Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
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2008 CFN Georgia Tech Preview
| 2008 Georgia Tech
2008 Georgia Tech
Tech Depth Chart
2007 CFN Georgia Tech Preview
2006 CFN Georgia
Head coach: Paul Johnson
1st year at Georgia Tech
12th year overall: 107-39
Off. 22, Def. 25, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 24
Best Tech Players
2. DE Michael Johnson, Sr.
3. LT Andrew Gardner, Sr.
4. DT Darryl Richard, Sr.
5. RB Jonathan Dwyer, Soph.
6. SS Morgan Burnett, Soph.
7. CB Jahi Word-Daniels, Sr.
8. WR Demaryius Thomas, Soph.
9. LB Anthony Barnes, Soph.
10. QB Josh Nesbitt, Soph.
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 at Boston College
Sept. 13 at Virginia Tech
Sept. 20 Mississippi State
Sept. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 Duke
Oct. 11 Gardner-Webb
Oct. 18 at Clemson
Oct. 25 Virginia
Nov. 1 Florida State
Nov. 8 at North Carolina
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 20 Miami
Nov. 29 at Georgia
2007 Record: 7-6
at Notre Dame
Maryland L 28-26
Miami W 17-14
Dec. 31 Fresno State L 40-28
Well, this should
With new head coach Paul Johnson comes the adoption of the triple-option
offense and the exit of defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, who deftly
turned the Yellow Jackets into a perennial nuisance for the rest of the
ACC. As if all of that upheaval isn’t unsettling enough, the defense
loses three of last year’s four all-league performers and the special
teams unit must replace Durant Brooks and Travis Bell, the best
punter-kicker combo in the history of the program. Yup, if Georgia Tech
is eventually going to take two steps forward under Johnson, it’ll
likely have to take one big step back first.
If nothing else, this will be a great experiment for the current college
football world that has gone mad with love for the spread offense. Is
there still a place for an option attack at the BCS-league level? If
this works and if the Yellow Jackets can dominate on the ground like
Johnson’s Navy teams did, leading the nation in rushing for the last
three seasons, it could spark a major trend.
For Tech fans who keep waiting for their program to make the turn to
another level, tinkering and getting quirky isn’t going to cut it. After
all, Chan Gailey got the team to the ACC title game two years ago and it
wasn’t enough to keep him around after a disappointing 2007.
There will have to be a bit of an adjustment, but to Johnson’s credit,
he’s not asking for any sort of a grace period. He doesn’t have all
square pegs for the round holes, but he doesn’t have the exact players
he needs quite yet. Even so, he has far more talent to play around with
than he ever had in Annapolis.
With change occurring just about everywhere, the expectations for the
upcoming season are going to have to be a bit modest. Throw in September
games at Boston College and Virginia Tech, and the Jackets could be out
of the ACC title hunt before the leaves start turning colors. More than
anything else, Johnson wants to establish his system in 2008, with an
eye toward bigger and better results in 2009. In the meantime, no one
will want to deal with the Yellow Jackets and this offense. It can’t be
properly prepared for, and there could be a few interesting upsets to
kick-start the new era.
What to look for on offense:
Unpredictability. Yes, Johnson is installing an offense similar to the
ones he ran at Navy and Georgia Southern, but it won’t be your father’s
triple-option. The first-year coach promises a power-based playbook
that’ll use elements of the wishbone,
the I-formation, the veer, and the run-and-shoot.
Basically, the coach wants to create as many one-on-one matchups as
possible, opening up the field for the passing game as well as the
What to look for on defense: Less
blitzing. The cornerstone of the Tech defense for years under Tenuta
won’t be scrapped, but it will be reduced. Under new coordinator Dave
Wommack, the ends will play wider, the back seven will sell out far
less, and all of the linemen will be given more room to make plays.
Translation? Wommack recognizes the Jackets’ strength is in the
trenches, and wants to capitalize on their abilities as much as
The team will be much better if … the offense collectively
digests the new system sooner rather than later. It’s a matter of when,
not if, the triple-option begins to crank out yards under Johnson’s
tutelage. Although the Yellow Jackets have a steep learning curve to
navigate in Year One, if they prove to be quick studies, the rest of the
ACC might take a year or two before figuring out how to defend these
Welcome to the show, Paul Johnson. How's this
for a road slate? At Boston College, at Virginia Tech (and those
come by mid-September), at Clemson, at North Carolina and at Georgia.
The word you're looking for is yeeeeeesh. Oh yeah, and then there are
ACC home dates against Virginia, Florida State and Miami just to keep
the Yellow Jackets honest. Non-conference games against Jacksonville
State and Gardner-Webb will help matters, but playing Mississippi State
after back-to-back games against the Eagles and Hokies could be a trap.
Best Offensive Player: Senior LT Andrew Gardner. Gardner has come
a long way since being a lightly-recruited high school player. Georgia
Tech took a chance five years ago on a player who has grown physically
and intellectually into one of the country’s most complete tackles. A
safe bet to be back on the All-ACC First Team, he’ll be the leader of a
line that’s breaking in a bunch of new players and adjusting to a
completely different blocking scheme.
Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Vance Walker. DE Michael Johnson
will likely be a top ten draft pick, but Walker won’t be far behind.
What do you call an interior lineman who defends the run as well as he
gets after the passer? A millionaire. Walker delivered a breakthrough
season as a junior, making 45 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks,
and three forced fumbles. With so much talent around him to deflect
attention, expect more of the same this fall.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Josh
Nesbitt. While it’s unfair to expect so much of a second-year player,
the new offense won’t get out of the gate if the quarterback doesn’t do
a competent job. Nesbitt clearly has the athletic ability to excel in
the option, but needs to prove he can make the right reads and protect
the ball. Behind him is a redshirt freshman walk-on, leaving little
margin for error.
The season will be a success if ... Tech ends the season with a
firm grasp on the new offensive and defensive systems and a quarterback
of the future. A bowl game would be nice, but this is an obvious
rebuilding season on the Flats, so wins and losses won’t be the only
measurements of success for the Yellow Jackets. With so much change in
the air and so many underclassmen playing key roles, this year is more
about setting the table for the future under the new regime.
Key game: Nov. 29 at Georgia. Maybe bowl eligibility
hinges on the outcome. Maybe not. In the bigger picture, however,
Johnson realizes how important this game is to the program, the fans,
and the fate of his staff if the recent trend can’t be reversed. Tech
has lost seven straight in the series, one of the glaring reasons Chan
Gailey lost his job.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Penalties: Georgia Tech 90 for 771 yards – Opponents 76 for 653
- Sacks: Georgia Tech 47 for 302 yards – Opponents 22 for 166 yards
- Fourth down conversions: Opponents 10 of 13 (77%) – Georgia Tech 7 of