2015 Georgia Tech Football Predictions: 4th ACC Coastal (2014 record: 11-3)
Head Coach: Paul Johnson
ACC Champion Odds: +195
National Championship Odds: +9500
Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 7.5 (-180), Under 7.5 (+140)
Once again, the “rambling wreck” from Georgia Tech put on a solid Southern style performance as the 2014 Yellow Jackets put together another fine season. They did it the old-fashioned way with a great running attack and a stingy defense that kept opponents at bay all year long. The offense was led by a rushing attack that accounted for 342 YPG, making it the best rushing attack in the country. As a result, they were able to compile 37.9 PPG and a total of 476.5 YPG.
The success of the 2015 offense rests squarely on the shoulders of returning JR QB Justin Thomas who was the backbone of that terrific rushing attack in 2014. Not only did he lead the team is rushing with 190 carries for 1,096 yards and 8 TDs, but he also did a great job of handling a conservative passing game where he threw for 1,719 yards and 18 TDs against only 6 interception. Unfortunately, it is going to be lonely in the backfield after the graduation of his two primary running mates in Synjyn Days (926 yards and 9 TDs) and Zach Laskey (853 yards and 9 TDs). Also graduating was the Yellow Jackets’ leading receiver in DeAndre Smelter who caught 35 passes for 715 yards and 7 TDs, which was just enough to keep defenses honest by not allowing them to stack the line against the run.
Coach Johnson has been very successful at finding running backs who operate well in this unique option offense. While he has several key positions to fill coming into the season, Thomas is the right kind of option QB to build this team around. History says that Georgia Tech shouldn’t miss a beat on offense, which means that should still be an offensive threat to most any defense they face.
The 2014 defense was a bit of an enigma. They gave up plenty of yards, allowing just over 411 YPG, but proved to be proficient at keeping teams off the scoreboard with only 25.7 PPG. Much of the credit goes to a group of players who knew had to get after the ball and disrupt offenses while nabbing 29 turnovers in the process.
The defensive unit should continue to wreak havoc with the return of 8 starters, including the team’s best defensive player in JR LB P.J. Davis who accounted for a total of 119 tackles, 4 sacks and 1 interception. SR DB Demond Smith should also be a key figure after securing a total of 73 tackles and 1 interception last season. Even though the team was very successful at forcing turnovers, they didn’t do a particularly good job at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Coach Johnson will be looking for someone like SR DL Adam Gotsis (36 tackles and 3 sacks) to do a better job of anchoring the defensive line and disrupting opposing offenses in the backfield.
Georgia Tech plays football like a dentist gives a shot of nova-cane. They just keep running the ball until the opposing defenses get numb and then boom, touchdown. On defense, they drive opponents crazy as they scramble around the field trying to secure the ball so they can give it right back to that amazing running game. This is the way Georgia Tech plays football every year, and every year it works.
After last years incredible run to the ACC Title Game the public has now noticed the Yellow Jackets. I look for them to take a step back this year because of their difficult schedule. Don’t ever count a Paul Johnson team out as their triple-option offense is still very difficult to stop.