Jackets prepare for Labor Day

Jon Barash

The Yellow Jackets will be in the spotlight on Labor Day as they will be taking on the No. 16 Virginia Tech Hokies in the final Week 1 matchup of the 2012 campaign. Questions about the Jackets’ depth chart continue to linger in the final days of preparation for the new season.


While it seems as if Tevin Washington has been penciled in as the starter at quarterback for the season opener, many still feel that at the first sign of trouble, backup Synjyn Days should be given an opportunity to shine at the position. With Stephen Hill now playing in the NFL, the wide receiver position seemingly will be occupied by Jeff Greene and Jeremy Moore. Since implementing coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense, the Jackets have had great success at developing their receivers into deep-ball threats, with Hill and current Peyton Manning-target Demaryius Thomas being taken high in the NFL Draft. Johnson and the rest of the staff seem to be highest on Moore, who is expected to take over the top receiver spot and display the talent that he was expected to prior to injuries hindering his progress.


The offensive line could be the Jackets’ strong point this season, as it’s filled with juniors and seniors looking to build on a solid, yet inconsistent 2011 season. The line will need to be solid for the team if Washington is to thrive in guiding the offense in his senior season. Senior guard Omoregie Uzzi and junior tackle Ray Beno return to help anchor an O-line that propelled an offense to an average of 34.3 points per game last season. The high-powered offense will meet a tough Virginia Tech defense that surrendered just 17.6 points per game in 2011, which was good enough for seventh-best in the nation.

The X-factor in this matchup may be whether or not the Jackets defense can come up with critical stops against a Hokies offense that looked stagnant at times in 2011. Even without senior linebacker Julian Burnett, who suffered a severe neck injury in the Sun Bowl, the Jackets still bring back enough depth from last season and should be much improved from 2011, when Al Groh’s unit allowed 26.1 points per game.

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