Behind Enemy Lines: Talking Terps-GT With From The Rumble Seat

Scott Cunningham

We talk with FTRS about the upcoming Maryland-Georgia Tech game, touching on GT's recent struggles, how the defense looks after Al Groh's departure, and Georgia Tech's own quarterback conundrum.

As everyone in the area was hunkered down in their Sandy bunkers over the past couple days, we were trading questions and answers with the lovely folks down south at From The Rumble Seat, the Georgia Tech representatives at SBN. FTRS' millsGT49 was kind enough, in his (I assume) cozy, warm Georgian abode, to virtually sit down with us; make sure to head over yonder to see our own answers to his questions posted later today. But first, read on for his thoughts on what's been going wrong for Georgia Tech, names to know, and a quarterback situation of their own.

(I'd still trade with them.)

TT: Things haven't gone so well this season for GT, with a record of only 3-5 and most recently getting trounced by BYU. What's gone wrong, and how close is this season to being a write-off?

FTRS: Essentially, a lot has gone wrong. According to FEI our offense/defense/special teams splits are 29/74/117 (out of 124 D1 teams). Our offense is doing well this year (last week's debacle notwithstanding) and can generally score points in bunches just like the triple option always has. Our defense on the other hand has been awful. We have a serious lack of D-line talent and we get essentially no plays from our line. Because of this we have to manufacture a pass rush with Brandon Watts/Attaochu on the edge, which leaves our secondary vulnerable. When you combine that with a serious lack of tackling this year and mistakes in the secondary, you get a defense that gets tore up week in and week out. And our special teams are the worst I have seen in my tech fandom career. Our two kickers on the season are a combined 5-11 on field goals this year with a long of 34. Having said all of that, we can still make a bowl by winning 3 of our last 4. If we can close strong and finally put a series of games together, this season won't be a write-off.

TT: Sort of piggy-backing off that, the triple-option was more or less completely stifled against BYU, which should give Maryland some heart - especially with Joe Vellano still on the roster, looking at the way he acted as a wrecking ball against GT last year. Is there any particular aspect of the offense that just isn't clicking at the moment and costing GT? Or is it just poor all-around execution?

FTRS: Our offensive line is not playing very well at the moment. Outside of Uzzi and Jay Finch our lineman continually miss on scoop blocks on the backside, reach blocks on the play side, and our dive up the middle is getting no push on a lot of plays. I think when we play a defense that isn't a great defense, we can take serious advantage of their shortcomings. But we have no shot against a defense that has a talent advantage and plays disciplined football. Outside of Orwin Smith our backs/receivers are good, but nothing special. We need the system to be clicking to make plays.

TT: Paul Johnson cut Al Groh loose (probably intelligently) midway through the year. How's the defense looked in response?

FTRS: We looked great against BC, and terrible against BYU. And I couldn't tell you how we are going to play against Maryland. We seemed to simplify things against BC and actually did a great job of wrapping up and playing within the system But BYU took advantage of great field position to really carve us up. I think the defense can play well, but I have no idea how the players are responding to Groh being fired and being 3-5. It is up to them how they play.

TT: Pick one: Tevin Washington or Vad Lee. Who do you want to see get most of the snaps, and who do you think will?

FTRS: Tevin has played well in the past, and would be a solid QB to have on a team with a good defense and good special teams. Tevin can take what the defense gives him and move the ball if the rest of the offense allows it. But thats about it. He has improved on his passing this year but still throws so many wobbly ducks that I am surprised he hasn't been picked more. Vad can make plays. Ignoring the fact that we might want to get Vad experience for future years, put him in and hopefully the offense can take off again. At this point in the season we know what Tevin can do, and we know Vad can do so much more. I think you will continue to see Tevin start games, with Vad coming in around the 3rd drive, and letting his play dictate how long he stays in.

TT: We know about guys like Orwin Smith, Zach Laskey, and athletic linebacker Brandon Watts. Who are two names we may not know, one on either side of the ball, who'll make an impact on Saturday?

FTRS: BJ. Bostic (#7) is one of my favorite players on offense. The A-back (pitch back/slot back/quick little dude running the motion) has some serious moves and can make plays catching the ball and running with the ball. If he gets into open space he is dangerous. On defense look out for #45 Jeremiah Attaochu. At OLB he is our only reliable player on defense and really impacts how the offense plays. If I was Maryland I would ignore him all day and attack the middle of our defense and make sure two people are always blocking him on pass plays.

TT: Prediction time: who are you taking? (Or perhaps more narrowly, by how much are you expecting Georgia Tech to win?)

FTRS: To be honest, if it wasn't for the AMQHG I would not be confident picking Georgia Tech to win this week. You know the phrase about immovable objects meeting an unstoppable force? Well what happens when a team starting a freshman linebacker at quarterback faces a defense that allowed 510 yards and 49 points to Middle Tennessee State? I have no idea. If I have seemed critical and mildly depressed in my answers so far, its because I, and most of the Tech fan base, is. But we need a win to get to a bowl game, and I think Tech comes out inspired and wins 24-13.

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