In case you missed it, the ACC portion of the Georgia Tech basketball schedule was released yesterday, and it has the potential to be the best home schedule Georgia Tech has had in years if not ever. Some of the best teams in the nation will make their way down to McCamish Pavilion this season to square off with the Jackets, including Syracuse and Louisville among others, and while the high levels of competition will provide a challenge for Tech, it should also help revitalize the atmosphere in McCamish Pavilion which far too few people have seen so far; it is easily one of the nicest arenas in the conference if not the nation. The Jackets will also face off with some top-tier opponents on the road this season, including Pittsburgh, Duke, and Virginia, all of whom should challenge the young and relatively unaccomplished Georgia Tech team this season.
In honor of the latest round of harsh criticism incurred by Paul Johnson and his triple-option offense, we'll now take a look at how the triple-option can continue to be effective at Tech if it indeed can stay effective at all. By and large there is simply no evidence to suggest that any one team is "figuring out" CPJ's offense, and there is no reason to suspect that it will ever become less effective. How a team performs against the option is based solely on how well they defend the run in general and how skilled the offense is at running it in the first place; is it unreasonable to expect the teams with the best secondary in the NCAA to have good success against an air raid offense? It is the same principle and it is silly to argue otherwise.
This is a chart detailing how many yards Georgia Tech has rushed for against opponents they have played annually in each year Paul Johnson has been here. Other than Virginia Tech, please do point out what other opponent is figuring out anything year to year.
If you still would rather suggest changes to the triple-option scheme, such as running it no huddle, Paul Johnson is one step ahead of you; Georgia Tech ran a hurry-up offense for nearly the entire duration of the spring game. While I am a strong believer in the traditional triple-option, I cannot argue that it does make a quick score difficult, and running the offense without huddling up could very well change that a little bit (not drastically, but some) and it would also still be possible to run it with a huddle to kill some clock on those glorious eight minute drives that opponents must despise. The only real negative I can think of that would come with running the triple-option more quickly would be less communication and therefore more turnovers, but Paul Johnson could surely wave his discipline wand and have that fixed up quickly.
Note: You can watch a rerun of the spring game on May 1 on CSS at 1:00 PM and 7:30 PM. Feel free to count the people in the audience.
Now that the triple-option has been thoroughly discussed, we can take a look ahead at the season and begin to decide what the coming year has in store for the Jackets. The defense should continue to be stout this year with the return of some very big play makers such as Adam Gotsis and Jabari Hunt-Days as well as Jamal Golden and Isaiah Johnson. The offense will have quite a few unproven weapons on it but the depth at some key positions, such as wide receiver and A-Back, could indicate that CPJ's machine will be working well this.
Last week I touched on the recovery and return of safety and return specialist Jamal Golden, but he is not the only Yellow Jacket who will get back to work in the secondary this season. Isaiah Johnson will also make his return to The Flats in 2014, and he got things started of with a bang in the spring game, returning a Tim Byerly fumble on a scoop-and-score early in the game for a touchdown. He, like Golden, seems to be very excited to start the season and both will be nothing short of instrumental in bolstering the Tech secondary which had to overcome more than its share of obstacles last year.
Daily Debate: Does having a tough home schedule this season hurt or help the Jackets in their quest to the NCAA Tournament? Why?
Thanks for reading and Go Jackets!