Saturday, June 11, 2011

2011 Football: Georgia Institute of Technology

Game #1. The Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech

A preseason preview of the Catamount's first opponent of the 2011 football season, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The Ramblin' Wreck football team fell to a 6-7 record last season, just the second losing season of WCU alumni Paul Johnson’s 14-year career as a head football coach. The Yellow Jackets may get enough wins in the 2011 season for a bowl bid, but are not expected to offer a significant challenge for the Coastal Division championship race in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Head Football Coach Paul Johnson is not just the Yellow Jacket head coach, he, like Dennis Wagner, is also their team's Offensive Coordinator (OC).  Johnson will put the Catamount defense to a strong test with the first of four games this season against the difficult to defend, triple option offense. While turning out over 400 yards per game last season, Johnson's offense was not as effective as their 2009 season, as scoring was down and the team didn't complete the big plays in their passing game needed to complement a triple option rushing attack. Redshirt junior Tevinn Washington probably has the inside shot at the starting quarterback position (started the final four games in 2010), but will have some lively competition from redshirt freshman Synjyn Days. A big key in the offensive scheme will be who can (if anyone) step up and replace Anthony Allen, who rushed for over 1300 yards, as none of the backs replacing Allen have a lot of experience.

Special Teams could be a problem for the Yellow Jackets this season, with the loss of senior kicker Scott Blair.  Blair handled all three kicking position responsibilities last season. Justin Moore, the likely punter this season, showed control problems in his limited opportunities on kickoffs, and Chandler Anderson, the likely punter has never a punt in a college game.

Defensive Coordinator Al Groh's defensive line is probably the most experienced unit in the Yellow Jacket's 3-4 defense.  However, last season the defense only combined for 4 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss, and all four starters in the secondary must be replaced.

The Yellow Jackets have been projected to finish about 4th in the Coastal Division of the ACC.

Game Prediction: GT 24 WCU 14