Players to know:
QB, Tevin Washington. A senior who has played meaningful games in each of the past three seasons, Washington is wrapping up a career that likely won't be remembered as fondly as his predecessor's. Joshua Nesbitt led the Jackets to two wins over the Seminoles in the two seasons before Washington took over under center full time. Playing a key role in Tech's run-based, spread option scheme, Washington has rushed for 618 yards and passed for 1,097 this season. Those numbers are considerably down compared to his 987-yard rushing, 1,652-yard passing showing as a junior. Washington currently leads the team with 18 rushing touchdowns.
QB, Vad Lee. Expect to see Lee at some point Saturday. The only question about the backup redshirt freshman is when he will make an appearance in the game. A dual-threat quarterback who has the athleticism necessary to run Johnson's offense, Lee has made numerous appearances this season, playing in every game but two. The reserve ranks fourth on the team in rushing with 489 yards. He also has passed for nearly 600. Lee has had his hand in 12 touchdowns. Some Jackets fans are optimistic that he'll be the quarterback of the future at Tech, and will lead a renaissance to Nesbitt's brightest days.
AB, Orwin Smith. As of now, it appears Smith may not play in Saturday's game. But Johnson, like FSU's Jimbo Fisher and other coaches, likes to be coy about any personnel changes he makes. So, there is still a chance that the Jackets' leading rusher and one of their top special teams threat could play this weekend. The A-back -- or the wing back for those unfamiliar with Tech's terminology -- has 673 yards and five touchdowns. He missed last weekend's game after suffering an injury against Duke the week before. From his position, Smith routinely will be handed the ball in motion or receive it in option pitches to either side of the field. In the pass-catching game, Smith has hauled in 17 receptions for 217 yards.
BB, Zach Laskey. The "B-back" in Tech's offense functions a lot like a fullback in a more traditional scheme. Often, players at the position will be handed the ball for runs up the middle, or can be used to fake a hand off in quarterback zone read runs. The B-back also can get outside and catch pitches and run outside the tackles like Smith, but he is more likely to try to push the pile forward. To illustrate that point, Laskey has lost just one yard all season. He has rushed for 623 total, and has one touchdown. He also has caught two touchdown passes.
WR, Jeff Greene. At 6-foot-6, the lead wide out was one of the Jackets' prized recruits of the 2011 signing class. The sophomore was brought in to replace Stephen Hill, the recent New York Jets second-round draft pick. Before Hill, current Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas was Johnson's primary go-to receiver. Since Tech's offense is predicated on running instead of passing, Greene isn't expected to see many balls thrown his way Saturday. The tall receiver has only caught 18 this season. That leads the team. As Johnson is apt to say, though, this offense is predicated on making its few passes "hurt." That means look for the Jackets to go deep downfield whenever they do throw. Seldom will they call for a short out route or drag or curl.
S, Isaiah Johnson. The junior defensive back leads the team in tackles with 82. He's had 22 stops in the last three games alone. When the Jackets brought Johnson to campus, they expected him to be a ball-hawking safety who could give them an interceptions jolt. They're still waiting on it. He had three interceptions last season, but this year, he has been more of a tackling safety. His high tackle numbers are in part a product of poor, changing play on Tech's defensive line. Halfway through the year, the Jackets fired defensive coordinator Al Groh and have tried to go from a 3-4 base setup to a 4-3 scheme.
S, Jemea Thomas. Thomas has turned into more of the pass-catching safety this season, coming away with three pickoffs. The junior also has benefitted, statistically, from the defensive line's poor play. He ranks second on the team in tackles with 74. He also has three tackles for loss.
LB, Quayshawn Nealy. The Lakeland native ranks third on the team in tackles with 68 total stops. While much has changed defensively for the Jackets this season, the sophomore has played his same, solid role in the heart of Tech's defense. In fact, his play appears to have gotten better since Groh's midseason firing. Nealy has had double-digit tackle performances twice since the defensive change was made. He didn't have any before it. The Jackets are hoping he'll have a bounce-back game this week, though, after being held to just one stop against Georgia last week.
LB, Jeremiah Attaochu. Arguably the Jackets' biggest defensive leader, Attaochu has had a steady impact in opposing backfields this season. The junior outside backer has 59 total stops, including nine that were deemed sacks. In the offseason, he became the team's vocal and emotional defensive leader after fellow linebacker Julian Burnett was diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury. Burnett suffered the injury during last year's Sun Bowl loss. After multiple tests and evaluations, doctors decided not to clear the small-statured, but promising linebacker.