Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics
For the record, when I say "I'm not worried about the program", I mean long-term. This weekend, we're nearly 2 touchdown favorites against a Duke team that is capable of jumping out of the tall grass and biting us at any moment. This concerns me deeply. I'd like to think that our players will come in focused and energized at the opportunity to take the division (assuming Miami declares ineligible), but if there's one thing I've learned about this team, it's that we can't count their chickens before they hatch.
No, when I say "I'm not worried", I mean when we start looking to next year. Consider this: on offense, we're only starting 3 seniors: Tevin Washington, Orwin Smith, and Omoregie Uzzi. Same on defense: Izaan Cross, T.J. Barnes, and Rod Sweeting. What this means is that barring attrition on defense due to draft prospects, we're going to bring back 16 of 22 starters -- not too shabby. Plus, we'll have more seniors last year, relevant because we've suffered this year from a lack of senior leadership.
Now consider this: of those guys, Washington and the 3 defensive guys may well have backups that are better than them in Vad Lee, Adam Gotsis, Francis Kallon, and DJ White, with the incumbents still starting because of simple seniority. This team is in good shape moving forward. The recruiting is continuing to trend in the right direction, as our linemen get bigger and our skill positions become more talented. We've got two signal-callers in Lee and Justin Thomas who soon will be a force that Tevin has never been for us. If you want some statistical backing of that, think about this: in Saturday's game at UNC, Lee commanded the offense for a total of 12 drives. Of those 12 drives, 7 ended in touchdowns, 2 ended in field goals, and 1 ended in a punt. Dude's a freshman...playing against a very good defense.
Yes, it's been a crappy season, although it's been much better in the past month as we've won 3 of 4. Just remember, no matter what happens this weekend against Duke, this program has a very bright future ahead of it, and we as fans still have an awful lot to be proud of.