Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has proven to be a gifted play caller and program leader over his years on the sidelines. Now, he hopes to be prophetic about his 2012 team. In a recent interview with Ken Suglura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Johnson expressed confidence in his roster and their ability to win the Atlantic Coast Conference this year.
When asked if he was more optimistic about this team than last year’s outfit, Johnson didn’t hesitate.
“I’m always optimistic. I think that this is a good group. They seem to have worked really hard in the offseason. They’ve got a good attitude. We’ve got a big challenge early, but I think we’ve got a good nucleus of guys that we’ve played and they’re providing pretty good leadership and (I’m) really excited about some of the young guys. I think we’ve got some real athletic kids.”
As the the Q and A continued, Johnson was asked if there’s any reason to think that this group can’t compete for an ACC crown.
“No. I think we’re capable of doing that. We were close last year.”
While seeing Georgia Tech at the ACC Championship Game wouldn’t be a shock, they aren’t walking into the season as a favorite to reach that point. However, the preseason media poll had them ranked second in the Coastal Division.
With camp set to begin on Friday, the team has question marks, but few major holes. Can the defense take a jump in Al Groh’s third season? They’ll likely have to be better than 60th in scoring defense this season to have a legitimate stake at the conference crown. On offense, Johnson has to work with a WR group that has exactly zero collegiate receptions under their belt as a collective unit. While the run game is what drives the Tech offense, someone is going to have to catch pass or two this season.
An opening week tilt at Virginia Tech will be a major test to begin the season. If GT can win the battle of the ACC Techs, expectations will begin to fall in line with Johnson’s prognostication.
Until then, Ramblin’ Wreck fans will have to settle for Yellow Jacket Fan Day this Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Laces Out will keep you updated on any predictions or guarantees to come out of Atlanta the rest of the summer.
Joe is also the host of Charm City Sports Talk on WNST.net in Baltimore and member of the Society of American Baseball Research.