Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Southern Pigskin Preview has GT #7 in Football

Well, last year we were picked to finish 7th to 8th in football. We surprised a few people along the way. Southern Pigskin Preview is picking GT to finish #7, but they do admit picking 4-8 in the ACC is a crap-shoot. Guess what - we are back to 7th again. Of course, we know the value of pre-season prognosticators. Just ask last year's football team or the hoops team.


After losing three of their last four to finish the regular season, Georgia Tech rebounded emphatically with a 52-10 thrashing of Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl. The win ended last season on a positive note and prompted high hopes for 2004.

Reggie Ball
Quarterback Reggie Ball was thrown into the mix as an 18-year true freshman last season. As expected, his response was erratic at times, but for the most part Ball played with poise and leadership well beyond his years. He is a true dual-threat talent, and should only improve with a year of experience under his belt. Joining Ball in the backfield will be 1,000-tard rusher P.J. Daniels. The junior exploded on Tulsa last season, rushing for over 300 yards, and is a complete back with no real weaknesses. The offensive front features four senior starters, including stalwarts Brad Honeycutt and Kyle Wallace. At receiver, Nate Curry is the leading returnee, but look for Xavier McGuire to make a run at being the go-to target.

Few teams in the league are as consistent on defense as Tech. Whether it's scheming, coaching or personnel, that's debatable, but this year should be no different. It all starts up front where the Jackets will feature a line as feisty as any in the conference. Eric Henderson is a true All-American candidate with astounding pass rushing skills. Mansfield Wrotto is an inside space-eater and Travis Parker is a nice compliment to Henderson on the outside. Gerris Wilkerson is the only incumbent at linebacker and will have to tutor newcomers KaMichael Hall and Nick Moore. While Tech's front seven has garnered much of the attention in recent years, it's a defensive back who may be this team's best player. James Butler came out of nowhere in 2003 to record 119 tackles and five interceptions. He and budding corner Reuben Houston help make up a strong secondary.

With parity in the ACC at an all time high, Georgia Tech may get shuffled back a notch or two. Consistency, or lack thereof, has plagued the Jackets recently. In the new-look ACC, that variance could prove especially costly.

The also said that GT has the best defensive line unit in the ACC -
Defensive Line: Georgia Tech - Eric Henderson is the best lineman in the ACC, and Travis Parker and Mansfield Wrotto are both solid players. From end to end, it's a talented and sound group

Eric Henderson and James Butler make their All-ACC pre-season team, and Reggie Ball gets named the best running QB in the ACC. Of course what we would all like to see is Reggie become a better passing QB, so that he doesn't have to rely on his legs so much.