I’m starting a little experiment this year where I as an amateur fan of college football watch my favorite team (Georgia Tech) and review its performance. I’ll be trying to take a single play-by-play approach, combined a bit with some analytics, although a single game is a relatively small sample size.

I won’t go in depth about Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson’s scheme, as there are many other resources out there for that.

The first game of the season was GT versus a high-powered FCS offense. Georgia Tech rolled 69-6, ending the first quarter up 34-0. At that point, most the the starters came out of the game. So I’ll start with the Georgia Tech offense in the first quarter. It should be a good first taste of film study.

I’ll have some quick notes below, and then three plays in depth.


Here’s some quick impressions from watching each offensive play from the first quarter. Remember this is against an inferior opponent in Alcorn State.

  • Quarterback (Justin Thomas)
    • JT’s option decision making was pretty good.
    • The 20 yard sack (see below) was a bad decision to extend the play after pocket collapsed
    • Passes were on target.
  • Offensive Line
    • Run blocking was getting to the second level (linebackers) most of the time, which is really good. Even against 8 in the box, they got push, which allowed the good B-Back play.
    • The one goal line push was held in place as the line got no traction.
    • true freshman will bryan failed on the block that led to the sack
  • Wide Receivers
    • Michael Summers blocks were not good overall on perimeter plays. The first play of the game went 9 yards instead of 30 yards because of a completely missed block. His TD catch later in the quarter showcased why he’s on the field. His height allowed him to make a catch on a pass with the safety coming over.
    • I was really impressed by Ricky Jeune’s blocking. He consistently pushed back his defender into the third level.
  • B-Backs
    • Patrick Skov ran through defenders multiple times, bowling over linebackers left and right.
    • True Freshman Marcus Marshall has some breakaway speed, and showed it on a dive play where the blcoking was excellent.
  • A-Backs
    • Blocking overall was pretty good, but not great.
    • Runs by A-backs were generally successful.
    • Broderick Snoddy made some great moves.
    • Qua Searcy really impressed with his shiftyness. Qua’s catch was good too because he came back to the QB after he failed to get open on the wheel route.


Broderick Snoddy Run

1st and 10 from the Alcorn 21. Broderick Snoddy run for 20 yards.


Start: The classic triple option play develops.Thomas (QB #5) under center in balanced look. Stewart (WR #83) and Jeune (WR #2) out wide. Snoddy (AB #22) and Lynch (AB #49) at A-back. Skov (BB #7) at B-back.


Dive Decision: The classic triple option play develops. Thomas (QB #5) must decide to handoff to Skov (BB #7) or keep the ball. You can see DE #94 is inside of the RT #75, meaning he has crashed to tackle the B-Back. Thomas should keep the ball. Skov will get hit.


Thomas does keep, and Skov does get tackled.

Pitch Decision: Thomas only has one tackler in front of him and he’s being stared down. He should pitch in this situation because Snoddy (AB #22) has no tacklers in sight. AB #49 and WR #2 are aiming to provide blocks.


Run: The ball is pitched to Snoddy (AB #22), who runs past the tacklers staring at Thomas. Lynch (AB #49) is cut-blocking the DB, and providing a nice hole for Snoddy. Notice how Trey Braun (RT #75) is 10 yards up the field harrassing LBs.


Tackle: Snoddy is being tackled at the 1 yard line. After being untouched for 15 yards, he slips the tackle by #27 and is downed by the other DB. I mainly include this picture because look at Ricky Jeune (WR #2) blocking 21 yards+ downfield. He has pushed his man at least 8 yards from engaging the block.

Outcome: An almost-touchdown.

Analysis: An excellent play all around by the team. Great blocking on the outside (Ricky Jeune!). Excellent decision making. Good running by Snoddy.

Justin Thomas Sack

1st and 10 from the Alcorn 31. Justin Thomas sacked for a loss of 18 yards.


Start: Thomas (QB #5) under center in balanced look. Messick (WR #86) and Jeune (WR #2) out wide. Searcy (AB #1) and Lynch (AB #49) at A-back. Marshall (BB #34) at B-back.


Dropback: Thomas (QB #5) drops back without a fake. Messick (WR #86), Jeune (WR #2), and Searcy (AB #1) go out for routes. Marshall (BB #34) and Lynch (AB #49) block. 3 linemen and left LB rush. Will Bryan (LG #70) engages the DE #94. Marshall (BB #34) steps up to provide additional blocking on the left side.


Pressure: Less than a second later, the DE #94 has a clear line to the QB. DE #94 has shed the block by Will Bryan (LG #70), and is unnoticed by Marshall (BB #34).

Outcome: Thomas (QB #5) is harried less than two seconds into play. A pump fake slows DE #94’s rush, but Thomas makes a bad decision to try and extend play and eventually gets sacked when cornered between two pass rushers.

Analysis: Thomas’ decision was not well regarded by the coaching staff or by Thomas himself, but two true freshmen, Bryan and Marshall are to blame here. No pass rush of 4 players from an FCS school should get to the QB in 2 seconds.

Coach Johnson said in his postgame interview that the play was supposed to be a screen. This may be why Bryan’s block was shed so fast. But there was no apparent screen setup by the time the line broke down. Thomas should have thrown it away.

Marcus Marshall Touchdown Run

2nd and 28 from Alcorn 49. 49 yard touchdown run by Marcus Marshall.


Start: Thomas (QB #5) under center in balanced look. Messick (WR #86) and Jeune (WR #2) out wide. TaQuon Marshall (AB #16) and Lynch (AB #49) at A-back. Marcus Marshall (BB #34) at B-back.


Decision: The classic triple option play develops. Thomas (QB #5) must decide to handoff to Marshall (BB #34) for the dive play or not. He is staring at DE #94 to see if the DE crashes inside or stays outside. DE #94 is a good 4 yards away from the play and is staying home. Thomas makes the right decision and hands off to the B-Back.

Notice the up front blocking. The center (Freddie Burden #58) has engaged the nose tackle, and the right gaurd (Trey Klock #65) is gunning for the LB. The right tackle (Bryan Chamberlain #53) has sealed the DE #94. The right side of the line has opened a lane by splitting the two linemen and having a free blocker for the LB.

The safety #27 in the picture has already made a fatal error of charging in to an outside option play. This safety being out of position allows Marshall to take a 15 yard run to the house.


Dive play: The blocking just keeps going. Klock (RG #65) has completely taken the LB out of a play that ran right for his position. Chamberlain (RT #53) has even shed the block of DE #94 to get upfield to help the blocking. Burden (C #58) looks shaky on his block but holds it long enough for Marshall (BB #34) to slip by. Unseen in this picture (behind Burden’s block) is Trey Braun (LG #78) keeping the other LB out of the play as well.

Outcome: Marshall ends up skirting Burden’s block with enough momentum to outrun the safeties who played too much to the outside.

Analysis: While this is a 15 yard play if the safety doesn’t charge in, this play is made in the trenches where the linemen got great push and were able to create a huge hole where Marshall should show off his speed.


This post took quite a while to put together, but I did enjoy it. I’ll probably do something on defense and special teams as well as offense. for this week’s game against Tulane.

Go Jackets!