Georgia Tech Preview 2006
Georgia Tech QB Reggie Ball
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Will Georgia Tech ever turn the corner and be a true contender?

Georgia Tech Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

At this point, you know what you're going to get from Yellow Jacket football. It'll be a good, competitive team that can play with and beat anyone in America if all the parts are clicking, and then a maddening performance or three that'll come out of the blue proving once again that the program can't break through the ceiling.

For instance, last year the defense came up with masterpieces to beat Auburn and Miami, arguably the most impressive pair of road wins by anyone in America, and lost to mediocre teams like NC State and Virginia and got bombed by Virginia Tech and, most stunningly, by Utah in a miserable Emerald Bowl showing. 

To be fair, it's not exactly easy to keep the shelves stocked when recruiting against the rest of the ACC while residing in downtown SECville, but this year's team has the experience and the right mix of good veterans in key positions to potentially pull off a run like Virginia Tech did in 2004 and with the ACC title.

Head coach: Chan Gailey
6th year: 28-22
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 23, Def. 21, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 9
Ten Best Tech Players
1. WR Calvin Johnson, Jr.
2. LB KaMichael Hall, Sr.
3. LB Philip Wheeler, Soph.
4. CB Kenny Scott, Sr.
5. DT Joe Anoai, Sr.
6. QB Reggie Ball, Sr.
7. OT Andrew Gardner, Soph.
8. OT Mansfield Wrotto, Sr.
9. DT Darryl Richard, Soph.
10. DE Adamm Oliver, Jr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 9-3

9/2 Notre Dame
9/9 Samford
9/16 Troy
9/21 Virginia
9/30 at Virginia Tech
10/7 Maryland
10/21 at Clemson
10/28 Miami
11/4 at NC State
11/11 at North Carolina
11/18 Duke
11/25 at Georgia

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Results: 7-5

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 at Auburn W 23-14
9/10 North Carolina W 27-21
9/17 Connecticut W 28-13
9/24 at Virginia Tech L 51-7
10/6 NC State L 17-14
10/15 at Duke W 35-10
10/29 Clemson W 10-9
11/5 Wake Forest W 30-17
11/12 at Virginia L 27-17
11/19 at Miami W 14-10
11/26 Georgia L 14-7
12/29 Emerald Bowl
Utah L 38-10

Chan Gailey coached teams are always going to be tough defensively, but a head man who was an NFL offensive coordinator has to get more out of his attack and there needs to be more explosion. Tech's offense was stunningly average getting no consistent pop with the passing game revolving around how many ways Reggie Ball could try forcing the ball to a blanket-covered Calvin Johnson.

A few more big plays should mean a realistic shot at the Coastal Division title, and they should come this season with nine returning starters and one of the league's best offensive lines. Ball doesn't have to be Vince Young, but it's not a stretch to think the four-year starter can't be what Bryan Randall was to the Hokies a few years ago.

Defensively, help is needed in the secondary, but the pass rush should ease the burden. Besides, few ACC teams can kill you with a passing game. The front seven should be a rock against the run led by a deep and talented line that'll get better and better as the season goes on.

So yeah, you know Tech is going to be rock solid yet again. If the next step isn't taken this year, it might never happen under Gailey.

The Schedule: It's a tough schedule, but not a killer. Tech will know right off the bat where it stands against a Notre Dame team that'll test the shaken up secondary, but that's the start of a nice four game homestand to ease the way into the season. A road trip to Virginia Tech could make or break division title hopes, while a nasty stretch of at Clemson, Miami, at NC State and at North Carolina will push the Yellow Jackets over the second half of the year.

Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Calvin Johnson. Great college football superstars make things happen no matter what. Johnson might have first round NFL talent, but he has to show he can be unstoppable and can always get open. It would also help if QB Reggie Ball was more consistent and if an adequate number two receiver could emerge.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB KaMichael Hall and sophomore LB Philip Wheeler. They put up identical stats, they made just as many big plays, and they can play any spot in the linebacking corps. They'll form the nucleus of a tremendous front seven and should be in the mix for All-ACC honors.

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Reggie Ball. A four year starting quarterback is supposed to be able to take a team on his back and produce. Georgia Tech doesn't need Ball to be an All-American, just a chain-moving, good decision making playmaker who comes through clutch when he has to and doesn't screw up.

The season will be a success if ... Georgia Tech finishes second in the Coastal Division. There are a few too many holes to expect a division title, but there's no reason not to go 6-2 in conference play and be in the mix right up until the very end. A good bowl game showing would be nice after last year's disaster.

Key game: September 30th at Virginia Tech. Last season's trip to Blacksburg was supposed to be a statement game. One 51-7 Hokie win later and Georgia Tech was never quite the same. A Yellow Jacket victory this season would change the face of the Coastal Division and would make the October 28th showdown against Miami one of the biggest games of the year.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Sacks: Georgia Tech 36 for 257 yards - Opponents 10 for 84 yards
- Interceptions (taken away): Georgia Tech 21 - Opponents 12
- Third down conversion percentage: Georgia Tech 71 of 198 (36%) - Opponents 49 of 171 (29%)

The Last Time Georgia Tech…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Emerald Bowl vs. Utah)
…missed a bowl game…1996
…pitched a shutout…2000 (Virginia)
…was shutout…1997 (Florida State)
…scored 50 points…2004 (Syracuse)
…went undefeated…1990
…won a conference title…1998 (share, ACC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2001 (George Godsey)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (P.J. Daniels)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Jonathan Smith)
…had a first-round draft choice…1998 (LB Keith Brooking)

Related Stories
Georgia Tech Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Jul 31, 2006
Georgia Tech Preview 2006 Further Analysis
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Georgia Tech Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Jul 31, 2006

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