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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Georgia Tech

Virginia football is set to face Georgia Tech on Saturday. GoJackets.com's Rod Mackenzie gives a detailed scouting report on the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech travels to Charlottesville to square off with Virginia in an ACC matchup this Saturday. Tech is hoping to build on the momentum from a last play win over Florida State.

Scouting the Offense

The Georgia Tech spread option offense is known for taking advantage of what the defense gives them. The triple option, the dive and the counter option are big parts of the offense. The Jackets like to probe the defense to start the game to see what portion of their offense the defense is trying to take away.  The Tech offense relies on the quarterback making the right reads whether it’s giving the ball to the B Back in the mesh or making the right decision to keep the ball or pitch it to one of the two A Backs. If the defense decides to load the box by bringing the secondary up to the line of scrimmage, look for Tech to pass the ball to the A Backs or receivers behind the secondary.

Projected Starters

QB

Justin Thomas

BB

Marcus Marshall

AB

Mikell Lands Davis

AB

Clinton Lynch

WR

Ricky Jeune

WR

Brad Stewart

LT

Brian Chamberlain

LG

Trey Braun

C

Freddie Burden

RG

Shamire Devine

RT

Errin Joe or Will Bryan

 Key Players

QB Justin Thomas: As Justin Thomas goes, so goes the Tech offense. Thomas has rushed for over 100 yards in the past two games. With his quickness and speed, he is capable of breaking a play at any time. Thomas has an accurate arm when given the time to pass.

WR Ricky Jeune: Jeune has been the go to receiver for Thomas this season. He has the knack for coming back to the ball and catches with his hands rather than his body. Jeune also makes good use of his physicality and jumping ability to ward off defenders. Jeune has been the clutch receiver on third and long plays this season.

C Freddie Burden: The run is a major part of the Tech offense. Burden opens holes for the B Back and Thomas on the quarterback follow play. When Thomas runs the option to the perimeter, Burden plays a big role in getting to the second level and cutting off the linebackers.

B Back Marcus Marshall: Marshall has only recently become the starter. He was held back while he learned other phases of the game other than running the ball. In spite of that, he leads the team in rushing and is averaging close to 9 yards a carry. Marshall has quick feet and is an explosive runner.

Weaknesses

Tech’s offense has been depleted by injuries at the A Back and B Back positions. The three starters at those positions are now all freshmen. This has led to some missed assignments and a learning process in the perimeter blocking which is key to the offense. Tech relies on positive yardage on first and second downs. The missed assignments and missed blocks have put Tech in more third and longs than in previous years. Negative first down plays have hurt the Tech offense this season. 

Overall

The young players are starting to make an impact now that they have gotten playing time. The offense is starting to show its big play ability. Thomas and Marshall are two of the more explosive runners in the ACC and have the ability to take it to the house with their quick feet and explosive speed.

Scouting the Defense

Tech began the season using the 4-2 as their base defense. The last two games they have gone more to the 4-3 defense. They like to use man coverage in the secondary but used more zone in successfully limiting Florida State’s offense. Tech starts six seniors on defense and the experience is starting to pay off.  Look for Tech to go to their 4-2 nickel package if Virginia relies on the passing game.

Projected Starters

 

DE

Rod Chungong

DT

Pat Gamble

DT

Adam Gotsis

DE

KeShun Freeman

LB

PJ Davis

MLB

Brant Mitchell

LB

Tyler Marcordes

CB

DJ White

S

Demond Smith

S

Jamal Golden

CB

Chris Milton

Key Players

DT Adam GotsisGotsis is one of those players whose name doesn’t always show up in the stats but he can be a disruptive force. Gotsis is having an All-ACC season and is one of the leaders on defense. He occupies two blockers and gets a good push and is often in the quarterback’s grill.

LB PJ Davis :  Davis leads the team in tackles and tackles for a loss. Davis is the energizer bunny who goes non-stop all game and keeps his teammates in the game. Look for Davis to blitz from his linebacker position.

S Jamal GoldenGolden is one of the surer tacklers on defense. As one of the senior leaders, he gets the secondary lined up right. Golden also has a knack for being around the ball. Golden had a key end zone interception in the Florida State game.

Weaknesses

At times, the veteran secondary has had issues with playing the ball in spite of good coverage. Getting a consistent pass rush was an issue until the last game. The defense needs to do a better job of wrapping up the ball carrier. Gang tackling remedied that problem in the last game.  

Overall

The veteran Tech defense was supposed to be one of the strengths of this year’s team. They’ve had problems with playing a whole game. Last week they finally accomplished that. It will be interesting to see which Tech defense shows up in Charlottesville.

Scouting the Special Teams

Projected Starters

K

Harrison Butker

P

Ryan Rodwell

H

Ryan Rodwell

LS

Casey Wilson

PR

Jamal Golden

KR

Jamal Golden

Key Players

K Harrison Butker: Butker has one of the stronger legs in the ACC. Butker is capable of kicking 50 yard plus field goals. His biggest asset may be his ability to kick the ball through the end-zone on his kickoffs.

KR/PR Jamal Golden: Golden is in the Tech record books for kickoff returns. He is tied for most kickoff returns for a touchdown in a season as well as career touchdowns. He also holds the record for average kick return yardage in a season.  Golden has also taken punts to the house.


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