Georgia Tech has seen a resurgence of late under head coach Paul Johnson. Johnson takes a bit of a throwback approach incorporating both an option attack and a 3-4 defense into his scheme. How well Coach Gill and the Jayhawks handle both will be key as a Jayhawk win could be a huge confidence booster early in a season full of question marks.
A year ago the Yellowjackets finished their season with a final AP ranking of #13. Georgia Tech won the Coastal division of the ACC with a 7-1 conference mark and finished overall with an 11-3 record which included an ACC Championship game win followed by a loss to Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
Dwyer is gone, as is Smith both finding new homes in the NFL. Nesbitt however returns and the fact of the matter is, he drives the offense. Nesbitt is a tough, hard nosed quarterback and keeps the offense and the chains moving for the throwback Georgia Tech attack.
Allen will be called upon to carry a bigger role in the backfield and might be the top NFL prospect on the Yellow Jackets roster with early projections placing him in the 2nd to 3rd round range in next years draft.
Overall the offense returns 7 of 11 starters. The offensive line remains largely intact and could present problems for Kansas if the Jayhawks end up going small with Pat Dorsey and Richard Johnson Jr. The times Georgia Tech struggled, they faced a big physical defensive line that overpowered their mobile, athletic offensive front. Dorsey and Johnson wouldn't necessarily fit that mold.
On the defensive side of the ball the Yellow Jackets return 9 starters from a year ago. Now, the defense for the Yellow Jacketo did represent the major weak point of the team in 2009 as the Paul Johnson offense looked like a well oiled machine.
Bouncing around with schemes and personnel led to a middle of the pack defense in the NCAA. That led to a few changes at Tech.
This year the Yellow Jackets bring in Al Groh and a 3-4 scheme with the goal of finding an identity and making this a stronger aspect of their weekly attack. Overall the defensive coaching staff has seen a high amount of turnover, so much like Kansas the Yellow Jackets might be going through a few growing pains during the second game of the season.
This is going to be a big game for Kansas and it's exciting to welcome a strong non-conference opponent to Lawrence, but this might be a difficult year to do so. If Kansas can come away with a victory, early season expectations could jump as will the confidence of the team. With a loss, the only thing Kansas really loses is the opportunity to build some major momentum. Georgia Tech will probably be the popular pick in this one during week two.