The degree to which Georgia Tech's ability to produce explosive run plays has dropped off is remarkable. In Tech’s four-game losing streak, the Jackets have three runs of 20 yards or more in 161 rush attempts. Even including the Tulane game, Tech’s rate of rush attempts per 20-yard run play against FBS competition is markedly higher than during any season under coach Paul Johnson’s tenure.
Johnson has put freshman A-back Mikell Lands-Davis into the starting lineup in just his third college game ever. He’s contemplating giving freshman B-back Marcus Marshall his first start, as well.
Even if Patrick Skov remains the starter at B-back, Marshall will get playing time. He had a team-high 45 rushing yards against Clemson on 11 carries, this after not playing at all in the loss at Duke.
Both have shortcomings related to their experience with the offense and the college game in general – particularly in regards to blocking – but Johnson sounded as though it’s imperative to get their speed and playmaking ability onto the field.
“We’ve got to get some explosive guys on the field other than the quarterback who can make some big plays,” Johnson said Tuesday. “We haven’t had any long runs. That’s why we’re trying to play a lot of people.”
Interesting that the lowest (best) rate was in Johnson’s first season and that the second highest rate (prior to this season) was 2009, when the Jackets won the ACC championship. In 2008, Tech turned it on in the final five games of the season, against Florida State, North Carolina, Miami, Georgia and LSU (mostly Florida State, Miami and Georgia).
In those five games, Tech averaged a 20-yard run play for every 11.4 attempts, which is absurd. The rate was 17.4 prior to that.