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100 Days to Kickoff: Opinion Week - Georgia Tech Will Win the Coastal in 2018

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Things are looking up for the Yellow Jackets heading into the fall

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of this Opinion Week here at FTRS, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Some of it has been positive, such as the program being on the upswing for a variety of reasons, but some of our coverage has also been the tales of emotional scars wrought by this program.

Today is Friday, and so we’re going to end this week on a positive note. Optimism may not be the current vibe around this program if you listen to Atlanta talk radio, and why would you, or even here in the comments section, but let’s see if I can give you some hope heading into 2018.

To quote Darth Vader, I find your lack of hope disturbing.

On offense, the Yellow Jackets return all 1st and 2nd string QBs, A-Backs, and B-Backs, the majority of the offensive line, and 1 of 2 WRs. The pairing of Qua Searcy and a now-healthy Clinton Lynch at the slot positions with several years’ experience under their belts bodes well for the fall. The Jackets also return the 1-2 punch of Kirvonte Benson and Jerry Howard at the B-Back position, along with TaQuon Marshall now entering his 4th season in the offense to make the thing go.

Perhaps the biggest hole to fill will be the #1 WR position with the loss of Ricky Jeune to graduation and the NFL. Jeune averaged almost 22 ypc last season along with hauling in 6 TDs. His counterpart in Brad Stewart returns this year on the opposite side of the field, who has some of the most dependable hands on the team, but he doesn’t quite have the size and speed to be the elite receiver this offense needs to reach 2014 levels.

Players and coaches have been high on Jalen Camp being the next big receiver here at Wide Receiver U I, but the 6’2” WR is largely untested in game situations and will have to prove himself this fall as he is expected to step into the #1 position.

It’s also no secret that the offense struggled at both tackle positions on the line last year, which severely limited the success of perimeter plays, such as the rocket toss and the triple option when it was forced to pitch. The onus will be on a combination of Jahaziel Lee, Bailey Iverneyer, and Ole Miss transfer Jack DeFoor to compliment a solid interior line in order to expand the offense this fall.

On defense, there’s considerable excitement this fall with the hiring of Nate Woody as coordinator. He brings an attacking style that will be basically the opposite of Ted Roof’s bend, bend, bend, break defense we saw for the previous few years. Georgia Tech ranked 109th in the country in havoc rate last year, which is a team’s total tackles for loss, passes defensed, and forced fumbles divided by total plays. 109th is really, really bad.

Nate Woody’s Appalachian State defense from last year ranked 15th.

It’s going to look very different, but in a good way.

However, the defense is largely a question mark as players have to learn new positions and a new scheme. The early season schedule is favorable with what should be tune-up / mistakes-are-forgivable games to open the season against Alcorn State and a massively depleted USF. Those games are followed by a road trip to Pitt, which should be winnable as well.

But then Clemson comes to town and lol we may never beat them again.

The talent and experience will be there on defense, but the loss of A.J. Gray hurts. The question mark will be how quickly the players can adapt to their new scheme and positions with a new coach.

So, is everyone feeling better?

2018 will certainly be better than 2017. The offense will improve, and the defense can’t get much worse. The new hires have everyone excited and Paul Johnson seems to finally have his guy running the defense.

Not feeling better yet? Let’s talk trash about our conference rivals and why we’re going to beat them then.

Pitt - Pitt is trash and will consider it a victory to make a bowl this season. Get your own stadium, idiots.

Clemson - lol nevermind this is a loss for the forseeable future

Louisville - Struggled to 8 wins with a Heisman winner QB who was the best player in all of CFB for 2 years and has thankfully graduated. Raise your hand if you’re an Atlantan who wishes ill upon Bobby Petrino.

Duke - Y’all really think CPJ is going to lose to Cutcliffe 2 years in a row? Nah.

Virginia Tech - Will a Justin Fuente-coached VT ever beat Georgia Tech? Who can say.

North Carolina - Yeah they’re just not going to be very good next year. Fedora will be coaching for his job. They’re not scary.

Miami - Easily Tech’s biggest challenger in the Coastal. They return just about everyone, but we have them at home, and we were a lucky, tipped pass from beating them in Miami last year. This is the game this year that Tech shouldn’t win but somehow does.

Virginia - It’s at home and not in the cursed cathedral of Charlottesville. We’ll be fine.

So basically, that puts us at 7-1 in conference for this fall and as Coastal champions. Feeling better?