1. Jaybo Shaw broke his collarbone in practice. Losing your backup quarterback is a big deal when you run the spread option. Josh Nesbitt is going to get hit 30 times a game, and Shaw — who started a game and won it in Nesbitt’s stead last season — is fully capable of doing it again. Or was capable. Now there’s no telling when he’ll be back.
2. The special teams aren’t exactly special. Georgia Tech missed eight of 20 field goals last season and two PATs. It lagged its opponents in punt return average, kickoff return average and net punting. The kicking game essentially lost the Chick-fil-A Bowl. A team that wants to play in a BCS game will have to make a big kick of some kind along the way.
3. There are trap games on the card. Tech plays at Miami on Thursday night a week after it plays host to Clemson on Thursday night, meaning the manufactured emotion inherent in any ESPN production will be on the other sideline. And Mississippi State and Vanderbilt might be the two worst teams in the SEC, but the Jackets must go on the road to meet both a week after major conference games (North Carolina before Mississippi State, Virginia before Vandy).
4. Nesbitt completed 43.9 percent of his passes in 2008. That’s not a good number for such a talented player, and it’s even worse because roughly half his throws had the element of surprise working for them. He has a great receiver in Demaryrius Thomas and an A-back capable of catching the deep ball in Roddy Jones. As we saw last season, Tech doesn’t need a slew of passess to keep moving — its only completion against Georgia came on the game’s first snap — but Nesbitt does need to be more precise.
5. Paul Johnson is so self-assured it could work against him. Nobody outsmarts everybody else forever. Johnson has a splendid system and is justifiably proud of it, but what if Tech loses a game it shouldn’t and the second-guessers emerge for the first time in his tenure here? Will he develop rabbit ears? Will he snap at the media? Or will he act presidential and simply keep coaching his men?