There’s a lot of optimism about what Georgia Tech can do this season, with the Sporting News even projecting an ACC championship and a top 5 ranking.
So I finally broke down the Yellow Jackets’ schedule game by game Monday night and I determined they will . . . no, you’ll have to wait. It’s for the AJC’s pre-season college football section in a few weeks. But I do believe one thing the Jackets need to do this season is make Bobby Dodd Stadium a more difficult place for opponents to play. Tech plays three home games before mid-October that will go a long way toward determining the ACC race: Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. The athletic department’s push to sell more season tickets obviously feeds into this.
When I sat with Paul Johnson in his office the other day — I know; I’m such a name-dropper — I looked outside his office window into the football stadium and asked him, “Are you anxious to get Georgia here at the end of the season?” His response was, “Honesty, that’s so far down the road, I haven’t even thought about it. Have you seen our schedule?”
But he did talk about wanting to improve Tech’s home-field advantage. When Bobby Ross coached on The Flats, his final three teams went 17-2 at Bobby Dodd. Johnson went 6-1 last season (the loss coming to Virginia) but also had the stinker of a performance against Gardner-Webb.
“The Gardner-Webb game, it was like a mausoleum in the stadium,” Johnson said. “I don’t blame the fans because we didn’t show up, either.”
On playing at home, he said: “I hope we can make it a big advantage. Every place else I’ve coached, home field was big. We had a pretty good streak going at Navy. And I think the kids feed off the crowd and the enthusiasm. It can be intimidating for opponents. It should be a hard place for them to play.”
For the record, he said he does not plan to start any bonfires for a pep rally. That would be your job.