If you watched Georgia Tech's season opener against Wofford on Saturday, then you were likely disgusted at the defensive effort put forth by the Jackets against a much lesser FCS opponent. The depleted pass-rush applied virtually no pressure, the defensive line allowed long touchdown drives all afternoon, and the Terriers hung 19 points on a Georgia Tech team which had allowed just 10 total points in the previous three FCS matchups. It's safe to say that the Jackets will need to improve their defense if they hope to be competitive in the ACC Coastal, much less in the NCAA as a whole. That task, as daunting as it is with some high-powered ACC offenses still to come, is not going to be much easier if safety Isaiah Johnson misses significant time -- he left the Wofford game early and didn't return. It was his first game back after missing all of last season due to an injury suffered prior to the Sun Bowl.
Tech's next opponent will be the Green Wave of Tulane down in the Big Easy. This is a game that most think should be a cakewalk for the Jackets, and those people are absolutely right -- the only problem with that theory is that the game is a potential trap matchup for Tech. The Green Wave will be breaking in their new stadium (the game will likely be a sellout) and will be absolutely thrilled to get a shot at an ACC school in front of a full house. If Tech is looking past this matchup and fails to improve their defense over what we saw last week, we could be in for a shocking wake-up call against a Tulane squad which has already begun their season 0-1 following a double OT defeat at Tulsa.
The folks over at BennettRank recently published an article detailing the rise of Zach Laskey, who will be one of the biggest contributors to the Tech offense this season. Laskey, who is in his first season starting at B-Back for the Jackets, is thought to be one of the most talented runners in the ACC this season. His great strength and ball-carrying ability make him a genuine threat on any down, but his greatest asset is by far his reliability. That reliability comes in three parts: a lack of injury history, above average ball security, and fantastic consistency running the football. Each time he touches the ball, four or so yards feels almost guaranteed because he has shown such great ability to be a consistent runner. To put this into perspective, think about Miami's Duke Johnson and what he did Monday against Louisville; he was either swallowed up by the DL or went for a 20 yard gain. Runners like that, while they can be exciting, can be some of the most irritating to have on your team, and Zach Laskey is a perfect balance between reliable and explosive. He is definitely someone to watch in 2014.
Yeah, yeah. I'm a Georgia Tech fan, and that means that I'm not allowed to do a variety of things such as capitalize uga, bark, or experience winning. But that doesn't mean, however, that we shouldn't at least recognize how amazing Todd Gurley is as a player. I watched the Clemson vs. uga game in hopes of seeing a Tiger blowout and being able to break out that seldom-used #goacc hashtag, but then Todd Gurley happened. And happened. AND KEPT HAPPENING UNTIL THE GAME ENDED. I said in the offseason that one player can't carry a team, and I still stand by that, but if anyone is going to do it, it will be this guy. He was just impressive, and I really don't want to see him play against Tech's sub-par run defense anytime soon.
What are you expectations for Zach Laskey in 2014? What does Tech's defense need to do to improve before week two? Is the Tulane game a trap for the Jackets? To where should I be exiled for giving Todd Gurley so much love?
Have a great Wednesday!