Hope and concern: Georgia Tech

June, 23, 2009
6/23/09
9:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Biggest reason for hope -- Deepest backfield in the ACC

Forget 1-2 punch. These guys have a 1-2-3 punch in ACC Player of the Year Jonathan Dwyer, Roddy Jones and Louisville transfer Anthony Allen. Jones, an A-back, was Mr. November last year, with 97 yards on seven carries and 148 all-purpose yards against Miami. He then made a name for himself nine days later with 214 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries against Georgia. Those guys will be in good company with Lucas Cox, Embry Peeples and Marcus Wright. Here's a stat for you: Georgia Tech ran for 881 yards in the last two regular-season games combined. And everyone who accounted for them is back. Sure, ACC defenses might start to catch on, but these players will execute it better this fall, too.

Biggest reason for concern -- Getting beat up front

Yes, Georgia Tech had one of the most productive ground games in the country last year, leading the ACC and ranking fourth nationally with 273.2 rushing yards per game. But that's the foundation of coach Paul Johnson's offense -- running the football, and he'll be the first to tell you it could have been executed better last year. That stems in part from some breakdowns up front, as the offensive line was arguably the weak link of the offense. Tech could be deeper this year, but it has to replace both starting tackles in Andrew Gardner and David Brown. And the defense loses three talented starters from its line, leaving junior Derrick Morgan the veteran of the group. The defensive line lost three starters who combined for 100 career starts and 100 tackles for loss.

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