Georgia Tech Blog

A sports blog about the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday Tech Review: Rough go for B-backs

Georgia Tech B-back Patrick Skov had his lightest workload of the season Saturday, as he carried twice for four yards in the Yellow Jackets loss to Clemson. Skov started the game, but first-year freshman Marcus Marshall had a career-high 11 carries for 45 yards with a long run of 12 yards.

“I think he’s getting better and better each time,” offensive line coach Mike Sewak said. “He made a cut in Saturday’s game, which was more mature for as many snaps as he’s taken.”

Fellow backup B-back Marcus Allen carried four times for eight yards.

As a group, Tech’s B-backs have 673 yards for the season, a solid 112 yards-per-game average. The total is a bit misleading, however. The three gained 277 of those yards, 41 percent, against Alcorn State.

In the four-game losing streak, they’ve averaged 72 yards per game at a meager 3.7 yards per carry. By comparison, David Sims, a three-year starter at B-back 2011-2013, averaged 5.1 yards per attempt.

The longest run that any of the three has had in the past four games is a 12-yarder by Marshall against Clemson. It is part of a power outage that Sewak called “crushing.”

“I sure would like to bust a fullback for 20, 25 (yards), just a pop, just like we should,” Sewak said. “We’ve had some opportunities, again, but somebody will stumble and fall.”

To reach the 1,000-yard plateau as a group by the end of the regular season, Skov, Marshall and Allen would need to average 54.5 yards per game.

Few flags for Jackets

Tech continues to be the least penalized team in the country. The Jackets are averaging 2.7 penalties for 24.7 yards per play. Tech was No. 27 in the country last year in penalty yardage (41.1 yards per game) with 4.9 penalties per game.

As you might suspect, there’s not a great deal of correlation between avoiding penalties. Among the other teams in the top 10 in fewest penalty yards per game – No. 7 Michigan State (6-0), No. 20 Northwestern (5-1), UCF (0-6) and Fresno State (1-5).

The third most penalized team in the country? No. 2 Baylor, at 89.6 yards per game.

Giving effort

The loss to Clemson was one of the most decisive in coach Paul Johnson’s tenure – it was the fourth-largest margin of defeat in an ACC game – but he did praise his team for its continued effort in the loss to Clemson.

“I don’t know that we have an issue with kids playing hard,” Johnson said. “It would have been really easy to come out and lay down in the second half now. They came out and played as hard or harder than they did in the first half.”


A quote from coach Paul Johnson's Monday news conference:

"I think to start the season I felt like I knew we were going to be really young on offense. And that was before we even got all the injuries. But I knew we were going to be young. So I felt like that the two things that needed to be the anchor of the team early was going to be the defense returning and the offensive line and the quarterback. None of that has panned out to this point."

Chop-block call

Those watching the Clemson game on television may have noticed Johnson lighting up an official after a chop-block call in the first quarter. Johnson said Monday that he was given the wrong number of the offending player (A-back Mikell Lands-Davis cut blocked a Clemson linebacker while he was still engaged with center Freddie Burden). Johnson said he agreed with the call.

“They told me it was the tackle,” Johnson said. “That’s why I was so upset, and the tackle was supposed to be outside releasing on the play. Of course, he didn’t; he went inside because he misidentified the front.”

Volleyball team splits

The Tech volleyball team split its ACC matches this past weekend, sweeping Notre Dame on Sunday and getting swept by Louisville. The Jackets are 12-6 overall and 3-3 in the ACC. The Jackets were 6-12 in the conference last season and 6-14 in 2013.

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About the Author

Ken Sugiura covers Georgia Tech sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.