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Georgia Tech Football: The State of the Program

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It’s time for change.

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

Well, that was certainly a season. Now that the season has come to an end, it’s a good idea to take a look at where Georgia Tech football stands. As you can tell by the subhead of this article, I think we need to see some change. Before I dive into that, I do want to take some time and thank this year’s groups of seniors for their hard work on the Flats.

In case you weren’t able to make it out for Senior Day, here is the full list of players that were honored:

Georgia Tech Seniors

Position Name
Position Name
DB Lance Austin
DB Lawrence Austin
K Bennett Barton
OL Shamire Devine
DB Step Durham
DL KeShun Freeman
AB JJ Green
DB Corey Griffin
WR Ricky Jeune
QB Matthew Jordan
DB Shaun Kagawa
LB Terrell Lewis
QB Chase Martenson
DB Zach Matthews
WR Antonio Messick
DB Josh Selembo
DL Antonio Simmons
OL Trey Smith
BB Brady Swilling
LS Casey Wilson
List courtesy of RamblinWreck.com

This was a pretty solid group of seniors that provided a good deal of leadership this season. Thank you to each and every one of you for the work you have put in on the Flats, both on the field and off. I wish each of you the best as you move forward in your life and career.

I just want to leave you with a couple of my favorite highlights from this senior class. The first one that popped into my head was quarterback Matthew Jordan’s lone start for the Yellow Jackets.

I’ll leave the highlights from that game, but you can find the complete game here.

The other clip from this senior class is a play I’m sure is the only thing most of us remember from the infamous 2015 season: the Miracle on Techwood (also the day we broke Roberto Aguayo).


It’s time for change

What looked to be a season full of hope following a close loss to a Tennessee team that was supposed to be good (sorry Conner) ended up being a season filled with misery and frustration. Georgia Tech’s season dwindled, ending with back-to-back losses to Duke and Georgia. It was, without a doubt, the worst season Georgia Tech has had under Paul Johnson. Next season, Tech will need to change in order to compete. In fact, some of these changes are long overdue. Thankfully, though, some of these changes are already in motion. The question is, what exactly needs to change?

The Coaching Staff

Right now, I am conditionally neutral towards Paul Johnson’s future with Georgia Tech. By that, I mean if little to no changes are made before next season, Paul Johnson himself should be fired. I am, however, okay with keeping him so long as changes are being made. Rivals’ Kelly Quinlan also pretty much confirmed that Johnson will remain for the foreseeable future.

In terms of the coaching staff, the biggest change we need to see is on the defensive side. It’s no secret that Ted Roof does not have quite as many fans as when he was first hired. I, myself, have called for him to be fired many times this season. The defense continually played a more-than-necessary conservative scheme that utterly failed by the end of the season, when they gave up 43 points to Duke who, up to that point, was averaging under 20 points per game. He should be the first guy fired, and I fully expect him to be gone in the next 48 hours (please note, I don’t have any sources telling me that; it’s just my opinion).

It shouldn’t stop there. Looking at the full list of Georgia Tech’s coaching staff, here are the coaches I would be okay with keeping (note that this list doesn’t include GAs):

  • Craig Candeto (QB/BB Coach)
  • Lamar Owens (AB/ST Coordinator), as long as the ST Coordinator tag is removed
  • Al “Buzz” Preston (WR Coach)
  • Andy McCollum (Safeties Coach/Recruiting Coordinator); I’m neutral on him as a coach, but I want to keep him around as the Recruiting Coordinator

Everyone else should get packing. The areas that shouldn’t have coaches retained are the two problem areas: the offensive line and the defense.

On the offensive line, I feel like Mike Sewak has been given every single opportunity to prove that he should stay. He even got an assistant in Ron West, yet we still weren’t able to do much on our offensive line, which looked as bad as it has all season on Saturday.

On defense, most of the coaches, save for defensive line coach Mike Pelton, were carryovers from Al Groh’s defensive staff. Watching the defense this past year, it wasn’t just the scheme that caused issues, it was some basic stuff. Tech’s defense could not tackle and continuously took poor angles on tackles. That is a direct result of the positional coaches. I also like the idea of a new defensive coordinator picking his coaching staff.

I don’t think I really need to explain why we need a real ST Coordinator. I will give credit for Pressley Harvin III being the best punter we’ve had since Durant Brooks (and maybe better than him when he’s done), but outside of that, ST was hot garbage.

Recruiting/Brand

Recruiting has long been an issue at Georgia Tech. Right now, Tech is completely underfunded and understaffed in this department compared to the rest of the ACC and NCAA. In addition to McCollum as the Recruiting Coordinator, Tech doesn’t exactly have an expansive recruiting staff, and the facilities are also lacking. Thankfully, it looks like we will be seeing at least a little bit of change here.

Having added staff devoted to recruiting is definitely a good first step, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Tech is located in a gigantic hotbed for recruiting, and it seems like everyone except for Tech recruits that area well. There is absolutely no excuse for it. Tech’s Athletic Director, Todd Stansbury, has done a good job thus far of trying to promote the Yellow Jackets’ brand, and in my opinion, unify it.

Joey has done a great job in the past talking about Georgia Tech’s brand.

Having a strong, consistent, attractive brand is the difference between making the school and program seem “cool” and otherwise. It’s the difference between drumming up interest and public support, and seeming like that obscure team that runs a weird offense. It’s the kind of thing that turned a school like Oregon into a recruiting and on-field powerhouse.

With the announcement of Adidas as Tech’s new uniform provider, it’s a sign that the times are changing. Where previously we had an athletic director that never seemed to truly care about the school or its brand, we’ve now brought in a true Tech man in Stansbury.

I really want to just copy and paste that entire column from Joey, but instead, I’ll close out this section with this one quote from that column:

Todd Stansbury was about as close to a perfect hire as Georgia Tech could have made for its athletic director position.

So what now?

Georgia Tech can have a really good football program. Things cannot stay the same, though, if they want that to happen. But what can we as fans do? We can keep supporting this program, specifically financially. Well if you’re looking for a way to fix that, I would recommend looking right here. To quote the website, “The Alexander-Tharpe Fund (A-T) is a division of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association (GTAA) and serves as the primary fundraising arm, bringing in gifts and commitments in excess of $17 million annually.” It doesn’t cost that much to become a booster. It only takes $150, and the AT fund is vital to adding infrastructure at Georgia Tech.

It’s been a long season that is finally over. Now, let’s see some changes as we move into the offseason. Make sure to keep coming back, as we’ll keep the analysis coming. Thanks for tuning in for this long season, and Go Jackets!