#65 Georgia Tech 2018 Football Preview

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Overall Rank: #65
#12 ACC
 Georgia Tech Logo
In part due to a cancelled game, Georgia Tech missed out on a bowl appearance in 2017. The Yellow Jackets finished the year 5-7 and missed a game at UCF due to weather. Georgia Tech may not have won that contest, but they were playing well in September and may have been able to pull off a win. Regardless, Coach Paul Johnson’s team had some bad luck last year and could not capitalize on their opportunities.
2017 Record: 5-6, 4-4
2017 Bowl: None
Coach: Paul Johnson (75-54 at Georgia Tech, 182-93 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Paul Johnson
Defensive Coordinator: Nate Woody
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: TaQuon Marshall, QB, 1,146 yards
Passing: TaQuon Marshall, QB, 927 yards
Receiving: Qua Searcy, WR, 130 yards
Tackles: Victor Alexander, LB, 60
Sacks: Anree Saint-Amour, DE, 2.5
Interceptions: A.J. Gray, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB KirVonte Benson, WR Brad Stewart, OL Parker Braun, LB Brant Mitchell, P Pressley Harvin III
Key Losses: WR Ricky Jeune, DL Antonio Simmons, DB Lance Austin, DB Lawrence Austin, DB Step Durham
The offense has a ton of experience. Last year the unit ranked 5th in the nation in rushing offense and there is no reason to expect the offense to be anything but better. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall threw for 927 yards and ten touchdowns, although he completed just 37.1 percent of his attempts. The passing must improve and there are high hopes considering he was a slotback heading into last season. It will not be easy though without receiver Ricky Jeune. He caught 25 passes last year, while nobody else on the team caught more than four. Marshall can of course run the ball too. He led the Yellow Jackets with 1,146 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. KirVonte Benson also eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and will join Marshall to form one of the most potent rushing duos in the country.
The defense will look a lot different with Nate Woody taking over as coordinator. They will move from a 4-2-5 defense to a 3-4 scheme and the hope is the small, fast players on the roster will benefit when they start attacking more often. The front line has plenty of experience, led by Anree Saint-Amour and Desmond Branch. At linebacker the Yellow Jackets will have to rely on some younger players, but they also have seniors Victor Alexander and Brant Mitchell. Alexander led the team with 60 tackles, while Mitchell added 51. With four of the five starters gone, the secondary is where there are big concerns. Free safety A.J. Gray is the only returning starters and there will be quite a few new faces filling in around him.
The Bottom Line:
Although the new scheme is supposed to help with the pass rush, if they continue to struggle, Georgia Tech will give up plenty of yards through the air. And the option offense is not one that can easily catch up after getting behind early. The schedule is not easy either with non-conference matchups against Alcorn State, South Florida, Bowling Green and Georgia. Those trips to South Florida and Georgia are going to be very difficult, but the Yellow Jackets may need to win one of them in order to reach six wins.
Projected Bowl: None
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 307.4 (5th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 84.3 (127, 14)
Total Offense: 391.6 (74, 8)
Scoring Offense: 26.5 (64, 8)
Rushing Defense: 153.6 (49, 8)
Pass Defense: 200.6 (35, 7)
Total Defense: 354.3 (33, 5)
Scoring Defense: 26.5 (64, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.45 (101, 11)
Sacks: 1.55 (108, 13)
Sacks Allowed: 1.82 (46, 5)