While casual football fans clamor over a quarterback who can throw a football 80 yards, or a speedy running back that can run a 4.4 second 40 yard-dash, coaches and analytical fans understand football is a game played on the line of scrimmage. It is the 18 inches of space in the trenches that ultimately decide how successful an offense will be. Considering what Georgia Tech brings back in 2012, I expect the Yellow Jackets to contend for an ACC title and will improve upon last year’s 8-5 record.
The Flexbone offensive line needs to be built from the inside out and Georgia Tech has a lot of experience up front, especially in the middle. This will be essential in making Paul Johnson’s triple option offense successful. Center Jay Finch started 12 games last year and senior Guards Omoregie Uzzi and Will Jackson are both third year starters. Rounding out the Yellow Jacket offensive line are Tackles Ray Beno (11 Starts last year) and Tyler Kidney (6 starts).
All five starters back on a team that led the ACC in rushing, scoring, and 3rd down conversions. Tech was also 3rd in the nation for rushing offense (total yards and yards per carry) and 2nd in rushing touchdowns. It could get nasty for ACC run defenses.
Individually, the Yellow Jacket O-Line has garnered some impressive accolades and will do some work this fall. Uzzi earned 2nd Team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated, and a first team All-ACC selection last year. He is also a first team selection on Phil Steele’s pre-season All-ACC team and is on the Outland Trophy watch list.Finch, also on the Steele All-ACC team, is on the Rimington Trophy watch list and, along with Uzzi, will be a vocal leader for Paul Johnson’s squad.
Expect Georgia Tech to tear up a lot of yardage this fall, and with it, rack up a few wins.
UPDATE: Some sources have listed sophomore Morgan Bailey as a starter at tackle. Additionally, I just read a few things about sophomore Shaq Mason and freshman Bryan Chamberlain being moved up in the depth charts. This tells me that not only is GT experienced and talented, but they also seem to have some depth.