Georgia Tech Football Predictions
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets put together an 8-5 season in head coach Paul Johnson’s fourth year on the job in 2011. He has certainly proven that the triple-option offense can work in a BCS conference, posting a 34-19 record here. He even led the Yellow Jackets to their first ACC title since 1990 in 2009.
With 13 starters and 53 lettermen returning, Johnson will be working with a solid nucleus in 2012. The Coastal Division appears more up for grabs than in most years, so the Yellow Jackets could surprise and win it. Here is a look at the offense and defense, as well as my prediction on where Georgia Tech finishes within the division.
Georgia Tech boasted the most explosive offense in Johnson’s tenure last year. It put up 34.3 points and 459 total yards per game in 2011. With seven starters returning on this side of the ball, including most of their top skill players, the offense should put up huge numbers again in ’12.
Senior QB Tevin Washington returns after a monster year. He threw for 1,652 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions, which certainly kept opposing defenses honest. Washington also led the team in rushing with 968 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Joining Washington in the backfield will be junior B-Back David Sims and senior A-Back Orwin Smith. Sims rushed for 698 yards and seven scores on 5.2 yards/carry. Smith was electric, rushing for 615 yards and 11 scores while averaging a jaw-dropping 10.1/carry. He also had 13 receptions for 306 yards and a score.
The biggest loss on offense is WR Stephen Hill, who only had 28 catches last season, but averaged a ridiculous 29.3 yards/reception. Sophomores Jeff Green and Darren Waller will be the main targets this season.
The offensive line paved the way for 316 rushing yards per game and 5.7/carry last year. This will be the best O-line in Johnson’s tenure considering four starters and 83 career starts return. That includes three linemen who were sophomores last season, and first-team All-ACC RG Omoregie Uzzi.
The Yellow Jackets gave up 26.1 points and 359 total yards per game last season. The defense must improve if they want to contend for a Coastal title. While only six starters return, they do have seven of their top nine tacklers back.
Only one starter comes back along the defensive line in senior DE Izaan Cross (32 tackles). Senior DT TJ Barnes and junior DE Emmanuel Dieke will be asked to step into starting roles.
LB Julian Burnett (120 tackles, 9.5 for loss) suffered a career-threatening injury in Georgia Tech’s Sun Bowl loss to Utah. He won’t play in ’12, which is a huge blow to this unit. The linebacker corps does return junior SLB Jeremiah Attaochu (59 tackles, 11.5 for loss) and sophomore WLB Quayshawn Nealy (52 tackles, two INT). With two new starters at inside linebacker, the Yellow Jackets could be soft against the run once again.
The secondary figures to be the strength of the defense with three starters back from a unit that allowed just 56.0 percent completions and 198 passing yards per game last season. That trio features senior CB Rod Sweeting (56 tackles, 13 passes defended), junior CB Louis Young (52 tackles) and junior FS Isaiah Johnson (78 tackles, three INT).
ACC Coastal Prediction – 3rd Place
The Yellow Jackets have similar talent to that of Virginia Tech and UNC, especially offensively. The reason I have them picked behind those two teams is a brutal schedule. Georgia Tech must travel to face Virginia Tech, Clemson and UNC. Even if they manage to upset one of those teams on the road, it likely won’t be enough to win the Coastal.
|Boston College||Clemson||Florida State||Maryland|
|NC State||Syracuse||Wake Forest|
|Duke||Georgia Tech||Miami||North Carolina|
|ACC||Big 12||Big East||Big Ten|
|Conference USA||Independents||MAC||Mountain West|