Georgia Tech will play its most pivotal game of the season tonight when the Jackets take the court against No. 21 Pittsburgh in the Steel City. Though an 0-2 start in ACC play would not be a crushing blow, an early win versus a conference foe would undoubtedly go a long way towards building momentum. In fact, that early momentum is exactly what Tech has been missing during Brian Gregory's tenure -- the team started off 0-7 in the ACC last season, 1-4 the year before, and 1-6 during the 2012-13 campaign. A win over a ranked Pitt team would do wonders for the team's confidence in the future.
A team "learning to win" is possibly the most overused cliche in all of sports. In most cases, the term is employed simply to provide some kind of viable excuse for losing or to serve as a method of deflecting blame, but it very well could be a valid excuse for why Georgia Tech has lost so many close games since the start of last season. That reputation -- of being a team with closing issues -- is something that head coach Brian Gregory is working hard to combat this year. It's a phenomenon that someone outside of the program couldn't possibly put a finger on, but hopefully Gregory has finally solved the issue once and for all. We'll see tonight against Pitt.
Just one day after tweaking his coaching staff for the upcoming season, Paul Johnson met with the media to reiterate his priorities for the offseason. Johnson's biggest point of emphasis was improving pass protection, a facet of the offense which struggled mightily from start to finish. It's amazing to say, but I honestly can't recall a single instance in which Justin Thomas had ample time to pass simply because his protection was so consistently horrendous. That isn't to say that the offensive line didn't do a good job at any point, just that the unit's struggles prevented the offense from making those memorable plays which helped make the 2014 season so successful. Hopefully a reshuffled pass protection group will help the situation in 2016.
Former Georgia and current Miami head coach Mark Richt is slowly and methodically arranging his coaching staff for his stint with the Hurricanes. One of the most notable names that Richt has brought on board is Manny Diaz, former defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. While it is impressive that Miami was able to pry a high-quality coordinator like Diaz away from a school like MSU, Diaz's record against Paul Johnson's offense is less than exemplary -- an awful showing against the option in the 2014 Orange Bowl leaves a lot to be desired.
What has to go right in order for Tech to win tonight's Pitt game?