Scouting the Yellow Jackets

Robert George

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are looking to pick up a much-needed win after three straight ACC defeats when the Eagles come to Atlanta this weekend. The Eagles, in turn, want to avenge the 2014 loss when GT scored in the final minute to steal the victory.

Georgia Southern will once again square off against a pair of former head coaches in Paul Johnson and Mike Sewak, Tech’s offensive line coach. Johnson led Georgia Southern to a pair of national championships and a 62-10 record from 1997-2001.

“For everyone around, I think there’s certainly a lot of storylines with Coach Johnson and Coach Sewak. It’s a Power 5 opponent and an in-state opponent,” Tyson Summers, GS head coach, said.

Offensively, GT will run the triple option as it has since Johnson took over as head coach in the 2008 season. Senior quarterback Justin Thomas will orchestrate the unit for the third season. He’s the catalyst, and slowing him down will go a long way in containing GT’s offense.

Thomas will be accompanied by a stable of talented running backs. Freshman Dedrick Mills has been a stud at the B-back position. He averages over 70 yards a game and leads the team with 367 rushing yards. Clinton Lynch has been their big-play guy at the A-back spot; his 13.4 yards per carry is by far the highest on the team. He adds an element to the passing game as well with a 22 yard per catch average.

They can throw the ball, but usually do it in long-yardage situations and when they’re behind. Brad Stewart and Ricky Jeune are their primary receivers. Saturday will be another big test for the entire GS defense.

“It’s different. You see it maybe one time a year and he does a great job with it. You have to play with an extreme amount of discipline and an extreme amount of toughness,” Summers said.

Defensively, the Yellow Jackets give up about 350 total yards of offense and 21 points a game, both of which aren’t all that bad. P.J. Davis is their leading tackler in the middle. Corey Griffin is second in tackles on the team and also has one of GT’s three interceptions on the season.

It’s not often that the Yellow Jackets face another option-oriented team and the same goes for the Eagles. Because of the offenses both programs run, it might make the preparation a little easier for the defenses.

“I think there should be a good bit of carryover for both defenses,” Summers said.

Saturday will be a chance for the Eagles to avenge the 2014 loss. There are 23 players on the roster now who took part in that game. For the Yellow Jackets, however, it will be a chance to get back on track after dropping three straight conference games.