Sunday, April 29, 2007

Calvin - The Whirwind Tour Continues

Mitch Albom wrote the following about Calvin Johnson - worth a read. Not a glowing review, but mainly a word of caution about putting all hopes on CJ to change the fortunes of the Lions.

Some links to chew on from the Detroit Lions website - it is clearly obvious that they are excited to have Calvin.

WR Calvin Johnson

Photo Gallery: WR Calvin Johnson throws out the first pitch at Comerica Park

Johnson on NFL Network 'Team Cam': 56k | 300k (Real) 56k | 300k (WMP)

Calvin Johnson Press Conference (April 29)

Brought up to Value Learning: Johnson was Taught to Focus on Academics Before Anything Else
Thrilled in Allen Park: For Millen, Bringing in Johnson was an Easy Decision

Press Conference Transcripts: President & CEO Matt Millen, Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson
Transcripts: President & CEO Matt Millen, Head Coach Rod Marinelli

Transcripts: Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz


QB Drew Stanton's comment:

"I'm so excited to dive in and get to work right away. To get an opportunity to work with a spread offense and air the ball out and throw downfield. It's an opportunity to work with some great wide receivers. Calvin Johnson is my teammate now, and I'm excited about that. I can't even put that into words."

By the way, he threw out the first pitch for the Tigers today - check out the pics:
















Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where are they now - Calvin Johnson

Congratulations to Calvin Johnson, the #2 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, being picked by the Detroit Lions. However, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, there were no trades. Word was that they wanted both of Tampa Bay's 2nd round picks and Gruden just wasn't going to give that up. Having said that, the possibility of a trade is still possible, although remote.


However, regardless of what happens, congratulations need to be extended to CJ and his family. I can't wait to see you in what ever uniform you end up in. If it's this one - so be it........



Friday, April 27, 2007

NFL Draft Thoughts

Well, I am usually fairly ambivalent about the NFL draft, save for a few GT players and where they end up. This year is a bit different with the drama around Calvin Johnson. I read what a few of the guru's think and seen the rumors about trades. With that, I wanted to offer some of my thoughts and expectations about what will happen Saturday:

First I want to talk about WHERE I would like to see him end up.............. The Falcons? Hometown fav? That would be cool, particularly from the standpoint of the regular campus visits he could make. The depth of the school's future relationship with Calvin would be at its highest at ATL for sure. However, I am not a Mike Vick fan and I don't see Calvin reaching his potential with the Falcons........................ The Raiders? Nope, unless he figures out how to throw himself the ball. Al Davis is not a builder of men.................... Detroit? Please no. Not to the graveyard of the NFL.................... Cleveland? Not great, not terrible, pretty ambivalent about this one............. Washington? That might be cool with Joe Gibbs back there running the show.................. which brings me to where I would like to see him the most - Tampa Bay. I like Gruden, like the potential of the squad, and I like what they could do with Calvin.

Now, as to what you might see on draft day, here are some thoughts.

  1. Oakland picks first. I fully expect them to take Jamarcus Russell. Honestly, I don't think they have a choice. After passing on Matt Leinert last season, they are so desperate for a QB it hurts. Forget all the scuttlebutt about going after free agents like D.Culpepper and picking Calvin #1. I see them sticking with Russell with their pick, and I honestly don't see that they have a choice. The only way this happens is if they draft Calvin and dangle him for trade bait, which is a possibility. However, in my opinion, I don't see this happening. All you've been hearing is probably nothing more than postering if you ask me.
  2. Detroit has the 2nd pick and no matter how much they love Calvin, they can't pick him either - again, unless it's for trade bait. A 4th year in a row picking a WR in the 1st round? Won't happen. However, I am expecting the #2 slot to be where Calvin is taken? Why? I see Detroit shopping that pick. The most likely taker - Tampa Bay. Could be Atlanta. Could be Washington. However, some surprises could happen. Could the Falcons make a play for the hometown guy? Not likely. I see Calvin going #2 to the Bucs. The other scenario is that Detroit does draft Calvin, but THEN begins the process of shopping him. If an offer is good, then they pull the trigger. The other side to that option is that if no offer is to their liking, they just drafted their 4th WR in a row in the 1st round. Of course, who's going to really argue when it's CJ? Not me........
  3. Cleveland next. It's either Adrian Peterson, Brady Quinn or Joe Thomas. My money is on Peterson, but what do I know.
  4. Detroit is next if they traded their #2 pick. Watch out for Gaines Adams from Clemson here
  5. Arizona - Joe Thomas with the 5th pick is my guess
  6. There's been a lot of speculations that Washington is likely to trade up to nab Calvin with the #2 pick as a result of their time with him at the GT pro day. However, I it's likely we'll see the opposite. They are more likley to trade this pick away for some 2nd / 3rd / 4th round picks since they have none. However if Brady Quinn is off the board, this one won't garner as much trade bait as they might like.
  7. Watch for Kenny Scott's name being called as well (day two most likely).
It should be a fun day on Saturday. Stay tuned

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Football - Fascinating Comments by Jon Gruden


Ok, so some of you may think - well duh, so Gruden's the master of the obvious. But for me, these comments were fascinating because it just continues to highlight the limitations Coach Gailey had to work with with Reggie Ball at QB. Now, I don't think you'll ever hear him say that in a public forum, but those who know the game and have access to the complete game film (all angles) can see it plain as day. First, see this comment from J.Gruden:

"They [Georgia Tech] struggled at quarterback, and they'll tell you that," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said. "They didn't have the kind of quarterback who could get the guy the ball the way they wanted to. He's a heck of a player. I think we all agree on that."

Check it these more detailed comments, based on this incredibly glowing review of Calvin in the USA Today:

Although Gailey has an NFL background, Gruden saw a Tech offense on film that was light on timing routes with quarterback Reggie Ball never completing better than 50% of his passes during a season with Johnson.

"They gave him a lot of quick screens and a lot of bubble screens," Gruden says of his video study.

"You just don't really see the guy on the outside edge of the numbers doing a lot of comebacks, slants or timing patterns. That's no disrespect. The guy had 80 catches for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns, so they did a lot of great things."

Gailey says Johnson's development includes a greater appreciation for the big picture. He says Johnson drew double-coverage on at least 70% of his snaps and triple-coverage about 10% of the time. This forced him to adapt.

"We saw some of the most unusual stuff you could ever imagine," says Gailey, alluding to a play when a nickel back came from the other side of the field to join a cornerback and a safety in covering Johnson. "Just crazy stuff, where you say, 'How do they coach that?'

"The one thing he didn't see in college but will in the NFL is bump-and-run. They didn't want to take the chance that he'd get past them for a big play."


"Appreciation for the bigger picture", as Cocach Gailey indicated, also meant designing plays around a QB that had difficulty seeing over the O-Line, and who struggled with timing patterns. Bottom-line was that most passes from Reggie were designed to be either caught immediately (stop, turn, catch, then run), caught while running away from a defender (out patterns outside the hash marks), or deep balls that are hard to intercept. Rarely did you see a slant inside because that means a trailing defender and another defender approaching CJ from the middle, which meant a timing pattern. Can't be too early in the route - can't be too late or ..... ouch.

Yes, these are all things we mostly know, but it's interesting seeing an NFL coach make the comments.

In addition, to that, here's some more insight into Calvin's workout with Gruden and QB Chris Simms, about how they tested some other skills:

Quarterback Chris Simms got to see what Johnson could bring to Tampa Bay firsthand when he accompanied Gruden to Georgia Tech last week.

"Everything you hear about that guy is definitely true," Simms said. "Especially his demeanor as a person. He's calm, cool and collected and very humble. He's not anything you'd expect one of the best athletes in college sports to be like."

Because Johnson didn't run a lot of short routes at Georgia Tech, Gruden wanted to see him get in and out of breaks. He even had Simms throw some poor passes.

"Everybody knows he can run fast and catch the deep ball," Simms said. "Coach Gruden wanted to see him do some things out of his element - short routes, run in and come back out, double-move stuff. That was impressive as well because he's a really big guy, and it's amazing to see him change direction like that. It's very impressive."

If the Bucs want to have a crack at Johnson, they may have to trade up from the No. 4 overall pick, most likely to Detroit's spot at No. 2. And even that might not be enough because the Raiders, with the No. 1 pick, have begun negotiating with Johnson and LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

Simms won't allow himself to daydream about Johnson.

"I just don't want to get my hopes up too high," he said. "I just want our coaches to do whatever is best for this team. But if that means drafting Calvin Johnson, I'll be one of the happiest guys in the world."

Lastly, the latest rumors from SI.com are that Author Blank has virtually ordered the Falcon's GM to figure out how to get Calvin Johnson. No doubt Falcon fans are salivating, although what it might take to get him could be crippling.

(Oh by the way, the picture above is NOT the next cover of NCAA 2008 - somebody on the 'net did that).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hoops: Poetry in Motion


So I'm doing some work last night while the NBA playoffs were on the tube in the background. It happened to be the 1st half of the Phoenix Suns / LA Lakers game. I found myself ignoring my email and suddenly memorized by the amazing play of Steve Nash. I only watched the 1st half, but it was one of the most perfect halves of TEAM basketball I've seen at the NBA level in a LONG time. Of course I don't watch the NBA much anymore - but I was highly impressed. Nash was simply eye-opening, slashing, driving, never picking up the dribble unless something good was going to happen. I have never seen one guy find and setup up so many open shots in all my life.............. Now, maybe it had something to do with pitiful defense by LA, but the Suns were an impressive team. It seemed like EVERY trip down the floor someone got an open shot.

So I'm watching the 2-time MVP and I remembered something Bryan, one of my buds, told me while we were sitting in the upper deck in St.Louis watching Florida romp in the regionals on the way to their 2nd national title. He says - do you remember that Steve Nash played against GT back in 1995 at the Cable Car Classic... Somehow I just couldn't dig that one up from my memory. So a little bit of internet research and here you go - to relive the day.

Santa Clara 71, Georgia Tech 66 o December 30, 1995
Cable Car Classic o San Jose, Calif.
In a clash of heralded guards Steve Nash and Stephon Marbury, the Broncos defeat the eventual ACC champion Yellow Jackets in the consolation game of the Cable Car Classic at San Jose Arena. Santa Clara shot 52 percent in the second half and tied a school-record with 13 three-pointers. Marlon Garnett scored 21 points while senior Adam Anderson came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points. "It wasn't exactly a meeting of the gods, this first meeting between the point guard and the guard who gets the points," wrote Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner, "but it was a bit of basketball that may produce distant memories."
Interestingly, I ran across this comment from an internet discussion board from someone who has followed Nash since the early years:

I used to go watch Nash play at Toso Pavilion when he was at Santa Clara. He didn't look like he could play- but he obviously could.

Truly learned he was for real when he played in the Cable Car Classic against Georgia Tech. It was at the San Jose Arena and he out-played Stephon Marbury. Right then he proved himself- although nobody saw it because it happened on the West Coast after 7:00 PM.
To cap it off, I even found a picture from the event featuring both:

Nash vs Marbury December 1995, Cable Car Classic, GT vs Santa Clara

Kind of amazing when you think about the path that players take, and how some reach certain levels and others don't. The hype versus the reality and how careers play out on the largest stage. To this day I am dumbfounded as to why Kenny Anderson was basically an NBA journeyman. At the end of the day, maybe it was the fact that he didn't develop a consisten jump shot. Actually, here's a very interesting article about Steve Nash and some of the reasons why he might be peaking in his 30's while most PG's start the downward cycle of their careers. It highlights key aspects that are found in guards with the longest and most successful careers.

Anyhow, amazing watching Steve Nash, and I wanted to share so I HAD to find the GT connection..............................

Javaris Crittenton Enters Name into Draft

Well, it's official - both stud freshman have entered their names into the NBA Draft. Today Javaris Crittenton made it official. He will also not hire an agent, and again all the quotes center around a fact-finding mission by being able to talk directly with NBA officials.

"Javaris wants to keep his eligibility intact by not having an agent," said Hewitt, "but he wants to further explore his status in the upcoming draft by being able to speak directly with NBA personnel. Javaris wants to focus on finishing out the spring semester and final exams next week, then concentrate on gathering information from NBA teams."
"I enjoy Georgia Tech, the environment here and all the fans, and I appreciate all the support I've gotten though high school and my freshman year, both from the Tech community and the people in Atlanta," Crittenton said. "But I feel I need to enter my name right now in order to get the best possible information from people in the NBA."

Well, plan on extending your worry until June 18, which is the deadline for both guys to withdraw their name.

Stay tuned......................

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More on Thaddeus Young...

..... from "Galilee" on the Hive, who happens to be Thad's pastor and one of his advisers, about his entering his name in the draft:

He decided this on Friday night. I wanted to post it but we agreed to allow a formal announcement. If he is a lottery pick he is gone (I see no chance of that). If he is a top 20 50/50. Anything beyond that he will return unless he gets a great shoe deal also. His heart is with GT but he wants to find out his value. Lets just be patient and see what happens. For the poster who stated that he was not truthful with me you are so wrong. Thad has not left GT, he is still attending classes and doing the indiv. workouts.


When you think about it, Thad is doing the right thing. Do you really think he intended to be here more than 2 years? So he's basically using his "get out of jail free" card this year to test the waters................. Also FYI, I don't know the exact stats, but more than 50% of players who entered their name into the draft last season and did not retain an agent, returned to school.

So this thing's far from over.............

Monday, April 23, 2007

Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey.... Goodbye???


Well, the first "credible" report of either of our freshman testing the draft - this report that Thaddeus Young's father has indicated he will enter his name into the draft, will NOT hire an agent. The report says that information back from the league indicates he will be a first round choice, although not a "lottery pick". His father would like to see him move up into the lottery, as this can make a huge difference in terms of future money.

Disappointing? Yes................. the right thing to do? Probably. If Thaddeus is projected as a first round guy, he probably owes it to himself to test the waters, unless he just has a passion for school and getting back together for another run at the NCAA's (oh wait, I forgot - we never get guys who want to do that, but somehow Florida gets 3 or 4 of them).

Anyhow, I can't fault him for doing it, and I honestly wouldn't fault Javaris either if he does the same. However, I will say this - if he and JC leave, they will have severely shortchanged any real legacy they leave behind. While their names will forever be associated with Tech, they will give up their chance to leave a serious collegiate legacy. If they're great pro's, they could have that "Chris Bosh" type legacy, which is still great, but you can't say you led your team to anything significant. Maybe that's not important to them. My gut tells me it means more to JC in terms of a Tech legacy, but he seems to have the more personal need for the money. But I won't put him in the list of the truly elite PG's to play at GT if he leaves after one season: Here's my ranking of GT Point Guards in terms of legacy. Now, in my opinion, Kenny was the best collegiate PG to play at Tech and one of the best all-time, but in terms of legacy, he's not first since staying 2 seasons limited his impact:

1. Mark Price - 'nuff said - 4 year guy, part of the resurrection of Tech hoops, NBA all-star

2. Kenny Anderson - best PG to ever play at GT, led us to our first Final Four, but only stayed 2 seasons.

3. Travis Best - One of my personal favorites - a leader, tough as nails, icewater in the veins during crunch time, had a very solid NBA player.

4. Jarrett Jack - tough, gritty, a leader, took and made the big shots, led us to our first NC game.

5. Craig Neal - great passer, I was there the night he set the ACC single game assist record, one magical season. Noodles endeared himself to Tech fans.

6. Drew Barry - magical passer, the 2nd PG on the floor. Part a family legacy.

7. Stephon Marbury - fantastic offensive player, led Tech to a conference title, but cut his legacy short by leaving after one season.

8. Tony Akins - sort of a mini-Travis Best, another gritty left-hander. Maximized everything he had on the court. A great Tech man.

8. Javaris Crittenton - special player who led his team to a 1st round ACC tourney exit, the NCAA tourney and a 1st round exit there as well. Wonderful young man. Loads of potential. Love the passion. Love the enthusiam. Love that he wears his heart on his sleeve. Has greater potential than most on this list.
For me the bottom-line with Javaris is this - a true lasting legacy was not created last season as a historic Tech PG. If he leaves and has a fantastic NBA career, then his legacy will be in the NBA and Tech will be "associated" with his name (again, in a Chris Bosh sort of way). However, that's not a collegiate legacy.

Here are Javaris's own words:

"I want to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys when it's all said and
done. Those are all great point guards: Stephon (Marbury), Travis (Best), Mark
Price, Kenny Anderson, all those guys. I want my name right along those guys,
and I want some young kid being compared to me. I want to leave a legacy, both
as an individual and as a team."

Here's the thing - every one of those guys led Tech to some type of title, some championship, some new milestone. They left their impact with the success they helped create on the floor.
Either way, Javaris, just do what's best for you and your family. Us fans selfishly want what's best for Tech, so we'll write all kinds of reasons why you should stay................... but that's for you to decide.

........but how important is your legacy as one of the great Georgia Tech Point Guards? Personally, I still think there's work to be done, but what do I know? I'm just one of those selfish fans too you know.

Now, back to Thaddeus Young. I wish him the best no matter what happens. Of course I want him back on this team next season, because he's only scratched the surface on his talent - which is the very reason he's probably never going to wear a Tech uniform again................ They REAL important date for Tech fans is June 16, the last day for players to remove their names from the draft.

Calvin - Nike Ad-Man

Check out Calvin at Nike's new website promoting "The Rookies". Click on the small Calvin pic on the right for his video interview.



There's more at the website above.

Beesball - Only Just Starting


From "GTJT622" at the Hive, an interesting look at our beesball team records after 40 games in the past decade:

'07: 26-14/13-7
'06: 31-9/12-8
'05: 30-10/16-5
'04: 23-17/5-5
'03: 32-8/11-1
'02: 32-8/8-6
'01: 30-10/9-6
'00: 32-8/13-2

Bottom-line - we're squarely in this thing and in 2004 Tech hosted a regional and super-regional, so anything can happen.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Perfect Day To Be a Jacket?


Is there such a thing as a perfect day? Well, today came as close as to perfect for a Tech fan - especially if you're tired of hearing about football and hoops. Why, well let's review.

TENNIS BABES WIN ACC CROWN

The ladies only won their 3rd ACC title today, capped off by Kristi Miller's singles victory over the #1 player in the country. Just an impressive team victory today, and believe it or not - the MVP was a Tech freshman - Amanda Craddock. Wow, just wow.



GOLF TEAM CO-VICTORS IN ACC CROWN

Our men brought home an ACC co-championship for the 2nd year in a row, splitting the title with VT. Just an outstanding effort and Cameran Tringle followed up his freshman singles title with a 2nd place finish, missing by only one stroke.



SOFTBALL GALS SWEEP BC

A sweep of Boston College extends the ladies' winning streak to 10 games. Nice going!!





BEESBALLERS SWEEP #20 WOLFPACK

For good measure, the diamond gang completed a sweep of NCST with a 7-3 victory Sunday. No walk-off losses this weekend. Great going gang!! Could they be peaking at just the right time? Looks like it.



I mean, what else do you want? Come on - bask in the moment!!!!

GO JACKETS!!!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Where are they now - Calvin Johnson


Some tidbits about our man Calvin Johnson...............................


JUST CASH IT........
CJ has signed an endorsement deal with NIKE, and has already been involved in a new ad campaign shoot. Nike brought together an all-star collection of college football players at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando for an ad shoot. Evidenlty the theme is “Work Like A Rookie,” and will feature players training in Nike Pro compression and the newest football cleats.

Taking part in the commercial are their newly signed endorsers: JaMarcus Russell (LSU), Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), Marshawn Lynch (California), Amobi Okoye (Louisville), Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma), Leon Hall (Michigan), Gaines Adams (Clemson), and Greg Olsen (Miami). Nike will shoot Brady Quinn on Friday due to a scheduling conflict. The print ad featuring these athletes will appear in major sports publications and on billboard at 34th and 7th in New York City beginning in early April.

By the way, lots of players entering this April’s NFL Draft have already started cashing in on their futures. They’ve hit up their agents for cars and other extravagant purchases. Former Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson submitted his request recently.

“He needed a pair of gloves. That’s all he needed was a pair of gloves,” said Tom Shaw, an NFL performance trainer working with several players in preparation for the NFL Combine. “Nike sent him a box of three gloves and he was in heaven.”



MARYJO DOESN'T HURT THE MOJO
Evidently the admission of experimentation with Mary Jane has not hurt Calvin Johnson at all 0 either his image or his draft status. In fact, most of the talk has been about the honestly of admitting it, and the seething anger by certain NFL executives over the information being leaked in the first place. The video-taped interviews were sent to key people within NFL teams who could potentially draft that kid. There are even rumors that one team leaked the info in an effort to have Gaines Adams drop on the draft board so they could swoop in a take him............

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ramblin' Wreck Roundtable - Round 2

Time for another installment of the RamblinWreck Roundtable. Here are this week's questions with my thoughts, along with links to the thoughts of other GT bloggers:

  • Ramblin' Racket
  • GT Sports Blog
  • What's the Good Word?
  • YellowBlazer's World


  • 1. A group of playoff proponents have a questionable theory on how to break out of the bowl system and get a D-1A playoff: http://www.boycotttherosebowl.com/">Boycott the Rose Bowl. What's your take on the never-ending playoff vs. bowls debate?

    Follow the money. Don't believe anyone who says that there will be less money with a playoff. The issue is not how much money - just who gets to pocket it. The redistribution of income that comes from moving to a playoff system is the core issue that prevents it from happening. The fact that Notre Dame has a special clause that gets them into the BCS every year when they have yet to deserve it just re-affirms - follow the money.

    From a pure viewpoint of the good of the game, here's what a playoff does - it makes it very clear who the champion really is. However, it also works to lessen every other team's perceived notion of how their season ended. In the hoops tourney, there is only 1 team that truly walks away elated. There are probably another 5-10 that walk away satisfied and many of the others head into the off-season disappointed. With a bowl system the general rule is - you're pretty happy to be invited to one, and you win your bowl, you go into the off-season with good feelings and hope. Getting an invite to the field of 64 in hoops is never enough for most teams, and a first round win is still incredibly disappointing with a 2nd round loss.

    So what would I do? I'd have a playoff in football with the best 8 teams. If Notre Dame is one of them - fine. But kill their special contract. They don't deserve it


    2. What change to our football personnel makes you happier this year: Taylor Bennett at quarterback, or John Bond as offensive coordinator?

    I'm excited about both, but I have to give the nod to John Bond. I tend to be more critical of people who work ON the system as opposed to those who work IN the system. In my mind, John Bond is an upgrade in leadership, experience and hopefully playcalling. This is to take nothing away from Patrick Nix. It was clear that our offense was better with him running it than with Coach Gailey calling the plays........... but it still had so much more potential. I like the fact that Bond is a bit more in your face with his players....... that he's a hands on guy who gets on the field and works extra with our guys on technique. I enjoyed his recent appearance on "Georgia Tech Sports Today". He was humble, well spoken, and highly positive about his joining the program. Let's hope everything we have seen so far translates to results on Saturdays.

    In terms of Taylor, I am thrilled that he's getting his chance this season. He's been a great guy to have in the program and I truly want to see him blossom. The abilities he brings to the field will result in a completely restructured passing game, including the use of the entire field and a wider array of players. I can't wait.


    3. Last weekend, Steve Spurrier http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2837735">spoke out against South Carolina's practice of flying the Confederate flag over the state capitol. Should football coaches get political like that, or just stick to coaching?

    Personally, I would stick to what you do best, which also means if I were Steve Spurrier I would also avoid talking about pro football.........................

    4. There are always rumors at Georgia Tech of expanding our varsity athletics programs. What programs would you like to see added next? One for men, one for women.

    I think I'd vote for a ladies golf team and a men's lacrosse team.


    5. The matchups were just announced for the 9th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge in basketball, and GT plays at Indiana (the teams' first meeting since 1969). In the history of the challenge, the ACC has won 48 out of 75 games, and has "won" every year. Is this a tradition you care about, or would you rather see something started with another conference, e.g. an ACC/SEC Challenge or ACC/Big East Challenge?

    I care about it primarily because it tends to result in nice recruiting exposure for the ACC and it allows us to play a quality team early in the season. In terms of consumer interest, I think an ACC/SEC Challenge would garner a LOT more attention and interest, particularly in the southeast. The Big East could become the expansion grudge match, but then we'd have to bring in 52 more teams to match up with the number of teams in that conference..

    6. Lightning Round!! Other Conferences Edition!! (Cue "The Matrix" fight music) Name the first thing that comes to mind:

    Big East:
    Potential hoops powerhouse......... some serious contemplation about what they are going to do about football.

    SEC:
    Fat, dumb and happy about it.

    Big Ten:
    uuuuuhhhhh, you mean eleven?

    Pac-10: (
    Cue the Beach Boys)....I wish they all could be...... California girls........

    Big XII:
    At least they can count.

    Sun Belt: .
    ... uuuhhhh........................ crickets...................... chirping........................

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Beesball - Beating UGAg Always Fun


    Doesn't matter the sport - beating the Dawgs is always a good thing. Last night the gridiron gang took down UGAg 8-2. Luke Murton went yard, and Tech cycled in about 6 pitchers to keep everyone from wearing out. Just another mid-week match-up I guess.


    Anyhow, an outstanding day it makes.............

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    A Chink in the Armor




    Just when we were starting to think that Calvin Johnson was bullet-proof with unbelievably glowing stories like this one today from ESPN, we find out that he is in fact human. Evidently ProFootballWeekly is reporting that Calvin Johnson, Clemson's Gaines Adams and Louisville DT Amobi Okoye admitted to NFL officials that they have smoked the whacky weed.


    So how should I take all this? First, we cannot draw conclusions based on a report like this. First, we must hold at least level of skepticism as to its source and facts. Second, it doesn't put the story into a context - when did CJ say he did it? Was it one time? Was he forced at gunpoint? Was he a 3-pack a day guy? Hard to make a judgement without knowing any of those details.


    There will the inevitable side of the argument that goes like this - I'm sorry, name me someone in the NFL who DOESN'T smoke the Mary Jane. Are we taking this seriously? There will even be people that think this really raises CJ's "street cred". Nothing like the best player in the draft that knows a little about "Ridin' Dirty". Is it possible that CJ is more like Terrell Owens than we believed? Does he have a secret life of pot smoking, dog-kicking and leaving the toilet seat up?


    So here's my take - if it's true, I'm disappointed. But true impressions have to be based on the facts. If it was a short period in his life and it's over, then so be it. People make mistakes. Lord knows I have made my fair share.


    No matter what the facts though - the situation is just generally disappointing.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Where are they now - Calvin Johnson

    God bless those Detroit Lions fans. They are submitted to year after year of questionable front office decisions and pitiful play on the field, and their last 3 1st round draft picks have all been wide receivers...................... and yet this guy thinks the 4th time's a charm......... and he wants people to know it.


    There are mountains of Calvin Johnson videos popping up on YouTube, and while this one was a bunch of the same repackaged clips, I have to say - it brought a tear to my eye. Maybe it was the sappy Coldplay music.............. maybe it was my general melancholy state-of-mind since the VaTech tragedy................... either way, the last three years were special........................ and sadly they are over................ only memories.................. and video clips................... The next time we see Calvin Johnson will be in an NFL uniform.............................. So enjoy the memories.


    Monday, April 16, 2007

    Dark Day


    In case you haven't heard, today marks the bloodiest rampage in US history as a gunman killed around 33 people (and counting) on the Virginia Tech campus. My folks live in Roanoke VA, not too far away, and all I can say is my heart is hurting for those kids, teachers and families. It's a dark day folks. We joke about sports and games, but stuff like this just zaps you back into reality.


    Say some prayers. I know I will..................

    Hokie Nation

    My heart mourns for you. You are in my prayers.

    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    Offensive Line Index

    Written By - Lennie Mac

    Georgia Tech's offensive line has a perception among GT fans as being one of the elite lines in the country. Is it? Let's take a look.

    There are three major responsibilities for the offensive line:
    - open up running lanes for the ground game
    - keep the QB's jersey clean
    - dominate time of possession

    A team with a good offensive line is going to do all three of those things well.

    So we ranked all 66 BCS teams in three categories that correspond directly to these responsibilities:

    Yards per rush - Any team can hand it off 40 times a game and amass yards, but that doesn’t mean the line is opening holes. Yards per carry, however, is a solid indicator of the job an offensive line is doing to clear a path for its ballcarriers.

    Negative pass plays - Quarterbacks with poor pass protection are more likely to be sacked. They’re also more likely to be forced into making bad passes – passes that result in interceptions. We count both sacks and INTs as a percentage of total pass plays.

    Time of possession - Duh.

    What these rankings will look like is the ranking among those three categories one through 66. We'll add up all three to see who had the best o-line in 2006.

    Rankings are listed as (yards per carry-time of possession-negative pass play %)

    1. Texas A&M - 8-1-5 Total 14
    2. Louisville - 7-13-6 Total 26
    3. Rutgers - 12-7-8 Total 27
    4. Ohio State - 16-16-10 Total 42
    5. Texas - 22-10-14 Total 46
    6. Oklahoma - 20-8-19 Total 47
    7. LSU - 11-22-15 Total 48
    8. USC - 35-14-2 Total 51
    9. Florida - 13-11-29 Total 53
    9. Nebraska - 26-4-23 Total 53
    11. California - 9-44-4 Total 57
    12. Michigan - 29-2-30 Total 61
    13. West Virginia - 1-24-38 Total 63
    14. Oregon - 6-51-7 Total 64
    15. South Carolina - 18-26-28 Total 72
    16. Oklahoma State - 5-49-22 Total 76
    17. Clemson - 3-56-18 Total 77
    17. Penn State - 28-36-13 Total 77
    19. Arkansas - 2-52-24 Total 78
    19. Notre Dame - 43-18-17 Total 78
    21. Kansas - 10-19-50 Total 79
    21. Texas Tech - 15-63-1 Total 79
    23. Wisconsin - 37-3-46 Total 86
    24. Boston College - 56-20-11 Total 87
    25. Alabama - 50-5-33 Total 88
    26. Washington St. - 36-30-27 Total 93
    27. Missouri - 30-62-3 Total 95
    28. Georgia Tech - 25-28-43 Total 96
    28. Minnesota - 27-53-16 Total 96
    30. Arizona State - 21-17-60 Total 98
    30. UCLA - 41-37-20 Total 98
    32. Purdue - 23-64-12 Total 99
    33. Vanderbilt - 14-50-37 Total 101
    33. Oregon State - 52-9-40 Total 101
    35. Connecticut - 17-29-57 Total 103
    36. Indiana - 53-32-21 Total 106
    37. Georgia - 38-35-35 Total 108
    37. Maryland - 46-31-31 Total 108
    39. Michigan State - 34-39-36 Total 109
    39. NC State - 44-40-25 Total 109
    41. Wake Forest - 40-27-44 Total 111
    41. Miami - 51-15-45 Total 111
    43. Washington - 45-42-26 Total 113
    43. Tennessee - 47-57-9 Total 113
    45. Auburn - 31-23-63 Total 117
    46. Illinois - 4-58-58 Total 120
    46. Northwestern - 32-33-55 Total 120
    48. Kentucky - 59-21-41 Total 121
    49. Cincinnati - 55-6-61 Total 122
    50. Pittsburgh - 39-55-32 Total 126
    51. Colorado - 19-46-62 Total 127
    52. Iowa - 24-65-39 - Total 128
    52. South Florida - 42-38-48 Total 128
    52. Arizona - 64-12-52 Total 128
    55. Florida State - 54-45-34 Total 133
    56. Kansas State - 33-66-47 Total 146
    57. North Carolina - 49-54-49 Total 152
    58. Mississippi State - 62-41-51 Total 154
    58. Duke - 63-25-66 Total 154
    60. Mississippi - 48-48-59 Total 155
    60. Virginia Tech - 58-43-54 Total 155
    62. Syracuse - 60-34-64 Total 158
    63. Iowa State - 61-47-56 Total 164
    64. Baylor - 66-61-42 Total 169
    65. Virginia - 57-60-53 Total 170
    66. Stanford - 65-59-65 Total 189

    For the record, GT's yards per carry was 4.32 ypc, their time of possession was 29:51 and their percentage of negative pass plays was 9.72%.

    Obviously, a bad QB (i.e. Reggie Ball) will take more sacks and throw more interceptions than a good QB, so playing with a bad QB hurts an offensive line's ranking.

    Besides looking at 7 of the top 12 teams played in the BCS, was how weak the ACC schools were on the offensive line. Georgia Tech ranked third in the ACC.

    One final note, there were only two teams that GT's defense could not stop, Clemson and West Virginia. Clemson had the best O-Line in the ACC (3rd in ypc) and West Virginia was 13th (1st in ypc). If GT's defense couldn't blitz, they would be on their heels.

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Memories......... From the Corner of my Mind

    ......... frosty, leaping, twisting, diving memories............ of the way he was:

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Football - Marius to Leave School


    In a blow to the Jacket secondary, Laurence Marius has left the team, the school, has given up football and returned home to FL. Here is the AJC link. If the story is correct - that depression and resulting weight loss are an issue - then we certainly have to wish the best for the young man. He was certainly one of the top recruits in last year's class and there were high hopes for his contribution this year and in the future.


    The secondary is probably our #1 concern and this doesn't help, but there should be enough competition to fill the gaps. However, it is likely that one or more of the freshmen is likely to get in the 2-deep in the fall.


    Heck, maybe "Poppy" will have a change of heart after some time off. All the best young man. Get your heart and head right, but hang in there.

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    What's Buzzin'


    Some quick hits from the world of GT
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
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    HOOPS

    • Coach Cremins was like a kid at a candy store in ATL during the final four. He attended a dinner honoring his final four team from 1990. That ceremony also honored Tech's 2004 team as well............ He also had dinner with Coach Hewitt............... Got to relive old times with guys like Dennis Scott, Kenny Anderson and Mark Price.............. Also, by one account. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim asked Coach Cremins if the Orangemen could come down and play CofC on the road next season. No word on his response.
    • Gani Lawal was awarded the Naismith Award for Sportsmanship at the McDonalds All-American game - given to one guy and one gal. Way to go..................Lawal was named 2nd team Parade All-American.......................Gani was also named the Gatorade GA player of the year.................Gani also had an outstanding outing at his 2nd All-Star game - the Roundball Classic - where he scored 16, (6-11 FG, 4-5 FT), 8 rbs, 5 blocks, 1 steal, 0 assists and 0 TO in 24 minutes
    • Maurice Miller was also named the Gatorade POY in Tenn. That means GT has signed the Gatorade POY in both GA and TN for the 2nd year in a row (TY / JC last season).
    • We all know OUTKAST, or Andre 3000, is a big fan of Georgia Tech. Did you know that Ludacris has a favorite hoops team? That would be Georgia Tech as well. Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play.............
    • Congrats to Chris Bosh, who has become the defacto leader on the Toronto Raptors and has led his team to a playoff birth. Way to go CB.
    • Not that you care about a guy who had accepted a scholarship and never played, but he's an update on Austin Jackson as he attempts to fullfill his dream as a NY Yankee. He's been demoted to work on his game.
    • Great story from GTAMU at the Hive involving Jarrett Jack / Luke Schenscher -
      My son and I attended the Portland Vs. Houston game in Houston on Friday night. I upgraded our tickets to get seats on the floor behind the Portland bench. My son (9 years old) is wearing his Jarrett Jack GT jersey just in case we catch Jarrett's eye. During a time out, when Jarrett was not playing, we finally get his attention, he sees the jersey, he gives my son a big smile and a thumbs up! My son was very excited and thought that was coolest thing ever. Later, Jarrett looks back and asks if he wants an autograph after the game. Of course he did!

      We wait about 15-20 minutes after the game with some of Jarrett's extended family (very nice people also). First Luke comes out sees the jersey, talks to my son, autographs 1 of our 2 game tickets, and poses for a picture. Jarrett comes out a little later, skips his family, goes right up to my son and starts talking to him about the jersey, GT, the Final Four, etc. Jarrett signs the jersey and the other ticket and the poses for a picture. He even asked if the picture was okay before moving on to his family.

      I am so glad that CPH brings in high character guys to the program. They helped my son have an experience that he will never forget.
    FOOTBALL
    • The spring game went extremely well for the offense, with Taylor Bennett throwing 5 TD's and no INT's. Heck, half the passes he completed were TD's. Major kudos for John Bond's offense. Here's a quote from John Bond - "We're spreading the ball around pretty decent. We're hitting all areas of the field. We've got good running backs. We've got experienced linemen. If our quarterbacks perform at a high enough level I think we're going to be pretty salty on offense."..... Wow. Spreading the ball around. Hitting all areas of the field. What a concept.
    • On a side note, Miami's spring game went horribly for the offense, with a final 7-0 game. However, former GT OC Patrick Nix qas quoted as saying that he only unvieled 0.5% of his playbook. Wow, guess he picked the wrong 0.5%.............. You know, maybe 0.7% of the playbook might have been in order. Hey, I wish nothing but the best for him except when he faces the Jackets, but are you like me? I just can't help but think that the Jackets got the better end of the OC deal. Remember that Bond interviewed for the Miami job as well.
    • Daryl Richard was named to the Lott Trophy Watch List....... "Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fourth year, The Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player."
    • Some word that Notre Dame could be switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. The last team Tech played that used a 3-4 was UVA. That went pretty well for the Jackets.
    • Calvin Johnson's hand measure 9 3/4" across. Evidently Tedd Ginn's are larger. Well, whoop'd D............
    • Tashard Choice is getting props as a potential Hiesman candidate and one of the nation's better RB's.
    • Former GT RB Carl Lawson, from the 1990 team, needs some help. He needs a kidney transplant
    • Rumors circulating that Mich RB Carlos Brown is interested in transferring and GT and SC are 2 schools that could be a final destination. Tashard the re-run? We should hope so.
    • Some stuff on players signing early - one - and two.
    • For those conspiracy theorists about the AJC, did you notice that GT's spring game article was a positive picture about the offense scoring 10 out of 10 times? Did you notice that UGAg's spring game article was about how terrible the defense played by giving up 5 TD's? Folks face it - the stink fairly equally................. Actually, I'm being harsh. The AJC has dramatically improved their coverage of the Jackets in the past 1-2 years. Matt W. has been a positive addition to the beat.
    BEESBALL
    • Wes Hodges struggled last season with injuries in the minors. However, he's the 9th best rated prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization from Baseball America.
    • The Jackets won the Friday opener against Miami, but dropped two heartbreakers with walk-off winners by the 'Canes on Sat and Sun.
    • Former Jakcet the Tulane player Micah Owings made his major league debut and helped the Diamondbacks win 7-1, giving up only 1 hit in 5 innings. It was a strong performance for sure, as he keeps the bench warm until Randy Johnson comes back.............. but he sure is trying to make a case to stay.

    GOLF
    • Matt Kuchar lost a bet and had to "wear" a UNLV head cover on his latest tour stop. He lost the bet to fellow Nationwide Tour player Jeremy Anderson. The two went to high school together in Sanford FL.

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Hoops: The Offensive Paradox Part II



    Most of you remember my lengthy post on Coach Hewitt's motion offense. However, what it mostly contained was generalities about the motion offense - not specifics about the Georgia Tech offense. Well, now we have them, courtesy of our west coast blogger / hoops coach over at triplethreatbasketball. He happened to be given the keys to the car by Coach Hewitt himself and was kind enough to share them with me. In addition, he has posted a summary of those GT Motion Offense notes over at his blog. Once I have time to absorb the information, I may post more as well.


    I did find Coach Hewitt's advantages and disadvantages interesting, particularly about the Coach losing some control of the offense.

    -----------------------------

    ADVANTAGES OF MOTION OFFENSE

    • Teaches players how to play the game. Reading screens and moving w/o the ball
    • Difficult to scout and defend
    • Good ball reversal will create driving opportunities bc of poor defensive closeouts

    DISADVANTAGES OF MOTION OFFENSE

    • Coach loses some control of offense, who shoots and when he shoots
    • Offensive rebounding may suffer, because players are unsure when a shot may go up
    ----------------------------------------------

    By the way, the site is a very good one if you are interested in learning about coaching X's / O's and team philosophies. Good stuff !.....................Thanks Coach Vick.

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Ramblin Wreck Roundtable - Round 1


    The GT Blogger's "network" has banded together to bring you a new feature - the Roundtable. Fellow blogger over at Ramblin Racket came up with the idea after seeing some other college bloggers do it.


    Basically, we develop a list of questions that each of us answers on our Blog at the same time. You get to go around and check out everyone's answers to the same questions. Once all the Blogs have posted their answers, I will post the links here.




    Round 1 - Other Opinions (more to be linked as the are posted)
    What's the Good Word
    YellowBlazer's World
    Ramblin Racket
    Plez's World


    So without further wait, here are my thoughts on round 1


    1. (Single obligatory basketball question) What do you make of the ACC's postseason in basketball? Was the conference overrated, or did the teams just get unlucky draws in the tourney?
    Unlucky draws - no way......... To be the best you must beat the best. That's how it is when you play with the big boys. The ACC just flat flopped in the big dance. But the disease spread to the women's side where UNC did a double/double on choke jobs with big leads, Duke ladies disappeared and even Maryland, the defending NC, bowed out. But hey, how can you criticize the only ACC team (UNC) that made a decent showing. The bottom line is that the ACC men's side was a league full of very good teams from top-to-bottom. Great? Not really. Just really good teams. Tons of youth came to haunt teams like Duke, GT and ultimately UNC. If there is no mass exodus of underage talent to the NBA (Young, Crittenton, Wright, Hansbrough, McRoberts - gone, Ellington, Costner, etc) then you're looking at a stronger league next season................... Hey, thank goodness for Clemson. They came oh so close to winning the NIT and being declared the 66th best team in the country.


    2. On to football! Where will Georgia Tech be ranked in the preseason polls, and where do you think the Jackets should be ranked?
    My guess is that the Jackets will be all over the board in terms of pre-season expectations. I think most polls will have us in the 20-40 range, and honestly, we probably belong somewhere around 25-30 in my mind. The defending Coastal Champs. Returning boatloads of starters. We'll get some decent consideration as we should. But let's earn it on the field.


    3. All due credit to Tech's 2006 squad, but we benefited from Miami and other teams' lackluster seasons. Will the big-reputation programs like FSU and Miami be back in 2007?
    Hey - the big boys don't stay down for long. I fully expect those teams to rebound. However, don't assume that their fall-off in recent seasons is ALL due to their own issues. Bottom-line is that other teams are just better. The Jackets were at their best last season with Coach Gailey's first real roster of his own guys. BC was good. Clemson is good. VT is good. Maryland will be stronger. UVA will be better. NCST will be better without the Chest. UNC will improve eventually with their new coach. Heck, Duke is like a live grenade rolling around on the floor - it's gonna go off on someone and you just hope it's not you. Hot potato folks.................. So yes, the big boys will be stronger, but so will a lot of other teams. It's just who's getting better faster.


    4. Our out-of-conference schedule is exciting, with Notre Dame and Georgia bookending the season, and while Army is a cupcake, playing a military academy is kinda cool in my book. Which game are you more stoked about between ND and UGA? Also, what ACC games are you most excited about?
    Tell you what - these are probably the two teams I hate the most in the entire country. So getting "stoked" for them is a weird emotion for me. My enjoyment of beating of them is far exceeded by my hatred for losing to them. Losing umpteen years in a row to UGAg is beyond frustrating at this point. Let's put it this way. I would enjoy beating Notre Dame more.......... and I would hate losing to UGAg more. Make sense?..................... In terms of ACC games. I attended the Clemson game last season and I want some serious revenge. Considering I live in Clemson territory, I think you can understand.


    5. Lighting Round! (Cue "Eye of the Tiger") Name the first thing that comes to mind, as fast as you can:

    Calvin Johnson: Leapard-gazelle-mutant-nobel-prize-winning, robotic, humanitarian, bionic, freakazoid..................... and a nice guy.

    Tailgate Food: Ribs. Large, drippy, saucy racks of ribs.

    Beesball: Hot dogs, CrackerJacks (ok, so my mind didn't get off the food thing)

    Taylor Bennett: Southpaw Howdy-Doody. (Sorry TB, it said the first thing)


    6. How do you deal with the football offseason? Prayer? Hibernation? Blogging?
    I completely absorb myself in my kids, my wife, my work and my oh yes - the Blog.

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Chan Gailey Part 2 - The Quickening


    Written By - Lennie Mac

    Following up on my post from two weeks ago - I finally finished comparing Chan Gailey's record against quality opponents versus similar BCS coaches. Let's refresh our memories on the criteria:

    1. Head coach must have finished 5 seasons
    2. We are taking the last 3 seasons
    3. Quality opponent = BCS school with a winning record that season

    Without further adieu:

    1. USC - 19-3
    2. Texas - 17-4
    3. Auburn - 14-5
    4. Virginia Tech - 15-7
    5. Ohio State - 12-6
    6. Oklahoma - 11-6
    7. Boston College+ - 10-6
    7. California - 10-6
    7. West Virginia - 10-6
    10. Georgia - 13-8
    11. Miami* - 12-11
    12. Texas Tech - 8-8
    13. Tennessee - 11-12
    14. Clemson - 10-11
    15. Michigan - 9-10
    16. Missouri - 8-9
    17. Florida St. - 9-11
    18. Iowa - 9-11
    19. Penn State - 8-11
    20. Virginia - 8-11
    21. Georgia Tech - 9-14
    22. Arizona State* - 6-11
    23. Wake Forest - 7-13
    24. Oregon - 5-10
    25. Kansas - 5-13
    26. Arkansas - 5-15
    27. Maryland - 5-15
    28. NC State* - 4-13
    29. North Carolina* - 5-18
    30. South Florida - 3-11
    30. Rutgers - 3-11
    32. Iowa State* - 3-12
    33. Purdue - 3-14
    34. Connecticut - 2-14
    34. Minnesota* - 2-14
    36. Vanderbilt - 2-16

    * - YOU'RE FIRRRED!!! (Insert bald Vince McMahon voice)
    + Take this job and shove it you bunch of elitist BC snobs!!!

    First thing that surprises me is that just over half the coaches meet this criteria. Second is that Pete Carroll has a ridiculous record whether he cheats, recruits felons etc. Third is if Chan coaches two good games against Wake and UGA, he's tied for 13th and considered an above average coach, as opposed to a mediocre coach. If he's an above average coach, he would be in Pittsburgh or Miami today, and who knows what GT football would look like in the future.

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    The Lie that is Jim Calhoun


    Hey star recruits - if you want a school to showcase your talents, by all means, pick Jim Calhoun and the University of Connecticut. However, you better darn better be sure that you have those talents ready-made coming in, because if you don't, you just might find your ticket to the next D I-AA school.


    Listen, anyone who has read this site for any length of time knows I'm not about bad-mouthing players or coaches. However, I was so appalled by the following story , sent to me by my co-hort Bryan, about Jim Calhoun after the Huskies' disappointing season that I had to say something. Of course, it's not like Jim Calhoun needs any help building his reputation as a scummy coach. But this one really takes the cake for me.


    First, let's set the stage. Calhoun, the Hall-of-Fame coach, just came off one of his worst seasons ever, with his club not even getting invited to the NIT. So what is his response on how he plans to "fix" the problem. How about escorting one or more of his players to the door, suggesting that they take the opportunity to find work elsewhere:


    "There will be a couple of changes to the roster mandated by our performance, mandated by our inadequacies, mandated by some kids who probably deserve to get a chance maybe at a different level," Calhoun said.



    "Mandated"?.................... MANDATED?............. Oh..........my......... gosh ................. please tell me that this guy that is propped up by the media as an ambassador for the collegiate game didn't just say that........ Oh, but he did........... and more:


    "There are some guys on our team who could have very successful careers maybe at a different level," Calhoun said. "They're young and this would be a good time for them to at least think about what their future is, and I'll be very honest with each and every one of them."



    "Rob said, `I want to stay,'" Calhoun said. "He put on 10 pounds. It just wasn't
    good enough [to play]. But he's a good basketball player and should have a
    successful career someplace. I'm not saying Rob Garrison is leaving. I'm only
    telling you ... there will be those situations."

    Let me translate - "Hey kid, You were a stud high school player and yes, I lured you here. However, it's evident I'm not going to win with you on my roster because I don't have time to 'develop' you - I have to win now, and my problem is that I don't have any scholarships to offer with you sitting on my bench, so here's what we're going to do. You're going to ask for a transfer and I'm going to go after somebody who is ready to play now. It's that simple. You get a nice feel-good college career somewhere else and I get the rings. See how this works?".



    Oh, by the way - did I mention - Rob Garrison has asked for his release from his LOI from UConn. Oh yeah..........


    "After talking to coach Calhoun over the past week, I have decided to explore my options and look into the possibility of transferring to another school," Garrison said in a statement.

    ......... and Ben Eaves is transferring too. You think Calhoun would have signed them if he thought they were stiffs? He didn't, but they just weren't as "ready" as he thought. SO OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!!


    By the way, did I mention the real reason this is happening? Sir Calhoun has no scholarships to award because he chose to sign 8 guys in one class? Did I mention that? So here's what we have:



    1. Calhoun loses a ton of players to graduation and the NBA after winning the NCAA championship (beating our Jackets in the process)

    2. Calhoun signs 8 new guys and brings in another (including Stanley Robinson and Curtis Kelly, two guys Hewitt recruited hard), for a total of 9 freshman in one class

    3. Calhoun tells every one of them that they will be a star at UConn - to just look at Okafor, Gordon and Gay.

    4. Calhoun struggles with such a brand new roster filled with underclassman, which most people would absolutely expect and understand.

    5. Calhoun realizes that this group of guys do not contain a bunch of Okafor's, Gordon's or Gay's.

    6. Calhoun also realizes that he has no scholarships to award to build upon his weak spots and really won't have any to offer for another 2 years.

    7. So, after watching the players for a season, Calhoun decides who is going to make an impact and who isn't going to help him stay on top.

    8. Then Calhoun decides that those who won't cut it will be "cut". Unfortunately, since he begged them to sign LOI's, legally all he can do is publicly and privately pressure them to get out while they still have good years left to contribute at Rhode Island and Wright State............ and that's just what he's doing.

    You know, the next time you criticize Coach Hewitt for poor on-the-floor coaching, just remember - it's the whole package that counts. We're talking wins/losses, player development, graduating kids, building character, discipline. We all want to win championships, but Coach Hewitt stands for a lot more than just winning ball games. Don't forget that. He has represented this program with class and respect and reverence. Don't forget that after OUR 11-17 season, what was Coach Hewitt's response? He said it starts with him. HE had to make changes. Coach Hewitt is the whole package, but unfortunately we don't build shrines to people who are good citizens - we build them to people who can win games.


    For Jim Calhoun, he has dropped all pretense about anything other than the wins and losses. I'm sorry, but Calhoun is the poster boy for the the hypocrisy that is the NCAA. I won't turn this into a tirade against the NCAA. I'll just say that Jim Calhoun is a product of the system. You know - don't hate the playa, hate the game. Any way you look at it - he's not an honorable man. He's not a leader. He's not a guy I would EVER want my son to play for. I would rather have my son dealing with Bobby Knight choke-holds or Coach K's f-bomb-a-palooza.


    The key message is to recruits - chose your path wisely. Don't be fooled with Coach Calhoun. Know what he is when you sign your life away. Yes, his program has enjoyed tremendous success. Yes, he wins championships. But he doesn't do it by developing players and developing young men. He does it by bringing in the best talent and letting them do their thing. He doesn't care if a kid steals laptops, as long as he can bomb 3-pointers. If it appears that you're "not all that", don't expect 4 years of coaching and development. Expect to sit on the bench or worse yet - be pressured to leave so he can make room for the next high school all-american.


    Don't be fooled. Jim Calhoun is a fraud. I cannot believe I am going to say this, but watching Florida do their thing was impressive. They did it with good but not elite high school talent, but they bought into a team concept, a system, and the coaching staff developed those kids. What Billy Donnovan has done is impressive, although even he was NOT the apple of anyone's eye until he starting winning championships. That's just the way our society works. In my book though, there is more honor in the process of how you get to where you are than the ultimate result. Of course, our "one shining moment" society doesn't preach that, but it matters to me. I want to win like everyone else, but it has to be done the right way.


    I just feel dirty after reading that trash.

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    Football - The Ode To Spring


    There's almost nothing better than the blooming of spring. Dogwoods, Cherry's, Bradford Pears, all kinds of flowers all strutting their stuff for about a week. Spring brings with it the climax of basketball season, the crack of the bat in beesball, and of course spring football. For the Jackets, practice has been an encouraging venture, with many positives to take-away so far. Here are some hints of things to come.

    • Taylor Bennett has most definitely locked up the #1 spot (if it ever really was in doubt). He has shown leadership, decision-making and accuracy so far this spring. This weekend's round of articles focus on the positive comments of Chan Gailey about Bennett starting to do things he didn't even think he was capable of doing. This after throwing 14-27 for 270 yards, 4 TD's with no INT's in Saturday's scrimmage
    • So the question really becomes - who's #2 at QB? At this point, it appears Steven Threet and Calvin Booker are getting most of the snaps. Threet is most definitely raw, but looks the part. Booker is showing that he learned a thing or two during his QB days at Auburn. Byron Ingram is another guy getting snaps
    • At Wide Receiver the Jackets should not let their expectations down too much with the loss of Calvin Johnson. Some - yes........... A BIG drop? Maybe just a small one. Greg Smith seems to have take a big leap in the spring and we know what we get with James Johnson, who has mostly been nursing injury. Both Demaryius Thomas and Corey Earls are proving themselves at the WR position as freshmen. Both Earls and Thomas caught balls for more than 100 yards Saturday.
    • Gary Guyton is poised to have an excellent season. Physically he's a better fit at LB than K-Hall was, and if he can get the mental side of the game like K-Hall, then watch out.
    • Interestingly the offense has generally dbeen "ahead" of the defense, or at least neck-and-neck. Bennett says it's the best spring for the offense since he's been here. I think that's a good thing, as I generally don't worry too much about Jon Tenuta's D's.
    • Word is that new OC John Bond has been a good fit. He hasn't re-written the book at all, but word is he's much more of a hand's on guy than Nix. Nix was really a schemer, but not big on individual instruction. Bond is out there with the players, helping the QB's with mechanics, working on QB/Center exchanges, staying after when needed, etc. The players really seem to like him and he seems to have a little of the "Tenuta attitude" on the field. In other words, he's a bit in-your-face, which should be a welcome addition. Ironically, I think this will even be welcomed by Tenuta, who has to be a bit frustrated over the years and carrying his unfair share of the load for winning games
    • In terms of the offense, look for the playbook to be altered. Nothing drastic, but don't look for as many deep bombs, and look for the entire field to be used. Also, without Calvin look for the offense to be spread around to more guys, which should keep defenses on their toes. In my humble opionion, the offense has a chance to be more diverse, more effective and just more plain fun to watch. Let's be realistic - the change at QB is more important than the loss of Calvin. Just my opinion.
    • At RB and O-Line, it looks like we are solid. Choice is clearly the man behind the line, and little man Evans and R.Grant are solid back-ups. Of course we are all interested to see how the new frosh show-out in the fall. The O-Line should be the "rock" for this team, as Coach Gailey migght have the most experienced unit since he arrived. Honestly, when your the strengths of your team are the O-Line and the D-Line, you have to feel decent about things. Tech is deep at the DE position, which is a great problem to have, particularly at the end of long grueling games. DT is looking solid as well.
    • Some position moves as usual - Quincy Kelly to FB, Tony Clark to LB
    • In terms of concerns, I think they generally go in this order - defensive backfield, Tight end, wide receiver, then general depth, since so many guys are on the sidelines not participating.
    • Recruits are rotating in to watch practices on a heavy basis. Seems that the staff is doing a good job of really making recruit visits a regular thing for practice.
    All in all, there is reason to be excited. The only disappointment is that the fall seems so far away.