Round Table Discussion: Georgia Tech Edition

Malcolm Lewis looks to make an impact in the upcoming game against the Rambling Wreck. - USA TODAY Sports

As the Canes head into ACC play we here at State of The U thought it’d be great to bring back the Round Table Discussion that was a hit during the Florida Gators and University of Miami tilt a few weeks past. Joining us for the discussion this week are writers Joe Garcia Jr., Cameron Underwood, Scott Salomon, our leader Jerry Steinberg and myself. So let’s get going!

NoVA Cane:

Alright guys! GT week! Are you ready for the 3 yards and a cloud of dust rushing attack? I am!! In all seriousness though.. This offense is vastly different than anything we've faced up to this point in the season and probably WILL face the rest of the season. Who do you think will have to have a big game on our defense to make the difference between winning and losing? Also, do you all think our offense stays hot against the GT defense? This isn't Savannah or USF, this is a solid defense which has looked dominant at times against their opponents.

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Jerry Steinberg:

Hey Guys, I am thrilled to be here.  This game will certainly be Miami's toughest test since the UF game.  The 'Canes can NOT take this team lightly. 

On D it all starts with Denzel Perryman and Jimmy Gaines.  If you can't stop the fullback dive, you cannot stop the option. In addition to the guys up front,  Ladarius Gunter and Tracy Howard need to have big games stopping the pitch man and not fall asleep on the occasional deep pass.

GT's defense is a mystery to me.  Sometimes they look very sound (see UNC) and other times they look a bit vulnerable. I think we outmatch them up front and this allows Duke Johnson to break some long runs.  Our offense may not put up 500 yards this week,  but they will put 28-35 points on the board.

On a side note, I am really looking forward to seeing Malcolm Lewis get on the field against GT.  It was against the Yellow Jackets that Lewis sustained that gruesome looking injury last year.   Anything he can contribute will be a huge emotional play for the team.

Joe Garcia, Jr.:

Malcolm Lewis' injury played a massive role in last year's game. Miami ended up winning in overtime last year but lost in that shuffle was that fact that Miami scored the first 19 points and then ended up scoring the final 23 points of the game to pull out the win. If not for Lewis' gruesome injury rattling the team late in the 1st and leading to an absolutely dreadful and unfocused 2nd quarter, Miami was well on their way to blowing out the Jackets.

Scott Salomon:

Special teams is going to play an important role in this season's UM-GT matchup. Miami has counted on long returns in recent victories and this week will be no different.  The ability to have long returns gives Miami an additional way to score and also gives Stephen Morris and the high-powered UM offense better field position on their opponents.  The Canes have taken advantage of the field position by having many scoring drives that do not last longer than two minutes.

It is no secret that Miami is more explosive on both sides of the football, but they will count on Phillip Dorsett and Duke Johnson to reprise their returns of last week, without the penalties, to propel UM to its first ACC victory of the season. Morris will lead the offense and they will get their share of points.  The defense will play assignment football and keep the triple option contained.  Vad Lee was an ineffective 7 of 24 last week when forced to throw the football.  They only averaged 3.1 yards per carry on the ground.  The 14th-ranked Canes will learn from what USF's Marcus Shaw did to them last week and will make the necessary corrections.  It will be the special teams that make the difference in this ball game.

Cameron Underwood:

The GT offense is always a challenge to stop. They're a less dominant version of mid-90s Nebraska to me. Option run heavy, with play action built off rushing success.

I really think our skill position players will be difference makers in this game. Miami was too fast for GT last year, until the injury to Malcolm Lewis deflated the team. I too would like to see Lewis get more snaps this week, especially considering what happened the last time he played the Yellow Jackets. A strong performance from him would be a bonus, just like his touchdown to end the Spring Game was.

NoVA Cane:

Taking a step back now.. What do you guys think this game means in regards to the season as a whole? For instance, the Florida game was a huge step forward for this team in regards to building confidence in the belief that "we are THAT good" (no I'm not saying the "swagger" is back). That confidence has allowed UM to seemingly get into a mindset come game day that "yes, we can win every game because we've beaten a really good opponent before and we can do it again."

My thought on this game against GT is that it's very much a "set the tempo" type game in the mold that GT has played quality teams. They've played VT, they've played UNC; although those teams may not be juggernauts they are Div.1, BCS opponents. I guess I'm asking, how big a deal is this game in the sense of how you measure UM moving forward this year?

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Jerry Steinberg:

Well, purely from the standpoint of achieving the goal of making the ACCCG, this game is HUGE. GT seems to be a notch above UNC, Duke, Pitt. or Virginia, and right there with VT as Miami's biggest competition in the Coastal. If GT beats Miami it not only knocks the Canes down a peg, it gives GT a ton of confidence. Due to both factors, this game is incredibly important towards getting to Charlotte.

It would also validate the UF win after two not so big games against outmatched opponents.

Cameron Underwood:

This is a game where the offense will have gone more efficient, and the defense will have to bring their lunch pail. There will be no easy plays against GT.

This is a HUGE game against a division opponent. If we're going to make the ACCCG (which has long been stated as a season necessity by many people, myself included) beating GT, by any means necessary, is imperative.

Scott Salomon:

I see this as a big game in the grand scheme of things, but I do not see it as a big challenge.  Georgia Tech is one team in our division that could pose a threat to what Golden is looking to accomplish and I think that the UM will be ready to meet the task head on.  This is step one towards winning our division and playing for all the marbles.

Joe Garcia, Jr:

On paper this looks like a tough test and an extremely meaningful game. Reality is that Miami has basically had a week off, followed by a couple scrimmages against SSU and USF so they should be more than ready for anything Georgia Tech has to offer. It would be a massive letdown if they didn't rise to the challenge and make it look (relatively) easy given how fresh and tuned in they should be for this game.

That said, Georgia Tech did have a few days of extra prep time coming off their Thursday loss to Virginia Tech and thus we will likely be seeing some added wrinkles early that could trip us up, not unlike that opening drive against USF.

NoVA Cane:

Alright guys, my last two questions.

1) What do you think the final score will be in this contest?

2) Pick the best option:

A) Cheesy Fries

B) Chili Cheese Fries

My answer to number one is that I believe the Canes will win but I'm cringing.. I don't know if you all have noticed but I'm very insecure when it comes to my picks. I've been following this team since '01 (It's a long story but needless to say I despise the Northern Virginia area college teams) so I'm used to under performances from our Canes. Anyways, I think Golden is the man and has this team ready to go, I'm very much worried about our run defense though. I know we've stopped their option the last 3+ years but at some point GT is going to beat UM. It happens to everyone and the Bumble Bees are due at some point.

24-21 Canes.

Number 2 is a clear and easy choice: Chili Cheese Fries. You have Chili ON cheese AND ON Fries? Money in the bank.

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Jerry Steinberg:

I like Miami 31-17.  I am by no means underestimating the Yellow Jackets but I think Al Golden gets his guys fired up for this one and we get the Herculean effort on D we saw against UF, and a much better offensive performance in the win.

I like cheese fries, minus the chili

Cameron Underwood:

Final Score prediction: Miami 34 GT 20. A 2 touchdown victory seems about right with as strong as the defense has been playing. Some timely big plays from the offense, Duke being Duke, and Morris using play action as a weapon will be the keys to victory.

As far as fries, I'm going with option B. Chili AND CHEESE on fries? Clearly the better option.

Scott Salomon:

UM 45-14. The South will not rise this week.

Cheese fries minus chili.

Joe Garcia, Jr.:

38 - 28 Miami

The Defense will have some lapses and give up their highest scoring total of the year while also grabbing a turnover or two and giving the offense some short field to rack up the points against an improved but still leaking Georgia Tech defense.

Cheese fries for me. Preferably with some bacon involved.

NoVA Cane:

Thanks gentlemen, it's been an honor and a privilege, as always!

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