Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech, Part Two: When the Hokies Have the Ball

Well, when the Atlanta Journal calls for a Jacket loss on opening night, and the New York Post calls for a Hokie national championship, what’s a GT guy to do? Ignore it? Worry? Cry? Petition the divine spirit of Beatrice for intercession? Inferno no! Why, I’ll just go bigger and bolder with a prediction of my own: Georgia Tech will win the coin toss and elect to kick. Barring a Beamer Ball Special–say, a runback for a touchdown–this will put the Jackets on defense. Frank Beamer won’t hesitate to run a trick play, even on the first possession of the season. Sometimes surprises work, sometimes they go awry.

The Yellow Jacket front line is strong. 6’7”, 345 pound senior T.J. Barnes is the nose tackle. He lost 20 pounds in the offseason to become his current lithe self. Izaan Cross and Emmanuel Dieke are the likely starters on the ends in Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme. They’re good, but they’ll be facing a Virginia Tech offensive line that’s slightly green, but thoroughly big. They’ve but one starter that’s less than 300 pounds. And Georgia Tech will need to get to the quarterback if they want to win. In my opinion, we should blitz a bunch, because leaving a 6’6” guy who can throw in the pocket for more than a few seconds is a travesty waiting to happen.

Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas is something. He burned us for five touchdowns last year. Two of them were on the ground. He’s as big as most defensive ends and as athletic. I’ve watched his poise increase with every single game. He’s hard to bring down, too. Georgia Tech’s linebackers will need to wrap his legs up when they get to him, as he will not be arm-tackled. So Jeremiah Attaochu, Quayshawn Nealy, Jabari Hunt-Days, and Brandon Watts have no choice but to bring their best on blitzes. Nealy is outstanding in the weight room and Hunt-Days is a beast. Attaochu and Watts are fast and experienced. In theory (mine), we should be able to control the center of the field.

The new Hokie tailback is redshirt freshman Michael Holmes. My sources indicate that he’s faster than David Wilson, though not as compact. Still, straight-line speed isn’t always a direct indicator of how effective a running back will be. It’s best to not underestimate him, regardless.

Another player that Georgia Tech must not ignore is 6’4” receiver Marcus Davis. Note, in particular, this line of his bio: “Had a school-record 44-inch vertical jump and ran a 4.37 in the 40 to gain Super Iron Hokie honors during off-season workouts.” (For perspective, Megatron‘s numbers were 4.35 in the 40 and 42.5” vertical.) Like everyone else on the Yellow Jacket defense, the backfield will have their hands full. We are counting on corners Rod Sweeting and Jemea Thomas and safeties Isaiah Johnson and Fred Holton to keep the long ball out of Davis’s hands.

Opposite the ball, Al Groh has an experienced and talented group. This is their third year in the 3-4, so these guys know their jobs.

Some notes:

  • Daniel Drummond will sit Monday–he was suspended for 1.5 games for boating under the influence. (Umm, if you’re at work, don’t click that link.)
  • Cornerback Louis Young will probably be sitting, too, for selling some of his free tickets.
  • Freshman DE Francis Kallon has gone from 245 to 290.
  • John Sisk is the new strength coach.
  • Paul Johnson hired Dave Walkosky as the dedicated special teams coach. Improvement here will be warmly welcomed. I propose the we call it “The Swarm.”
  • That’s it for this, the last week of the preseason doldrums. I’m ready for some football!

Geofferson P. Burdell was awarded a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech in August 1999. He is an Austrian Economics devotee, a shadetree mechanic, a hiker, and an improving bridge player. He resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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