Georgia Tech Preview 2006 Further Analysis
Georgia Tech
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – No Longer Secondarily Important – As the 25,000+ fans stepped into SBC Park for the Emerald Bowl last season, many of them probably were expecting a receiver to have a monster game.  It just wasn’t Ute Travis LaTendresse that they expected it from, especially with Tech’s Calvin Johnson in the house.  But, LaTendresse went ballistic against a confused and, often, out of place secondary, to the tune of 16 catches for 214 yards and four touchdowns.  Wow.  The great Keith Jackson, former All-American tight end at Oklahoma, struggled to catch that many balls in one season.  Okay, so hyperbole aside, the performance of the Utes passing game should have Jon Tenuta a tad bit leery coming into the 2006 season.  The Yellow Jackets lose three of the four starters from the secondary, returning only Kenny Scott to his starting corner position.  After what Utah did to the 2005 secondary, maybe that’s a good thing.  Although the Jacket secondary got torched in the Emerald Bowl, they were in the top 25 in pass efficiency defense behind the zone blitz heavy defensive scheme Tenuta runs in the ATL.  So, the half empty side of life might think that the ACC passing attacks are going to be licking their chops to get after this foursome.  The half full side of life knows that the combination of Tenuta’s scheme/game plan and the young talent in the secondary will be just fine in due time.  As long as some guy named LaTendresse isn’t headed to Atlanta any time soon.

2nd and Seven – “Let me ask you a question, Coxie, why do you play college hockey, errr, football?” – When do fullbacks get any love?  Well, how about now?  Mike Cox, the Yellow Jackets 245 pound bruiser, is one of the best, if not the best, blocking fullbacks in college football.  He leads the way in the Jackets power game and blows up linebackers like Wile E. Coyote does himself on Road Runner.  With former Elsik High School star RB PJ Daniels off to the NFL this fall, the assumption is that the Jacket running game would be on the down swing.  Uh, no.  With all five linemen back in the fold and Cox leading the way, the Yellow Jackets’ may have the best running game in the ACC, even without Daniels.  Cox is so important to this offense with how well he blocks, and how well he runs the ball, wait, he doesn’t.  Oh well, that’s okay, his tailbacks know full well how important Cox is to their performance.  By the way, Coach, give the kid the ball.  Just once.  Maybe?

3rd and Three – That’s Joe A-no-ai, three syllables, one underrated player – When you watched Georgia Tech’s defense the last two years, one of the best names in college football “A-no-ai” came up early and often.  Although he wasn’t, and isn’t, as heralded as other higher profile tackles in the league, Joe Anoai is quick and is one of the most active defensive tackles in the ACC, when healthy.  He struggled last year with an ankle injury in the second half of the season, but he’s back this year to be a force in the middle, providing leadership for a relatively inexperienced defense.

4th and One – One Last Shot – The career of Reggie Ball has mirrored that of another Reggie, former Texas A&M QB Reggie McNeal.  As a freshman, full of potential.  Growing pains as a sophomore.  Equal parts brilliance and inconsistency as a junior.  Erratic and frustr, wait, that’s where the comparisons have to end for Ball.  McNeal’s senior season was a distinct disappointment, but for the Yellow Jackets to make any noise this season, Ball has to be perfect.  Not perfect as in 16 for 16 for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns every game.  But, perfect in his decision making.  Perfect in his ability to manage the game.  Perfect at being a strong leader in the huddle.  It’s not about being a stat sheet stuffer – Ball has to be greater, and more perfect, than that.  Having a receiver like Calvin Johnson helps Ball immensely and don’t forget how important those five experienced offensive linemen are to helping Ball keep his jersey clean.  McNeal fell victim to things that shouldn’t take down Ball – no go-to receiver, poor line and no running game.  However, Ball still needs to be the proverbial straw stirring the GT offensive drink.  Stirring and stirring and stirring until a New Year’s Day bowl game develops.

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