Day 1, your hopes and dreams

Alright, it appears that the team is checked in (with one exception) and ready to officially start the 2009 season.

I wrote a story that will appear in Monday’s paper (it’s already online), with five issues that I think are most important for Tech to address in August. Again, these aren’t season-long issues (such as the questions asked by many about the offense). These are issues which plagued the team last year: red-zone scoring, special teams, enough healthy scholarship players, etc.

So, I’m going to keep this blog short, but I hope to get a lot of comments from yall:

What issues/areas of concern do you think are most important for the team to work on during August? And, most importantly, why?

Which players who were subs last year (or still in high school) do you think will step up and win starting jobs during the next 34 days?

And, lastly but of the most importance, what are you season’s predictions, both wins and losses, awards, etc. I said a few blogs ago that I thought this could be a special year… if the Jackets get a few breaks. There’s not a team on Tech’s schedule that I would say “Whoa, Tech has no chance to win that game” (a la USC-Virginia last year).

Remember, I’ll be back tomorrow after the day’s first practice to give you notes, quotes and thoughts on Day 1 of ohhh, what’ll be a whole bunch of days by the time the season’s over.

78 comments Add your comment

Tampa Wreck

August 2nd, 2009
9:57 pm

Special teams, stopping the run, development of a passing threat, and special teams.

Barnes needs to step up and become the player he can be.

10-2 (Like you said, there is no team we can’t beat, but then there are a number of teams that have equal or better talent.. Could run the table or we could lose 4. Anything over 3 losses would be a big disappointment

JACKETfan

August 2nd, 2009
10:02 pm

One main issue of concern in my mind is the lack of size on the D-line. Ben Anderson and Jason Peters weigh in at 274 and 272 pounds as our current starting tackles… they may be hard workers and have high motors… but im afraid that they lack the necessary size that a defensive tackle needs to hold up against a good running team. I really hope TJ Barnes will step up and take up space to free others up. The ends (Hall and D-Mo) look to be pretty good. I think robert will suprise a lot of ppl this year. And theres not much that needs to be said about morgan…
As of players to step up from subs last year, Im really hoping to see cooper taylor step up at the wolf position. He rarely started last year but was still very impressive. I also think marcus wright will challenge a starting role at a-back.
And as for a season prediction, i would love to say undefeated and NC game, and i think tech is very well capable when looking at the schedule, but i think they will fall somewhere along the way, and thats at FSU. Tech goes 11-1 and goes on to play FSU in the title game and takes it by 2 touchdowns and goes to the orange bowl. But im hoping for an undefeated season! GO JACKETS

42-45 a fluke!

August 2nd, 2009
10:25 pm

jacket

August 2nd, 2009
10:32 pm

Offensive line chemistry
Passing game/Josh’s timing and accuracy
These will be the key to the offense being better than good.

I want to see the D-line get good push and disrupt the run game. I don’t want to see them get pushed around like they did vs. LSU.

Prediction: We shouldn’t lose. The only way is if we run into a team with a great offense, and they outscore us. VT, Miami, and UGA worry me the most in a shootout game.

However, I think we can win those games if we win the turnover margin.

Anyone think it will be the Jackets vs. the Longhorns for the BCS Title?

TechSenior

August 2nd, 2009
10:38 pm

I’m just glad that such a good team was put together while I’m still in school. Like others have said there is no one on our schedule that we can’t beat. On the other hand it would take a few lucky bounces to go undefeated. I say 2 or 3 losses and an orange bowl berth.

AlabamaRamblinwreck

August 2nd, 2009
10:42 pm

1. Kicking game needs to be more consistent this year. 2. I agree with the concerns about the size up front on defense. 3. There are still certain players (D. Morgan, M. Burnett, D. Thomas, and Nesbitt) that we really still cannot afford to have out with injury. Their abilities are critical to our success. 4. Lastly, but most importantly, the o-line has to play well. If they do, we will continue to run the ball very efficiently, BUT Nesbitt will get comfortable enough to find open receivers when we pass.

I don’t know who will step up, but T.J. Barnes needs to step up. Also, it would be nice to see one of the wide receivers (maybe Stephen Hill) help Demarius out this year.

My guess is 10-2 or 11-1. The ACC games that are going to be the the toughest will be UNC, @FSU, and V-Tech. UGA has talent, and although I hope we beat them by 3 TD’s or more, they will probably be a tough out. Since Wake Forest is very well coached, they will be a tough out also. Hopefully, we will take care of business at UVA in a BIG way this year. Miami is not very well coached, Clemson will have a brand new QB, Duke is Duke (although Cutcliffe is doing a good job), and BC is rebuilding. Vandy and MSU should be easy wins. Out of the 5 toughest games I have listed, we could go 5-0 or 4-1, but more likely 3-2.

Again, thank you Doug for your effort so far, and I look forward to your work the rest of this season.

Go Jackets!!!

AlabamaRamblinwreck

August 2nd, 2009
10:44 pm

One Correction: We don’t play Boston College this year.

Not Disappointed

August 2nd, 2009
10:58 pm

Doug, I think you’re making an impact as GT reporter. The last three articles have been impressive. Now back to our Jackets….. Keep it up!

In order for this year to be a special season for the Jackets our defensive line has to the control line, Special Teams must be on point, and passing must improve.

“Ramblin Wreck!”

GT fan ...

August 2nd, 2009
11:48 pm

Issues/Concerns:
1. Making sure the injured o-linemen from Spring are healthy and ready to go by 9/5 — so that the running game is ready to go — Clemson is only 5 days after the opener.
2. Accurate passing game — the receivers WILL BE open, just got to make accurate throws.
3. Get TJ Barnes in shape enough to play more than 30-35 snaps a game — if there is concern about size on the DL the TJ’s got to be able to provide it.
4. Stay HEALTHY — depth is never a bad thing. What’s the update on Kyle Jackson’s foot??

Subs/Incomers winning starting jobs:
Other than the obvious 3 spots on the DL, Jerrard Tarrant for sure – he’s that good. And if any of the others win a STARTING job, I’d say WR Stephen Hill due to the lack of talent and depth at the position. PJ likes to redshirt as many freshman as possible, but I will say the ones that may see lots of playing time would be David Sims (great athelete) and JC Lanier (size for the DL).

prediction:
Again, stay healthy, and the Jackets can go undefeated — b/c, like you said Doug, there’s not a game on GT’s schedule that is UNwinnable. Realistically though, the schedule is pretty tough. Downright brutal in October (at Miss St. 10/3, at FSU 10/10, home vs. VT 10/17, at Virginia 10/24, at Vandy 10/31), and the first game after October is vs. Wake Forest – a very disciplined team! But lookout if the Jackets go 4-1 or 5-0 in October.

Based on the 2nd season success under PJ’s watch at all of his previous coaching stops I’m saying the Jackets will be better this season, but I’m predicting the same 9-3 regular season again in 2009, BUT add a bowl WIN to end 10-3 (see Oct. reference above). HOWEVER, if the Jackets go 5-0 in October, then I see them no worse than 11-2, and you could probably add the ACC Champ game to their record, and 12-2 or 13-1. The schedule simply says there will be a let down or two though.
Again, my prediciton is based on a couple of unpredictables (i.e. health and few T.O.’s) going GT’s way. If not, then I see the Jackets no worse than 7-5 or 8-4, but add a bowl win for sure.

BS Patrol

August 2nd, 2009
11:55 pm

The key to the season’s success will be to control the football & avoid TO’s. If Tech can do that it could be a great season. Watch out especially for the doggies. They have been very good at stripping the ball.

half

August 2nd, 2009
11:57 pm

Enter your comments here

halfmetaljacket

August 3rd, 2009
12:12 am

A few weeks ago Doug told us that the doldrum weeks of summer were ahead so not to look for content. Radio silence for a long time.

Later, he surfaced to say that he was still on the job but that another cylical issue prevented him from any frequent blog posts on the Jackets. More radio silence.

Today, this forestalling post with a tidbit or two but mainly another excuse under the teacher’s door as to why there again is no homework..Yet, the Dawg Blog is part of the main menu with frequent posts,

The Jacket Blog (to be found only under the GT headline) goes weeks without any posts or notice.

Is this just the way the AJC wants it, or what market demand justifiably dictates, or what AJC/GT travelers want?

hmj

Lady Luck

August 3rd, 2009
12:14 am

Win on the road or it doesn’t matter about the other issues. We surprised some folks on the road last year but also laid some eggs (UNC). The year will come down to how mentally tough these kids have become and how many injuries we can avoid in August. Nesbitt has to be healthy as well. If he hobbles, we hobble. Doesn’t matter about our backfield if Nesbitt is not able to stay healthy.

Cuttysark

August 3rd, 2009
12:23 am

All the pieces to the puzzle are starting to fit together very nicely. This is year 2 folks and the triple option offense did quite well in the 1st year with everyone performing it while confused. Now that they have a year under the belts, get ready for something special on the flats. The defensive line will be fine, and with TJ Barnes and JC Lanier prividing some bulk up front to rotate in with Peters and Anderson, we will be just fine. The defense will be better than last year due to more depth everywhere.

Stop worrying that the sky will be falling and go check out isportsweb.com for more Georgia tech Football information. We have 19 STARTERS returning. Just need to pick up the return game and Mr. Tarrant will help out there.

Innocent Bystander

August 3rd, 2009
12:41 am

Thanks, Doug. You’re doing a great job.

My concerns are obviously up front. Our O-line got embarrassed by LSU at the Peach Bowl, if no reason other than the sheer size difference. I think our D-line will be better than most people figure, but it won’t be quite as good as last year. My final concern is Josh’s passing. I don’t think teams will be any better prepared for our offense, but if we can pass the ball just enough to make opponents think twice about stacking the box, our running game will thrive. CPJ is an offensive genius, and the execution of our plays should only get better.

IMO, the person with the most room to improve/most to prove is Josh. If he can start running like a true option QB (i.e. some solid fake pitches, etc) and make nice passes, our offense may be good enough to drive our team regardless of our D.

gt

August 3rd, 2009
2:07 am

Im thinking 8-4. too many questions on d. nesbitt wont make it through the year without injury. win over ga and it will be a solid year.

gt

August 3rd, 2009
2:11 am

Also I think that if tech is going to get it done its going to have to be this year. dwyer, burnett, morgan and maybe thomas will go pro. pj will not be able to recruit talent like that 2007 class that he is winning with now

ColumDawg

August 3rd, 2009
5:07 am

((( 38-3 ))) ((( 7-1))) (((59-39-5))) hahahahaha

halfmetaljacket

August 3rd, 2009
5:10 am

THWG

August 3rd, 2009
6:12 am

Hey “ColonDawg”

(((45-42))) Does it hurt? (((Paul Johnson))) Does it really hurt? (((Stephen T. Hill))) That’s gonna hurt on a continual basis. (((How about 8 as the winning streak or more NC’s?))) That’s gotta hurt.

Now back to the article and the reason we are here, and trust me it’s not because of the leg humpers because they have now become irrelevant. <—— Check the blackout and Florida owning your asses.

We need to have more pass protection. We also need to work on kicking. Other than that I think we got this wrapped up and in year two of this offense we continue to show at practice just how much we have improved. PJ is a winner, I think we can all go back into his history and find that to be true. Good luck mutts with your mediocre coach who can’t even make it to a NC game.

dawgs

August 3rd, 2009
7:50 am

Thats a good point. PJ is winning with those 2007 recruits. Once youve burned through those studs, youll be left with navy type recruits.

dawgs

August 3rd, 2009
7:52 am

No legit BCS level athletes want to play in that offense. PJ is winning with Gailey recruits.

Capt Bob

August 3rd, 2009
8:22 am

First, the jackets have to be able to stop the run. As mentioned their DT’s except for Barnes seem on the small side…therefore it seems they will be vulnerable to big, good OL’s, and require them to scheme defensively to overcome that weakness.
Second, the offense will be improved if Nesbit can improve his accuracy…but part of that is having much better pass protection than the OL gave him last year. The OL must improve their pass blocking, if the passing game is to succeed. Hopefully, the OL will be better overall this year as well… teams with big DL’s like Va Tech, LSU, were able to stuff the inside running game last year pretty effectively by overwhelming our C and G’s.
Injuries and turnovers make predicting futures fanciful, but with Tech’s schedule if they lose only three games they will have had an outstanding year.

third quarter fan

August 3rd, 2009
8:24 am

Just waiting to see what magic CPH uses this year…you just never know what Tech will do…the perfect option is unpredictable.

Hope they all stay healthy. (and stop that UVA thing)

Taliban Techie

August 3rd, 2009
8:34 am

WHAT A GREAT WAY TO START THE SEASON!:

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in a New York courtroom Monday in the trial of a 23-year-old Atlanta man who prosecutors say tried to aid overseas terrorists. Ehsanul Islam Sadequee could face up to 60 years in prison on four charges that he conspired to help terror suspects wage “violent jihad” on America. Jury selection is expected to last at least a week.

Sadequee has pleaded not guilty. But prosecutors say they have overwhelming evidence against him, including a series of short homemade videos that he and a friend, Syed Haris Ahmed, made of Washington landmarks.

A federal judge found Ahmed, a Georgia Tech student, guilty in June of plotting to aid a terrorist group by videotaping landmarks around Washington, D.C. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Sharmin Sadequee, the suspect’s sister, has said her brother was detained in August 2005 at Kennedy International Airport in New York as he was preparing to fly to Bangladesh to get married.

AND THAT’S ANOTHER YELLOW JACKET POINT OF PRIDE!

Wes

August 3rd, 2009
8:34 am

CPJ has been able to score wherever he has been. Since day one I have said if the defence is above average he will win a lot of games. So to answer your question, focus on the D. His offense WILL put the points on the board.

North Ave Grad

August 3rd, 2009
8:52 am

I just wish we had more support and sold out the stadium with true Tech fans. I love GA Tech Football, but it would be nice to see our stadium sold out like UGA with true fans and not people that come because they bought a 3 game package. However, I am looking forward to the season.

Arob

August 3rd, 2009
8:53 am

The health of Nesbitt & the OLine will be the key. Everything else looks to be falling into place. Interested to see some of the new faces that could be difference makers on Special teams & on Dline.

techwins

August 3rd, 2009
8:53 am

CPJ has promised a necklace to go with my ring if we upset Ga again this year. I was hoping for a toe ring but that will have to wait.

North Ave Grad

August 3rd, 2009
8:56 am

Just curious, Does anyone who is a real Tech fan like this guy Saint Simons? He’s a bit annoying.

snapshot

August 3rd, 2009
8:59 am

We will probably be underdogs to the mighty muttville, trailer skirting, hamburger pressing, leghumpers. I hope so. CPJ will continue to install his complex offense. Part two of his play book begins today.

Al

August 3rd, 2009
9:08 am

Doug, can you find out about Brady Biggers (Walton HS PK). It was understood in April he would walk on this Fall. Currently, he is not listed on the roster.

kshizzle

August 3rd, 2009
9:34 am

If we can up our scoring average by 5-10 points a game (or more) then I see between 10-2 and undefeated. I think the 2 starters at DT, Anderson and Peters, are currently there because of their experience level. What happens when they need a sub or get replaced by a young guy, we put in CT Barns or JC Lanier. JC Lanier will most likely be a starter before too long if not right from the beginning. In any case, ou mold your defence to your strengths which is the back 7 (including arguably the best safety in CF) and one up front (D Morgan). I expect the defence to be better at scoring defence then last year and therefore and with an improvement in the offence scoring we definitely improve on the 9-4 mark.

Bill. B

August 3rd, 2009
9:35 am

“Anyone think it will be the Jackets vs. the Longhorns for the BCS Title?”

You gotta love August when fans can see a team with a ton of question marks playing for the national championship. Tech is going to have a hard enough time winning their division, nevermind competing for a national championship.

dan

August 3rd, 2009
9:53 am

I’m thinking 8-4 or 7-5 for the Jackets this season with losses to Clemson, Miami, FSU, Wake Forest. They’ll get a few surprise wins over Va. Tech and North Carolina, and the game vs. UGA will be a toss up based on which team has the mojo going into that game.

dan

August 3rd, 2009
10:00 am

Clemson could be the surprise team in the ACC this year. They have talent and a lot less off field distractions than a year ago with their coach getting fired mid-season. And even with the Tigers losing their coach the week before the Tech game last year, they only lost 21-17. The Tigers will be a big test for Jackets coming out of the gate. I wouldn’t look past them.

Peter Lindstrom

August 3rd, 2009
10:07 am

Really now !!

It’s C PJ second year and all I hear is, Oh were going undefeated or 10-2. Let’s not put undue pressure on the team. These players need time to learn the system and to implement it.

Every game is difficult. I believe that the game in Tallahassee will be very difficult, also the game vs VT at home but not to forget Clemson at home as well. I am more realistic and I see us going 9-3 and winning the coastal.

Saint Simons

August 3rd, 2009
10:22 am

North Ave Grad = uga fan

AMT

August 3rd, 2009
10:22 am

Biggest Issue on Offense: Not turning the ball over. Assuming we are at least as effective on Offense as we were last year, then this is the area we need to improve. 3 of our 4 losses could have turned out different if it were not for a key turnover that changed the tide of the game – as it we were driving for a score – inside the 20 – and gave it away.

Biggest issue on Defense – stopping the run. Again the teams that beat us (and the teams that didn’t) ran through our Defense like it was swiss cheese at times – even with the big 3 that graduated. With the ACC teams this is going to be Key. VT is not what I would call a passing team (Evans is a great back), Clemson and Miami have quality backfields, not sure about FSU but UNC ran all over us in the second half last season. We tended to do OK against the pass (exception maybe UGA) – at least at minimizing the BIG pass play.

Biggest issue on special teams – Kick returning. This is the biggest area where we could have helped ourselves last season and very rarely got it done.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 3rd, 2009
10:24 am

Hey, Taliban, A POINT OF UGAG PRIDE: UGAG professor murders his wife. Enough said

sharecropper

August 3rd, 2009
10:25 am

Wow. I have to say I don’t ever recall one coach having such an impact on a school’s rabid fan base, and from reading the comments and inquiries attached to this piece, it appears Tech should immediately go out and put Paul Johnson’s name alongside Alexander, Heisman and Dodd. Maybe first. For the record I hope the optimism is well placed, and Tech does everything the bloggers say it can do. But give the guy a break: replacing defensive line, fixing every phase of the special teams and kicking game, from kicking to receiving to place kicking to kicking off, fixing the offensive line so that Nesbitt has time for two or three steps before hurling it downfield, installing a passing game that works, keeping Dwyer healthy … and all this in just the second year and with his second recruiting class? Seems to me Johnson has it right, as they might say in the business world: plan for the worst and hope for the best. Lighten up on the guy some.

Jared

August 3rd, 2009
10:42 am

1) Turnovers. The games we lost were because of turnovers. If we cut them in half we’ll be in good shape.
2) Special teams. We didn’t kick field goals well, we didn’t return kicks well, we didn’t cover kicks very well. Tarrant should give us a big lift on the return game. Blair needs to step it up.
3) Passing efficiency. Gotta hit the open receivers.
4) O-line. O-line has to have a good push and they need to learn how to pass block for Nes.

I am really not concerned about the defense. Defense gave up just a hair over 20 ppg last year. I think we’ll improve on that.

Midstate Jacket Fan

August 3rd, 2009
11:06 am

Doug, there are two areas that i see much room for improvement and we haven’t heard alot about these.

#1. is our receivers. We can blame Nesbitt all we want for the lack of pass attack but how many td balls did BeBe drop last year? I can think of at least 3; one of which was at the Chic-Fil-A Bowl.

#2. is our Kicking/Punting. I think our special teams as a whole is not as bad as people think. I recall we were pretty good in the yards allowed categories but we just couldn’t get them deep; & there’s not much you can say bout field goals other than we stunk. I think some of the issues were snapper/holder but the majority was the pk. We have to improve. We could have beaten VT with a better kicking game and that would have left us playing for the championship.

Jackets, don’t drop the ball & make 88% of all field goals and we win it all!

North Ave Grad

August 3rd, 2009
11:09 am

No, but I wouldn’t like you if I was. Where are your seats because I really want to shake your hand at the first game.

wombat

August 3rd, 2009
11:18 am

10-2 regular season
11-2 after ACCCG
12-2 after BCS bowl
Final top 5 ranking

Offense POY: Nesbitt
Defense POY: Burnett
Freshman POY: Lanier

1st Team All-ACC:
O: Nesbitt, Thomas, Jones, Claytor
D: Burnett, Taylor, Jefferson

Tom

August 3rd, 2009
11:23 am

Al, (re: Brady Biggers)…..

True FR walk-ons probably won’t be officially added to the roster until school begins Aug 17.

old Tech fan in NC

August 3rd, 2009
11:33 am

An omen. Just was outside and disturbed a yellow jacket nest …and was swarmed!

It was stinGTime!

superDawg

August 3rd, 2009
11:50 am

ramble,saint simons,m,supersize should be watching gt practice that should shut’em up.

typical dog fan

August 3rd, 2009
11:59 am

will be watching ESPN soon, nascar starting

superDawg

August 3rd, 2009
12:16 pm

Can’t wait till we win the National Championship this year.

Go Dawgs!