Georgia Tech fourth in the ACC Coastal? Sounds low to me

A new wrinkle: Paul Johnson plans to coach this season from the center of the field. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Crafty PJ plans to coach this season from the center of the field. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The media assembled in Pinehurst, N.C., picked Georgia Tech to finish fourth in the ACC Coastal Division, which includes six teams. Me, I’d bump the Jackets up one spot. But maybe that’s just me.

My rationale: There aren’t many (if any) unwinnable games on Tech’s schedule. The Jackets don’t play Florida State, which stands to be the ACC’s best team. The toughest conference game — against Virginia Tech — will be played here on Nov. 10, which is a Thursday night. The second-toughest figures to be against Miami, and the Hurricanes are in transition yet again.

The ACC media picked the Coastal this way: Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Duke. We can all agree that the Jackets, who play Duke in Durham, shouldn’t lose that game anywhere. Carolina remains under a cloud and has lost a ton of talent, some of which was ineligible last season. I like Virginia coach Mike London, but his team won one ACC game — against Miami, a result that shoved Randy Shannon out the door — last season.

I know what you’re saying: Georgia Tech isn’t exactly brimming with talent. You’re right. It’s not. But here’s where I’m guessing Paul Johnson’s system makes a difference. PJ in Year 4 should be able to outcoach a lot of ACC folks. I’m not suggesting Tech will crack the Top 25, but I can’t see another losing season, either.

Me, I’d say the Jackets will run third in the Coastal (ahead of Carolina) and finish 8-4 overall. But again, maybe that’s just me.

By Mark Bradley

195 comments Add your comment

$5 Dawg

July 26th, 2011
10:36 am

headley lamar

July 26th, 2011
10:36 am

Its just you

juvenal

July 26th, 2011
10:37 am

youth still an issue-Steele ranks us 114 in experience….

Stalkin' Your Mom

July 26th, 2011
10:38 am

As much as I hate Tech, they will likely still have a better year than UGA.

Frankly, Amy Winehouse has a better chance of surviving 2011 than Mark Richt.

(What? Too Soon?)

$5 Dawg

July 26th, 2011
10:39 am

No kudos for First in a Tech article – now when you write about what’s happening in Alabama…

Mark Bradley

July 26th, 2011
10:40 am

me

July 26th, 2011
10:42 am

They have a QB that cannot complete a forward pass. I will be anxious to see who gets fired first, Richt or Paul Johnson.

JB

July 26th, 2011
10:44 am

Tech has some real problems. Don’t we all, but the QB position is very very important to that offense…and if you know Johnson, Offense it what keeps them in a game.I think they have problems at that position, more that the comments following mine will admit.

Cheating Nerds

July 26th, 2011
10:45 am

why are we talking about Tech? How about another UGA article. Coach Paul Johnson should get back to cheating.

rduck

July 26th, 2011
10:45 am

this team has a greater outlook as far as character and fire as opposed to last season. Yes, there is a drop in talent, but CPJ has never had the best talent available to him. He coaches players up and gets more out of them than many thought was there. I think you will see a very determined GT team this year. Whether or not that means alot of wins is still debatable. But I love the way this team has come together this offseason…

Curious George

July 26th, 2011
10:46 am

Does the ACC have a “Fulmer Cup” (or reasonable facsimile) ?

If so, who is going to win it this year?

Supersize that order, mutt

July 26th, 2011
10:46 am

I will be more anxious to see who gets a brain first, the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz or the blogger named “me”

GStateBen

July 26th, 2011
10:48 am

Tech is not better than Virginia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina or Miami in talent level. Those are 4 losses in the ACC right off the bat. That would mean you are 4-4 in the conference and likely 4th behind Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Miami in the division.

Virginia Tech’s defense is better than Tech’s offense. I believe this is where GT’s issue will be.

North Carolina was one of the most talented teams in the ACC but injuries and suspensions decimated them in 2010. All those talented backups and younger players were forced into action. The ‘Heels should be an 8-9 win team again.

Miami has 20 scholarship seniors. Of those, 20, 17 are “key contributors.” Of those 17, 13 are starters. More experience and more talent.

Georgia Tech fans should expect to win 7 games and keep their bowl streak intact. To say there are no unwinnable games on the schedule is comical.

Curious George

July 26th, 2011
10:49 am

How will Coach Paul’s Johnson be able to motivate his 2011 team to win the ACC Title when they have just seen how easily the NCAA can rip it away from them?

Objective

July 26th, 2011
10:49 am

Defense has to be better than the last two years when it was often awful.
It possibly could be a lot better depending upon how good the secondary is.
The chip put on Jacket shoulders may help as well.

juvenal

July 26th, 2011
10:50 am

will shotgun not work in this system, or CPJ just thinks it unnecessary?

rduck

July 26th, 2011
10:51 am

@JB… that is fair to say of the QB’s. They do indeed need to step up their completion %. I think if they put in a good short pass package to the WR’s and AB’s, this could very well happen. They still have to prove it on the field that they can get it done, so no arguement from me. Special teams and TO’s will also be an important part that they will need to improve. Alot of questions, but this team is working together really hard to improve those from last year..

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
10:51 am

Taking something away unfairly to punish the AD can be a great motivator.

Somewhere over the Dwayne Bowe

July 26th, 2011
10:53 am

That made me chuckle, Supersize.

slydog

July 26th, 2011
10:55 am

Is tech the 4th best team behing Miami, VT, and UNC? yes. However, they will surprise two of those teams because of their offense. I say, no worse than second in the Coastal

DawginLex

July 26th, 2011
10:56 am

I don’t think Tech will win less than 7 games, most likely will win 8 with 9 being possible.

Here’s hoping that Richt and Johnson both have good years and maybe, just maybe, the state of Georgia can field 2 teams worthy of being ranked in the polls and get it to where the game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving has some meaning outside of Georgia

GTalum

July 26th, 2011
10:58 am

The offense is such a system, that if we focus on limiting the turnovers, we’ll be just fine. There are a lot of athletes on this team. The key to this season, in my opinion, is the defense becoming more familiar with the 3-4. The defense is young, but the likes of Young, Sweeting, Johnson, and Reid in that secondary could be shut down.

JackDennis

July 26th, 2011
10:58 am

Too gooda coach to finish 4th. If dawgs had this guy, they would be looking at SEC ring. Fact.

rduck

July 26th, 2011
10:58 am

@GstateBen… Tech has hardly ever had the most talented team on the field. You have to get your head out of the Scout and Rivals stars. We beat Miami 4 years in a row with less talent. We had beaten CU many games in a row including the ACC championship game (yes it still happened) with less talent. We have beaten UNC the last TWO years in a row after they creamed us in Chapel Hill in ‘08. We have stood toe to toe with VT ever since PJ came on the scene and had them on the ropes before Nesbitt got injured last year. So to just say that the most talented team on paper should win is very shortsided….

PMC

July 26th, 2011
11:00 am

North Carolina is about to get Ploughed by the NCAA.

Really, Miami with a 1st year head coach even though he’s good, he’s got a lot to work on.

ArkyTech

July 26th, 2011
11:02 am

How can anyone pick UNC ahead of Tech? That’s just crazy.

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:03 am

@GStateBen
You worrying about us?
Gonna get your QB out of jail in time for the season. ha ha ha.

repeat offenders

July 26th, 2011
11:05 am

Tech will be lucky to finish ahead of Duke. The myth that pj is a great coach is exposed. Good div 1aa or high school coach.

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:08 am

What’s our record vs UNC in the last ten games?
I’m thinking we are 8-2.
They broke some serious rules unlike our “jaywalking” offense as noted by ACC commish.
If we don’t win the appeal, fine.
I don’t need to vacation in this bankrupt country.
Aruba, Mexico could be my new destinations.

BigTimeTechFan

July 26th, 2011
11:10 am

About right, I could see Tech finishing anywhere from 1 to 4 in ACC Coastal. If Tech was in SEC East Mark would have Tech favored to win it.

Supersize that order, mutt

July 26th, 2011
11:10 am

looks like “repeat offenders” is in good company with “me” and the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:11 am

So many joining us Jacket fans today who ought to be worrying about their own mediocre teams.
I’ll give GStateBen one thing.
At least he owns up to his allegiance so we don’t have to guess.

Brent Cunningham

July 26th, 2011
11:12 am

The plus is no sure losses on the schedule.
The bad (possibly), A qb that played ok to finish the season but doesn’t have much of an arm and looks frail for someone that may carry the ball 200 plus times.
A Def that hasn’t played well in years and may not have the talent at some positions to improve much.
Special teams that are “special”.
If everything breaks our way, which is unlikely, 9 wins if not 6.

Jacket Man

July 26th, 2011
11:12 am

If the Offensive Line can stay healthy, then the GA Tech’s Offense should be successful next Fall. I say this because I think their QB will work itself out by the 4th game as both Washington and Days should get a lot of snaps in the first 3 games and the better game-time QB should become obvious.

I also believe GA Tech’s Defense is being underestimated for this coming season. With a full year of Coach Al Groh’s playbook and personal “tutoring” under their belt the Jacket Defense will be more confident in their assignments and be able to play without thinking so much. Also, since the team has had a lot more time to work with the new Defense, a lot more “wrinkles” will be called rather than the plain “vanilla” (base) 3-4 Defense run last season. Finally, players have “adjusted” their bodies and positions to better play in the Defense this 2nd season.

Special Teams is the Wild Card. Replacing their Field Goal Kicker, who hit some critical ones for the Jackets over the past few seasons, with an unknown, could go either way; does he have the range, accuracy, and then”nerves” to handle the responsibilities successfully? Kickoff and punt coverage have been atrocious – any improvement would help GA Tech’s Defense. Ga Tech’s punt return team with Tarrant looked good, but when he was out, it was bad. Well, as we all know, Jerrard left early for the NFL so the Jackets have a gaping hole to fill. Finally, the Jacket’s kick off return team also left a lot to be desired. If the punt and kickoff return teams cam improve, then GA Tech’s Offense will be in better field position, under less pressure, and more poised to score points.

BFD

July 26th, 2011
11:14 am

GT will be fine. Will finish with a better record than that other in state team.

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:15 am

You know what scary Jacket fans.
Think if the Dawgs had hired someone like Saban instead of Ray Goof, Jim (have I got a deal for u) Donnan and Rev Richt.
Multiple MNCs most likely.
Fortunately stupidity prevailed.

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:18 am

We should be nice to the Dawg fans visiting today.
Their dads may have been sold into Donnan’s ponzi scheme and they are looking at losing their homes.
My heart bleeds for u guys if your ex coach sold u some swampland (in effect).
But the mailout says it is worth millions?

gt4ever

July 26th, 2011
11:23 am

Anything can happen…. I don’t see how we win anymore than 5 or 6…. I’m there win or lose…

jarvis

July 26th, 2011
11:25 am

Why has this domain been locked?
http://nesbitt4heisman.com/

It seemed such a good idea at the time.

Ramblin Recluse Road

July 26th, 2011
11:26 am

I agree with Brent Cunningham about the qb. He’s too short. Now Brent Cunningham was short, but he was on the track team as a sprinter as well as the football team in the ‘71-2 seasons, and he broke alot of tackles way downfield right up the middle to score on a long run or two. If Tech’s qb could run like him he’d be a good runner like Nez was, but he aint’ no Nez at all. I’m curious about SlimJim’s ability, who outplayed Washington in the Spring Game. If SlimJim is purported to not know the mechanics of the trip op, then we gotta call on Vad Lee from the Baby Jackets.

Joey

July 26th, 2011
11:27 am

I wrote it someplace else, but I think PJ will have the Jackets in FY mode this season. They’ll play like their hair’s on fire because of the probation thing.

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:27 am

In the off season,
NC State released their QB. Usually not good.
Miami has a new coach. Usually not good. FSU for example.
UNC is under the NCAA gun waiting on a nasty and heavy shoe to drop. Not good for team or coaches.
And the NCAA, in effect, helped coach us up for the whole season.
Not a bad silver lining there.

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:28 am

Agreed Joey.
I’m so there.
ha ha

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:29 am

I was thinking of bring a skull and crossbones to games.

Trip

July 26th, 2011
11:30 am

I’m telling ya’ll, if Uga ever hired Dan Mullen my worst nightmare would be realized.

Jackets 2011

July 26th, 2011
11:32 am

The pick your QB from your home does not work.
I have played that game and been wrong.
The coach sees them every day.
Leave it to the coach.

Ramblin Recluse Road

July 26th, 2011
11:33 am

Brent Cunningham was short, built low to the ground and therefore hard to tackle. He was about the height of Ben Vaughn on the track and football teams who held the world record in the 100 yd dash and the 220 yd dash around the ‘71-2 football seasons. Vaughn broke the record of the black power saluting John Carlos who received the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City saluting with his head down and black right fist held up during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Ben Vaughn was a white guy and so is Brent Cunningham. I was a classmate of Ben’s in one course.

Ramblin Recluse Road

July 26th, 2011
11:34 am

I am a white guy.

dawg day afternoon

July 26th, 2011
11:35 am

Play nice with the fans from Ga State, nerds. You’ll be looking up at them (and the Dawgs, as always) in a few years. Finally, Atlanta will have a real college football team!

9-1

$312

Suck it, NERDS!

Diablo69

July 26th, 2011
11:38 am

What is this non-sense about having no talent? I might agree that we have little proven talent, but we have a lot of potential at a lot of key positions. IF a few of these guys like Hill and Peters step up and play to that potential we will be fine. Then these same “journalists” that are spewing this popular opinion will be voting them All ACC in the poll that matters. You know the one at the end of the year.

This actually reminds me a lot of the first year under Johnson. When everyone, I’m looking in your general direction Sports Illustrated, had us picked behind Duke in the Coastal. They said we didn’t have any talent on that team either. You remember, the team which produced Johnson, Burnett, Morgan, Dwyer, Nesbitt, Jones, etc. and finished tied with Virginia Tech for the Coastal division championship.