ATLANTA -- If there was one positive takeaway from Saturday's loss to Miami, it was Georgia Tech's improvement when it comes to running the option.
But those self-inflicted wounds have killed the Yellow Jackets over the last two weeks, a trend they hope will change this week against BYU.
For most of the first half against Miami the Yellow Jackets looked like past Paul Johnson teams that were content to take the ball, keep the ball, eat the clock and score. And while it didn't turn out to be a complete success, the running game certainly looked better than it had the previous week.
"At times we played better than the week before (against Virginia Tech)," Johnson said. "We can still do a better job blocking the perimeter, sealing the linebackers. Sometimes we'd get 20 yards on plays that could be 60 yards."
Tech rushed for 354 yards, nearly three times as many as it did against Virginia Tech. The Jackets had only 15 yards in penalties, down from 66 the previous week. But those two fumbles (one of them lost) and two interceptions left the offense stuck in the mud.
"We've got to make sure we do the little things better," Johnson said. "We've got to make sure we don't beat ourselves with turnovers and penalties. We can play better and we can coach better."
Quarterback Vad Lee's untimely fumble was the play that killed a potential scoring drive that could have put Tech ahead 17-7. Instead Miami seized the momentum, converted the turnover into a touchdown and tied the score at the half.
"I have got to hold onto the ball," Lee said.
It does look like he's held onto his starting job. Johnson reiterated that Lee remains the team's starting quarterback, but will likely play Justin Thomas on Saturday against BYU. "It depends on how they practice," Johnson said.
Lee threw for 163 yards with one interception and ran for 26. Thomas ran for 8 yards and was 0-for-3 with an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
But it would not be fair to blame the team's troubles on Lee. There's plenty of blame to be passed around, especially in the two back-to-back losses.
"It's been a myriad of things," Johnson said. "You know, we've been blitzed some, we had the protection called when we had the maximum protection against the blitz when we hit it right, which we have several times. We haven't blocked right or we haven't thrown hot when we should've thrown hot, we haven't run very good routes, or the protection. It's everything; it's not just one guy.
"It'd be easy to fix if you could say the quarterback couldn't throw it in a barrel, so he can't throw. That's not the case. Or this guy can't pass block so you know you've got him out, that's not the case, it's a different guy. We just need to be more consistent and coach it better, work at it and we've got to pay attention to detail. We can't just go out there and wing it and do what we want to do."