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What To Watch For: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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Big plays will be a factor in this game.

Louisville v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

LOUISVILLE CANNOT GIVE UP BIG PASSING PLAYS

Georgia Tech hasn’t had much success creating big plays in the passing game so far this season. Louisville can’t allow them to fix that issue this Friday. Tech has a bunch of big receivers who haven’t been able to separate from coverage but they do have the ability to win 50-50 balls. UofL has to be able to avoid busted coverages in the middle of the field and the corners have to be able to play the football like we’ve seen the last two games.

Anthony Johnson and Tre Clark both have nice pass breakups where they played the ball and not the receiver and Marlon Character broke up a slant route that would have been an easy big play last season. If we see these types of plays on Friday, the Louisville defense should be in good shape.

WILL LOUISVILLE GET THEIR RUNNING GAME GOING?

UofL was pretty terrible on offense against Pitt and they were really bad running the football. Outside of the 75 yard run that Javian Hawkins broke in the first quarter, there weren’t many positive plays. When UofL can’t run the ball they have a hard time doing much of anything else. The passing game is built off of the play action pass and if they can’t run the ball, it takes a big chunk of the passing game away.

Tech hasn’t been outstanding at stopping the run but they have contained things well so far. Syracuse worked hard to get their running game going but they still only averaged 3.98 yards per carry. That was with a 38-yard touchdown run by Sean Tucker after he landed on a defender during a tackle and continued to run. Tech wants to put you in long yardage situations and then bring exotic pressure. UofL can’t allow that.

UOFL SHOULD BE ABLE TO PRESSURE JEFF SIMS

Jeff Sims is young and he does a lot of bad things that young Quarterbacks do. He holds the ball too long. He throws into coverage. He extends plays for too long with his legs. And he doesn’t see and feel pressure. All of those things are a positive for Louisville but the last one really stands out. Sims doesn’t do a good job of recognizing where pressure is coming from before the snap and he doesn’t feel the pressure once the ball is snapped.

Bryan Brown wants to disguise where pass rushers are coming from and at times he has had success with his defense in doing so. Other times he has really struggled to dial up pressures that are hard to pick up and the Louisville pass rush has been ineffective. This week we should see more blitzes from the slot and the corner. That take more time to get home but with Sims being liable to hold onto the ball, they should work. We should also see see more delayed blitzes where guys might have a free run at Sims. Again, him holding onto the ball should allow those to get home.

GEORGIA TECH CAN MAKE PLAYS IN THE SECONDARY

Georgia Tech is not very good in single coverage. I need to start with that. Georgia Tech does have a lot of long athletes in the secondary, however. They can make a play on the football when given the opportunity and Malik Cunningham has been giving defenses the opportunity this year. He has already thrown five interceptions and he hasn’t always been accurate down the field. The decisions on those throws have been questionable at times, as well.

Malik can’t give these guys an opportunity to play the football because they have made a few plays this year when given the opportunity. I expect Louisville to look to push the ball down the field a lot in this game if Tech decides to play their normal defense and press receivers in single coverage or with one Safety deep.

Syracuse just beat guys off the line and they got two easy touchdown passes on go routes. The ball was delivered well and the receivers just ran under it. Tech also got an interception off of an underthrown ball where the corner was able to catch up and turn and make the catch. Louisville just can’t give these guys opportunities. Especially when they’re so susceptible to giving up big passing plays.