PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Jerry Howard #15 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets runs the ball against Phil Campbell III #24 of the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second half during the game at Heinz Field on September 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Photo: Justin Berl/Getty Images
Photo: Justin Berl/Getty Images

Jackets try to explain slow start against Pittsburgh

On Monday, as Georgia Tech began practice to prepare for its Saturday matchup with No. 2 Clemson, players looked back to the team’s 24-19 loss to Pittsburgh this past Saturday, particularly the slow start.

The Yellow Jackets failed to gain a first down in their first three possessions and gave up a pair of touchdowns in Pitt’s first three possessions (once with a short field after a failed fake punt) to fall behind 14-0 in the first quarter and ultimately 21-0 by halftime.

“I would say we were beating ourselves,” B-back Jerry Howard said. “Just missed assignments and just weren’t doing a very good job of blocking. I think we’re steadily picking it up.”

Center Jahaziel Lee said that the team had a good week of practice and “I’m like, we’re fixing to go in and kill these guys.” Instead, Tech started off not functioning as a unit, with one missed block spoiling a number of plays.

“Upfront, I think we were doing a great job blocking the (Pitt) guys upfront and everything like that, but, like I said, we just weren’t on one accord,” Lee said. “Missed assignments can cause tackles for loss, turnovers, stuff like that. So that’s kind of what it was.”

A-back Qua Searcy surmised perhaps the 12:30 p.m. start was a factor.

“I don’t think it’ll happen again, especially the outcome of what happened last weekend,” he said. “I think from now on, we’ll definitely be ready.”

Quarterback TaQuon Marshall said he noticed that pregame warmups were not crisp. But he didn’t think it correlated to the slow start. He recalled how he was nervous and mistake-prone before his first start, against Tennessee in the 2017 season opener, but was fine once the game started.

“I just think we had a slow start this past weekend,” he said.

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