>> Thursday, June 25, 2009
Paul Johnson brought his triple-option attack to Atlanta from the Naval Academy and it received more than its fair share of criticism....until the season began. Johnson's throwback offense put up great numbers all year long and helped the Yellow Jackets to a nine win season. Will defenses be more keen to stop the three-pronged rushing attack after a year of film or will Johnson's crew continue to excel?
Jonathan Dwyer believes it will flourish and he has good reason for that mindset. Dwyer rushed for 1,395 yards and 12 touchdowns and was named the ACC Player of the Year last season and is expecting an even bigger junior season. Dwyer isn't alone on offense, because eight other starters will return to join him on the offensive side of the ball.
Dwyer will be joined by Roddy Jones (700 yards rushing) and Louisville transfer Anthony Allen in the backfield. That running back trio gives quarterback Josh Nesbitt plenty of options to pitch the ball to or fake the pitch and bust down the sideline. Nesbitt is a serious threat on the ground and rushed for nearly 700 yards last season, but his passing game must improve. Nesbitt completed under 45% of his passes last season, so it can't get much worse. Nesbitt's favorite target, Demaryius Thomas, returns to help on the outside and provide some semblance of a downfield threat. Offense isn't the only position with talent returning for the Jackets.
Dave Wommack's defense returns eight starters and is lead by cornerback Rashaad Reid and Sedri Griffin. While the defense struggled at times last year (42 points to UGA, 38 points against LSU), Wommack expects the squad to improve with a year's maturity. However, after losing Michael Johnson, Vance Walker and Darryl Richard, they must find help on the defensive line.
Bobby Johnson had never attempted to recruit against the big boys, but he managed to put together a capable class (49th according to rivals.com). David Sims is a tremendous athlete who has potential to get snaps under center and will provide a dynamic playmaker for the offensive unit. J.C. Lanier headlines the defensive haul. The four-star defensive tackle should provide some help on a thin interior.
September 5th-Jacksonville State-Win
September 17th-@Miami, FL-Win
September 26th-North Carolina-Win
October 3rd-@Mississippi State-Loss
October 10th-@Florida State-Loss
October 17th-Virginia Tech-Loss
November 7th-Wake Forest-Win
Season Projection: 7-5 (6-2 ACC)