Justin Thomas and the offense

UgaBlows

Helluva Engineer
Messages
4,262
hope it's ok to crosspost this article from the ajc. I love what i'm reading here about the young man!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Georgia Tech is about a month and a half from the start of spring practice and about seven months from the season opener.

But the ascension of quarterback Justin Thomas to the top of the Yellow Jackets’ depth chart has begun. After the unexpected transfer of Vad Lee to James Madison, Thomas, along with backup Tim Byerly, has been the one bringing teammates together for twice-weekly workouts at the team’s indoor practice facility.

“It comes with the role,” said Thomas, a sophomore from Prattville, Ala.

Thomas and the other quarterbacks have taken snaps with centers, thrown with receivers and backs and participated in the team’s winter workout program in the morning. He has spent time in the video room watching game and practice clips. He can’t deny that it’s exciting to know that he’s in the top slot.

“I feel ready to get this show on the road,” he said in an interview Monday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Hopefully, we do good things this year.”

Thomas said he was surprised when he learned of Lee’s transfer from teammates via text messages. His reaction for what it meant for him was mixed.

“It’s like, you want the job, but you don’t want it like that,” he said. “If it comes, you’re going to take it.”

He made this much clear — he’s comfortable running Tech’s option-based spread offense. Lee left Tech when his expectations that the offense would shift more toward passing weren’t met. As a four-star prospect, Thomas reneged on a commitment to Alabama and chose Tech after learning he couldn’t play quarterback for the Crimson Tide. Thomas recalled coach Paul Johnson showing him video of the base offense.

“He was saying, ‘This is what we run, this is what we do,’” Thomas said. “I was like, That’s cool. It’s fine with me. I feel like I can roll with it.”

He has plenty who believe in him.

Former Tech B-back David Sims touted Thomas in the spring. On top of Thomas’ speed — he won the state 100-meter championship as a high school senior — Sims said recently that he has a good feel for the option game and good footwork.

Further, “he has a pretty good arm,” Sims said. “That’s what a lot of people don’t know about Justin.”

Former Tech offensive lineman Will Jackson said that in conversations with Lee before his transfer, the two came to the conclusion that Thomas was a better fit for the offense than Lee was.

“He’s one of the most dynamic playmakers I’ve been around,” Jackson said. “When he has the ball in his hands, I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody run the ball in football pads that’s as fast as he is.”

He showed glimpses as a backup behind Lee, averaging 7.1 yards per carry on 33 attempts last season. He completed nine of 17 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Memorably, he sped through the Syracuse defense for a 50-yard touchdown run on a triple-option keeper. After evading a tackle at the Syracuse 40-yard line, he reached the 20, running at a slight angle, in roughly 2.2 seconds.

While his promotion was unexpected, Thomas does not seem overwhelmed. He has met a couple of times with Johnson, wants to build cohesion and trust within the team and is trying to do his part to bring center Freddie Burden and wide receiver Anthony Autry, who both missed the season with knee injuries, back up to speed.

He wants to add six pounds to get to 190 — “no fat, though,” he said — and watches video looking for mistakes to correct. From his review, he has noticed that he became more comfortable with the offense as the season progressed.

He is otherwise not too impressed with his standing.

“You’re starting, but you’ve still got to prove yourself, no matter what,” he said.
 

RamblinCharger

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,399
Location
Alabama
hope it's ok to crosspost this article from the ajc. I love what i'm reading here about the young man!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Georgia Tech is about a month and a half from the start of spring practice and about seven months from the season opener.

But the ascension of quarterback Justin Thomas to the top of the Yellow Jackets’ depth chart has begun. After the unexpected transfer of Vad Lee to James Madison, Thomas, along with backup Tim Byerly, has been the one bringing teammates together for twice-weekly workouts at the team’s indoor practice facility.

“It comes with the role,” said Thomas, a sophomore from Prattville, Ala.

Thomas and the other quarterbacks have taken snaps with centers, thrown with receivers and backs and participated in the team’s winter workout program in the morning. He has spent time in the video room watching game and practice clips. He can’t deny that it’s exciting to know that he’s in the top slot.

“I feel ready to get this show on the road,” he said in an interview Monday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Hopefully, we do good things this year.”

Thomas said he was surprised when he learned of Lee’s transfer from teammates via text messages. His reaction for what it meant for him was mixed.

“It’s like, you want the job, but you don’t want it like that,” he said. “If it comes, you’re going to take it.”

He made this much clear — he’s comfortable running Tech’s option-based spread offense. Lee left Tech when his expectations that the offense would shift more toward passing weren’t met. As a four-star prospect, Thomas reneged on a commitment to Alabama and chose Tech after learning he couldn’t play quarterback for the Crimson Tide. Thomas recalled coach Paul Johnson showing him video of the base offense.

“He was saying, ‘This is what we run, this is what we do,’” Thomas said. “I was like, That’s cool. It’s fine with me. I feel like I can roll with it.”

He has plenty who believe in him.

Former Tech B-back David Sims touted Thomas in the spring. On top of Thomas’ speed — he won the state 100-meter championship as a high school senior — Sims said recently that he has a good feel for the option game and good footwork.

Further, “he has a pretty good arm,” Sims said. “That’s what a lot of people don’t know about Justin.”

Former Tech offensive lineman Will Jackson said that in conversations with Lee before his transfer, the two came to the conclusion that Thomas was a better fit for the offense than Lee was.

“He’s one of the most dynamic playmakers I’ve been around,” Jackson said. “When he has the ball in his hands, I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody run the ball in football pads that’s as fast as he is.”

He showed glimpses as a backup behind Lee, averaging 7.1 yards per carry on 33 attempts last season. He completed nine of 17 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Memorably, he sped through the Syracuse defense for a 50-yard touchdown run on a triple-option keeper. After evading a tackle at the Syracuse 40-yard line, he reached the 20, running at a slight angle, in roughly 2.2 seconds.

While his promotion was unexpected, Thomas does not seem overwhelmed. He has met a couple of times with Johnson, wants to build cohesion and trust within the team and is trying to do his part to bring center Freddie Burden and wide receiver Anthony Autry, who both missed the season with knee injuries, back up to speed.

He wants to add six pounds to get to 190 — “no fat, though,” he said — and watches video looking for mistakes to correct. From his review, he has noticed that he became more comfortable with the offense as the season progressed.

He is otherwise not too impressed with his standing.

“You’re starting, but you’ve still got to prove yourself, no matter what,” he said.

Thank you for posting that, hopefully the bosses don't mind. I don't go on the ajc much anymore since it's a pay site, and the people commenting are really annoying for the most part. I like Justin and wanted him to start over vad. I'm sure there is a reason he didn't, and I think it's because he was too risky with the option. If Nesbitt can learn the offense and run it beautifully I think justin can too. I'm looking forward to seeing him as the head guy, now my dad and I won't be yelling from the stands/couch to put justin in the game.
 

awbuzz

Helluva Manager
Messages
9,072
Location
Marietta, GA
have to be careful posting the entire article for the "pay" portion of the site. (then again maybe they have moved it to the free section)...
 

Boomergump

Helluva Engineer
Featured Member
Messages
3,260
Personally, I think Vad saw the writing on the wall. He knew his chances of holding off JT as the starter for another season were dwindling. That was probably a part in his decision to transfer as well. He is no dummy. Players can tell who is progressing in practice around them. JT was starting to look a lot bigger in the rear view mirror.
 

RamblinCharger

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,399
Location
Alabama
Personally, I think Vad saw the writing on the wall. He knew his chances of holding off JT as the starter for another season were dwindling. That was probably a part in his decision to transfer as well. He is no dummy. Players can tell who is progressing in practice around them. JT was starting to look a lot bigger in the rear view mirror.
Definitely. Vad has skills but I don't think he really wanted to run CPJ's base offense. He wants to be in the shotgun and be a pass first, run second QB. I actually think Vad would fit into malzahns offense really well at auburn in a couple of years. Malzahn has shown that he will have a more balanced attack when he has the quarterback to throw the ball more often. Vad would be good in that system and probably could have been really good in ours but he looked like he had no desire to be under center, which is strange to me, because they still run a pretty good amount of stuff from under center in the NFL. Not to get off subject here, but I think our offense would be even better if we would incorporate some read option and shotgun 3O like auburn. If we went 60% base and 40% from the gun, throwing the ball %30 of the time overall between the two I think we would do well, but then again it may get too complicated with all of that. I hope Justin buys in and we run a lot of 3O and base stuff this year and focused on 4-5 plays to run flawlessly, and I wish we would incorporate 2-3 read option plays from the gun and run them flawlessly. That would be fantastic.
 

techman78

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
494
Location
Toccoa, Ga
Really like JT's attitude in the write up from the AJC, especially the part where CPJ told him this is what we do and he said he was fine with that! Sounds like he bought in from day 1. Hope that he grasps the O well and takes it to another level. Also am anxious to see some roll out passes because with his speed (as someone else said in an earlier post) if the db bites one bit on him he could just loop a pass over the top theoretically for some easy scores, if they dont bite on him and stays on the wr he can run for days. Ready to see what next season brings.
 

ATL1

Helluva Engineer
Messages
7,377
I don't like speculating on what some kid is or is not thinking concerning Vad.

Anyway, I'm in favor of JT sliding or running towards the sidelines and out of bounds in order to avoid unnecessary hits. I know that might not be popular considering how other QB's take a beating in this offense and after watching Nesbit drag defenders for yardage. But JT is a different kind of QB and he has a different ability than a Nesbit. I see no harm in him sliding after a few getting up and running another play.
 

gtg936g

Helluva Engineer
Messages
2,061
JT has the tools to be great in our offense. If he can master the mental part (decision making, not being rattled under pressure, and taking hits) this season could be great for us. If he is spending as much time as he says learning from last year and practicing, he is well on his way in getting mentally prepared.

I am not worried about his passing. I will take a 30% passer, if he could get 90% of the reads correct. Nick Marshall was not a great passer, but he could get the reads, and make you pay with his legs if you took a bad angle.
 

takethepoints

Helluva Engineer
Messages
4,656
I hope he's the second coming of Kendall Reynolds, the present and absolutely deadly Middie QB. I think there's a real chance of that; they're about the same size (if JT puts on that six pounds) and are a match in terms of talent. If JT can learn to read Ds as well as Reynolds then it'll be Katie-bar-the-door on O next year. But that's a pretty high bar for him to reach. Better execution of the TO and midline would suit me just fine.

Provided Byerly doesn't beat him out for the job, that is.
 

TampaBuzz

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
300
Definitely. Vad has skills but I don't think he really wanted to run CPJ's base offense. He wants to be in the shotgun and be a pass first, run second QB. I actually think Vad would fit into malzahns offense really well at auburn in a couple of years. Malzahn has shown that he will have a more balanced attack when he has the quarterback to throw the ball more often. Vad would be good in that system and probably could have been really good in ours but he looked like he had no desire to be under center, which is strange to me, because they still run a pretty good amount of stuff from under center in the NFL. Not to get off subject here, but I think our offense would be even better if we would incorporate some read option and shotgun 3O like auburn. If we went 60% base and 40% from the gun, throwing the ball %30 of the time overall between the two I think we would do well, but then again it may get too complicated with all of that. I hope Justin buys in and we run a lot of 3O and base stuff this year and focused on 4-5 plays to run flawlessly, and I wish we would incorporate 2-3 read option plays from the gun and run them flawlessly. That would be fantastic.
I was rewatching the Duke game on ESPN the other day. The offense you describe appears to be similar to what was run in the Duke game. That was fun to watch!
 

RamblinCharger

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,399
Location
Alabama
I was rewatching the Duke game on ESPN the other day. The offense you describe appears to be similar to what was run in the Duke game. That was fun to watch!
Pretty much, we just haven't run an read option that I've seen, which is basically a double option. I think the problem this season was that everyone (players) was so excited about new plays and formations that they didn't focus on the base stuff like they should have. Maybe we spread ourselves too thin and because of that we weren't great at anything. We need to be great at about 4-5 base plays first, then if we can sprinkle in a few shotgun plays it would help, but only if we're great at the base stuff.
 

Boomergump

Helluva Engineer
Featured Member
Messages
3,260
HTC quote="gtg936g, post: 30998, member: 623"]JT has the tools to be great in our offense. If he can master the mental part (decision making, not being rattled under pressure, and taking hits) this season could be great for us. If he is spending as much time as he says learning from last year and practicing, he is well on his way in getting mentally prepared.

I am not worried about his passing. I will take a 30% passer, if he could get 90% of the reads correct. Nick Marshall was not a great passer, but he could get the reads, and make you pay with his legs if you took a bad angle.[/quote]
JT will be a better than 30 pct passer. I feel sure of that, but I hear what you are saying.
 

Techster

Helluva Engineer
Messages
13,618
HTC quote="gtg936g, post: 30998, member: 623"]JT has the tools to be great in our offense. If he can master the mental part (decision making, not being rattled under pressure, and taking hits) this season could be great for us. If he is spending as much time as he says learning from last year and practicing, he is well on his way in getting mentally prepared.

I am not worried about his passing. I will take a 30% passer, if he could get 90% of the reads correct. Nick Marshall was not a great passer, but he could get the reads, and make you pay with his legs if you took a bad angle.
JT will be a better than 30 pct passer. I feel sure of that, but I hear what you are saying.[/quote]


Marshall became a better passer as the season progressed. His command of Auburn's offense also improved as the season progressed.

That's what you want from your QB, and the coaching staff. You want to see player development. I'm not sure why it didn't work out for Vad. No one can say Vad didn't have the skills for this offense to succeed, because 2012 gave us a glimpse of his potential in CPJ's offense and we saw flashes of it in various games in 2013. The guy has obvious talent and high skill level. I just didn't work out in 2013. To me, that on Vad AND the coaching staff.
 

33jacket

Helluva Engineer
Messages
4,529
Location
Georgia
a few comments on my end

- sometimes as a backup, with limited playing time, you push and take risks to make plays. As a starter you don't have this pressure. Perhaps, this will make JT more careful with risks and the ball and help him a bit

- his size is and can be a concern, like it was with Hamilton and Ball. But these guys tend to know how to get down and avoid hits...due to their size. Its a small concern for midline option...but not a big concern in general

- similar articles about Vad and the team in the offseason last year. So this is what it is...good to hear...but nothing new
 

dressedcheeseside

Helluva Engineer
Messages
13,675
Marshall became a better passer as the season progressed. His command of Auburn's offense also improved as the season progressed.

That's what you want from your QB, and the coaching staff. You want to see player development. I'm not sure why it didn't work out for Vad. No one can say Vad didn't have the skills for this offense to succeed, because 2012 gave us a glimpse of his potential in CPJ's offense and we saw flashes of it in various games in 2013. The guy has obvious talent and high skill level. I just didn't work out in 2013. To me, that on Vad AND the coaching staff.

The coaching staff had no problem coaching up Nesbitt or Washington on the base offense, both got exponentially better over the course of their careers, or any of the qb's at Navy for that matter. 90% of it's on Vad. Maybe the big mistake was trying to throw too much at Vad at once with all the shotgun/pistol stuff.
 

Techster

Helluva Engineer
Messages
13,618
The coaching staff had no problem coaching up Nesbitt or Washington on the base offense, both got exponentially better over the course of their careers, or any of the qb's at Navy for that matter. 90% of it's on Vad. Maybe the big mistake was trying to throw too much at Vad at once with all the shotgun/pistol stuff.

Nesbitt and Washington had different styles. The offense was tweaked to fit their strengths.

Our coaches never could figure out what Vad's strengths were, or they never developed Vad's weaknesses. Short of that, if they realized he didn't "fit" the offense, they should have started to play JT more...as many on here have pointed out. Why invest valuable reps on a QB if his longterm potential in this offense was limited? THAT half is on the coaches.

Vad was responsible for the execution. The talent and athleticism was there. 2012 was a great example of what he could do. 2013 Vad, for various reasons, just didn't work out.

To say it's 90% on Vad is pretty weak, and absolving the staff from responsibility.
 
Top