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Georgia Tech Football Preseason: Paul Johnson Discusses Julian Burnett, Upcoming Season

Georgia Tech's season opener against Virginia Tech is just days away, and head coach Paul Johnson gave an update on a variety of topics to beat writer Ken Sugiura.

The Yellow Jackets will play this season without one of their standout defenders from last season in Julian Burnett, whose career was cut short after a neck injury. Johnson acknowledged that losing a talented player like Burnett is difficult but said the team must move on.

Anytime you lose a player the caliber of Julian Burnett, it's certainly a blow to the football team, especially early. Clearly, he was one of the leaders on the team. He led the team in tackles. He was possibly one of our best players, might have been the best player. It'll be hard to fill that role, but that's what happens. You have to move on. We've got some young guys that'll step in, and hopefully they can fill the role and grow into it.

The opener against Virginia Tech figures to play a huge part in the race for the Coastal Division championship but Johnson thinks the race could be much larger, including four or five teams.

I think most everybody's returning their quarterback, which is usually pretty big. I think it'll play itself out. We'll see. Is there a marquee team? Possibly. But it could be four or five different teams. Until you really start playing, you don't really know. That's why I think the polls are useless until about Week 4 or 5. We'll see how it unfolds.

For more on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, head over to From The Rumble Seat, and be sure to check out SBNation's dedicated college football hub.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.