Georgia Tech ready to defend ACC title

Georgia Tech seems to be the equivalent of a moving target.

Yes, they are the defending ACC champions.

Yes, they led the league in several offensive categories.

Yes, they return 15 starters.

No, they aren’t being picked to win the ACC.

Tech coach Paul Johnson, however, seems to embrace the fact that once again his team is being overlooked, as it was last year and as it was when he first arrived.

“They’re still going to let us play the games aren’t they?” Johnson asked on Monday when asked about two teams being favored over the Jackets to win theACC’s Coastal Division. “That’s all we care about.

“I think we can be competitive.”

The Yellow Jackets will have the bull’s eye on their back, even if they have to remind people that it’s there. With so many close wins, and some controversial plays, Tech seems to have that “yeah, but” stigma. Based upon the questions asked of Johnson at the media days in Greensboro, some of that has to do with the perception of the offense, and some of it has to do with the fact that many of the games the Jackets played last year came down to the last drive.

His players, however, believe in what they can do.

A-back Roddy Jones said the experiences they gained last year –  beating Wake Forest in overtime, outshooting FSU in a 49-44 thriller, defeating Clemson in the title game in which neither team punted — better prepared them to go on the road this year and try and beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill or Virginia Tech inBlacksburg, which are two of the biggest road games on the Jackets’ schedule this season

“We’ve learned how to win games, we’ve learned how to hold onto leads, we’ve learned how to finish teams,” Jones said. “We’ve been in just about every position you can be in. So we have those experiences to pull off of.”

But winning the league won’t be easy, critics not withstanding. Four teams within the Coastal division will likely be ranked in the first Associated Press poll. As evidence of the conference’s depth, North Carolina coach Butch Davis pointed out that seven teams received first-place votes in the media’s preseason prediction poll, which was released on Monday.

Repeating, particularly when the Coastal division may be the toughest of any division in college football this season, won’t be easy.

Johnson knows as much. Drawing on his experience of winning five consecutive conference championships at Georgia Southern from 1997-2001, he said he’s told the players that defending the title will be harder than winning it.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer agrees. He guided his team to two ACC titles in 2007 and ‘08 until the Yellow Jackets took the crown last season to become the fourth different champ in five years. Getting there is just the first step.

“It’s tough, but it’s good for the league,” Beamer said. “There are lots of good football teams and it’s getting better all the time.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of separation. You’ve got to be ready to play every week.”

Being ready to play is something that Johnson said he’s tried to instill in his players since he arrived on the Flats. While he points out that’s something that every coach tries to instill, he feels like his players understand his point.

Because he has so many starters returning, he thinks it will make it a little bit easier to win the school’s first back-to-back ACC conference. The players seem to have bought in. They mention how hard they have worked this season under the direction of strength coach Neal Peduzzi. They mention they want more.

The defense begins in Chapel Hill on Sept. 18.

“It’s kind of an understood goal,” Jones said. “Last year and the year before it was one of those things that we had to say. The goal this year is to win the ACC championship, and even go further. Maybe we can run the table and get into the national championship.

“A lot of people write us off. …We’ve been training all summer like we are the underdogs, like people are counting us out again. We’re going to come in with a chip on our shoulder to prove we have what it takes to win.”

74 comments Add your comment

2BT

July 26th, 2010
5:06 pm

kickoff can’t get here fast enough!

POAD

July 26th, 2010
5:07 pm

Everything is goning to be alright!

POAD

July 26th, 2010
5:15 pm

UGA VII’s last statements “I have sniffed all the butts I care to. This bulldog team sucks. Cox you are killing me.”

Cuttysark

July 26th, 2010
5:16 pm

Predictions mean nothing. The Yellow Jackets will be ready to play come September. Looking forward to another great season on the Flats.

girl know better than you

July 26th, 2010
5:17 pm

good Roddy let “them aka LOSERS” write you off, if the guys that took off for the NFL were returning “they aka LOSERS” would still write you off, “they aka LOSERS” would find another excuse to say GT cannot do it and that you are equivalent to the sisters of the poor. It is like CPJ said, “well are we still allowed to play the games?” because to all the LOSERS and media experts NOT, there is no point. Keep in mind CPJ tied for the coastal in 2008 so he hasn’t came in 2nd yet and good luck ACC in trying to get CPJ and GT to do just that

Gt4ever

July 26th, 2010
5:27 pm

all I can say, If the DEFENSE comes to play, the ACC conference championship is in the bag….. I’m not holding my breathe, I haven’t seen any defense in a LONG time….. There is just NO logic or proof to suggest that we will be that much better on the defensive side of the ball, so we will all just wait and see……

Boss

July 26th, 2010
5:30 pm

GT owns the ACC. Paul Johnson is the best coach in the country and we now have the best DC in the country. GT is going to win national championships before PJ is done. And they’ll win them while doing things the right way.

BigDawg

July 26th, 2010
6:01 pm

Mark my words…

UGA WILL WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR!

You lame nerds will get beat by 40 as the Dawgs finish the year undefeated!

Dawglasville

July 26th, 2010
6:08 pm

Boss It could happen. For what it is worth we had the same vibrato after Richt’s second year. It should be fun. Can’t wait to “get the picture” and for “toe to meet leather” in a month.

Brock

July 26th, 2010
6:11 pm

good for you big dawg. now run along child.

hello

July 26th, 2010
6:23 pm

Thanks for the laugh big dawg…seriously though UGA should have a better year than last year. GT should have a say in the ACC every year that PJ is coaching them. Thanks for the classy comments Dawglasville…you always have something meaningful to add…unlike the majority of the UGA posters.

Dawglasville

July 26th, 2010
6:27 pm

Hello – Some of us, on both sides, try to make this blogging world a little brighter one character at a time.

Grammar Police

July 26th, 2010
6:39 pm

“try and beat North Carolina”

It’s “try to beat North Carolina.” Not “try and beat (whoever).” You wouldn’t say “attempt and beat (whoever)” would you? No.

We’ll let you off with a warning this time, Mr. Roberson. But in the future, we trust your education will serve you better. Practice good grammar habits. They will come in handy.

Tech Forever

July 26th, 2010
6:41 pm

Big (ahem) Dawg,

Let me start by sayng I hold no delusional vision of Tech winning the National Championship….or even winning in Athens for that matter. But make no mistake about it there is NO WAY in Hades Georgia is going to win the National Championship…NONE….NADA….ZIP…..ZILCH….NO WAY.

ManUp...

July 26th, 2010
7:11 pm

Tech Forever, there IS one way. They’d have to win all their games including their conference and the one against their in-state rival (same formula as if we were to win it). Looking at their schedule…they know they’re in for World War 3 against Florida. They think this is the year for that win, and maybe it will be. And they would then, at season’s end need to beat us – which, in the preseason, is at best a 50/50 chance for either team (we’ll know more when the season’s closer to that date, but it won’t matter even then…rivalry effect) But they would still have to play Alabama in the SECCG should all that occur (this is assuming they beat South Cackalacky, Arkansas and Auburn who are arguably on or above the Dawgs’ level now). To recap, they’ve had to run through FL, SC, a bunch of nobody’s and GT to stay undefeated and meet Alabama. Do they win that and play for crystal? Doubtful. Might mighty doubtful.

The Jackets, as i see it, have a similar chance to win our own division. The Dawgs need to beat SCar and Florida to go the the Dome, while we need to beat VT, Miami and UNC to get to Charlotte. IF National Titles are on the line we also need to beat Clemson and NC State (watch that passing attack) to stay in the hunt. Then what? We face FSU or BC. Certainly not Alabama! I’d say if we own the Coastal AND stay undefeated (which includes a needed win in Athens) then it looks a good deal more likely that the Jackets are in the Title conversation by season’s end than the Dawgs.

If EITHER Tech or U(sic)GA are ranked Top 5 by season’s end and playing in a BCS bowl then this state has to be very thankful and pleased with improvement.

Destin Dawg

July 26th, 2010
7:19 pm

It would be great if Tech and Dawgs won their Div’s.. meet in Nov. with only 1 loss each.. both in top10.. Go Dawgs !!!

ManUp...

July 26th, 2010
7:27 pm

I do wonder if this year Tech could beat the Dawgs and win the ACC, go to the Orange Bowl and still have the Georgie (having beaten Florida but lost to Bama) wind up in the Sugar Bowl. If this state produced two BCS bowl champs in the same year I just wonder how much more media hype Clean, Old-fashined Hate would get. Gotta hate that the Iron Bowl gets all the love come rivalry week…

Destin Dawg

July 26th, 2010
7:27 pm

Man Up… never mind Ala… S.C. Ark. Fl. Uga.FSU, and Auburn would all be 10 point favorites over GT..

Gagatech is irrelevant

July 26th, 2010
7:28 pm

geek college braggadocio … all for naught

A real gem

July 26th, 2010
7:35 pm

Dawghater

July 26th, 2010
12:55 pm
Why should anyone be surprised UGA posted the AD job online. Heck, you can get a Master degree at UGA while your in the drive thru, just ask them to SuperSize your degree to a Master for an extra dollar. That is of course you grad u ate ed!

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Wisdom from this brainiac every day

July 26th, 2010
7:37 pm

Dawgtards ruin this state

July 26th, 2010
1:34 pm
thUGA uses online Want Ad for (A)lcoholic (D)awgtard opening. It is exactly like putting it on craig’s list. Another thUGA classless act. Hey, anybody want to be Dean of Students? Anybody?

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ManUp...

July 26th, 2010
7:38 pm

I mean…we don’t play half those teams. Which was part of my point.

Fish Fry

July 26th, 2010
7:52 pm

Boss, you have to actually win a bowl game to be crowned national champion. That automatically elminates Tech and PJ. Tech has a good shot at another ACC championship but you are delusional if you think Johnson is the best coach in the country and groh is the best DC. Are you kidding? The best coach in the country is 0-2 in his only two bowl games in a BCS conference. lol

ManUp...

July 26th, 2010
7:53 pm

Ok so my last post didn’t work, but basically I’d reply that, yes, journalists like to pick Tech low. They don’t see longterm success with us, and they’ll never call us a powerhouse even if we’d won the National Title the year before.

Now, to the teams you hold up as 10 point favorites over Tech – are we actually worse than them? Well, I would not find it wise to talk smack to either UA or UF right now. Auburn, S.Car and Arkansas I’d lump together in a group with the Dawgs. 50/50 shot (and, no, of course Vegas won’t see it that way). But we’ve split the last two with Georgie, we’ve not lost to Auburn in two or three meetings now. Arkansas and Cackalax haven’t seen what we do. FSU has seen it and been burnt twice now. I think I’d say 50/50 against all those teams except a 25% chance against your UA or UF titans..and that’s on sheer faith that we’d just keep the ball longer and do some confusing stuff to their defense.

George

July 26th, 2010
7:55 pm

Both UGA and Tech will have “good,” but not great years. Tech is closer to winning a title simply because they have to go through less talented teams to get there. But getting there is what it’s all about.

ManUp...

July 26th, 2010
7:55 pm

Fish Fry, Tech will win some bowls soon. From a GT perspective, LSU and Iowa were way better than Fresno and West Virginia. We’re at least moving up in the world. If you’re a Dawg you’ve seen the growth. Maybe even feared it a little.

dawgfan

July 26th, 2010
7:58 pm

Georgia Tech was overlooked last year? They were a top 15 team in the preseason. What in the hell are you talking about Roberson?

ManUp...

July 26th, 2010
8:05 pm

Well, dawgfan, we were definitely picked by several outlets to finish third or fourth in the Coastal just like this year. Because, just like this year, UNC and Miami were supposed to “break out” and put VT in its place. They knew we’d be in the mix, but we always get picked to be in the lower portion of any mix we’re “in”…

Fish Fry

July 26th, 2010
8:06 pm

Yes tech will win a bowl game. And yes PJ is a good coach. But when people say he is the best in the country when there are 3 coaches with multiple BCS national championships and quite a few with one championship I have to reply to such a comment. Take it slooooow. Win a big bowl game before we start talking best coach in the country. Get it?

dawgfan

July 26th, 2010
8:08 pm

Well Manup, you can play the “poor ole Georgia Tech” card like you Techies are so fond to do or you could MAN UP and admit that you were on everyone’s radar as a top 15 team in the preseason last year. Give me a freaking break. Who in the hell was overlooking Georgia Tech last year? All we heard about was a new sheriff in town and the great triple option express.

Tech fans, and Doug Roberson apparently, just make it up as they go along. Unbelievable.

ManUp...

July 26th, 2010
8:27 pm

Fish Fry, sure. We are in agreement.

dawgfan, chill out a little. If Tech fans bother you so much then why would you read past the article into the comments and then post here? All I’m sayin’ is that what I mentioned is why Roberson would write what he did. A top 15 ranking wasn’t so groundbreaking for us. What WOULD be groundbreaking is all the publications touting us a winner in our own division (which, to be fair, we’ve won at least a share of 3 times in 4 years). I’m not calling us “poor little Tech” but I would call that an overlooking of sorts. Not the way we overlook Duke, mind you, but it still counts in my opinion.

Delbert D.

July 26th, 2010
8:41 pm

Fish Fry – 3 active FBS coaches? Saban, Meyer and ?? Are you counting Tressel’s 4 Div. 1AA championships?

SILLY UGA FANS

July 26th, 2010
9:06 pm

I agree with several posters on here. I would not say I pull for UGA to win, but how great would it be if both teams could play while highly ranked. I will say good luck to UGA and hope you see nothing but GT in the endzone in november.

SILLY UGA FANS

July 26th, 2010
9:11 pm

OMG dawgfan was right about something. Yes GT was ranked preseason 15 and was quickly thrown to the side after lossing to the U and had to gain the respect back before choking against UGA.

GT Fan...

July 26th, 2010
9:13 pm

Like a broken record the “experts” pick …..VT & FSU to play for the ACC title.
Next to Meteorologists, these “experst” have the best job security on the planet.

And I myself, like a broken record, say that if GT stays healthy, and limits turnovers, they will finish at the top of the Coastal division.

And for all the dog fans who think (i.e WANT) GT to only win 5-7 games every year, I’ve got a painful news flash for you ……. As long as PJ is running the GT program the Jackets will have a better chance of going undefeated than winning only 5-7 games.

North Florida Jacket

July 26th, 2010
9:45 pm

Our success will depend this year on improved receiver play/passing game, greatly improved run defense/quarterback pressure, and continued improvement of o-line play. I believe if those areas are improved we will be back in the conference championship game again.

Heywood Jablome

July 26th, 2010
10:16 pm

Robert Hall sez…..

What does a woman and a tampon have in common?
They’re both stuck up B-I-T-C-H-E-S.

Heywood Jablome

July 26th, 2010
10:21 pm

Robert Hall sez…

Whats the first thing you’re beaten girlfriend should do after coming back from hospital after the last “incident”?

The dishes if she know’s whats good for her.

Heywood Jablome

July 26th, 2010
10:22 pm

Robert Hall sez…

what do you do after beating a blind, deaf and dumb girl?

break her fingers so she can’t tell anyone.

UGAY IS A BUNCH OF HOMERS

July 26th, 2010
11:19 pm

Heywood, and damon evans says ” hey, i know her panties are in my lap, but i swear we are just friends..please don’t tell my wife and kids about this….and officer, can i have another beer please”!

What scum, but typical of ugay! Keep livin the dream fags in clarke-county jail! You guys lead the nation in preseason arrests i believe!!

Reality

July 26th, 2010
11:26 pm

TO THE UGA FANS HERE: Please at least win your little division before you start your ‘woofing’ or start talking bad about any other team (GA Tech, UFL, AL, etc.)

GA Tech will be an overall improved team this year – no doubt. The real question is how much will the other teams improve or not. If the players can continue with the work ethic started last year, I see no reason why we cannot run the table.

college football

July 27th, 2010
12:27 am

THe tech blowflys didn’t win the ACC, UGA did, remember!!!

Tokyo jacket

July 27th, 2010
2:59 am

Doug, you mention strength and training. I think that would be a real good piece on how much bigger, stronger, and faster the jackets are now than they were a year ago. Our D-line got bullied around at times. Tell us why our front 7 won’t get bullied this year if you would.

Tokyo jacket

July 27th, 2010
3:01 am

Cutty, predictions mean a lot because the media has only gotten in right twice in the past 5 years and only predicted 3 or 4 of the 10 ACCCG teams to date. Bottom line, we’re better off not being selected.

Tokyo jacket

July 27th, 2010
3:14 am

Defense is without a doubt the key for GT next year. If we can force 1 extra punt a game, and based on last year’s defense, we will have that opportunity, we’ll be in great shape. Imagine the opposing defense being even more tired and confused in the 4th quarter than they have been the last two years.

Personally, I wanted more than anything to see CPJ and Tenuta on the same staff. Too much ego for one room for sure, but their styles match perfectly. Now, we get to see something similar. CPJ’s offense with a D that will put pressure on you constantly. The difference between now and when Tenuta was at Tech is that his D was succeptible to getting beat from time to time and the offense wasn’t going to come back from a 20-10 deficit. Now, if we get beat from time to time, hey, at least we get the ball back. There’s a good chance it will be 20-17 in 1-10 minutes. Then, the D can come right back out and put the same pressure on the other team.

mowreck

July 27th, 2010
7:18 am

You Dawgs had rather “french kiss” an alligator in a telephone booth than mess with Tech this year!

Scott

July 27th, 2010
8:08 am

Tech wasn’t different than any other team in games and final drives. 5 games played out that way. You can find 80% of the teams where that happened.

Adam

July 27th, 2010
8:11 am

As evidence of the conference’s depth, North Carolina coach Butch Davis pointed out that seven teams received first-place votes in the media’s preseason prediction poll, which was released on Monday.

And people call the acc weak. This is GOOD for acc football. The same way it is good for the NFL. The sec is boring when you have 1-2 schools every year who will win it and the rest play for crap.

judd

July 27th, 2010
8:35 am

the key is going to be the defense. how quickly can the guys learn groh’s 3-4? we played so many close games last year because the defense had plenty of lapses. hopefully he can turn it around…and quickly.

and i like to hear the guys have been working hard on strength training. it just seemed when we’d run up against big, physical defenses (iowa and even georgia), we would have problems.

having said all that, you know cpj will have the boys ready to go. GO JACKETS!

Navigator

July 27th, 2010
8:40 am

I see the fanny licking UGA fans are mouthing off (no pun intended), and I hope they do well defending their SEC title, Whuups they aren’t SEC champions and haven’t been for a while. It’s nice talking about your conference strength when your team is so far down in it and destined to stay there.