Monday, August 2, 2010
ACC 2010-Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
2009 Record: 11-3 (7-1)
Head Coach: Paul Johnson (20-7, 3rd season...127-46 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Johnson
Defensive Coordinator: Al Groh (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Orange Bowl, Losto to Iowa 24-14
Offense: The flexbone offense is definately a throwback. Option offenses that are not set up in a spread formation are not exactly the thing these days, but it works perfectly for Paul Johnson at Tech, as it did at Navy and Georgia Southern before that. The offense does lose star FB Jonathon Dwyer, but Anthony Allen is expeceted to do some big things for the Jackets in 2010. at 231 lbs, he'll be a freight train coming out of the backfield. Roddy Jones, Preston Lyons, and Embry Peoples will all compete for the final backfield slotback roles. Tyler Melton returns at WR and should be the primary target for QB Josh Nesbit, but Nesbit will have to become a better passer in 2010. His inability to get the ball downfield is what cost the Jackets in the loss to Iowa. Nebit is a fine rushing QB, though, and when the ground game can control the field, he is fun to watch. There are only two returning starters on the O-Line, and that can be problematic with an option offense. Nesbit was already hurt for the spring, and Jaybo Shaw, his primary backup, transferred to Georgia Southern. If Nesbit is not healthy to start the season, things can bog down in a hurry.
Defense: 7 starters return to a unit that gave up 24 or more points 8 times in 2009. The offense was able to keep up, but this will have to change. Al Groh will bring his 3-4 defense from Virginia, which should allow the front 3 to get put together quickly. Only one starter returns on the line, and that is NT Logan Walls. 3 LBs return, but Anthony Egbuniwe was playing DE at 250 lbs a year ago. He will be used on the edge rush a bunch this season, as he is still adjusting to possibly having to cover in the passing game. Both corner return in Mario Butler and Dominique Reese, abd Jerrard Tarrant has moved to safety from his former CB position. Tarrant has a nose for the football, and should be free to make more plays on the ball at this spot. Mario Edwards is in line to be the other safety.
Special Teams: Scott Blair (PK) and Chandler Anderson (P) are nothing special, but will get it done without flair. Tarrant returned 2 punts for scores in 2010, and is dangerous when handling the ball.
Wins: 9/4 South Carolina State, 9/11 @ Kansas, 9/18 @ North Carolina, 9/25 NC State, 10/2 @ Wake Forest, 10/9 Virginia, 10/16 Middle Tennessee State, 10/23 @ Clemson, 11/20 Duke
Toss Up Games: 11/4 @ Virginia Tech, 11/13 Miami, 11/27 @ Georgia
North Carolina and Middle Tennessee are the most challenging matches in the win group, as MTSU has shown great success over the ACC in recent years. If The Jackets take down both V-Tech and Miami in back to back weeks, the Jackets could be a ntional title contender themselves. If they lose one or both, it could effect how pumped they will be when they face Georgia at the end of the season during rivalry week. 9 wins are guaranteed, but double digits are attainable, as is an undefeated season.
Outlook: As I have already said, the difference is in the toss up games, and Miami and Virginia Tech come in consecutive weeks. The talent is there to compete, especially if the defense eats up Groh's 3-4 scheme early on. There are question marks, but if everything congeals quickly, look out.