2017 season: 5-6, 4-4 in the ACC (3rd in the Coastal Division)
Head coach: Paul Johnson (11th season)
Last year was perhaps Georgia Tech’s strangest season since Paul Johnson brought his vaunted triple-option attack to Atlanta.
The Yellow Jackets only played 11 games due to Hurricane Irma, as their Sep. 16 game at Central Florida was cancelled. And Georgia Tech could not figure out how to win on the road, losing all four contests, yet, it nearly landed upsets against ranked teams in Tennessee and Miami.
Offensively, the Yellow Jackets return nearly all their weapons from an unseasoned squad last year. Headlined by senior quarterback TaQuon Marshall and a bevy of experienced running backs, Georgia Tech should boast one of the top rushing offenses in the nation, which has become a yearly trend under Johnson. However, the Yellow Jackets will have to deal with the departure of wideout Ricky Jeune, their only consistent threat for a quarterback who had trouble stretching the field otherwise last season.
While the offense should look relatively the same, the defense has to replace nearly everyone. The hiring of defensive coordinator Nate Woody from Appalachian State may help, but it will be tough to replace a secondary that saw its top tacklers depart. Woody will have to rely on a lot of pressure from his front seven in order for Georgia Tech to make some noise in the loaded ACC this season.
It would not be a surprise if it is more of the same from the Yellow Jackets—a grinding, dizzying pace of play with a defense that may do just enough to steal a game or two. We should see what Georgia Tech is made of this year in its first conference game—Sept. 15 at Pittsburgh—against another team capable of making some noise in the Coastal Division this year.