Yellow Jackets look to correct mistakes vs Bowling Green
ATLANTA (AP) — Quarterback TaQuon Marshall has a message for those who say Georgia Tech’s season is essentially over.
Yes, at 1-3, the Yellow Jackets are in danger of losing a fourth straight game and getting off to their worst start since 1994.
But Marshall believes Georgia Tech will play a fundamentally clean game, starting with himself, against Bowling Green on Saturday and come away with an expected victory.
After that, it will be time to refocus on the team’s winless start in the Atlantic Coast Conference and next week’s trip to Louisville.
“There’s some goals out there that we can still reach,” Marshall said. “Just keep everything in perspective. Don’t get too down. Make sure everyone’s positive because we can still get to where we want.”
Bowling Green is off to a 1-3 start and is 7-21 under coach Mike Jinks. The Falcons, who are 0-2 in the Mid-American Conference, seem to be the right opponent at right time for Georgia Tech.
But first the Jackets need to address self-inflicted mistakes. They have lost five of their nation-leading 14 fumbles and can’t afford to be careless against a Bowling Green defense that forced 24 turnovers last year.
Some other things to look for when Bowling Green visits Georgia Tech on Saturday:
BACK TO BASICS
Coach Paul Johnson recommitted to teaching fundamentals this week. He has seen enough dysfunction with his spread-option offense, which has eight false-start penalties, and a new 3-4 defense that’s given up 122 points over the last three games.
“If you can’t bend your knees and play the leverage, it don’t matter if you’re blitzing or dropping,” he said. “You’re not going to be very successful. It’s the same thing on offense. If you can’t get a quarterback-center exchange and you can’t pass protect a little better, it don’t matter.
“You can draw up all the routes and protections you want, but if you can’t do the fundamentals better — we’ve got to do a better job of coaching those things and emphasizing the little things. All those little things.”
At least first-year coordinator Nate Woody is producing more takeaways.
With interceptions last week by Desmond Branch and Malik Rivera, Georgia Tech has five picks to tie for 19th nationally. The Jackets had just six interceptions in 11 games last year.
Offensive linemen Kenny Cooper and Will Bryan back in the rotation. Cooper, last year’s starting center, missed the first two games with a foot injury, returned against Pittsburgh and left the Clemson game with an ankle injury. Bryan missed the last two games with a lower-body injury.
Bryan might start at right tackle with Andrew Marshall nursing a sore ankle. He already has started at left tackle and right guard this year. Connor Hansen will start at right guard.
To block out bad vibes, Marshall recently deleted social media apps from this phone. He kept the accounts active but doesn’t plan to engage in Twitter, Instagram and others for the rest of the season.
“I’m only on Snapchat with a couple of my friends,” he said. “If you have my number, you can text me, but other than that, I put it to the side. Too much of a distraction. It makes me too frustrated, so I had to get rid of it.”
Johnson, whose teams are 18-22 overall — 9-17 in the ACC — since the start of 2015, believes a turnaround can happen quickly and says:
“Now if we play the next few games and we’re not worth a crap ... but I know what I see in practice and I know what I see with our guys. I think we’ve got a chance to get better and play better.”
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