Coming off back to back road losses to Pitt and South Florida to fall to 1-2, Georgia Tech fans are already writing off this year’s team. Fans are calling for Paul Johnson to be fired and taking to twitter to let out their frustrations. We ask for you to understand that this season is far from over.
Overreaction is a staple of being an Atlanta sports fan. Let’s face it, we have seen just about every single way to lose a big game, a division lead, or have had to suffer through dreadful seasons. Fans overreact because we have gotten to the point where we think the nearly impossible is almost likely to happen.
Georgia Tech no doubt has been snake bitten with luck. Now let me define what luck is. It isn’t when Qua Searcy leaps into the end zone for the game winning touchdown on a broken play. That is skill. However, when a ball bounces off two defenders heads and into a Miami receiver’s hands, who is falling down on a 4th and 10, that is luck. When the defense forces a fumble but it bounces right in the VT’s quarterback’s hands and he scoops it up and scores from 30 yards out? That is bad luck.
Let’s get away from all that now and time travel back to the good ole days of 2014. Georgia Tech is 6-0 coming off wins against Miami and at Virginia Tech. Up next on the schedule was Duke and @ North Carolina. The way the Jackets were playing, should have been 2 fairly easy wins, and they lost them both.
The team only had one loss after that, in the ACC Championship to the Jameis Winston led Florida State Seminoles. Three of the five ensuing wins were against ranked teams: #19 Clemson, #9 UGA, and #7 Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl.
The following season? This season was derailed by injuries and managed to lose six games by one possession. Still, in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, this struggling team played a near perfect game and knocked off the undefeated FSU Seminoles at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
In 2016, Georgia Tech started off 3-0 and then lost three straight, which they then followed by winning 6 out of their last 7 games. Then last season Georgia Tech lost 4 out of their last 5 games, but that one win was against #17 Virginia Tech.
All that may just be meaningless facts because all that matters is right now and the future. All I am saying is to just relax and let this season play out because we have seen in the past how Georgia Tech can rebound off a losing streak, whether it be just one big win or running the table the rest of the season. This team has very good senior leadership that can help right this ship.
Georgia Tech is not a bad team, bad teams do not out-gain their opponents. The problem with this team that they just can’t get out of their own way. There have been 4th quarter turnovers in each of the two losses that have completely swung the momentum. Georgia Tech also has a -3 turnover margin in the two losses. For this system to work, you have to be at least even in the turnover battle to give yourself the best chance at winning.
Just within the nature of the triple option the ball will hit the ground some, but the team has to limit it. They fumbled three times against Pitt. Luckily they only lost one of them, but you can’t move the ball up field when the ball is loose on the ground.
That sort of leads me into the next point. You can love him or hate him, but Paul Johnson’s system gives you a chance to win every game you play. For that to happen, the defense must do their part, and the offensive players must execute the blocking schemes, make the right reads and not turn the ball over.
During every win, you can say at least three of the four keys happened. During the losses, you can point to about just two of the four keys. That leads me to also saying, this system makes it that if you just come out flat and not ready, like the 2008 Gardner-Webb game, you can lose to anybody (GT won the game 10-7).
To sum everything up, don’t lose faith in this team just three games into the season. We have seen it before how the Yellow Jackets can rally. We have seen the triple option win big games that on paper, they shouldn’t have won. We have seen the defense make big plays in crunch time to help secure big wins.
The defense improved last week, but the offense was its old self in the second half. Once Georgia Tech can put the two phases together, it can be dangerous. The task at hand this weekend is #3 Clemson with perhaps the best defensive line of this decade. We have seen a slumping Tech team wake up and knock off ranked teams before. So on Saturday, show up and be loud cause this team needs you.
In the words of D-Mo, “WE ain’t Dead Yet!”
By: Bret Anderson- @Bret_A27