It's time for some pre-game brooding, and I decided to go about this in a more inventive sort of way. You'll give me props for that pun later. Anyway. With less than five days before Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech do battle in Atlanta (at the time of writing this post), I decided to compare something that makes the two top Tech titans, well, a Tech to begin with: technology, with a specific focus on robotics.
Don't worry. We'll talk football too.
Now, although I don't necessarily have a wide base of knowledge on the subject, I've taken the time to read the articles about "CHARLI," Virginia Tech's robot creation as well as Georgia Tech's "Cody."
First, here is Virginia Tech's humanoid CHARLI (Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence). http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/042810-virginia-tech-humanoid-robot-charli-walks-tall. Instead of creating him in the traditional way, using rotational joints for movement, Dr. Dennis Hong and his students made use of a more realistic and human-like anatomy. They used a system of pulleys and strings for a smooth, continous motion that can provide a variety of human physical expressions in a very life-like manner. CHARLI can do all that today's other humanoids can do, including walking upright, running, and climbing stairs. The only humanoid that is perhaps a step above him is Asimo, created by Honda. (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/robotics/2008-05-14-asimo-robot-conductor_N.htm)
Georgia Tech's "Cody" is designed to be used as a medical assistance robot. He can open drawers, doors, and cabinets to retrieve medical supplies and can also interact with patients. Although some people may think that they would be adverse to having a robot touch them or take care of them, the majority of those in testing with the Direct Personal Interface stated that they were calm and comfortable if they knew the robot's intent. Here are some images and videos of Cody in action. http://www.hizook.com/blog/2010/03/15/cody-new-humanoid-mobile-manipulating-robot-georgia-techs-healthcare-robotics-lab
Though the robots may or may not be similar in their applications in the real-world or their specifications, CHARLI has a much sleeker looking appearance, more human-like movement, and is only one step below Asimo, the world's greatest humanoid thus far.
Advantage: Virginia Tech
Now, on to the good part.
Rushing Game: As we all know, David Wilson and Josh Oglesby are very capable backs. David Wilson leads the FBS in rushing yards with 1,185. Oglesby has been a dependable power back on short yardage situations as well as in the redzone (see the GW runs against ECU and Duke). But, as much as I love Wilson and Oglesby, just about all the Jackets do is run. They average 328 yds/game and can turn a quick pitch play that will normally gain five yards to a big play that gains twenty if the defense misses one assignment. As much as it pains me to go against my boy DW...
Advantage: Georgia Tech
Passing Game: This may seem a little harsh, but Logan Thomas has proven to be that which we should have expected before the season. Inconsistent. Streaky. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That said, I believe that last week against Duke will be a definitive motivator for him to get back on his high horse and show us the Logan Thomas that only threw two incompletions against Miami or even the Logan Thomas that was efficient enough to keep the chains moving and protect the ball, maybe throwing 18 times per game. Expect to see a lot of short passes underneath Al Groh's zone coverage, letting Coale, Boykin, and Davis get the YAC. Georgia Tech does not throw the ball much, but when they do, it's going deep down the sideline to Stephen Hill. Jayron Hosley will have to be 100% on his hamstring for this game and not clutching the receiver's thigh pads like he managed to do without being caught at Duke.
Advantage: Virginia Tech
Defense: Injuries. Injuries, injuries, injuries. Virginia Tech has had more than its share this season, losing JGW, Antoine Hopkins, and Bruce Taylor for the season. All of them will be sorely missed in this game, I feel, especially Bruce and AHop. However, the "next man up" philosophy seems to be working just fine so far, and a handful of players with injuries that were not season ending have returned -- including James Gayle to anchor the left end and Jayron Hosley to prowl the secondary. The Hokies are only giving up 15.4 PPG compared to the Jackets' 23.3 PPG, while averaging approximately 30 points on offense (29.1). Georgia Tech uses a number of exotic blitz packages from the 3-4 that could give Logan Thomas some trouble if he does not recognize it and make the proper adjustments at the LOS. This one is too close to call considering the loss of our leaders on defense.
Special Teams: Who would've thought that we'd see such a collapse in this aspect of Virginia Tech football? Is it the coaching, the youth of the players, or a combination of both? Punting has been abysmal. Sure, the occasional 70 yard punt is terrific, but consistency is key. We CANNOT have any shanks in this game that go for 20 yards or less. We need to pin the Jackets deep whenever possible. Georgia Tech will take advantage of prosperous field position, there is no doubt about that. Field goals have been decent this season, but we have yet to see any kind of range in the 45-50 yard area. Even away from the kicking game, Beamerball has been off this year. Have we seen a block this season? A punt/kick return for a touchdown? If we have, I can't recall it. Am I asking too much? Maybe this is our Pride & Joy Team's breakout game.
Advantage: Virginia Tech
What to Watch:
- Georgia Tech's Time of Possession
- Georgia Tech Yards/Rush (Realistically, if we want to control this game, it needs to be less than 4.0)
- Logan Thomas' pass efficiency (especially on 3rd down)
- David Wilson's 100-yard game streak
- Both teams' turnover margin
Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Georgia Tech 21
*All stats used in this post from www.cfbstats.com