North Carolina heads to Atlanta to face the Yellow Jackets on the road.
A week after the North Carolina Tar Heels fell just short of defeating the No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers, the team must travel to Atlanta to face off with a struggling Georgia Tech (1-3) team. The Tar Heels will look to get back in the win column and back to .500 against an ACC Coastal foe.
To get you prepped for the game, we talked with Dylan Callaghan-Croley at Yellow Jacked Up to get his insider information and preview the game.
1. Georgia Tech sits at 1-3, with losses to the Citadel and Temple on its resume. What has gone wrong for the Yellow Jackets this season?
The Jackets’ struggles this season come back to the offense. Outside of the season opener against Clemson, the Georgia Tech defense has been tremendous this season all things considered. The secondary is one of the best in the nation so far and they’ve done quality work against opposing rushing attacks.
That being said, on offense, the Jackets simply can’t get anything done. Their quarterback play this year has been extremely poor and the offensive line play unsurprisingly has also been poor. With that combination, you won’t win many games. They may go to James Graham at quarterback this week as the primary quarterback but we’ll see what Collins and offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude decide to do.
2. Geoff Collins orchestrated a change from the triple option to a more traditional offense. What has that transition been like and how has the team responded?
The transition has been very tough, to say the least. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 13.5 points per game and less than 300 yards per game. This is mostly due to the poor quarterback and offensive line play as mentioned above. That being said, the Jackets appear to be in a good position at both running back and wide receiver. They won’t blow teams away with their skill at those positions but they have a terrific set of players at both positions going forward. Unfortunately, neither position group really can show their potential with the quarterback and offensive line play so far.
3. Georgia Tech is unique in that they utilize three different quarterbacks. How does that rotation work and what should UNC’s defense expect?
Georgia Tech is down to two quarterbacks right now because the starter coming into the season, Lucas Johnson is out with an injury. That being said, the Jackets utilized three different quarterbacks not out of game planning but out of necessity. They really, for the most part, we’re just trying to find a combination that works and have really been unable to do that. Here’s the dilemma the Jackets have at quarterback.
Lucas Johnson (injured) is probably the best pure passer of the three quarterbacks but he doesn’t have great speed or elusiveness. When playing behind an offensive line that is like a cheese grader at times, you’ll need to be elusive at times to escape the pocket and he struggled to do so. Quarterback Tobias Oliver is the most athletic of the three quarterbacks but he’s a poor passer who struggles mightily in passing situations. Then there’s James Graham, who’s not a great passer but he’s good enough and he has the athleticism to make plays with his legs as well. Now, to you, and to me, it may seem like an easy choice but Tech fans have yet to see James Graham become the primary guy. I think they need to make a decision sooner than later and time is ticking.
UNC’s defense, for the most part, should expect a combination of Tobias Oliver and James Graham. With Oliver, expect a much more run-heavy attack by Georgia Tech while it will become a bit more balanced whenever James Graham is on the field.
4. Who is one Georgia Tech player UNC fans might not know but should?
One player fans should know is running back Jordan Mason. Mason is a future NFL-caliber running back. He’s off to a good start this season when considering the offensive line he’s playing in front of with 49 carries for 257-yards and four touchdowns. He also has been involved in the passing game with seven receptions for 43-yards
5. Prediction for the game?
I think North Carolina wins this game but Tech covers the spread. I’m going to go with North Carolina 20 – Georgia Tech 13. I just haven’t seen enough out of Georgia Tech’s offense to say otherwise.