Johnson: Final thoughts from Georgia Tech's ugly loss at Syracuse
Going into Saturday's kickoff in New York, Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins and the rest of his coaching staff found themselves in a situation they were unfamiliar with; the Yellow Jackets were favorites by more than a TD on the road.
Of course, by now you know what the result was. After spotting the Orange a 17-0 lead, the Yellow Jackets were able to fight back to get the score to 23-20.
On the ensuing kickoff, Gavin Stewart sent the ball just 34 yards in an attempt to limit the damage available to Syracuse in the return game.
That led to the Orange, with a short field (65 yards) re-gaining command of the game on a long TD pass from DeVito to Johnson.
Let's get into some other morning after thoughts..
Jahmyr Gibbs is very, very good
I could write a full column on the recruitment of former Rivals100 member Jahmyr Gibbs. There were many ups, many downs (the Citadel loss) but Gibbs never decommitted, and the Yellow Jackets were able to beat the likes of Ohio State, Florida, LSU, and several others for him.
Gibbs missed the Florida State game.
Despite missing one of the three games, Gibbs is the unquestioned leader on the team in all-purpose yards with 394 in the two games he has played.
That's an average of 197 APY per game.
He is also just under 20 yards behind Jeff Sims as the team's leading rusher.
Gibbs touched the ball a total of 23 times on Saturday, a number that both he and Georgia Tech fans should get used to.
There were no Syracuse fans in the stands on Saturday, but every time the ball ended up in the hands of No. 21, the coaches on the home sideline seemed to be collectively holding their breath.
That sentence should be a familiar one for long-time fans of the program.
Sims will learn that sometimes taking a sack is okay
Former Sandalwood (Fla.) four-star QB Jeff Sims had to feel like he was playing Madden at some points early on against Syracuse on Saturday. The defensive coordinator for the Orange was sending additional personnel at him in different blitz packages on several occasions.
The Orange were desperate to force turnovers, and it worked.
Sims, as he attempted to avoid the pressure and make plays as any QB would, ended up having his motion interrupted by defenders on several occasions, leading to tipped passes, interceptions, etc.
As he continues to grow at the position (he's 18) Sims will learn that it is okay if you can't escape the pocket to take the sack.
In this season that may not even be able to reach completion, playing the young guys the way that Collins has is a very smart strategy.
Going into next season, as strange as it sounds, Sims, Gibbs, Williams, Ivey, and the other freshman on the roster will all still be true freshmen.
They will learn these things, as difficult as it may be for fans to stomach early on.
Big plays killed the defense on Saturday
Of the 357 yards of total offense allowed on Saturday,
Taking those "chunk" plays of 38, 46, 36, and 43 yards away, the Orange accumulated just under 200 yards of total offense, which would be an average of just 3.18 yards per play on the other 61 offensive snaps.
Familiar names Juanyeh Thomas and David Curry again led the team in tackles with 10 and 7, respectively.
The big plays come down to putting the right players in position, and being (physically) able to make the play needed in space.
Thomas has been impressive in that regard, and was again on Saturday. The secondary around him was thought to be the strongest unit for the team this season, yet all but one of the big plays were a result of missed assignments, for one reason or another.
The other crazy thing is, for as much QB pressures (as I spoke about above) as there were in the game, there were only two sacks in the game; one by each team.
Through the bye week, it would not surprise if the defensive staff is able to transition more into their traditional defensive scheme.
Of course, that depends on the health & wellness of the players though.