Was Georgia Tech’s defensive collapse in the final two minutes against Miami the result of poor play-calling, poor performance or just some bad luck?
The answer is yes on all three.
At his weekly media conference Tuesday, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said sometimes the play-calling could have been better, sometimes the players didn’t get their job done and sometimes it was just bad luck.
“We’ve had a couple squirrely games,” Johnson said. “A few times in that last drive, we had the perfect call and had a chance to make a big play. There were times when there was a better call for what they ran. That’s why you play. They’ve got coaches; we’ve got coaches. They’ve got players; we’ve got players.”
The Georgia Tech defense has been criticized for allowing Miami drive 85 yards in the final 2:30 of the game and kick the winning field goal. But Johnson reiterated that a football game isn’t like playing a board game. Things aren’t always cut and dry on the field.
“You could have a great call, and they throw it, and the guy misses a tackle, and all of a sudden, that’s not a very good call,” Johnson said. “Then there could be another time when you could be in the worst call ever, and your kid makes an unbelievable play and fights through a blocker and knocks the guy out of bounds or tackles the guy, and they say, ‘Man, that was a great call.’
“Same thing on offense. You can call an option play into too many people, and they knock everybody down, and the guy goes 60 yards and everybody goes, ‘That was a great call.’ … We had fourth down where we had the perfect call ... didn’t work.”
That occurred late in the second quarter. On fourth-and-6, TaQuon Marshall threw to Ricky Jeune on the left side. The play was executed as drawn but gained only 4 yards and gave Miami time to score again.
“They blitzed, and we had a throw-back screen; they had one guy over there, and we had a blocker, and the guy catches the ball. It didn’t work,” Johnson said. “Their guy played through the blocker, we bust a tackle, one of the guys who rushed we didn’t block. Busted play. Bad call. Do it right, the guy walks into the end zone, and everybody goes, ‘Wow, that’s a great call.’ ”
Overall, Johnson said the defense has played much better this season than it has the past two years.
“That’s not the goal,” Johnson said. “We want to be even better. We’ve played some really good games on defense and some that weren’t so good … just like on offense. We didn’t exactly light it up in the second half on offense, either.
“I can look at the tape and tell you what happened, but if I do it’s like I’m making excuses, so I’ll you figure it out. It happens sometimes.”
The Marshall plan
Now that tackle Andrew Marshall has been ruled out for the season, Johnson plans to meet with the senior and learn his plans. Marshall has one more year of eligibility and will graduate in December. Johnson wants to discuss the options available to Marshall and said he would support whatever decision Marshall makes.
Other injury news
The team won’t release an injury status report until Thursday. Of particular interest are injuries that caused linebacker Brant Mitchell and B-back KirVonte Benson, the team’s leading rusher, to leave the game early.
Freshman Bruce Jordan-Swilling filled in for Mitchell and wound up with seven tackles, sharing the team lead. Benson’s spot was taken by Quaide Weimerskirch, who carried six times for 17 yards.
Also sidelined was kicker Shawn Davis, who hurt his knee. He would be replaced by Brenton King, who kicked a 31-yard field goal against Miami after taking over for Davis.
Clemson kickoff time set
The ACC announced the game at Clemson on Oct. 28 will start at 8 p.m. The game will either be broadcast on ABC or ESPN.