Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Georgia Tech Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
The thing still works.
Navy obliterated Virginia 49-7 in the Military Bowl, blew out Florida Atlantic, and pushed both UCF and Notre Dame hard in tight losses.
Army survived Rashaad Penny and San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl shootout because the O was able to hang on to the ball for ten years.
While it operates in different forms, the option attack is still a devastating way to move an offense. On a cool scale, to some, it might be the equivalent of shooting a free throw underhanded, but use it, do it at a high level, and big things happen.
There’s a reason Army, Navy, Air Force and Georgia Tech finished among the top five teams in rushing yards per game. But this year at Georgia Tech is going to be the big philosophical test on a Power Five scale.
Head coach Paul Johnson is going into his 11th year with the Yellow Jackets, with four division titles and an ACC championship. But the team is 17-19 with two losing seasons in the last three since taking out Mississippi State in the 2015 Orange Bowl. That’s as many losing campaigns as Johnson had in his previous 18 seasons as a head man.
He’s a brilliant, legendary coach who’ll end up in the College Football Hall of Fame, but even for him, a third losing season in four years is a problem.
And here’s where Georgia Tech will be an interesting case study once the season is over.
Outside of the elite teams coming into the season, find anyone else who might have a shot at doing something positive with a slate that includes road games at Georgia, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Pitt and USF, and home games against Clemson and Miami. Throw in dates against Duke and Virginia – who went bowling last year – and a road trip to North Carolina, and good luck.
And why does Georgia Tech have that chance to survive and even thrive against this slate? If the option offense works, it can overcome talent, momentum, coaching, and even the best of preparation.
Ask Army and Navy – two programs that aren’t exactly dominated by FBS-caliber recruits – what kind of an X factor a precision option attack can be.
Of course, sometimes teams do figure out how to hit the curveball. But if you’re Clemson, or Georgia, or Miami, would you rather face some okay pro-style balanced attack, or hope the Yellow Jackets don’t have it that day?
This year’s Yellow Jacket attack has enough good parts to be far more consistent and far more explosive. Start with QB TaQuon Marshall, who along with going into his second year as a starter, appears to have improved his downfield passing skills enough to be more of a factor when he has to put the ball up in the air.
The line is full of veterans, and the deep backfield has more than enough options to let others do the work for Marshall. And if the main man can’t go, the quarterback depth is in a good place.
The defensive coordinator change brings in a 3-4 D that should be more aggressive and more dangerous in the backfield – it wasn’t much behind the line last year.
There are holes – a No. 1 receiver has to emerge, and the entire secondary is a concern – but as long as the machine of a running game is doing what it’s supposed to, look out.
And maybe, offensive style or not, Georgia Tech just might be that good after a year of rebuilding and reloading.
It doesn’t hurt to have the right offense, though.