ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 29: Stephen Hill #5 celebrates with Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets after Washington broke free for a long run against the Clemson Tigers at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Offseason Storylines series welcomes Joey Weaver of the Georgia Tech site to help us preview the Yellow Jackets
One of Georgia Tech's biggest offseason storylines and questions to answer is in our experience. Last year we were the youngest team experience-wise in a BCS conference, and this year we return 17 starters, including 8 on offense and 9 on defense.
On offense, we're devoid of a WR with a reception -- the loss of Stephen Hill to the Jets and Tyler Melton to graduation means that we have more or less ZERO experience on the exterior, which can end up having a huge effect on our run game (we get lots of crucial blocking on the edge from our receivers). Seeing what happens there will be very interesting, and will have a huge effect on how well our offense runs.
Similarly, the fan base is getting restless with our QB situation. The starter as it stands will be incumbent Tevin Washington, though his backups are getting a lot of attention as well. Synjyn Days has been said to be the best runner on the team, though he's shown a clear struggle with accuracy in passing. Vad Lee is clearly the best passer on the team, though he's still getting the hang of running our base offense.
Thus, the fans want to see those two on the field, and feel that, especially under Lee, we'd be getting a higher ceiling than Tevin is giving us right now, but Coach Johnson has made it clear that the situation will not change until one of the backups proves that they're capable of unseating Washington as the starter.
On defense, this is now the third year of running coach Al Groh's 3-4 defense, after transitioning from our previous 4-3 defense. The first two years have seen progress, but not the kind of progress that gives us a high amount of confidence in our defense. We've finally hit a point where we have the right pieces available for the defense (our personnel being mismatches caused occasional problems the last couple of years), so there will be no excuses in that area. However, the hope is that the players have been fully indoctrinated into the system and will be able to function as we were hoping it would when we first heard of Al Groh's hiring. Here's to hoping on our end.
Long story short, we have experience now, and it's going to be crucial that it pays off -- otherwise it'll be a rough season, and our coaches will have a lot of tough questions to answer afterwards.