2008 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Football Preview
Georgia Tech 2007 Record: (7-6, 4-4 ACC)
2007 Bowl: Humanitarian Bowl vs. Fresno State (L 28-40)
Georgia Tech Head Coach: Paul Johnson (1st season at Georgia Tech, 107-39 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Paul Johnson
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Wommack
Returning Leaders for Georgia Tech:
Other Key Returnees: LB Shane Bowen, OT Andrew Gardner, QB Josh Nesbitt, DT Darryl Richard, WR Demaryius Thomas, G Dan Voss, CB Jahi Word-Daniels
Key Losses: QB Taylor Bennett, P Durant Brooks, RB Tashard Choice, FB Mike Cox, LB Gary Guyton, WR James Johnson, S Jamal Lewis, DE Adamm Oliver, CB Avery Roberson, DE Darrell Robertson, LB Philip Wheeler
Coach Paul Johnson has done more with less talent. That is for sure. Anybody who can make Navy a consistent winner will be fine in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The option offense will look different and slightly odd to the fans of the ACC and Georgia Tech, but it should be successful sooner or later. The question is how long will it take for the team to adjust to the new style.
Georgia Tech's Strengths:
The Georgia Tech defense ranked first in the nation in sacks and only allowed 114.5 rushing yards per game. A lot of the players who made the defense so successful are gone, but tackles Vance Walker and Darryl Richard return. Walker led the team with 8.5 sacks and Richard added 4.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Those two will anchor a young defense and certainly the team will not tally as many sacks without Darrell Robertson and Adamm Oliver on the ends, but Walker and Richard are a great duo to build around. The running game on the other side of the ball will flourish under the option attack. Despite the loss of Tashard Choice, Jamaal Evans and Jonathan Dwyer are more than capable running backs.
Georgia Tech's Weaknesses:
Quarterback Taylor Bennett transferred, so the Yellow Jackets are going to break in a new signal caller. Josh Nesbitt looked more impressive than Calvin Booker during the spring and will likely start out the season running the option offense. Both are solid runners and fit well into the system, but Nesbitt has looked more comfortable throwing the ball…not that he has many proven options to throw to. Greg Smith might be sidelined for a while with a collarbone injury and James Johnson quit the team. Wide receivers might not be the most important position in the option offense, but it is always nice to have a few either way. The back seven has a whole slew of starters to replace, most notably linebackers Philip Wheeler and Gary Guyton.
The Bottom Line for the Yellow Jackets:
The defense should be serviceable enough led by tackles Walker and Richard. The secondary needs to replace some starters, but sophomore safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels will make the unit decent. The defense will not be as dominating as it was last year, so that means the offense will have to be better if Georgia Tech plans to reach another bowl game. That plan might be a little overambitious for this season, but Coach Johnson will not need much more time to turn the Yellow Jackets into an ACC competitor.
2007 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 199.31 (24th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 185.62 (98, 11)
Total Offense: 384.92 (69, 3)
Scoring Offense: 26.23 (68, 5)
Rushing Defense: 114.46 (20, 5)
Pass Defense: 215.92 (41, 7)
Total Defense: 330.38 (20, 4)
Scoring Defense: 20.85 (21, 5)
Turnover Margin: -.31 (83, 9)
Sacks: 3.69 (1, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.69 (41, 2)
By Joel Welser
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