Sept. 24, 2015
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
B-Back Patrick Skov has found success following that approach in his first three games with the Yellow Jackets.
The grad. student, who transferred from Stanford this summer, has run for 188 yards on 41 carries (4.6 yards per attempt), with five of those carries ending in the end zone. He’s also caught two passes for 39 yards, both of those also resulting in scores. The seven scores are three more than he had in three years with the Cardinal, while his 188 yards are way more than his 25.
The 6-1, 235-pound powerhouse also has shown that he’s not afraid of contact — often running as if he’s looking for it.
While that fearlessness can be a good thing, Head Coach Paul Johnson felt that it became something of a double-edged sword cutting back at the No. 20 Yellow Jackets last Saturday in their 30-22 loss at No. 6/8 Notre Dame.
Despite running for 66 yards, second-most among Jackets, on a team-high 18 rushes, Johnson felt Skov would have made more than his 3.7 yards per carry against the Fighting Irish had he deviated from his straight-on approach.
“He runs hard. With blinders. He needs to open his eyes and look where he’s going,” Johnson said. “He gets some tough yards, he’s hard to tackle but there’s more to it than that. “When guys are slanting out you need to be able to cut inside. If guys are crashing inside you need to bounce outside. You’re not just a bull in a China shop. It’s not how many people you run into.”
It’s something of a departure for Skov.
“My past four years in college football my job was to run into people and block them,” he said. “I think that’s kind of been my job for the past couple of years but, at the end of the day, it’s all about I have to get as many yards as possible. Whatever I have to do to do that I’ll take that route.”
Finding that route has been the biggest problem and something that’s being worked on.
“[Saturday] looked like this was the first time with his reads, just like every running back has a read, a lot of first-time scenarios that he has to see better,” said Quarterbacks/B-Backs Coach Bryan Cook. “When he saw them on Saturday didn’t really react the way that he needed to. We’ve got to make better reads at that position and we can’t miss opportunities. He missed some opportunities with certain runs that we could have made a whole lot more productive than they were. We’ve got to get him to run like a running back a little bit more. I think that will grow.”
Cook attributed some of that to his inexperience with the offense.
“It might be a little bit but I think some of it is just understanding what his job is and the plays that we run and where he’s got to run and how things are unfolding in front of him and what the defense is doing,” he said. “That sounds like a lot but really it’s not. It’s not that much. It’s pretty simple what his read is and what he needs to do.”
Skov is cognizant of those deficiencies, but is confident he will make the necessary adjustments.
“I don’t think it’s a fix. It’s just learning the offense,” he said. “Kind of just seeing things a little bit differently and taking advantage of opportunities that the defense gives us and going to get as many yards as possible.”
He’s planning on making those adjustments this Saturday in Georgia Tech’s ACC opener at Wallace Wade Stadium against Duke, whose stout defense ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing yards per game, allowing 93.3 ypg and only 2.7 yards per carry.
“We have to get back on our feet and execute as an offense and as a team in general and go out there and get a win. That’s all that matters,” he said. “As long as we come back with a ‘W’ I’ll be a happy camper.”