The last two weekends have been pretty entertaining for Tech fans.
On the 7th, we had the 2010 Fan Day celebration. There were easily seven or eight thousand fans there taking advantage of the chance to meet the team and coaches. I was able to grab some video and still images from the event, which can be seen at the Youtube link below:
2010 Georgia Tech Fan Day
This morning, we had a chance to get at look at the offense and defense. For most of us, it was the first real look at the Yellow Jacket team that will take the field in 2010. Nesbitt didn’t participate in the Spring game and Groh hadn’t had time to really implement much of his defense at that point. We also didn’t have all the new recruits on campus.
Before I get into any specifics, I need to make one statement.
Actually, you could consider it an apology of sorts.
I’d like to apologize to all the fans of our opponents this season. Josh Nesbitt and this Georgia Tech offense are going to run up and down the field on your team and make you feel bad.
Now that the pre-emptive apology has been delivered, lets get into a few specifics about today’s scrimmage.
- Quarterback - Josh Nesbitt looks healthy and very, very impressive. You can tell he’s comfortable, confident, and ready to run Coach Johnson’s offense. Tevin Washington is a few steps behind Nesbitt, but he’ll be a serviceable #2 in a pinch. Synjyn Days has the build and toughness to follow Nesbitt and battle for playing time in upcoming seasons.
- B-Back – Anthony Allen is going to surprise many people this season. I don’t see a drop off from Dwyer to be quite honest. Allen may not have Dwyer’s home run speed but his running style is suited for the b-back position. He hits the dive very aggressively and will provide excellent production inside. He will move the chains. Behind Allen there is Lucas Cox, Richard Watson, and Preston Lyons. Any of these three can come in and produce in a backup role. Charles Perkins is likely to redshirt, in my opinion. That’s a comment on the quality of our depth more than Charles’ skills or talent.
- A-Back – Another position with extremely impressive depth. You can expect to see the a-backs deployed in pairs with Roddy Jones and Embry Peebles starting and Marcus Wright and Orwin Smith rotating in as well. Any of those four backs are capable of taking it the distance.
- Wide Receivers – Everyone knows about Stephen Hill and expects big things. But I think Tyler Melton is going to step up and have a big season. Melton is a capable and reliable veteran now. He’s also a better blocker than Hill at this point. Kevin Cone is a great blocker but he also showed some good ball skills during an impressive TD grab by going over the top of the corner who had position on him. Corey Earls has also been moved back to receiver and will provide experienced depth.
- Offensive Line – The starting OL looked impressive today. They looked like they were functioning as a unit on the running plays…especially the #1 offense. They need to improve on pass blocking and they’ll need to engage their second level blocking assignments better in live games, but they looked improved over the past few seasons.
- Defensive Line – I’m still getting used to watching a 3-4 defense. Not being an NFL fan, its not something I’m extremely familiar with. It looked like the defensive line was doing a good job of engaging blockers so that the linebackers could make plays. That’s their job in a 3-4.
- Linebackers – The linebackers were extremely active today. Brad Jefferson is solid in the middle. Egbuniwe surprised me at the outside linebacker position. I was never really convinced he was a 4-3 defensive end. He seems to play faster in Groh’s offense and did a good job getting in the backfield from his weak side position. I only really saw him blocked outside on one play that went for a big gain. But that play was Josh Nesbitt and the #1 offense so he gets a little bit of a pass. Julian Burnett was all over the place when he was on the field. And it was really, really nice to see Kyle Jackson back out there. We really missed him last season when he was injured.
- Defensive Secondary - Cooper Taylor is back folks and he looks great. He actually looks like he’s grown up. There’s no doubt that he’s filled out and put on some muscle. He’s a playmaker, period. We’re lucky to have him back. It was also very interesting to see Isaiah Johnson on the field wearing the #1 jersey. The combination of Taylor and Johnson may actually take some playing time away from Jerrard Tarrant. Butler, Reese, Reid, and Peterson are all good veterans at corner with Ryan Ayers waiting in the wings for his chance to contribute.
Overall, I thought the #1 offense looked like its going to take the expected step forward in Paul Johnson’s third season. We’re going to score plenty of points. I also thought the #1 and #2 defenses looked pretty good considering that they’re learning Groh’s 3-4 defense. Its tough to judge, while watching them against a triple option offense, but we appear to be developing quality depth that includes size, strength, and speed.
Perhaps the most important observation of all was the fact that the defense looked like they knew what they were doing. They didn’t look confused or unsure. And they were playing aggressively…something we saw too little of last season.
At a minimum, we’ll make opponents punt a few times in 2010.
And that means Nesbitt gets the ball back in his hands…which is a very, very good thing for those of us wearing White and Gold.