The offense looked completely different. Suddenly it had formidability. It wasn’t overly complicated or revolutionary. But Jacurri Brown provided the Yellow Jackets a double edged sword they couldn’t sheath. Georgia Tech couldn’t routinely pin its ears back and just hunt running backs. There was exponentially more to contend with.
He was an eraser. I haven’t been shy about wanting to abandon pro style systems and lean more spread out than in. Josh Gattis has had so many square peg round hole moments this season. But so many times last Saturday, Brown had the athleticism to just move to the appropriate fit. If the play wasn’t there that’s ok. Brown was the universal piece.
From the second I saw Jacurri Brown’s high school film I knew he had game changing athletic ability. He didn’t look perfect throwing the football. Arm stroke was different from throw to throw and his feet were an absolute mess. But those things you can fix. In terms of writing someone off after one week of practice however, you can’t fix stupid.
When you stare at quarterbacks with Tyler Van Dyke glasses on you are going to see a limited prism. Van Dyke is that guy. He “looks” the part. What he was able to accomplish last year was NFL caliber worthy. And resoundingly Van Dyke is still NFL worthy. Brown stepping onto Greentree had no chance to compete with him aesthetically. The reality was, he never had to.
There is another avenue Brown operates on. A separate skill set in its entirety. While media members were focused on his aesthetic limitations, Brown innately relied on his athletic abilities. You want to know how athletic Jacurri Brown is? He was able to erase Josh Gattis’ season long strangle hold. Gattis is the worst statistical OC in over a decade.
And now is a road trip up to Clemson, South Carolina. The Hurricanes will be huge underdogs and rightfully so. No one expects Jacurri Brown to navigate this team to the victory formation. But my goodness if he did. That would send a cataclysmic shockwave through the program. You wouldn’t be able to marginalize his legitimacy. Jacurri would have arrived.
Who knows what the story line would be. But one thing I know for sure. Jacurri Brown can make plays on anyone. That includes the Clemson Tigers. Coach Mario Cristobal has to be commended for his decision to start the young man. I am glad coach Cristobal didn’t listen to the media saying he should have been a wide receiver.
The most impressive thing I saw last Saturday wasn’t Jacurri Brown or even Kam Kinchens. And Kinchens had three interceptions and returned one to the house 99 yards. It was Jaylen Knighton. Hear me out. Knighton had 16 carries for 118 yards including one rushing touchdown. That is a good stat line. But the adversity he faced to get there was cavernous.
Knighton simply could not hold onto the football. You couldn’t trust him. He fumbled in three out of four games. Each one of the fumbles were backbreakers too. In terms of boxing, this was a kid who just took a bad knockout and looked dazed and confused. The referee should have stopped the fight. But Mario Cristobal knew better. Yes. There was an injury to Henry Parish but other running back options were there.
Coach Cristobal’s culture has been if anything consistent. Win or lose it is simply a declaration that emphatically cries out, go to work. You need to go 1-0. Win the rep. Win the day. If you need to brush your teeth, win that too. It is relentless. Coach Cristobal is relentless. It permeates everything he does. After every painstaking loss this season, the message is the message. Work.
So that is what made the rooster’s rebound equally more impressive. It is a microcosm of Mario. He doesn’t care about yesterday. There is no focus on failure or any time to pity oneself. Pick yourself up and go back to work. He patted Knighton on the back, ended the press conference and I’m sure instantly forgot about the praise. When you focus your life going 1-0, you don’t have time to relish in anything other than the work that is required.