With Georgia Tech passing game improving, play-calling balance could shift

In 2019, Georgia Tech ran 62% of the time and then 59% in 2020. With backs like Jordan Mason and Jahmyr Gibbs, dual-threat quarterbacks in James Graham and Jeff Sims and inconsistent pass protection, it made sense to be run-heavy.

However, offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude’s offenses have typically achieved more balance – at Temple, the Owls were 53/47 in favor of the run in 2017 and then 50/50 in 2018. While offering caveats, he suggested a more-even attack was in the offing.

“I think over the last couple years, we’ve been a better running team than we have been a throwing team,” Patenaude said Tuesday in advance of the season opener against Northern Illinois on Saturday. “I’d say right now, we’re probably as good on both sides. We’ll see if that holds up on Saturday night.”

Patenaude said that the offensive line, which includes fifth-year seniors in left tackle Devin Cochran and guards Kenny Cooper and Ryan Johnson, is the best since he arrived with coach Geoff Collins after the 2018 season. He said that at Tuesday’s practice, facing a “funky blitz look,” the line made a call for a pass protection that “we’ve never made since Day 1 that we’ve been here. And it was automatic.”

After the play, Sims asked Patenaude if the line was supposed to change the protection, and Patenaude reassured that it was the right call.

“Take it off your plate,” Patenaude said. “They’re good. We’re super excited about that group.”