But Loeffler already seems to understand the realities an opposing offense must embrace when facing Johnson’s vaunted flexbone. The team that has won the time-of-possession battle in this series has emerged with a victory four of the past five years.
“Offensively they’re gonna hold the ball, so you won’t get many opportunities,” Loeffler said this week. “When you get opportunities, you gotta play mistake-free football. You have to.”
Showing some more life offensively, and making an attempt to “expand” the offensive playbook, as quarterback Logan Thomas put it this week, could go a long way toward determining the pecking order in the ACC’s Coastal Division standings.
The Yellow Jackets are already 2-0 in conference play, and another win Thursday would put them in the driver’s seat to advance to a second straight ACC championship game, with Miami the only serious threat in their way. What else should you keep an eye on during tonight’s nationally televised ACC matchup? Here are three more notes:
Logan Thomas and the read option
Loeffler called last Saturday’s triple-overtime win against Marshall “the biggest mistake game” the Hokies’ offense has had this season, and he seemed perturbed at how many yards were left on the field. Though Thomas carried the ball a season-high 23 times for 58 yards, he appeared to make several poor decisions leading the team’s read-option attack. Loeffler said the blame shouldn’t simply be thrust on Thomas, because some of his mis-reads were the result of assignment errors by others.
But don’t be surprised if Thomas is asked to carry more of the rushing load again, particularly because Coach Frank Beamer said Wednesday that he “could tell” running back Trey Edmunds was slowed by a hip injury during practice this week. The Hokies do expect sophomore J.C. Coleman (ankle) to return, and redshirt freshman Joel Caleb could also see extensive action if Edmunds is limited.
In the past, Thomas’s feet have had a bruising effect on Georgia Tech’s defense. In two career games against the Yellow Jackets, he has rushed 33 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns and completed better than 56 percent of his passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns. Last year, Thomas also orchestrated a game-tying field goal drive in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
The Hokies will need more of that, and less of the signal-caller who has multiple interceptions in three of his past five starts, if they hope to emerge with a crucial ACC win.