This is a discussion on End of Season Report Card within the Georgia Tech Football forums, part of the Georgia Tech Sports Message Boards category; By position group: Offensive Line: B This group improved steadily throughout the year and pretty much became a force by ...
By position group:
Offensive Line: B
This group improved steadily throughout the year and pretty much became a force by the end. They faced three of the nations top DL units to finish the season and handled themselves very well. In each of the UGA, FSU, and USC games GT was able to establish the dive and limit negative plays due to penetration. Pass protection was pretty good overall. Gone are the days when we appeared to be outclassed physically by the nastier teams. At present, our line appears physical and assignment sound. Everything is pointing in the right direction, as we have everybody but Uzzi coming back off the starting five. The grade would be higher, but there were times that we struggled getting hats on defenders in space at the second level.
Wide Receiver: C-
WR was a huge question mark coming into the season and, quite frankly, remains so. We still really don't know what we have going forward. Blocking is the most important aspect of this position group and they were maddeningly inconsistent in this area, ranging from downright horrible in some games to decent at best. For the all weakness blocking, there really weren't any play makers using their speed and hands to offset the lack of road grading on the perimeter. There weren't many drops this year, which is a positive, but there were really no great plays either. We didn't win very many contested balls and just, pretty much, made the routine plays when DBs were caught in deep on play action defending the run. Going forward this group remains wide open for young players stepping up.
By far, this was our most productive and consistent unit on offense. We piled up a bunch of yards on the perimeter, blocked extremely well, and increased our contribution to the passing game dramatically. Most of the spectacular plays in the arial attack game ended up in the hands of our ABs with Bostic, Godhigh, and Smith all taking turns in this department. The depth at AB was a major plus, as we were able to maintain a high level of play even through the occasional injury. Going forward, we lose Smith, but look forward to increasing roles from guys like Synjin Days and Deon Hill. Obviously, Godhigh has earned the right to be considered the next featured AB at GT.
Both Sims and Laskey have proven themselves as reliable players in this role. There were very few MESH issues or turnovers at this position. Still, the contribution to the offensive yard totals remains a bit lacking. Explosiveness does not come to mind when thinking of these two. Sims fought like a champ through some debilitating leg issues and really never got it going full speed until maybe the bowl game. Both players made plays, but there were no explosion plays to speak of in the run game. Oddly enough, the biggest plays from the BB unit came off passes. We are still a bit short of the season totals usually enjoyed at this position in the CPJ coached flexbone. Going forward we are secure at the position, but still yearn for a spark. Perhaps Snoddy will rise to provide a well rounded enough game to compliment his amazing burst.
Opponents probably feared our QB duo more than we appreciated them. Still, we came up just a little short of what we needed to put games away. A poor decision here, or under-thrown ball there was the difference between a .500 record and something quite a bit better. It is unfair to ask the QB to make up for failings in other places, but there were some plays left on the table that could have made a difference. The competition between a dynamic and unseasoned RFR and a polished but pedestrian SR made for great controversy amongst the GT faithful. Both players had their moments and both fell short of ripping the job away from the other. Going forward there is more reason for optimism than any season in over a decade. There is every reason to expect VL to blossom and every reason to expect a huge challenge from JT. It should be interesting.
Some may wonder why the grade is this high. Quite frankly, we fell far short of what is needed to establish any kind of reliable defense. The DL is the foundation, and ours was built in sand. The inability to control a gap or get any kind of meaningful pass rush crippled the rest of the defense. Going forward, all three (or four, depending) jobs are wide open, much like the WR position. There is reason for optimism with fresh faces, but there is also a keen sense of urgency. We simply must improve in this area.
Blessed with the most athletic group since possibly the national championship year, the 2012 version struggled with assignments and tackling fundamentals while flying around the field looking like future NFL talent. To be fair, they were playing behind a challenged DL, but there were too many wrong gaps and missed tackles for a better grade. The future looks very bright, as we have everybody of consequence returning. It looks to me like they are starting to "get it". The speed and athletic ability is certainly there in spades. Have they learned the defense well enough and are they willing to be tough enough? Those are the questions that need to be answered next year.
This group probably played the best, but you would never know it, given that they had to stay in coverage longer than pretty much any team in the country and make more tackles to boot. Still, there were too many assignment gaffes leading to WRs running free in the secondary. When they knew who to cover and decided to put their eyes in the right place, this group of kids was pretty good. Going forward there is a ton of room for optimism, as we lose only Sweeting and gain into the mix a bunch of highly regarded new talent, among them Fred Holton who, by all accounts, is a great and very physical player.
Special Teams: C
It is kind of feast or famine with GT on STs. The return game got a major shot in the arm with Jamal Golden returning punts and kicks. I have no idea the last time so many kicks were returned for either TDs or near TDs. He single handedly kept us in some games with his amazing prowess. However, things start to drop off after that. The kicking game was in total disarray for most of the season until Tanner provided a little stability with FGs at the end. Such problems affect offensive play calling more than most of us really appreciate. Kick cover suffered mightily from a lack of depth and hang time with the KOs. The punt cover teams were very average at best. The speed and talent on the cover teams were obvious. Possibly with a dynamic kicker coming on board next year, we will see their potential fulfilled.
This was a tough one for me. Having watched a lot of game film, I appreciate CPJs ability to orchestrate an offensive attack with adjustments and play calling. However, our inability to formulate any kind of executable game plan on defense was simply wretched. Arguably, we are more talented, player for player, on the defensive side of the ball. I feel confident in saying that the 2012 team will end up with far more defensive players going into the NFL than their offensive counterparts, yet we struggled mightily on this side of the ball. The national ranking of the two units were on opposite ends of the spectrum, especially considering aforementioned disparity in talent. Time and time again our offense was put in untenable situations given our lack of defense. It seemed that no amount of points was ever enough. Whether you blame CPJ or CAG, it really doesn't matter. One was totally out of tune with what CFB players can digest and execute with the practice time available, while the other was slow to react and rectify the situation. Fortunately we have witnessed an apparent turning of the tide in the last couple of games. Hopefully, we will see a continuation of the recent gains as the 2013 campaign unfolds, starting with spring practice.
Some may criticize the handling of the QB situation. To be truthful, I am really not sure how much praise or criticism is warranted. There are really good arguments in favor of both kids. Personally, I give CPJ the benefit of the doubt here. Earlier in the season I called for the torch to pass. After the UNC game, I was sure it had. After the USC game, I was really glad that TW finished. It was a very tough call.
I agree on the QB situation. I really wanted more of Vad after VT and think Vad would have been a much better QB if he had seen a lot more time in the middle of the season. But when we got into the fourth quarter with the lead, I felt comfortable with TW. We had the ball like 11 minutes of that final quarter so TW was a good choice (Vad probably would have been too but Vad had turned the ball over twice.)
I think your grades are fair for an end of the year report card. But I think if you only considered the last half of the year, the ST grade would be higher. We showed progress on ST as the year went on in covering KOs. Hopefully with Butker next year, ST will be an A.
Also the D showed some improvement the last two games. But UGA and the first half of the FSU game make me think that the D was our biggest shortcoming as you graded them out.
Really good summary. I won't predict how many games we win next year, but my wife and I are planning to go watch GT at the ACCCG! We should be able to take Coastal. I think both Clemson and FSU will be favored over us unless we improve a lot more than I expect.
Over all C .Defense hurt us all yr long.Offense would have done better with Lee but TW did okay.Think db's were bad on coverage but tackled well and if we get some def lineman we can be so much better.,.............UNIS F plus but you knew that was coming.
Really good analysis overall.
Probably only real change is coaching to D+ --because PJ is in his 5th yr vs a very weak schedule and the best he could do is 7-7. also one of the losses were among the worst EVER at GT-an almost beyond belief loss
As usual it was a pleasure to read you analysis. Well done and THANKS from us who don't see the nuances some of you are able to notice.