The Miami Hurricanes have an all important ACC Contest Saturday at Noon Vs GT in Atlanta.
To get better prepared for the game, we caught up with Josh Brundage, one of the contributors at From The Rumble Seat.
Josh gave us the scoop on on some key match-ups, the best players in Georgia Tech history, makes a prediction on the contest, and a whole more.
Full Q&A Below:
SOTU: What makes GT Justin Thomas so effective running the flex bone? Additionally, has he improved as a passer during his senior campaign?
FTRS: He’s just got a total understanding of the offense and what CPJ is trying to do. He’s very good with his reads and audibles, and it looks like it’s running faster than it has under any QB previous under him. He’s made some crazy-highlight pitches to get the ball to the outside. He just possesses a level of athleticism that his predecessors do not necessarily have.
So far, the passing game has looked solid as well. He’s actually a very accurate passer, and he has a pretty quick release. We run into problems in the passing game when our QB and WR’s aren’t on the same page, like 2015, because our passing game is based off of the Run N Shoot… where the receivers are usually running option routes as well, so both the QB and receivers need to read the coverages the same and be on the same page about where the ball is going when it’s thrown. So far this season, it’s looked pretty good and like it’s an actual threat.
SOTU: Do you feel like the rest of the ACC is catching up to Paul Johnson's offense? Is it time for a change, or will Georgia Tech still be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC Coastal?
FTRS: No, it’s a misnomer that it can be “figured out,” just like you can’t “solve” a pro-set or spread team in any one way. We’ve been running it since 2008, and we won the Orange Bowl in 2014 against an SEC team that had over a month to prepare, so that killed the proverbial 2 birds of those narratives. That was also a Manny Diaz coached defense that got torched off the field by the option… Just wanted to throw that in there haha.
I don’t think it’s time for a change yet, plus his buyout is not something the school could even consider affording, since we’re paying 2(!) coaches to not coach basketball for us, in addition to the current guy.
I still like Paul Johnson as Tech’s head coach, despite the naysayers who freak out after a loss. I think the offense helps with Tech’s recruiting limitations and has made it so that Tech has been a division / conference contender almost every year under his tenure. We’ve played for the ACC Championship 3 times since he was hired in 2008, and in 2 NY6/BCS bowls, winning one. It’s also given Tech a unique identity in the national realm, which we didn’t have before. We still have no idea what to make of this Tech team so far this season, but I think the Miami game will show us a lot.
SOTU: Give Miami fans one name of a player on each side of the ball for GT that they might not know, but need to watch out for this Saturday?
FTRS: On offense, Qua Searcy has been our big-play threat. He’s an A-back, but has been just as big a passing threat as he has been in the run game. If he gets going, it’s a good sign for the offense.
On defense, look out for Southern Cal transfer Lammont Simmons. He’s stepping into a starter role this game due to injuries in front of him, but he looked really good against Clemson last week, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he held on to the starter job after this week.
SOTU: Which players/match-ups on the 'Canes concern you most?
FTRS: I’m most concerned about our defensive line being able to get thru the “Canes offensive line and get any pressure whatsoever on Kaaya. We’ve only been able to get pressure with blitzes so far this season, even against Mercer L, which will be a risky gameplan against a QB as talented and experienced as he is. If Miami’s O-line gives Kaaya all day to throw, it’s going to be a very long day for the Tech secondary.
SOTU: Who are the top three players to ever lace them up for Jackets?
FTRS: Calvin Johnson is the most obvious and easy one. I would say Joe Hamilton, who was outrageously snubbed for the Heisman, would be second. I think the top player, though, would be Clint Castleberry, who is the only Tech player in history to have his number retired.
In 1942, Castleberry finished 3rd in Heisman voting as a freshman, which was unheard of at the time. Over the summer, he decided to forgo football and enlisted in the Air Force to fight in WWII. He became a B-26 pilot and was later shot down and KIA. Bobby Dodd, who our stadium is named for, said he would’ve been “…the greatest back in Georgia Tech history.”
That’s why we didn’t even retire Calvin Johnson’s jersey.
SOTU: Last but not least, how do you see this game playing out? Who wins and by what score?
FTRS: I think this game is either a shootout, where Georgia Tech scores 40+ and wins a close one, or Miami manhandles the option like Clemson did, and the game is never close. I don’t really see an in-between scenario, and I’m leaning toward the latter. After last season, Georgia Tech football has made me a pessimist.
Thanks again to Josh for working with us. If you want to learn more about the Yellow Jackets, be sure to stop by From The Rumble Seat.