Monday, October 31, 2005

Where are they now - JP Foschi

Great read on JP Foschi.

Quote of the Day - Bill Curry

Bill Curry on the fact that head coaches cannot be as open and playful in the media as they once could:

"When I was a player, we had plenty of guys that got drunk and got in fights.
And I'm talking about Georgia Tech and the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore
Colts," Curry said. "But do you think it ever appeared in the newspaper? Of
course not.
"Now it's on the front page of USA TODAY."

He had another great quote in this article about recruiting Hershal Walker:

Walker's silence suddenly had the Yellow Jackets buzzing at Tech. After all, Curry had persuaded the running back to make his final recruiting visit to Atlanta.

But when Easter morning broke, word out of Wrightsville had Walker heading to Athens.

"I was a knucklehead,'' says Curry, now an analyst for ESPN. "It was my first head-coaching job. ... I didn't know how rare Herschel really was. I actually was dumb enough to think we had a chance to get him."

Football - More Clemson Game Notes

1. The last time Clemson did NOT score a TD against Tech goes back some 20 years to the 1985 black-watch defense, when Tech won 14-3 in Death Valley

2. Clemson not only hadn't lost a fumble coming into this game this season, they hadn't lost a fumble since their season opener in 2004!! Not only that, Reggie Merriweather's fumble was the first of his entire CAREER!!!

3. How's this for strange. Tommy Bowden gave Charlie Whitehurst two days off practice the week before the game, giving Will Proctor all the practice snaps. They said Charlie had a strained shoulder. Then Tommy chastises the senior for all his mistakes during the game. The local paper has a quote from the OC basically saying - we did what did, the result was the result, now there's nothing more to talk about. Ouch.

4. There was some solid senior leadership shown in this game. When Matt Rhodes made that terrible personal foul, D-Bo really chastised him in the huddle. Evidently there was also a great moment where the jumbotron showed a video of PJ Daniels running that led to the east stands which led to that side saying "YELLOW!!", then the video of PJ towards to west stands with "JACKETS!!". Then they showed a live video feed of PJ on the sideline waiving his arms getting the crowd to cheer. Awesome. Great "senior" moment.

5. Evidently the marketing department is stepping up just a bit. They've done some nice things with the website, added a desktop application for automatic GT updates, and they added signs at BDS at entry-ways that say "Next time, I'll remember to wear gold". In addition, they even had a jumbotron moment where some students came and a yelled "what's the good word!!!", and of coure we all know how the crowd responded. Nice! There was also a pre-game "Enter Sandman" video showing players getting taped up and pacing the lockerroom that pumped up the crowd.

6. Injury update - not much yet. Eric Henderson said that he actually played at 70% yesterday. Can you imagine what he would have done at 100%? Joe Anaoi playeed for about a minute then left the game for good. He came out in street clothes before the half. We will need that D-Line at FULL, FULL strength for the Wake Forest game. They have probably the best runner in the ACC or close to it with Chris Barklay and they run, run, run all day long.

7. Do we have a nickname issue? Someone at the Hive reported that Tashard Choice likes the nickname "Deuce", but evidently that's Kenny Scott's nickname. Nothing a good cage match won't fix.

8. Anyone notice Paul Hewitt get some airtime on ESPN? What you might not have noticed were all the high school hoops standouts with him. This past weekend was "underclassman day", where lots of future stars get to take unofficial campus visits. Among those on campus were top 2007 targer Gani Lawal, Howard Thompkins, Olu Ashalou, Al-Farouq Aminu (Alade's monster stud little bro - class of 2008), Romero Osby, and there were many others. Coach Hewitt is always working - and on the job at a college football game. Life is grand.

9. Good news for SC Gamecock frosh Carlos Thomas - his terrible looking injury turned out to be "only" a concussion. I say "only", because if you saw the play, you thought the kid broke his neck. If you remember Thomas is the kid who verballed to the Jackets last season, but then "the hill" (our academic gatekeepers) stopped him from taking his official visit, which ultimately led to a de-committment and switch to some new coach at SC named Spurrier. We wish Carlos a healthy recovery.

10. This is a MUST READ article of Georgia Tech football, called "Tech puts 'college" in football". The article was written by a UGA grad in a Charleston paper - read it!!!!! A really glowing review of how GT has maintained the concept of student-athlete. Here are a few quotes:

All you have to do is flip through Tech's team roster to find evidence that
things are a little different around here. There are actually football players
majoring in real majors. I mean things like electrical engineering, civil
engineering, industrial engineering, polymer and fiber engineering, computer
engineering and physics. The words 'ACC All-Academic Team' appear often.
But the real telling thing is that Management appears to be the major of last
resort for many of the Tech players. And that's not exactly basket

.....Now they are in, arguably, the toughest football conference
in the country and holding their own on football Saturdays when Grant Field is
full except for those who - believe it or not - are studying. What they
missed may not have been as important to a physics major with a midterm on
Monday, but when the Georgia Institute of Technology beat Clemson 10-9 Saturday
night, it was the kind of victory that allows us to keep the word college in
college football. Not bad for a trade school.

11. The USA Today poll is out and the Jackets are #26, just outside the top 25.

12. If my math is correct, the Jackets have scored 10 points in the 1st half of the last 4 games combined.........I said combined........ That means added together......... Our halftime adjustments are outstanding, but a little first half help would sure be a welcome addition.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Football - Jackets Squeek out a win over Clemson

Wow. Another year and another nail-biter with Clemson. There were so many times during this game that I thought we were going to find a way to lose. But the boys found a way to battle and get the win 10-9. In the end that's what matters the most. And a must-win it really was. The Jackets move to 5-2 (3-2 ACC), and are one win away from bowl eligibility with 4 games remaining.

Some quick thoughts on the game.

1. For the Jackets, it is utlimately THESE games that determine how successful our season will be. It's not really beating Miami and VaTech that determines our season. It's beating Clemson and NCST and UVA, Wake Forest and UNC. Why? Because this is the group looking to break out of the middle tier. I know - to be the best you have to beat the best. Yeah, but you also have to beat the middle to be better than the middle. That's where we need to start. Right now we are 2-1 against that group with UVA and WF to go. That's where our season success will fall.

2. Once again, this was a tale of two halves. Clemson moved the ball well in the first half and our offense looked lost. Our defense played a little lose and a bit tentative. We can only thank Clemson for bailing us out time and time again. Let's face it - if Clemson doesn't continually self-destruct, then we lose this game. The 2nd half was a shutdown effort by the D, and the offense was better. We did move the ball well and were it not for a Reggie Ball fumble, we probably would have had even more points on the board. Not an outstanding offensive effort by any means, but ok. Major kudos to the defense in the 2nd half. Clemson didn't have a drive over 16 yards in the 4th quarter. Just outstanding. THAT, my friends, was the difference in the game. The Defense won this game - pure and simple. And probably the best tackling game yet from our perimeter guys.

3. One thing this game was not was pretty. About 6 turnovers, lots of dumb penalties. I am not quite sure how the halftime score was 3-3. By all rights Tech should have been down about 21-3. But they weren't. Luckily MOST of the dumb mistakes were committed by Clemson. But, what was with the D-Line jumping offsides - repeatedly? Obviously there was a little bit of rust from the 2-week layoff, but there was a little something else. Evidently Whitehurst changed his cadence a bit, knowing he might catch us with our aggressive style. He did.

4. Travis Bell is officially off the snide (or is it schnide). He did miss his 6th in a row, but redeemed himself with a make. And wouldn't you know it - it was the difference in the game. Travis, thanks for winning the game!!!!!

5. Our special teams was pretty poor. Ben Arndt was good most of the game except his last two punts. However, let's talk kick-off coverage. Terrible. How do you allow an 81 yard kick return at the most important part of the game? By the way, did you know that was that kid's first kick-off return ever? It was. Nice way to start................ Let's flip over and talk kick-returns. Sorry, but Chris Woods has been nothing more than average. He looks tentative and unsure out there. We all know he's got skills, but he just seems to lack confidence in that position.

6. Clemson decided that they were going to shutdown Calvin Johnson, and they did. He caught 4 balls for 47 yards, but Damarius Bilbo stepped up with some big catches - 5 for 68 yards. Heck, those stats aren't really bad for a guy that was double-teamed every play. Of course, for CJ, that's bad.

7. PJ Daniels goes for 100 yards. A nice outing for him, and let's hope he's hitting his "early season stride". He goes into the endzone for the go-ahead TD.

8. Let's talk the offensive line. I am wondering if this bad 1st half / good 2nd half pattern is largely due to the O-Line. We know our line is not strong enough to battle with a lot of ACC teams. However, we also know they're more athletic than many. Could it be that these guys are just better conditioned than the D-Lines they face? Could it be that they get overpowered in the 1st half, until the D-Lines start to wear down? If that is not what is happening, then you have to give credit to the coaching staff for halftime adjustments. In the post-game interview, Coach Gailey said that Clemson did some things in the first half they hadn't prepared for. Now if only we can figure out how to come out and play well in the first half - we'll really be in business.

9. I have to mention Reggie Ball. A good outing. Not great, but good. He hit 58% of his passes. That's better than 48%. He did throw up a terrible jump ball that CJ really never had a good chance at. The result was an INT. He did continue his "good work" of throwing balls OB instead of taking sacks. However, he is still not good at going through his reads. He's getting better, but he's not great there.

10. Anyone notice we ran the option a couple of times? It worked at least once. I know there are Jacket fans who would love to see us run that style offense. I'm not so sure myself. One thing I don't want to see us us experimenting with a new offensive style every week. Here's the deal. When opposing coaches watch gamefilm they look for tendecies. You know what - all the good teams have tendencies. They have tendencies with how they block on the O-Line - pull, trap, etc. They have tendecies with how they run - power I, sweeps, option, multiple backs, etc. You have to get GOOD at a particular style - really good - to have long-term success. So have tendencies is a good thing in my book. I applaud Coach Gailey for trying new things when what you want to run isn't working, but at some point you have to settle into your "style". Coach wants a pro-style, run first, 3 yards and a could of dust style, but our O-Line just don't seem to support it.

11. Game balls - Kenny Scott for 2 big pass break-ups, and a huge 4th down tackle to end Clemson's last chance to score. Something tells me Kenny got tired of readying about how Tech had a "no name defense"................ Evidently Eric Henderson was ready the same articles. He gets a game ball for showing us the manchild that he is. Two sacks, and both times he forces Whitehurst fumbles. Major props to EH. You can't help but root for that guy - he's a real leader........................ Tashard Choice for a big time 33 yard scamper on that crucial TD drive, then following that up with a critical 3rd down and 6 catch which he fought and got the 1st......

10. Whether you're a Chan Gailey fan or not, nobody can deny that we're one CJ catch away from being 6-1. We have a 5-2 record and just beat a team that took Miami and BC to overtime. You can say all day that we "should" win this game, but Clemson is a good football team. Today we beat a good football team. Oh, and that's not a Chan Gailey quote. That's me, but it sure sounds like something coach would say.

The coming weeks are going to get very interesting. Will Chan Gailey get a contract extension or not? Will he live on as the Jacket's head coach? Folks - if Braine waits until the season is over, Chan will definitely be hurt in his recruiting efforts. Make no mistake about that. It's already a challenge for him. Personally, I do get frustrated at times in these games, but this man is still a good fit for this team. He's certainly done nothing to to earn a pink-slip....... yet. The Chan-haters will not be convinced by this game to change their opinion. Of course most of those people made up their minds a long time ago. Stay tuned, because the next few weeks are going to be a ride -hold on.

Most importantly, enjoy the win. This is a grand day in college football. Our Jackets get the W, Clemson self-destructs, and the Dawgs get put in their rightful place yet again by the Florida Gators. It don't get any better than that.


Hoops - Scrimmage Review

Ok, I wasn't there. In fact, I'm at home recovering from this wonderful virus that's going around here. My wife and oldest daughter got it Wed/Thurs and I managed to get it Friday and today. Not nice stuff. Let's just say I had my running game going - to the toilet.

Ok, I'm sure that's more detail than you wanted. But here are some details you do want - how did the hoops scrimmage go on Friday night? Well, I've scanned the net, talked to a couple of source, and here's the review:

1. Buck Fredrick at Point Guard was very solid and will surprise people this year. He ran the team well, and his passing was crisp. He will also be more prone to shoot than Jack ever was. However, he still has a way to go. He had to call a couple of timeouts when pinned in from double-teams. In the very few minutes last season we saw from Buck, there were similar issues. Another issue - conditioning. Evidently he was running out of gas in the 2nd half.

2. Anthony Morrow is poised to be the team scoring leader. We knew about his outside shot, but he's developed a very nice mid-range game as well. He didn't standout last night, but will have lots of opportunities during the season. However, he will have to work to create shots for himself and he needs to continue to tighten up his defense.

3. Ra'Sean Dickey could be the best offensive post player we've had since Tommy Hammonds. His footwork is excellent and his touch around the hoops outstanding. His development is solid and he is poised for an outstanding breakout season.. However, he still needs work learning how to take what the defense gives him. He had some trouble passing out of double-teams, and still tends to force things too much. The other key for Dickey's season - staying out of foul trouble.

4. Jeremis Smith is definitely a beast on the boards, but he is still struggling with his shot. For a guy who shot a decent amount from the outside in high school, his shot still needs a lot of work. In some ways, he was almost invisible last night. Smith is one of the strongest team leaders, but just didn't show it.

5. Mario West is ready to play. He's just what we have come to know - aggressive, our best defender, and has improved offensively. Had the play of the night when he elevated into the stratosphere for a monster dunk. Jacket fans were not so impressed with his point guard skills. Depth at the PG slot could be a real issue this season.

6. Theodis Tarver struggled to do anthing. Will this be his best season? Well, he hasn't had a standout season yet, so the odds are good. He'll be a good defensive backup.

5. Lewis Clinch was off with his outside shot last night, but he was quick and very smooth on the court. However, it's obvious he's still learning the offense and the team is learning to play together. Lewis was just too hesitant at times.

6. Alade Aminu showed off some good moves in the post, and showed off his athleticsm, but is still very raw and needs additional strength to battle in the ACC.

7. De'Andre Bell continues to impress with his hustle and knack for finding the ball. He is really starting to remind fans of Isma'il - but with an outside shot....... and the hustle of Mario West.

8. Paco Diaw is long and athletic, but he had troubles bringing the ball up the floor against pressure defense. Where he excels is defense, as he really gave Buck troubles. Offensively, he probably has a long way to go.

The team played a very half-court oriented offense, slowing down the clock and working the ball around. We have more offensive talent, but will they learn how to run an offense and get guys open? On defense there was a lot of trapping and pressure schemes. The defense will be active, aggressive and fast-paced.

At the end of the day, this scrimmage clearly showed our strengths and weaknesses, and none of it was much of a surprise. As was pointed out in the chatterbox, it's always hard to guage a team when you split them up and scrimmage against one another. What it does expose is depth - which is a major concern this season. Depth at all positions, particularly the 1 and 5 spots.

Help is on the way with Javaris, Thaddeus, Brad and Zach, but this year's team doesn't want to hear it. This is no "transition year" in their minds. This is their chance to step out of the shadow of Jack, Elder, Luke, T-Mac and Ish and make a statement. It should be a fun an frustrating ride, but don't forget - the ACC is wide open this year - at least once you get past Duke.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Question of the Day

Name the top 5 ACC hoops players (non-GT) of all time that you actually liked and rooted for. Here's mine

5. Tim Pickett
4. Horace Grant
3. Brad Daugherty (a bit before my time)
2. Rodney Rogers
1. Tim Duncan

YOUR TOP FIVE (one day of voting - based on total votes)

5. Tim Pickett
4. Tim Duncan
3. Michael Jordan
2. Randolph Childress
1. Len Bias

Football - GT / Clemson Game Preview

Don't have the time for a real detailed breakdown, but here are some thoughts without a lot of research........................

Ok, first things first. Saturday's game with Clemson has HUGE bowl implications........ for both teams........ Clemson is sitting at 4-3 (2-3 ACC) and the Jackets are 4-2 (2-2 ACC). For the Jackets, a brutal final stretch means that the best chance to reach 6 wins is to notch victories the next two weeks against the Tigers and Wake Forest. A slip-up in either of these games means an upset will be needed against either UVA, Miami or UGAg - do-able, but challenging. Let's also not forget that 6 wins does not necessarily equal bowl game.... even in Boise...... With only 6 bowl tie-ins during this ACC transition season, the middle-tier 6-win squeekers better hope the ACC can negotiate away other conference bowls when the time comes. Remember last year - there were only two bowl-eligible teams in the nation that stayed home - Clemson and USC - since they decided to have a good ole'fashioned brew-haha in their rivalry game.

So how does this game stack up? The bookies have the Jackets pegged as a 3-point home favorite. That means they don't have a clue and there is no clear advantage in their eyes. It's a toss-up. We all know the series has been nip-and-tuck and usually comes down to a last-second play. This year could be no different.

Clemson is a different team than we faced last season. Gone is that crazy shotgun alignment on every play and waiting 30 seconds before the play is sent in. Gone are both the OC and DC, in favor of new guys as the coaching pinwheel keeps spinning. The OC Rob Spence has been ok, but fans have been frustrated by a series of heartbreaking losses. The Tigers are coming off a strong 37-7 win over Temple, who by all rights should be playing high school ball..........

On offense, they are letting Charlie Whitehurst throw shorter passes and they aren't always trying to bust the backs up the middle all the time. In terms of the offenses, both teams have had similar success in the running game, although the Tigers will be mostly without the services of super-frosh TB James Davis. Davis was SSSOOO looking forward to juicing it up in his hometown of ATL. Maybe 2 years from now James. That certainly helps the Jackets, as Davis will be a fixture for Clemson in years to come. He's a good one.

The passing game is where the offenses diverge, as Clemson has had more success with the experienced Charlie Whitehurst. They are completing passes at a higher clip and for about 40 more yards per game. Of course CW is more of a pocket-passer, which means - say it with me - less rollouts, less balls thrown OB, etc. You remember the story right? That's why it's ok to have a 47% completion percentage. In all seriousness, there is no doubt that Reggie Ball has had a better season than last year. Say what you want, he has. Oh, he's no Peyton Manning, but he has made a step-up this year - although not a giant one.

Key stat - Charlie Whitehurst is completing 64.8% of his 3rd down passes, but the Jackets are 2nd in the league in preventing opponent 3rd down conversions at only 25.6%.

The defenses are both solid, but the Jackets have an advantage here. But the key is not tackling Whitehurst, it's tackling the guys who catch the ball. Especially Chauncy Stuckey, who is one of those razzle-dazzle playmaker type guys. The Clemson defense is just ok.


The Jackets have been feast or famine on field position. Our losses are littered with drive after drive starting inside our own 20 and the opponent having excellent field position. Clemson has the worst punting game in the league, with a net 29.3 yards/punt, while the Jackets are 2nd with 38.6. This could be important in the battle for position.

We like to pressure QB's. Send the army in. We like Chris Reis to cheat towards the line. We really like to do it with inexperienced QB's. We're not facing one of those. So CW is going to get rid of the ball and we're going to have to tackle. That means avoid big plays. J.Tenuta needs a solid gameplan that confuses Bowden's boys but doesn't expose our own.

Our #1 goal on defense - stuff the run. No James Davis is helpful, they have some experienced backs to give the ball to. On the other side, will PJ Daniels get back into early season form? Will the O-Line use their scheme blocking to advantage or will we have to turn to a pass-first offense - again? As always, he who wins in the trenches typicallys wins on the scoreboard.

Key stat - Clemson is #1 in the ACC in redzone offense, getting points 93.1% of the time. Georgia Tech is last in the ACC in redzone defense, allowing points 93.1% of the time. Not a good combo..............Travis Bell has not made a field goal is 40-something days. He's still 0-his-last-5.........

KET STAT - Clemson has scored more points in the 2nd quarter than any other BY FAR (almost double any other quarter). They've also given up the most points in the 2nd quarter. Georgia Tech opponents have scored the most points against us in the 2nd quarter as well.

As in every college game, turnovers will be critical in determining the outcome. Both teams are on the plus side on the season....Key stat - Clemson is 11th nationally in turnover margin at +1.14. Of course Tech is 8th nationally at +1.17...... Clemson is the only 1-A team who has not lost a fumble this season.

I have to go with the Jackets. I see a close game with a moderate score, both teams in the 20-30 point range. I see both teams struggling offensively at times but breaking out in stretches as well. I just don't see a methodical, paced game.

Jackets win 28-21.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What's Buzzin' for Thursday

A few more quick takes.

Make sure to head here and read a bunch of links, prep diaries, etc, from Thad Young, including links to his own upcoming website. Also note the selection criteria he laid out in the beginning of the process........... Also worth mentioning the impact Javaris Crittenton. Remember that JC took Thaddeus to a high school football game the Friday night he was here - just the two of them together.............. Gregg Doyel has a nice compliment for Georgia Tech. After talking about all the sickening stuff during Thaddeus Young's recruitment, he came to the conclusion it was never him, but always the people around him ruining his image. Here's what he said:

But if you ask me, Young's college choice -- Georgia Tech -- suggests that, at
the end of the day, this is indeed a fine young man who is not going to allow
those around him to make his choices. Young's inner circle was pushing him to
Arkansas. Young himself initially wanted to play for North Carolina, but a
personality conflict with UNC recruit Brandan Wright made that impossible. No
way were they going to attend the same school. So Young chose Georgia
Tech, where he'll probably pull a Chris Bosh and leave for the NBA after his
freshman season.

And how about this from the AD at Thad's high schoo. This was an open letter to Georgia Tech fans:

Let me start off by stating you are getting a fine young man. This process has been very hard on Thad to the point where he had to hide out for a day.

I have been blessed with the privilege of knowing Thad sine his fourth grade year when he move to Memphis from New Orleans. The first time Thad came to the Andre Turner camp he could hardly make a lay up. By the end of the week he was making them with ease. I am blessed to serve as his athletic director and his Pastor. If Thaddeus never plays one minute of basketball during his time there you will still be blessed to have him at your university. He is active in Sunday school, youth bible study, and the youth choir. His passion for knowledge separates him form most star athletes. Coach Hewitt worked very hard on Thad. Out of all the head coaches he was the most. Visible. He will make your university very proud and be a good citizen for Atlanta. He is looking forward to the challenge of continuing his education and fulfilling one of his dreams of playing major college basketball.

Consider yourself blessed and enjoy the presence of a fine young man.

Henry Baskin
AD Mitchell High School, Sr. Pastor New Galilee Baptist Church.

Children don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Jarrett Jack is coming along nicely. His latest outing he helped take control of a game and bring the Blazers to victory:

The Blazers (2-4) had a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, but it lasted less than five minutes. Then Jack, the rookie out of Georgia Tech, took control, scoring nine points in the final three minutes of the third to turn a 63-62 deficit into a 78-70 lead entering the fourth.

Jack finished with 13 points and four assists in 18 minutes off the bench and gained the ultimate compliment from McMillan by finishing the game on the court.

"It was a nice job by the young fella," McMillan said. "He did a nice job of coming in and making plays by executing the offense. That second unit made runs while he was in the game."

Meanwhile, there will be MANY Point Guard questions in the ACC, not just with the Jackets.

"When things go wrong, at least for me, the tendency is to go to the point guard and ask what's going on out there," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, who replaces Jack with sophomore Zam Fredrick. "The point guard and I, we take ownership."

Want to know a little about Coach Hewitt's dress code for the team - read here. ................ Here's info on Hoopfest. Be there or be a geometric shape............................ Lastly, the Sacramento Kings have to cut ONE more roster spot and Luke Schenscher is one of two guys that could get cut. Will they go with a more proven guy with less upside or a younger guy that has higher potential but might not contibute soon? We'll know on Friday.

The Jackets are trying to shore up kickoff coverage by adding Chris Reis to the mix. He's not a wedgebuster, but he's there to help preven the young guys from getting into trouble.............. Did you know that Chan Gailey's favorite Halloween costume was dressing as a Cowboy? It's true, and he even got to do it as an adult for a couple of seasons.

Troy Matteson is the top money winner on the Nationwide Tour this season. He will end this week with his PGA Tour card in hand. CONGRATS!!!!

Did you know you could get a liscenced Georgia Tech casket? That's right - the ultimate fan burial. Evidently they just lost liscensing rights to UGAg:

For his part, Walston considers the loss of Georgia’s licensing rights an “unfortunate thing.”

“We buried some very prominent alumni,” Walston said, giving the former mayor of Ellijay and a past president of the UGA Touchdown Club as examples.

“We certainly want to continue to represent the University in the future,” Walston said, adding that Georgia Tech was still his client, though less popular.

Hoops - Meet the New Walk-ons

Well, there are three new additions to the hoops squad. Meet the walk-ons.

Gary Cage, Gaurd, Atlanta, GA, 6'0"
Steven Wolcott, Marietta, GA, 6'2"
LeGreen Toomer, Center, Dawson, GA, 6'5"

Cage, 6-0, and Wolcott, 6-2, attended Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy and played with current NBA second-year player Dwight Howard. Wolcott, 6-2, attended Wheeler High School in Marietta. Both played on state championship teams in 2005 in their respective classes. Toomer, 6-5, helped Albany High School win the region 1-AA title in 2005.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Quote of the Day

From Clemson DB Tye Hill on re-watching the film of last year's Clemson / GT game:

"I remember that game. I don't think I will ever forget that game." Hill said. "That's the day the world was introduced to Calvin Johnson."

What's Buzzin'

Some quick hits.....................

Will Bynum was released by the Boston Celtics. Booooooooo Danny Ainge............... If you read all the articles about Thaddeus Young's recruitment, you would realize what a 3-ring circuis it was. However, on announcement day, evidently lots of people knew what was going to happen. While hyping up the crowd in the high school gym prior to Thad's arrival (with cheerleaders and marching band), the emcee asked the crowd where they thought he was going. They asked Arkansas and a few people raised their hands. They asked Kentucky and one person raised his hand. They asked Georgia Tech and the entire cheerleading team raised their pom-poms along with almost all the students. There were other clues, like when a video board shoed the logo's of all 3 schools, but instead of Arkansas, they put up the Arkansas State logo. Whoops................................ In the end, Thad said the difference was as follows:

1. GT was clearly a "5-star" academic school, best of the group by far
2. GT had a "bunch of big men", so he won't have to bang inside and can play the wing
3. He liked Paul Hewitt and his total approach to recruiting. He worked not only Thad but his entire family (father, brother, mom, etc). Coach Hewitt evidently saw the most games and attended the most events with Thad there.
4. He likes the city of Atlanta.

By the way, John Calipari said he's willing to play a home-and-away if Tech wants next season:

"I wouldn't normally do it, but if Georgia Tech wants to give him a chance to
come back home and play, I'll do it," Calipari said. "I'll do it because he's a
good kid. So if Georgia Tech wants to schedule a home-and-home where he can play
at home next year, tell them to call me."

Now, I did find a quote that was a little disturbing that sounds like a slightly dominating father:

"Memphis has five guys in that spot, and they're young. I said, 'I've got to find where you can go and play,'" Felton said. "I wanted him to be at a school where it would be about Thaddeus. I don't want to pick up the paper and read two lines or a paragraph about him because you've got all these people here. I want to pick up the paper and read about Thaddeus. It's got to be about Thaddeus."

Thad's father should hook up with Buck's dad for a BBQ............. By the way, Thad denied that he had silently committed to UNC. Thad's father denied they ever met with Wal-mart reps in Ark. He denied having a black head coach was a factor. He denied having a deal with a shoe company and said he will remain a teacher until he retires. He said both Paul Hewitt and S.Heat (Ark) did everything by the book.

One last note - per Rivals - guess who spent a bunch of time with Thad in ATL? Former Memphis football standout David Brandon, who showed him around the city. Brandon is a former neighbor of Thad's high school AD and the time they spent together actually helped convince Thad ATL was the right place for him. How about that?

In football, you know by now the GT/Clemson game was rescheduled to 3:30, swapping the noon timeslot with UM/UNC since they can't get the lighting system to work in the Orange bowl.

Well, this article is premium, but Clemson's defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has thrown down the gauntlet. He says Calvin Johnson uses illegal tactices to get open. Check out these quotes:

"They're not going to let you touch him," Koenning said. "You can't touch him, but he can push you and be all over your back. It's been a complete one-way street on the film we've seen."

"It's like if you're playing against Shaquille O'Neal and you get in front of him and he pushes off and gets open," Koenning said. "So, if you front him, he pushes off. If you get behind him and push him (then it's a penalty). I wish I could sit there and go into a game and say if he pushes they’re going to throw the foul. But I don't think that happens. That's just the nature of the way games are done. It's harder for the defensive player.

"It seems like on the film that we've seen that there is a lot of pushing and shoving. He is a big guy, and if you front him you don't have much of a chance because he's going to put his hands in your back and push in and get away. He just does it and has gotten away with it in every game we’ve seen. Not being critical, it's just that he's gotten away with it. I haven't seen, that I can recall, one time that he's been called and I can probably find five times on film where he's pushed off and got open."

Well, want to know my response to that? I'll tell you my response - he's right. Calvin does push off at times and he does get away with it. But Vic, guess what? All the GREAT ones do. All the great ones do it and they get away with it. We cannot help that. CJ takes what he is given. I'm not saying the ref's should or shouldn't call it at times, but if they don't, why shouldn't he keep using those techniques?

Vic, however, you have accomplished your mission - to get exposure to this topic so that league officials might become aware of it and maybe - just maybe - tighten down. I have to give you props for that. After all, our own Paul Hewitt has used these techniques to give some officiating help to guys like Luke Schensher when he was getting pushed around unfairly. Of course, there is a difference. Coach Hewitt didn't go singling out a kid on another team for using illegal tactics. He just stuck up for his own guy. I think you're reaching just a bit into gray area, but do what you have to do................

Ok, the AJC reported some good stats for the anti-Reggie Ball crowd. Even though his completion % is still only 47.3% (about career avg), he has cut down INT's from 1-in-18 throws to 1-in-31 and he's only been sacked 3 times all season instead an average of about 2 per game last year. All good stuff, but it takes a lot of out-of-bounds throws, rollouts and bootlegs to achieve that with a weak O-Line.............. Also interesting is the development of Darrel Robertson. He's developed into quite a pass-rusher with 4 pass break-ups, a QB hurry and an INT for TD. However, he's not big and strong enough yet against the run, so with Eric Henderson coming back, it will be challenging to figure out how to get these guys all on the field.

INJURY REPORT - Joe Anaoi and Djay Jones are doubtful for Saturday. Clemson RB James Davis (from ATL) is doubtful..........

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hoops - Even More Motivation

Ok, if the Jackets already felt they had something to prove, now it's even stronger. The wizards that are the ACC media have given us their high and mighty useless picks of the pre-season. You know - that annual waste of space and time that must occur since there's nothing else in hoops to talk about..............

So they pick Duke to win it all and here's the rest with vote totals:

1. Duke (87)1,044* 2. Boston College918 3. Wake Forest791 4. NC State744 5. Maryland707 6. North Carolina573 7. Miami540 8. Virginia Tech451 9. Georgia Tech380 10. Clemson230 11. Florida State216 12. Virginia192

Clearly Duke is the favorite - and if you don't agree you're nuts - like it or not. I can't criticize BC in the #2 slot either. The rest is a crap shoot though. Who knows? We've been picked 7th before and made it to the National Championship game. We all know that underdog Hewitt teams tend to perform well - or is it that it's not hard to jump over a bar 6" off the ground? The team will benefit once again from low expectations, so honestly I expect a good season from a fan perspective. Time will tell.

Not one GT player gets votes as POY (not surprising). Not one player gets voted to the all-ACC preseason team (not surprising). However, our continually underrated 5-star man Lewis Clinch gets totally blanked in the rookie voting. Heck, a guy named Uche even got rookie votes. First he's left out of the McDonalds AA game, now this. Well, he was already playing with a chip on his shoulder - now it's even bigger. Alright Lewis - time to show'em ya got game. Bring it!

Oh yeah, forgot to thank to wonderful oracles and wizards of the media for sharing their knowledge and wisdom with us lowly peasants.

Football Recruiting

Aaaahhhaaaa!!! I think I found out why people think Chan Gailey has a weakness in recruiting - he doesn't know how to use text messaging:

Technology's web

Tommy Bowden from Clemson and Chuck Amato from N.C. State said Wednesday on an ACC coaches' teleconference that they use their cellphones to text-message recruits, but they were in the minority among their ACC colleagues.

"I wouldn't know how to do that in a million years," Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey said.

I'm kidding of course. However, not to be negative, but using today's technology certainly is important in order to increase the number of communication channels with recruits. And remember, NCAA rules regulate phone calls, but NOT text messaging (at least that's my understanding). That's why coaches are using it more and more. I sure hope the assistant coaches know how to use it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hoops Recruiting - Thaddeus Young to.....

..... drum roll please............................................. GEORGIA TECH!!!!!!!!

What a huge pick-up for Paul Hewitt and Staff. This just vaulted the Georgia Tech recruiting class into the top 10 for sure. We are talking about 2 top 10 kids along with 2 very solid big men in Brad Sheehan and Zach Peacock. Rivals ranks Javaris Crittenton as the #1 PG in the nation and he's a top 5 PG from all the other services. Thaddeus Young is ranked #3 overall in the nation by and #7 in the nation by Young is a 6'8" 200lb swingman, considered by most to be the most versatile player in the country. Oh, did I mention that he's an outstanding 4.0 GPA student? Combine this with a very young, talented team, and things are looking very interesting in the future. Kudos to Coach Hewitt!!!!!

Young's recruitment has been an up-and-down, at times ugly affair. You can fully expect some ugliness and fallout from his decision to chose GT, but that comes with the territory for a bigtime player. In the end, it looks like Coach Hewitt's laid back approach, the strong academics, the city of ATL, and playing in the ACC were the difference.

Thaddeus - glad that your heart led you to the Jackets. Welcome aboard.

Hoops Recruiting - Thaddeus Young

Ok, Georgia Tech doesn't have the right shoe company, but we do have this. Evidently Thaddeus Young committed to North Carolina a couple of weeks ago, but the Heels wanted him to go public prior to a visit to Kentucky. Team Thad declined, then UNC took a commit from Brandon Wright instead. All this according to Thad's high school coach. Why is this good for Jacket fans? Well, if I was a high-flying talented player and I felt jilted by a top school, I would like exact revenge on that school, which means playing in the ACC. Could this play a factor? One and half hours and counting........

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Basketball Recruiting

Ok - so Lance Thomas now has an official visit setup for next weekend in ATL (Oct 29). This news fresh from So if that just came about, is it a telling sign that maybe Thaddeus Young is in fact headed to either Ark or UK? Did the coaches get a call over the weekend? Give it about 12 hours and we'll know for sure.

Where are they now - Riccardo Ingram

Our man Riccardo Ingram gets a promotion and now he's the new head coach of the New Britain Rock Cats. He's moving up in the Twins organization. Nice!!!!

I'm Back....... Sort of

Ok, 3 days without posting is probably a new record for me. Sorry for the delay. Life has it's way of twisting and turning in a fashion that adjusts priorities. I won't be quite as profilic in my posting in the coming weeks, but hopefully I can make up the quantity with outstanding quality. Of course you'll have to be the judge of that.

Let me start off on a rant. Monday at about 10:00 am, you will learn where Thaddeus Young is going to college to play hoops. He is a top 5 national recruit and considered the most versatile player in the nation, an athletic, slashing, scrapping, sharp shooting 6'8" wing play. His list has been narrowed down to GT, UK and Ark. His "hometown" Memphis Tigers were eliminated in the #4 slot and things have gotten WAY ugly in the city of blues. Fans on the Memphis internet and even local radio stations (Keith Easterwood) are absolutely throwing Young and his family to the wolves. First, there was all the stuff about Thad's father wanting him to play for a black head coach, which the family has said is ridiculous. Now a local Memphis radio station has come out and said that Thaddeus Young is basically out to the highest bidder. Here are some of the accusations:

- that "Team Thad" (his entourage) held private workouts for colleges and that during the Arkansas workout, there was a meeting with a member of the Walton family (Wal-mart folks), a tyson rep, and Thad Young.
- NCAA investigations are underway (rumors)
- "Team Thad" purposely tried to convince other high level recruits NOT to commit to Memphis
- George Raveling, on behalf of Nike and Georgia Tech, was offering money to "Team Thad" (family members) to get him to GT, since of course, we use Nike
- Arkansas was able to get more money on the table through their link with Adidas and therefore they are leading in the "bidding war" for Thad's services. Common "internet" belief is that Arkansas is the favorite.

So who is "Team Thad"? I found this editorial:

Calkins: Why do those least in need get most help?
By Geoff Calkins
May 15, 2005

For the last two years, Darryl Fletcher has worked as manager for the Mitchell High School basketball team. He does the laundry, fills up water bottles, the usual stuff.

Fletcher is a sweet kid, as sweet as they come. He doesn't have a lot of money. He takes special needs classes. Mitchell coach Jerry Johnson says he's "a step or two behind the other kids."

So people look out for him, starting with the principal at Mitchell, John Ware. Ware asked Johnson to find something for Fletcher to do. That's how he became manager of the basketball team. Johnson gives him basketball shoes, and warmup outfits, and sometimes money for a haircut.

"Everyone knows and loves him at Mitchell," Johnson said. "You might say we look out for him." I tell you this story because it is pure and simple and clean. The people who help Darryl Fletcher expect nothing in return. Call them Team Darryl. I like Team Darryl.

Team Thaddeus? I'm less sure.

Thaddeus Young is the best high school player in Memphis, certainly one of the 10 best rising seniors in the land. He's tall (6-8) and gifted (North Carolina coach Roy Williams has practically taken up residence) and the subject of a remarkable series of stories in today's Commercial Appeal.

The stories are about Team Thaddeus, the half a dozen people who are shaping Young's life this summer and beyond. One thing you'll notice about the stories: There's not much about the kid in there. There's a story on his father, and a lawyer, and the twins who manage his AAU team. There's a story on the big hitters from adidas who see Young as a human billboard.

But Thaddeus himself? At 16, he's become almost a bit player in his own tale. Team Thaddeus. What a concept. Once, that was the kid and his mom.

Lula Hall bore her son on June 21, 1988. She never married the father but raised an urban miracle. Young isn't just a great basketball player, he's an inspiration. He has a 4.3 grade point average. He's in the National Honor Society. "As good as he is at basketball," said Johnson, "he's a better human being."

Johnson once asked Hall what she did that was so different, how she succeeded where so many had failed. "She said she didn't use Similac," he said. "She used regular pasteurized milk." Whatever, it worked until Young hit ninth grade, until he showed signs of becoming a star. Then Team Thaddeus grew beyond the mom. "She doesn't know anything about basketball," Johnson said. "She only comes to see her son."

Only comes to see her son. How wonderfully innocent is that? The rest come because they see his gifts, see that he's going to hit it big. To help him? Or to help themselves? You decide. But if someone wanted to make a movie about the seamy world of high school basketball, they could come to Memphis and find all the stock characters they need.

The biological father, suddenly playing a larger role in his son's life.

According to Johnson, the Mitchell coach, Felton Young didn't come to his son's games before the ninth grade. Now the elder Young is not only the kid's biggest supporter, he's also his AAU coach. Felton Young hadn't coached in 15 years. But when adidas agreed to underwrite a new team called Pump'N'Run, he got the coaching bug again. Young insists he isn't paid for the job, but that would be a departure from the norm. It's a perfectly legal way for shoe companies to funnel money to the parents of a star.

The questionable characters from the hometown.

Jerry and Terry Durham are twins who manage the new Pump'N'Run team. Between them, they were arrested 19 times from 1989-2002 on charges ranging from reckless driving to attempted murder to possession of drugs with intent to distribute. They've never been convicted of a felony. That much is true. But why are these two even involved?

The fancy lawyer from New Orleans.

Ken Carter is Felton Young's cousin, and a highly respected lawyer from New Orleans. He is deeply involved in all things Thaddeus. Carter says he has no interest in being Young's agent. He's made plenty of money on his own. But is the power appealing? The glamour, the juice? How could it not be? When Roy Williams left an AAU tournament the other day, he waved to Carter on the way out.

The shoe company representatives, wooing the next star.

David and Dana Pump are the adidas executives who decided to underwrite the Pump'N'Run team. They want Young to wear their shoes and figured this was the best way. Before this summer, Young played for a Nike team that wasn't coached by his father. Now there's a new team, built around the Youngs, one as the star, one as the coach.

Oh, and David and Dana Pump are also twins. Just like the Durhams. Because, really, what's a circus without two pairs? "They're twins, we're twins," said David Pump. "I'm just trying to help the twins." So the Pumps are trying to help the Durhams, who are trying to help the father, who is trying to help the son, who must feel overwhelmed at times.

Team Thaddeus is supposed to help protect the kid. But how is a kid supposed to know if the people there to protect him are the ones he should be protected from? Henry Baskin is the athletic director at Mitchell High School. He's been known to go to Internet message boards and post alarming messages about drug dealers getting too close to Young. Baskin said Young is now in good hands. He's a firm believer in the sincerity of Felton Young.

So is Johnson, the Mitchell coach, who said he called Thaddeus's father three years ago and asked him to get more involved. "People bash him," he said, "but he is still the boy's dad." Johnson concedes that some of Thaddeus's family on his mother's side resent Felton Young's prominent role. "They do," he said. "But they don't understand that he got involved because I called him to help."

As for the Durham brothers and the Pump brothers, what of them? "We're just trying to help kids," said Jerry Durham.

Of course they are. But why this kid? Why the one kid in Memphis who might be least in need of help? There are second-graders who need help. Infants who need help. Musicians and math students and high school basketball managers who need help. Of course, Darryl Fletcher isn't going to make anyone rich. Thaddeus Young just might. Team Darryl. I like Team Darryl. I like the uncomplicated selflessness in a complicated time.

To reach Geoff Calkins, call him at 529-2364 or send an e-mail. You can hear his radio show, "Sportstime with George Lapides and Geoff Calkins," from 8 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday on WHBQ-AM (560).

I read another interesting story in the USA Today on a plane this week. It is the story of Arkansas State's leading scorer Jerry Nichols. It's the story of a kid who hurt his knee twice in high school wearing Adidas shoes. The past two seasons, Ark.St. used Nike, but this season they have switched to Adidas. Jerry says he doesn't want to wear Adidas because of blowing out his knee in their shoes in the past. The result? Nichols was told he would no longer practice or PLAY with the team until he decides otherwise, so he missed at least 3 practices. In the past day, Adidas has decided this is a PR nightmare and they have said they will not force him to wear Adidas shoes, but will try to offer him shoes from their collection that will work for him.

Hey Adidas, Jerry Nichols is not under contract with Adidas. How much money did he receive? None - that's right. Are you telling me shoe companies have the right to dictate these things? Who is writing these contracts? Who is signing over their first-born for the all-mighty dollar? Who is selling out these kids? Everyone. That's right - everyone.

I feel for Thaddeus Young. By all accounts, this is an upstanding, smart, talented young man. He would be a top-10 NBA draft pick. He sees himself as a one-and-done guy and why not (with that talent)? What do you do when the people looking out for your well-being might need looking after? What do you do when fans only see you for what you can contribute to their team? When others see dollar signs? When shoe companies influence your life as a teenager? What do you do when fans degrade your family and rip you because you because you eliminated their school?

On Monday, a bunch of fans are going to be happy, a bunch are going to be upset, a bunch of companies will start building Thad-branding plans and hopefully Thaddeus Young will continue his life as a high school senior. A high school senior. Say it again with me - a high school senior. Best of luck Thaddeus Young. You'll do fine wherever. Like most other selfish fans, we'd love to have you as a YellowJacket. Just do what's in YOUR heart. Not a shoe-company, not your AAU coach, you advisors, your dad, etc. You have to live with it - they don't. Oh, and have some fun too.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thank you Tony Barnhardt

You know, I have been steaming over the Mark Bradley article professing that Chan Gailey was the wrong head coach for Georgia Tech only halfway through the season. I felt that editorial was an absolute travesty and only promotes the win-now mentality that pervades collegiate sports. Let's hang Chan Gailey because he's gone to 3 bowls in a row, had winning seasons, dealth with as much adversity as almost any program in the country and had to deal with recruiting standards that many others don't have.

So Tony Barnhardt comes in and calls a spade a spade - even to his own fellow journalist. Oh, he doesn't use Bradley's name, but he might as well.

So let me get this straight. If Calvin Johnson catches one pass, Georgia Tech is 5-1 right now with a win at Auburn and a loss to the No. 3 team in America (Virginia Tech) on the road. My guess is that even the most demanding of Techsters would be pretty happy with that.

But because Johnson, the best wide receiver in college football, DIDN'T catch that pass and Georgia Tech is 4-2, we must conclude that Chan Gailey is a bad coach and it's time to throw him under the bus. Is that what we're saying?

You know what - I couldn't have said it better myself, so I won't try. All I will say is don't judge the season until the season is done. Let's back the team, and save coaching issues for another day. This is not the time, even for bone-headed journalists who are trying to draw in readers with sensationalism.............

Hoops - Practice Report

You won't get this anywhere but the 'blog. Don't ask how we get this, but here is one person's first-hand opinion on the first few days of hoops practice. The team ran two-a-days from last Saturday through Tuesday. Some of it won't surprise you, but is good to see.

Alade Aminu: Still has quite a bit to learn about the game and offense. Very quick for a big guy and a good shot blocker. Lots of potential, just needs some developing.

D'Andre Bell: Very much a suprise to me. Considering he was just a two-star on he plays much better. He has looked great on defense and has shown some nice moves on offense. He is all over the floor. Think 'Rio version 2.

Lewis Clinch: Plays very much like the five-star recruit he is. Excellent on offense and improving rapidly on defense. This guy is going to be a stud.

Paco Diaw: Very raw talent, but could be a factor. Another guy who is all over the floor and he is very quick. He still needs to develop his ball handling skills, but is pretty decent on offense. Could become quite a good player. Oh, and he speaks like 6 different languages.

Zam Frederick: Looking quite good actually. I would say don't worry about the point guard position. Not quite as good of a ball handler as JJ, but then again not many are. I'm looking forward to him actually showing his stuff this year.

Anthony Morrow: You know what you are getting here. Amazing offense and solid defense. The only difference I would say is he has developed a little more to his offense than just the 3.

Jeremis Smith: VERY physical guy. Great defense and devoping on offense. Has had some great dunks in practice (although not Ish caliber).

Ra'Sean Dickey: The key to this season. If he plays well we can have a great year. If not, then it could be a long one. Has played well though. Showed some incredible post moves that I never saw from Luke. He is much better than Luke offensively and even has quite a legitimate jumpshot.

Keith Jones: Doubt he gets much playing time, but has shown some good offense lately. Just not quite as much talent as the rest of the guys.

Mario West: I love this guy. He's all over the floor. He's a vocal leader. He's improved his offense. He's gonna have some significant minutes this year.

Theo Tarver: Hard to know what you are gonna get from this guy. He has shown times to look pretty good and times not so much. He has looked consistently solid on defense and has shown some pretty decent post moves at times.

Overall: The biggest problem we have is depth, especially at the big-man positions. I think this team is a better offensive team and not a huge step down on defense. I believe our depth is going to lose us some games, but our sheer talent is going to win us a few surprises. As long as Ra'Sean stays healthy and plays well then we could have a pretty good year. And you better believe that Coach Hewitt wants to fall nothing short of the NCAA this year.

Well that's about it. I can't wait till the season starts on Nov. 18th. And I hope a decent amount of people make it out to HoopsFest on Oct. 28th.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More on Jason Collier

Some good links and video clips on Jason Collier:

1. Right-click / save target as

2. Need to Copy-n-Paste this URL into Windows Media Player -


3. Hawks remember Jason

4. Macon Telegraph

5. Copy-N-Paste these URLs into Windows Media Player

1. Noon News -

2. Evening News (with SHW)-

Tech / Miami Game Rescheduled

ACC officials along with GT and Miami officials have decided to postpone the GT/Miami game until November 19. To make room, a Thursday night match-up between Miami and Wake Forest will be moved to the prior Saturday, when both schools had an open date......... and all is well...........

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Some Perspective . . . Please

The issue of playing Saturday's Georgia Tech - Miami game will likely get much clearer by lunchtime on Wednesday, according to a late update provided by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mike Knobler and also by The Macon Telegraph's Brian Murphy. A conference call is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday between all parties involved. But it is widely accepted that the University of Miami and the ACC will have a wide berth to make the majority of the decision, which is very fair, all things considered.

There appear to be three scenarios being considered:

1. Moving the game ahead by one day to Friday evening.
2. Rescheduling the game for Tech's current "bye" weekend of November 19, 2005, which would force Miami vs. Wake Forest to move to Saturday, November 12, 2005 and away from their currently scheduled nationally-televised date of Thursday, November 17.
3. Do nothing . . . and see what the weather does later in the week.

Living in the South and growing up on the coast of Georgia, I was taught that it is a no-brainer that you move, get out of the way and do not consider trying to do anything involving "out-racing" a tropical storm, especially a volatile event such as a Category 3 or 4 storm. Hurricane Hugo is a still-fresh memory for many in coastal Georgia and the South Carolina low-country, as it should be for all GT fans since the Tech-South Carolina game was also directly affected by that storm in the fall of 1989.

Proposal 1 is, therefore, something that I just don't think Tech should agree to . . . Why try to play "chicken" with a storm that can just as easily speed up as it could slow down? Is trying to get players, coaches and fans into a stadium on a Friday vs. Saturday that important? The University of Tennessee thought as much in late September when it was widely reported that they would refuse to go to play LSU in Baton Rouge (i.e. forfeit) on a Saturday or Sunday when the threat of Hurricane Rita was still possible and unknown as late as Thursday prior to the game. That storm was not even predicted to make direct contact with Louisiana at the time and Tennessee still knew not to put their players in harm's way. Logic prevailed and the game was ultimately scheduled for two nights later on Monday.

Proposal 3 is fine . . . this storm will likely make the weather predictors accurate once again, folks who now have become experts at getting these things 75-100% correct most every time. I predict that Tech won't even board a plane come Friday afternoon under this "wait-and-see" stance.

If a decision HAS to be made Wednesday, then make the decision to wait with the worst-case scenario being to reschedule for Saturday, November 19. It only further "inconveniences" Wake Forest and ESPN, but in the grand scheme of things, it is the only obvious call to be made.

Is Saturday's Game in Jeopardy?

Most of us woke up yesterday morning and probably heard about the latest tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, the 24th named storm of the year . . . . "Wilma" is her name. However, not until last night/this morning did the projections for this storm further materialize, and she is now predicted to make U.S. landfall on Saturday (sometime) in south Florida.

There are no details as yet published on any plans for postponement of Saturday's 12 noon EDT clash between Georgia Tech and Miami, but one would hope that the powers-that-be are already looking at this issue. Games were postponed several days ahead of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Texas and Louisiana, and there would likely be no hesitation to do the same here. Decisions will have to be made within the next 48 hours, one would imagine?

An update . . . The issue was acknowledged today by Coach Gailey in his weekly news conference on campus.

Officials from both schools and the ACC are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Wilma, which is projected to hit the Miami area sometime on Saturday. As of right now, the game has not been moved.

"I just heard this morning that there is a possibility that they might make a change in regards to the game," said Gailey. "I don't know what that is, though. They could move it up, back, or leave it like it is. All we can do is prepare as if we're going to play at Noon on Saturday, and if we have to adjust, then that's what we'll do."

FYI . . . our only open date remaining is post-UVa/pre-UGAg on November 19, 2005. This is not a possible date for Miami since they play Wake Forest two nights earlier on "Thursday Night Live" (ESPN). That seems to only leave December 3, 2005 as an option.

Would our potential cancellation mean that the inaugural ACC Championship game in Jacksonville gets pushed back a week? What a strange year with weather and college football . . .

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ride the Ramblin Wreck Onto the Field

Got this email last Friday. Wanted Jacket nation to be aware of it:

I was hoping we could get your help in getting the word out about a charity raffle the Ramblin’ Reck Club is holding to benefit the Hurricane victims. The winner will get the ultimate GT vs. UGA gameday experience by riding in the Wreck to lead the team onto the field. Other perks are included as well. Tickets are available at the team sendoffs, pre-game, daily on campus and at the GT Ticket office. I have attached an advertisement we have been using. Additional information can be found at . Thanks for your help in making this effort a success.

Ryan McFerrin
Georgia Institute of Technology
2005 Industrial Design
Ramblin' Wreck Driver

Hoops Recruiting

Well, evidently Thaddeus Young has narrowed his list to 3 schools - Arkansas, Kentucky and Georgia Tech. No Memphis, no UConn, no UNC. What do all these schools have in common? African American head coaches for one. Evidently Young's father feels very strongly that Thad play for an AA coach. A local Memphis paper evidently has a different spin, quoting Thad as saying Memphis has NOT been eliminated and that he will make his own decision.

However, if those are his real top 3, then it certainly helps out the Jackets. Don't mark anything in stone though. There are many who see Arkansas as the lead Hog here. They are closest to home and are in the midst of putting together a great class of their own, with plenty of PT to offer. Remember that Young does see academics are important, but sees himself as as a one-and-done guy. He would likely be a top 10 NBA draft pick if he could leave now.

Announcement day is Oct 24, so hang on to your hats............

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Jason Collier, 1977 - 2005, Rest In Peace

Hoops - Bynum getting some minutes

Well, the odds are still against Will "the Thrill" Bynum to make the Celtics squad, but it looks like at least he'll get a fighting chance.

Asked why Bynum would receive minutes last night, Doc Rivers said, ''because he's from Chicago" and ''every once and a while he needs a chance."

Rivers and Brown, who also both hail from Chicago, understand better than most what playing significant minutes in front of the United Center crowd meant to Bynum.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Football - A Cure for What Ails You - A "W"

Well, I have to be honest with you. I said to myself before the game:

1. A win is a must. Anything less and it's "Houston, we have a problem".

2. I really wanted to see the offense score more than 30 points and the defense hold Duke to less than 10 points.

As I drove to Jeykll Island with my family and listened to the game on the radio, my thoughts were certainly unpleasant with a halftime score of 10-7 Duke. Thanks to an explosion in the 3rd quarter, the Jackets actually accomplished both #1 and #2.

At the end of the day, a win is a win.......... and it's amazing how a win can help smooth over a lot of things. Of, so the Jackets are 4-2, two games away from bowl eligibility. Here are some points on the game, which I did not see, but will have to make based on spotty radio listening and game stats:

1. Tashard Choice goes for his first collegiate 100+ yard game and 2 TD's. He averaged a robust 7.1 yards/carry........ Congrats. While PJ did end up carrying some, he left the game with an injury. Tashard led the way and showed that he's nothing to sneeze at, particulary when PJ Daniels moves on to the NFL. In total, the Jackets rushed for 257 yards - not bad.

2. Offensive explosion in the 3rd quarter. Ok, I'm all for offensive explosions. However, I'm not for offensive sputtering prior to that against one of the worst teams in Div I-A. For the 3rd week in a row, the team goes through a serious lack of offensive production. In this case, they did in fact move the ball, but mistakes were a killer. Fumbles, INT's, 2 roughing the punter calls. Just mistake-heavy football, or else we could have built up a nice lead in the 1st half. Back to basics time.... again.....

3. The Jackets didn't need to pass the ball much, and ended with 147 yards passing, but 9 different guys caught passes. James Johnson caught his first collegiate TD - CONGRATS! Is it just me, or are you getting a "Freddy" Smith vibe with James? I sure am........... Calvin ends up with 4 balls for 73 yards. Reggie Ball left the game with a hip pointer and Taylor Bennett came on to finish, but only went 1-2 passing. Reggie had a decent percentage night at 16-25, even with the INT.............

4. Mistakes - 2 fumbles (one lost) and 1 INT. 2 roughing the punter calls. Was that the Wolfpack in sheeps.... err bee's clothing?.......Needs tightening up.

5. Philip Wheeler continues his INT binge, grabbing #4 on the season, while RS frosh Darrell Robertson grabs an INT and takes it to the house for the first of his collegiate career - CONGRATS!!

6. Robertson wasn't the only "new" guy getting some time. Gary Guyton, Joe Gaston and Travis Chambers all logged sacks, which was nice to see. In fact, Chambers had 6 tackes, 4 of which were solo. Nice.

7. Unfortunately, Travis Bell never got a chance to try another FG. That's too bad in a "blowout". I would like to have seen him try and knock one through and get the monkey off his back.

8. Injuries will be a big issue this week. PJ Daniels - shoulder...... Pat Clark sustained an injury......... Joe Anaoi - ankle.......... Reggie Ball - hip pointer and injury to his throwing hand............ Jamal Lewis - unknown......... Brad Honeycutt and Nate McManus did start today, just as I suspected earlier in the week. Obviously we are going to need to be full strength quickly. We'll hear more this week.

Well, a win is a win is a win, even if it is Duke. And 35-10 is a decent spread. The first half wasn't pretty, but luckily they don't count that score as final. CONGRATS to the team.

Sadness today

I am typing this on a phone so I cannot verify, but there are reports that former Jackets hoops standout Jason Collier has died. Keep his family in your prayers... Absolutely sad if true and certainly puts a football game in perspective.......

Check out the new hoops court

From a Hiver and his camera phone - the NEW AMC....... Wow, could the logo and BUZZ BE any bigger? Nice.

Football - Duke Preview

Duke sucks................ if we lose, so do we............. that's it for my weekly game preview. Now I'm off the Jekyll Island with my family.

Until later....... when we're 4-2.

Hoops Recruiting - Charles Jackson

Remember Lewis Clinch's buddy Charles Jackson? He's the big-man who could have played football anywhere, but loved hoops. He was recruited by Coach Hewitt, but was never made an offer. He ended up committing to Illinois, and check out the sales pitch by Bruce Webber:

Illinois’ only ranked freshman recruit, Charles “CJ” Jackson (121), recalls the
Sunday Weber called him into his office before his flight back to his Buena
Vista, Ga. home.“He looked me straight in the eye, and he was like, ‘Most
coaches are going to guarantee you 30 minutes a game,” Jackson says. “Coaches
are going to tell you you’re going to play 15 at least as a freshman. They’re
going to tell you that you’re the number one player coming up next season. I’m
not here to tell you that.“I’m here to tell you that you’re a good player, and
we want you on the Illinois basketball team, but we don’t need you. Our success
will not depend on you coming here or not. We would love to have you, but how
much you play depends on how much you’re willing to work and how much you’re
going to deserve. I’m not going to promise you anything.’“At first it kind of
scared me. I was like, ‘That doesn’t sound too good. I’m going to go somewhere
else.’ But on the plane flight home, I thought about it. He was the only coach
that was straight up real. You don’t need me, but they’d love to have me. How
much I play depends on how much I want to work. And that kind of sold me. That
means he doesn’t show favoritism to any players.”

Meanwhile, Coach Hewitt comments on Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and his ability to nab recruits, including Philip Nelson, who had the Jackets as his 2nd choice:

"The guy’s got such high character and he’s got a way of being persistent without coming across as pushy," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "He’s a humble guy who’s done a great job."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hoops - Jarrett Jack Impresses

Nice first outing by our man Jarrett Jack. This from his head coach:

"I thought Jarrett Jack came in and did a really nice job. He gave us a nice pace to the game, calmed us down and got the game under control. He did a nice job and hit a couple of threes. It wasn't a bad first effort because the effort was there. I noticed that this team last year had trouble putting together four quarters of good basketball. They might play well for three quarters and not play well for the others. We want to play a 48 minute game this season."

Here's what Jarrett had to say:

"One thing that Coach McMillan has been preaching to us all week is just play hard. The No. 1 thing I'm trying to do is get out there and play hard and play relaxed. What I tried to do during my entire college career was to keep my shooting percentages on a positive note and hopefully I can keep it going here in the NBA."

What about super high-school phenom Martell Webster?

"Martell (Webster) did okay for the first game. He doesn't have a clue defensively but its what one expects of a high school player coming into the NBA. But he does have NBA stroke and he can really shoot it. Once he gets it on the defensive end he’s going to be a very good player in this league."

Here are a bunch of links to GT players:

Jarrett Jack
Will Bynum
Luke Schenscher
Chris Bosh
Fred Vinson
Kenny Anderson
Matt Harpring
Dion Glover
Stephon Marbury
Jason Collier
Jon Barry
Travis Best
Drew Barry

Hoops - Great Team Preview

Ok, you can read the standard media articles that have come out recently discussing the team, OR you can read the entire transcipt of the media session by Coach Hewitt, which is where all these stories came from. Skip the media stuff and just read all of Coach Hewitt's direct quotes. Tons of great stuff in here, like this:

You've spoken about Dickey needing to learn the game of basketball. Have you seen him making some strides there?

"He's talented. He looks good some days in individual instruction. Some days, I see some baby steps backwards. He, probably more than anyone else, will be responsible for the success of this team, because he's such a presence in the low post. He can rebound the ball. He can score the ball. He's blocked shots. He's quick off his feet. What I'm anxious to find out as we get into practice, is whether he's mentally tougher than he was as a freshman. I thought he had a good freshman year given his role, but there were times when he didn't understand how you have to push through certain things. That's what I'm anxious to find out, how he'll push through whatever adversities he faces as he moves forward."

Are you worried at all about your size?

"I'm more worried about our depth, to be honest with you. I think our size is actually greater than we had my second or third year here. With Dickey, Tarver, Aminu and Smith, we've got big, strong guys who can block shots and run. Aminu has been a pleasant surprise. I would say he's been the surprise of our early workouts, because he seems to have a gift for blocking shots. He's got quick feet for a kid that's 6-10. He's put on 18 pounds like that. Of all the freshman so far, he's been more than a pleasant surprise. So I'm okay with our size, but because of the way we like to play, there are some issues with depth."

How would you assess D'Andre Bell?

"He's coming along. Of the freshmen, defensively, he's probably the most ready to contribute right now. He looks like one of our guys. He's a big, strong kid with long arms, a big perimeter player. He has good feet. He looks like one of the guys we would put out on the floor, especially to dog the ball defensively. He's been well taught on close-outs. I've been happy with what I've seen out of him defensively."

On Zam Fredrick's size:

Size is something you've always valued in your point guards.

"He's got long arms. It's one of the reasons we made that choice to recruit him. He plays bigger than he is. He has a great wingspan."

Football Injury Update

PJ Daniels was injured in practice today and might miss the Duke game. Time for Tashard to step up to the plate..........

Football - Grading Offensive Lineman

There's a common "grading" system for Offensive Lineman that takes into account blocking success, etc. Sure would be nice to know how our lineman grade out. Check out this comment on Miami's Eric Winston and his latest game:

The Atlantic Coast Conference named left tackle Eric Winston and kick returner Devin Hester Players of the Week. Winston graded the highest among UM's offensive linemen in the Hurricanes' 52-7 win over Duke, helping the Canes gain 557 total yards. Winston had three pancake blocks and five ''metrorails'' -- plays in which he stayed with his man until the end. He did not allow any sacks or quarterback pressures.

Sure would be interesting to know how our guys grade out. Of course we might not like what we see, but who knows. Anyone know how that grading system works?

Football - Duke Field Will be OK

Ok, so check this out. Duke has a Rolling Stones concert and officials were hugely worried about the condition of the stadium after the 40,000 strong crowd. After all, crowds of 40,000 are a total anomaly at Duke.

On a side note, anyone here attend the Rolling Stones concert at BDS back about 1990? Can't remember the exact year, but it was the Steel Wheels tour. I was there. However, I did miss New Kids on the Block. Can't get to all of them.

Point of the Day

...from the mind of a journalist:

And who’s the better home run hitter, Andrew Jones or Calvin Johnson? … On a Thursday night in Atlanta, there were 46,181 fans at the Braves’ playoff game. A playoff game. That same evening, there were 51,432 fans at the NC State – Georgia Tech game. Discuss.

Football Tidbits

Scott Sisson is helping Travis Bell with the mental side of the kicking game, which is great. FYI - Sisson was my next door neighbor in Field dorm back in our glory years. I was the RA and he was in room next door. Who was his roomie? Jim Kushon, one of our back-up lineman. They were both good guys. Glad to see him trying to help out our man Bell.................... Eric Henderson will likely not play for the 4th game in a row. You know this must be killing him.................. Nate McManus and Brad Honeycutt have not practiced and are questionable for the game. Personally, I expect we'll see them play. Don't ask me why I think this................ Tech's game with Miami has been set for noon and will be televised by ABC...........

They said it (from the AJC): "It might not get any lower than this." — Georgia Tech wide receiver Jonathan Smith, after the 2003 Yellow Jackets became the first ACC team to lose to the Blue Devils in almost four years

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Where are they now - Nomar Garciaparra

Where was he? How about diving into Boston Harbor to save two women's lives. That's where!!!! Way to go Nomar!!!

Johnny O'Hara of Natick witnessed the incident from his boat.

"A bunch of us came running over and sure enough, pulling the two girls from the water was Nomar," he told the newspaper. "It was crazy. Nomar was like jumping over walls to get to the girls and the other guy leaped off the balcony. It was unbelievable."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hoops Recruiting

On a side note, with combo guard Jodie Meeks committing to Kentucky that puts direct pressure on 2007 target #1 for the Jackets - Gani Lawal. He appears to priority #1, but will now be high school teammates with Meeks during their senior season. Meeks said in a recent radio interview in KY that he has known Lawal for a few years and he will definitely try and convince him to head to the bluegrass state. Also worth mentioning, there are reports that Lawal will be attending Kentucky's midnight madness with Meeks this year. In the end, this appears like a battle likely to come down to GT/KY. Uhhhmmmm, deja vu all over again? Tubby is recruiting pretty well from the state of GA.

On another note, it is starting to look like the Jackets might end up bridesmaids on all their top recruiting targets. Alex Stepheson announced for North Carolina today, and apparently we were 4th after UNC, UConn and UCLA. It seems like Perry Stevenson is leaning Texas Tech (and he will be a KY's Midnight Madness as well). There was a news report in Conn that Stanley Robinson had committed to UConn, although his high school coach says that's not true. We are in his top 3 along with UConn and Bama. Lance Thomas is still in the mix but could be a spring decision. Thaddeus Young is still in the mix, but we are looking like long shots with Memphis holding an advantage, then UNC and UConn again, along with Arkansas and ourselves. I think we are a real player in the Young sweepstakes, and Robinson is a bit shaky right now. The rich are gettin richer. That is the only thing we know for sure.

Let me just make one comment - it sucks to need a bunch of recruits in a year that UConn and UNC can bring in 14 between them. Holy cow.

On a last side note, it is looking very shaky on Mouhammad Faye joining the team this season. Paco Diaw is clear and the Tech roster has been updated. Official word on Faye should come soon.

Football Recruiting

The Jackets land another commit today in Offensive Tackle Heath Batchelor. If you like size on the line how about this - 6'7", 280lb? He comes from the state of Alabama, which has been a good state for Coach Gailey, particularly in the trenches. Heath is a "3-star" by and a "2-star" by Rivals if all that star crap means anything to you. Heath plays on both sides on the line in high school, but will be exclusive on the O-Line in college. As a junior he had 66 tackles and 7 sacks from the defensive side. He's actually a very mobile guy, has a huge frame, and is a state discuss champion as well (and tosses javelin and shot put as well). While he only had one other offical 'ship offer from Troy, he was getting interest from 'Bama, Auburn, Stanford,Ark, Tenn, Louisville and Vandy. So certainly a heavy SEC flavor. He's also a good student (no surprise there). He's been to both the Auburn and GT summer camp, so our coaches got a good chance to see him in person. He put up some very solid 40-times and shuttle numbers, so it seems that it was only a matter of time before he was going to get offers from other major programs.

On the negative side, one of the few head-to-head recruiting battles with UGAg was apparently lost today, as DL Demarcus Dobbs is going to be a mutt...........

UGAg is now up to I think 23 committments when you count 2 guys that didn't make it academically last season, which means they will probably only take about 4 more. This bodes well for some of the uncommitted talent in the state. The next few months should be interesting for sure.

Hoops Recruiting

Well, some good news and some bad news. First the bad - it loooks like Stanley Robinson is leaning towards UConn, or at least a local news report in that area reported yesterday. In fact, they reported that they had sources that indicated he had committed to the Huskies. However, his coach says that's not so, so we'll just keep to watch the situation.

On the positive front, Paco Diaw has passed through the NCAA Clearinghouse with success. Great news. Nothing on M.Faye, but I expect we'll hear in the next week or so about him as well.

In addition, evidently the Jackets will have a brand new court this year, with lighter hardwood, a giant GT/Buzz logo in the center and evidently the golden arches are gone. Sounds great to me.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Quote of the Day

Ok, so John Bunting's Tarheels get plasted by Louisville 69-14. What on earth do you say as a coach? How about this:

"I was looking at the scoreboard all night. You can really get mesmerized by that thing. It goes on and the fireworks continue to go off. I thought at one point they might run out of fireworks. That’s a big number and basically I'm just numb at this point."

Now that's funny. You know, I am starting to like that guy a bit................

Meanwhile, Tommy Bowden had more to say about our Thursday night game:

What was your thoughts after watching N.C. State/Georgia Tech game last Thursday night?Bowden: Tremendous amount of patience on Georgia Tech's part with how N.C. State plays defensively. You have to be patient and eventually you try to hit one. That's kind of how that game went. That was one thing; the other was the big plays N.C. State had. They hit that one post (pattern).

Incredible insight - that NCST post pass was important. Brilliant. Maybe junior stands on his own after all.............

Where are they now - Keyaron Fox

Bad news for the former Jacket linebacker Keyaron Fox - he was placed on injured reserve with the KC Chiefs. That means he will not return to the active roster this season. Here's what head coach Dick Vermeil had to say:

VERMEIL: “No, Keyaron Fox is not going to have surgery. It’s going to be
just rehab. It’s probably six to 10 weeks and we have to make a decision what
we’re going to do.”

Man, you hate to hear things like that. I hate it for him!!!!

Hoops - Jackets Pick up Commit #3

The Jackets received a committment from standout 6'7", 225lb Zach Peacock out of the Miami area. Zach was the kid recruited originally by Charlton Young before he came to the Jackets. He was a double/double machine over the summer. His junior season he averaged about 18 pts / 11 boards. He is known for his hustle and constant hard play. He has a good mid-range game with a nice little jump shot, plays primarily facing the basket, and needs work in the post with his back to the basket. Of course this is where Ra'Sean Dickey thrives, so maybe they can learn a thing or two from one another. Also, he might be considered a little undersized for the PF position........... I'll have more later on Zach and how this might impact the rest of our recruiting class. While there were certainly more highly ranked guys with the Jackets on their short list, it is starting to look like we weren't going to land any of them (but who knows). The most likely candidate at this point seems to be Stanley Robinson, but there are major teams involved with him as well. For the "star crowd", Zach is a 3-star player by In the end, it was between Tech and Florida, but FL took a commit from another power forward and that swung the pendulum. Peacock is another "under the radar" kid that didn't get a lot of attention until this summer.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Hoops - Chris Bosh Stepping Up as a leader

Nice article on Chris Bosh stepping up his leadership abilities and calling out his teammates a little in practice.

Leadership wasn't in Bosh's job description during his freshman season at Georgia Tech University, and it certainly wasn't as a 19-year-old rookie the next year in the NBA. He's learning on the fly.

"It's a new beginning," Bosh said. "It's kind of exciting because I haven't been in this position for a long time. It's a chance to be one of the leaders on the team and it's exciting and I love a challenge."

And he's willing to step on toes if it means getting the ball inside a little bit and an extra win here or there.

"If you get the mean part out of the way, and you continue to win games, everybody's happy," he said.

So who thinks Bosh will have a 20 pt / 10 board season this year? Will he make the all-star team?

Remembering Tragedy

In case you didn't know, Renso "Rock" Perdoni, played junior college ball at Ferrum prior to beomcing an All-American defensive tackle at Georgia Tech. You might also remember the worst sports related airline crash in history, back on Nov 14, 1970, when a plane carrying 37 Marshall football players, 5 coaches, school officials, fans and crew crashed, and all 75 on board died. Well, there were 7 Marshall players who had played at Ferrum the prior season and were teammates of Rock. In this poignant article, Rock and others remember this tragedy 35 years later.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Tommy Bowden Likes Chan's Play call

Quote from Coach Bowden:

"The (Georgia Tech-N.C. State) game (Thursday) night could easily have gone the other way. Tech hit its best big-play guy with a perfect pass and the receiver juggled the ball into a defender’s hands for an end zone interception."

Well, if Tommy Bowden likes the call, it must have been good.