Usually Johnson watches film with his quarterbacks to start the next week of practice, but the lack of drive his team demonstrated against the Tigers (4-0) was cause for a group review session. While Johnson has confidence in his assistant coaches to correct the offensive mistakes, he wanted to take matters into his own hands.
For B-back Isiah Willis, the film session did exactly what Johnson intended — drove home the point that what happened against Clemson was unacceptable.
“Sometimes they’ll ask you ‘what would you do on this play?’, ‘What are you supposed to be doing?’, ‘Why did you do this?’,” Willis said. “Sometimes he’s just trying to understand what you know, where’s the miscommunication on within that play. He definitely does that. You just have to answer.”
Willis was responsible for 10 of the Jackets’ 95 rushing yards against Clemson. Freshman b-back Dedrick Mills had the most positive yardage of any Yellow Jacket on Saturday, rushing for 75 yards and the Jackets’ only touchdown.
The Jackets’ joint film study isn’t new.
Johnson’s brought the offense together a few times last year in their 3-9 season to review crushing losses.
Instead feeling embarrassed for being called out in film study, Willis, a redshirt senior, is using the instruction to encourage the younger Jackets to keep fighting after being knocked down by a talented team.
Willis’ takeaway from Johnson’s film review was the need to improve on fundamentals like footwork and technique.
“I don’t want him to have to sit down with us for anything negative like that, so you just want it to encourage you to get working and get back on your grind,” Willis said. “I guess you get to see everything everybody else is doing wrong, so it’s like you kind of want to encourage them as well and just see yourself when he’s talking to you and you get pointed out in front of everybody. It affects you that much more like ‘I don’t want to be that guy’ or ‘I don’t want to be that person that’s getting called out on the film.’”
For quarterback Justin Thomas, the offenses’ first joint film review of the season wasn’t enjoyable, but the quarterback sees how the offense can bond through the hardship.
“Truthfully, it’s kind of like being in a spotlight,” Thomas said. “It’s just all eyes on you. I think it helped out and hopefully we’ll see the outcome on Saturday (against Miami).”
Thomas threw 4-for-13 for 25 yards and had negative 25 rushing yards against Clemson.