4) Can the offensive line have “decent” pass protection?
Georgia Tech’s pass protection during the Paul Johnson era to say the last was miserable. The Jackets no matter the situation seemingly struggled to protect the quarterback and even though their quarterbacks were known for their feet, they couldn’t escape the “jailbreak” rushes that opposing defenses would send against the Jackets line in obvious passing situations.
To “steal” from one of our prior articles, here’s where Temple’s offensive line stood last year and where the Jackets stood.
"In 2019, they’ll be expected to pass protect over 50% of the time and could be looking at pass protecting in over 400 snaps. For reference, last season, Temple had a total of 457 total passing plays. Their offensive line allowed just 18 over the course of the season, a sack about every 25 passing plays. The Jackets in comparison allowed 16 sacks last season but did so on just a total of 141 passing plays which equals out to about one sack per 8.8 plays."
Now, of course, the Yellow Jackets offense is going to be curtailed a bit in 2019 to fit their strengths but even at 300 passing plays, the Jackets would surrender 34 sacks on the season. If the Jackets allow that many sacks, it’s going to be a tough season offensively. Of course, the Jackets also lost Andrew Marshall to graduation and Parker Braun to the transfer portal. That will make it that much harder for new offensive line coach Brent Key.
Now, the Jackets did add Jared Southers this offseason who does have a great deal of experience including pass blocking which should help, that being said, it’s still an uphill battle. Now, Brent Key is one of the best offensive line coaches in the country but it still won’t be an easy transition.
Come Friday’s spring game, we don’t expect the Jackets offensive line to look like world beaters but there needs to be some improvement from last season. We obviously won’t be able to tell how strong the offensive line is till August but Friday is a good first step for the offensive line.