Most weeks in this space and time slot, we’ll be firing up the Statsy Preview Calculator to see what it says about Tennessee’s upcoming matchup and then concluding that it’s a crazy, stupid machine and making our own predictions anyway. But the SPC is just now emerging from its long summer hibernation, and it is raging mad, ravenous for data. Alas, the cupboard is bare before the first kickoff.
So this week instead, we’ll just take a peek at Georgia Tech’s data from last year to see what, if anything, it can tell us about what to expect Monday night in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff.
The first question, of course, is how similar the 2017 team is to the 2016 version. The Yellow Jackets ranked 29th on SB Nation’s preseason returning production chart back when it was published in January this year and ninth on Phil Steele’s returning starters chart when it was published in February, but since then their most productive rusher, Dedrick Mills, has been kicked off the team, and their next most productive rusher, Clinton Lynch, is still questionable for the game. That would suggest the answer is “mostly no,” but then again, Georgia Tech is one of those teams where the Xs and Os might actually compete with the Jimmys and Joes for importance.
So let’s look at last year’s data for Georgia Tech.
Offensive observations. First, as you’d expect, Georgia Tech’s rushing offense is a locomotive built on top one of those zero-turn lawn mowers. Last year, they averaged 258.1 yards per game. So imagine a John Deere tricked out by NASCAR coming at you with sharp blades spinning. That really should be their logo.
[bctt tweet=”Georgia Tech’s rushing offense is a locomotive built on top one of those zero-turn lawn mowers.” username=”GamedayRockyTop”]
On the other hand, the Yellow Jackets are almost certainly not going to throw an interception, most likely because they’re not going to throw the ball very much at all. They finished last season first in number of interceptions thrown and near the bottom in passing yards gained. But look at how many yards they get on the few occasions that they do entrust the ball to the gods of the air: Over 20 yards per completion, good for second in the nation. I’ve heard coach Jones and the players say a lot this week that they need to guard against being lulled into boredom on defense. It’s true: Georgia Tech sings you a lullaby on offense and then throws it over your head when doze off.
[bctt tweet=”Georgia Tech sings you a lullaby on offense and then throws it over your head when you doze off.” username=”GamedayRockyTop”]
Defensive observations. These numbers are not nearly as likely to induce nightmares. Not particularly good overall, against the run, or against the pass. Terrible on third down and not much better on first. Not going to sack the quarterback or tackle you for a loss. Okay, good.
Special Teams and Turnovers Rankings
Special teams and turnovers observations. From this, it appears that the Yellow Jackets are a disciplined bunch from a penalties perspective, but maybe not so much from a turnovers standpoint. And did they really block four kicks last season? Something like that matters when points are at a premium in a run-heavy football game.
Players to Watch
The following is last year’s stats from last year’s roster. Guys who are no longer on the team are noted.
Offensive Observations. Well, Matthew Jordan better be productive, is all I have to say. Of course, he’d not even been named the starting quarterback as of yesterday, so you know.
Defensive Observations. So, it looks like the twins are maybe the main guys to watch out for, especially for Tennessee’s new quarterback.
Special Teams Observations. Redshirt senior J.J. Green ran a kickoff back for a touchdown last year against Pitt, so he’s definitely capable back there.