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7/05/2007

2-a-Days: Georgia Tech and Hawaii



Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets



Georgia Tech was pretty solid last year. Winning their division came as a surprise to most. However, the story was derailed in a defensive match against upstart Wake Forest in the ACC title game. How will the Yellow Jackets do without Calvin Johnson?


THE OFFENSE: Reggie Ball is gone, so, that could be a good thing forcing Chan Gailey to start Taylor Bennett. Calvin Johnson is also gone as he leaped early for the NFL draft, a very bad thing. So the offense is sort of a mystery to me. The main focus this year will probably be RB Tashard Choice. Choice was actually the leading ACC rusher last year. John Bond is also the new offensive coordinator for Georgia Tech. He was the OC at Northern Illinois the past year. Demaryius Thomas of course is supposed to be the next Calvin Johnson. If he can have a big year, he might be able to minimize the damage done by Calvin Johnson's leaving. Like I said, it's a total mystery as to how GT's offense will perform. The thing is, you've got a new QB who'll probably be better at passing but you also lose Clavin Johnson. Will the passing game get better, or worse? They were 91st in passing offense so I don't imagine that it'll improve that much. I don't know, you're guess is as good as mine.


THE DEFENSE: Like most ACC teams, the defense was pretty good. John Tenuta is one of the better defensive coordinators in the game of football and it showed with last season's 27th overall and scoring defensive rankings. They were 9th in pass efficiency defense. They lose Joe Anoai who was a big force up the middle and Kenny Scott in the secondary. But, Georgia Tech returns most of their best defensive players. I could go on and on about how many good stats they produced over last season.


THE SCHEDULE:

Sept. 1 at Notre Dame
Sept. 8 Samford
Sept. 15 Boston College
Sept. 22 at Virginia
Sept. 29 Clemson
Oct. 6 at Maryland
Oct. 13 at Miami
Oct. 20 Army
Nov. 1 Virginia Tech
Nov. 10 at Duke
Nov. 17 North Carolina
Nov. 24 Georgia

It's not an easy schedule. The ACC should be really good this year and Miami, Clemson, Maryland, and Virginia are certainly not going to be gimmies. They do get Virginia Tech at home as they knocked them out last year in Blacksburg in 2005. Going @ Notre Dame won't be that easy and neither will playing at Bobby Dodd against Georgia.

Don't Even Think About It:
Ehhhhh.....Maybe....: Boston College, Clemson, @ Maryland, @ Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia
Good/Probable Shot At It: @ Notre Dame, Samford, @ Virginia, Army, @ Duke, North Carolina


THE OUTLOOK: Georgia Tech will be a halfway decent football team. With Choice running the ball, the offense will be alright and the defense will still be pretty good. But Johnson was their only source for explosive offensive plays. They tapped into that source a lot. He was one of the best players in college football and you're not going to get better that way. The schedule is pretty hard and while they're probably going to get 7 wins this year, I wouldn't put it past them to upset one of those "Ehhhhh.....Maybe...."s. So, solid, but not great, another bowl bid, another decent season for Chan Gailey in the books.


BOWL GAME?: Emerald Bowl










Hawaii Warriors



Let's just say that Hawaii is going to be explosive . Well, that may be an understatement. After receiving the devastating news that Colt Brennan will be heading off to the NFL draft, he decides to come back. Now, it appears that Hawaii is a legitimate BCS contender.


THE OFFENSE: They're not going to do anything. Hawaii? Naw............Back to reality, the WRs on this team can really produce. Davone Bess, Jason Rivers, and Ryan Grice-Mullen probably contribute to the best WR corps in America. Colt Brennan is going to shatter the record books this season. He's not that far off pace from some of Ty Detmer's records. Losing Nate Ilaoa is the biggest knock on this offense. He was really the most underrated player in the entire country. He ran for almost 1,000 yards!!!! Doing that in Hawaii's pass-happy offense is something worth noting. He looked the part of a big, bruising back but he was a shifty slasher and found places to show off his moves in open space. There are some replacements for him though, I think Marlo Cox has the job as of the moment. Anyway, we're talking about the best offense in the nation when we're talking about Hawaii's.


THE DEFENSE: Is the area of this team that could use some help. Jerry Glanville bolted for Portland State and now Greg McMackin is taking control of the defensive side of the ball. They were okay against the run but 105th ranked against the pass. The WAC is a passing conference and teams like New Mexico State could give them some trouble if the passing defense doesn't improve. Losing Ikaika Alma-Francis and Melila Purcell will hurt up front and Leonard Peters was their best secondary player. They do have some talent on defense, June Jones just needs someone like McMackin to help them reach their potential. One guy I really like is Michael Lafaele; he plays defensive tackle very, very well. He'll also have to step it up with their two best defensive ends gone. Could you guys imagine how good Hawaii would be if they could play better defense? I don't know if this is the year they do have a top 60 defense or not, but I'd expect the same amount of production from this crew as the last year's D.


THE SCHEDULE:

Sept. 1 Northern Colorado
Sept. 8 at Louisiana Tech
Sept. 15 at UNLV
Sept. 22 Charleston Southern
Sept. 29 at Idaho
Oct. 6 Utah State
Oct. 12 at San Jose State
Oct. 27 New Mexico State
Nov. 10 Fresno State
Nov. 16 at Nevada
Nov. 23 Boise State
Dec. 1 Washington

This is one of the easiest schedules I've ever seen. But, Matt Hayes wrote an article explaining why it's so easy. Now, Hawaii may have a claim here. Ever since Joe Tiller and John L. began bad-mouthing a 13th game road trip to Hawaii, a lot of schools have been chickening out. Anyway, they're going to absolutely slaughter this schedule and the only remote challenges I see on here are against Nevada and Boise State. The rest is a cakewalk.

Don't Even Think About It:
Ehhhhh.....Maybe.....:
Good/Probable Shot At It: The whole schedule.


THE OUTLOOK: The outlook for Hawaii is brighter than glaring into the sun without any sun glasses. Colt Brennan is going to absolutely smash any record that we've ever seen. An NFL QB ins a passing offense against weak competition. Sounds good to me! The thing is, June Jones will not let up on Charleston Southern and Northern Colorado. The reason? Well, I think that he can foresee the coming criticism of the schedule. So, he's going to do everything in his power to absolutely demolish his opposition. Don't be surprised if Hawaii scores 70-80 points against their two 1-AA foes. If the defense can get a little bit better, they'll run the table. Hawaii though doesn't do as well on the road. If they had Alabama at home, do you think they'd beat them? I do. Look for Hawaii to get upset against Nevada and beat Boise State. The schedule that they play will prevent them from going to the BCS at 11-1.


BOWL GAME?: Hawaii Bowl
By the way, be sure to check out this Hawaii blog. I think it'll get much more in-depth than my Hawaii preview.

3 comments:

Tombo Ahi said...

hey, thanks for the shout-out! you wrote a good preview of hawaii's upcoming season. i think the defense will surprise a lot of people this year. greg mcmackin was actually d-coordinator for UH back in 1999 and that was one of the best defenses we ever had. plus, we got tons of talent coming back at linebacker and defensive line. overall, this is probably going to be one of the best UH teams in a long long time. oh, why do we have to have such a weak schedule? nobody's gonna care that we're winning all these games, haha.

Eric said...

Did you ever notice the Sporting News article from Matt Hayes?

June Jones said, "they come here, we kick their ass, they leave". lol

Tombo Ahi said...

gotta love june jones! i remember when the texas longhorns backed out of a scheduled game a few years back. june said at the time, "I've never known a Texan to back down from a fight." man, the UT coach was pissed! hehe.