He also believes the Yellow Jackets’ offense needs all the good vibes it can muster.
With the season opener at No. 16 Virginia Tech five days away, Georgia Tech is still installing plays for a defense that returns nine starters and finished 10th nationally in average total yards allowed.
“It should be interesting,” Washington said this week. “They have guys who’ve played against our offense, but I think we’ll be all right.”
Virginia Tech has won the last two series matchups and four of the last five. It’s a meaningful trend — since 2005, the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech winner has earned the Coastal Division title and played in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
“They have a lot of guys coming back, but so do we,” B-back David Sims said. “Our offensive line is coming back. It’s pretty intact. They have guys who’ve played against our offense, but if we come out and do what we’re supposed to do, we should be pretty successful.”
Virginia Tech is likely to be without starting linebacker Tariq Edwards because of a stress fracture in his leg, but the Hokies’ defense seems primed to give Georgia Tech a tough matchup.
Three starters who were lost to season-ending injuries last year — defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins and linebackers Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Bruce Taylor — are healthy. Defensive end James Gayle, who had 12.5 tackles for lost yardage and seven sacks despite ankle injuries, is back, too.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller, named the Hokies’ defensive MVP last year, might slide up and play run support at linebacker to slow A-backs Orwin Smith and Robert Godhigh. Virginia Tech used Fuller similarly last year in beating the Jackets 37-26.
Georgia Tech still has several starting jobs unsettled in coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option attack.
Sims is the incumbent No. 1 B-back, but he spent much of summer camp nursing a stress fracture in his shin, so Johnson is considering Zach Laskey as a potential starter. Broderick Snoddy and Charles Perkins are also trying to earn some snaps, too.
“That’s going to be position by committee,” Johnson said. “There’s going to be two or three guys to play there.”
Johnson has yet to announce his two starting receivers. Jeff Greene and Chris Jackson are the candidates at one spot. Jeremy Moore and Darren Waller are candidates at the other, but none of the four has caught a pass in a game.
“I feel like whoever the starters are, they’ll be interchangeable,” Washington said. “One could step up and go in for the next guy. Those guys will be big contributors for us this season.”
As he shows every year, Johnson isn’t likely to call many pass plays. Since Johnson’s first season at Georgia Tech in 2008, the Yellow Jackets have averaged over 300 yards rushing per game, best among all FBS teams.
The Yellow Jackets didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher last year, but still finished with the nation’s second-best ground attack.
Their passing game, however, ranked 112th.
“You never know,” Washington said. “There’s always that chance we could surprise some people.”