Tech fans everywhere can now breathe a sigh of relief -- quarterback Justin Thomas and wide receiver DeAndre Smelter will both be active for Tech's match-up against the UNC Tar Heels this Saturday despite not practicing for a couple of days. Had either one of those two players been out, the entire outlook of the game would be totally different; Smelter is Tech's top wideout and deep threat while Justin Thomas plays a huge part in running the offense efficiently. While it is true that backup Tim Byerly came in and made some big plays in last week's loss to Duke, he really didn't get a chance to run the base offense, so having Thomas healthy is very reassuring.
If Georgia Tech hopes to escape Chapel Hill with a win this week, the key part of their game plan must be to keep the immensely talented Tar Heel quarterback Marquise Williams in check for the duration of the game. Williams, who took over following the departure of longtime starter Bryn Renner last season, has been just as good as advertised for the Heels since become the full-time starter. I can confidently say that he is the most athletic quarterback that Georgia Tech will face this season -- he is a dual threat guy with great speed and agility who can hurt you if overlooked on any given play. If Tech can bottle him up, the game is theirs to win; UNC has had some serious defensive woes this season and should continue giving up a lot of points this week.
Though we now know that Marquise Williams will be a threat to the Jackets this weekend, there are still various other things to watch out for during Tech's visit to North Carolina. If you ask me, the second biggest threat behind Williams is the deadly wide receiver and return man Ryan Switzer, who went all kinds of nuts returning punts for touchdowns last season but has struggled to get things going in 2014. If Tech's historically terrible luck holds up, this will be the week that he finally gets his act together and exploits what has been a questionable punt coverage unit for the Jackets so far this season.
I found it very interesting that Georgia Tech, which has a long-lasting tradition of winning, has not once been ranked at No. 1 in the AP Poll. In fact, the highest Tech has even been ranked is No. 2 when the Jackets brought home the crystal ball in 1990. While most of the power-five schools have held the prestigious spot at some point or another, the majority of the ACC Coastal has not cracked the top spot -- these teams include Duke, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech.
What will be the key to securing a Tech win in Chapel Hill? What do you make of Tech never cracking the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll?
Have a great weekend!