Through the years, the Georgia Tech football program hasn’t been able to build on its success. When the Yellow Jackets have a good season, they follow it up with one that that’s not so good.
It happened in 2010. Georgia Tech was coming off a 10-3 season and an Orange Bowl appearance and went 6-7. After a bounce back to 8-5 in 2011, the Yellow Jackets fell off slightly to 7-7.
The most recent example came after the 2014 season, when the Yellow Jackets went 11-3 and won the Orange Bowl. That was followed by a 3-9 season, but the lack of success then was more a factor of a ton of injuries that knocked out starter after starter.
“Two years ago was an enigma,” Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. “Anybody that was paying attention realized all the injuries, and it was a freak deal, and you have those sometimes.”
This season, the Yellow Jackets have another chance to build something special. They were 9-4 last year and won the TaxSlayer Bowl. The last thing the players want is to see the team achieve less success.
The players understand the issue, too. They took a businesslike approach to the problem when they addressed the issue during the offseason.
“We got together one Sunday and discussed it as a team,” senior defensive end KeShun Freeman said. “We made a PowerPoint presentation and talked about it. We talked about breaking the cycle where when we had a good season, the next season wasn’t as good.”
Freeman, a four-year starter, and the team’s other leaders are hoping that the club will benefit by bringing the pattern to the attention of the players, especially those new to the program or the incoming freshmen.
“This offseason, everything we did was very intentional,” Freeman said. “We made sure everyone was going the extra mile so we can have a better team. We’re going into the season expecting to have a strong season because we had a strong offseason. Each guy is motivated, and now we have to do a little extra.”
The team worked in helmets and shorts Saturday and practiced inside the John and Mary Brock Football Facility. The Yellow Jackets were able to put on shoulder pads Sunday but still were not allowed to tackle.
On Saturday, Qua Searcy was the offensive star, catching a pass between two defenders during seven-on-seven drills and stretching out to snag a 17-yard pass. The defensive star was senior defensive back Corey Griffin, who broke up a pair of passes. Junior safety Josh Selembo, who is trying to earn some playing time, intercepted a pass at the goal line.
On Sunday, a pair of freshmen made big plays during practice. Wide receiver Adonicas Sanders caught a long touchdown pass on a post route, and defensive back Caleb Oliver jumped a route to grab an interception and return it all the way.
Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner will be a presenter at the USA Basketball Las Vegas Coach Academy later this month. The event features many of the nation’s prominent basketball coaches who deliver on-court and off-court sessions on basketball and leadership.