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Looking Ahead - QB

Discussion in 'Georgia Tech Football' started by Boomergump, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

    Ahh! It is nice to be back home and in front of a keyboard again. Corresponding with the board via cellphone is OK but I am dissuaded from making any significant posts due to the inefficiency of it all. I was going to post this segment later, but given the events of recent days, now seems like an especially good time, especially considering the other QB related threads have flown off the rails and become more coaching related.

    Gone: is Vad Lee. I wasn't really expecting to have write this in this year's edition, but it is what it is. Vad arrived to the flats amid legendary type expectations, and why not. He is a tall, sturdy, and physical athlete with good speed, and a very strong arm capable of flinging the ball 20 yards past any of Tevin Washington's longest completions. In his RS freshman campaign Vad played about a quarter of the snaps and produced respectable numbers with a combination of electricity and unbridled risk taking that had the fan base salivating for the 2013 season. He was never able to unseat TW but showed flashes of brilliance none the less. The 2014 season had a beginning that, frankly, most of the members of this board expected. There was a lopsided win against an FCS opponent and a well executed (from the QB standpoint) victory against, what would be, a peach bowl bound Duke team, followed by a gut wrenching character win against UNC. Things weren't perfect, but they were looking up. Then Vad seemed to hit a wall and never really recovered. Some have speculated that the whack that sent him out of the UNC game for a few plays was the genesis of his troubles. That may or may not be true, but since that game, the confident fiery leadership gave way to timid running, unsuredness, and sloppy execution. Instead of carrying his team to victory on his shoulders, Vad was making the critical turnovers and bad reads that stalled his team's momentum. In both the VT and Miami losses his careless fumbles led to the critical momentum changes that initiated GT's demise. As the season wore on, it became clear that Vad was having trouble executing the offense. His option reads were not reliable and he wasn't forcing defensive players to commit, but rather, stringing plays out into oblivion. Time and time again, positive drives were stalled by negative plays. Clearly, by his body language, Vad was giving signals that he wasn't comfortable. CPJ was able to cobb together enough play calls to garner some offense using Vad's talents, combined with those around him, but the offense started to resemble a boxer who lost his jab. Without the base offense execution (the effective jab), the TECH offense had to rely on landing the big punch. Sadly, we weren't able to do consistently enough to have the kind of season we were all hoping for. Vad was struggling. He knew it. We knew it. He decided to call it quits and make a change. At this point, I don't blame him. He followed his heart, and hopefully his head, and decided that he was better off with a different program in a different system. I would like to take the time now to thank VL for all his contributions to TECH. He is a character individual who represented the institution well. He honored his original commitment, despite recruiting pressures, and gave us his best shot. I wish him nothing but the best and I am sure he will have a positive, productive, and happy life. Good luck young man. I am proud of you.

    Returning with playing time: are Justin Thomas and Tim Byerly. Justin is a bit undersized, but an extremely quick and elusive player with a surprisingly strong arm. During his limited playing time, Justin has shown both the explosive capability and the maddening carelessness that characterize many young, inexperienced play callers. Early in the season, I had an inkling that JT was actually going to overtake Vad on the depth chart. That never materialized, although the option part of the offense seemed to be progressing for him at a faster rate than the incumbent. Sadly, Justin hurt himself, by trying to force every play and taking too many chances. Obviously, CPJ felt it was too risky to hand him the reigns. Tim is a surprisingly physical and decisive runner who has an obvious grasp of option concepts, both under center and from the pistol. Truthfully, he looks the most comfortable of the three that received playing time this year, despite the small sample size and the lack of leverage situations. For me, his throwing abilities remain a question. I simply haven't seen him do it much, so I don't have a strong opinion.

    New to the program are Ty Griffin, R-FR, and Matthew Jordan, current commit and early enrollee. I really don't have much to say about either as they have not taken a live snap. I have seen both of their HS films, however, fwiw. Griffin is very athletic, agile and elusive. I don't know if he destined for QB or not, but I am glad he is giving it a shot. Jordan has the size, speed, toughness, and throwing ability to be a contender. However, getting it done at the college level is always an uncertainty. I look forward to watching him toss his hat in the ring.

    Added note in terms of recruiting: although the Vad Lee experiment did not work out in the long run, I think that targeting athletic HS QBs who can pass, whether or not they have run TO from under center is still a good plan. Just because Vad never gained any traction with the option doesn't mean that future recruits won't. I think it is far more likely that we will be able to teach a throwing guy the option than suddenly make him a good passer in college when he couldn't get it 30 yards down field in HS. In my sport, you can teach guys to throw curves and change ups with control and deception, but you can't can't teach them to throw gas. We still need the passing element to become an elite offense, but, lets admit it, we are a run based unit who needs the option executed at a high level first and foremost. We just need to plan on having our QB recruits (with good and accurate arms) take a couple of years to learn the system if they haven't run TO from under center before. It is OK if they have to grow a little first and are not oven ready. Matt Jordan seems to fit that mold.

    In Summary: I think the chances we see the QB position take a major step forward are still fairly strong. JT is a better thrower than most anybody on this board have given him credit for. I think he sees the field better than Vad, keeps plays alive better, and can throw on the run. When he gets his body aligned, he can fling it a good ways and he has touch. Don't sell him short. If you are one of those worried about his size, don't be. JN was easily the most physically imposing and sizable QB we have had to date, and ironically, we couldn't keep him on the field. In the end, it is more about avoiding the big hits than sustaining them. TW is evidence of this. JT will be just fine in this department. It is pretty hard to get a hat on him squarely. At this point I actually feel relaxed because we have have TB as a contender and insurance policy. He CAN run the option. There is no doubt in my mind. If nothing else, he will help us find our jab again and tap into the talents of those around him to set up the big punch. He will move the sticks and reduce the number of negative plays by a large percentage. He may WIN THE JOB. Truthfully, what has happened in the last few days was destined to happen, whether Vad went to the bench or another team. Most likely, this is a win win for everybody. I am not worried about Vad's transfer hurting recruiting. Look at it this way: is MJ more or less likely to sign based on VL's departure? Obviously, with the incumbent leaving, there is a better chance of winning the job.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  2. OldJacketFan

    OldJacketFan Helluva Engineer

    Boomer, pretty much dead on. Thanks for taking the time to put it out there for us.
    GTDawgWrecker likes this.
  3. AE 87

    AE 87 Helluva Engineer

    Thanks Boomer. Nice write-up. I'm not sure that the Duke game was that great for Vad from an option standpoint either, but I'm just going off recollections of my feelings at the time without looking into it more. The one question I have is whether Vad really went south after the "we're a terrible option team" game. He may have just got so far inside his own head on option plays that he just stopped making reads. Who knows?

    I also agree with you about JT's arm. I can't remember which game it was but he came in and threw a bullet to a WR at the sideline that was beautiful. I also think that TB does "look right" running both the triple option and zone-read stuff from the diamond, but it's hard to tell if that was just because of opposition.

    Matthew Jordan's senior film is great. I doubt he'll beat out JT any time soon but even if not, he'll be a RS Soph when JT's a RS Sr which is pretty perfect, imo.
    gtg936g likes this.
  4. ATL1

    ATL1 Helluva Engineer

    I' m noy sold on JT as many of you, I've already seen him knocked silly. If he is the started I hope to see a lot of Tim in the game as well.

    They will want to redshirt MJ, he'll have to really show something for them not too. I hoping he wins out.

    BTW. Can I request the OLine to be done next?
  5. bke1984

    bke1984 Helluva Engineer

    It's going to be interesting to say the least. I just want someone who's makes decisive, aggressive reads and is not afraid of getting hit. I'm not necessarily saying we need another Nesbit who will plow anyone in his path (would be nice, but hard to find), but just someone who will lower his shoulder to get a first down...this is very critical to our offensive success. I'm actually surprised we didn't punt more on 4th down this year, given the situation...
  6. CornerBlitz

    CornerBlitz Ramblin' Wreck

    Thanks for the great post Boomer. Great analysis. I think all reasonable folks wish Vad tremendous success wherever he lands.
    poodleface and AE 87 like this.
  7. jayparr

    jayparr Helluva Engineer

    One of the greatest post on any board, and a MUCH NEEDED post!!!! THANKS A LOT!!!!
    UgaBlows likes this.
  8. yjack

    yjack Jolly Good Fellow

    bke - watch MJ's senior highlights. He doesn't shy away from lowering his head if necessary. I think he brings the right attitude for this offense.
  9. Eric

    Eric Retired Co-Founder Staff Member

    By the way MJ is at Tech now. Arrived today.
  10. Whiskey_Clear

    Whiskey_Clear Banned

    Great post once again boomer.
  11. gtg936g

    gtg936g Helluva Engineer

    I'll add this little tid bit. I have only seen TB get two reads wrong. This was a small sample size, but that is impressive to me. If CPJ continues with a 2 QB system, this is the thunder and lightnening combo to make it successful.
  12. UgaBlows

    UgaBlows Helluva Engineer

    Post of the year!
  13. Jerry the Jacket

    Jerry the Jacket Helluva Engineer

    Well it will be interesting. After some reflection, I think it is best that Vad has moved on. I had high hopes for him but it was not going to work out for him here and it may not work out for him any where. I hope he finds success some where if not in football certainly in life. He seems like a very fine person. I to am not sold on Justin Thomas. I hope I am wrong about that. I think Byerly might end up being our quarterback next year. But whatever happens happens. No matter what happens, I will be there pulling for whoever leads us out of the huddle.

    We also have some other guys on the team that potentially could play quarterback. Guys like Jamal Golden, Demond Smith and Dennis Andrews all played QB in high school so we may see someone out of left field enter the fray.

    Go Jackets!
    wuzjrbuzz, techman78 and John like this.
  14. Mack

    Mack Helluva Engineer

    Tech ,if JT is able to take the pounding should be able to run the bread and butter option.He is quick and that will come in well when he meets the DE one on one.I hate it for Vad but I think its clear on the option he was a step slow in reads and if folks remember PJ said he was having some problems with the option when he got to tech.Lee is a dual threat when right and he also was a spread qb so unlike JN he didnt take to water like a duck.I think we are at least the same at qb if we can throw and JT may be the key.We shall see.
  15. bke1984

    bke1984 Helluva Engineer

    Yeah, I watched it. It'll be interesting. He's fast in a straight line, but he's not exactly shifty. Josh wasn't either, so maybe it doesn't matter, but again, Josh was a beast.

    Conventional wisdom says it would be Thomas or Byerly, and probably a combination of the two until one supplants the other in the fall.

    I'm excited though...not as excited as I would be if Vad had worked out, but I'm about as optimistic as I was before this season. Schedule will be easier...trading Tulane for BYU should be an additional win, plus Clemson, UGAg (I know Mason played some, but still a new first year starter...and he doesn't look that great), VT, Miami, and Pitt are all replacing senior QB's, so I think everyone is taking a bit of a step backwards. I'm confident our defense will continue to improve, so if our offense improves with a new QB we should be OK.
  16. Animal02

    Animal02 Helluva Engineer

    +1 Always enjoy the analysis Boomer brings.
  17. takethepoints

    takethepoints Helluva Engineer

    Excellent post and spot on.

    I'll say here what I've often said about Byerley. He isn't very big, he isn't very fast, and his arm is ok, at best. Yet, I wouldn't be surprised to see him win the job. He knows how to manage a football game and how to win. He always has. I've compared him to Billy Lothridge on this. The only thing Lothridge was great at was kicking. But, Laws, did he know how to run a football team! The confidence this gave to his teams was contagious.

    But JT has the inside track due to sheer talent and game experience. It'll be interesting to see who comes out on top.
    gtpi likes this.
  18. Oldgoldandwhite

    Oldgoldandwhite Helluva Engineer

    Great post! Makes you wonder how much Vad's mental state had on the team and performance. May have cost us 3-4 wins.
  19. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

    I feel for Vad, truthfully. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to know it wasn't working and yet have the responsibility of the entire team on your shoulders? It is a tough position to be in. I know he didn't want to let his teammates down.

    My gosh, he was so tentative by the end. I just watched the bowl all over again on DVR. Two plays stand out as a microcosm of his season. The first is the play in which he fumbled. He faked a pitch nicely, turned it up field for about 10 yards until he encountered a defender about a yard short of the line to gain. Instead of accelerating and lowering his pads and plowing for a first down, like he would have last year, he slowed down, looking to absorb the hit allowing a pursuer from behind to catch him and whack at the ball at the same time that the guy in front puts his helmet on his ball carrying arm, fumble. If he lowers his shoulder, no fumble and a first down.
    The second was a long incompletion to Waller on a drive that we were trying to take the lead late. On second and 12, Vad scrambles nicely to his left avoiding the rush. As he approaches the boundary he has at least 10 clear yards ahead of him to run for the first down. Instead of taking the sure thing, he fires deep into double coverage to Waller who gets creamed, no catch. If he pulls it down the drive stays alive with either a first down or a very manageable 3rd down instead of 3rd and 12.
  20. KlausMikaelsonTheOriginal

    KlausMikaelsonTheOriginal Banned

    None of those guys you listed can pass well enough to keep good defenses honest.

    Our problem over the last 4 years is having offensive balance that will keep good defenses honest and open up all parts of the offense, and yet you suggest things that will put us right back where we have been over the last 4 seasons--- 25 losses in 4 years, 6.25 losses per year.

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