Thursday, October 22, 2009

game preview: Georgia Tech

Date/Time: October 24, 12:00

TV: Raycom

Last matchup: UVA 24, GT 17 (Highlights!)

Last week: UVA 20, Md. 9; GT 28, VT 23

Line: Georgia Tech by 5.5

Opposing blogs: From The Rumble Seat

Injury report:

(I always forget to come back and post this once it's available. Let's see if I remember this week.)

This is the fun part. We're back at the table, and now we're playing with house money. Who really expects us to actually win this ACC thing? Nobody. Nobody thinks we're good enough. Fair enough: it's not like we've been beating good teams, really. Saturday's our first crack at that. Win, and we replace GT on the list of actual Coastal contenders. Lose, and we'll just do what we expected to do anyway, which is muddle toward a possible bowl game and probably, a new coach. A loss is not a win, but neither is it devastating. A win, on the other hand? Heady stuff.


- Obviously, it's all about stopping the triple option. We will be much better at that if the safeties can step up in run defense. Last week, the coaches showed all the confidence in the world in our cornerbacks as they left them in single coverage against Torrey Smith all game long. It worked. It needs to again. There's no doubt the coaches will again let the corners deal with the Tech wide receivers, particularly and obviously Demaryius Thomas, who is pretty much the only receiving threat on the outside. Thomas is an excellent receiver, but as long as the corners stay disciplined on play-fakes, there won't be any big plays and the safeties will be free to step way up and shut down the running lanes.

- The 3-4 is a little bit like the rock to Paul Johnson's scissors; it's a better scheme for defending this offense than a traditional 4-3. But it requires very smart, very disciplined linebacker play, particularly on the outside. Defending the option means taking care of your assignment and not running around like a fool.

- GT's defense is better the further away from the line of scrimmage you get. The less they're involved in the play, the better, so a simple, bread-and-butter offense with heavy doses of the screen pass and the shotgun handoff is the best game plan. Not so much the shotgun draw, however.


- No amount of discipline from the back eight will prevent the Tech offense from grinding out the yardage if the defensive line can't hold the line of scrimmage. If we lose the battle in the trenches the way we did last week, Tech will do what they do best, which is to triple-option their way down the field six yards at a time. That's a devastating, morale-sucking way to lose.

- Pass-block the way we usually do. GT's defensive line has caused their defense as a whole to be pretty porous, but if we let that be a strength instead of a weakness, all bets are off. Pressure on Sewell will cause him to make silly decisions into the teeth of a very good secondary, and it's not going to end the same way it did on Burd's catch against Maryland.

- Bad tackling. This would be bad against anyone but especially problematic against Georgia Tech, whose corps of running backs has no problem running right over you if you. Corey Mosley still likes to hit without wrapping up, which might be part of the reason why he's not a starter anymore - if that's how we want to tackle this week, we lose.


Decorum requires I point out that Heather calls for the UVA win yet again. She deserves her props: she's called every game in our streak so far. Myself? No prediction here as far as a win or a loss. This game is strength on strength (their offense vs. our defense) and weakness on weakness (our offense vs. their defense.) That's tough to call. GT is the better team on paper, except as far as defense is concerned, and you know what they say about defense and championships and whatnot. What with that, and the ugly weather forecast, another low-scoring game is in the cards, and that favors us. That means the game will come down to another couple key plays, and who's to say that can't be us making them again?


Florida State at North Carolina, going on right now

Maryland at Duke, 1:30
Boston College at Notre Dame, 3:30
Clemson at Miami, 3:30
Wake Forest at Navy, 3:30

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