Hello again, Canes fam! We’re back for another opponent Q&A.
I returned the favor and answered some of Josh’s questions about Miami and you can see that conversation here:
Now, let’s get into Josh’s thoughts about the Yellow Jackets as they head down to Hard Rock Stadium to face off against Manny Diaz’s Hurricanes this Saturday:
Q1. Paul Johnson and the flexbone triple option are FINALLY gone. How do you feel about the philosophical change?
I’m actually going to miss being the flexbone team... it gave us a national identity for the last 11 years, and CPJ and that offense won us a bunch of games we probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I actually wrote about this at the beginning of the year here. Johnson was also actively hamstrung by the previous AD who passively tried to force him out by flatly refusing to update our locker rooms, or add funding, etc, and he even told Johnson on several occasions he couldn’t hire the coaches he wanted due to budget... so Johnson winning as much as he did while that was going on is even more impressive. I miss him every game.
Collins’ description of our new offense has just been a word salad of “pro-style, spread, hurry-up,” and it obviously hasn’t gone well so far. In Collin’s defense though, he was left a fairly bare cupboard as far as the O-line goes, so some of our offensive woes are forgiven there.
Q2. What are your early thoughts on Geoff Collins?
I think the hire was exactly what the program need after Paul Johnson... someone to inject some hype into the program, who is embracing Atlanta and its culture, and someone who can hopefully bring an uptick in recruiting. I was excited about the hire, but I’m already over our coach being a walking internet meme. There’s no cohesion or reason to our offensive play calling, and the man can’t give a candid answer to save his life. He just uses the same catch phrases over and over again and talks about his vision for the program, basically no matter the question. Frankly, his shtick is going to get old quick as these losses pile up.
Q3. GT is off to a rough start. Has this changed your thought on the direction of the program or is this a necessary evil for future success?
The offensive coaches are so bent on what the offense should look like, that they get away from calling plays that actually work, which has been super frustrating. It seems they’ve decided to start Graham at QB after rotating all 3 QBs on whims for the first 4 games, which I think is a good step and the correct move. Our O-line was already super thin before losing 2 starters to injury for the season already, so we’re really pretty helpless on that side of the ball. It was always going to be a steep learning curve for these kids who were recruited for and practiced in an entirely different offense previously. Hopefully it’s a necessary evil for future success... we’re really just looking for improvement over the course of this year, regardless of wins.
Q4. So, what in the world do y’all do on offense now?
Hell if I know. There seems to be no logic or cohesion to what the players are being asked to do. We actually look pretty good on the ground, as you can imagine, and the new OC has been good about incorporating option concepts that our players know from the flexbone... so they’ll call that stuff and we’ll move the ball really well for like half the field, and then they’ll decide that’s too much running and call 3 straight drop-back passes that go backwards and force a punt. At our best, we look a lot like the Auburn offense, with inverted veer, power, and zone reads. Beyond that, it’s our QBs running for their lives and our receivers running scramble drills.
Q5. Who on offense should we know?
James Graham has finally been named the starter, which I like. He’s a redshirt freshman with a super, super high upside. This season is a wash, so I’m glad the coaches are letting him learn on the field and make freshman mistakes so he can grow and be our starter for the coming years. Hopefully this experience bodes well for the future of the position.
Q6. How has the GT defense been from a schematic and performance perspective?
We finally play press coverage, which is refreshing to see. Our base set is usually nickel, which isn’t different than what we were running before. Our secondary is great, our linebackers are fine, but we have no pass rush. Whoever Miami trots out at QB on Saturday will most likely keep a clean jersey for most of the game.
Q7. Who are the playmakers on D?
Tre Swilling has looked really, really good in the new scheme at corner. He’s had really good coverage skills and several really pretty pass breakups. David Curry leads the team in tackles at LB, but he’s struggled in pass defense from time to time. Really our whole secondary has looked good this season, despite the lack of a pass rush.
Q8. How do you see this game playing out?
Probably like all of our other losses haha. Tech might score 1-2 TDs on totally competent-looking drives but then go backwards for much of the game on offense. Our defense really struggled against Duke’s passing game, giving up almost 8 ypp since their QB had all day, so I’m guess it will be more of the same there. I think Miami wins by 17-21 points in a game that’s so ugly that most of us have stopped watching before the 4th quarter.
Thanks to Josh for joining us for the Q&A this week. You can check out his work, and the work of other talented writers, over at From The Rumble Seat.