<
>

Georgia Tech has every right to be confident in the Coastal

10/4/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

ATLANTA, Ga. -- They're not being cocky.

When Georgia Tech's players talk about their potential to win 11 games, they honestly believe it.

"That's the truth," said defensive tackle Vance Walker. "The only people who can stop us are ourselves."

While 11 wins might be pushing it for any team in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets have every reason to consider themselves in the mix for the Coastal Division crown.

With its upcoming game against Gardner-Webb, Georgia Tech should head into Clemson with a 5-1 record. It's arguably the most complete team in the Coastal Division -- and that includes division leader Virginia Tech, which is also 5-1 after its 27-13 win over Western Kentucky.

Yes, the Yellow Jackets lost to Virginia Tech 20-17 on Sept. 13, but midway through the season Georgia Tech's offense is one of the trickiest to stop, and nobody matches the NFL potential on their defensive line.

"I think we just believe in each other," said true freshman quarterback Jaybo Shaw. "The offense believes the defense is going to stop them and get us the ball back, and the defense believes we're going to put points on the board. When you have that, I think things can go your way a lot."

Nobody within the program seems very surprised about the team's quick success. Then again, they've been out to prove doubters wrong from the start.

And they have.

Paul Johnson's offense doesn't just "work," in the ACC, it's very good, save for a work-in-progress offensive line. (That will change as Johnson and his staff recruit smaller, quicker players more suited for this offense). The defensive line is one of the best in the country, and after their 27-0 win over Duke today, Johnson called it the defense's best game of the year -- "without question."

"If we keep playing hard and doing the things we're doing, we're capable of big things," said linebacker Sedric Griffin. "We really want to go to this championship game, even a BCS game. We set our standards high. Coach Johnson instilled in us, you have to have high standards in order to get big things."

Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, they've already lost to Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech is going to need some help if it's going to displace the Hokies in the Coastal Division standings, but they certainly look like a team worthy of the top spot.