ball Helluva Engineer

    Why does almost EVERYONE insist on calling Summers a "proven WR"? PLEASE. Not to knock the guy, but he's still an unknown. Against BCS teams in non-garbage time he has like 2 catches.

    Went back and looked: 4 for 71 in non-garbage time BCS games. Whaaaat?

    Is your expectation for WR that low? By that measure, almost every other WR in D1 football is not just proven, they are otherworldly athletes.
  14. AE 87

    AE 87 Helluva Engineer

    I'm not sure your comment/standard applies to our offense. WRs in our offense are often used primarily for blocking. When we have a #1 WR, like BayBay and Smelter ended up being, the #2 WR doesn't get a lot of targets. This is especially true when we're game planning to get targets to ABacks like Orwin and Godhigh. All of that is to say that using # of catches may not be the best measure for determining status as proven for 2nd WRs. I don't know how many times he was targeted but 18 yds/catch would have placed him within the top 20 of receivers last year (admittedly 4 catches is way too few to be considered). I think you need to look at how he blocks, how he runs his routes, and how he adjusts to the ball in the air. In those categories, I think he's a proven WR for our offense.
  15. Northeast Stinger

    Northeast Stinger Helluva Engineer

    But, as was reported at the beginning of this thread, CPJ kept tying to tell us "between the lines" that he had not proven himself to be ready yet. I think some people thought CPJ was sandbagging but that is not his style. When he expressed his reservations about Vad he was being honest. He did not overstate his concerns either because he was still trying to build confidence in his player.
  16. forensicbuzz

    forensicbuzz Helluva Engineer

    Summers is a RSSoph. He's a great blocker on the end and seals well. That's why he's a starter. He's a slight kid, but I really like him. The rest of the receivers (save Searcy) are massive. I'd bet the average size (based on after-scrimmage eye-test) is 6'3" 220#, maybe higher. Not all of the WR's have to be world-class catch-and-run guys.
  17. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

    I am not that worried about us stopping the run. Maybe when you hear that you have a "what?" reaction. Here is the thing. I think CTR's priority will always be to stop the run. Any defense, no matter how bad (within reason), can stop the run. It is just a question of what resources they need to commit to get it done. I guarantee you, if GT were to commit 9 to the box, the run would be stopped, no matter who the opponent. The problem obviously would then become, what happens on the back end? Teams are allowed to pass, you know.

    I AM worried about the resources we will require to actually stop the run. Our back 7 is pretty good. I have a lot of confidence in them. But I also realize, being short of numbers and being left on an island leads to even great players looking average. Surely, we will play to our strengths and try to mitigate our weaknesses. I expect to see a lot of run blitzes and pass blitzes to offset our lack of dominance at the point of attack. It will pay off at times and, unfortunately, make us look silly at times. Such is life. CTR wants to dictate. It is his personality. He will blitz.

    We may actually end up having pretty good numbers overall against the run, but don't be fooled. The passing efficiency defense will suffer as a result. It won't be because our back group can't play, though. All great defenses are built around superior DT play. We have a solid natural DE (Gotsis) at one DT, and a host of unproven or oft injured players at the other DT. I like our athleticism overall, based on what I saw at the scrimmage the other day, but there is no denying we have issues in the belly of the defense. Just saying.

    We will need to score and control the clock (and ball) a little bit, in order to be good.
    pinglett likes this.
  18. dressedcheeseside

    dressedcheeseside Helluva Engineer

    Hence the "we need to get back to what we do" talk.
  19. redmule

    redmule Helluva Engineer

    Good analysis, BG. Let me add one thing. In the nearly 50 years I've followed Tech, we have always had a hole somewhere in the defense. Remember when Smith and Fox were true freshmen, we were holding our breath about LB. In 1990, we were starting Rudolph, a converted OL at DT, and Marlon Williams, an undersized RS Frosh at DE. We, and almost all other teams, will be holding our breath at certain positions. Most years we will be disappointed, but some years coaching, luck, and ability will come together. I get excited at the prospect each year. We are bigger and more athletic on D than usual, and that increases the chances. Roof is going to get us there. I didn't think so when he was hired, but I do now.
  20. 00Burdell

    00Burdell Helluva Engineer

    Who knows what our record will be - I think we are going to have some face-palm moments on defense - too thin and inexperienced in places not to. However, if we are at least decent on D (and I expect us to be decent on average) and as improved on O as I think we will be, we should have a pretty good year. The problem with predictions is that you have to know how good everybody else is.

    Ok, I'll make one prediction: we will defeat the University of North Carolina. Why? Not because we are better than them or because we play better on that one day but because its the natural order of things. That and UNC sucks.
    Jay Alexander and UgaBlows like this.

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