Some thoughts on Georgia-Georgia Tech

Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I woke up today feeling strangely optimistic about the game.  And, after all the ups and downs of the 2016 season, it does feel strange to feel that way going into a game, especially a rivalry game.

I do see a few keys to the Dawgs preventing the Jackets from assaulting the hedges.

  • Make Tech grind.  Groo discusses that point in this post.  Johnson’s offense is 20th nationally in yards per play because it hits on big plays.  That’s been one of the drivers to Tech’s late season run of success.  Georgia can’t give up big plays on the perimeter and the secondary has to be aware of Justin Thomas’ threat as a big play passer.  Easier said than done, I know.
  • Turnover margin.  Georgia Tech has won four of its last five games, going +5 in turnover margin during that stretch.  The one loss came against Miami, when Tech was minus-2 in TO margin.  Perhaps more significantly, the Jackets are +6 in their last two games and probably wouldn’t have won either without that.  Georgia needs to work that stat in its favor.
  • Don’t give up on the run.  Ted Roof’s never seen a run blitz he didn’t like, and I fully expect him to live up to that mantra today.  Even if that generates early success, Chaney shouldn’t take that as a sign to abandon the ground game.  The funny thing about Tech’s defense is that it hasn’t been that awful against the pass, despite not having much of a pass rush.  A look at the pass defense game log shows that they haven’t allowed a passer rating over 150 but three times and haven’t allowed more than two passing touchdowns in any game all season.  Meanwhile, you can see that the Jackets’ rushing defense has slowly worn down over the course of the season and in November is giving up almost 200 yards on the ground per game, along with almost three rushing touchdowns a game.  If that smells to you like making sure Nick Chubb gets plenty of opportunities to pound the shit out of Tech’s defense, you’re not alone.
  • Keep special teams even.  A couple of months ago, this would have seemed like a pipe dream, but now, not so much.  Blankenship has emerged as a competent place kicker.  Coverage teams have improved and over the past two games, it appears that blocking on returns has, too.  (No coincidence that McKenzie and Davis turned in their best returns of the season in those two games.)  The Dawgs would still appear to be at a disadvantage in the net punting department, but if they can at least play Tech to a draw elsewhere, I’ll take it.

In the end, my reason for optimism lies in large part with Kirby Smart, who, I think wants this game and has given every indication that he’s prepared the team for that.  It hasn’t been a great year in many ways, but a solid finish against Georgia Tech lets the season ends on an upward projection and gives Smart a good place from which to grow the program.  Plus, there’s no reason to think he feels any differently about Tech than we do.  That should be enough to do the trick.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

10 responses to “Some thoughts on Georgia-Georgia Tech

  1. Dawg Vegas

    I can see all of that, but I’m not sure I share your optimism. I think it was all those ouside runs La-Lafayette had success with that worry me.

    I rarely enjoy this game until it’s over (51-7 being a notable exception). It’s more like something I endure. I don’t feel that with other rival games, which I look forward to. This is just tension for me until the finish, or we have it sewn up. Too many close calls I suppose, mixed with a general sense of relief when we win.

    Now, let’s GATA!!!

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    • Freedawg10

      I somewhat feel the same. While there is rarely a feeling of great accomplishment for beating them, but I know in the back of my mind it is the worst loss to experience. Beating them is a combination of relief and joy. Go Dawgs!

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  2. Macallanlover

    Agree Senator, I also feel we win this game (but not totally confident of that) because things seem to be trending for us, however slight. Biggest concern is Chaney and the offense, and the weak performance of the front 7 against ULL. Good point about the mystery of punting from Ramsey this season he wasn’t spectacular last season but was much better than he has been in 2016. With a constipated offense, I sure hope we find a recruit who can help us in the field position punting battles that so many close games hinge on.

    If this is to be Chubb and Michel’s final game between the hedges, I hope they go off an the high notes they were hitting in their first games. Both have been exemplary players for their three years in Athens. Go Dawgs, let’s finish this thing off on a positive note and move forward!!

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  3. In the end, I just want to beat Tech but it would be nice to put someone away this year. That said…there have been some good, some ugly but mostly close games in this rivalry over the last few years. This game is either gonna be a nail biting grind like every game this season or we’ll put them away. Thwgt!!

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  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    Frankly, changing coaches made my knees wobble, so in some respects this season has been a good surprise. If we process Tech I can at least feel we are on the right track. And that the light at the end of the tunnel might be the 2018 offensive line.

    My knees did not wobble so much because we fired Mark Richt and hired Kirby, but just because I knew, had seen over and over again, changing coaches and coaching philosophy etc, was gonna be a long process, that at least one and probably two years were gonna be needed to complete the transition.

    So, from the horror of Tennessee and the sorrow of Vandy, here we are with a chance to make happy at Christmas.

    Do Visors Rule? We shall see.

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  5. I say we win fairly comfortably- double digits- if we have no more than 1 fumble lost.

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  6. DawgByte

    Oddly I woke up feeling the same way. For weeks leading up to this game I thought we’d lose by 7 points.
    To me there’s two basic keys to success against Tech. Force them to run up the middle. If we give them the edge they’ll own TOP and convert more 3rd downs than we want. Second key… we’ve got to score TD’s when we’re inside Tech’s 30 yard line.

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  7. jt (the other one)

    Kirbo…HATES them. I know this.

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  8. www

    I think you mean UNC, not Miami.

    “Georgia Tech has won four of its last five games, going +5 in turnover margin during that stretch. The one loss came against Miami, when Tech was minus-2 in TO margin.”

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