This week the Hoos travel to Atlanta where they will face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Ramblin’ Wreck are 6-4 and looking to finish the season strong and improve their bowl prospects. As we know, Virginia is reeling, having lost five in a row, out of the bowl picture, and looking for an identity and way ahead. While this game means nothing to Virginia’s postseason hopes, this game can go a long way towards building the program. Here’s what I’ll be looking for...From the Upper Deck.
- Be ready for the pass - Georgia Tech doesn’t pass the ball often. But when they do, it’s for big plays. On the season, Georgia Tech’s opponents have attempted two and half times more passes than the Yellow Jackets, however, their average completion is about half that of the Wreck. Quarterback Justin Thomas is brilliant at catching secondaries creeping up to stop the run, and big plays over the top are Georgia Tech’s bread and butter. In fact, the Yellow Jackets’ three leading receivers all have an average catch of 16 yards. By comparison, of Virginia’s receivers with at least seven receptions, Doni Dowling leads the team with a 14 yard per catch average. Georgia Tech won’t throw it often, but when they do, they go big.
- Just make plays Mr. Johns - Dusting off the Matt Johns scouting report from last year, we remember that he’s a playmaker. Susceptible to the interception, throwing about 1.5 per game last year, but he’s also shown the ability to run the offense throwing for 2800 yards on the season (Kurt Benkert has thrown for 2400 through 10 games). But what fans need to remember about Johns is he isn’t a sit in the pocket passer and he won’t wow scouts with his fundamentals or skills. But what he was able to do last year was be creative, extend plays with his legs, and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. For Johns to be successful, he can’t play scared. He’s a gunslinger, he’s going to make mistakes. But in doing so, he’ll make plays too.
- Show me something - Unfortunately, we’ve become all too accustomed at this time of the year to turn our attention, not to wins and losses, but to how this team looks going into next year. It says a lot about the character of a team and a program with the way they play when they have nothing to play for. While it’s hard to measure, I’ll be looking for body language. I’ll be looking for that senior who’s playing his last games in a Cavalier uniform. I’ll be looking for the underclassmen and how he looks to posture for future opportunities. I’ll also be looking for the coaching staff and how they execute a game plan and motivate their team. Win or lose, this team can still show me something. And that something will go a long way towards how we as fans see this team in the offseason.
Kickoff is at 12:30 P.M. and the game will be televised by the ACC Network. Make sure to check back Sunday to see how we did, and as always...GO HOOS!