Hello again, Canes fam! Been a while, but we’re back for another opponent Q&A as the Canes head deeper into the 2021 season.
Joining us today to talk about his beloved Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is Josh Brundage. He’s one of the writers over at our SB Nation sister-site From The Rumble Seat.
I returned the favor and answered some of Josh’s questions about Miami. You can check that out right here:
Georgia Tech Football 2021 - Opponent Q&A: Miami— From the World Champion Braves Seat (@FTRSBlog) November 5, 2021
Our chat the @TheStateoftheU https://t.co/2VIxxVA9x4
Now it’s time to talk about Tech with Josh. Here we go....
Q1. Outside of a 23pt win at North Carolina (JEALOUS), Georgia Tech has kind of had a rough go of it so far this year. What’s kept this team from taking a step forward?
From The Rumble Seat (FTRS): Honestly, it’s squarely the coaching staff. Geoff Collins was never really successful before getting the job, he was a .500 head coach previously, and his tenure just looks like a coaching staff in over their heads. There’s been no player development on either side of the ball. Our secondary, full of 4* recruits and upperclassmen, has been a liability under him for the 3rd season in a row. They’re not put in positions to succeed, and he touts himself as a defensive head coach.
It seems like a staff of recruiters, and not coaches who can develop players or a scheme that will succeed at this level.
Collins will also do everything except take responsibility in his press conferences after losses… that’s what has grinded on me the most. Outside of his buzzwords, he regularly blamed Paul Johnson, either directly or indirectly over the first two seasons, and now he just talks about the “historic transformation” he has put the team through, expecting anyone to be impressed with his 9 wins in 2.5 years. At this point in his tenure, he’s the worst coach in the history of Georgia Tech football by winning percentage.
Every week, he talks about how the other team did something for a half or the whole game that we weren’t prepared for, and are apparently incapable of adjusting to. It’s embarrassing.
Q2. RB Jahmyr Gibbs is clearly the superstar of the offense. Talk a little about him and what he does well.
FTRS: Gibbs is an absolute beast and is truly a joy to watch. He very regularly can make something out of nothing running behind our struggling offensive line. He averages a little over 5 yards per carry, and if you’ve watched much of us this season, you would realize what a victory that is.
He’s also caught 25 passes out of the backfield and averages 15 yards per reception. In short, he’s an absolutely dynamic player, and I badly wish he had a stronger supporting cast around him to really let him shine.
He’s one of those guys that stands out on TV just to the casual observer - he has next-level talent.
Q3. Evaluate QB Jeff Sims’s performance in 2021, if you please…
FTRS: Sims has had an up and down year. He left the first game injured, but he won the starting job back against UNC in week 4 and hasn’t looked back since. He has the highest upside of a QB we’ve had on The Flats since Justin Thomas. He’s one of those guys that makes throwing the ball 50 yards in the air look effortless. He has a quick release, and has made some stunning passes in his young career.
He’s also very dynamic as a ball carrier, and you’ll still see a lot of option concepts featuring him and Gibbs in our ground game. With our struggling offensive line, optioning a guy and having an extra blocker has been something our ground game leans heavily on.
I really think Sims has performed admirably this year, especially when he’s not running for his life because the offensive line turned someone loose. He has such a high, high upside, and I want this coaching staff to show more development in him, because he clearly has the talent to be a world beater.
Sims is at his best when Gibbs is a threat on the ground to keep defenses honest. In obvious passing situations, he’s just often not given the time to progress through his reads before he needs to take off.
Q4. I’m pleading ignorance here: I haven’t watched any GT football so far this year. What do the Jackets run on defense, and why should that concern Miami?
FTRS: We generally base in a 4-2-5, but you’ll see a lot of 3-3-5 as well, based on what the offense is doing. The 3-3-5 is what beat up UNC so badly earlier this season, but it hasn’t been as effective since as our front 6 in that formation get pretty easily pushed around in the running game.
This is another one of those situations where it doesn’t feel like our players are put in a position to succeed by the coaching staff. We’ll stick with the 3-3-5 and a soft front for an entire half and get pushed around before anything changes, but by then it’s too late. We’ve also seen a myriad of blown coverages for easy TDs this season, and how you do that with 5 DBs on the field is beyond me.
I do think our personnel are best-suited for this though, as most of our talent is in the secondary, so that may be what the coaching staff is trying to lean on.
If Tech comes out in a 3-3-5, and Miami still struggles to run the ball, it will be a long day for the Canes.
Q5. Who are some of the playmakers to watch on defense?
FTRS: I really wish I had a good answer for you here, but no one has really stood out this year. Our secondary with Tariq Carpenter and Jaylon King is talented, but they’re often seemingly schemed away from the ball. On the line and at linebacker, no one has really stood out, which has been a disappointment all season, though it does look like the pass rush has improved from last year.
Outside of the UNC game, we have one of the worst havoc rates in the entire country. If Miami can take care of the football, there’s a lot of yards and points to be had against the Yellow Jacket defense.
Q6. This is year 3 of the Geoff Collins era in Atlanta. How are you feeling about it? How much longer will he have to prove he and the program can take a step forward?
FTRS: Ugh. If you can’t tell by my previous answers, I’m ready for a change. His buyout drops significantly at the end of next season, so hopefully he either turns shit around or gets fired then - it would make a lovely Christmas present.
He owns some of the worst losses in Tech football history, and multiple opponents have set their scoring records against us under his tenure. He’s also responsible for some of the worst attendance I can remember at Tech football games... I know the pandemic is still a factor, but our home attendance has been atrocious, and it’s because he hasn’t put anything to get excited about on the field in 3 years now.
Maybe I’m being overly negative, but from following this team for the last 3 seasons, he seems to care much more about his own personal #brand and twitter presence and blowing smoke up the local media’s ass about his “accomplishments” and “historic transformation” than he does about the on-field product. He’s incapable of giving a candid answer when questioned.
This year’s Georgia Tech team is one of the most talented all-time by recruiting rankings, and you won’t be able to tell by watching them play on Saturday.
Q7. Alright, time to call your shot. How does the game play out on Saturday and what’s the final score?
FTRS: I think Miami has turned things around and pretty easily routs a bad Georgia Tech team. I think Van Dyke passes for 3 TDs and the Canes win somewhere in the 35-17 range.
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 covering Georgia Tech athletics, over at From The Rumble Seat.