Lines of Scrimmages
Games are won in the trenches and in 2019, Georgia Tech rarely won in the trenches. That MUST improve in 2020 for Georgia Tech on both sides of the ball.
While the offensive line performed well in their run blocking, helping pave the way for the Jackets to average 150.2 yards per game, their pass protection was a struggle at time. The Yellow Jackets allowed 28 sacks last season over their 12 games, an average of 2.33 sacks per game. While it certainly wasn’t the worst performance by an offensive line in the country, it wasn’t exactly great either.
The Yellow Jackets in 2020 will need to improve their pass protection especially in obvious passing situations. Last season, it felt when it came to obvious passing situations that the opposing defense would send a bull rush and it had a good chance at getting to the Jackets quarterback every time.
Brent Key deserves a lot of credit for how far the offensive line came during last season. But he’ll need to drive the offensive line even more in 2020 for the Jackets to raise the bar and become more successful.
The Jackets defensive line has not been a dominant line in quite some time and in 2020, they’ll need to increase their production. Defensive line coach Larry Knight did a good job at getting his guys in better situations to make impact plays during 2019 but there was still a lack of results for the most part.
As a team, the Yellow Jackets had just 17 sacks and not all of those came from the defensive line. The Yellow Jackets top guy at getting home from the line last season was Quon Griffin who in limited time on the field made great impact, recording 14 tackles including his team leading 2.5 sacks. All in all, the defensive line still struggled to get to the quarterback in 2020 and some of that comes back to not having one dominating pass rusher on the roster (right now). Perhaps that will change in 2020 but if the Jackets still can’t get home this upcoming season, the defensive line can still improve.
That place of improvement would be in the run defense. The Jackets rush defense last season was horrendous, allowing 215.6 yards per game. Opposing offenses regularly ran over the Yellow Jackets, sometimes play after play after play. That simply will have to change for Georgia Tech in 2020 and that begins up front on the defensive line. The defensive line will need to recognize plays at faster pace this upcoming season in order to get ahead of opposing ball carriers. If the Jackets once again struggle against the rush, it will be hard for the Jackets defense to stop anyone next season.
Wide Receiver Depth
Last season, the wide receiver play for Georgia Tech was adequate. There were a few surprises, one of those being of course Ahmarean Brown who broke Calvin Johnson’s Georgia Tech record for most touchdowns in a freshman season. Outside of Brown, however, the Yellow Jackets still have a ton of questions at the quarterback position.
While 16 different Yellow Jackets recorded receptions in 2019, a majority of them really struggled to separate themselves from the rest. The best cases of making moves in 2019 was Adonicas Sanders and Malachi Carter. Now, with Brown, Sanders, and Carter, the Yellow Jackets have a quality starting set of three wideouts.
However, beyond that, the Yellow Jackets have very, very few options. Jalen Camp returns in 2020 for another season but with every year seeming like the year he’ll finally breakout, it’s hard to get your hopes up.
The most obvious name to watch out for is former Miami Hurricane Marquez Ezzard who sat out 2019 due to his transfer. If Ezzard can live up to his hype as a four-star wide receiver and potential game changer, it would be a huge benefit for the Jackets offensively.
Additionally, the Yellow Jackets have brought in seven wide receivers over the last two years and if they’re going to improve offensively, they’ll need to develop solid depth at the position after the firs three in Brown, Sanders, and Carter.
Finally, there are a few wild card candidates to become that depth for the Jackets such as Stephen Dolphus, Peje Harris, and Jair Hawkins-Anderson among others.
In the end, the Yellow Jackets this spring and summer must find that depth at the wide receiver position whether that is players currently enrolled at Georgia Tech or players that will be enrolling this summer.