Article GT vs UCF Postgame Thread

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Shorthanded Jackets Fall Short In Home Opener

Jahmyr Gibbs (21) runs for a touchdown (Hyosub Shin / ajc.com)

Atlanta, GA – Down six starters and depth at key positions, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1, 1-0) faded late Saturday night in their first home tilt of the 2020 season.  The Central Florida Knights (1-0, 0-0), a respected top 25 program over the last few years, emerged victorious by a final score of 49-21.

The Jackets entered the game with gaps and question marks across its Above The Line (ATL) depth chart when compared to preseason expectations.  Absent from the offense today were starters RB Jordan Mason and TE Dylan Deveney.  Another TE, Dylan Leonard, was a scratch.

The damage done to the defense made matters worse.  Tech’s defensive line was missing starters DE Antonneous Clayton, DT TK Chimedza and DL Antwan Owens along with key rotational player DE Curtis Ryans, a key cog in the Jackets’ week 1 win against Florida State.  Tech’s top CB Tre Swilling also missed his second consecutive game.

“We had to get creative in practice this week… minimal 12 personnel on offense and three down linemen on defense,” said Head Coach Geoff Collins in his postgame interview with radioman Wiley Ballard.

Let’s be clear.  Neither Collins nor the players claimed moral victories.  Save those for today’s victor who is wont for fabricated titles and hardware.

For Tech the mantra is next man up.  The team fought valiantly, showing signs of life into the 4th quarter against an opponent that most outside of the Georgia Tech program expected to roll easily today.  A 33-yard touchdown run by true freshman RB Jahmyr Gibbs narrowed the Knights’ lead to 28-21 with 13:12 remaining in the game.  The home crowd was energized as was the home team.

But football games are won on the line of scrimmage, and Tech began with one hand tied behind its back on the defensive front.  Evidence of wear and tear to that unit showed itself late as the Knights’ vaunted offense reasserted itself in the 4th quarter, scoring three consecutive touchdowns immediately after Gibbs’ jaunt without much resistance.  Tech’s offense sputtered in response, and the final chapter of the story was written.

Despite the absence of key players, the Jackets had plenty of opportunities within their control to affect the outcome of the game.  Turnovers and special teams often determine college football games and today was no different.

Following an impressive first game despite a few mistakes, QB Jeff Sims led a Tech offense today that coughed up the ball five times.  Of the Jackets five turnovers, two came thru the air and three came via the ground game.

Special teams was a mixed bag.  Rarely is “mixed bag” a positive, however after the debacle in Tallahassee that descriptor is an improvement.  The Jackets must resolve its field goal issues to become a threat in the ACC this year and in the future.  See 2014.  Otherwise, “mixed bag” will lead to a new definition for “scoring range”.

There were certainly signs of light.  Jahmyr Gibbs lived up to his billing, ripping off a 75 yard kickoff return on his first collegiate touch.  Gibbs finished with 219 all purpose yards and two touchdowns. 

Tech’s offense has now shown a pattern of improvement as compared to last year.  Sims led the offense to 471 yards of total offense.  Nine different receivers caught balls for 244 yards thru the air, demonstrating a balance and proficiency without needing to rely on one or two playmakers.  To that end, noticeably absent despite the team success were WR Ahmarean Brown and WR Jalen Camp, each of which tallied a single reception for 11 yards.

The Jackets managed 12 chunk plays, defined as passing plays of 15+ yards and running plays of 10+ yards.  The distribution was an even 6 and 6, respectively.  Overall the offense produced 5.8 yards per play and converted 7 of 15 third downs.

Last but certainly not least, punter Pressley Harvin remained an “absolute unit”, averaging 51.2 yards per punt.  Of his four punts, three ended up inside the 20, with one boom ball traveling 70 yards.

Ultimately it was feast or famine on offense.  Combined with a shorthanded defense forced to play 92 plays, the flood gates opened late for Tech’s foe.  Next week brings Tech back into ACC play with a road trip to Syracuse and an opportunity to go 2-0 in ACC play.

 
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bos

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I believe GT has better individual talent on the field, but UCF has a better winning formula. This is a well-coached team with a legit QB.

I'm just going to say it. Being at the game today I've observed how dysfunctional the coaches were at times. Thacker and Collins jawed at each other several times. At certain points, they couldn't make a decision on what play to call and had to burn timeouts. Ultimately it was the turnover that did this team in, but the coaching staff have to figure it out.
 

boger2337

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1. When do we see Curry as a situational LB? Knight is more than capable for taking over full time. I don't get keeping him in at LB and Riq in at Safety when when they are just throwing go routes for 40 yards, or 20 yard slants running past the linebackers. Knight did an excellent job in zone coverage today. Curry is good at stopping the run when he gets the right lane and doesn't just go run right up to a guard.

2. Sims did alright for a freshman. Is he a hesiman winning QB as a freshman? No. Today he played true to his HS ways. About 50% on passes and no accuracy on the deep ball. Its funny how Jackll and Hyde these QBs are on throwing. Graham could hit a go route beautifully with ease. Sims misses go routes by 5 -7 yards. Graham cannot complete a simple check down or out route for 8 yards to save his life. Sims hits them with darn good accuracy for a freshman. What hurt us was Sims doing too much. We started trying to throw deep to catch up being down 2 scores. We started playing UCFs game. They were down 4 dlinemen as well. The run was working in the 2nd half. Quick paced option reads, and check down passes to gibbs/smith/brown was key to moving the chains. We didn't need to score in 45 seconds. We could of taken 4-5 minutes to score in the 3rd and composed ourselves.

3. Walker was picked on as a younger guy in the secondary. We truly missed Swilling today.

4. No pass rush on 3rd and long for the most part. We were aggressive in pure physical play, but we were not too aggressive in the gambling sense. Its like we forgot the 3 times Gabriel had someone in his face in a long throw situation it didn't not end well, even in 1 on 1 coverage. If their WRs are simply just running past our guys then I tend to think we just needed to send 6 every time at the QB. Whats the worse that could happen? We lose by 28? 😶

5. Gibbs is a solid player. Some little mistakes running the ball, but he is extremely young. He should be one of the better RBs we have had since Dwyer. Refuse to say he will be a superstar just due to the letdown portion. Let him build his own legacy with our full support. But man is the kid electric. He is just a gear faster than the defense and can catch extremely well out of the backfield.

6. Stewart should be the only one kicking from here out. I hate it for Kelley, and appreciate him stepping up last week against FSU when we needed it, but there is a chance stewart played last week and we never needed a game winner from Kelley. His trajectory is extremely low for a kicker. Not sure if HS defenses just never put a hand up, or this is new for him? But a year in the system may help.

7. Special teams looked better this week as a whole. 👀

8. Give this team time to mature. Remember how much better we looked at the end of last year compared to the beginning. Same thing here starting so many true freshman in key roles on offense. If we can keep mistakes to a minimum, we can beat Syracuse next week by 21+. Offense is moving just not scoring. If we can put points on the board our defense will benefit a ton too. Its back breaking to get a great stop to watch your offense go 50 yards and get no points.
 

boger2337

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I believe GT has better individual talent on the field, but UCF has a better winning formula. This is a well-coached team with a legit QB.

I'm just going to say it. Being at the game today I've observed how dysfunctional the coaches were at times. Thacker and Collins jawed at each other several times. At certain points, they couldn't make a decision on what play to call and had to burn timeouts. Ultimately it was the turnover that did this team in, but the coaching staff have to figure it out.
We also forget not only are the players young, but so are the coaches... Thacker is 35, Key is 42, Choice is 35, Burton is about 37.

I will make a possible gutsy prediction though. I can see Burton becoming the D coordinator over Thacker in the next year or so. I tend to think Burton was the smarter choice to move up over thacker. But Collins loves "juice" and thacker is a million miles a minute type of guy. Burton seems to stay calm, and more analytical, better for coordinating.
 

MGTfan

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That wasn't a good offense. We're going to see much better offenses than that from over half of our opponents.

lol the overreaction is this thread incredible. Teams on our schedule who 100% have worse offenses than UCF: FSU, Duke, Syracuse, NC State, Boston College. Can probably add Pittsburgh and Louisville to that last as well.

Y’all realize we are the team that lost to the Citadel last year, right? And now today, we were within 7 points of a team who had won 35 of their last 40 games.

I get the desire to want to win and win now, trust me, I wish we were winning more too. But I think too many people in this thread are ignoring the obvious improvement from last year to this year simply because the team still isn’t at the level we want them to be.

It’s going to take some time until we are consistently winning. It was never going to happen over night no matter who took over once we transitioned from the triple option, but as long as we are moving in the right direction, which we definitely are, then I’m happy.
 

Oakland

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I too have been disappointed in AB's production on the field. We've got a 4* recruit coming in next year (James BlackStrain). I'm hoping that other highly rated receivers will see what Tech is doing and will be attracted to us.
 

Scubapro

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Cannot keep putting up 450-475 yards of offense yet average 18 points.
Yep...there is much to digest from this game. Our red zone offense is really really bad. You have to get a consistent running game inside the 20s. Passing on a short field put you at a huge disadvantage.
 

Scubapro

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We also forget not only are the players young, but so are the coaches... Thacker is 35, Key is 42, Choice is 35, Burton is about 37.

I will make a possible gutsy prediction though. I can see Burton becoming the D coordinator over Thacker in the next year or so. I tend to think Burton was the smarter choice to move up over thacker. But Collins loves "juice" and thacker is a million miles a minute type of guy. Burton seems to stay calm, and more analytical, better for coordinating.
You left off a coach that is 53. :). We have the tools to establish a running game but we cant/won't. The passing game is fun to watch but handing the ball off six yards deep each time wont work. Even the pros understand why you have to play under center.
 

Oakland

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With so many DL missing in action, I wonder maybe consider moving the 6'2" 230 lb, David Curry to the DL. Collins has mentioned before about moving players around. Ok, you can throw stones at me now. :chicken:
 

jacket_fan

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I agree with others that mentioned the new look to the stadium. Looked great! Am looking forward to a night game under the new lights.

Something else I noticed at the game that likely did not show up on TV, was how quickly the refs set the ball in play for UCF. On one occasion in the second half, the play went for a first down and the ref ran with the ball and placed it at the centers hand without looking at the sideline for the marker. I am pretty sure the chains were not set prior to the snap.

I looked in the NCAA rules and do not see where it tells the officials to run to put the ball in play. If there is something that states that they should help facilitate a hurry up offense, please show me.

On other officiating blunder. In the first half, the UCF punt returner signaled for a fair catch at the 10 yard line. He retreated to the 8, or the 7 to make the catch. The ref spotted the ball at the 10. Not a game changer, just poor officiating.
 

bwelbo

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With so many DL missing in action, I wonder maybe consider moving the 6'2" 230 lb, David Curry to the DL. Collins has mentioned before about moving players around. Ok, you can throw stones at me now. :chicken:

Against a HUNH, I would have definitely moved a slow player like Curry. Maybe left end (of the bench). Against regular teams I’d have him in the rotation.
 

Skeptic

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Simply put:
...

3) The refs were absolutely against us. They did everything they could to help UCF and it was obvious.
[/QUOTE...
In the first recorded competition it was Earth 0, Flood 1, but The Ref had it in for the earth. We had our chances, played a lot better than against FSU, and fell apart late. It did not help that with nine minutes left and a 4th and 11 and two scores down there was more than a whiff of panic when we went for it, but okay. The guy is still learning to coach, and UCF can play a little. But whining about the refs is unseemly at any score, but in a blowout is ludicrous.
 

slugboy

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Agreed. UNC/Clemson is going to be much harder to defend.

And Colorado - the deep was there several times today. Sims just didn’t see it. His vision is probably his biggest weakness so far.
We don’t see UNC this year. We do see Louisville and Notre Dame.

After yesterday, Miami’s offense looks better than Louisville’s though. BC looks better than I’d expect, too.
 
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bke1984

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Yep...there is much to digest from this game. Our red zone offense is really really bad.
I think this is an understatement. There’s no doubt the offense looks better than last year, but that’s due to improved O line and QB play. The play calling on offense in the red zone is awful.

Honorable mention: the idiotic decision to clock the ball with about 1:30 left in the half on first and goal and a time out. We scored, but we should have been trying to score with as little time on the clock as possible. Instead we still took it to third down to score, but only took 20 seconds off the clock!!! Our staff continues to do things like this that make me question their ability to manage a game.
 
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