The More You Know...About Georgia Tech

The More You Know...About Georgia Tech

Dan E. Dangerously
Dan E. Dangerously
Miami marches up to Atlanta this Saturday to face the Rambling Wreck of Georgia Tech. Lets see what the Yellow Jackets have in store for us.


Miami hasn't lost a football game to Georgia Tech since 2008 on a Thursday night. Back then guys like Sean Spence and Jacory Harris were just true freshman. It was Miami's 4th straight loss to Georgia Tech, so the circle is now complete. Now nobody on Georgia Tech's team knows what it feels like to beat Miami in a game, which is how it's supposed to be.

1. Where they are in the standings/rankings:


It's still early, but if anyone told you before the season that Georgia Tech would be in 1st place at the end of September you would have laughed at them. They've only played 1 good team though. Wofford, Tulane, and Georgia Southern all gave them competitive games. Then the Jackets went on the road and got a big win in Blacksburg. However, Virginia Tech doesn't look to be all that great this year...which is the norm for them really. The Yellow Jackets are coming off of a bye week, but before that was their 27-24 win over Virginia Tech via a last second field goal by Harrison Butker. Here's what Virginia Tech people are saying about them:

From: The Key Play

Joe Lanza said:
Georgia Tech Steals a 'T' and 'W'


Mark Umansky/TheKeyPlay

...Thus far this season, the short passing game has picked up the slack for the struggling run game, but Georgia Tech trotted out the worst defensive front the Hokies have faced all season. I loved the way Tech opened the game: rush, rush to setup a manageable third-and-six 17-yard completion to Rogers out of the backfield. I thought the would signal the Hokies leaning on the run in early downs more often, but that wasn't the case...

Oh those wacky nerds. What will they come up with next? That post makes it appear as if Georgia Tech's run D isn't all that great. That's because it isn't. They're currently 94th in the nation in rushing defense giving up 777 on the ground in just 4 games (194.25 per game). In case you were wondering, we're 52nd in the country with 135.2 per game. It's important to keep in mind though that both Wofford and Georgia Southern are triple-option teams, so these numbers could all just be skewed. Here's what the Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech game looked like:

I hate Virginia Tech.

2. What happened the last time Miami played Georgia Tech?


tjl1388/TK Photography

From: Last year's recap

We said:
...With the game basically over GT puts backup QB Justin Thomas back in the game. UM responds by putting their backups into the game too. The problem for GT is that Alquadin Muhammad andTyriq McCord had been on the bench all game and were probably pretty ****ed about it. On 1st down Thomas sees Quan coming from his left and steps to his right in response...right into McCord.


It causes a fumble that GT recovers. On the very next play Quan and McCord beat their man again and force Thomas into an ill-advised throw. Gunter jumps it and takes it home for 6.


45-23 UM...

Georgia Tech led for almost all of the 1st half that day. It was the 1st time that season that Miami seemed to play down to it's opponent. It wasn't the last.

3. Who to be scared of:


Austin Foote

Justin Thomas

Thomas is what makes Georgia Tech's offense go. If you've ever seen this negged gif that decleated made, then you already know who Justin Thomas is.


He's not all that scary passing the ball. He's got a completion percentage below 50% and averages just 152.5 yards per game. He does however do a good job of protecting the football, sporting a 7 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio. When you're averaging 6.8 yards per carry and 110.75 yards per game on the ground you don't have to be all that great of a passer. He leads the Yellow Jackets in both carries (65) and yards (443) too. Here are some highlights from last year to get an idea of what he's capable of.

He's a lot better than the guy who started last year.

4. Player that will score against us:


David Tulis/Associated Press

DeAndre Smelter

Smelter came to Georgia Tech on a baseball scholarship, and now he's pretty much their entire passing game. Over the years since Paul Johnson got to Georgia Tech, be it Demaryius Thomas or Stephen Hill, they've always had 1 solid receiver that got the bulk of the catches. Smelter is now that guy. He leads the team in receptions with 14 (next highest is 4), yards with 339 (next highest is 70), and TD's with 4 (next highest is 1). Just when defenses get tired of being run over in the ground game, they start to cheat and peak into the backfield to get a head start. That's when the QB drops back and throws a duck over your head for a long TD. If/when that happens this weekend, Smelter will be the one in the endzone. This was him bullying some poor guys from Wofford.

He's pretty good.

5. Person that will **** you off:


Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Paul Johnson

This makes 2 years in a row. I think he truly believes he invented football. This guy had 2 good seasons about 5 years ago and that's his justification for keeping with his high school offense. I hate his face too, especially when he's crying about something. His O-line dives head first into the knees of defensive linemen all game, so they're bound to end up being called for a chop block eventually. And when they do, he gets all apoplectic, as if the rules don't apply to his uber-genius offense.


Learn the rules, dummy. You'd be hard pressed to find a more annoying football coach who is constantly crying about stuff.

6. Some guy:


Daniel Shirey/USA Today

Quayshawn Nealy

As a senior, Nealy is the captain of Georgia Tech's defense. His 6'1 235 lbs. frame roams the middle of the field for them. That has allowed him to lead the team in both solo tackles (20) and total tackles (26), while also being second in tackles for loss. You might remember him from last year's game as the guy who picked off Stephen Morris right when we got into the redzone.


Before the season started The ACC's official site came up with a list of the top 25 players to watch for this season. Nealy checked in at #16 in their eyes. This was the video they made about him.

He's ok.

7. If Georgia Tech was a recurring SNL skit, they would be:


The Killer Bees

This really doesn't require a whole lot of set up. It was really just an excuse to post a link to this old skit.

8. Official Internet meme for this game:

Not The Bees!



Comments (29)

This should be al and no d's favorite game of the year. It's all about gap control. Great write up as usual dan!!
you'll a'rent worthy'
words cannot describe my dislike of Paul Johnson. He really believes them being 4-0 is some great accomplishment. Wofford, Tulane, Georgia Southern? really corch?
i cant wait for our defense to eat....I know McCord is hungry !!!
Dan, aren't you at least a little bit excited, a little bit scared about this game?

I feel like break dancing.
You make a running qb beat you throwing.... Hopefully we'll do that...
Here's to hoping for another decapitation at the hands of Mr. McCord on Saturday night.
Excellent, spot on write up. Just to touch on a few of the key points after having seen all but the Tulane game:
-- GT has played no one other than Va Tech, which they were fortunate to win. Also could have very easily lost to Wofford and Georgia Southern - both at home (hardly the equivalent of night games at Louisville and Nebraska on the road).
-- Indeed, Paul Johnson believes he invented the game, at least from an offensive perspective - so presumably includes the art of chop blocks and going low on DLs. Relentlessly ******* at officials and his own players. Problems are never his offensive scheme, but the players' execution.
-- Justin Thomas has improved from last year and seems to be getting better by the game. Has orchestrated some late-game heroics. When forced to late in games, GT has moved the ball via the air better than might be expected.
-- As stated above, Johnson always has one tall, rangy wide receiver. DeAndre Smelter needs to be a focus of attention. Think a DB with size and cover skills, perhaps as in Gunter.
-- Frankly, GT and fans have to be surprised by 4-0 record. They could reasonably be sitting here with three losses - including Wofford and Ga Southern - and the not-so-popular Johnson dialing up his real estate agent. So this game is huge for them. They're calling for a white-out Saturday night. They see a win against Miami as validating their weak-***, unbeaten start. Perhaps even more significant, they'd find themselves in the catbird seat with back-to-back wins against Va Tech and Miami.
Only reason I'm a little bit rustled with GT because it's prime time on the road, golden has yet to beat someone prime time on the road. If this game was at 3:30 I'd have no worries.
Just got my ticket....AYYYEEEEE!!!! Just a tad bit excited.
One of my favorite pictures I've ever taken of my beloved Canes.

Great write up Dan, thanks for using my shot.
Great stuff, Dan. I'll tell you the guy that's gonna cause us fits, especially after watching VT highlights - is Synjyn Davys (#10 - the up back). Dude is an animal on the edge blocking people. I can see him paving the way for Thomas all night long.
We should beat them, but with this staff... Tech had a lot of trouble stopping Tulane. In fact, the only thing that stopped Tulane was Tulane's freshman QB throwing 3 int, one returned for a TD and the other deep in Tulane territory. Then he got hurt with the score 24-21 and the backup is worse than special Olympics QBs. Tulane's stud RB who is averaging 7.6 per carry only had 3 carries because an injury too, so that hurt, and tech blocked a punt for a TD. Basically, if Tulane didn't "Tulane" they win easily.

Kaaya and Duke should have field days.
Only reason I'm a little bit rustled with GT because it's prime time on the road, golden has yet to beat someone prime time on the road. If this game was at 3:30 I'd have no worries.

North Carolina
I bet Georgia Tech all the time. Option teams relentlessly cover spreads when the opponent has no clue. This game I bet Miami. As long as Kaaya doesn't force things and Coley is patient with the running game, there should be chunk plays available all game long.

Georgia Tech was opportunistic against Tulane and Virginia Tech so I covered both even though it didn't look good early. It was awful pass defense mixed with pivotal interceptions out of nowhere. The Tulane freshman forced the ball into crowded quarters after getting too overconfident based on an early deep ball touchdown. Tulane was very amped in that game while opening a new on-campus stadium. The defense got penetration and forced turnovers deep in Georgia Tech territory. But their freshman quarterback didn't see a linebacker camping out on a short safety valve over the middle. Pick six. Georgia Tech also had big plays on special teams. They scored more points than rightful, given the way the game unfolded.

I stayed out of the Georgia Southern game but watched it. Georgia Tech rattled them early with huge plays and a big lead. From that point the defense was pathetic and Georgia Tech was fortunate to pull it out late. Thomas is not an accurate quarterback, to put it mildly. He can look comically bad on typical plays in the midstream of a game. Their scheme creates wide open targets but Thomas misses them. To his credit, he somehow made some of his best throws in vital situations coming from behind against both Georgia Southern and Virginia Tech.

Both lines have been weak this year. That's Miami's opportunity to pounce. I expect our basic running plays will find gaps while we'll penetrate and disrupt on the opposite side. The Georgia Tech interior offensive line has not been able to establish the B-back consistently. That's always what I look for in evaluating an option team. Everything opens up based on how much the defense has reason to fear the fullback dictating the game.

Thomas is very quick and dangerous to the perimeter, far above recent Georgia Tech quarterbacks although hardly in the class of old time option guys like Jack Mildren, Thomas Lott or Jamelle Holieway. If he doesn't turn the corner clean, Thomas is frail and often impatient at the pitch point. He's a big play kid dating to his high school days in Alabama. Instead of accepting the loss or no gain he'll frequently attempt the hero pitch while in the grasp of defenders and falling down. Big opportunity for McCord or someone to cause fumbles. A major difference between old style option teams and current zone read option teams is the zone read teams generally pitch those balls forward, resulting in simply an incomplete pass if it's blown up. With Georgia Tech it's going backward so those are fumbles and advantage defense.

The key is to contain the B-back and the quarterback keeper, forcing Georgia Tech to rely almost exclusively on the A-backs (halfbacks). The Canes have been extraordinary in that regard in recent seasons. Frankly, it hasn't received much if any attention. Every time we play Georgia Tech all I read about is "assignment football," as if that one phrase covers everything. It's incredibly simplistic and lazy. Miami has succeeded against Georgia Tech primarily because the defense forces the A-backs to handle the ball more than Georgia Tech prefers, or than any game they'll otherwise play all season. Against Virginia Tech two weeks ago the A backs might as well have taken the day off. I'm not sure they handled the ball a half dozen times. For all the praise Bud Foster receives, he's never fully figured out how to defense Georgia Tech, although the Hokies have generally won that game, including an extremely fortunate escape on Monday night in 2012. This year's Georgia Tech win was actually proper reversal given how that series has played out in recent years.

As opposed to Virginia Tech, which allowed Thomas to roam the perimeter two weeks ago, Miami forces everything to the A-back, typically 20+ carries for them. When Georgia Tech can't execute the triple option smoothly and get to the perimeter undisturbed, Paul Johhson gets irritated and starts relying on the rocket toss. That's a desperate play in which the A-back starts in motion across the formation and receives a severely angled toss. I'm not sure Georgia Tech was forced to use that play once at Virginia Tech. The Canes typically make the Yellow Jackets resort to that play a half dozen times or more. That's great. It's not an option play. When an option team is required to use that play, it means their bread and butter has either been taken away already or they are not confident it's there. The rocket toss has wild variance, often breaking clear or wiped out in the backfield for a loss. If they use it on 3rd or 4th down, they are playing scared.

Georgia Tech will be motivated for this game. They know their season has been somewhat fortunate so far but this is a chance to artificially make the best of it, at least temporarily. Paul Johnson is feeling some heat, especially considering the losing streak to Georgia. They had perfect opportunity to end that last season with Aaron Murrray injured and Georgia Tech building a huge halftime edge, but blew it late and in overtime. That single outcome makes Johnson's situation more precarious. I think Georgia Tech will be energized early but the Canes should prevail as long as the turnovers and stupid mistakes are reasonably distributed.
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Dan you do God's work!

Fantastic as usual.

Ignore Gary Tolstoy.