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Summer Scheming ‘22: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Nov. 12

Georgia Tech is on their last leg of the Geoff Collins Era. Can a new OC and a “new” DC put the Jackets over three wins in ‘22?

Georgia Tech v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes will head north to Bobby Dodd Stadium to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. It will most likely be a cold day in the ATL, as it’s a Veteran’s Day weekend showdown. The ‘Canes and Jackets all-time record is even at 13 wins a piece with no ties. Miami has a one game winning streak dating back to last season.

Info: Miami @ Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)

Day/Time/Channel: Nov., 12, 2022 / TBA / TBA

The Geoff Collins Era is on the hottest of hot seats this summer as GT has won just three games a season under Collins. The Jackets have yet to even reach a bowl game since Collins took over in Atlanta. Paul Johnson on the other hand coached the Jackets to nine bowl games in 11 seasons, including two Orange Bowls (1-1 in those games).

2021 Record: 3-9 (2-6 in the ACC)

Bowl Game: N/A

“I remember that guy!”

The Tech flashback player is none other than Leati Joseph “Joe” Anoaʻi. You might be asking WHO?! But you’re probably more familiar with his workin’ name- Roman Reigns. Anoa’i, a Pensacola, FL native, was a three-year starter for the Jackets from 2004-2006 and a team captain his senior season.

During his senior season in 2006, Anoa’i was named All-ACC first team defensive lineman after logging 40 tackles and 9.5 tackles for a loss, with 4.5 sacks. He was playing at nearly 300 pounds. After going undrafted, Anoa’i was on the practice squads for the Vikings and Jaguars before playing in the CFL in 2008.

Anoa’i eventually turned to the family business of professional wrestling and has been a WWE Champion and one of the biggest names in professional wrestling.

Data & Personnel

Georgia Tech heads into the 2022 season as the SP+ projected 90th ranked team in the country.

SP+ Projection Overall: 90 (Miami 14)

SP+ Proj. Offense: 64 (Miami 21)

SP+ Proj. Defense: 111 (Miami 23)

The Jackets have one single player on the first THREE teams of the Athlon ACC All-Conference preseason team. That lone player is linebacker Charlie Thomas, and he’s on the third team defense. Over his four years in Atlanta, Thomas has 26.5 TFL’s, eight sacks, and three PBU’s. The hybrid LB/Safety is expected to be a big time playmaker in ‘22.

On the fourth team offense, GT landed RB Dontae Smith and OL Jordan Williams. Smith averaged 5.6 yards per carry with four TD’s as a role player last season. He has seven career rushing TD’s mainly as Gibbs’ understudy.

Collins was hired to improve recruiting, especially in Atlanta, but the Yellow Jackets haven’t landed many four stars under Collins, while also only developing four draft picks in three seasons. Of those four picks, two were taken in the 6th round (TE Tyler Davis, WR Jalen Camp), and two in the 7th (Punter Pressley Harvin III, LB Tariq Carpenter).

The Jackets ‘22 recruiting class is ranked 54th in composite ranking per 247. GT landed three four stars in ‘22, their 47th rated class in ‘21 landed two four stars, and their 27th rated class in ‘20 had four four stars, including Gibbs and Sims.

This just hasn’t been the drastic recruiting and development change that was expected when Paul Johnson was retired and Collins was brought to the 404 from Temple.

GT Scheme on O

New OC Chip Long comes to Georgia Tech from Tulane, where the Green Wave offense finished 74th per the SP+ in ‘21. For reference, Tulane’s offense finished the 2020 season ranked 39th in SP+ under former OC turned Southern Miss head coach Will Hall.

QB Jeff Sims returns for his third years as the starting QB for the Jackets. Collins flipping Sims from Florida State spelled the demise of Willie Taggert’s run in Tallahassee but didn’t spark the Jackets as much as previously thought. The six-foot-three former four star has thrown 25 TD’s with 20 INT’s in a rollercoaster career. I even wrote this piece for SB Nation site From the Rumble Seat on Sims hot or cold play.

Above- Tech opens the spring game in 12 (one back, two tight ends) personnel in a 2x2 formation.

Above- I dunno why Long chose to pull the two big slow guys who don’t really get there and not the two faster TE’s on this counter but aye, it’s just spring, right?

Above- Spot-Slide is a nice combo to the bottom of the field (1 WR side). WR runs a slant to sit and the back pulls the flat defender away from that spot with the slide route into the flats. An all-timer on NCAA Football ‘14.

Above- I know this is re the offense for GT, but was Manny Diaz teaching tackling in Atlanta this spring?

Above- Now this is Georgia Tech offensive football! Few P5 teams have had three plus years of issues with pre-snap procedure quite like GT. They’ve suffered through every kind of pre-snap issue imaginable from snaps to formation to illegal subs.

Above- GT has also had issues with QB/RB mesh exchanges, and even RPO/play-action issues with the football and the QB. This is another example of the Tech offense just being stuck in the mud for three years.

Above- In Atlanta, the back up might be better than the starter. Tech will wind up going with two QB’s at times this year between Sims typically being banged up behind a bad O-Line and the fact that he has multi-interception games every season.

GT Scheme on D

Andrew Thacker is the DC, but he’s also maybe not the DC? I’m not sure anyone knows what’s going on up at Bobby Dodd on the defensive side. OC Dave Patenaude was the coordinator who was voted off the island but the offense was 20 spots higher in the SP+ than the defense, and the projections for ‘22 are almost 50 points apart in favor of Dave P’s former side of the ball.

Above- I would typically call Collins’ and Thacker’s defense a base 4-2 but they got very odd front oriented as the season went on, and gave up a lot of rushing yards once making the move.

Above- aaaah the two strips. I asked around about the game earlier in the week and I was told GT’s defense was going to focus on stripping the football and creating takeaways all the way around. They thought Van Dyke was loose with his throws and the entire Miami offense was loose with the ball in general. It paid off for the Jackets and turned a 40 points blow out into what should’ve been another matchup with Diaz that went to overtime.

Above- GT’s defensive back coaches (CB and Safety are split in Atlanta) were both fired and replaced by new blood. The Jackets weren’t really jamming and derailing WR’s and it allowed for some free runs to big plays.

Above- When push came to shove GT pushed and shoved Miami around. TFL’s and 4th down stops plagued Rhett Lashlee in Coral Gables. I hope that Josh Gattis and Alex Mirabal figure that issue out for the most pivotal of situations.

Above- The Tech defense had some great plays. I’ve been hard on them here before the last clips. They blew up a screen early on and the CB was there for the Harley TD- it was just an unreal catch from an NFL quality WR.

Above- back to being the hater I feel most authentic being. Tech’s defense is blowing coverages that are inexplicable busts and then the trick play fiasco. Almost another strip though.

Above- The reason you can’t just tackle the ring, you have to up your tackling game from 12u and work tackling drills for your level and expertise. Tech, like Miami, has no idea how to tempo their sprints, come to balance, or fit and finish.

Canyonero keys to victory

1- Keep the pressure on Sims. Jeff Sims is going to be without Jahmyr Gibbs for the ‘22 season as Gibbs has transferred to Alabama where he has to be a Heisman Trophy favorite. I’m not sure what Sims will be able to do behind a shaky OL, without his star back, and with a new OC in Chip Long. Pressure him, rattle him, force him into making mistakes.

2- On offense, run the damn ball. GT has shown they’re almost as bad at tackling as Miami. Throw the ball in space and run it down their throats. I can’t imagine having a 1-1 split against this era of GT football, but Diaz managed. And his one win was by a whole three poitns.

3- Be less bad than GT at special teams. GT has been as bad as Miami in the kicking game, well, be less bad than them. Jonathan Patke is gone, thankfully for Miami fans, and the ‘Canes have three great specialists (kicker, punter, long snapper). They just need to hone in on the coverage on kicks and punts and find sure handed returners.

Way too early prediction: Miami by 14.