If you are a ramblin’ wreck, the 2015 college football season was almost painful to watch. Aside from blowing out a couple FCS schools and beating Florida State in almost impossible fashion, Georgia Tech did not play to the expectations following a season where they won the ACC Coastal and the Orange Bowl. Tech totaled three wins in the 2015 season, snapping a 19 year bowl appearance streak.
Analysts have attributed this seemingly random and sudden decline to injuries and Paul Johnson’s signature option offense.
From that first Saturday night of the college football season in downtown Atlanta, injuries were a problem for Georgia Tech. Players dropped liked flies, including several a-backs and b-backs, staples of the option. Also, linemen on both sides of the ball struggled to be healthy, and football games are won and lost in the trenches. It’s hard to run an offense built on rushing when most of your starting linemen are watching the game from the sideline, and it’s hard to put pressure on opposing offenses when guys like Adam Gotsis are in sweats instead of pads.
However, some analysts dismiss the injury problem all together. Every team struggles with injuries, and even though Tech struggled more than most, the opinion that the option offense is the problem is gaining traction. The rest of the ACC is quickly figuring out how to defend the attack, and while Justin Thomas is the perfect quarterback for running the flexbone spread option, he lacks in his passing game. Thomas isn’t inept at throwing the football, but accuracy leaves much to be desired. This absence of a passing attack reduces the offense to one dimension and makes scoring a longer and harder task. But this opinion that the option is no longer a recipe for wins in college football can be dismissed citing the success that Georgia Tech saw in 2014 or the emergence of Navy just last season.
So maybe 2015 was just a fluke year due to injuries piling up, or maybe it was a sign that the ACC has learned how to keep the option in check. Regardless, we know that Paul Johnson was not satisfied with the team’s performance and that Tech has the potential to win the Coastal like they did in 2014. Whether Tech rebounds or not is in the hands of Justin Thomas and the rest of the Yellow Jackets.