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Mailbag 5/12

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Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

How do you like the uniforms from the 70s?

I actually really like these uniforms as alternates. They're not quite my favorites, but they're definitely a good combination.

And who doesn't like Pepper's perm?

Of the P5 teams we play, who's the first QB to get decapitated by JHD?

Well Notre Dame is the first P5 school we play, and since Everett Golson is transferring, Malik Zaire is all but assured the starting job at quarterback for the Fighting Irish. That being said, I'll go with Zaire.

Which of the four seniors (Spingola, Stanton, Murray and Smith) had the most impressive career?

If we're talking most impressive career from start to finish, I'd go with Thomas Smith. He came in as a walk-on and has done nothing but be completely consistent and versatile in his career at Tech. He's a high-character guy who I am proud to see don the Gold and White.

However, if we're going off of single season accomplishments, nobody can ignore what AJ Murray has done this season. His 14 home runs this season is pretty phenomenal and may very well get him drafted in June. He's also shown the versatility to play a few different positions.

Is there another P5 school that lost a starter to academic ineligibility last year or for that matter in the last several seasons? I never hear of this happening… and we know why at UNC… but does it happen at non factory schools?

It happens some. It's certainly not the main reason a lot of players are declared ineligible, though. One that I found was Florida State wide receiver Isaiah Jones.

Can we get an early over/under on:

  • Number or sacks by JHD
  • Number of total sacks by D-line

For Jabari Hunt-Days, I'll set the over/under at 5.5 sacks this season. I'd go higher, but I'm not really sure what to expect with him. If I were a betting man, I would definitely take the over on that though. I see him getting around 7.5 sacks this season.

For the whole team, I'll set the over/under at 23 sacks. The 2007 defensive line sacked opposing quarterbacks 29 of the teams 47 times. This past year's defensive line had 11.5 of the team's 20 sacks. So clearly, I'm a little optimistic here in attempting to double the D-line's sack total from last year, but that's just who I am. I don't think I'd take the over here, though.

Where is the final scholarship for JHD/Skov coming from?

Currently, we do have one more player set to be on scholarship than we have room for. Because of this, that means that one of our graduating seniors with remaining eligibility is probably forfeiting that elgibility to move on with his professional and/or academic career. Such a player could also transfer to another school for a graduate degree and be able to play his senior season there.

And no, I will not guess any names.

EDIT: The spot has officially been taken care of. Until the news is made public, I will not comment on it, however. The only thing I will say is that I'm sure Paul Johnson knew good and well that this player would not be with the team for the upcoming year prior to getting into this predicament.

What's your forecast on way-too-early over/unders?

On Defense:
Pick Sixes: 2.5
Scoop Sixes: 1.5
Team Sacks: 38
Scoring Defense Ranking: 30

On Offense:
Total TDs: 60
Yards/Game: 450
Avg. TOP: 33:33
Scoring Offense Ranking: 25

Starting on defense, I'll take over on the first two as I think our defense continues to be opportunistic this season. Team sacks is a push for me, but I'll take the over on Scoring Defense. This defense is gonna be good this year.

On offense, I'll say push on the TDs with a chance at going over. I'll take the over on yards/game and scoring offense. Time of possession will be good, but I'm not sure what our average was this year; if it was around the same, I'll take the under with a little less experience on the offense.

Tech is going to blow at least two of these teams (@ Notre Dame, @ Clemson, FSU, VPI, @ Miami, uga) out of the stadium and it won't even be close. Which two teams do you think it is and which sports writer is going to be most surprised and why? Bonus question is how many of these games do we win straight up?

I'll say FSU and Miami. Both of these teams lost a lot of talent on defense, and by the point we get to those games in the season, the new A-backs and wide receivers should know the offense well enough that they will be good enough to put up a lot of points on both of them.

The key to blowing them out, however, will be the defense. There is a lot of expected improvement, but until we see a finished product on the field come September, we won't know just how good this defense really is.

The sports writers most surprised will probably be the beat reporters for those respective teams.

I think we'll win four or five of these games straight up. I don't know which four or five it will be though.

What are your thoughts on Skov?

I like what I've seen from Skov, but does that mean he'll be a 1,000-yard rusher? I don't think so. I think he will be a valuable rotational B-back with Marcus Allen and Mikell Lands-Davis, should he not redshirt.

You're absolutely right in saying that he's a big, physical back that can power through the line. He'll be a good fit there, and it could be that Skov takes the "Touchdown Vulture" mantle away from Tim Byerly if he becomes our best option at the goalline.

The way I see the depth chart shaking out now is with Marcus Allen as the starter and Skov as his back-up. At least to begin the season, that's the line-up that makes the most sense. If Mikell Lands-Davis (who IMO is likely to play this season) gets a good amount of playing time and shows that he's a better option than either Allen or Skov, he could easily supplant them as the starter by the end of the season. He certainly has the talent for it.

What badass animal would you choose to represent GT's 2015 Defense? 2014 1st 7 games? 2014 2nd 7 games?

With an animal as our mascot, I'd probably be shot by someone if I didn't say a Yellow Jacket would represent our defense this season. That being said, I think it's a good showing of what our defense was in the second half of the season last year and what it will continue to be this year. I'm also going to use the following justification for it.

Yellow jackets are more aggressive than other stinging insects such as wasps, hornets, mud daubers or bees. Yellow jackets can sting and bite. Since they don't lose their stinger, they can sting numerous times, and will do so unprovoked.

I can live with that. Yellow Jackets are annoying and sting multiple times. Sounds exactly like our defense the second half the season.

As for the first half, I'd go with a honeybee. It's good for one sting, but then it's done.

Over/under 3.5 Georgia Tech players drafted in 2016?

I'm actually going to play it safe and take the under, saying three Georgia Tech players will be drafted next year. And all of them will be on defense.

First up will be cornerback D.J. White. He's got good enough speed and can be a ballhawk at times. I think that right now, he is our best pro prospect, and at this moment in time, I'd say that he would probably go in the third or fourth round.

Next up will be defensive tackle Adam Gotsis. The biggest thing here is that the only time Gotsis hasn't been the only pass rushing threat was his freshman season playing alongside Jeremiah Attaochu. Gotsis was still learning the game.

After Attaochu's graduation, Gotsis became the only real pass rushing threat until the end of this past season with KeShun Freeman starting to develop some. His stock will certainly improve this season, but I'd say right now, he's a fifth or sixth rounder, maybe even a seventh.

Rounding out my list is defensive tackle Jabari Hunt-Days. He will almost certainly move up this list, but I hesitate to grade him as anything higher than a seventh round projection until I see him play in an actual game.

Do we have the best defensive line in the ACC this season?

It's definitely a possibility that we could. We know Gotsis and Freeman will be good. We expect Jabari Hunt-Days to be good. And we have more depth throughout the entire line than we've had in a long time.

I will not say definitively that we will have the best defensive line in the ACC this season simply because so many variables still remain. Is JHD as good as advertised? Who steps up at the other defensive end spot? What if someone gets hurt? What if someone on another team breaks out?

Another reason I won't definitively say that we will have the best D-line in the ACC is because I haven't done a comprehensive study of the rest of the D-lines in the ACC. That may be an interesting study to do at some point, but for the purposes of this mailbag, I won't be doing that.