ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 29: Orwin Smith #17 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets scores a touchdown against Jonathan Willard #46 and Xavier Brewer #29 of the Clemson Tigers at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
As the Hokies defense gets ready to take on the toughest offense to prepare for it will face all year, I wanted to look at how the Yellow Jackets are distributing their carries this year based on first down, second down, third down and third and short. What I found is that the Jackets will distribute their carries pretty evenly on first and second down, but the odds are the quarterback is going to be the ballcarrier on third down.
This table breaks down the carries by the top eight primary ball carriers in the Georgia Tech offense: The first and second string at quarterback, B-back (fullback) and A-back (slotback). The two columns on the far right represent number of third-and-short carries that were converted for first downs and the percentage.
As the Jackets get farther along in the down marker, the more and more likely it becomes that the quarterback will carry the ball. If you wanted to really over-generalize it, you could say to watch the B-backs on first down, the A-backs on second down and the quarterbacks on third down. If only it were that easy.
It makes sense that the QBs would get the majority of the carries on third down because by not handing it off to the B-back or pitching it to the A-back, your chance of committing a turnover goes way down. However, it's interesting that the B-backs and A-backs convert a higher percentage of their third-and-short carries.