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Looking Ahead- BB

Discussion in 'Georgia Tech Football' started by Boomergump, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

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    It doesn't feel like it, but GT is coming off the most prolific BB rushing season in CPJ's tenure. Don't spit up your food, or choke on your coffee. It is true. In spirit, we want to remember JD's long break away runs and amazing cuts, but we also forget the negative yardage plays and yards 1 thru 4 coming far less reliably. Consider this: The tandem of Sims and Laskey together produced the same total yardage as a typical JD year, all without the benefit of long runs. In fact, neither produced a run as long as 40 yards. How did they do it? Well, there are a lot of factors. First and foremost, lets give our beleaguered OL some credit. They were more physical at the point of attack than many seem willing to recognize. In 2008, if memory serves, JD had over 50 negative yards to his credit, where Sims and Laskey had essentially zero. Both Sims and Laskey were good at hitting the hole and handling the uncertainty of the MESH. Sims ran lower while Laskey hit the hole slightly quicker while having a higher pad level. An average run for BBs last season (including Snoddy and Connors) was in the neighborhood of 5.7 yards and the total production in excess of 1600 yards, eclipsing totals from any other season in the CPJ era. In 2009, JD's average was 5.9. In 2008 it was a blistering 7.0. Obviously, JD benefitted from his ability to finish runs at the second level. That is the ingredient that has been missing. It is hard to quantify what is more critical to the offense, the consistency and ability to move chains, or the ability to hit the big play. It can be argued either way, but obviously, we want both.

    Gone: is David Sims who made the transition to BB from QB during his sophomore campaign. He will be remembered by many as falling short of the standard set by the Diesel. Personally, I will remember David as a steady and productive back who hung on to the football and got the tough yards. He was a physical kid who kept his pads low, making him very hard to get off his feet. He made some runs on the interior that JD simply wouldn't have, but by the same token, once past the initial wave, he lacked the open field running skills to hit the home run.

    Returning with Playing Time: are Matt Connors, RSR, 6-0, 210, Zach Laskey, SR, 6-1, 215, Broderick Snoddy, RJR, 5-9, 190. Matt Connors has been a role player for GT during his tenure and it is hard to imagine that changing. Oddly enough, he produced the longest run of the season for the Jackets from the BB position at 55 yds. Zach Laskey has the inside track at the starting role. Despite lacking the physical strength or lower center of gravity, Zach has proven himself as an inspired runner of the football and a serviceable receiver. He hits the hole on the dive faster than any back yet, but the combination of high pad level and lack of size has limited his ability in the trash. He too, has yet to show an electric ability at the second level, demonstrating a straight ahead running style. Zach needs to improve his feel for the blocking game and once again make gains in the off season with regard to gaining some size and strength. Broderick has been a bit of an enigma so far. With the fan base desirous of a return to the JD breakout run days, he has been under the microscope a bit. His blazing track speed and surprisingly easy whipping of JT (the other 100m state champion) in a foot race only wetted the appetite of GT faithful even more. Broderick has improved as a runner, but has yet been unable to unseat the men in front of him despite the sizable speed advantage. He is a bit of a tweener who lacks the size for an ideal BB and the east-west, cutback running ability of the ideal AB. In the end, running the football is as much about football instincts as it is running speed. Broderick needs to develop the former.

    Waiting in the Wings: Travis Custis. I usually don't include incoming players in my analysis, but given his unusual circumstances with enrollment last year and his early enrollment this year, I will give it a go. Take it FWIW because I have never seen him carry the rock at this level. From his HS film, Travis appears to be a very instinctive runner of the football. That alone will change the flavor of the mix at the BB position in 2014. His ultimate top end speed is hard to determine, but my sense is that he is football fast more than track fast if that makes sense. The things I feel sure of are: that he will be surprisingly physical with a low pad level and center of gravity, he will use his eyes and they will get the message to his feet very efficiently, and we will see many more cuts and better open field running ability. The things I am less sure of are: his ability to stretch the field with pure speed, his ability as a receiver, and his willingness or ability to block.

    In Summary: I am optimistic about the prospects at the position. Replacing Sims will be difficult, but not nearly impossible. Laskey has already shown that there is no noticeable drop off when he enters the game. The big question about Laskey is, can he handle the workload of a feature back? He hasn't proven that yet. There is a chance that a missing ingredient will be replaced in the coming year, explosion plays. Snoddy has to speed to make it happen. With Sims gone he should have the chance to get more carries to make it happen. If he doesn't get the carries, it will mean that Custis has lived up to the billing and will provide it as well. The battle in the spring should be one of the more compelling of any of the position groups.
     
  2. Arkfbplayer52

    Arkfbplayer52 Jolly Good Fellow

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    Great write up
     
  3. takethepoints

    takethepoints Helluva Engineer

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    Good write up, as usual, and I have only this to add.

    Laskey has shown that he can "… handle the workload of a feature back." He did just that in the first six games of 2012. And led the team in rushing for the year to boot, despite sharing the load with Sims for the rest of the time. I agree that he could use another 5 - 8 lbs, but I also didn't see any problem with getting tough yards in either 2012 or the season just past. As I have said before, I expect him to start and run for ~ 900 - 1000 yards this year.

    Provided, that is, that he can get his pass blocking straight. He does fine with the few instances of run blocking he's called on to do, but, while neither he or Sims could be called lights-out pass blockers, Sims got the field more because he was better at it. This must improve.

    For Custis, I agree with all points, but I don't think he is quite well developed enough yet to take the job. Zach could use another 5 - 8 lbs; Custis needs another 10, at least. But he's been working out and may be there. Then it's only a question of blocking for him to see the field a lot this year.
     
  4. Buzzwax

    Buzzwax Jolly Good Fellow

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    Great summary! Another reason this board is where I start my GT Sports web info feedings....

    IF.....the new younger OL can stay healthy AND JT becomes the running threat we all believe he will be the BB position can be even more successful IMO. With Laskey and Custis I would think Snoddy could get some reps at AB? Is Snoddy's perimeter blocking the reason he remains at BB? I just can't help but think of the speed on the edge with JT AND Snoddy running the option and driving DC's nuts......
     
  5. techman78

    techman78 Helluva Engineer

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    As always Boomer another excellent write up. Really enjoy your team analysis. Like normal your spot on about the position. Sims didnt get the credit he deserved but he really did blossom and made a good transition from QB to BB. Laskey has done a good job and I feel he will have another workman type season. Really hope to see Custis and Snoddy bring back the explosion plays to the B. Ready for NSD and Spring ball!!
     
  6. AE 87

    AE 87 Helluva Engineer

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    I think we will see the diamond again next year and Snoddy will shine.
     
  7. jacketjp

    jacketjp Jolly Good Fellow

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    Thanks Boomer. I really enjoy your write-ups. Keep up the great work.
     
  8. bigtechfan67

    bigtechfan67 Ramblin' Wreck

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    Love these post. Wanted to sui hey to the forum
     
    Squints likes this.
  9. Essobee

    Essobee Helluva Engineer

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    Did not realize this. ^

    Thanks again, Boomer. Great info and analysis.
     
  10. ATL1

    ATL1 Helluva Engineer

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    I can see Donovan Wilson potentially getting in the BB mix. He has the size for it.
     
  11. Sean311

    Sean311 Helluva Engineer

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    Matt Conners is a senior???
     
  12. Techster

    Techster Helluva Engineer

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    I don't expect Travis Custis to have Ant/Dwyer year next year. I can see him matching Sims production and getting somewhere between 600-800 yards, combined with Laskey we can probably see 1100-1300 yards between the top 2 BBs. This of course, assumes they both stay healthy.

    I think we'll see Donovan Wilson move over to BB in 2015. Unless CPJ pulls in a stud BB in the 2015 class, there's not exactly much depth at the BB spot. Heck, we may see him pull spot duty to get him experience. After Laskey leaves next season, it's Custis and Snoddy. The jury is still out on Snoddy at BB.

    I do think GT fans need to temper expectations of Custis. It's a big jump from high school to college, plus he took a year off of football.
     
  13. TampaGT

    TampaGT Helluva Engineer

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    Nice write up. I think after a few games I think TC will the feature back. CPJ has said that ZL needs to improve on his blocking. To me blocking is more about want to instead of skill. I would like to see Snoddy move from BB to AB. I think his speed would be better used on the edge. Not likely to see much pt at BB.
     
  14. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

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    I have thought about this too. The kid did some tough inside running in his HS film.
     
  15. Oldgoldandwhite

    Oldgoldandwhite Helluva Engineer

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    We need the B back to get us 4-5 yds early in the down set. One - it will open up the outside which was a brick wall against good teams ,Two - it will give us a manageable 2nd and 3rd down and 3 - it will take pressure off JT in the running and passing game. If we see a bunch of 2nd and 9's and 3rd and 8's, it will be a long season.
     
  16. LongforDodd

    LongforDodd Helluva Engineer

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    Laskey 6'-1" 215 lbs and Herschel Walker was a solid 6'-1 to 2" and 220lbs? Laskey has always looked thin.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  17. augustabuzz

    augustabuzz Helluva Engineer

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    That mat be because Laskey is closer to 6'-3".
     
  18. wingsrlevel

    wingsrlevel Ramblin' Wreck

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    I've see Laskey out and many times after the game. He's pretty tall. I remember seeing him on tv in the huddle standing next to VL who was listed at 6'1 also and said to myself that he has to be taller than 6'1. Probably the reason why he picks up another yard or two when he falls forward.
     
  19. Techster

    Techster Helluva Engineer

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    There was a picture of Laskey and Gotsis floating around the boards last offseason. Laskey looked like he was just as tall and big as Gotsis.
     
  20. takethepoints

    takethepoints Helluva Engineer

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    From your mouth to God's ear! If Zach weighed 230, we'd have another Ketani back there and all of us would be happy. Unfortunately, I think he's one of those people who simply don't carry much fat, no matter how hard they try. (Frankly, I look at my waistline and I hate those people. Unless they're playing for Tech, that is.) If he gets up to 220 - and I think he probably will - he'll be better at the dive. Boomer is right about pad level; more weight would help with that. But he's no slouch as is.
     

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