Running Back Jonathon Dwyer
In Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech may finally have a coach to engineer a return to football glory. After years of suffering under former and habitually underachieving coach Chan Gailey, 2008 was a breakout year for the Jackets. Georgia Tech tied for 1st place in the ACC Coastal Division but more importantly beat the University of Georgia 45-42 for the first time in 8 years. The game being played in Athens,GA made the victory even sweeter. The Georgia Bulldog players and their fans appeared stunned losing to Tech. It certainly was a far cry from Georgia's expectations after beginning the season as the nation's #1 ranked team. As it is now, the Jackets are one spot ahead of Georgia in the BCS standings at #15.
First year coach Paul Johnson and his patented triple-option offense was surely the reason for the turnaround season and the victory over Georgia. The Jackets finished the regular season at 9-3 and today accepted an invitation to the Chick-fil-A Bowl to be played in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. The bowl is played between top ACC and SEC teams and has a combined payout of $6.01 million dollars (3rd highest payout after the BCS bowls).
Meanwhile, the awards keep coming. The ACC today named Paul Johnson the ACC Coach of the Year. In addition, CBSSports.com picked Johnson as the national Coach of the Year. The awards don't stop there. Jonathon Dwyer, Georgia Tech's running back and the main threat on their option, was named ACC Player of the Year. Defensive tackle Darryl Richard won the Jim Tatum award for being the outstanding student-athlete. Eight Jacket football players made the 2008 All-ACC honors.
Johnson's cerebral triple-option offense has potential to get much better. After all the attention, surely the other ACC coaches will be studying up on the Jackets' otion. However, the Jackets had a young team this year, and most of the key players will be coming back. If the Jackets can improve on their passing game, get more comfortable running the option, make better reads, and keep their solid defense, the YellowJackets could be serious contenders next season. Meantime, we'll get to watch the Jackets on New Year's Eve in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. welcome back Georgia Tech and Goooooooo Jackets!!