Instant Analysis: Reaction from a close loss in Charlottesville
1. Third down was the X-Factor on Saturday
Georgia Tech- 4-10
It is one of the biggest cliches in all of football, but also one of the most telling stats, especially in Saturday's game against UVA.
The difference between the three converted, and the six that did not on Saturday?
Yards to gain.
3rd and 3, 3rd and 5, 3rd and 3, and 3rd and 5.
The failed ones include distances of 12, 11, 9, and 8 among others.
Malachi Carter was targeted on three of them, including the slant that was over his head, and the drop by the sideline.
When the DaD (down&distance) was five yards or less, the Jackets were 4-5, and the one that they did not convert, they did on 4th down one play later.
For this offense to take the next step, executing better on first and second down will lead to shorter third down distances.
Something positive about the third-down play-calling is the balance- five run plays, and five through the air as well.
On those five rushing plays, the Jackets gained 40 yards. On the five passing plays, they gained 10 yards on two completions.
2. The job Brent Key's unit has done with the offensive line against both UVA and Pitt in consecutive weeks has been needed, and doesn't go un-noticed
Despite losing starters to injury, changing the offense completely, and facing the nation's No. 2 defense when it comes to sacks, the unit gave up zero in the game on Saturday.
The starting unit of Quinney, Defoor, Lay, Minihan, and Southers impressed.
There were times where Graham was forced to escape the pocket, and make plays with his feet. That's part of what makes him special.
Mason came up six yards short of another 100-yard performance but was able to find the endzone, and average close to 5 YPC.
As Key gets his recruits on campus, in the s&c program, and practice reps in CDP's offense, the results will continue to grow for both his unit and the entire offense.
3. Not enough can be said about Ahmarean Brown.
He seems to be good for one long-touchdown pass each game.
His latest came early on, following a big conversion in the first quarter.
His ability to take the top off of a defense, and force defenses to keep two safeties back help the Georgia Tech offense more than his stats show.
Him forcing the defense to stay back and prepare for his speed help allow run holes to develop, and create chances for others in the passing game as well.
Brown finished the game with 1 catch on 3 targets, for 59 yards and a touchdown.
4. The next two steps for special teams will be big, and both have the same solution
Virginia on Saturday averaged around 30 yards a return, including the one late in the half on a squib kick that setup the Cavaliers to complete what would be the final lead change of the day.
How can this be corrected? Having a kicker that can get the ball either into the endzone, or close to it.
The Cavaliers dominated the battle of field position all game long, and that's something that can't happen when playing against a team that came into the game 6-3.
On average each offensive drive for them began around the 37-yard line
That's without mentioning the missed FG.