Has Geoff Collins Made The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Any Better?
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
We’re a few games into the college football season, so we have a small sample size to evaluate teams.
The team we are going to examine is Georgia Tech. Geoff Collins is in his third season as head coach and I’m wondering has the program gotten any better?
The Yellow Jackets started the season with a loss at home to Northern Illinois, 22 – 21. Losing to a school outside of the Power 5 is embarrassing enough, but the Huskies were winless in 2020 (0-6). This game should have been an easy win before ACC play begins.
The one positive from that game is Jordan Yates came in to relieve an injured Jeff Sims at quarterback. I believed he was a better player and he has played like it so far.
The next game was against an FCS team, Kennesaw State. They won 45 – 17, which is expected.
The Jackets then went to #6 Clemson. Last season the Tigers humiliated Tech, 73 – 7. In 2019 they won 52 – 17. Clemson did have the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence playing quarterback in those games. They also had fellow first-round pick, running back Travis Etienne.
They are replacing a lot of talent and experience, but we expect a program like them to reload. Their offense looked anemic in the season opener, but they did play an elite Georgia defense.
The Tigers won, 14 – 8. This score was much closer than anyone would have predicted. Did Tech close the talent gap between the programs or is Clemson overrated?
I think the truth is closer to Clemson struggling on offense, led by sophomore quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. He completed 18 of 25 pass attempts for 126 yards, 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Yates completed 20 of 34 passes for 203 yards, no touchdown and 1 interception.
Clemson had not been held under 20 points in an ACC game since losing 28-6 to Tech in 2014. Likewise, the Tigers’ 284 yards of total offense was their fewest since the same loss to Tech, when they gained 190 yards.
The Tech defense came out in a 3-3 (three defensive linemen, three linebackers) look for the first time this season after playing out of a 4-2-5 (four linemen, two linebackers, five defensive backs) as its base defense. They worked on the 3-3 throughout the preseason but Collins did not feel they were ready for the first two games.
“And then once the guys were really confident in playing it, we rolled it out there (Saturday) and they did a really nice job with it,” Collins said.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said that Tech lined up in “absolutely nothing that we prepared for.”
This moral victory may give the team some confidence going forward. The question is will that translate to wins?
Looking at the rest of the schedule I think there are four games they have a chance to win; Duke, Virginia, Boston College and Miami.
Pitt, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Georgia are guaranteed loses. The Yellow Jackets are in for another losing season and missing a bowl appearance.