Pressure exerts pressure on the entire pipeline. As the pressure increases, more and more failure points are at risk. Welcome to the 2022 Georgia Tech football season.
The pipeline is full of pressure. Geoff Collins sits near the top of every preseason hot seat list. The recruiting class couldn’t find any interest with top-tier prospects. In fact, according to the latest state rankings of competitors released over the weekend, Georgia Tech doesn’t have a single commitment from the top 80 prospects. In addition to the usual suspects, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, UNC, UCF, Louisville, Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Duke, Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Purdue, Virginia Tech and Liberty are all high. This employee has decided to lock from the state level. The pressure never stops building on the recruiter’s front.
I have good information that many important donors will withhold all donations to GTAA until the administration is changed. The department has not released any information about the current ticket sales, and the only logical conclusion from the absence of information is that the reality is dark. The Clemson game — a guaranteed sellout at 55,000 Bobby Dodd Stadium and an expected sellout at full-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium — will be played without a fan in the upper deck, and Clemson says it’s GT’s idea. The pressure never stops building on the incentive front.
Jahmir Gibbs is a name everyone is talking about, but other notable players opted to leave the Georgia Tech program last season. Despite not having the obvious sack numbers, Jordan Dominique and Jared Evie both had impressive pressure numbers and were rated well by PFF. Both play or will play significant positions in the SEC West this season, and their transfers include a reference to the current “certainty” in the GT program. Despite this poor season, Georgia Tech will have a few players attractive to successful programs. The pressure never stops building in the locker room.
The recruiting, motivation and locker room pressure can’t last much longer than this year. Pressure relief should come one way or another by the end of this calendar year. If the field results go the way our numbers tell us, the pressure should be reversed with personnel changes that will change the top of the GTA and the entire football program. Of course, there will be a chance that the home team will work to ease the pressure on the Georgia Tech football program.
A good number of fans think I’m overly pessimistic, almost entirely because I haven’t given enough thought or attention to the improved coaching staff or the sense of revenue transfers. Of course, I’ve written several times this offseason about encouraging information related to these hires and transfers. But coaching changes and big transfer changes simply don’t have a consistent track record of improvement. They are also more likely to lead to bad outcomes. By themselves, they are no indication that the pressure will ease due to improved performance.
However, there is an opportunity for improvement on the field! There seems to be a relative consensus that the pressure relief will come from a 6-win season, including the first bowl appearance since 2018. How much can this be? My numbers say GT has an 8.4% chance of being good enough to get 6 expected wins on the schedule. Of course, there are other possible situations that could lead to 6 wins – an incredible chance of change, the program should exceed expectations. But expecting a team to win 6 games with this schedule means it has an 8% chance of happening. That’s okay, but it’s really impossible.
what does it look like I watched the 2021 UNC game over the weekend. That win felt better on replay than I remembered, but it did hint at an 8% score for GT. Namely, Jeff Sims was released as a dual-threat quarterback. He crushed UNC with his legs, and that gave him more room to operate as a passer. If Chip Long can harness that ability, Sims could have an 800 yard, 10 touchdown season in addition to reasonable improvement as a passer. That changes GT’s offense dramatically. On the other side of the ball, Jaylon King and Charlie Thomas both made impressive plays in the game. Both return, and Keon White has the upside to replace the missing Dominique/Ivey if not more of a threat up front. There is an 8 percent result, which seems pretty good.
A dynamic dual-threat quarterback, constant hustle up front and relentless play in the backfield (8%) is a recipe that could lead to 6 expected wins while reducing pressure throughout the pipeline. If not, the pressure relief valve should be deployed within the next few months. And that would be really different.