This has been a truly amazing year for Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. At 10-2 and champs of the state of Georgia, Tech awaits Florida State at Saturday’s Dr. Pepper ACC Championship. It’s amazing to think, but the Yellow Jackets could be sitting even prettier right now.
Both of Georgia Tech’s loses were by a combined 11 points, and the loss to UNC with :11 left is the only thing keeping this game from being a de facto play-in game for the inaugural CFB Playoff. It was that night back in October that Ted Roof’s defense woke up after a total embarrassment and helped fueled this 5-game winning streak.
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Georgia Tech’s defense has reaped the benefits of 17 turnovers in that 5-game streak, SEVENTEEN! Pair this with an offense that is absolutely humming right now sitting at #1 in the nation in 3rd down conversions and #3 in time-of-possession, and you have a match made in heaven, and one the team will continue to thrive in.
This is what the team was missing in the Tevin Washington era. Washington always got undue criticism from most Tech fans, because he was actually a pretty efficient option QB for Johnson.
Of course, he wasn’t Justin Thomas, but he wasn’t Vad Lee either. The problem during the years after Josh Nesbitt and company left the flats was that the defense was so putrid, with opponents scoring an average of over 30 points per game.
That is fatal to an option offense, as one of the staples of the system is to ball-hog and limit possessions of the other team. No offense is perfect and is going to score every single time it touches the ball. Just like last week’s game at Georgia, sometimes it takes a few possessions for Coach Johnson to read what the defense is playing in order to make adjustments.
Going forward, if the Tech defense continues to improve, and there’s no reason to expect otherwise, this team’s ceiling will continue to be high.
With a strong recruiting class assembling for 2015, Paul Johnson may have finally found the perfect fit at DC in Ted Roof to go along with his stylish offense operated by Justin Thomas.
Nov 29, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) runs against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia Tech defeated Georgia 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
One key piece that fans will look for next spring is the development of the younger Tech receivers Michael Summers and Ricky Jeune. As Smelter showed all season, and Demaryius Thomas did years prior, a big-time playmaker at wide receiver is key in this offense’s success, as it puts much more of an onus on opposing defensive coordinators.
Sure, the ACC Coastal is currently the weaker of the two divisions in the league, but that’s not going to be the case forever. Chances are, Justin can only be better in his junior and senior years (as crazy as it sounds for him to get BETTER). And more longevity for the defense under Roof going into his third season is likely a match made in heaven.
One thing’s for sure. The scene in Atlanta is emphatically different than this time a year ago. Tech fans are so excited about the future of the program.
If the Yellow Jackets beat Florida State this Saturday, it will likely be the best season since 1990 on The Flats. Who knows, if enough chaos happens (ex: #s 1, 2, and 3 win, and #s 4, 5, and 6 lose), then maybe it even tops 1990.
Georgia Tech’s schedule gets much more difficult next year, with trips to South Bend, Clemson, and Miami, and home games against stout opponents also in FSU and Georgia.
But Georgia Tech proved this season that it can play with the perceived “superior talented” teams. As if the Yellow Jackets don’t have enough talent anyway, huh? Maybe this is a prime example of how recruiting rankings are bogus, and perhaps it’s much more about a fit with a coach and program.
It appears as of now that Tech will face either Mississippi State or Michigan State in the Orange Bowl. That will be a good litmus test as to whether one of the many other cliche arguments used against Johnson triple-option offense, the one regarding time to prepare, will be proven wrong also.
With the talent that is on the D-line on both of the aforementioned teams, if Tech puts up large numbers on either team, it will be hard for any “experts” to use that old argument against them any longer.
Enjoy this Jacket fans, as the future appears to be bright. The fun began last week, and continues this week through the new year. But the real fun may still yet be almost a year away. Imagine an opposing team getting less than a week to prepare for this potent offensive attack heading into, let’s say, the national championship game.
That’s exactly what Georgia Tech fans are hoping for.