Georgia Tech Football: Jackets Need to Make Stronger Statement Against Tulane


You may recall that last Saturday’s performance against Wofford wasn’t one for the ages, although there were many positives.  But, Paul Johnson’s squad looks to put the past behind them and move forward in this still-very-young college football season.

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After giving up almost 600 yards of offense last week to Tulsa, Tulane’s defense will look to rebound.

That appears to be a rather difficult task, because the Yellow Jackets offense wasn’t too shabby last week against Wofford, especially in the 2nd half when sophomore QB Justin Thomas exploded with a fantastic performance in the passing game.

A key to this game, as it always is for this offense, and will be the remainder of the season, will be how well it can respond with efficient passing successes when opposing defenses zone in on the line of scrimmage limiting the option plays.

In 2008 and 2009, QB Josh Nesbitt and WR Demaryius Thomas proved to be too much for most opposing defenses, as the big play-making abilities of the tandem were such a threat for quick scores.

Defensive coordinators facing the Jackets often had the difficult task of trying to figure out the play-calling mix of pitch/dive/pass, and Thomas was more often than not running wild up the sideline with single coverage, something that many of us remember all too well.

Will Deandre Smelter and Justin Thomas continue to rekindle those memories this week?

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive coordinator Ted Roof, Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

As far as the defense goes, the expectation is simple.  Ted Roof’s unit should dominate this football game.

Yes, the Jackets lost several players on defense this past offseason, and lost Jeremiah Attaochu to the NFL, but this is ACC talent versus what is still largely CUSA talent, as Tulane enters its first year in the American Athletic Conference.

Tulane’s D-Line hasn’t yet had time to positively benefit from the conference upgrade with respect to recruiting, and it should show Saturday.

If the Jackets struggle, especially with the Green Wave’s running game, tough times are ahead in the ACC stretch this season, which starts in just two weeks in Blacksburg.

Special teams shouldn’t be much of a concern, because according to, the Green Wave’s starting punt returner has asked to leave the team.

Not only will they be missing the starting returner, but they will also have a brand new place kicker this week, after the starter suffered a strained leg in the loss to Tulsa.

Remember, the Jackets have Jamal Golden back this season, so no question Tulane will be outmatched on special teams.  Be on the lookout for some magic from Golden and/or maybe a blocked punt by Tech.

This is really the first glimpse of what Tech’s abilities can be this year, and how far both the offense and defense have come, as well as whether or not they can put away lower competition early.

This isn’t Wofford, a pesky, scrappy option team with a decades-experienced coach, and proven history of playing the big boys tough.  This is a team that lost to Tulsa last week, who went 3-9 last year in CUSA.

Tulane has barely had any success to speak of since its SEC days decades ago (Yes, ironically both of these teams were charter members of the Southeastern Conference).  Georgia Tech’s post-SEC world has been much brighter than Tulane’s.

Hopefully the team will see to it that it stays that way.