Georgia Tech Concerns
|Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 9:41 AM- -|
Georgia Tech Concerns
Last year I was concerned about this seasons Georgia Tech game because Clemson has not played well in recent trips to Bobby Dodd Stadium. Then in January we found out Tech was coming to Clemson for the second consecutive year and I became less concerned.
In September I looked at this game with Georgia Tech when the Jackets were 3-0 including wins over Duke and North Carolina and I was once again concerned. The Yellow Jackets lost the nest three games against Virginia Tech, Miami and BYU and I once again became less concerned.
However, Tech is now 6-3 after winning three in a row against Syracuse, Virginia and Pittsburgh and the level of concern has once again risen.
Paul Johnson is a terrific coach and his offensive scheme is enough to keep any defensive coordinator up at night and the Georgia Tech-Clemson series has featured some of the wildest games in the ACC over the last 20 seasons.
At the same time we must remember that Clemson is a 10-point favorite and the Tigers have a long run of success against unranked opponents.
With all of that said, there are a couple of things on the field that do concern me. First are Clemson's safeties. The Tigers safeties have given up a bunch of big plays due to poor angles and bad tackling. Tech's offense is unorthodox and is one based upon the big play. Clemson cannot afford bad safety play Saturday night.
The other major concern is Tech's ability to keep Clemson's offense on the sidelines with long, clock eating drives. We saw Stanford execute this strategy Thursday night when the Ducks' defense couldn't get off of the field.
This Georgia Tech team does not have offensive playmakers like it has in the past with players like Calvin Johnson and Demarius Thomas at wide receiver, Josh Nesbitt and Joe Hamilton at quarterback or Jonathan Dwyer at running back.
Instead, Tech is playing better defensively under new defensive coordinator Ted Roof. Last season Tech allowed 28 points per game. This year the Jackets are giving up just 18 points per game. Georgia Tech's defense gave up 374 yards per game last year and has lowered that number to 329 yards this season. The Jackets have lowered the yards passing from 230 last season to 226 this year. But the biggest improvement in terms of yardage is in the running game, where Tech allowed 144 yards a game last year and only 103 this season.
Part of the improvement on defense stems from experience. The Jackets returned eight starters from last season, including six senior starters. The other part is a better scheme under one of the nation's best defensive coordinators in Roof.
The offensive numbers are very similar to last season. Points per game have gone from 33 to 34 points. The total yards are down from 441 to 430 this year. The rushing yardage is exactly the same with 311 per game but the passing game has dropped from 130 to 119 yards per contest.
Last season in a win over the Yellow Jackets, Clemson allowed 483 yards including 339 on the ground but I do feel better about this game due to the improvement in the Tigers' front seven.
I think the key to slowing down the Yellow Jacket offense comes down to a few factors. First, the defensive line must control the line of scrimmage. I think Clemson has a better chance this season because the Tigers are better up front. Second, the linebackers must make the correct reads and play sideline to sideline. I like
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The final factor in my mind is the venue. This will not be a great environment that we witnessed against Georgia or Florida State, but Clemson has played well against Tech in Death Valley.
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