As the saying goes, it's not how you start but how you finish. And that saying has been the rallying cry for Georgia Tech Football after a roller coaster season that saw the Wrambling Wreck buzz onto the scene with 6 straight wins to begin the 2011 campaign but also watch the Jackets get stung losing 5 of the last 7, landing the Paul Johnson led team at 8-5.
"I think last year, we got off to a great start," says Johnson. "We just didn't finish like we would have liked to so that's a big priority heading into this season."
Johnson who is entering his fifth year in Atlanta says he is exciting about the upcoming season and what the offensive side of the ball plans to bring to the table. After losing another wide receiver to the NFL in the first round, Johnson and company says don't be misled, running the triple option will be the staple but there's always room for diversity. Starting running back, Orwin Smith agrees.
"I mean we're going to run, I mean rushing is our forte but as far as passing we've been working hard on it. We have the young guys out there running routes getting Tevin's timing down and if we can get that part of the game going we'll be great."
Smith rushed for more than 1100 yards over the past 2 years, along with 15 touchdowns feels the team has made big strides over the offseason and will be successful despite the loss of heralded defensive leader and captain, in Maconite linebacker Julian Burnett who plans to end his career after a Bowl game injury. Fellow defensive standout Rod Sweeting says it will be challenging.
"It's going to affect us big time," says Sweeting. "But right now he's our motivation by still coming around and working out with us."
And the road to an ACC title as well as a BCS National Championship is no small task either. And it starts on opening day kickoff.
Johnson explains, "In four years, I think we tied one year, won one year and finished tied for second in our division for the other two. Were usually up there battling for it, we just got to try to get over the hump; we haven't done that in the last couple of years. We got Virginia Tech, Miami and Virginia all in September. We got to get started a bit stronger and finish off better than we did a year ago."
The Yellow Jackets kickoff the season, Labor Day weekend against Virginia Tech on the road.