Blame it on the triple-option.

If we’re supposed to take it as gospel that Demaryius Thomas’ draft status is guaranteed to make Paul Johnson’s quest to recruit top-flight wide receiving talent to the Flats easier, what then are we supposed to conclude from Jonathan Dwyer’s relatively dismal showing?

Especially in light of what his new position coach had to say…

… The most intriguing player Saturday for the Steelers came way down in the sixth round, where they grabbed Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer with the 188th overall pick. Dwyer is a big man at 5-foot-11, 235 pounds with quickness and some eye-popping statistics — 1,395 yards in each of the past two years. He is not considered a finished product for the NFL because he did not block nor catch much as he ran from a 3-point stance out of the wishbone-like option offense of the Yellow Jackets.

“It’s going to be relearning for him,” said Kirby Wilson, who coaches the Steelers’ backs. “It’s like getting back on a bicycle and starting all over again.”

No doubt the Tech faithful will point to Dwyer’s meds as the reason for his fall, but Dwyer himself suspects it’s something else.

Dwyer thought Georgia Tech’s style of offense might have affected his draft prospects. Although he technically “failed” a drug test at the combine, he was cleared because he takes medication for ADA, and that was known beforehand.

“I don’t know what really hurt me, maybe the whole triple-option process,” Dwyer said.

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UPDATE: Damn, I hate it when I’m wrong.  The good people at Stingtalk aren’t blaming it on the medication, they’re calling Dwyer a fatty.

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UPDATE #2: In the credit where credit is due department, here’s evidence that there are rational Tech fans.

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21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

21 responses to “Blame it on the triple-option.

  1. Chuck

    To some degree you are preaching to the choir here, but it can also be a two-edged sword: I can’t believe Jeff Owens fell as far as he did. Film I saw of his workouts didn’t look like he was suffering from the injury. Did he suffer from Martinez cooties?

  2. The Dawgs had 7 D players to sign. 5 drafted & 2 FA.
    Think the D should have been better last year? The new coaching staff will have everyone playing better & performing at a much higher level this year.

  3. willwc

    I’ll repost a post I found on another Tech board for you. I’m a little surprised you missed it, given the amount of time you apparently spend trolling GT message boards looking for the lowest-hanging fruit to re-post here:

    “Here are the facts on Dwyer’s combine (per ESPN’s numbers):

    40: 4.68 Best of RBs 4.35 (J. Best) Worst 4.75 (A. Dixon)

    3 Cone: 7.56 Best of RBs 6.75 (J. Best) Worst (Dwyer)

    Shuttle: 4.67 Best of RBs 4.06 (D. McCluster) Worst (Dwyer)

    Vertical Jump: 33 Best of RBs 41 (M. Hardesty) Worst 30.5 (C. Scott)

    Broad Jump: 107 Best of RBs 124 ( Hardesty/Tate) Worst (Dwyer)

    Bench Reps: 15 Best of RBs 26 (L. Miller/ B. Tate) Worst 13 (S. Johnson)

    He was the worst in half the categories and close to it in the other 3. I have no idea what was going on with him that day but he would have been better off not participating due to injury instead of bringing it up after the fact.”

    Dwyer was projected as a first/second round pick by most folks that cover the draft when he declared three months ago. It’s not like they were unaware that he played in the triple option back then. Obviously there were some relative unknowns as a result of the offense (e.g. pass-catching and blocking abilities), but do you seriously believe he fell ~120 spots in the scouts’ eyes in the three months between the Orange Bowl and the draft simply because NFL scouts suddenly realized he was lining up in the wishbone? If you look at this without an agenda, it seems pretty likely that his brutal combine numbers played a much larger role in his drop than his college offense or the overblown medication story did, particularly when there’s opposing evidence (Demaryius Thomas’s draft position, among other examples) that suggests NFL teams won’t care so much about what you’ve done in the past as what they think you can do for them.

    Nonetheless, I’m sure you’ll continue to ignore external factors and repeat this line every time an offensive player GT recruits chooses a different college. After all, we all know if you say something enough, it becomes true, right?

    • Spin it any way you want. I can find you plenty of draftniks who will argue that the combine is incredibly overrated as an analytical tool.

      I notice you don’t have anything to say about Kirby Wilson’s comment.

  4. Jake

    Settle down WillWC. Sounds like you might have a bit of an agenda yourself.

  5. NCT

    Thanks a lot, Senator. Now I’ve got an Eydie Gorme earworm with which to contend for the rest of the weekend.

    • NCT

      … for the less pop-culturally overloaded among us. And it begs for a lyrics re-write to fit the post’s topic, but I’m just not up to it today.

  6. Jeff

    I am sure it was all about Tech’s offensive scheme and had nothing to do with his steller (*sarcasm*)combine numbers:

    Here are the facts on Dwyer’s combine (per ESPN’s numbers):

    40: 4.68 — Best of RBs 4.35 (J. Best) Worst 4.75 (A. Dixon)

    3 Cone: 7.56 — Best of RBs 6.75 (J. Best) Worst (Dwyer)

    Shuttle: 4.67 — Best of RBs 4.06 (D. McCluster) Worst (Dwyer)

    Vertical Jump: 33 — Best of RBs 41 (M. Hardesty) Worst 30.5 (C. Scott)

    Broad Jump: 107 — Best of RBs 124 ( Hardesty/Tate) Worst (Dwyer)

    Bench Reps: 15 — Best of RBs 26 (L. Miller/ B. Tate) Worst 13 (S. Johnson)

    No RB with those combine numbers is ever going to go in the first two rounds, I don’t care what system they play in. Keep the uniformed hate going though if it makes you happy.

    • Maybe I should change the header to “Blame it on the combine numbers”. ;)

      Seriously, I notice that you Jacket partisans keep skipping past what the Pittsburgh running backs coach said about Dwyer. Maybe you can explain how the combine affected that.

      • Jeff

        You probably should change the title. In the end, the NFL teams just want the best players. They really could give a crap less what system they played in college. Admittedly, it may make it a little harder to evaluate a guy’s full talents when he doesn’t play in a pro set (see the coaches comments). However, that still wouldn’t stop anybody from taking him if they truly thought that he was one of the best players in the class (see Damarius Thomas, who was subject to the exact same evaluation limitations, yet was the first wide receiver selected).

        If you truly think that, if Adrian Peterson had played at Tech instead of Oklahoma, then he would have been drafted in the sixth round, just because of the spread opiton, then you are crazy.

        Before the combine (and bowl game against Iowa), most draft experts had Dwyer as a first or second round guy. That was not because they didn’t know he played in the spread option, its because they had no reason to doubt he would be a great player. After the combine, they indeed did have significant reason to doubt. These are big money decisions, and those were truly terrible combine numbers he put up.

        Is it your position that he slipped from his initial early round projections because the draft experts never realized he played in spread option until closer to the draft?

        • No.

          It’s my position that Tech fans are talking out of both sides of their mouths when they proclaim that Thomas’ draft position is proof that Johnson can sell the triple option to five star wide receiver recruits, while Dwyer’s is merely proof that he was out of shape at the combine.

          • Jeff

            If both players were in similar positions, I would think you had a point. However, they are not. One player had a horrible combine and rumors of a failed drug test, one did not. Quite frankly, the sample size is just too small to draw any conclusions.

            To support your position, you would have to believe that Dwyer would have been drafted in the first or second round if he played in another offense. Do you truly believe that would have happened with those combine numbers? I don’t.

            However, what we can say definitively is that, just because you are a receiver in Paul Johnson’s offense does not mean that you cannot be drafted highly. I think that would be reassuring to some receiver recruits that like Tech, but were wondering if they could get drafted high coming out of the system. How can you argue with that? Thomas did in fact get drafted high.

            Are we going to get all 5 star receiver recruits from now on? No, of course not. However, have we ever? Not even close. Heck Damarius Thomas was only a three star coming out of high school. The kid we got just last year after seeing Thomas play in the offense for one season (Stephen Hill) was rated higher than that (four star).

            • Quite frankly, the sample size is just too small to draw any conclusions.

              And yet that’s exactly what many of the Tech faithful are doing here. All I’m doing is pointing out the inconsistencies.

              • Jeff

                But the sample size is big enough to definitively state, with 100% certainty, that, just because you are a receiver in Paul Johnson’s offense, that does not mean that you cannot be drafted highly.

                That is really all most people are saying. Not sure what your problem with that is. Dwyer has nothing to do with that.

                If you see someone say that Thomas is proof that Tech will from now on get all the top receiver recruits or that all Tech receivers will now go in the first round, let me know. Then I will agree with you that they are idiots. However, I don’t think anyone is saying anything like that, and certainly not anything you linked.

                • Jeff, here’s the quote from Barrel of Rum again:

                  … No longer can opposing coaches negatively recruit against us, telling future wide receivers that they will never play in the NFL if they come to Tech. We now have proof that if you play WR well in our offense, the NFL will find you & do so sooner rather than later…

                  First off, that quote sets up a straw man. No recruiter is dumb enough to say never. And it’s not necessary. The reality is that Tech’s offense makes it very difficult for more than one wide receiver to have a chance to shine at a given time. If you’re not the #1 guy at Tech, the NFL isn’t going to find you, because you’ll be invisible.

                  Second, for you guys to think that Thomas being drafted where he was changes how Tech’s offense will be described by other recruiters to receiver recruits, you’re dreaming. And if you think that Tech using his example as a defense to negative recruiting is going to make much of a difference to a five-star recruit, you’re dreaming. As you say, the sample size is too small.

                  As for Dwyer, I notice that you still haven’t come up with a response to what the position coach at Pittsburgh had to say. And I guarantee you that’s gonna get tossed out against CPJ on the recruiting trail, too.

                  Every offensive scheme involves tradeoffs. The triple option is no different. I’m not arguing that talent won’t on occasion rise above scheme and get drafted, in some cases quite highly. My point is that you and other like minded Tech fans are trying to have it both ways here. To state that Thomas’ draft success will translate into a bigger recruiting pool for Tech’s offensive scheme while ignoring the criticism of the scheme by JD’s new position coach and assuming is inconsistent.

                  One more thing about the NFL draft and recruiting. This is Paul Johnson’s first time at that dance. It was never a real sales pitch he had to concern himself with at GSU or Navy. He’s in a different world now and for you guys to assume that it’s all going to go smoothly is a leap of faith, especially given that Thomas was a Gailey recruit.

                  • Jeff

                    I still see nothing wrong with the quote. First off, you and I disagree about what recruiters will tell a kid. I guarentee you that recruiters have been telling WRs that they will never be able to make the NFL as a high draft pick in Tech’s offense. Thomas proves that is not the case. Thomas does also seem to be proof that, if you play WR “well” at Tech, the NFL will find you. So, I am not sure what your problem is. I guess they could have said the NFL “can” find you instead of “will,” but I don’t get the sense that would appease you. Again, they are not saying all high profile recruits will now come to Tech or that they will all go to the NFL, just that the negative recruiting tactic that you will never make it to the NFL if you go to Tech can no longer be used with the same force. I also think that Thomas’ play and high draft status will help with pulling in other receivers (see Stephen Hill last year).

                    —————————-
                    “The reality is that Tech’s offense makes it very difficult for more than one wide receiver to have a chance to shine at a given time.”
                    —————————-

                    Isn’t that true of most offenses? How many teams in the last 25 years had more than one WR with over 1100 yards receiving? If they did, how many of them also had a guy rush for over 1400 yds on the same team (and another over 1000)? I am guessing none. You can’t have it all ways. However, what Tech showed over the last two years was that its offense can produce and feature outstanding players at both WR and RB. Thomas is evidence that Tech coaches can now point to to show that a high profile WR can be succesfull in Tech’s system.

                    Also, I am not ignoring the Steeler’s coaches comments about Dwyer and the TO. As I said before, “Admittedly, it may make it a little harder to evaluate a guy’s full talents when he doesn’t play in a pro set (see the coaches comments). However, that still wouldn’t stop anybody from taking him if they truly thought that he was one of the best players in the class (see Damarius Thomas, who was subject to the exact same evaluation limitations, yet was the first wide receiver selected).”

                    Point is, the recruiting theme in the past by other teams has been that you cannot be a successful WR at Tech and get drafted high by the NFL. Thomas shows that is not true, and is something that Johnson and the other coaches can point to to rebut that argument made by other coaching staffs. The quote you cite says nothing more.

                    I still think you are arguing against something nobody said. Nobody has said that Tech will now get all the top WR recruits, that they will all go to the NFL, or that recruiting of WRs will now “go smoothly” at Tech. It never has before. There is no reason to believe it will now. However, Tech does now have something tangible to point to to show a high profile WR recruit that they could be successful in Tech’s offense if they decide to come. That is all.

                    • Isn’t that true of most offenses? How many teams in the last 25 years had more than one WR with over 1100 yards receiving?

                      As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, 65 players in D-1 had more catches in 2009 than Tech’s entire receiving corps.

                      Your mileage obviously varies, but the triple option simply isn’t and will never be a receiver friendly offense, Thomas’ draft results notwithstanding.

  7. Jeff

    Oops. Sorry. I never refreshed before posting and did not see that had already been posted.

  8. 81Dog

    Actually, Senator, what the nerd partisans are trying to tell you is that the combine numbers are just further proof of Paul Johnson’s greatness and genius. If he can get production out of a slow, talentless tub of lard like Dwyer, think what he could do with a really good back.

    Now, how he explains his horsecrap defenses the last couple of years, given the talent that was drafted, is another story. I guess he’s such an offensive genius that they don’t have to worry about stopping anyone, they’ll just outscore everyone.

    and yes, nerds, I see Al Groh is pushing his walker up and down the sidelines over at Tech now. I’m sure he’ll be remembered in the same reverential tones as Marion Campbell is for his legendary era as UGA’s defensive coordinator. Hopefully, he can recreate the magic at GTU that he demonstrated at UVA the last several years.

    • Jeff

      “Now, how he explains his horsecrap defenses the last couple of years, given the talent that was drafted, is another story.”

      I am going to go ahead and say that he explains it by saying that we suck, firing the defensive coordinator, and hiring a guy with a much better resume. Is Al Groh going to be the best defensive coordinator in all of college football? Of course not. However, given the budget limitations that Johnson was working with, who in the heck did you want him to get. Groh was a good hire, and a good respons from a coach who admittedly recognized his defense did not perform up to its talents.

      • 81Dog

        Who the heck did I want him to get? Gosh, I would have been happy for the Mini-Skipper to hire almost anyone. You nerds have trotted out about every kind of defensive system known to man the last 50 odd years, and UGA generally finds a way to beat it. Honestly, I don’t care who he hired, budgetary constraints nothwithstanding. Maybe you nerds should talk to Hew?tt about floating your AD a loan. Or just get more nerds to buy actual tickets.

        I’m sure Al Groh will be a gem, given his stellar performance at UVA. Who can forget the granite D of UVA surrendering only 17 points to Western Michigan in 2006? Sure, UVA only scored 10, but that’s pretty good D. And they lost to traditional power E. Carolina in 06, but that was a road game. Those are very tricky, I hear.

        True, they got smoked 23-3 by a powerhouse Wyoming team in 07, but that was a road game, too. In 08, Southern Cal hung half a hundred on them (52), which is good D….if you’re playing basketball. UConn almost got to half a hundred that year with 45.

        Groh’s masterwork was the 09 season, which he started out by letting Bill & Mary drop 26 on him in a losing home opener. This kind of presented an ominous portent for the 09 season, which ended up a lustrous 3-9 at Mr. Jefferson’s University.

        So, you nerds and your ailing checkbooks couldn’t come up with anything better than Al Groh? Stellar work, nerds. Your defense sucked WITH several talented players on it the last two years. Now that the talent is gone, I’m sure you’ll be much, much improved. Because that makes total sense, doesnt it?