2014 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Team Preview
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Head Coach: Paul Johnson
2013 Record: 7-6 overall, 5-3 ACC Coastal
2013 Bowl Result: Lost to Ole Miss 25-17 in the Music City Bowl
2013 Returning Starters: 6 offense, 4 defense
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship Game: 500/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Championship Game: 25/1
Odds to Win 2014 ACC Coastal Division: 8/1
Regular Season Wins: over 6.5 -140 / under 6.5 +110
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Last season, Georgia Tech had an up and down season. The Yellow Jackets won their first three games including wins over North Carolina and Duke. They they lost three straight against Virginia Tech, Miami and BYU. Georgia Tech then went on another three game winning streak, but would lose three of their last four games against Clemson, Georgia in double overtime and Ole Miss 25-17 in the Music City Bowl. The Yellow Jackets have gone to 17 straight bowl games.
Only 10 starters are back from last year’s team under coach Paul Johnson. This could be a rebuilding year for Georgia Tech in a tough division with North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech and Duke.
In Johnson’t triple option offense, passing is at best an afterthought. It is no surprise that they only averaged 130 passing yards which was #121 out of 125 teams nationally. The rushing attack however was #6 nationally at 299 yards per game. The Yellow Jackets scored 35 points per game and that was #27 nationally. Six starters return for Johnson who serves as his own offensive coordinator.
Justin Thomas replaces Vad Lee as the quarterback. Lee threw for 1561 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushed for 513 yards with 8 touchdowns. Thomas took a few snaps at quarterback last year with one touchdown pass and 2 interceptions. He had 33 carries for 234 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Thomas could be the fastest quarterback Johnson has ever had in his tenure at Georgia Tech.
The top three rushers are gone in running backs David Sims, Robert Godhigh and Lee. The trio accounted for 422 carries, 2,141 yards and 26 touchdowns. Godhigh was also the leading receiver with 23 carries for 471 yards and 2 touchdowns. Zach Laskey will become the feature back. He had 84 carries for 485 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus a touchdown catch. Broderick Snoddy will also get more carries. Synjyn Days had four rushing touchdowns last year.
Darren Waller (17 catches for 367 yards and 3 touchdowns) and DeAndre Smelter (21 catches, 345 yards and 4 touchdowns) are the only two proven receivers on the roster. Michael Summers had 10 catches but no one else had more than 5 catches last year.
The offensive line must replace three starters who had a combined 117 starts.
Georgia Tech allowed 360 yards per game on defense last season and 23 points a game. Only four starters are back under coordinator Ted Roof.
The defensive line must replace All-American Jeremiah Attaochu. Tackles Adam Gotsis who had 14.5 tackles for loss and Shawn Green who battled injuries for much of 2013 will anchor the line. Jabari Hunt-Days was supposed to play defensive end but is ineligible in 2014.
Linebackers Quayshawn Nealy and Tyler Marcodes will anchor a strong unit.
The secondary hopes safeties Isaiah Johnson and Jamal Golden remain healthy in 2014 as they both missed most of 2013 with injuries. Cornerback D.J. White has star potential.
Kicker Harrison Butker made 10 of 14 field goals last year. Punter Ryan Rodwell returns after a redshirt year in 2013, but played in 6 games in 2012. Jamal Golden missed 10 games last season, but was in the top 10 nationally in both punt and kick returns in 2012.
Outlook / Schedule
Georgia Tech has home non-conference games against Wofford and Georgia Southern. The Yellow Jackets travel to Tulane and Georgia. In ACC play, Georgia Tech travels to Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and North Carolina State. The Yellow Jackets host Miami, Duke, Virginia and Clemson. With an unproven quarterback and new running backs, it will hard for this team to win more than 6 games. Still, that is good enough to extend the bowl streak.
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