2010 CFBZ Prediction: 4th Place in ACC Coastal
2010 Actual Finish: Tied for 3rd Place in ACC Coastal (6-7, 4-4)
In only Paul Johnson's second year at Georgia Tech he took them to an 11-3 record and a birth in a BCS game. Expectations flew high for the Yellow Jackets but they lost their star RB and lost their best defensive players to the NFL. This resulted in Tech falling to 6-7 and 4-4 in the ACC. There is no question that Paul Johnson is a skilled and feared offensive coach. The question mark remains if he can get recruits to play his style of football and if he can build a quality defense. Not counting South Carolina State, the only team that Tech beat with a winning record this year was North Carolina and we all know the issues they dealt with at the beginning of the season when the loss occurred. Tech has a lot of question marks going into the 2011 season including losing their leading rusher and their quarterback. We caught up with SB Nation blog From The Rumble Seat and John Bird talked to us about his thoughts on 2010 and what he wants to see in 2011.
Obviously it was a down year for Tech to finish 6-7 after winning the ACC last year. What were the primary reasons/issues that the team had a downswing this year?
Turnovers, lack of talent, lack of execution, injuries. The list goes on and on. We were just not very good. We lost the UGA game on a missed PAT. We lost the VT game because Josh Nesbitt broke his arm trying to tackle a guy. We lost the Air Force game because of muffed punts. It was a season that will be hard to forget in the worst kind of way.
Which player(s) was the biggest surprise of the season?
Orwin Smith at A-Back (slotback) was a big time play maker for the Jackets. He stepped up and really made some clutch plays throughout the season. He was easily the most consistent receiver on the field and made several big runs throughout 2010. Tech fans are really looking forward to Orwin's 2011 season.
What game was the turning point of the season?
Losing to Kansas really shot the season in the foot. No matter what we did from then on out would really redeem that opening loss. The entire game was merely an indicator of how bad a season Tech would have. We failed to push a small, bad defensive line off the ball on run plays and our offense executed about as poorly as possible. Defensively, we allowed a team that had little to no offensive identity execute consistently. It was the point at which Tech fans realized 2010 was truly a rebuilding year.
After one year what are your thoughts on the 3-4 defense under Al Groh and what does Tech need to do to improve on that side of the football?
I think we still need time to evaluate Al Groh. I already know he's a better defensive coordinator than Dave Wommack based on several ingame adjustments he made throughout the course of the season and the execution of gameplans against several key opponents. However, Groh needs time to recruit his players and we'll give him time. Hopefully, Groh won't leave for a HC position in the next couple years and will really develop a solid D unit.
Georgia Tech under Paul Johnson is known for running the football. Tech is losing both their leading rushers (Joshua Nesbitt and Anthony Allen), who do you want to see get the main opportunities at QB and RB next year?
Well, this is a huge question mark for Georgia Tech. Tevin Washington is the heir apparent at QB but there will be a lot of competition from true freshman Vad Lee and redshirt freshman Synjyn Days.
At B-Back or fullback, Tech has one veteran and a slew of inexperience. It will most likely be a mixture of Preston Lyons, Daniel Drummond, Richard Watson, Daniel Connors, and some true freshmen. They are all bigger, power backs so the look and feel of Tech's offense could change dramatically in 2011.