Five Minute Guide to '99
9 Georgia Tech
The powerful Yellow Jackets have what it takes to make history repeat
Last season White proved that he has the makings of a quality receiver. Against Virginia he had six receptions for 243 yards and three touchdowns. In the fourth game of the season, against Clemson, however, he had a relapse of the dropsies. Five catchable balls went off or through White's hands. Eight weeks later in the Gator Bowl he caught second-half touchdown passes of 44 and 55 yards and shared the MVP award with Hamilton in the Yellow Jackets' 35-28 victory over Notre Dame. "There are not many times that you win 10 games, beat Georgia, win your conference championship and beat Notre Dame on January 1," offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen says. "That team will go down in history."
In the year after the year of the quarterback, Hamilton and Chris Redman of Louisville are the most prominent senior signal-callers in the nation. To boost Hamilton's profile, Georgia Tech sent CD-ROMs to Heisman voters that show Hamilton at his best. While the CD offers no hint of his singing talent, it shows that he knows how to dance. Hamilton's ability to make defenders miss is a vital part of the Yellow Jackets' offense, which moved the ball from every formation except the single wing a year ago. That ability to confuse opponents may be lost now that tailback Charlie Rogers is gone. Rogers could run, catch and block. The obligation to fill as many of those roles as possible falls to 5'10", 199-pound sophomore Joe Burns. He showed promise last season when he rushed for 474 yards and five touchdowns after he was inserted into the lineup at midseason because of injuries.
The big question for the Yellow Jackets is defense. Ted Roof, a former Georgia Tech linebacker and team captain, is the school's third defensive coordinator in as many seasons. Last year the Yellow Jackets stopped nobody (397.6 yards, 24.3 points per game) but compensated by returning seven fumbles for touchdowns, an NCAA record.
One thing seems certain: Hamilton will be better than ever. The onus is going to be on the defense and the special teams to match his brilliance. If they come close, this Georgia Tech team may go down in history as well.
-- Ivan Maisel
1998 record: 10-2 (7-1, tied for 1st in ACC)
Sept. 11 at Florida State
Nov. 27 vs. Georgia
Hamilton can carry the team only so far. If the defense can't improve on last season's shaky performance, the Yellow Jackets will be spending New Year's at home.
Five Minute Guide to '99
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