We are four weeks through the 2018 season meaning it’s time for our first Georgia Tech mailbag of the season. Today, we answer questions about Tobias Oliver, the Jackets defense, and more.
Will Oliver get more playing time? – Kenneth
I feel this is a great question to start off on and I think it’s a valid question as well. Through TaQuon Marshall’s 16 games as the starting quarterback, we pretty much know at this point what Marshall is going to provide to the Jackets offense. Explosive plays when gets into the open field and the occasional strong throw. Outside of that, there’s a lot of questions about Marshall being able to be a consistent passer or if he has the confidence to make the reads and pitches that he needs to make.
Tobias Oliver, on the other hand, is still a rather unknown. We’ve seen him twice this season, once against USF and the other last weekend against Clemson. Oliver’s first game against USF was quite the performance as he scored on three straight drives. When he was in the game against Clemson, Oliver took a step back as he fumbled the ball a few times and had a tough time adjusting to the caliber of players that Clemson possesses on the defensive side of the ball.
Going forward, I wouldn’t expect to see Oliver a ton but I wouldn’t be shocked if Paul Johnson is willing to get him in there when the offense starts to dry up with Marshall during games. The Jackets last week against Clemson needed to find a spark and some type of life with Oliver. If similar situations arise I wouldn’t be shocked to see similar moves be made. That being said, in terms of Oliver potentially starting? I don’t think we’re anywhere close yet to that move being made.
When will we see an improvement to compensate for the additional money spent on new locker room, indoor practice facility, increase in the coaching cost for assistants and head coach, additional money in the recruiting budget? – Donald
It’s no secret that Georgia Tech has put a ton of money into the football program over the course of the last few years in order to make the program more viable and a better destination for recruits. That being said, to see the impact on the field, it’s going to take a few years. Recruiting takes a time to pick up after changes occur and we will see in the next year or two how big of an impact the additional money that has spent has had on the program.
In terms of improvement on the field, it’s going to take another year most likely at the least. The Yellow Jackets lack elite athletes and there’s no questioning that. Recruiting better athletes is step one of that improvement. Improvements this season? You’ll see improvements that are necessary for the Jackets as they try to make a bowl game but don’t expect any major improvements.
Now I don’t want to spend a huge time talking about recruiting and what Georgia Tech can or can not due. But I’ll just say this, Georgia Tech can recruit at a high level. Can they recruit at the rate that consistent top 10-15-20 programs recruit? Probably not. But they have shown they can recruit at a high level and I believe that with the right situation, Tech can recruit at a high level again. I do believe that people who argue the Jackets coaching staff or offensive system holds back recruiting have a valid argument. Can Tech recruit better under Paul Johnson? Absolutely. Has he done a quality job, however? Yes.
That being said here are a few numbers to know;
- Top-100 National Players (2000-2007): 6
- Top-100 Players (2008-2018): 0
The Jackets also had one recruiting class prior to Johnson coming to The Flats that was ranked top 15 in the nation. Outside of the one class, the Jackets did maintain roughly the same rankings that Johnson has throughout his tenure. That being said, having those top-100 players in every other recruiting class certainly helped. Forcing kids to take calculus has an impact, yes, but let’s not act as it holds back Georgia Tech recruiting. Why? Because Georgia Tech basketball and baseball certainly have to recruit success even with the calculus requirement. The kids will do the school work and the course load isn’t Tech’s biggest issue in my opinion either.
Will Coach Johnson ever wear a gold shirt again (the blue shirt doesn’t seem to be working)? – Kurt
This is one of my favorite questions and honestly, I don’t think anyone knows. He probably should change up though if we’re being superstitious about it.
When will Georgia Tech try and field a defense? – Robbie
The defensive performance the last three weeks for the Yellow Jackets has been disappointing to say the least. That being said, I’m a firm believer in Nate Woody’s system itself. RIght now, the Jackets biggest issue is they simply don’t have the players with the skillsets that complement the defense the most right now. They lack power on the defensive line and they lack speed on the second level. The one spot I think that will improve as the season goes on and is where the Jackets have their best athletes, the secondary. Outside of that, there are going to up and downs for the Jackets defense until they can get the right type of defensive players into the program in the next few years.
Why do we want to be a mediocre team year in and year out? – Ryan / When does Johnson get fired? – Barry
I’m not sure I would fully agree in “wanting to be a mediocre team” but in general it is notable that the last four years have been disappointing for the program. After that Orange Bowl victory over Mississippi State, the program has pretty much been in a downward spiral outside the 9-4 season in 2016. The Jackets, if they’re not careful, will miss their third bowl game in four years and while I don’t think it’s time to fire Paul Johnson and won’t be at the end of the season if they miss a bowl game. I will say that Todd Stansbury and the rest of the athletic department will need to know when it’s time to part ways rather than always giving the benefit of the doubt. I can’t see Johnson getting fired unless the Jackets only win maybe three or four games this season but if they struggle next year again, then I think it would be time to part ways with Johnson.