2012 ACC Preview - Day 3
Red shirt senior quarterback, Tevin Washington leads an veteran offensive attack for the Yellow Jackets in 2012
Ryan Trapp - Staff Writer
2011 Record (ACC): 10-4 (6-2)
Returning Starters (Off/Def/ST): 15 (7/7/1)
The defending ACC Champs have the offensive weapons to make a return trip to the Discover Orange Bowl in 2013. The one-two punch of quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins look ready to build upon a 2011 campaign that catapulted both players into national prominence. Andre Ellington will look to improve upon his 1,178 yard, 11 touchdown performance last season and All-ACC Center Dalton Freeman returns to lead a young offensive line. Incoming Safety Travis Blanks should add some serious depth to a secondary that returns all four starters. The Tigers lost some bulk in their front seven, but head coach and recruiting whiz Dabo Sweeney set his team up with arguably the best defensive class in 2013.
THE ROAD TO SOUTH BEACH
Clemson’s road to a second-straight Orange Bowl berth runs through a tough non-conference schedule which includes SEC opponents Auburn and South Carolina. The fact they‘ve played the Gamecocks well historically and snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Tigers last season bodes well for the crew from Death Valley. They’ll return to Lane Stadium on October 20th to try and make it three straight against the Hokies – who they took two games from last year by a combined score of 61-13. But it’ll be their ACC opener against the Seminoles in Tallahassee that could determine who sits atop the ACC Atlantic division come December.
2011 Record (ACC): 8-5 (5-3)
Returning Starters (Off/Def/ST): 15 (7/6/2)
Since Paul Johnson took over as head coach in 2008, Georgia Tech’s run game has ranked among the top-5 in the FBS each season. Tevin Washington returns for his second season as the Yellow Jackets starter and is a more proven passer than possibly any other quarterback Johnson has coached. He’ll have plenty of familiar faces to help along the way, with guard Omoregie Uzzi highlighting an offensive line which returns all five starters from last year. If Tech develops a consistent passing game to complement their rush there’s no limit to what this offense could produce. The Yellow Jackets added some elements on the defensive front in tackles Patrick Gamble and Rod Chungong who should sure up some of the problems they faced against the run last year. A hot start in 2012 could see them sitting atop the ACC in the end.
THE ROAD TO SOUTH BEACH
Georgia Tech has one of the tougher ACC draws, with road games at Virginia Tech, Clemson and UNC. Coach Johnson is just 1-3 against the Hokies, but two of those losses were by a touchdown or less. They dealt Clemson one of its two ACC losses last season and have bested the Tar Heels in three straight. Georgia Tech ran through the ACC in 2009 en route to their sixth Orange Bowl appearance, and could do so again this year behind Washington and company.
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