Tech in 2011: A get-well season for Paul Johnson and Co.

A fanfare for horns should again be heard at the Flats in 2011. (AP photo)

After a flat 2010, a rousing fanfare will again be heard at Georgia Tech in 2011. (AP photo)

Georgia Tech lost five of its final six games in 2010, the win coming against Duke. That saddled Paul Johnson with only the second losing season of his distinguished career. (The first came in Year 1 at Navy.) Paul Johnson hates many things, but he hates losing most of all.

By the end of 2011, he’ll be a winner again.

Tech had a bad schedule last season. It has a good one upcoming. The Jackets should be 3-0 — their first three games are against Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee and Kansas — when they face North Carolina here Sept. 24, and Butch Davis’ program is no longer seen as a rising star.

October brings five games, three on the road. But two of the games are against Maryland and Miami, each of which has a new coach, and another is against Virginia, which just went 4-8. And Clemson, for all its recruiting success, must play at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Oct. 29, and Clemson wound up 6-7 in 2010, same as Tech.

Then November: Virginia Tech at BDS on a Thursday night (tough game, but better here than there); Duke at Duke (gimme road win) and Georgia here (tough game, but the Bulldogs are in the same shape as Clemson — big recruiting hype but tons to prove).

Doubtless you’ve noticed this: Georgia Tech doesn’t play Florida State, which will enter the season as the massive ACC favorite. The most difficult road game will be at North Carolina State on Oct. 1; the other four — at Middle, at Miami, at Virginia, at Duke — are negotiable.

Really early bottom line: It should be a get-well season for the Jackets. There might not be an ACC championship or even a Coastal Division title on that schedule, but there are eight victories therein. That’s provided PJ coaches ‘em up. I know he can, and I’m thinking he will.

By Mark Bradley

209 comments Add your comment

Stockdog

February 15th, 2011
9:58 am

rawdawg

February 15th, 2011
9:58 am

Mark Bradley

February 15th, 2011
9:58 am

Stockdog takes the coveted kudos.

Rickster

February 15th, 2011
9:58 am

Mark Bradley

February 15th, 2011
10:00 am

And ahead of rawdawg and Rickster, which takes some doing.

That’s like beating Belichick and Brady in the Super Bowl.

Stockdog

February 15th, 2011
10:03 am

I agree Mark, Tech’s schedule is conducive to a 9 win season and possibly a division title. The question is whether Al Groh can get the defense up and running. I am a big fan of Paul Johnson’s offense. It is a plug and play style predicated on get in the way blocks as opposed to blow you off the ball blocking. If Groh can get any decent play out of the defense, they could win 10 games this year. I know, I am a bulldawg fan, but I’ve been a big Paul Johnson fan since his days at Georgia Southern.

MattyB

February 15th, 2011
10:04 am

Bradley, have you replaced Roberson as the GT beat writer? I’m loving all this coverage. Beatin’ down CPH and praising CPJ. Keep it comin’.

Rickster

February 15th, 2011
10:04 am

sooo close… and yet so far.

(Kinda like that running back that was stopped just short of the goal line in the Super Bowl a few years ago.)

Richard

February 15th, 2011
10:10 am

Mark:

Al Johnson has done so far is coach up his predecessors talent. He managed to parlay the excellent skill players he inherited into one great season, one abobe average season, and one losing season. He only managed two win one out of three against Georgia, at a time when georgia was the weakest it has been since Donnan left. And so far, PJ hasn’t shown he can recruit a lick.

Why in God’s name do you think PJ will coach them up this year? Is it because he has such a Mickey Mouse schedule? If you think 8 wins against that schedule is acceptable, you are a Tech homer.

Dose of Reality

February 15th, 2011
10:11 am

6 – 6 at best…..still not a sure bet in most ACC games.

Delbert D.

February 15th, 2011
10:12 am

Miami is the interesting question mark. They return literally tons of talent on the OL and DL. Last year they were still young in those positions, and the new staff will likely figure out a way to get more out of them than Shannon’s crew.

Dawghater

February 15th, 2011
10:15 am

Mark
You can quote the schedule all day, however, we have big holes to fill! QB, Defense and Special Teams. Resolve these and I agree the schedule favors us vs. in 2010. Still lots of work to be done and that’s what CPJ needs to do!

Football Fan

February 15th, 2011
10:15 am

The ACC is so weak, Tech should win at least 8 games every year. Tech would be a Vandy in the SEC, a Northwestern in the Big 10, and a Baylor in the Big 12. Tech is just lucky to be in a weak conference. Now I know all the Tech fans will go nuts over this, but the truth hurts. The ACC is bad right now. FSU, Miami, and Clemson might change that around in the next few years. Time will tell.

GT Alum

February 15th, 2011
10:16 am

I still have some concerns. In addition to not being able to really stop teams, our WRs were MIA most of last season, we missed a lot of blocks, we put the ball on the ground far too often, and the best part of our special teams was our kicker, who’s gone. That’s a lot of issues to fix. I’ll be there supporting the team, but there’s too many questions for me to feel any level of comfort.

BAMA dude

February 15th, 2011
10:18 am

Richard

February 15th, 2011
10:10 am
Mark:

Al Johnson has done so far is coach up his predecessors talent. He managed to parlay the excellent skill players he inherited into one great season, one abobe average season, and one losing season. He only managed two win one out of three against Georgia, at a time when georgia was the weakest it has been since Donnan left. And so far, PJ hasn’t shown he can recruit a lick.

Why in God’s name do you think PJ will coach them up this year? Is it because he has such a Mickey Mouse schedule? If you think 8 wins against that schedule is acceptable, you are a Tech homer.

I think you meant “predecessor’s”, “above”, “to”…

and I’m guessing “acceptable” is not the word you were looking for. “Possible”, “likely”, or “probable” would have all fit nicely. Third grade English is down the hall and to the right. Hurry, you’re running late!

WnE

February 15th, 2011
10:19 am

You really believe that GT will get well next season Mark?

Well in order to sober you up from your Kool-Aid induced trance , simply jot down a projected Starting-22 for GT ’s Team next year and you’ll quickly see that “coachin’ em up” only works if you have decent talent to start with.

A crappy DL that cannot stop the run, mediocre LBs and 4 new starters in the secondary spell trouble, even for a team that has to play in the crappy ACC.

I realize that you hate CPH’s coaching prowess, but that doesn’t you mean you have to balance it out by fawning over Coach “Po” Johnson , the Kung Fu Panda,

catsFly

February 15th, 2011
10:19 am

Just because UNC isn’t viewed by some as a rising star, doesn’t mean they won’t be good. Have you followed their recruiting lately? I believe you are somewhat gullable Mr. Sportswriter. You are taking the Heels too casually in my opinion.

JB

February 15th, 2011
10:21 am

I’m a Dawg ans we’ve got our our own problems, but Tech’s biggest problem to me, IMO, is talent and depth. The last two classes with have a gem or two in them but CPJ is not bringing in the type of front line players to compete with BCS type teams. Georgia has been close ot horrible the last two years, and CPJ has failed to beat them. Playing well coached and talented teams in a bowl is a disaster for Tech, and depth, you get past Tech’s starting 22, and then there’s a big drop off. Johnson will get more out of this bunch than most, but I see Tech winning 6-7 games a year with this talent. Just my 2 cents

Rewality Boy

February 15th, 2011
10:22 am

Every week the defenses Tech plays show that they are learning to stop the offense. There’s less and less instances of defenders being completely out of position. This year that trend will conitinue.

Go ahead and refer me to the run game stats. That plays right in to the opposing defense’s hands almost every week, especially since Tech is usually behind. Ask any coach that Tech played in ‘09- they were scared of Thomas geting over the top. Thus conceding a large portion of yards to the run.

This year will be worse.

Mark Bradley

February 15th, 2011
10:23 am

Let’s say, just for argument’s sake — meaning: THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL BRADLEY PREDICTION — that Tech loses to N.C. State, Virginia Tech and Georgia. Let’s say it splits with North Carolina and Miami, and let’s say it beats Maryland and Clemson here. That would be 8-4, would it not?

GT Alum

February 15th, 2011
10:24 am

Football Fan,

You’re comment doesn’t upset me because I know it’s a load of crap. We’ve played and beaten Auburn, Miss St, ND and occasionally UGA (sic) out of conference. And there’s usually at least a handful of solid teams in the ACC. I’m not going to say that we would be a top team in a so-called power conference, but we’re definitely not in the same class as the dregs you mention.

Mark Bradley, right on cue | Get The Picture

February 15th, 2011
10:27 am

[...] Mark Bradley looks on Georgia Tech’s schedule, and despairs… for Tech’s opponents, all of which have “tons to prove”, are “negotiable”, or, best of all in the case of North Carolina, is “no longer seen as a rising star”. [...]

Ugahater715

February 15th, 2011
10:27 am

9-3 and a trip to the dome on New Years would be a good year!

Ted Striker

February 15th, 2011
10:28 am

When you hear “coach up” and Georgia Tech, it’s a sure bet it’s not about roundball.

Delbert D.

February 15th, 2011
10:29 am

Baylor and Northwestern were bowl teams that finished 7-6; Baylor was 5-3 in the Big 12, and they beat Texas and *Colorado*.

Vandy was 2-10, losing to Northwestern, Connecticut and Wake Forest, along with all SEC opponents except Ole Miss. Beating the Rebel Black Bears in Oxford must have been the highlight of their season.

Stockdog

February 15th, 2011
10:30 am

The bottom line GT is in the ACC; FSU and VA-Tech are the only truly good teams in the entire league. GT don’t play FSU and they have VA-Tech at home. Clemson can’t get out their own way, they recruit talent every year and can’t beat South Carolina. Tech does not have to have 4 and 5 star talent to compete in the ACC. Get real people, it’s the A. freakin’ C. C. You don’t need a lot of talent to compete. Johnson’s offense will be consistent. He just needs some help from Groh and the defense.

Guillermo

February 15th, 2011
10:31 am

Is CMR the new CPH?

GT Alum

February 15th, 2011
10:31 am

catsFly

If you haven’t noticed, Carolina’s been pulling in recruits for years. That’s why they became a media darling. However, they’ve never managed to be more than a paper tiger.

UNC’s not the game that worries me. It’s NC State (if Wilson returns), VT, UGA, Miami (has handled us easily the last couple of years), MD and Clemson I worry about. Not to mention the fact that we should’ve beaten KS last year, but we saw how that turned out.

blazer

February 15th, 2011
10:37 am

what is a Rebel Black Bear anyway?

Kansas and NCS will be wins this year

Tech Guy

February 15th, 2011
10:38 am

What a great scheduling job by Tech. They have nine days off before the Duke game which gives us a good chance to avoid a losing regular season.

Undefeated

February 15th, 2011
10:38 am

What are the odds of an undefeated season Mark?

Ugahater715

February 15th, 2011
10:39 am

Stockdog do you really want to go there. You keep talking about the ACC being weak, did you look at the the SEC East last year:

1) USC 9-5
2) UF 8-5
3) UGA 6-7 0 wins against teams with winning records
4) Tenn 6-7 0 wins against teams with winning records
5) Kentucky 6-7 Lost to Ole Miss
6) Vandy lost to Wake who finished last in the ACC

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley and Block-C, Parrish Walton. Parrish Walton said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Eyeballing the 2011 schedule, forecasting a get-well season for Paul Johnson and #gatech. http://bit.ly/hv8zyh [...]

Coach Grohbo

February 15th, 2011
10:43 am

Mark, I agree. Here is how I see it:

Sept. 1 WESTERN CAROLINA (win)
Sept. 10 at Middle Tennessee (win)
Sept. 17 KANSAS (win)
Sept. 24 NORTH CAROLINA (win)
Oct. 1 at NC State (win)
Oct. 8 MARYLAND (win)
Oct. 15 at Virginia (toss up given our history)
Oct. 22 at Miami (toss up)
Oct. 29 CLEMSON (toss up)
Nov. 5 OPEN
Nov. 10 VIRGINIA TECH (toss up)
Nov. 19 at Duke (win)
Nov. 26 GEORGIA (toss up)

Seven likely wins, No likely losses, Five toss ups.

Best case 14-0 (with another conference championship win and bowl win), Worst case 7-6 (with bowl loss).

Reality Check

February 15th, 2011
10:44 am

MB, do not know what GT team you watched last year. Even before Josh Nesbit went down the team was not well coached on offense looked horrible at times and defense was atrocious. Witnessed the Miami and NC State games at home and there is no way GT beats either of those teams on the road. They could not beat UGA’s worst teams in decades the last two years. The talent level is dropping on the flats I don’t see how everyone does not see it. Even if GT goes 7-5 with that schedule it does not mean they are good, the ACC is that bad.

Coach Grohbo

February 15th, 2011
10:47 am

Also, Tech’s worst case (7-6) is Georgia’s best case in 2011:

Sept. 3: vs. Boise State in Atlanta (loss)
Sept. 10: vs. South Carolina (loss)
Sept. 17: vs. Coastal Carolina (win)
Sept. 24: at Ole Miss (toss up)
Oct. 1: vs. Mississippi State (loss)
Oct. 8: at Tennessee (loss)
Oct. 15: at Vanderbilt (toss up)
Oct. 29: vs. Florida in Jacksonville (loss)
Nov. 5: vs. New Mexico State (win)
Nov. 12: vs. Auburn (loss)
Nov. 19: vs. Kentucky (toss up)
Nov. 26: at Georgia Tech (toss up)

Two likely wins, six likely losses, four toss up games.

Best case 7-6 (with bowl win). Worst case 2-10.

TECH!

February 15th, 2011
10:50 am

Just beat Georgia! Go Jackets!

Paul in RDU

February 15th, 2011
10:52 am

Wow – Sure seem to be plenty of people who can see the future on this blog. The season doesn’t start for seven months, the GT depth charts aren’t close to being settled and who knows what injuries will occur.
GT should have a better record in 2011 than in 2010 (odd year schedules are easier) but they need to put in a great deal of effort for it to happen.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 15th, 2011
10:54 am

I always hope for the Dawgs to win every game and Tech to win every game but 1 . I truly want to see both schools do well and keep all the best high school talent in georgia.

Gordon

February 15th, 2011
10:54 am

You should have saved this and other articles praising Tech for March 16th or later, when we know whether Radakovich took your advice from yesterday. If he doesn’t, we will need lots of cheering up.

Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!

February 15th, 2011
10:59 am

NC State is a loss.
Virginia is a loss. They’re a program on the rise.
Miami is a loss.
Clemson is a toss up.
Va Tech is a loss.
Georgia is a loss.

This is reality.
Good luck.

Greg Talley (Ho)

February 15th, 2011
11:00 am

Horrible state in the SEC if this Georgia Tech team wins 8.

Reality Boy

February 15th, 2011
11:01 am

How is NC State considered a likely win? And UGA a toss up? Nothing in the recent history of football supports this.

Mel

February 15th, 2011
11:02 am

Nobody gives a flip who posts first.

dtanner

February 15th, 2011
11:04 am

tech wonders why it can’t sellout games,look at crummy home games, would you pay 40 bucks to see the likes of western carolina, middle tennessee etc.?

just saying

February 15th, 2011
11:04 am

Tevin Washington isn’t the answer to anything, if that is CPJ’s starter then God help us all, nothing personal against Tevin but who exactly did he beat, Duke? Yes with Mario Butler’s help. I still cannot get over the dropped ball on the Air Force two yard line.

Coach Grohbo

February 15th, 2011
11:07 am

tanner,

Middle Tennessee is a road game. Enjoy Coastal Carolina and New Mexico State.

DawginLex

February 15th, 2011
11:11 am

coach Grohbo is another hater who factors ZERO reality into his UGA predictions because he hates us so much.

Vandy is a toss up?

your credibility just flew out the window.

Reality Boy

February 15th, 2011
11:13 am

Coach Grohbo also said that NC state was a win and UGA a toss up. Pretty good stuff actually, very funny.

Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!

February 15th, 2011
11:14 am

Lets stay on topic Coach Grohbo.

We are talking about how crappy Georgia Tech is, not how crappy Georgia will be.

Your predictions just make it look like you know nothing about football.