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Talking Georgia Tech With Ramblin' Racket

While preparing myself for perhaps the final nail in 2006's coffin, I took a break from drinking long enough to ask Jeff from Ramblin' Racket some Tech-related questions; his answers are below. You can find my responses to Jeff's questions about the Wolfpack here.

1.) With the exception of the Clemson game, Tech's run defense has been stout. Is there anything that NC State can take away from what Clemson did?

Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, the biggest thing Clemson did to Tech was recruit James Davis and C.J. Spiller, whom I still consider superhuman despite VT shutting them down. As far as gameplan, Clemson ran RIGHT AT the Jackets. Blitzing is the ultimate risk-reward technique on defense, and Georgia Tech blitzes as often as anybody. Therefore, Clemson utilized their power running attack to bowl straight into and straight through Tech's line and linebackers. Whether Andre Brown and Toney Baker have the power and moves to domionate similarly, I don't know.

2.) In terms of total offense, Georgia Tech is ranked nationally just about where it was last season. Are you surprised that Tech's offense hasn't been better this season?

I wouldn't go as far as saying we aren't better. Tashard Choice has already more than doubled PJ Daniels's rushing TD total last season (seven versus three), and the team has already had more receiving TDs than last year's total (13 versus 12). So, our offensive yards may be comparable to last year, but we've done a lot more with those yards this year than last.

Patrick Nix (GT's offensive coordinator) is running the whole offense for the first time this year, with Chan Gailey handing over the reigns. Nix is way more willing than Gailey was to design schemes for his players, rather than expect the players to adapt to his system... that works in the NFL, but not in college where players have no more than four years in the system. And Nix's schemes are working pretty well so far.

3.) What's been Tech's biggest problem spot on the defensive side of the ball?

Before the Clemson game, I would not have known what to say. But, as I said earlier, Clemson just bowled over us with the run.

Lack of depth is also a problem. We sucked at preventing third down conversions in the Miami game, and I blame a lot of that on the D getting tired. Many many times, Miami would be at third and nine or worse, and somehow convert. If State can keep GT's defense on the field, that would be huge for the Wolfpack.

4.) Reggie Ball seems to have had a rough go of it the last two weeks. Are you worried about how he'll play in Raleigh?

A bit. Much of his (current) troubles stem from a leg injury sustained in the Maryland game. At Clemson, Reggie looked like utter crap, and never had the composure a senior quarterback should. Against Miami, things picked up a little, but Reggie still threw off the wrong foot a few times, not from lack of fundamentals I think, but rather from favoring the non-injured leg.

To me, the big question is just how well his leg has healed before the Jackets visit Raleigh.

5.) One thing that caught my eye was that the two Johnsons appear to be the only guys catching passes with regularity. Chris Dunlap is third on the team with six receptions. What's the deal? Do the Jackets have depth problems at receiver?

I *would* say yes, except that with a player like Calvin, a solid number two is all you need to avoid "depth problems." Honestly, yes we have a bit of a depth problem, but not a lot. The other receivers suffer because CJ is so good and we're so quick to throw to him (except against Clemson). Last weekend in the Miami game, we threw a few passes to our fullback and tight end, which adds a solid wrinkle to the offense and takes a little attention away from the WRs. For YEARS I have complained about the Jackets never throwing to tight ends. (I also wish we'd run the fullback occasionally, but that's basically irrelevant.)