It's easy to look at the impressive résumé and reputation of Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and assume the Jackets will be a contender again in 2010. After all, just plug Anthony Allen in at B-back, and you've got another automatic 1,000-yard rusher, right?
But with the recent news that Georgia Tech has lost its third assistant coach in the past two months -- four including the firing of defensive coordinator Dave Wommack -- there are legitimate reasons to doubt whether Georgia Tech can repeat as Coastal Division champs. Johnson still has two more hires to make. The coaching changes, the departures to the NFL -- at some point, they begin to add up.
Despite the loss of the leading rusher (Jonathan Dwyer), the leading receiver (Demaryius Thomas), the top defender (Derrick Morgan) and top safety (Morgan Burnett), talent is not the question. Enough players have redshirted and worked their way into the rotation, and there is certainly enough depth in the backfield to support talented quarterback Josh Nesbitt that this staff will have the Jimmy's and the Joe's. What's in question is how quickly the defense can learn Al Groh's 3-4 scheme, how the assistant coaches will work together with essentially two head coaches on staff, and how it will all translate onto the field.
That's not to say anyone should count Georgia Tech out. But it is reason to think the opportunity is there for a new leader to emerge in the Coastal Division.