If you believed everything you read over the past several weeks about the state of Georgia Tech’s B-Back situation, you would be panicking and worried that we had resorted to Bobby Boucher carrying the rock this fall.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Not only was all of this totally unnecessary, but it seems as if many didn’t fully appreciate how great Tech’s THIRD STRING back Marcus Allen looked during the 2015 Spring Game last week.
Allen rushed for a game-high 77 yards, which is considerable due to average playing time for a starter in a spring game.
Yes, first stringer C.J. Leggett is out for the season with a torn ACL which is unfortunate, but the second string B-Back Quaide Weimerskirch suffers from a broken foot.
Is it guaranteed he is 100% and is out there with the first team September 3rd? No. But this is not an injury that should cause fans to panic about his status the entire season.
Dec 31, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Jamal Golden (4) and Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Josh Robinson (13) try to recover the fumble in the second quarter Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
What many Jackets fans don’t seem to understand about this offense is that the running backs are very much plug-and-play. This isn’t implying that players like Zach Laskey and Synjyn Days are not top-notch players, not at all. They were the best pair of fullbacks Johnson had at his disposal since arriving at Tech.
Point is, every other back hasn’t been chop liver either. Remember Anthony Allen, David Simms? So many articles out there this spring proclaim that the B-Back is “the most important position in this offense”. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Without question, the MOST important part of any offense, ANY, is the offensive line.
Although Tech lost the magnificent Guard Shaq Mason, it returns four other offense linemen.
The second most important? That’d be quarterback. Really, should we even bother dissecting that category? Didn’t think so.
If the line protects the QB, and the QB is smart, athletic, and as gifted as Justin Thomas is, the reads and lanes are there for whoever is running the ball in the backfield for the Jackets.
The more talented the back, the more spectacular the runs and the gains. Often though, the easy way out for most in the media is to slap this position as “most critical” to an offense that they only see as “three yards and a cloud of dust”.
Marcus Allen showed he has great athleticism during spring practice. Folks, Allen is a converted LINEBACKER. Remember the brilliant Synjyn Days last year? A converted QUARTERBACK. Regardless of what you read referencing Tech’s “talent level”, Paul Johnson has plenty of great players and options at his disposal.
Fullback Patrick Skov (24), Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
And that leads us to the big news this week, the addition of Patrick Skov from Stanford. Skov is seemingly a perfect fit for this institute, this system, and this team. Skov is a well-spoken, intelligent young man, and appears to have the perfect physical attributes for Paul Johnson’s B-Back position.
Last season at Stanford, Skov only carried the ball 12 times, but scored four touchdowns since he primarily carried the ball as the backup back during short-yardage goal line situations. He was considered a front-runner for the starting position heading into this season for the Cardinal.
Stanford’s loss is Tech’s gain. Skov plans on enrolling in Tech MBA program this summer after his graduation in June from Stanford, and will be immediately eligible per NCAA rules as a graduate transfer. Coach Johnson has had nothing but great things to say about Skov since the two met, saying he is “a very mature young man”.
With Skov’s size and strength (mirroring Days) and Allen’s speed and power (mirroring Laskey), in addition to two key freshmen who have yet to step foot onto Tech’s campus (Marcus Marshall and Mikell Lands-Davis), Tech fans should hold off on any panicking until at least August. Chances are, Johnson has everything under control.
Georgia Tech’s 2015 schedule is one of the toughest in school history; however, many key matchups feature teams facing turnover on both offense and defense (FSU, UGA on offense, Clemson on defense).
The matchups featuring teams with perceived strong offenses (ND, UNC, Clemson) should be less daunting to the Jackets, because Tech should feature what will likely be its best defense in 8 seasons.
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Eight starters are returning to a defense that began to come alive last season, including stars: Jamal Golden, D.J. White, P.J. Davis, Keshun Freeman, and Adam Gotsis. For any of you ACC fans that aren’t familiar with those names, do yourself a favor and start now, because by the time you face the Jackets, you will know them all too well.
Most ACC reading at this point with regards to football has been centered around “Best College Campus” (Virginia), and “New Look Uniforms” (UNC). I guess if I was a fan of either, that’d be the choice for my reading pleasure this spring also, considering…
I can assure the rest of the ACC, and the country as well, that this Georgia Tech team has lofty goals for this football season. Neither turnover in the backfield or a “tough” schedule are changing that.