After a week of "fun" up in northeast Georgia and another week of melting/service in New Orleans, I'm finally back to a computer. Thanks a ton to Joey and Ben for filling in for me these past couple of weeks, though I'm still not quite sure how they knew exactly what I was up to the whole time...
Perhaps the biggest news of the past week or so is the recently-announced departure of linebacker Anthony Harrell from the football program prior to his final season. Harrell, who played a limited role in 2014 as he recovered from a torn ACL, was slated to be one of Tech's starting linebackers alongside incumbent P.J. Davis and presumably Tyler Marcordes. As Joey notes in this FTRS post, the circumstances surrounding his departure are cloudy to say the least. It appears that Harrell was dismissed for a violation of team policy (an assertion that was reinforced by Paul Johnson in a message to the AJC), though the linebacker himself claims that he is merely transferring to Florida for his final season. Either way, losing a veteran starter is always a big blow and one that will be challenging to overcome despite some considerable depth at linebacker. Don't be surprised to see a freshman log some snaps as a result.
Tomahawk Nation, the SB Nation affiliate for the Florida State Seminoles, recently released this nice opponent preview for their upcoming game against Georgia Tech. Prior to reading the article (and the comments, for that matter) I was expecting a projected stomping of the Jackets by FSU. As it turns out, the entire FSU fanbase seems to have an immense amount of respect for Tech and its offense stemming from the close 2014 ACC Championship. In fact, many of the fans who posted in the comments are projecting a big loss for the Noles due to a depleted linebacking core and overall inexperienced team. I'm more hesitant to chalk the game up as a win, but it certainly seems that momentum is in Tech's favor. It should be a great one.
Despite what some FSU fans appear to think, SB Nation CFB still believes that the Seminoles are the team to beat in 2015 and certainly beyond. I have absolutely no qualms with calling Florida State the best team in the conference for 2016 and beyond, but 2015 really does seem to be shaping up as a relative down year. But don't be confused; a down year for Jimbo Fisher's team is 9 or 10 wins. The numbers all indicate that if there ever was a year to get to the Noles, it's this upcoming season. Time for the Jackets to take advantage and snap an 0-for-2 streak dating back to the 2012 ACC Championship.
One of the rising freshmen who could see some considerable playing time on offense due to the mass exodus of talent from last season is A-Back TaQuon Marshall, a three-star player from Harris County. A former top-100 prospect in the state of Georgia, Marshall is one of a handful of players that I fully expected to earn another star prior to his arrival on the Flats. He features typical size for an A-Back at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds and is, in my eyes, one of the most college-ready of the current freshman backs. Regardless of whether Paul Johnson decides to redshirt him or not, Marshall's future on the Flats is as bright as they come.
What do you think about how Florida State fans perceive Georgia Tech? Is their fear justified?