ATLANTA (AP) – Paul Johnson isn’t making a big deal about the sudden balance in Georgia Tech’s normally run-dominated spread-option offense.
Vad Lee threw four touchdown passes in last week’s win at Duke. Before that performance, no Georgia Tech quarterback had thrown four TD passes in a game since 2006 – two years before Johnson’s arrival as coach.
Georgia Tech ranked at or near the top of the nation’s rushing leaders and near the bottom of the passing stats in Johnson’s first five seasons.
Lee is tied for the Atlantic Coast Conference lead with six scoring passes for Georgia Tech (2-0), which plays North Carolina on Saturday. Also notable from the early statistics: The Yellow Jackets lead the nation by allowing only 7 points per game.
Johnson said Tuesday he would be more impressed if the Yellow Jackets still have impressive numbers in a few more weeks.
“We’re probably not that good on either side,” Johnson said. “As the season progresses, we’ll see. I hope we are. The stats are going to change. That’s why, to me, stats are like polls. This time of year you don’t pay much attention to them.
“If we get four or five games into the year, then they’ll mean a little something more, I think.”
After facing North Carolina this week, Georgia Tech plays another home game against Virginia Tech. Then the Yellow Jackets will play a fourth straight ACC Coastal Division game at Miami.
Obviously, tougher tests are coming for Lee.
Lee produced each of Georgia Tech’s five touchdowns – four passing, one rushing – in the 38-14 win at Duke. The four touchdown passes caught the attention of North Carolina coach Larry Fedora.
“It makes it very hard because you know the kid, if you put him in situations, he can beat you with his arm,” Fedora said. “You watch the Duke game. … Four touchdown passes. So there’s your threat. You get down to the red zone and those areas, and now you’re trying to stop the triple-option and the play-action passes off of it, and it’s tough. It’s very tough.”
Lee and his teammates on offense may have spoiled Johnson in the 70-0 opening win over Elon, because the coach wasn’t thrilled with the 38 points at Duke. He said he let his players know he wasn’t satisfied.
“I didn’t feel like we played particularly well on offense at Duke,” Johnson said.
“I still think we left a lot of points on the field and we could have played a lot better in the first half. There were some plays we had chances to put that game way out of reach and we let them kind of hang around. … Against good teams you won’t get second and third chances.”
Reggie Ball was the last Georgia Tech quarterback with four touchdown passes, against North Carolina State in 2006.
Lee saw substantial playing time behind Tevin Washington in 2012. He ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Georgia Tech’s 68-50 victory at North Carolina, the highest-scoring game in ACC history.
Could the Yellow Jackets and Tar Heels have a similarly high-scoring game this week?
“I don’t ever try to figure out how the game is going to go,” Johnson said. “It could go 6-3. That would be fine if we had 6. I just don’t know. They’re very good offensively. I don’t know that you’re going to hold them down like that. Usually if you think it’s going to be high-scoring, it’s 10-7 or 6-3, something like that. Who knows what’s going to happen?”