By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Georgia Tech kicks off the college football season September 4th at home against Northern Illinois.
Geoff Collins is entering his third season as the head coach in Atlanta. His record is 6 – 16 and he won three games in each of his first two seasons. The question is ‘can the Yellow Jackets finally turn the corner this season?’
Last season true freshman quarterback Jeff Sims started. As expected, he went through growing pains learning and gaining experience. He passed for 1,881 yards, 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 492 yards and 6 TD’s. I think he will be drastically better as a sophomore.
True freshman running back Jahmyr Gibbs was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He missed several games in 2020 due to injury. He rushed for 460 yards, 4 touchdowns and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. He was also second on the team in receptions with 24 catches, 303 yards and 3 scores. If he can stay healthy, he should run for a thousand yards.
Junior running back Jordan Mason can run effectively when he plays. In 2020, he rushed for 352 yards, 2 TD’s and averaged 4.3 YPC.
They did lose the leading receiver last season, Jalen Camp. He graduated and was drafted in the 6th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Left tackle Devin Cochran is a grad-transfer from Vanderbilt. He’s 6’7, 320-pounds and should immediately improve the offensive line.
Tackle Kenneth Kirby is also a grad-transfer from Norfolk State. He was a three-year starter and two-time All-MEAC selection.
You may be noticing a theme so far with the grad-transfer players. Linebacker Ayinde Eley joined the team in January after transferring from Maryland. He was voted a team captain for the spring game and has been a leader since showing up on campus.
Georgia Tech needs to improve in every aspect because they have not done anything well in the Geoff Collins era. We have seen they can win three games but they will need to double that to become bowl eligible. One thing that was promising is that all of the wins last season were against ACC teams. T
hey are starting to level the playing field and they now need to win one more conference game and two non-conference games to get to six wins.
I believe Tech will win the season opener against Norther Illinois.
The following week, September 11th is also at Bobby Dodd Stadium against Kennesaw State. The Owls are an FCS team but they are tough. I think this will be a close game but I give the advantage to Tech.
Week 3 is the first away game against Clemson. We all know that GT will be slaughtered. Last season they were embarrassed 73 -7. I think this game will be closer but that would still be a forty-point loss.
The fourth game is against North Carolina at Mercedes-Benz stadium. The Tar Heels are a better team. Collins needs to start winning games like this if he plans to turn the program around. I give the advantage to UNC.
The next two games before the bye week are Pitt and at Duke. I think Tech can beat Duke.
After the bye, the next four games are at Virginia, Virginia Tech, at Miami and Boston College. BC and UVA are the games they have a chance in.
The final two games are at Notre Dame and home versus Georgia. These will be blow out loses.
I think GT will improve and win 5 games but they will not become bowl eligible.
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The Mike Norvell era begins on Saturday September 12, 2020 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
It’s game week for FSU football, which means it’s time for Coach Norvell to unveil his plan to get FSU back to relevancy.
After four seasons as the head coach at Memphis, Coach Norvell was hired to replace Willie Taggart.
FSU comes into the game week as a 12.5 point favorite against Georgia Tech.
One of the biggest questions going into the contest is Mike Norvell; is he the right person to lead FSU back to prominence?
The past two seasons FSU has struggled with costly penalties, turnovers, personnel, alongside other detailed issues.
The first offseason at a new school is always a challenge for a head coach, as they set out to install their offensive and defensive schemes. FSU’s culture and expectations for the program remains high.
This offseason has been even more complicated by COVID-19, Norvell was attempting to operate the offseason remotely. The trying nature of this offseason has taken the anticipation to perhaps an even higher level ahead of Saturday’s kickoff.
Saturday is a great opportunity for the FSU football team and Mike Norvell to show their fans, alumni and supporters that the program is in good hands and is heading in the right direction.
Watching Coach Norvell’s press conference on Monday, Coach Norvell never stopped smiling. He beams confidence and leadership. His job is to rebuild one of the most dominant college football programs from a deflating down period.
Don’t get me wrong, FSU is not competing for a National Championship or even an ACC Championship this season, but Coach Norvell must show positive results on the field. He will be playing his home games on Bobby Bowden Field.
Norvell will be facing a program in Georgia Tech with second year head coach Geoff Collins.
Georgia Tech coming off a very disappointing 3-9 campaign in 2019. The Yellow Jackets look to rebound in 2020.
Saturday’s game is a big game for both teams as the Jackets look to take a big step forward in year two of the Geoff Collins era, while FSU looks to get the Mike Norvell era off to a good start in his first game as the Seminoles head coach.
With both programs having plenty to prove, I expect things to be sloppy at times with missed tackles, blown assignments, and penalties on both teams.
I think it will be a fairly high scoring game, but we do have to take into account the lack of practice time.
The Seminoles biggest problem on offense last year was their offensive line which allowed a whopping 48 sacks, that’s a weakness that Georgia Tech must exploit to win.
Look for James Blackmon to stay upright and FSU’s team speed will be the difference in this matchup, as Florida State simply has too many talented weapons at their disposal and that leads tips the game heavily in favor of the Seminoles.
Final Score Prediction: FSU 34 Georgia Tech 13
By: TJ Hartnett
GeorgiaSportsEdition.com news services
After Paul Johnson retired from coaching the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team after 11 seasons, there was a big ACC hole to fill. They filled it with former Tech assistant and erstwhile Temple head coach Geoff Collins.
Collins was 15-10 for the past two seasons at Temple and before that worked as the defensive coordinator at both Florida and Mississippi State. He began his career in Atlanta as a tight ends coach for the Jackets under George O’Leary and also worked as a recruiting coordinator for Chan Gailey in 2006.
This amounts to a dream job for Collins, a Conyers native, who has already been on the recruiting trail since being hired last month.
Collins has fairly sizeable shoes to fill: Johnson managed 82 wins during his stint, against 59 losses; the Yellow Jackets also made three ACC Championship game appearances. Last season they finished 7-5.
In addition to recruiting, Collins has spent his time filling out his coaching staff for the upcoming season.
His first move was to bring on former Yellow Jackets running back Tashard Choice as the running backs coach. The former NFL player spent the past two seasons at North Texas as an assistant and RB coach.
Collins followed that hire up by adding Kerry Dixon and Lewis Caralla. Dixon will be the Jackets’ wide receivers coach. He held the same job in the past at the University of Florida, where he first ran into his new boss.
Caralla will serve as Tech’s strength and conditioning coach, the same position he held in Buffalo. He was an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Yellow Jackets in 2010 and 2011.
Collins brought a familiar face with him from Pennsylvania, former Temple assistant Nathan Burton, a Teaching graduate, who joins the staff as a co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
Collins has also brought on Boise State coach Jeff Popovich to coach GT’s cornerbacks and coordinator of defensive special teams.
Larry Knight, Jim Panagos and Chris Wiesehan have also been added to Collins’ staff. Knight will serve as defensive ends/outside linebackers coach; Panagos as defensive line coach; and Wiesehan as tight ends coach/offensive special teams coordinator.
Additionally, Knight will carry the title of defensive recruiting coordinator. Tashard Choice, previously hired as the Yellow Jackets’ running backs coach, will serve as the program’s offensive recruiting coordinator.
Collins followed those hires up with a pair of steals; first swiping Patrick Suddes from Auburn to run his recruiting office, then taking Brent Key from Nick Saban to serve as assistant head coach. Key, another Tech graduate, has been coaching Alabama’s best-in-the-nation offensive line for the past three seasons.
While that seemed to close the book on Georgia Tech’s staff, this week Collins created and filled four new positions that did not exist during Paul Johnson’s tenure in charge.
Football research and analytics coordinator Pat Boyle, analysts Joe Battaglia (offense) and Ronell Williams (defense) and brand manager Santino Stancato all jumped ship with Collins from Temple.
With a new cohort of coaches and assistants (and a brand manager, of course), the Geoff Colllins era at Georgia Tech is ready to begin in earnest.
With so many staff members from Georgia, much like Collins himself, and/or doubling as graduates from the very institution they now work for, local recruiting is sure to be a focus, and strength, of this team.
Choice in particular brings a youth and energy to the staff that did not exist during the Paul Johnson era.
Despite his predecessor’s successes, Collins decided to start entirely fresh when he took over the job in December. Soon, the time will come for these new faces to prove what they can do.