Georgia Tech Football: Time for a New Option?

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Enough is enough. I have turned the corner today as a Georgia Tech fan, and like many other fellow Tech fans, I am now ready to move on from the Paul Johnson era. This is not an condemnation of the option offense, it is an indictment of Johnson. Johnson won early and often in his Tech career with Chan Gailey’s recruits. In recent years Johnson has not recruited particularly well, does not appear able to inspire players, has had a number of inexplicable losses, is 0-4 in bowl games. Johnson’s personality often comes off as too proud or stubborn, he often fails to make necessary adjustments (such as throwing the ball on occasion) and his teams are too prone to flatness and emotional mood swingsnot
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Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, lets take a look at some hypothetical replacements for Johnson. Of course this list is pure speculation on my part, but here it is.

Ken Whisenhunt, Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals: Whisenhunt is a Georgia Tech Alumni and a recognizable name. If the Cardinals struggle and Whisenhunt begins to worry about his job security, then perhaps Tech can capitalize on the opportunity.

George Godsey, Tight Ends Coach New England Patriots: Godsey is also a Georgia Tech Almuni and former QB. He had great success at Tech, and is still beloved by fans for beating archrival Georgia 3 times. He also coached under former head coach George O’Leary at UCF. Godsey is not well known and lacks experience, but might be worth a look.

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Stanford 50, Duke 13: Blue Devils Crushed By Cardinal Passing Attack, Defense

Duke’s Offense Stood on the Sidelines for Most of Saturday Night’s Game Against Stanford — Both Literally and Figuratively

Sitting just five rows back from the Duke bench, there was a buzz about the team and a sense of hope on the sidelines. After last week’s big victory over Florida International, it appeared that David Cutcliffe’s program had finally turned the corner. But just one minute and seven seconds after kickoff, it was blatantly obvious nothing had changed for the Blue Devils.

Saying Stanford dominated this game would be an understatement. The early punt-return touchdown was a deflating blow for Duke, one that would set the tone for the rout. Quarterback Sean Renfree, who had an average game according to the box score (28/40, 200 yards), was the focal point of a listless offensive attack based solely on swing passes, and was also responsible for two of the team’s four turnovers. The running game was virtually non-existent, notching just 27 yards on the night — mostly attributable to playing from behind for 59 of the game’s 60 minutes. Most of all, the defense was simply out-manned. Just one week removed from a frustrating debut against San Jose State, Cardinal QB Josh Nunes completed long bombs at will, and finished up with 275 yards passing and three TDs. Duke failed to ever get significant pressure on the Stanford passer, and their receivers were regularly three or four steps ahead of the Blue Devil defenders. The only saving grace for Duke was its red zone defense, which managed to force four field goals in the first half and keep the deficit to “just” 20 points in the first half.

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Maryland 36, Temple 27: Terps Hold On For the Victory After Owls’ Big Rally

In His Second Start for Maryland, Perry Hills Looked Much More In Control as He Guided the Terps to a Win

Last year, Temple came to College Park and embarrassed Maryland at home. This year, the Terrapins went to Philadelphia, and while it wasn’t a blowout, the Terps did walk away with a win.

Looking at just the first half, it seemed as if Maryland was going to return the favor of delivering an embarrassing loss to the home team. After a sloppy first quarter which saw three fumbles between the two teams and one field goal per team, Maryland scored 23 points in the second (three TDs and a safety) and finished the half with a big 26-3 advantage.

Temple made some adjustments early in the second half, and they paid off; the Owls scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. Maryland managed to get a field goal in the third, but by the middle of the fourth, their lead was down to just two points (29-27). Thankfully, the Terps got back on track, and had an 11-play, four-plus minute drive that forced Temple to burn all of its timeouts and ended in a Maryland touchdown. The score put Maryland up by nine, which turned out to be the final margin after the defense stopped Temple from gaining a first down.

For Maryland, the results were mixed, but there was more good than bad …

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Tennessee 35, NC State 21: Assessing the Damage to the Wolfpack Hype

NC State and CB David Amerson DId Not Start Off the 2012 Season On the Right Foot Last Night, Losing Badly to Tennessee

For anyone who either watched the game live, or watched the highlights on SportsCenter afterward, you know what happened down in Atlanta last night. The NC State Wolfpack, looking to deliver a big win for the program and the ACC, were manhandled by the SEC‘s Tennessee Volunteers in primetime. And despite a final score that may tell you otherwise, this one was never even close. And that’s a problem.

You see, for all the hype that the Wolfpack had received, it was all based on two constants: QB Mike Glennon would play at a similar (if not better) level than he had during last year’s stretch run, and star corner David Amerson would blanket any receiver that came near him. Neither of these things came true last night, and in fact, they were patently false.

After one quarter last night, you’d think that Glennon was the QB looking to finally deliver on his talents, while Tennessee passer Tyler Bray was receiving dark horse Heisman nods.  Locked in from the first snap, the Vols’ quarterback executed well and simply looked better. For all the fanfare about former UT receiver Da’Rick Rogers‘ dismissal, it didn’t much matter for Bray, who still ended up with 333 yards passing. Most shocking, however, was the way in which he victimized Amerson. For a defender who likes to take risks to go for a big pick, it would make sense for the junior to be exposed by a veteran QB like Bray. But, for a guy that usually plays pretty tight coverage and knows how to put himself in position to make a play without allowing for the deep ball, Friday night’s performance appeared embarrassing. You could see the frustration on Amerson’s face, and the shock on everyone else’s. This defense, and it’s leader, have been shown to be vulnerable here in the first game, and the Tennessee blueprint will surely be employed by many of the Pack’s opponents going forward.

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BCS National Championship Recap: Alabama over LSU, 21-0

The Alabama Crimson Tide Rolled Over LSU, 21-0 in the BCS National Championship Game

What Happened: In a continuation of the world’s most boring matchup of top-ranked teams, the formerly number-one LSU Tigers were absolutely smeauxked (sorry, that’s the only one I’m throwing in) by the Alabama Crimson Tide, 21-0 in the BCS National Championship Game. The Tide defense put on an impressive display, swarming to the ball on nearly every play and shutting down an offense that had previously scored over 38 points per game. Mixed with some questionably conservative play-calling, the Tigers would only manage 92 yards of total offense. They failed to cross the 50-yard line until the final five minutes and rarely looked as if they wanted to come out of this game with a victory. Considering the fire LSU had played with all season, it was both shocking and disappointing to see the lackluster effort on the field through the final gun.

Who’s to Blame: We’ll start with Les Miles, for putting together a gameplan that brought football back to the 1920s. A flawed triple option that failed to work from the beginning yet was continually called anyway, coupled with intense pressure from Alabama’s defensive line, snuffed out any chance Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson would be effective. The beleaguered senior, who regained his starting spot during the Alabama game earlier this season, threw for just 53 yards on 17 passes. For those who watched the game live, Jefferson spent much of the second half laying on his back, petitioning for calls from the referees. Even more puzzling was the fact that Miles refused to put Jarrett Lee (who was an effective starter through the team’s first eight full games. While theories are still being tossed out as to why Lee wasn’t handed the ball once Jefferson deemed himself ineffective, I think it’s a matter that Miles must address to the LSU fanbase if he hopes to have a pleasant offseason. Continue reading

BBVA Compass Bowl Recap: SMU over Pittsburgh, 28-6

SMU's J.J. McDermott Led His Team to a Commanding 28-6 Victory Over Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl

What Happened: While neither team really bothered rushing the ball (71 total yards on the ground between the two teams), it was the SMU defense that surprisingly led the Mustangs to a big victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Without a legitimate rushing game, SMU still managed to move the ball fairly well, racking up 239 yards through the air, while also owning a slight lead in time of possession. Given the strength of the defenses in this matchup, both squads combined for just 25 first downs on the game — a strong statement on just how inefficient both gameplans ended up being.

Who’s to Blame: Pitt was obviously under-coached by their interim head coach Keith Patterson, who was probably far more focused on his upcoming gig with Arkansas State next season. With no real defensive scheme, nor any real field presence by quarterback Tino Sunseri, the Panthers looked overmatched by their supposedly lesser foe. Failing to score until 33 minutes into the contest, Pitt appeared to be in disarray, with little production on offense, nor the personnel to truly capitalize on what should have been a weak Mustangs’ front. Continue reading

Discover Orange Bowl Recap: West Virginia over Clemson, 70-33

Geno Smith Powered West Virginia to a Huge 70-33 Win Over Clemson in the Orange Bowl

What Happened: One of the biggest embarrassments in bowl game history, for starters. Already out of the game by halftime, the Clemson Tigers fell in a fashion never seen before in a BCS game, 70-33 to the West Virginia Mountaineers, in the Discover Orange Bowl. The Mountaineers, who had scored 75 points total in their previous three games, racked up nearly 600 offensive yards against Clemson’s historically porous defense in this one. WVU Quarterback Geno Smith tied a bowl record with six touchdown passes and the team also set a new record for points in a postseason game. Leading just 28-20 with five minutes to go in the first half, West Virginia delivered an early knockout blow, with three touchdowns to close out the period. Their first-half output alone eclipsed the total points scored in yesterday’s Sugar Bowl. Most damning for Clemson is that it could have been so much worse had their opponent not taken their foot off the gas by late in the third.

Who’s to Blame: Pretty much anyone associated with the Clemson football team, honestly. West Virginia was a good team this season, but not stellar by any stretch of the imagination — and surely not the worldbeaters we saw tonight. Head coach Dabo Swinney did not have his defense prepared for the speed at which the Mountaineers could score, and he still has yet to differentiate the offense. In this contest specifically, running back Andre Ellington was moving the ball very well (10 carries for 116 yards), but then everything switched gears to quarterback Tajh Boyd. Failing to connect with his receivers (star Sammy Watkins recorded just five catches for 66 yards and a score), the offense stalled, along with Clemson’s chances during the wild second quarter in which WVU scored 35 points. Continue reading