Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said, off the top of his head, there are several areas of improvement he wants to see from this team this season:
1. Passing efficiency. Joshua Nesbitt completed 38.5 percent of his passes in 2008, and improved to 43.9 percent last season. Completion percentage isn’t the same as efficiency, but it’s one of the contributing stats. Last year, Johnson and quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon said they hope to see Nesbitt complete more than 50 percent of his passes. As they’ve said, when they pass they want to hurt teams. The teams’ passing efficiency stat was actually second in the ACC last season (149.6).
2. Play better defense. Specifically, Johnson wants to see the unit create more turnovers and force more punts. Tech was seventh in the ACC in total defense (360.3 ypg) last season, but when you factor in that Tech’s offense led in time of possession (33:49) that yards number allowed is very high. New defensive coordinator Al Groh has been charged with improving those stats. Johnson said that he and Groh, whose last job was at head coach at Virginia, are getting along swimmingly.
Tech forced 26 turnovers last season, the fourth most in the ACC.
3. Kickoff returns. This was one of the areas of improvement for last season, and the team did well. Tech was seventh in the ACC at 21.8 yards per return. However, Tech was ninth in kickoff coverage, allowing a whopping 39 yards per return.
4. Run better. Yes, you read that correctly. Despite leading the ACC at 295.4 yards per game, 87 yards more than the next best team, Johnson said the team left a lot of yards on the field because the blocking by the A-backs and wide receivers needs improvement.