Sunday, August 28, 2011

Five Most Important Players To Make or Break Georgia Tech's 2011 Season

The Yellow Jackets open their 2011 season on Thursday, September 1st and are hoping to improve dramatically from a disappointing 2010. These five players will have a major impact on how successful Tech's season is.

5. Trey Braun - G
The true freshman has a good chance to start at Guard in the opener against Western Carolina. The moving of Jackson to the outside tells me that Head Coach Paul Johnson feels more comfortable with the freshman Braun at Guard than the current options at Tackle. If Braun can hold the position it may allow Freshman All-American Will Jackson to stay at tackle, which is the weakest position on the Tech's offensive line.

4. Julian Burnett - ILB
Johnson described Burnett as 'probably the best player on the team' back in the Spring and that statement still holds true. One of Tech's many ills on defense last season was stopping the run. If the Jackets don't do a better job stopping the run then it will be very hard to improve defensively.

Burnett is the best tackler on the team and his play at Inside Linebacker needs to be remembered by every team the Jackets play; Burnett needs to be a household name with ACC fans (and Georgia, Kansas, MTSU, and Western Carolina as well).

3. Tevin Washington - QB
Washington enters this season as the starter at QB. The importance of Washington's play obviously affects this season, but it could greatly affect the future too.

If the redshirt Junior can command the starting job all season then it lessens the need to play true freshman Vad Lee. Johnson has been very impressed with Lee's understanding of the offense, but he also knows the North Carolina native will have a much bigger impact in his fifth year than his first.

2. Logan Walls - NT
The 3-4 Defense Tech runs requires a player at nose tackle who can demand double teams and disrupt the backfield. Walls struggled at times last season, but has been praised as the leader of the defensive line thus far in Fall Practice. In his second season in this defense, Walls must step up and control the point of attack for the Jackets defense to improve.

1. Stephen Hill - WR
A wide receiver is the most important player for Georgia Tech's success in 2011? Without a reliable threat down field, defenses can stack the box against the run and force Tech to grind out drives increasing the chance for turnovers. Georgia Tech has failed to complete 50% of its passes in any season under Paul Johnson, but in the 11 win* 2009 season, the Jackets ranked 12th in passer rating despite being 116th in total passing yards. Any good engineer knows the need for efficiency and that is what Tech's passing game has to be.

Last season Hill said he was pressing to replace First Round Draft Pick Demaryius Thomas instead of being himself. For the Yellow Jackets offense to take off this season then Hill needs to make his own name at the receiver position.

Honorable Mention: Jeremiah Attaochu - OLB
Like Burnett, Attaochu needs to be a household name with ACC fans this season if the Jackets are going to improve dramatically on defense.

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