The ground game has been stuck in neutral
Remember when the season began and we all believed that the running backs would be a huge part of this year’s offense? Well, thus far, that hasn’t come to fruition as the ground game has been essentially non-existent.
Time and time again, offensive coordinator Zach Kittley has tried to run the ball on first down only to see his running backs run head-first into a brick wall at the line of scrimmage. That puts the offense behind the chains and makes life much more difficult for Smith thus creating a recipe for a punt.
Against Houston and NC State Tech averaged a meager 2.3 yards per run. While some of that is impacted by the ten sacks that the team gave up in those two contests, the simple fact is that Tech isn’t giving Tahj Brooks and Sarodorick Thompson a chance to make a difference.
That duo is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry against FBS opponents this year. That’s due almost entirely to the shortcomings of the offensive line as almost everything that Tech has accomplished on the ground has been either by a Smith scramble or by incredible individual efforts on the part of Brooks and Thompson.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time obsessing over the offensive line’s ability to pass protect this year and against NC State, that area was improved as the majority of the sacks that Smith took fall at his own feet for holding the ball too long. But what might be just as concerning as Tech’s pass-protection struggles is the line’s inability to open up holes in the ground game. That was again a problem against the Wolfpack and it is likely to be an issue all season.