It's not going to be this week or the next, but Justin Thomas will start for Vad Lee at the Georgia Tech quarterback position sooner rather than later. That is assuming, of course, that Paul Johnson remains our coach through the season.
I'm not saying that it's what should happen - I don't know. Georgia Tech's performance certainly isn't Vad's fault primarily and he brings a lot of undeniable positives to the table. His option reads are about where you'd expect them to be, his arm is pretty darn good, and he's a tough kid with a good attitude.
Despite all that, I think Paul Johnson will probably give Thomas the nod at some point this season.
We lost because we're just not that good on offense. The defense made adjustments. The offense tried to and failed.
Our injury-ravaged offensive line was probably as poor as its been in the Paul Johnson era, a truly bewildering development when you look at the '08 and '09 lines, made up of former running backs, walk-on defensive tackles, and other square pegs. Those guys executed at a much higher level than this bunch and the fact that we're down to some backups due to injury is not really much of an excuse - no player should incur 3 false start penalties in one game, regardless of his position on the depth chart.
Pass protection was an issue for the '08-10 teams because they weren't physically capable of blocking defensive linemen. Pass protection is an issue for the '13 team because they don't know what they're doing.
The A-Backs and Wide Receivers looked fine. We are supposed to forever wail and gnash our teeth at the lack of talent at the latter position, but Waller and Smelter manage to get open. Smelter, in particular, has an uncanny knack for finding free spots in zones and gaining favorable position versus man coverage.
For the skill positions, where we're really suffering is obviously at the B-Back spot. We haven't recruited the position at the level we need to. I think Sims and Laskey are fine players with definite skill sets; I don't think either is a marquee back right now. Maybe Custis was or will be the guy, who knows. I did find it somewhat telling, however, that our leading rusher was Connors, off of one run, on which he looked better than the 2 to 3 scholarship guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
Players win you games. It's a coaches job to prepare the players to win the games. A lot of people think of the coach's role as being confined to that 3 hour window on Saturdays, that it's all about play-calling. It's not and it's not. The meat of coaching is in drilling assignments, teaching technique, and endlessly repping fundamentals.
At the collegiate level, one more role probably looms even larger: recruiting. Art, science, and psychology, it's a job that requires a deft touch and a lot of luck. Most schools are basically stuck in recruiting "tiers" - regardless of the attractiveness of any particular scheme, or the charisma of any particular coach, a perennial loser in a lower conference isn't going to consistently beat out LSU or Bama for the biggest recruits. The goal of the drill, then, is to maximize your recruiting within any particular "tier" and start the slow climb upwards. We have not, as yet, done so. The reasons are undoubtedly numerous - bad luck (injuries to key recruits, highly-ranked recruits not performing as expected) has outweighed good luck (finding a Robbie Godhigh) - but I'm not going to spend all day dissecting every misstep or lauding every fortuitous strike.
After years of bad defensive play, which hampered a pretty good offense, we've found a defense which can effectively adjust to offensive schemes. It's a shame, then, that such a find only arrived when the offense is in its worst state in 5 years (imo, of course). I'm a Paul Johnson fan still and believe him to be a very good coach. But our team's struggles on offense come down to coaching, as they always do. Someone needs to teach better, someone needs to drill better, someone needs to adjust better, and someone needs to recruit better. These are all easy for me to say, sitting on my couch on Sunday morning. It's the doing them that's the hard part and the reason why so few teams are consistent winners.
I'm not going to give up on this team, because that's simply not how I operate. I do think we'll see a change before too long at the QB position. Whether or not it's the best change, is open to debate. A debate which will surely rage on all the message boards. I'm not sold on it but I do think it'll happen.