Friday, December 31, 2004

Hoops Notes

A complete release for the Kansas game with stats and commentary galore. This was the most interesting comment imo:

On Tech's defense - "I decide if a kid can play a position if he can guard the position. Right now, Theodis Tarver can play the four, because he can guard a four, especially a four in the ACC. Isma'il Muhammad can play the three, because he can guard a one, two or three. That's the hardest thing to decide. A lot of people think you can play a spot because you can score from that spot."
"This team is very gifted athletically, we know that. But the reason I think we can bebetter defensively than we ever have been is experience. We’re athletic and experiences, and then you add freshmen who are physically better than what we had in the past.


On who has made the most improvement defensively - "I would day Will Bynum.
Last year there were times I felt I couldn't keep him in the game if he wasn't scoring. Now I feel very comfortable with him. Against Illinois-Chicago, he didn't score, but he did some very good things defensively and I felt comfortable leaving him out there. Against Michigan, he scored, and he defended. He was great. It was probably the best defensive effort he has had."

Patience - will it pay off for GT?

Story on being patient with your college coach. In fact, this reference to Dave Braine being patient with Frank Beamer:

Beamer managed a couple of winning seasons before Virginia Tech took two more steps backward, tumbling all the way to 2-8-1 in '92. At that point, no one would have blamed the Hokies for going in a different direction.


But then-athletic director Dave Braine, a former coach himself and now at Georgia Tech, decided to stick with Beamer. That turned out to be a stroke of genius. The Hokies went 9-3 in '93, won the Independence Bowl and haven't looked back.

''I was fortunate to have Dave Braine,'' Beamer said Wednesday, ''and a president and vice president who realized we had the foundation in place to be OK.''


Here's another story along the same lines with this on Beamer:

"It depends on who your administrators are," Beamer said. "I was fortunate to have (former AD) Dave Braine, who's now the AD at Georgia Tech, and a president and vice president that realized we had the foundation in place to be OK.


"I think now, that with the Internet and the talk shows, people want to react quickly. They want results quickly and this is not a business that it usually happens quickly."


Beamer added, "I don't think you can speak for the group (coaches) as a whole, but I certainly think there have been a couple of situations where you question if they gave the coach enough time."


Here's a story mentioning GT alumni Frank Broyles, with more on coaching and security.


Here's a story about perspective in college football.


In other coaching news, could Bill Lewis end up as the DB Coach at Notre Dame??


On the recruiting front, Ted Roof continues to mine the state of Georgia for talent.

Recruiting - Hoops

The class of 2007 is shaping up as a potential blockbuster for the Jackets. The only disappointment - not a bunch of scholarships to give out. This on Gani Lawal, a VERY talented player who has been to campus and has GT on his list along with Duke, Kentucky, Bama, Auburn, UGAg....... Here's another kid, Gary Johnson, who is receiving interest from the GT staff, although he seems enamoured with Roy Williams and Coach K....... Here's more random recruiting notes from a Kentucy site.


For the class of 2005, things might not be over yet. The Jackets are looking for another big guy. While not a center, the Jackets appear interested in 6'7" Martellus Bennett. A dual-sport guy (tight-end in football), he is considering both sports.


In a look back at last year's recruiting, this on the top stories in the state of GA, including Randolph Morris chosing KY over GT. Of course they forgot to mention that Morris was looking for something less challenging academically. By the way, he was so close to chosing the NBA, and now he is dominating the collegiate game with 10 pts and 4 boards per game.

Bowl Records

Courtesy of "Goldtimer" at the Hive, this look at the best winning % of bowl teams through some of the 2004 bowl season....... Here's more from the collegefootballwarehouse.......Here's a look at a bunch of bowl records right from the NCAA website.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Hoops Fix

TECH WILL GIVE KANSAS A TOUGH TEST


JAYHAWKS LOOK TO AVENGE NCAA LOSS


LANGFORD HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE


TECH VISITS KANSAS



MATCH-UP OF THE WEEK

In the stat of the week, Kansas has won their first game of a new year 17 years in a row.


GT ON KU'S MIND


2004 EVENTFUL FOR KU


JAYHAWKS ADJUSTING ON THE FLY


JAYHAWK NOTEBOOK


KU PREPARING FOR REMATCH


SHOOTER MORROW ON TARGET


BOBBY CREMINS CALLS CLEMSON GAME
I caught some of Cremins and former Tiger coach Cliff Ellis on the broadcast the other night against E.Carolina. That team features Tommy Hammonds Jr. That's right, the son of the former Jacket star. They did a nice little piece about Tommy Sr. and showed some old footage.


HAMMONDS TAKING NEW CAREER FOR SPIN
Speaking of Sr., he is getting into the broadcasting game (he currently owns his own car dealership).


FRESHMAN DO DAMAGE IN BLOWOUT


GT BENCH RAISES THE BAR


GT RIPS LAFAYETTE
An interesting point in this article - Lafayette is a school that does not award scholarships. Brings new meaning to the term recruiting.


ACC STILL KING OF THE HILL

Bowls Pile on the Gifts

Interesting story about the bling-bling the players get for their bowl appearances, including X-Box's, DVD players, watches, clothes, cameras, etc. So much for the "purity" of college athletics. Ahh, heck, the players deserve it. What's a few hundred bucks per player when they are making big Benjamins for their schools......... Here's another story on bowl gifts....... Along the same lines.....One more story for good measure.....

Recruiting - Football

Well, it's been an up-and-down recruiting season for the Jackets. What was looking like Gailey's most promising class has had a little bit of air taken out with the loss of Todd Walker and Carlos Thomas. However, the current signees are some real talented players and we know that Coach is an outstanding evaluator and developer of talent. In addition the fat lady doesn't start singing until February during signing day and there are some big recruits with GT in their final list. So stay tuned.


In recent news, it did become official that Carlos Thomas dropped the Jackets. While nothing is official on why, it appears that academics were the reason. Here's a story on him............. In QB recruiting we seem to be the leader for Jonathan Garner, a former U of Florida commit who de-committed when Urban Meyer told him he wasn't the style QB that fits his offense. Here's what he said about the Jackets:


When asked if he had a favorite at this point, Garner said, "Right now it's probably Georgia Tech." When asked what he liked about GT he stated, "I know the coaches real well. I know Buddy Geis pretty well. And the players, I met a few of them like Kenny Scott & LeShawn Newberry. And it's just a real good school."

Here's more on Garner from the Orlando Sentinel.


........ In running back recruiting, we are still heavy in the running for Maurice Wells, the super-talented back out of Florida. Recent stories lead you to believe it is really a toss-up, with no clear favorite. Wells will announce in mid-January. It is down to GT and Ohio State. For awhile it appeared that we were tied with Miami as the final choices for the #1 fullback prospect in the nation - Kalvin Bailey. However, he surprised a lot of people last week by chosing the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here's another story on Bailey........... Current GT recruit Tony Clark was named to the all-greater Savannah Area football team.

James Butler Nailing Down Priorities

Well, James Butler is almost relegated to the "Where are they now" segment - but not yet. Nice story on Butler after his final game at GT.

Recruiting - Hoops

Recruiting for the class of 2005 in hoops is not complete until spring signing day, but the four guys who have inked with the Jackets so far are good enough for the 14th best class in the nation, per Scout.com (insiders).

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

LSU "Compromises" in football Scandal

The LSU Cheaters...... I mean Tigers, have settled with one of the "kinesiology" instructors that was told to "keep her mouth shut" about plagerized papers from football players. The case involving the other kinesiology professor that flunked 10 players that would have been ineligible for the Peach Bowl (where LSU beat our YellowJackets) is still pending. Those players were given "extra credit" during the summer and their eligibility was re-instated for the game:

Another kinesiology instructor, Tiffany Mayne, also sued LSU in 2002. Mayne said she gave 10 football players failing grades in an introductory course in fall 2000, but the athletes got extra credit with a post-semester study session intended to keep them eligible to play in the Peach Bowl. LSU won the game in Atlanta, defeating Georgia Tech. Mayne's lawsuit, unlike that of Owen, is still pending.


This story is yet another example of the "win at all cost" mentality that is driven by fans and boosters and of course the mighty dollar.


Let's break this down. LSU was a struggling football program. They bring in a guy by the name of Nick Saban. He starts to turn the program around, bring in "better" players, and beats Georgia Tech on December 29, 2000 in the Peach Bowl.


It can be argued that this was a turning point for the LSU program. Under Gerry DiNardo, the Tigers were 7-15 in the previous two seasons. In Saban's first year he goes 8-4 and wins the Peach Bowl. In 2003, LSU goes on to win a share of the national champsionship and now Nick Saban is the king of the SEC and considered one of the top coaches in the game. Now Saban takes the Miami Dolphins head coaching job any day now, so Saban will become teflon man.


Now, let's go back to perceptions for a minute. This guy is held up as one of the most respected coaches in the profession. Yet, he and his staff cheated to win, and the school is trying to keep it quiet and avoid "admitting blame". How - payouts - hush-money.


So we have a cheater at LSU who won a National Championship who is held up high as a shining star. At Notre Dame we have a coach who was fired even though "the program was in the best shape ever", more players were graduating, and in the AD's words "from Sunday to Friday the program was in fantastic shape". The problem - Saturday. The media tried to turn the firing of Ty Willingham into a black/white thing. Forget that. It was a winning/losing thing - period. It was a money thing. Boosters don't like going 6-5. They want National Championship contenders every season. Now Notre Dame is the laughing stock of the sports world. Everyone knows that ND is a loser-job, a no-win situation. Just ask Urban Meyer (you are the man!).


Folks, when you complain about Chan Gailey, you are feeding into the win-at-all-cost mentality that drives AD's to fire people. What if VaTech had fired Frank Beamer after his early years of mediocrity? They didn't. They exercised patience and look how it has payed off. They have a coach who has built a perennial power, with program stability.


You want Chan Gailey gone? Fine. Get ready for the carousel of coaches over the next 10 years. Because that is what will happen. Get ready for the loss in credibility. You want Georgia Tech to be LSU on the football field? Is that what you want? Look what LSU had to do to get there. Look at Ohio State and revalations by Maurice Clarett. You do not compete for National Championships EVERY season and stay in the top 10 without cutting corners, steering recruits to easy majors and skating them through the system. That's the fact, and the NCAA is doing their best to hide that from the general public. Only with whistle-blowers do they spring into action to save their own reputation.


Georgia Tech is one of about 6 programs that have NEVER been put on probation. NEVER. You want that to change? If we start landing in the top 10 over the next couple of years, and it comes out that we cheated to do it, you going to be ok with that? Not me.


The reality is that the colleges with truly clean programs CAN compete, but not EVERY year in the top 10. To do so, you have to set your standards lower, like say - accepting a recruit who has been arrested 10 times in 5 years (a la Miami), then trying to convince the public that you are acting as Mother Teresa and will rehabilitate him for society. Oh, by the way, did I mention that he was the #1 defense recruit in the nation? Miami never said they would try to straighten the ways of anyone who isn't in the top 200 in nation out of high school.


Right now, Coach Gailey is battling with the admissions office to get a few kids accepted that don't have the GPA or SAT that matches Georgia Tech's standards. One of them had already verbally committed and has now de-committed for that very reason. But you know what - I'm ok with that. I hate that a VERY talented football player wants to be at GT, but cannot get in, but that's life. That's Georgia Tech. That's why a degree from GT is special. It means something. But it also means that we aren't going to win 10 games EVERY year. But you know what - we can be VERY competitive every year. We can compete for the ACC title consistently. We can have a program that stays in the middle of the pack or better. And once in awhile we will compete for the big prize. Don't forget, Georgia Tech was the last state school to win a national championship in football, not the kennel-club in Athens.


Bottom-line, I'm fed up with the hypocritical way college athletics is run. I'm tired of fans who have no concept of building a program. But the reality is that it is driven by money, which means fans and boosters. It is what it is. Chan Gailey may NOT be the man to lead us into the future, but he hasn't done anything to warrant an early exit from his contract. He deserves his time in the sun, and so does GT's reputation.


Having said all that, I sure hope Chan Gailey can win more than 7 games next season. :-).


One last comment on LSU. Kineseology? Are you kidding me? Isn't this also known as "PE" (Phys Ed)? They cannot even get passing grades in PE? Don't try and convince me that LSU has a culture towards a "student-athlete". It's "athlete" all the way.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Morrow leads Jacket attack

The Jackets take down Lafayette Leapards 92-58. On this day 16 years ago Dennis Scott set the 3pt GT record with 11 bombs. Tonight Anthony Morrow shot the lights out, but didn't come close to that record (ok - a tease I know). Morrow ends the game with 20 points on 7-11 shooting (6-10 from 3pt). This was actually an 8 point contest until Morrow went on a shooting barrage, putting the game way out of reach. It was a nice night for a lot of Jackets. And guess who was the 2nd leading scorer? Try fellow freshman Ra'Sean Dickey.


However, once again, we play one good half of basketball. Check out the "GameFlow" Graph:



That about says it all. So here are my comments:


1. The Freshman are making their mark. If you can believe this, in the postgame interview Coach Hewitt said that losing to Gonzaga was his fault because he didn't find a way to play Anthony Morrow more minutes and they needed someone to hit some shots against the zone they were playing. Ra'Sean Dickey continues to play solid minutes, as does Buck Fredrick. Here's the thing - they all had good offensive skills. But what's happening is that they are learning how to play Georgia Tech defense, Paul Hewitt style. Morrow ended with 2 steals, 2 assists, 2 boards. Dickey ends with a block and 6 boards to go with his 15 points (6-10). And those stats were generated in a mere 15 minutes - so you project that out over 30 minutes and wow!! Heck, Morrow only showed 14 minutes in the box score. Talk about using your minutes..... Buck Fredrick also used his 9 minutes well, scoring 6 (2-5), 1 board, 1 block, 1 assist, 2 to's.


2. Playing a full game. I said it already. We have yet to put together 2 full halves of basketball. A wonderful 2nd half - a terrible first half. That's good enough to crush Lafayette, but not Kansas.


3. The defense was solid once again, holding Laf to 35% (21% 3pt).


4. Rebounding was suspect if you ask me. We out-boarded Laf 37-30, but the last 4 games we have not held any significant rebounding advantage. Before those games we were leading the ACC in rebounding margin.


5. J.Jack had a solid game, ending with 10 pts (4-9), although he was 1-5 from 3pt. He also had 9 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal and 3 to's. Will Bynum had a solid game with 10 pts (3-6), 5 boards (2 off), 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 to.


6. BJ Elder continues to be a mystery. He scores 5 pts (2-9) and goes 1-5 from 3pt. One rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 to's. He did get into foul trouble early and never got on track. He ended with 22 minutes.


7. Elder isn't the only guy seeing his play suffer. Another less-talked about story is the lack of showing by Theodis Tarver. Tarver ended tonight after playing 5 minutes, dishing 1 assist and committing 1 foul. That's the extent of his stat-line. When coach says he has to find a way to get the freshman in the game, obviously that means getting those minutes from someone else. Right now Dickey is taking those minutes from Tarver, but he's not the only one. I think McHenry has seen his time increase as well. I sure wish Theodis would step up his game. Maybe we'll hear more about his development soon.


Time to get ready for the real-deal now. No cupcakes from here on out. You can only beat up on the Lafayette's and Georgia's of the world for so long :-). The real season starts January 1 with Kansas and it doesn't stop until March. I THINK that every game from here on out is broadcast on TV somewhere so tune in and fasten your seatbelts. The pre-season is over. GO JACKETS!!!!

Barry Family Looking for XMas Miracle


Picture from AJC (Billy Smith II / Staff)

This is a MUST-READ story on the Barry family, and the struggles of Drew and a daughter with cancer. It chronicles the Barry family and the 4 son's struggle into adulthood after their father deserted them. It really puts things in perspective about what's important during the holiday season. Complaining about how well a QB plays seems so trivial and petty after reading this. SO READ IT!!! In fact, I'm going to keep it at the top through the rest of the year as a reminder to spend some time with your families, hug them and quit complaining!! That goes for me too.

"For little children to be sick, it just isn't fair," Drew said. "As for a prognosis, we have to look at it like, 'OK, it could be worse.' Better to be 'fair' than 'poor' or 'terminal.' We know the battle we're in for." Kylie has just finished her third round of chemotherapy, complete with the aftereffects of nausea and hair loss. With the new year, doctors are hoping the tumor has been reduced enough to make surgical removal possible. There will follow more chemo, radiation and stem cell infusion. Anything to maybe tip unfavorable odds (a 40 percent survival rate).


"We used to be able to kiss it and make everything go away," Raquel Barry said, "but the hard part is we can't do that now."

Where is BJ Elder

He sat out the 2nd half of the last game. So far he's 2-9 tonight against LAF with only 16 minutes played (10 minutes to go)....... Now the media is asking the same question:


STILL WAITING TO FILL POTENTIAL


I have to admit. It is strange. Elder is just a different kind of guy. He's low-key, soft-spoken, almost introverted. He doesn't talk a lot (in public). There is a Charlotte-based radio show (The PAC-MAN - Billy Packard's son) that had Elder as a radio guest during last season's NCAA tourney run. Elder was clearly not helping them at all by expounding on questions. It was "yes" and "no" and not much more. PACMAN said he would never have Elder on again and that he was the worst interview ever. I don't re-call this story to bring negative attention to the young man. Just to make the point that as fans we have all these expectations about how these kids will represent themselves. But the bottomline is that he is in his early 20's and he's not a extrovert. He's a guy who likes to let others take the limelight. That's ok, but it doesn't mean he cannot be more aggressive on the floor.


Whatever it takes, I just want to see him excel and show what he is capable of so he can play at the next level, if that's what he wants.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Recruiting - Michael Johnson

Mention of Johnson, a football player who has committed to GT (and is also thinking of walking-on to the hoops team):

From Dallas County, TE/DE Michael Johnson makes the squad. Johnson has given a verbal commitment to Georgia Tech and had 14 sacks and 91 tackles for the Hornet.

"Michael is ranked number one in his class, he has a 4.3 GPA," Dallas County coach Rick Bush said. "He has also demonstrated outstanding work habits and excellence in the classroom and on the field."

Hall-of-Fame Artist Dies

Story here.

His work took him across the country from Las Vegas to Georgia, where he drew portraits for the Georgia Tech All-American Hall of Fame. Later he did portraits for the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame.

A look back to 1995

An interesting article looking back at the 1995 basketball season through the eyes of a Street & Smith hoops preview issue.

How about the teams that are in it now? No. 2 Illinois was picked to finish fourth in the Big 10 back in 1995. No. 4 Syracuse was tabbed as the fourth-best in the Big East. And No. 6 Georgia Tech was picked eighth in the ACC, with the magazine noting that prized freshman Stephon Marbury might be the only bright spot for the Yellow Jackets.


The four All-America teams from the 1995 preview featured five true centers, including Tim Duncan, Marcus Camby, Erick Dampier, and Lorenzen Wright.


Of course, we don't need proof to know that college basketball is no longer a game of big men. Look at the top teams in the country. Few have dominant big men and most are guard-driven. College basketball is all about speed these days.


There are still big guys, and teams with the big guys -- as long as they can counteract the opposition's speed -- have a decided advantage. But the big men you see now aren't always polished and typically aren't dominant. Georgia Tech's Luke Schenscher is a talented player now, but he was a project just a few seasons ago......

Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Chris Bosh / Ed Nelson Year

Gregg Doyel over at Sportsline has an interesting article about teams that are trying to do what GT did last season - lose their best 2 bigmen, and then go on to win 28 games. Story here.

It made no sense when Georgia Tech lost its two most productive big men from a 16-win team in 2002-03, including freshman Chris Bosh to the NBA, and responded with 28 wins -- and a spot in the 2004 NCAA championship game.


Not that Bosh was selfish, because he wasn't. But teammate Ed Nelson, a 6-8 center who had the same shots-per-minute ratio as Bosh but half the talent, was an offense-bogging big man. In some ways so was Bosh, but not for the same reason. The Jackets had awesome guards in 2002-03 -- Jarrett Jack, B.J. Elder, Marvin Lewis -- but they deferred to Bosh because he was so good. Add in the Nelson factor, and you've got an offense that didn't maximize its perimeter gifts.


Jackets coach Paul Hewitt understands how it can happen.


"Sometimes when you have a big guy who has an advantage down low, your players feel they have to give him the ball," Hewitt says. "When you do that, you overlook some open shots. But believe me, we'd have been better last season with Chris Bosh."

Friday, December 24, 2004

Where are they now - Jay Payton

Payton is back with his college buddy Jason Varitek. Of course Nomar is gone, or it would have been the tri-fecta. Story here..... This writer questions if Jay Payton's psyche can take a trade like this:

A Zanesville native, Payton was traded from San Diego to the world champion Red Sox Monday night for a light-hitting, injury-prone centerfielder in Dave Roberts. The same Dave Roberts who never cracked the everyday lineup in Cleveland, and who never has been able to hit or get on base consistently.



Nice words from the writer:

Jay is one of the most forthright, understanding guys that I have ever met. When he wasn't playing full time after he slumped midway through the season last year -- he needed to hit .360 in September just to finish at .260 -- he never once complained publicly. This guy is admirable in every sense of the word, in that respect...........


Now he is off to Boston. Payton's character has been tested before and it's definitely going to be tested again. His biggest test won't be hitting and fielding in Fenway Park. For that, his game is tailored perfectly.


This is a test of his patience, something that has never let him down throughout the course of his career. Regardless, Payton will make the most of his situation.


He doesn't know any other way.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Recruiting - Hoops

Coach Hewitt attended the Palm City Classic last Thursday. Story here.


On a side note - evidently UGAg signee (but NBA bound) Louis Williams can dunk:

Williams threw down a sensational dunk in the first round. South Gwinnett senior Mike Mercer held the ball in the paint, Williams sprinted to Mercer, grabbed the ball as he jumped, put the ball through his legs and powered down a one-hand jam.


"Best dunk of the night," said Boston Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe, who was one of the celebrity judges. "It's amazing what these young people can do."

Hoops Fix

The Jackets win in another romp last night against a much lesser opponent - crushing Charleston Southern Bucaneers 90-48. Honestly, I'm not sure it's worth breaking down the game. I listened on the internet since it was not a TV game. However, I will make a few points:


1. Free Throws. Ok, the team finally put together a good night at the line, shooting 77% (23-30), led by Isma'il of all people who went 6-7. Now let's do it when it counts. The only guys last night who struggled were the freshman Dickey and Fredrick, who combined for 5-10. However, the real story is that those freshman combined got to the line 10 times. Which leads to.....


2. Minutes. Nobody got more than 25 minutes in this game. Also, other than Keith Jones at clean-up time, nobody got less than 14 minutes (Tarver). In fact, the 3 freshman - Morrow, Dickey and Fredrick all had season highs for playing time. Tarver has just not elevated his game yet and it appears Ra'Sean Dickey is asserting himself in the post. The big storyline - why did BJ Elder sit out the 2nd half? Here's what Coach Hewitt had to say:

"He didn't do anything wrong. I just made a decision," said Hewitt, who apparently was upset with Elder's effort.


"He has a lot more to give," he said. "I've run out of time to get it out of him. He's our best all-around talent. I don't know what to do. Hug him, yell at him. I just want to see B.J. be the best all the time."


Wow, pretty strong words. But you know what - for years we all struggled with the roller-coaster that was Marvin Lewis. Not that he made lots of mistakes, but that he would go entire game as the invisible man. So Lewis is gone, but BJ has evidently not stepped up to his potential, and Coach is doing something about it. Tough decision for sure, but the mark of a leader.


Here's what coach said about playing the freshman:

"You're going to see those guys play a little more because the one thing they can do is score," Hewitt said. "I've just got to find a way to get them in the lineup."


Hhhhhmmmm. BJ Elder is supposed to be our #1 scorer, but a statement is being made. That leads us to the......


3. Freshman. The three freshman combined last night for 26 points (9-17), 10 boards, 2 assists, 3 to's, 2 blocks, 2 steals. A nice night's work from the youngsters. Ra'Sean Dickey is making it clear that he wants to be THE man in the post. Dickey played 17 minutes, scored 9 points (3-5), grabbed 6 boards and had a block. Anthony Morrow continued his lack of guilt from the perimeter, ending the night with a career high 11 points (4-7, 2-5 from 3pt). He also had a monster block in the game, which might lead you to believe that his defense is coming on strong................. You know, you watch what is happening and you can see the competitive environment that Coach has created. The players are a tight unit, but they are all full of pride. For a few games Buck saw
his minutes grow and Morrow all but disappeared. Then Morrow started hitting some bombs in the few minutes he was getting, and now he's seeing his time grow. BJ Elder was sent a clear message last night - EVERYONE has to earn their minutes.


4. Quote of the night. From Charleston Southern head coach Jim Platt:

"It's pretty much like a freight train hitting you and you are kind of standing on the tracks waiting for it to come because I think that's pretty much the way it feels," Buccaneers coach Jim Platt said.


5. Other than the Elder, the core group of Jack/Schenscher/Muhammad had a good night. Isma'il scores 16 (5-7), grabs 5 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 to's. Jack ends with 13 pts( 4-7), 4 boards, 5 assists, 1 to, 4 steals. Luke scores 14 (6-8), grabs 7 boards, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 3 to's. In fact, the team shot 60.8% from the floor, the highest of a Paul Hewitt team. Again, let's do this against some real competition.


6. The defense played strong again, holding the Bucs to 31.7% FG% and 22.7% from 3pt range. The Jackets forced 19 turnovers and converted them into 34 points - pretty darn efficient. Of the 19 turnovers, 12 were from steals, which is impressive. Listening to the game on radio, it was not clear how open the Buc's shots were.


Here are some stories from the game:


GT ROLLS PAST CHARLESTON SOUTHERN


BOX SCORE


PHOTO GALLERY


BACK TO THEIR WINNING WAYS
Good article here with some different quotes. Jack on Elder:

"We all know B.J. can get it going at any given time," point guard Jarrett Jack said. "I know he'll be ready to play when we step on the court against Lafayette (next Tuesday)."


Anthony Morrow on hitting some shots:

In all, five Yellow Jackets scored in double figures, including freshman Anthony Morrow, who scored a career-high 11 points.


"It's giving me some confidence," said Morrow, who played a season-high 18 minutes Wednesday after playing just three in a loss to Gonzaga on Saturday. "It takes a whole team. We're all going to have to be ready to compete in the ACC."


TOP 20 GAME RE-CAPS

The Aftermath

Lots of nice stories on the Champs Sports Bowl. I tried to include only ones that had some different stuff, to minimize repeats:


JACKETS WIN CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL


REGGIE HAS A BALL - Savannah Morning News


GOOD SIDE OF REGGIE SHOWS UP FOR JACKETS


BALL, JACKETS END WITH BOWL HIGH


JACKETS STING 'CUSE


BALL TAKES IT EASY, HAS BIG GAME


JOHNSON PUTS HURT ON ORANGE


5 THOUGHTS ON CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
From CFN.com


TECH SAVES BEST FOR LAST
Good comments on the O-Line

Syracuse's Diamond Ferri credited Georgia Tech's offensive line play. They dominated the line of scrimmage physically, and Ferri, a safety, often had to shake their blocks to make tackles downfield.


Daniels agreed with Ferri's assessment.


"I had holes big enough to drive a truck through," Daniels said. "That's all I need. They're blocking somebody for a second or two and all the sudden they feel a gush of wind. They say 'There goes P.J.'"



DANIELS EXCELS IN RETURN TO THE FIELD
Official attendance figures - 28,237, which is actually up for this bowl over the last few seasons............. Didn't know that E.Henderson was fighting a hamstring pull............Is it fitting that Travis Bell misses his first FG attempt of the season and misses his last, but makes every one of them in between?


JACKETS GET OFFENSE IN GEAR


ORANGE CRUSHED


ORANGE TROUNCED BY GT IN ORLANDO


TECH WRECKS ORANGE


GT CRUSHES ORANGE


JACKETS ROUTE ORANGE


YELLOW FEVER, TECH WRECKS ORANGE


GAME RE-CAP - Sports Network


GAME RE-CAP #2


GAME RE-CAP #3


"MINOR" BOWL STILL LOOKS LIKE CHAMP TO SOME


BOWL COULD WEIGH HEAVILY ON COACHES FUTURE
An article written just before the bowl game. Obviously it is likely to impact Syracuse hc now.


ALL-TIME BOWL RECORDS


PASQUALONI STILL ON THE HOT SEAT


STINGING DEFEAT

GROSS: NO TIMETABLE FOR COACH ISSUE


REYES HURT IN BOWL GAME


MARRIAGE OF BOWL/SPONSOR LEAVES NO COMPLAINTS

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Wow - The Boys are Back in town!!!

Wow, what a performance. The Jackets absolutely dominate Big East co-champion Syracuse in a romp 51-14. And you know what - it wasn't even that close. Let's go through some points:


1. Orlando is such a beautiful place for the Jackets. We should send Clemson a Christmas present for getting into that little brawl with USC.


2. I am incredibly happy for our seniors, who get to go out on a high note. Major props to Tubugbo Anyansi, Omar Billy, Robby Brown, Nathan Burton, James Butler, Nate Curry, Jimmy Dixon, Andrew Economos, Johnathan Jackson, Kenton Johnson, Mark Logan, Leon Robinson, David Smith, Levon Thomas, Andy Thompson, Andy Tidwell-Neal, Kyle Wallace, Chirod Williams, Darius Williams...... Gentleman, you came to Georgia Tech boys and you leave men. You have represented us with class, integrity and dedication. Those of us who survived GT and only had to worry about academics only know part of your struggle. Thanks for the memories. Congrats and GREAT GAME!!! GO JACKETS!!!!!


3. Tonight's game coverage turned into a mini-love fest for Georgia Tech by ESPN. Lee Corso said this team should be competing for an ACC title next season. Although Herbstreet did say that he would take VaTech and Corso could have GT. I think Corso went a little overboard, but who cares. They hyped up a ton of the individual players. They talked about the 1990 National Championship team and the ghost-clipping call on Rocket Ismail. The gushed on J.Tenuta and how he should be a head coach or NFL defensive coordinator. It was great (well unless of course Tenuta leaves)............ There was an interesting look at former NFL head coaches who were now leading Div IA college teams. Of the 9-10 on the list only two of them had winning NFL records - Bobby Ross and Chan Gailey. Nice point by Corso.......... Make no mistake, this game tonight in Florida will help our recruiting efforts. The state of Florida is so important and there is so much talent - more than Miami / FSU / Florida can take. To be the 1st bowl of the season, the only game of the night, on ESPN......... this is a good thing.


4. A complete game...... That is what the team played tonight. Offense, Defense, Special teams...... All facets were on display. Don't talk to me about conservative offense. There was no holding back. But you know what - we haven't been overly conservative all year. Yeah, at times, you might question play-calling, but when you look at reverses, half-back passes (from PJ earlier in the season), deep balls, etc, we are not as conservative as people want to believe. There is a difference between conservative play-calling and play-execution........ Folks, this team had 514 yards of total offense tonight. That is impressive for sure. The offensive line deserves major props for dominating and creating holes all over the place for runners to go through. There was not one sack of our QB by the Orange. Nice. They controlled the game......... But the completeness of this game is what was impressive. The defense looked like it was bending but not breaking in the 1st half, but Tenuta made the right adjustments against the option and shut it down. Another quality outing by the D. The D had at least 5 sacks tonight, including a safety...... Special teams blocked its 5th punt of the season. Forget "Beamerball" - try "Gailey-ball"..... No doubt our best all-around game and it couldn't have come at a better time.


5. Scoring notes.... The Jackets were up 35-6 at the half. Wow. The most points we scored in a game this entire season was 30 against UConn. Alrighty then. In addition, GT becomes on the 2nd team to score 50+ points in 2 consecutive bowl games. The other - Colorado. The combined scores of our last two bowl games - 103-24. Pretty solid I would say.


6. Let's talk Reggie Ball. He was voted the Bowl MVP for his 12/19 - 207 yard, 2 TD (& 1 TD running), 1 INT. Good for him. Personally I thought Daniels was the MVP (17 rushes for 118 yards, 2 TD's), but that's ok. They were both worthy. Here is the problem. Reggie's performance tonight just solidifies one thing - he's inconsistent. It still is not likely to change things in the spring - the job is open. However, my own opinion - he'll be the starter in the fall, with Bennett pushing him every game. Many Tech fans will want someone else, but he may be the guy and he may earn it. The difference will be the speed in which he will get pulled if he starts making big mistakes....... All we can say is that tonight - he was the man. He controlled the game, passed well, ran well, and he can be proud. Coach Gailey said this after the game - "Reggie just played great. He's been through so much and he deserves something like this". Coach is right. Whatever happens in the spring, Reggie has ended the season on a high note. He can hold his head up high. If you look back at his performance in the Humaniatarian Bowl last season, it wasn't great at all, but Daniels running carried the day. Tonight was different........ Note to coaching staff - find some other exercise (not with a towel this time) for Reggie to work on in front of the mirror during the summer.


7. The freshman. Calvin Johnson is his usual self, grabbing two spectacular catches, one for a TD, then he runs another one in on a reverse for a TD. His sideline grab in double-coverage is an ESPN play-of-the-day nominee. Corso said after that catch that "he is doing things that even Randy Moss doesn't do"......Unfortunately he tweaked his knee of the reverse and sat out the 2nd half. In the post-game interview, Johnson said the trainer said it was a sprained ACL and that he would be fine in a couple of weeks. That left him about 17 yards short of the ACC freshman receiving yardage record. All I can say is - good move Coach. Anyone remember a guy named Tony Hollings?............ Daryl Richard gets his 3rd and 4th sack of the year, the last one being a safety, with very limited opportunities. He WILL be a player - count on it. Correction - Richard IIISSSS a player........... Darrell Robertson gets a sack as well..........Travis Bell hit all extra points, although he did miss a 48-yard field goal, his first miss since his first college attempt........... Matt Rhodes played well on the O-Line and will likely be a fixture for the next 3 years......... A lot of guys got gametime snaps in the 4th quarter as Coach put in the 2nd stringers. This will only strengthen them heading into the spring.


8. Let's look at 2005 issues and key losses. Folks, the defense is solid. James Butler will be the only starter moving on - we return 10 starters. And folks, there are some players we haven't seen much of that will be contributors. The talent in the wings is strong.......... The real losses are coming on the offensive side of the ball...... First, we lose 3 starters from the offensive line. THAT is priority #1. This is an issue that cannot be underestimated. Games are won and lost on the line. Give Daniels all the credit in the world, but the "big uglies" make the world go 'round and get little of the credit........... Second, we lose go-to wide receivers Nate Curry and Levon Thomas. Yes, Calvin Johnson is THE go-to guy, but we need someone else to step up and line-up opposite CJ and make plays. There are some guys on the team now that will compete for that job, but recruiting at that position will be critical as well. We just landed a talented kid that switched from Notre Dame and we have a soft committment from Carlos Thomas, Levon's brother (there are academic concerns that may prevent him from signing)......... And of course there are the ever-present questions about Reggie Ball.


9. Coach Chan Gailey..... No doubt the debate will not end on Coach Gailey. But here is the fact - Coach Gailey deserves to run out his contract.... Period. He deserves minimum one more year at the helm and really two years. If you believe otherwise than you are one of the contributors to the poor culture in sports that is growing across this country. The Notre Dame / Florida situations are driven by boosters who have no patience and no concern about the student-athlete. They are concerned about winning football games......AND THEY GIVE LOTS OF MONEY TO THE SCHOOL. Look, I'm not a blind-spot rah-rah Chan Gailey supporter, but I do like the guy. I like what he stands for. I like that he stands up for what he believes, he stands up for his religion, he stands up for his players. I see enough improvement in recruiting, enough development of players, enough improvement in graduating players to think they guy deserves more time. How much? I don't know - but 2 years minimum. That's my stance and I'm sticking to it....... How about we start supporting our team AND our coach and let's win some ballgames!!!


9. Have to make a comment about Syracuse. I feel for head coach Paul Pasqualoni. Yes, he did not have his team prepared. But his incoming new AD interviews with the ESPN crew at halftime and basically says a bunch of politically correct stuff, but reading between the lines - Coach P is gone. I checked out the Syracuse board and fans are already writing him off and discussing the odds of landing Norm Chow, whose daughter happened to graduate from that institution. The announcers started talking about how the Syracuse players just weren't as athletic as they used to be. Ouch. Not a good night to be a Syracuse player, coach or fan.


10. I do have one Syracuse jab to hand out. Hey Jim Boeheim, who's your daddy now? How is your Big East now? Care to make any ACC comments now? Didn't think so.


A great win tonight. Makes me proud to be a Jacket. The coaches and players made us proud tonight. The winningest college bowl team in history keeps on rolling. GO JACKETS!!!!


Note to players: The 24-hour rule is no longer in effect. Enjoy this one for the next few months. But come spring forget about it.


LATE EDIT: STRAIGHT OFF THE PRESSES:

ESPN PLAY-OF-THE-DAY #5 - CALVIN JOHNSON DIVING TD CATCH FROM REGGIE BALL
ESPN PLAY-OF-THE-DAY #4 - NATE CURRY 80 YARD TD PASS FROM REGGIE BALL

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bowled over

Thoughts from Bryan:


Usually I approach Bowl games with mixed emotions. Excitement about watching Tech play, dissapointment at the prospect it being the last Tech football game for 9 months. But three of those months will be occupied watching the hoops team, so I can't complain too much.


This game, though, is about as interesting as a game between two 6-5 teams can get. Plenty of intrigue on the Tech side. Who plays at QB and for how much? Is Bilbo auditioning for the job next year? Will Reggie bounce back from his less than cerebral endgame performance against UGa? Will we try to sneak Taylor Bennett in the game by putting him in Pat Carter's jersey - OK I'm going a little overboard now.


Also some intrigue at the RB position; is PJ completely healthy? How about the O-line? Our last 2 opponents had some success disrupting our offense by blitzing right up the middle. Surely Syracuse noticed this; will our O-line adjust if they see it a third time?


Defensively we should be in pretty good shape. Although I'd hate to see Tenuta leave, it won't hurt if he's at his best trying to impress prospective employers.


On the Syracuse side, they're 6-5 but won a share of the Big East title. Wow.


I'm probably wildly optimistic, but I think PJ will bounce back in a big way. Playing with a lead, the defense will tee off. The seniors go out in style and Tech wins 27-3.

Is the hoop half full or half empty?

Thoughts from Bryan:


Early Sunday morning, as dissapointed as I was about the loss, I was very glad Coach Hewitt scheduled the trip to Las Vegas. Going across the country to play a tough opponent at a weird time is great tournament prep.


No doubt that it brought me back to earth a little, however. Still thinking of the final four and the gaudy blowouts of UGa and Michigan, I had forgotten that last year's team went 9-7 in the ACC. The fact that it was bookended by two great tournament runs made it easy to forget that there were many times last year when our half court offense wasn't exactly smooth.


Which describes the first ten minutes of the second half Sunday morning. We looked really confused by Gonzaga's zone, and made some bad passes. Clearly, if you're an ACC coach scouting Tech, you're number one goal is to force the Jackets into a half court game and take your chances there. Matching last year's win total will be tough, even though this Tech team is good.


But the hoop is definitely half full in this case. There's still a lot of basketball to be played, and here's no doubt that playing a very good Gonzaga team is better prep for the ACC season than playing weaker non-conference opponent. There's also plenty to build on from the game as well, especially Bynum's performance. I have no doubt that the guys will be ready for Kansas, and won't look past Lafayette and Charleston Southern.

Football Notes

BOWL STREAKS
Link here to see the current bowl participation streaks. GT is one of 8 teams in the country that have been to 8 bowl games in a row.


GAME PREVIEW
A great look at the game from a Syracuse perspective. Key points for Syracuse:

1. GT's turnover ratio stands out.

The one statistic that jumps out at a neutral observer of Tech football this season is a horrible turnover ratio of minus-13 (27 committed, 14 forced). It is hard to imagine a team being able to fashion a winning record despite committing roughly twice as many turnovers as it forces.


2. Syracuse has struggled to stop large athletic WR's. Enter Calvin Johnson.

If Johnson has the kind of game against SU enjoyed by West Virginia's Chris Henry and Pittsburgh's Greg Lee, the Orange will have no chance.


3. Syracuse must avoid 3rd and long, where GT has thrived.


4. Syracuse must stop our run and go after the QB. No doubt.


5. The write thinks that GT is a lot like Boston College, who Syracuse romped in the final game of the season. We'll see.


QUICK GAME PREVIEW


SYRACUSE / GT MEET IN BOWL


SYRACUSE / GT READY FOR BOWL GAME


ORANGE RUSHING TO FINISH


REYES GETS ONE MORE CHANCE


THE ODDS
Oddsmakers have GT as about a 5 point favorite. This guys thinks we win in a romp:

Champs Sports Bowl (Syracuse-Georgia Tech): Sports assistant Jon Rossitto noted that this would be a good matchup -- if it were basketball. It's not. Georgia Tech wins 28-10.


SYRACUSE COACH P ON THE CLOCK

GT LONG WAY FROM 1991 WIN

Interesting story on the last time GT played in Orlando (I was there). Evidently nobody is talking about that game, that team, that trip. Evidently the current team is more proud of their 8-game bowl streak than they would be playing for the National Championship. Am I reading that wrong?

The national championship team wasn't the bowl juggernaut the 2004 team is, though. Georgia Tech's berth in the Citrus Bowl after the 1990 season was its first in five seasons, while the current Yellow Jacket players have never missed playing in a bowl. Georgia Tech's program is making a school-record eighth consecutive bowl appearance.


"We seniors didn't want to be the ones to snap that streak," safety James Butler said.



No doubt each accomplishment is important in its own right. But would I rather go 0-16 in the ACC in the years pre-ceeding the national championship of the 1990 season, then get the big prize, or would I rather develop a consistent program that can go to 8+ bowls in a row, knowing that many of those bowls are mid-level "mediocre" bowls added as a product of money-grubbing system?


Actually I would prefer a combination of the two. I would prefer to consistently field a competitive team. I NEVER want to be at the bottom like we were in the late 80's. However, after fielding a competitive team, I would like to see progress each season, which is hopefully measured primarily in wins/losses.


The Chan Gailey era HAS been marked by improvement in my opinion, just not in wins/losses quite yet. We have no RE-gressed, but we have not progressed either. But the jury is out. I see academic progress, student-athlete progress, recruiting progress, coaching progress, player development progress and I even see progress on the field of play. Ultimately it should translate into more wins. Hopefully it will. Patience will be the order of the day.

Orlando: Postcards from Monday

Link here. Nice to see that 22 players made deans list for the recent semester - congrats to all!!

Jackets & Orange Meet in Orlando

JACKETS DEFENSE LOOKS TO CRUSH ORANGE
Gailey keeping Reggie Ball grounded:

Gailey has already told Ball he must win back his job during spring practice.


"He has handled a lot of adversity pretty well," Gailey said. "Hopefully, he is stronger for it. Hopefully, he is smarter for it. Hopefully, he'll be a better player for it.


"But I can't guarantee that."


SYRACUSE / GT MEET IN CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL


BOWL SEASON BEGINS TONIGHT

Hoops Fix

BUCK FREDRICK NAMED TOP INDIVIDUAL PERFORMER...
...by his hometown newspaper.

Today we kick off our look back with the top five individual performers from the T&D region this past year. All five of these athletes performed above and beyond the call of duty in giving us some of the best highlights of 2004.

n 1. Zam "Buck" Fredrick (Calhoun County basketball)

Fredrick finished his career at Calhoun County with three state basketball titles in five years including one in 2004. His 3,481 points are the most ever by any player in South Carolina High School League History.

He was named T&D Region Player of the Year for the third year in a row, and named Mr. Basketball at South Carolina.

Fredrick averaged 34 points per game and scored 30 or more in 15 games during the season.

Fredrick signed with Georgia Tech, and is a freshman on the Yellow Jackets basketball team.



NO.3 JACKETS UNZIPPED


ILLINOIS WATCHES GT/ZAGS GAME, CONCLUDES...
that Illinois really is good.

The time off also allowed Illinois to watch other games. Weber said he took in No. 22 Gonzaga's 85-73 upset of No. 3 Georgia Tech on Saturday, and said it made him feel even better about his team. The Illini routed Gonzaga 89-72 Nov. 27 in Indianapolis.

"You never know if you're there (at the top) just because we beat Wake Forest," Weber said, referring to the Illini's 91-73 win over Wake on Dec. 1. "But when you watch, we're as good as those (teams). We are a legitimate Top 5 team."

Where are they now?

BOBBY CREMINS

Former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney was scheduled to speak at a Fellowship of Christian athletes breakfast in Mobile today. Former Georgia Tech hoops coach Bobby Cremins, who now does color commentary for South Carolina games, will be the guest speaker at a luncheon today.


ED NELSON
Ed finally got a decent chance to play and ended with 7 pts and 4 boards - and now the Huskies are officially "blue collar".

But as much as anyone, UConn reserve Ed Nelson was responsible for turning back the Owls. Nelson finished with seven points and four rebounds in a season-high 18 minutes after starting the second half in place of sophomore Charlie Villanueva.

"I got off to a pretty good start and it felt like it was old times again," said Nelson, the Georgia Tech transfer who was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 2002. "I just went out today and played my heart out.

"The shots weren't going in easy, so I figured I'd knock a couple of people over and put it in," grinned Nelson, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound junior. "Usually, when the ball isn't going in, I'll get frustrated. But if I have to hurt someone to put it in, that's what I'm going to do."

With Nelson on the floor, UConn immediately became tougher. Suddenly, it was blue-collar basketball instead of run-the-ball-down-your-throat. And that was perfectly fine with Calhoun.

Bowl Media Coverage Accelerates

As the bowl game inches closer, the media coverage has picked up this morning:


O'LEARY PUT IN NO-WIN SITUATION
Evidently O'Leary has been invited to the Champs Sports Bowl by both teams and has ties with both. Here's what he said about who he will root for:

"I probably won't go," George said the other day. "I really don't want to be conspicuous during the game. But if I do go, I'd obviously have to cheer for ... geez, who would I cheer for? Both schools have invited me. I have friends on both sides. But the truth is, as many people who want to see me don't want to see me. If you know what I mean."



BILBO AT PEACE WITH BEING A JACKET


BOWL IS LIKE A BREEZE FOR SCOTT
Nice article on Kenny Scott. Scott is right about this:

"You mess up one time and everyone's going to see it," Scott said. "You mess up on the D-line, coaches might know it and you might know it, but most people won't see it. You mess up at cornerback it's a big thing.



TECH'S HOUSTON TO RETURN PUNTS
After losing his job earlier in the year, he will be back again returning punts in the bowl game.


JACKETS JOHNSON HAS BIG IMPACT
This kid really is something special. We'll look back in amazement at the time he was in ATL.


MORE ON CALVIN JOHNSON
From the Orlando Sentinel on impact freshman.


TED ROOF HIRES NEW O-COORDINATOR
Former Jacket assistant Bill O'Brian looks like he will be the next Duke offensive coordinator. The two coached together as assistants under George O'Leary with the Jackets.


ORANGE BEGIN BOWL PREPARATION

Sunday, December 19, 2004

More on the Gonzaga Game

Some stories on the game.


FULL GAME RECAP WITH GAMEFLOW GRAPH

GONZAGA HANDS GT 1ST LOSS

GONZAGA TAKES DOWN #3 GT

ZAGS FOR REAL....AGAIN

GONZAGA KNOCKS OFF #3

GAME SUMMARY

ZAGS STING GT

TOP 25 CAPSULES

STANDING TALL - LUKE SCHENSCHER

Football Notes

WHERE ARE THEY NOW - JONATHAN SMITH
Mention of Freddy Smith in a look at the success of the draft for the Bills:

7B. Jonathan Smith. The Bills liked his punt return success at Georgia Tech. He has had a 70-yarder for a touchdown, plus 53- and 26-yarders, all in the past five weeks. Smith also has seen a handful of snaps in multiple-receiver sets the past several weeks.



WHERE ARE THEY NOW - JOE HAMILTON
Article mentioning little Joe and his fight to make it in the NFL. On getting cut by the Colts:
Now, Hamilton has a different sort of feeling. “Like I took a dagger to my heart,” he says.



TWO JACKETS DON'T MAKE IT TO ORLANDO
Nothing public about who they are. Sounds like they will be there though.


BOWL CAPSULE
Interesting mention of the Jackets:
The Orange's opponent, equally so-so Georgia Tech, scored 213 points, gave up 213 and had the foresight to schedule Samford first to secure a 6-5 mark and the $850,000 bowl payday.



SUPERSTITIOUS BELL


BILBO TO GET SNAPS IN BOWL GAME


DANIELS READY FOR BOWL GAME


ORLANDO: POSTCARDS FROM SATURDAY


ORLANDO: POSTCARDS FROM SUNDAY


BILBO CAN THROW THE BALL 90 YARDS?
Read the story and find out.


DR.FOOTBALL TALKS GT
Interesting read (scroll down to bottom)


ORANGE GLAD TO HAVE REYES BACK


TURMOIL CONTINUES FOR ORANGE


GAME CAPSULE

Jackets Lose to Gonzaga 85-73

Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to find out the Jackets gave up 85 points against Gonzaga. I haven't watched the game, but have it recorded. More later after I watch it. Story here.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Where are they now - Greg Gathers

Greg Gathers will undergo a kidney transplant, with the donated kidney coming from his mother.

"What better [Christmas] gift could you get than a family member donating an organ to you so you can live?" said Gathers, by phone from LaPlace, La., where he is staying with his parents. "It's priceless. Nothing I've done in my life compares to this right here right now. . . . This is a big sacrifice for her. At times, I get caught up in the emotion. I'm just thankful I have a mother like her."


Note to recruits: do not underestimate the value of an education, no matter how good at football you think you are:

Gathers graduated from Tech last spring with a degree in management and a minor in accounting. He took a job in Houston as a supervisor at a trucking company, but when his kidney deteriorated, he took medical leave to start dialysis.

In the meantime, he served as a volunteer coach for his former high school football team.

"It occupied my time so I was not constantly thinking about what I was going through," Gathers said. "A lot of [the players] feel bad for me, but I tell them, 'Don't.' Life is not always going to be gravy. It's not how you respond when things are good, it's how you respond when things are bad."


It sounds like the medical costs are going to be a challenge for the family. I wonder if GT would setup some type of donation fund for him?

The Gathers are facing steep medical costs. His insurance covers only up to 75 percent of the surgery, which costs $50,000-$100,000. But for now, Gathers is trying to focus on taking care of his health.


We wish Greg the best. A heartwarming story. No doubt Greg Gathers represents the heart and spirit of the Georgia Tech student and athlete.

Football Notes

A POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR 2005 FROM SANTA?
This guy thinks it would be just the right present from Santa:

For Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey, not so many ups-and-downs in 2005, but rather a brand of consistency that will see the Jackets contending for the ACC title and their first Jan. 1 bowl berth in a while.


RATING THE ACC/SEC COACHES
Here is where Chan Gailey falls:

AT THE CROSSROADS
20. Chan Gailey, Georgia Tech: A little too erratic.


Note that they list Ted Roof as "deep in a hole". In the ACC, only Ted Roof was listed lower. Beamer was #1.

"GT LIKELY TO DROP BALL AGAINST ORANGE"
What a clever play on words.

BENNETT RIDES TIME AS BACK-UP

PATRICK CARTER LOOKING AT UCF

CALVIN JOHNSON CFN'S ACC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Johnson and fellow freshman Travis Bell make their ALL-ACC first team as well. James Butler makes the defensive 1st team. Gerris Wilkinson is listed as the 20th best ACC player regardless of position. Butler is in at #23. C.Johnson is listed as the 3rd best ACC WR, Wilkinson the 5th best LB, Butler the 3rd best DB, and Bell the 2nd best PK.

Gonzaga / GT Hoops Preview

Folks, if you want to stay up, make sure to watch the Jackets in a game that starts at 12:30 am eastern time. That's right. I think I'll be setting my VCR.


JACKETS / GONZAGA IN LATE NIGHT TILT

SETH DAVIS PICKS JACKETS TO WIN

Regular Hoop Thinkers know I love this Georgia Tech team, so I'm eager to see how the Jackets will do in their first real test of the season. (Their only close game was a one-point win at Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 22.) In 6-foot-10 senior Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga has argubably the best post player in the country outside of Kansas' Wayne Simien, but the Zags will face serious mismatches on the perimeter. Then again, most teams will face serious mismatches against Georgia Tech's perimeter of Jarrett Jack, B.J. Elder and Will Bynum. For all the attention lavished on Chris Paul and Raymond Felton, Jack is the best point guard in the ACC, if not the entire country.
Seth's pick: Georgia Tech 84, Gonzaga 74
Reader's pick: Georgia Tech 71, Gonzaga 70


JAGS PREPARE FOR GT

GREGG DOYELL NOT SO SURE

This will be a rerun of an earlier game for Gonzaga (7-1), but which game? Its lopsided loss to Illinois -- whose guards are similar to those at Georgia Tech? Or its victory against a Washington team that, like the Jackets (7-0), isn't as deep as the Zags in the post?


GONZAGA EYES GAME WITH #3 GT

CSTV COMMENTS ON JACKETS
Paul Hewitt's club at Georgia Tech just keeps on winning. They've risen to #3 in the nation playing fundamental basketball. Jarrett Jack looks ready to explode. Now they have to get through the cruel ACC. Their best win so far was over Michigan. Look to the New Year's Day clash with Kansas.


PDF GAME NOTES

JACKETS TAKE TIME INDIVIDUALLY
Good story on the individual work that helps the Jackets develop as players.

"I can't say how much different it is [than what other teams do], but when I talk to a lot of people and tell them that's what we do, their like, 'Wow, we don't do that. We stop once we start playing games,'" Hewitt said. "It's part of the bargain, also, of why guys come here. We tell them all the time, you come to get better. You don't come necessarily to help us win a lot of games. If you keep getting better, we're gonna win."


ACC TEAMS LIKENED TO CARS
Something a little different:

Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack steers a figurative luxury SUV that looks sharp and performs well in all conditions

Recruiting - Martin Frierson

Georgia Tech has officially benefitted from the Notre Dame situation, as ND commit and Wide Receiver prospect Martin Frierson has changed his mind and decided to join the Jackets.

Martin Frierson, 6'2", 180lb, 4.47-40, 2-star Rivals
Frierson is a talented WR out of South Carolina (top 25 in the state). His high school team did not throw the ball a lot, but he caught passes for about 600 yards as a junior. In addition, he is a talented track athlete, running hurdles, long jump and triple jumps. He is a good student, with a GPA over 3.4 and SAT over 1000. Evidently he was wooed by Ty Willingham and once he was fired, the bloom was off the rose. Here's an article on the switch.......


Interesting recruiting tactic:

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Frierson visited Georgia Tech last weekend. Hanna said Frierson was told by a member of the Georgia Tech staff on Monday that they would offer him a scholarship if he agreed to accept, and if he agreed not to visit any other schools. Maryland had also expressed interest in Frierson.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Jackets head to Orlando

Story here...... In addition, there will be a special bowl preview show on the next "Georgia Tech Sports Today" show....

Gonzaga Preview

A good overview of the GT team (almost too nice) from a 'Zag site....... Here's another preview.

Recruiting Visits

Want to know what REALLY happens on a recruiting visit to Georgia Tech. Well, read about Ray Herring's visit, who is one of the Jackets top defensive targets. This "diary" straight from Herring himself. Man, talk about every excruciating detail, down to stealing french fries from Maurice Wells. Very interesting reading for sure.

Patrick Carter is history

Per the AJC, Patrick Carter has left Georgia Tech and will transfer, and is considering many schools including UGAg and Michigan. He wants to play QB.


You know, with Reggie Ball's troubles, I never really understood why coach didn't just stick him out there for a few series to see what he could do. Guess we'll never know (at least at GT). I guess you just have to trust that he wasn't ready, based completely on the coaching staff's decision.

Where are they now - Daryl Smith

D-Smith comments on his Boise Bowl experience:

Should the Jacksonville Jaguars be worrying about the cold weather as well as quarterback Brett Favre this Sunday in Green Bay?


But it could be worse. In fact, for most of the Jaguars, it has been.


“When I was at Georgia Tech, we played a bowl game at Boise, Idaho,” said linebacker Daryl Smith. “Green Bay can’t be worse than that.”

Where are they now - Bobby Cremins

Helping out those in the coaching profession:

Hired at Kennesaw State University before the 2000-01 season after a recommendation from former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, Ingle is certainly experiencing the good life as coach of the defending NCAA Division II national champions.

Recruiting - De'Andre Bell

We have reported about incoming hoops recruit De'Andre Bell's injury. Here's a quick blurb - he's still not playing:

Still playing without Georgia-Tech bound senior D'Andre Bell, the Dolphins (2-3) were undermanned and overmatched in last Wednesday's 71-37 loss at Washington. Palisades faces Verbum Dei in the first round of the Top of the World Tournament at Cerritos College Friday at 7:30 p.m.


In other recruiting injury news, you may remember that Andrew Bynum was a 7 foot tall, 295lb center that chose UConn over GT and UNC. Well, he tore his ACL and will miss his entire senior season of high school. Man you hate to hear things like that. I feel for the kid. Story here.

Listen to John Salley's graduation speech

I haven't listened yet, but you can here.

Football: Backfield Still Hurting

Daniels is looking like he's almost 100%, but Grant and Woods are not at this point. Even if they were, they're not getting hit in practice, which could impact their performance anyhow. Link here.

Tenuta definitely staying......for now

Looks like Jon Tenuta pulled his name out of the running for the Ohio job. Of course none of us really the sequence of events, but suffice it to say he will not be the next head coach of Ohio.


Here's mention that it looks like Frank Solich will be the guy....

Published reports out of Georgia cite Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, a former Ohio State (1996-2000) assistant coach, as having interviewed for the job along with Solich, who in six years was 58-19 at the helm of the Cornhuskers.

Tenuta reportedly was one of up to a dozen candidates to have interviewed for the OU position, with his being held this past Sunday at a hotel in Columbus, Ohio.


This blurb says that Tenuta actually removed his name from consideration.

Jon Tenuta has withdrawn his name for consideration for the head football coaching job at Ohio, a Georgia Tech source confirmed Wednesday.

Stories on the Game

JACKETS TROUNCE FORMER ASSISTANT

GT 72 JMU 47

GT STRUGGLES TO A VICTORY

UNIMPRESSIVE GT STILL WINS BIG

DESPITE PROBLEMS, TECH STAYS UNBEATEN

Jackets win big......Play poor

Look, I know we won by 25 points (72-47). But this had to be the worst played game of the season. UIC was close but you have to give a little on that since it was a road game. Tonight was just a poor performance by the Jackets (by their standards). I'll say this much - if we play like this against Gonzaga, we'll get run out of the building....period. The "experts" are right - we have not been put to a real test. But we will on Sunday in Vegas.


DEFENSE
I'm going to be critical here, maybe overly so. I don't care that JMU only shot 31% from the field. Guess what - they missed a TON of wide open shots. They missed a bunch of lay-ups. The bottom-line is that they were intimidated coming into our house and it showed. But their poor FG% was NOT a result of the typically smothering Jacket D we've come to love. Only when JMU realized they could play in the 2nd half did they start to warm up from the field. We had missed assignments, players forgetting to pick up the weakside, silly fouls, etc, etc. A poor defensive performance tonight (by GT standards).


REBOUNDING
The team that leads the ACC in rebounding and rebounding margin gets outrebounded by James Madison. Yes, outrebounded 38-37 officially. What can you say? I don't want to hear about long boards. They out-boarded us on the inside too. How many 2nd...3rd chance points did they get? They had 16 offensive boards to our 13. Back to practice.


TURNOVERS
Sloppy with the ball - says it all...... Like my rhyme? I don't. It's one thing when there are turnovers because you are trying to be aggressive. It's another when nobody is around and somehow you cannot throw the ball to a guy and have him catch it in the backcourt. 17 to's on the night doesn't sound terrible, but it's the kind of turnovers that were frustrating....... J.Jack had 7 turnovers. Ouch. I think he had 5 last game.


FREE THROWS
How bad can we be from the line? How about 18-35. Isma'il leads the way with 4-12. Even J.Jack misses only his 2nd FT of the season. The irony - Bynum goes 4-4, and he has struggled big-time from the stripe. Broken record time. This is going to cost us some games.......cost us some games.......cost us some games.......cost us some games......


OFFENSE
Ok, if you're having trouble shooting from the outside, what would you do? Would you just keep shooting from the outside? That's what we did. Just kept shooting. I'm ok with that if we would work the ball inside some also. Work it into the post, but we didn't do a great job here again. Luke didn't get enough touches. And some of our turnovers came on poor passes into the post when we did try. I tell you, passing to a guy trying throw his weight around with a defender ain't easy. It's not just about delivering the ball to a spot. It's about delivering the ball to a spot at the right time, when he weight shift is right. When he's focused on receiving the ball and not still jockying for position. Not easy.


FRESHMAN
A.Morrow got the most minutes of the frosh, but all three guys got between 9-12. I find A.Morrow an interesting kid, particularly how his minutes have developed. I get the feeling that he feels a high level of competition to prove himself and man does he launch quickly. He can definitely shoot........ and he does!!! I don't see him working the ball around on offense. It's almost like..... I better launch when I get it. That being said, he didn't take bad shots. But of course what do we always hear about - replacing the outside shooting of Marvin Lewis and C-Moore. So he's trying to do that........ Ra'Sean Dickey continues to impress with his ability to post-up with his back to the basket. I really like Dickey's game, and I am happy that Coach has taken the opportunities to work the young guys in. Dickey may end up being someone in the mold of Tommy Hammonds and may have more potential.


POST-GAME INTERVIEW - COACH HEWITT
Called it a "weird night". Gave JMU credit for moving the ball and getting it inside. Said JMU kept themselves in this ballgame. Said he didn't have the team prepared for the triangle-and-two or box-and-one defense they used. Looking forward, said Gonzaga has a quality big-man (Turiaf) and Luke did play against him over the summer, which should help........... Bottom-line, Coach Hewitt was not going to rip his team and insinuate that his friend Dean Keener was overmatched. Coach was classy and gave all the credit to JMU for the Jacket frustrations........ But I'm not friends with Keener, so neener, neener, neener (another rhyme, I do it all the time).


This game was never in doubt. GT was never threatened. Maybe I am being too harsh, but I like what Coach Hewitt said about the Air Force game - it's not just about winning. It's about learning. It's about growing as a team every night. We didn't do it in the 2nd half against Air Force and I didn't see it tonight either. There were some good things tonight also, and some guys had nice stat-lines, but I focused on the team performance. Tonight's performance won't get us to the promise land. But as we know, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. Our biggest test will come Sunday against Gonzaga. The Jackets better be ready to play a full game.


One great line from the game on Bynum's laser-fast pass to Muhammad at the end of the game for a dunk - "He could throw that through a car wash and not get wet".


Another good line, when Isma'il grabbed an offensive board on a missed free throw, then launched upward for a 2-handed slam over a defender and was fouled on the play - "that was a Harrier jet taking off of an aircraft carrier..... without a runway!!".

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

where are they now - Ricardo Ingram

Ricardo Ingram has taken over as the head coach of the Fort Myers Miracle.

"Ricardo is a loose, outgoing guy. He has the right personality to be a manager in today's environment. He's like a Dusty Baker. He'll have fun, but when he needs to be strong, he will be."

A fourth-round selection of the Detroit Tigers in the 1987 draft, Ingram is excited about the opportunity.

"It will be a challenge for me to get the players through 140 games," Ingram said. "The fact I spent last season in the GCL will help me."

This settles it, Tenuta would be nuts to leave....

Read this article and tell me that Jon Tenuta's "stock" as a potential head coach couldn't skyrocket after next season. Folks, not only are we only losing 1 starter on defense, there are some scary good guys in the wings that we have not seen yet. And this article officially confirms that Eric Henderson will return for his senior season. He also admits that he has been hurt all year and not 100%.

"You want to leave on top," Henderson said. "I feel if I haven't done what I want to do here at Tech, it makes no sense to leave. Why vanish when you can enjoy your experience here? I'm making the right decision, no question."


Don't forget that this season Henderson was out the first 3 games and that we had 3 new linebackers learning the position. This team really believes they will have the best defense in the country next year.


Henderson says there will be no weakness on the 2005 defense.


"I think we are the best defense in the country," Henderson said. "We're so solid, it's sort of scary. We've got linebackers that are great, linebackers that you haven't even seen yet who are awesome. We have depth on the defensive line. You can go on for days.

"We are all hard workers, and we're not going to stop until we accomplish what we want to accomplish."



Here's the truth - if we can solidify the offensive line (losing 3 starters) and get some consistent QB play - holy cow - we WILL ascend higher in the ACC race - there is no doubt. These are big "if's", but the pieces are in place on defense.

PJ Daniels Ready to Play

PJ is finally healthy..... He had his best practice in 2 months which is good news..

Pictures from Graduation

Good pictures of John Salley at graduation ceremonies, including a picture of Robert Brooks and Clarence Moore:



In addition, Coach Hewitt was the guest speaker at a recent "Lunch Bunch". To read the report on what he had to say - click here.


Some interesting points worth note:

1. Coach feels that our team NEXT season will be the fastest he has ever had by far. Incoming recruit Austin Jackson is the fastest recruit he's ever brought in. Lewis Clinch is probably faster than anyone on the current team.


2. Our biggest weakness this year is passing accuracy. Not amount of passing, but accuracy delivering the ball to the right spot.


3. Mario West is probably the 2nd best defender on the team and will likely play a larger role on the team next season.


4. Still looking to possibly sign one more kid in the spring - a big guy.

GT warms up for James Madison

Old friends meet when former GT assistant Dean Keener comes to town as a 1st year head coach at James Madison........... Unfortunately, the JM team is going to be severly undermatched. Not just because of the talent level of the Jackets, but because JM has some serious injury problems, including their leading scorer and two other key players. I fully expect the GT reserves to play big minutes................... More on old buddies facing off.........

Syracuse Getting Ready

Well, our bowl will be the first significant one of the bowl season and Syracuse is getting ready........More on preparation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

where are they now - Will Heller

The former Jacket suffered a season-ending hip injury, even though he set a career high with 3 catches. Isn't life cruel sometimes? Link here.

Wes Durham - A Rarity in Broadcasting

After being around for the tail-end of the Al Ciraldo era, it was hard to believe there could be another true "Voice of the YellowJackets". However, there is no doubt, no reservation...... Wes Durham is THE voice of the Jackets. Love listening to that guy.


Just a great article by the AJC (yes I said it).....

Recruiting - Football

Now that I've seen the news on some public forums, here are the first two verbal committments from last weekends visits (great job by Rivals on their reporting):


RANDALL COX, 6'3", 287lb, 5.62-40, from Florida, 2-star Rivals
Big offensive lineman who had offers from UCF, Louisville and UNC. His high school is the St.Augustine YellowJackets, so he has had time to try on his name already. Will probably play center or guard. He was named to his St.Augustine All-County team.


ANTHONY BARNES, 6'4", 200lb, 4.6-40, Rivals #55 "Athlete", #26 in Georgia, 3-star
Had offers from LSU, Louisville, Miss.St, UNC. He played WR in high school but has the type body to end up playing WR, LB or Safety in college. It appears he will probably be a free safety, although that is not 100% clear. Of course with this coaching staff, nothing is 100%, as they seem to be able to put guys in a position to excel in different positions. Stay tuned.


Welcome aboard Randall and Anthony!! You made the right choice!!

where are they now - Jerry Glanville

The former Jacket defensive coordinator (early 70's) is on the hunt for a college head coaching position.

More freshman Recognition - Bell / Johnson

Travis Bell is named to collegefootballnews.com's all freshman first team as the kicker:

PK Travis Bell, Georgia Tech – A walk-on, Bell quickly elevated the Tech kicking game from a potential concern to an area of strength. After missing his first kick of the year, he connected on his next 15 attempts to establish a new school record.


Now, here's the crazy thing. They named Calvin Johnson to the 2nd team offense. That's right, they actually found two freshman WR's that they thought were better than CJ. We should revisit their list in about 2 years. Forget that, how about half-way through next season?

WR Calvin Johnson*, Georgia Tech – An acrobat with terrific size and leaping ability, Johnson became just the 11th player in ACC history to be named first team as a freshman. His 46 catches, 776 yards and six touchdown receptions all led the Yellow Jackets.


Congrats to both guys for the well-deserved props.

Hey Recruits - Don't Miss out on This

If you are a top high school basketball player, you need to be taking a serious look at Georgia Tech. What happened in 2004 going to the National Championship game is only the start of something special with Paul Hewitt:


From the USA Today:

Bill Self of Kansas and Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech are two coaches destined for greatness. Check out what they accomplish in the next decade. They have the complete package. They can recruit, motivate, teach and communicate with the modern-day athlete. It should be a dandy when Tech visits Allen Field House on Jan. 1 for an afternoon matchup.