In case you haven't heard GaSouthern head coach Chris Hatcher speak, check out his job acceptance speech. Pretty witty. I like the swagger and he's got that GA drawl.
Friday, November 30, 2007
In case you haven't heard GaSouthern head coach Chris Hatcher speak, check out his job acceptance speech. Pretty witty. I like the swagger and he's got that GA drawl.
by Lennie Mac
Before I talk about Randy Edsall at Connecticut, let me be on the record that I will be very disappointed if Trey Dunmon is allowed to play in a bowl after that disgraceful cheap shot against UGA. Definitely not what we're looking for. Check it out at collegefootballtalk.com
Randy Edsall at UConn against BCS opponents:
- 0-3 versus Chan Gailey
- 6-3 versus BCS opponents in 2007
- 1-3 against quality BCS opponents in 2007
- 7-17 versus BCS opponents from 2004-2006
- 3-17 against bowl teams over the last four years
Not what we're looking for.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Just got back from a business trip to Monterrey Mexico. It's pretty hard to keep up with things when you are out from the crack of dawn until later in the night at dinners, etc - and you're in Mexico. Unfortunately I missed the GT / Indiana hoops game, but I did record it and will watch it this weekend.
In the meantime, let's do an update on some coaching rumors. By the way, you watch the D-Rad press conference of Coach Gailey's firing:
He was in the ATL for another function but denies he was contacted by GT. Of course that doesn't mean his agent didn't talk to someone - or that he made first contact. My guess is that it's safe to say Hatcher is in the mix.
Was in the ATL this week, although he claims he was there for recruiting. He said he wasn't at GT at all - but he didn't way he wasn't contacted by GT people. In the meantime, FSU is working on re-doing his contract, but won't say a lot about what could be in it - like a guarantee that he'll take over for Bowden when he sails into the sunset. Of course don't forget that if Les Miles goes to Michigan, Fisher could be a serious candidate for the LSU job.
Jim Donnan on 680thefan reported that one of the ESPN people saw Edsell on a plane headed to Atlanta today and it sounds like he's probably going to be interviewed Friday.
Here is an interview with Edsell (1:25 mark) a couple of weeks ago. Gives you an idea of how he carries himself.
Why he should get the job: Very professional, spent a year at GT so he understands how to sell Tech, almost got UConn to a BCS game and built the program after Skip Holtz brought it out of the ashes. The one year he was DC at GT we had an record number of defensive touchdowns - flash in the pan?
Why he should NOT get the job: Solid but is he the "flashy" guy D-Rad wants, does he have the fire, is he a solid recruiter, spent a lot of time in the North so probably has weak southern recruiting ties, does he have a high upside?
Not saying much and there is no indication that he's been contacted. Of course they have a game to win against Army this weekend. If there's going to be contact, maybe D-Rad is waiting until it's over.
Reportedly has been interviewed this week. No word on that.
Reportedly has been interviewed. Don't forget his ties with D-Rad from LSU.
Here's an article about WM with some quotes from Saban.
Evidently Will is VERY energetic when it comes to game day. For proof check out this video of Muschamp as a pumped up, profanity laced coach - right on live TV.
WARNING - EXTREME LANGUAGE
To be fair, here's video of Muschamp in an interview to give you a flavor of his "swagger" and how he carries himself.
The rumor yesterday was that Neuheisel wanted the GT job and he was being aggressive in trying to get it. Evidently the rumor is absolutely true. Jim Donnan was talking about it on 680thefan today and said he had an impressive staff already in place should he get the job.
Evidently Rick's boss, Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, is quite eager to get rid of him. How else can you explain the quotes in this article - just dripping with sappiness and excuse making for the fact that the Ravens offense is in the bottom third in the NFL. I know guys support their assistants getting head coaching jobs, but he sure seems to go overboard selling his guy.
"Was I trying to be creative? Yes. Was I trying to be aggressive as a youngHere's a wikipedia entry for those curious about his background.
33-year old head coach trying to make it in a world that is extremely
competitive? Was I out there trying to win favor, and so forth? There is no
question. Nearly all of these issues could have been avoided had I checked, and
more importantly, probably double-checked with the compliance officer at the
University of Colorado," Neuheisel said in the report.
Lastly, you really should read this article about Rick and his history. He may have had his ah-hah moment since then, but there should be some serious questions asked about this guy.
Why he should get the job: Big name, energetic, collegiate head coach & winner, NFL experience
Why he should NOT get the job: Unethical reputation, recruiting violations at Colorado which led to probation, fired from Washington after "gambling" charge - although he sued the school and won after proving someone had authorized participation in an NCAA tourney pool (albiet he had winnings of $12,000). He won at Colorado and Washington - however, he tended to win early in his tenure then tail off. Never staying in one place long enough to get a feel for building a long-term program.
No rumor necessary here. His audition is the next month. He IS the head coach now, which should give him more opportunity than anyone. He has already begun opening up to the media with rounds on the ATL radio stations.
Why he should get the job: Defensive master, knows GT better than ANY candidate, understands our unique challenge, kids love him, paid his dues
Why he should NOT get the job: Not historically a media friendly guy, reputation as a gruff personality, not a strong reputation as a guy who likes to recruit.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
There are rumors everywhere about clandestine meetings, interviews and phone calls. While it certainly hasn't reached the status of tracking Nick Saban's flight schedules, there is a lot of speculation and rumor being spread. Oh the power of the internet.
Let's take a look at some of the RUMORS put out on the net in the past day:
- GaSouthern head coach Chris Hatcher is meeting this week with GT
- A group of influential Tech boosters headed to Columbia SC (the old ball coach?)
- Will Muschamp interviewed with GT this week.
- David Cuttcliff is lobbying hard for the job
- Rick Neuheisel really wants the job
- Houston Nutt's agent did have a conversation with GT people
- Skip Holtz and will Muschamp had already interviewed for the job 10 months ago when Chan was looking at an NFL head coaching position.
Again, these were just a few of the juicy rumors being thrown out there. No real fact backing them up, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the whacko rumblings out there.
Posted by Scott at Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
GT president Wayne Clough had the following to say about a future football coach:
"I've liked Chan Gailey as a person enormously," Clough said. "But he wasn'tThere was this strange non-specific quote about academics at Tech:
ringing the bell of our constituency."
"Another challenge, he's going to have to work within the academic
environment," said Clough, himself a specialist in seismic engineering. "It's
not as easy as it looks. And its going to get harder, I promise you."
In terms of what he's looking for in a coach:
"We're looking for a coach who plays an exciting game," Clough said. "But I'm just an engineer. That's the ADs job."
GAILEY A CLASS ACT
We all know Chan Gailey is a class act and his keeping a committment to a prior speaking engagement that happened to be on his calendar one hour after he was fired speaks volumes. Here's a great story about it.
Also, let's not forget that while Coach Gailey might not have been a quote machine to the media, the guy was genuine and he loved his players. He preached character, heart and overcoming adversity. A perfect example of the passion of Chan Gailey is his post-game speech after beating Miami on the road last season:
At this point, there is nothing official or any real leads on our next head coach with any basis in fact. However, there is a clear level of chatter surrounding a number of guys. So let's take a look at the names being bantered about the most by fans and the media.
TIER 1 Highest level of chatter
Paul Johnson (HC @ Navy)
Randy Edsell (HC @ UConn, former GT assistant)
Jimbo Fisher (OC @ FSU, ties to D-Rad)
Charlie Strong (DC @ Florida)
Will Muschamp (DC @ Auburn, UGAg grad)
Houston Nutt (ex HC @ Ark)
Terry Bowden (ex ex Auburn, commentator)
Chris Hatcher (HC @ GaSouthern)
Jon Tenuta (DC @ GT)
George O'Leary (HC @ UCF)
Jim Grobe (HC @ Wake Forest)
Steve Logan (OC @ Boston College)
Skip Holtz (HC @ East Carolina)
Gary Crowton (OC @ LSU)
David Cutcliffe (OC @ Tenn)
Glen Mason (former HC @ Minn)
Bobby Petrino (HC @ ATL Falcons)
June Jones (HC @Hawaii)
Steve Spurrier (HC @ USC East)
Mac McWhorter (Texas?)
Monday, November 26, 2007
In the midst of the choas of the day, the ACC announced their all-ACC team and GT ended up with 5 guys on the 1st team and 9 honored in total. As it turns out this was more 1st / 2nd teamers than any other ACC team. Just more evidence that this team had the talent to compete at a high level this season:
RB - Tashard Choice
OT - Andrew Gardner
DT - Vance Walker
FG - Travis Bell
P - Durant Brooks
LB - Philip Wheeler
DE - Darrell Robertson
C - Kevin Tuminello
DB - Jamal Lewis
Congrats to these guys.
Well, it's official. Coach Gailey is out. Let the games continue as we now begin the process of finding a head coach to "excite the masses". Here is Dan Radakovich's statement on Chan Gailey:
I want to sincerely thank Chan for his six years of service to Georgia Tech,"
Radakovich said. "Chan is one of the most honorable men that I have worked with
in intercollegiate athletics. He and (wife) Laurie have given countless hours to
this program and have touched the lives of hundreds of student-athletes, fellow
coaches and colleagues in only the most positive way."
Here's what drove his decision:
"At the end of the day, my decision was based on whether the football program is
moving forward," Radakovich said, "and our fan base, as a whole, is sufficiently
excited and energized by its direction."
Lastly, D-Rad continues to say all the right things:
"This is a very proud institution with a deep and rich football tradition,"I don't have any time to delve into this further as I'm on a business trip south of the border. However, when I have time, we will delve into the possibilities. Of course the list of possible suitors is starting to form already.
Radakovich said. "Our alumni and fans are extremely supportive. We have asked,
and are asking more and more of them, as we reach for excellence as a top tier
football program. They expect no less from us."
Who do you think should be the head man? Post your thoughts on this thread.
by Lennie Mac
I take you back to the 1980 debate. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were actually in a pretty close race until Ronald Reagan uttered this line in his closing statement in the last debate. At which point Americans saw 52 hostages in Iran for over a year, a weak boycott of the 1980 Olympics, an economy in a recession and the Soviet Union looking like a bunch of badasses. At which point a change was an absolute no-brainer to 59% of the voting public.
When George O'Leary left the program six years ago, Georgia Tech had finished in the final Top 25 poll for the fifth straight year, and was clearly established as the #2 program in the 10 team ACC behind Florida State. GT had beaten 3 out of 4 and it was fighting UGA on an even playing field.
Six years later, and GT had an opportunity to become an elite program. Florida State and Miami had fallen on hard times. Unfortunately, GT has lost at least 5 games in every season, and has not finished in the Top 25 in the final polls. There are 22 or 23 BCS teams in the Final Top 25 poll out of 66 teams. It's not like you're an elite team at #23 or #24, and they haven't even done that.
Six years later, I saw Matthew Stafford twice wave his hands to quiet the crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The stadium was 40% UGA fans. Georgia Tech finished 5-5 for the 2007 season, a season that could have 7-3 or 3-7 as easily as 5-5.
Six years later, let me ask you, if you were an alumni for these choices next year, who would you rather be?
Wake Forest or Georgia Tech?
North Carolina or Georgia Tech?
North Carolina State or Georgia Tech?
Chan Gailey, I sincerely want to thank you for your service to the Jackets. The win over Auburn at Bobby Dodd was the greatest win I have attended in 20 years of attending games there. The Miami game at the Orange Bowl was one of the most exciting wins I've been a part of. But it's time for you to move on.
If he stays, I think we will know one of two things:
1. They can't write the check
2. D-Rad doesn't believe that they can compete with the elite
Posted by Lennie Mac at Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Now that the next chapter of Georgia Tech football is soon to be written, I think its important to give Dan Radokovich his full support no matter who he hires. If your disappointed by whoever he picks, I ask that you give at least three years before you pass judgement.
There are many names that will come to light over the next few weeks that I would be very happy to be our head coach. I'm sure we've all put a list together. I think a lot of them will do a great job if asked.
I will credit Coaches Hot Seat for some of the following items. I am going to work at this from backwards to front to find the right man for the job. If I was Dan Radokovich I would work up a list of traits that we wanted in a coach, and then try to find the guy that meets those criteria best.
Necessary Traits of the next Georgia Tech coach:
1. Someone that I have seen in person in my athletic office at either South Carolina or at LSU working 16 hours a day that brings an energy and enthusiasm to his work.
2. Someone who has some head coaching experience and their experience has been eye opening.
3. Understands the tradition of Georgia Tech football and respects its grand history in the game.
4. Understands that Georgia Tech needs to beat UGA on a regular basis, at least 1 out of every 3 years, and is not afraid of that fact.
5. Someone that is not afraid of facing off against Mark Richt in the most important game of the year.
6. Has the confidence to lead one of the great football programs with former great coaches like Heisman, Dodd & Ross.
7. Coaches the type of offense and defense that Georgia Tech is known for, meaning: very tough and line-up and whip the guy in front of you on both sides of the ball.
8. Someone Georgia Tech would be proud to have as their head coach.
With all of the above traits in mind, if I was Dan Radokovich I would hire as the next head football coach at Georgia Tech:
Head Football Coach Louisiana Tech
Posted by Lennie Mac at Sunday, November 25, 2007
The players played their hearts out. The coaches coached their hearts out, and yet nobody has any real feel of satisfaction.
So what do I talk about? Guess I'll "go there" anyway.
I have never seen a game where one team gets so few breaks on so many freak, odd-ball plays. Two UGAg fumbled punts in their own endzone with the ball rattling around and both end up as touchbacks for UGAg? A backward pass (lateral) that UGAg fumbles and Morgan Burnett picks up to take to the house, only to get it knocked away into the endzone resulting in another touchback for UGAg? Are you kidding me?
The second offensive play of the game for Tech results in a sure TD, only to be dropped by Corey Earls? Are you kidding me?
Morgan Burnett gets called for pass interference in the endzone when the Georgie WR clearly pushed him, setting up an automatic 1st down and a TD on the next play. Are you kidding me?
Coach Gailey, I don't have an explanation for why the ball will not bounce your team's way during the UGAg game. I don't have an explanation why your cookie always crumbles. I don't have an explanation for such a strange series of events that had absolutely NOTHING to do with playcalling and almost nothing to do with execution. I don't understand it anymore than you do.
Tashard Choice had a typical TD day with well over 100 yards, but at the end of the day, the story is the same - there is no QB in a Tech uniform that can win games. We have a roster full that are apparently decent at not losing them, then letting the game be decided by the rest of the team. But it's been a LONG time since there has been a player on the flats who could take the team on his shoulders, rise above and actually will us to victory.
Matt Stafford did it again for UGAg. When Stafford threw deep, there seemed to be a plan. When Bennett or Nesbitt threw deep there seemed to be a prayer. Stafford delivered the ball as the WR came open. Bennett and Nesbitt passed the the ball when the saw the WR open......... and it always seemed to arrive late.
At the end of the day, games are decided by a handful of plays. Three balls squirting around in the endzone......... 0 points........... one dropped sure TD pass............ 0 points............. one phantom pass intereference......... 7 UGAg points instead of just 3. You just don't win when that type of stuff happens........... and we didn't.
Seven years of frustration and anger. It will end one day, but that day can't happen for a minimum of 364 more days.
Let the organizational games begin. Will he survive or won't he? The AJC will begin an assault of articles over the coming weeks pelting your mind from both sides of the fence - because of course that sells papers. Make sure to put your reading filter on. Take it all with a grain of salt, and make sure to discern fact from fiction. Don't decide that "Gailey must go" because Bark Madley says he should. Ask yourself what qualifies his opinion as any more important than the rest. Don't decide that Gailey should stay because Tony Barnhardt says his future shouldn't be decided on one game (or one game repeated six times as it were).
Should Coach Gailey stay? I don't have a clue.
Do I like Coach Gailey? Yes
Do I think he stands for all the right things? Yes.
Do I think he runs a clean program? Yes
Do I think he embraces the unique challenges of Tech? Yes
Do I think he is a "Tech man"? Yes I do, and he will always be.
Do I think that the players on this team are 100% behind him? Absolutely
Do I think he's improved recruiting? Yes
Do I think these better players can take us to the next level? I just don't know.
Do I think that he can build a dynamic offense? I am not convinced.
Do I think the program will be better if he stays? I don't know.
Do I think the program will be better if he goes? I don't know.
More than anything, I just feel sad for Chan Gailey. More than anything I just wanted to see him succeed....... but his team didn't win in the games that mattered most. I just wanted to see his team beat UGAg last year when it was right there for the taking......... but they didn't. More than anything I wanted that team to beat Wake Forest in the ACC championship game when it was right there for the taking...... but they didn't. More than anything I wanted them to beat West Virginia, who they were leading handily at halftime of the Gator Bowl......... but they didn't. Now it looks like West Virginia might be playing for the National Championship this season, and here we are again fighting over our coach and another 7 win season. More than anything I wanted that fumbled punt against UVA not to happen so we got the W earlier this year. More than anything I wanted that Travis Bell game winner to go through the uprights against Maryland...... but those things didn't happen. More than anything I just wanted ONE of the fumbles to go our way yesterday. They didn't, and we're left pondering the future.
It's funny. Last night I flipped over to the Clemson / SC game in time to hear the announcer say "if anything, it's South Carolina's defense that deserves a good break." I just shook my head and laughed, thinking of our players and coaches.
I don't have the answer as to what will drive Georgia Tech football to "the next level", whatever the "next level" is. However, I absolutely do not envy Dan Radakovich. He is facing the most important decision of his tenure. He has to make a decision that will impact the program for the next decade.
Here's the thing. With the above average success of Chan Gailey, what should D-Rad's mentality be on finding a replacement? If Gailey had been having losing seasons, this would be easy. Let him go and see what the market spits out. But he hasn't. He's been a good steward of the program. So in my opinion, D-Rad needs to have a VERY good idea of what he's going to do if he wants a change...... before he makes the change. With high profile programs out there looking for head coaches, it impacts your ability to get a "name". But can Georgia Tech attract a "name"? If D-Rad cuts Coach Gailey loose, but doesn't have a plan A, B and C, we might be in trouble. Putting the Tech head coaching job on the open market is a risky proposition. You'll hear names like Edsell, P.Johnson and Fisher. You'll hear Tenuta. But in the modern era, what "name" coach has ever had success at Tech and stayed? Would we be looking at some "hot assistant" ready to make a name? Do you want another guy to come in, show that he's truly building our program, but only stay a few years to leave us high and dry?
Bottom line is that it is a tough decision for D-Rad. Keeping Coach Gailey would be a bold, bold move and leave him open to serious criticism. Only a higher level of on-the-field success would prove out that decision. Letting Coach Gailey go could be a winning proposition even if we fall on hard times - but only if it leads to something bigger in the future. But how long are you willing to wait?
Now, if you want my opinion on what WILL happen, here's my guess - Chan Gailey will be fired. The thing I just keep coming back to Chan Gailey interviewing for jobs with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins. Yes, they were programs where he had deep ties. However, I just can't help but think that maybe Coach Gailey saw some bit of writing on the wall and realized that maybe he should take a run at those jobs.
In addition, you've got a divided, restless fan base. Some of the money donors are starting to be vocal about the future of their donations. You've got a team that really should have won at least 2 more ballgames than they did this year. Unfortunately they only beat one team with a winning record all season. They had the pieces in place and just didn't get it done. You've also got a coach that just seems cursed against our arch-rival. He's a guy that isn't "dynamic" - whatever that means. Fans have been split on him from day 1 and the split has grown, not gotten smaller.
Honestly, at this point, I don't think anyone would blame D-Rad for making a change. Just don't go thinking that changing the head coach is going to be some magic cure. Next year's team is going to lose a ton of starting seniors so winning next year is going to be more of a challenge for anyone - including Gailey. Also, going from 7-9 wins to 10+ wins is a lot harder than going backwards to 5-6 wins. Don't start salivating over some of the big names being thrown out for jobs like Michigan, Nebraska and others. We are not those programs and not likely to attract the same caliber of coaches.............. or maybe I'm completely wrong.
So where is the Georgia Tech Athletic progam on the whole headed? I think most people are positive about the changes that D-Rad has made. The Tech fund was met with mixed response, but guess what - you ask people to pony up more dough - that's what you're going to get. But honestly it was necessary. D-Rad's job is to turn the GTAA into a money-making entity, which is wasn't when he arrived. He's got that headed into the black now. Now he's trying to win a new fanbase by trying some things in the marketing arena. Whether that will work in the long run remains to be seen.
From a coaching standpoint, he has renewed every existing coach's contract in every sport so far and now he will face his most difficult decision in the highest profile program of all.
From a personal standpoint, he answers all his emails, he communicates with the fanbase and he's pretty straightforward about his expectations and what he wants to build. He's saying and doing the right things in that regard.
Will D-Rad do for the current program what Homer Rice did decades ago? That remains to be seen. Heck, it remains to be seen if he will head back to LSU or not since their AD is retiring.
In general our sports programs are all improving. You can argue and debate improvement in the big 3 mens'sports, but clearly we've seen improvement with the ladies - tennis national championship, best lady hoops season ever + best recruiting class possibly ever, consistent competitiveness in volleyball, etc. We're always in the national picture in men's golf. In general things are headed in the right direction both on the field and off. Our coaches all run clean, high character programs. You have to like to quality of the kids that we are getting. There's a lot to be happy about................. well, except a few more wins here and there.
All-in-all, you are looking at a perfect opportunity to take a step back and decide if we are headed in the right direction. Regroup and evaluate things. Make this a key "off-season" in the change plan of D-Rad.
Lastly, in all fairness, we should explore the expectations on the fans. Not the expectations OF the fans, but ON the fans. What should rightly be expected of us as supporters of this program? I don't think anyone who has read this blog questions my public support of the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets. Heck, September was the 4 year anniversary of this site, which has been the most prolific independent GT blog on the web, and I have ALWAYS tried to maintain a pro-GT bias. However, has my support extended to where it matters even more to the people at Georgia Tech?
What level of financial support should each one of us be expected to give? Is it reasonable to raise a fist against "mediocrity", but not give a penny to the program? I only say this because there are a lot of Tech fans in this category. A lot. In fact, I am one of them not providing much financial support. My financial support to this program pretty much extends to buying tickets to an occassional game. A big part of me is ashamed of this fact. I will justify it with stories about the birth of my 3rd girl a month ago, a house full of Disney Princesses and 100 other things. But to truly put a stamp on my support, should I be giving more? Are you supporting the program financially? If not, why not?
Should we be expected to make attending Tech games a higher priority if we live within a 4 hour radius? I will be the first to tell you that I am as guilty as anyone here also. It's just a busy time in my life (excuse) with small children. But should I make a more concerted effort to attend as many games as possible? My gut tells me I should. I went to one game last season - the Thursday night UVA game. None this year. How can the GTAA reach out to people like me, who have young families, and are struggling more with time than with money. Don't get me wrong, money is not a free flowing commodity in my house, especially when I start thinking about college and weddings for 3 girls. But you know what, I could afford to go to more games each year. What would it take for fans (alumni) like me to make spending a Saturday in the ATL a priority? At some level it's just a personal choice for each of us. At another level, it's a marketing issue for the GTAA to solve.
How should we voice our opinions when it comes to the leadership around our sports programs? Should "we" stop spending money on Tech? Well, that penalizes the players as much or more as the leaders. Should we boo public service announcements? Should we bash players and coaches on message boards? I don't think anyone really beleives this reflects well on us as fans. Quite frankly, I have been a bit embarrassed by too many Tech fans this season. We've looked petty, short-sighted, classless and unloyal at times. At the same time, many have been strong, unwaivering and classy.......... like every other fanbase in the country. We have them all. I don't know the right way to voice displeasure. Letters or emails to the administration is probably the #1 way if you ask me. Public outcry on sports radio and the internet and booing coaches has to be low on the list.
Lastly, what is reasonable for fans to expect when it comes to winning at Georgia Tech? That's an incredibly loaded question and I'm not going to tacke it here. Just suffice it to say this university has the resources and attractiveness to compete in the top 30 of most sports programs year-in and year-out. However, we are not Michigan, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas or Notre Dame, when it comes to built-in advantages. We just aren't and never will be. However, Georgia Tech is the most unique college environment in terms of challenges for the student-athlete. To succeed here is truly saying something. Nobody can take that away. I was one of those guys who panned football players when I was in school, but let's face it - it's hard enough to make it through Tech just being a student - but throw in "athlete" after "studen" and it's a real challenge. That's why the people coming to Tech HAVE to be special. Getting in is not the challenge. Staying in is. With that......
LET'S TOAST THE SENIORS
Major kudos to the seniors who played their last home game yesterday. It's been a great ride with some very memorable moments. I raise a glass to you and wish you the best in all you do, wherever life takes you.......................... JUST MAKE SURE YOU GET THOSE DEGREES!!!!!!!!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Never forget - a newspaper's goal is to sell more papers. Everything they do is to generate enough interest from customers to convince them to buy or subscribe a paper. In doing that in the era of 1800 channels of nothing on TV, 24/7 internet, gazillions of blogs, etc, the days of just "reporting the news" disappeared. Now you have to publish opinion pieces under the guise of editorialism. You need "talking heads". In the sports world, it's no different and maybe even worse.
However, these opinion pieces often times border on twisting the truth to fit a story or finding writing gimmicks to convince you of things that didn't happen............. all in the name of selling papers.
A perfect example of this was an editorial in the Atlanta Journal Constitution written by Jeff Schultz this week. It is titled "Gailey, Tech AD not using same playbook" and I suggest you read the article first, then come back and read my complete breakdown of how Jeff is trying to paint a picture that isn't there. The bottom-line is that a conflict between the head coach and the AD makes for good stories, so these guys are playing it to the max.
I wouldn't normally do something like this, but I was so dumbfounded by the idiocy of this article, I felt compelled to break it down. So here we go into the world of make-believe, selling newspapers and mind manipulation:
The article begins by painting a picture for you in a lunchroom:
This isn’t to suggest Dan Radakovich and Chan Gailey ever actually pondered a food fight in the Georgia Tech cafeteria. But it certainly looked like a symbolic snapshot on the state of Tech football when the athletics director and coach sat down for lunch Tuesday at adjacent tables at the same time — back to back, a foot apart, looking in opposite directions.
Gimmick #1. Schultz takes a scene in a likely innocent scene in a lunchroom and uses it as a writing gimmick to convince you about the nature of the relationship between Dan Radakovich and Chan Gailey. In fact, his first statement is cleverly worded to set the stage. He could have opened the article by writing "This isn't to suggest that Dan Radakovich and Chan Gailey don't get along, but it certainly looked.....". However, that would be much less effective and it would have been very clear that HE was just stirring up trouble.
By saying "This isn't to suggest that DR and CH ever actually pondered a food fight......... But it looked like a symbolic snapshot...." he is very subliminally convincing you that a bad relationship already exists and that at this point it just hasn't come to blows. That's his first attempt at manipulating your mind.
So let's move on to paragraph #2:
Then again, there’s really not a lot for them to talk about these days. Between Radakovich’s increasingly evasive, if not chilly, comments on Gailey’s future, and the Yellow Jackets’ increasingly suspect performances leading up to this week’s Georgia game, these aren’t great circumstances to bond at the salad bar.Did you see Jeff do it again? Did you see him use one unrelated fact to convince you of another? The fact that Dan Radakovich has "increasing evasive, if not chilly comments on Gailey's future" only means that D-Rad is being tight-lipped to the media. However, Jeff has carefully worded his comment to try and use D-Rad's non-media-friendly comments to try and convince you that he is non-friendly with Chan Gailey. I get it Jeff - because D-Rad is evasive to the public media about a man's future, that must mean he doesn't get along with the man. Yeah, whatever.
Are you starting to see what I'm seeing? Jeff is trying to manipulate your mind because that is what will sell papers. A conflict between D-Rad and CG probably sells more papers. Since there is no evidence to support this claim, he just writes and "editorial" and uses some writing gimmicks to create his premise.
However, he's not done yet. Let's move to paragraph #3:
Radakovich is the boss. Gailey is the employee he inherited. It starts there. It always starts there.
Now Jeff is trying to use this fact to support his premise. The new AD comes in and inherits a football coach he didn't want. There's the conflict he wants you to buy into. He doesn't want you to buy into the premise that the AD wants to win and the coach wants to win. He wants you to buy into D-Rad's ego - that it is more important to D-Rad to win with HIS guy than just win period......... ".Gailey is the employee he inherited. It starts there. It always starts there.". For Jeff, he is definitely just getting started.
The only real kernel of truth in the article:
College athletics have changed significantly over the past few decades. There’s more television, more opportunities for revenue, increased recruiting pressures and a greater demand to win. Now.
Fact? Yes. Relevance to this story? I'm just not sure.
Now more support for his premise that D-Rad's ego trumps all:
The ripple effect: Because the lines between college and pro sports are blurred, athletics directors are more like owners or general managers. They want to put their own imprint on a program. They want to hire their own guy.Ah, there it is......... Jeff is now flat out telling you that it is more important to D-Rad to hire his guy than to win with the guy that's there. Well, let me ask you something. If it is so damn important for D-Rad to hire "his own guy", then why hasn't he done it yet? Why has he extended the contract of EVERY single head coach of every program that has come up for negotiation since he became AD?
Why did D-Rad extend the contract THIS MONTH of softball head coach Sharon Perkins?
"Sharon Perkins is the coach to continue building our softball program," Radakovich
said. There is a solid foundation in place with the strong recruiting class that Sharon has assembled. Her continued drive towards excellence and winning championships has our student-athletes and administration excited about the program's future."
Why did D-Rad give lady hoops coach Michelle Joseph a new contract?
"MaChelle Joseph is the coach to continue building our women's basketball program," said Radakovich. "There is a solid foundation in place with the strong
recruiting classes that MaChelle has assembled. We are enthusiastic about the
future and the potential of the program."
Why did D-Rad give beesball head coach Danny Hall a contract extension?
"Danny Hall is one of the top baseball coaches in the country," said Radakovich.
"He did an outstanding job this season to take his team to the World Series despite some significant injuries. He wins consistently, and he does it with players who are good students and great representatives of Georgia Tech."
I think I made my point. If it is SSSSOOOO important for D-Rad to have "his guy" running every program, then why has he extended the contract of every head coach he inherited since he took the AD job? You know why? Because winning is probably MORE important to D-Rad that ego. I would put my premise up against Jeff Schultz's though, because 100% of the evidence supports my conclusion. Of course you don't need any "evidence" when you are writing editorial pieces. You don't even have to pick up the phone to make a stinkin' call. Just make stuff up.
Now comes more conflict building based on absolutely ZERO bit of evidence. A case made on a foundation of sand:
This doesn’t mean Radakovich is either shortsighted or an egomaniacal administrator (or both). But at the very least, he is like anybody else who runs a business: He wants employees who match his level of passion, his energy and his style.
An insurance salesman who rises at 5:30 a.m. tells himself, “Somebody is going to buy something today,” and is in the office by 7 — he will hire clones one day when he’s in charge.
Gailey and Radakovich couldn’t seem more different. One wants to win. The other makes it a mandate. One has desire. The other moves through the day like his hair is on fire.
More writing gimmicks to try and convince you that because D-Rad didn't hire Chan Gailey, he isn't the same type of guy as D-Rad. Jeff has just tried to convince you that D-Rad has a significantly higher level of passion for Georgia Tech football than Chan Gailey.
He also tried to do some contrast and comparison to try because part of developing a good story is having a good guy and a bad guy. The old protagonist / antogonist high school English bit. He doesn't say that Gailey is "bad", but he tries to convince you that D-Rad is this flaming workaholic while Chan Gailey is just lazy. Oh, he didn't say "lazy"............. but he did.
..... and I'm sorry, "one wants to win. One makes it a mandate". Uhhmm, that's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard. "I am Commander Radakovich and I DEMAND victory." Give me a break.
Both are good men. Both want the same thing. But when Radakovich rises at 5:30, and is sitting in his office at 7, and is trying to figure out how to get people excited about Georgia Tech football, do you really believe he is thinking about Gailey?
Radakovich came from LSU.
He worked with Nick Saban.
He liked Nick Saban.
Why? Because Saban charged into his job daily like Radakovich charged into his.
More work by Schultz to establish D-Rad at the protagonist and Chan as the antagonist. He starts of with this bit about both being good guys, but then he once again attempts to paint Coach Gailey as lazy and lacking passion. He once again subliminally tells you that D-Rad is at work at the crack of dawn while Chan Gailey is pushing the snooze button for the 10th time. Then Jeff Schultz decides to grace us with his personal knowledge of why D-Rad liked Nick Saban. His proof? None. No quotes. Just his own opinion presented as fact.
This is the South. Football’s kind of big. Maybe the success and the visibility of Tech football hasn’t always been there, but Radakovich isn’t going to accept that it can’t always be there. In his mind, things get better or he has failed. He wants the guy who lives in Midtown to walk down the street on a college football Saturday and buy a ticket. He doesn’t want empty seats. He doesn’t want seats filled by opposing fans (which will be a problem this week).
I'm sorry, but does anyone think Chan Gailey believes he has succeeded if he doesn't make the program better? Does anyone believe Gailey doesn't want to sell more tickets? Do you think Chan roots for empty seats? Do you think Chan wants opposing fans filling the seats?
Of course not, but this is more effort to paint D-Rad as the good guy here.
PARAGRAPHS #15 & 16
Now comes a serious attempt further drive the wedge:
Tech-Georgia hasn’t been competitive. The Bulldogs have won six straight meetings, the past five when it’s Gailey vs. Mark Richt.
The Bulldogs are coming off wins over Florida, Auburn and Kentucky, maintain hopes of an SEC title game and could be headed to the Sugar Bowl. The Jackets are coming off unimpressive performances against conference flotsam Duke and North Carolina and are looking at the Emerald Bowl. Not hard to guess which fan base is jacked up.
Hasn't been competitive? HASN'T BEEN COMPETITIVE? Are you idiot are just a complete a-hole? Look, I know that we have lost 6 in a row, but lordy, please don't sit there and try to convince me that the series hasn't been competitive.
- In 2006 Georgie wins by 3 points on a freak fumble play for a TD and a game-winning drive with less than 2 minutes to go? That's not competitive?
- In 2005 Tech lost by 7 points after DJ Shockley threw a TD with about 3 minutes to go to take the lead. Reggie Ball drove us downfield only to throw an INT at the goalline to end the game. That's not competitive???
- In 2004 Tech loses by 6 points on the famous Reggie Ball / Patrick Nix "can you count to 4" game, where we miscounted downs and threw the ball OB to end the game on a potential game-winning drive.
Here's my point - these games have been nail-biters. Tech hasn't gotten the W's, but that does NOT mean the series isn't competitive. But again, Jeff's point is to drive the wedge between Gailey and D-Rad, so let's ONLY focus on the wins/losses.
Rivalry games define success. But when asked Tuesday about the impact of winning or losing such games, Gailey said: “I don’t know that I have the answer to that question.”
This one just plain ticked me off. Why? Because here's what Chan Gailey REALLY said:
"I don't know that I have the answer for that question. I think that rivalry games are huge games. They are big games, whether they are in-state or like Ohio State-Michigan or Texas-Oklahoma, they are huge games. Everybody puts a lot of weight on them and everyone takes a lot of pride in winning them, and it hurts when you lose them. When you don't win, it makes you feel bad and everyone around you feels bad. When you win them, everyone feels good about them. You live with it for 365 days and you have to go try again the next year."
When a writer manipulates the press quotes of a head coach in order to support his made-up premise, that just pisses me off. The spirit of what Chan Gailey said about that question was contained in the entire paragraph, not the first sentence. But of course that wouldn't work to his advantage, so he just used the parts that by themself made Gailey look bad.
PARAGRAPHS 18 & 19
Make no mistake: These losses have been huge. It’s one more thing for Radakovich to think about. It speaks to direction.What do you mean - these losses are one more thing for D-Rad to think about? Huuh?Jeff, they're the only thing driving this entire discussion. If we're winning more games, you're not writing this article. And you know what, I would be severely disappointed if this game ultimately makes the decision for D-Rad. It's another datapoint, not the end-all-be-all.
At this point you wonder if even an upset Saturday would sway Radakovich to conclude that Gailey is the guy he wants for this program. It wouldn’t seem there are many people on the fence about Gailey. Fans are pretty well entrenched on one side or the other.
Now it’s up to Radakovich. Asked about being left hanging by his boss, Gailey said: “Hey, my job is to do the best I can to win football games, and do what’s right for the kids and right for the program. Anything else I can’t control.”
The coach sets the tone for his program.
The athletics director sets the tone for his coaches.
Right now, there’s little reason to think two-part harmony
The coup-de-gras and final stamp on this stinking pile of doo-doo.
THE POINT OF MY RANT
In all this, I want to make one thing clear - my rant has nothing to do with supporting Chan Gailey. It is all about calling out the media, which has no accountability when it comes to stirring the pot.
Jeff Schultz wrote an editorial where he used trickery, falsehood and gimmicks to convince you that Dan Radakovich is a fire-breaking, Tech loving, all out winning, workaholic, upstanding leader of men. At the same time he tried to convince you that Chan Gailey is a lazy, low spirited, unmotivated coach who accepts mediocrity. He also tried to get you to believe that these two men do not get along, which formed the basis for his play.
Let's establish some facts
-Chan Gailey is not a lazy coach
-Jeff Schultz IS a lazy writer
-D-Rad wants to win
-Chan Gailey wants to win
-Jeff Schultz has no idea about the nature of the relationship between CG and DR.
-Very few people know the truth about their relationship
You know, maybe I'm giving Schultz too much credit for crafting an article to manipulate your mind. More likely he's just a lazy writer who has found a formula to get attention that requires very little real work. Dennis Dodd found his gimimck in his yearly "worst coaches" list. Tony Barnhardt shows us his gimmicks each week with his cheesy predictions and top 5 lists.
Here's my suggestion to fans when it comes to following Tech sports:
1. Read http://www.ramblinwreck.com/ for the weekly press conference quotes from Coaches and players. The press releases here show quotes in their entirety and nothing but the quotes. Therefore YOU get to decide what it means and not have a writer with an agenda deciding what it means.
2. Only read Atlanta Journal Constitution stories if they fall into a couple of categories. One - player interest stories. Media people get slammed for writing negative stories on student-athletes, so if you see a story about one of our players, 99% chance it's a positive, human interest type story. Two - if it's a miscellaneous game notes article, you can learn some actual facts about the team - injury reports, etc.
3. Avoid "columns". These are editorial in nature. Mike Knobler, Mark Bradley, Jeff Schultz, T.Moore, F.Bisher, Matt Winklejohn. They'll occassionally write good ones, but more often than not they are taking pot-shots. However, they have on their personal agendas NOT to be viewed biased, so they will make conscious decisions to write some good, some bad stories.
4. When you read a story, make sure you filter every sentence against your personal BS filter. Don't get fooled into believing something is true because it is in print. Read carefully and use your head. Heck, that goes for this site and anything you read.
5. Contrary to what you might think, the AJC does a better job reporting Tech now than they've done in years. Just don't forget that their job is to sell papers, so they're going to stir up crap on a regular basis. It's a proven formula, so they'll keep doing it.
I will leave you with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Jeff, you are not the strong man.
You are not the doer of deeds.
You are not in the arena.
Your face is pristine.
You don't know victory nor defeat.
You my friend........... are the critic.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
HOOPS JACKETS GET DRAMATIC WIN
Go figure. The night I get wrapped up with family stuff and I forget to record the GT / Notre Dame hoops game. Go figure again - it turns out to be a good game with an exciting finish. Nice to Causey come up big in the stretch with Miller out. Nice to see Jeremis Smith's stat line. Double/double with some steals and assists thrown in as well. Looked like the only thing missing was spelling the water boy.
Here's some interesting thoughts from AJC about the game, including a story about Alade Aminu missing his assignment right after coaches told him what to look for - and he still did the wrong thing. Why interesting? Well, it was a clear case of the right coaching and the wrong execution........... Instruction from coaches right before the play: Alade - if they screen Faye on the baseline, pick up the guy throwing in the ball and block his view as he runs the baseline. Result: They screen Faye on the baseline and Aminu turns around and runs up court, giving the guy a clear view of the court to pass to halfcourt and call the timeout. That play almost cost Tech the game, but it's important to remember that coaches coach and players play. When things don't go wrong, sometimes it's hard to tell who didn't do their job. This time it wasn't.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW - CALVIN JOHNSON
Civil unrest is beginning to set-in up in Detroit over Calvin Johnson. Why? Well, he's basically an after-thought in the Lions offense, even though almost every single time he has touched the ball this season he has gotten a first down or a TD. I'm serious - it's a ridiculous stat. Last week he caught 3 balls for less than 40 yards, but he did grad a TD pass over the top of some poor Giants DB. It was typical CJ. Here's the video:
CJ is playing the good son and being as modest as ever. However, fans are getting restless and even Roy Williams was quoted after the game as saying that they need to get the ball to him more. His OC sluffs it off as just a result of personnel groupings that get shuffled in-and-out. If I were him, I'd reevaluate those groupings. They threw to S.McDonald and Kitna was picked up twice. Kitna threw a bad ball to CJ and he went "over the back" of the DB and got a TD out of it. There's no magic here. Give him the ball coaches!!!
"True story: The Detroit Lions lost to the New York football Giants 16-10 Sunday, and twice in the final two minutes, Detroit had the ball near midfield and threw interceptions with 6-foot-4 rookie Calvin Johnson, by all accounts a budding star, on the sideline. The reason? Johnson wasn't part of the "packages” offensive coordinator Mike Martz wanted to use at that particular time."
The only legit issue holding him back is recovery from a pretty serious back injury that has nagged him for weeks. However, he keeps playing and making plays the few times they toss it his way.
Here's a recent quote from Roy Williams, the other big talented WR at Detroit, and the guy trying to mentor CJ:
PRESSURE FROM PAST GUYS?
QUESTION: What do you think about Calvin Johnson (Megatron), is he frustrated
Roy: You know I don’t know he’s such a quiet guy. He’s just real quiet and doesn’t say much. I am trying to get him out of his mold a little bit but he’s not budging. I can’t tell if he’s frustrated or not.
QUESTION: Should Johnson be doing more?
Roy: I think he should be doing more. I don’t know if we’re just trying to protect his back. Because every ball he catches he lands on his back, but we’re gonna’ get him the ball more.
Jacket nation can collectively agree on one thing - we all want to beat Georgie. No matter where you stand on coaches, expectations, etc - we all want to see UGAg go down. This includes gagles of former players, who are evidently letting the current squad know their feelings:
Well, it turns out there can be harmony in Jacket nation. ..................... well, at least until gameday................. and as long as we win.
New York Giants linebacker Gerris Wilkinson sent a text message to Tech
linebacker Philip Wheeler on Monday. "He was asking me, could we please beat
Georgia this year?" Wheeler said. "I'd like to do this not only for thisteam
but for past teams that didn't. I talked to [Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker]
Daryl Smith a week ago. He was saying the same thing: Could we please beat
Georgia this year?"
Bennett stays in touch with past players, too, including quarterback
Reggie Ball, tight ends George Cooper and Mike Matthews, and 1990s flanker
Harvey Middleton. " 'Just win the game.' That's all they ever say," Bennett
DONLEY LIKELY OUT
Looks like DJ Donley has some undisclosed injury and might miss the UGAg game.
Where will that hurt? Depth at WR, but mostly special teams, where he has been a welcome
CREATIVITY TO THE EXTREME
Ok, someone at the Hive posted this entertaining little diddy and I thought I would share:
Gather round, ye Yellow Jacket faithful, for a reading from the Book of Jackets.
For in those days there was vast turmoil in the Sacred Land of the Flats. Many plagues beset the Jackets - the Plague of Hamstring, the Plague of Fumbles, and the Plague of Conservative Battle Plans.
General Channus and the Jacket Army had been humbled in battles to inferior warriors, and many of the people did beseach Emperor Radicovus for deliverance from bowl games in far away lands. And before Radicovus did rule, the Jacket Army looked to the East and beheld the foaming masses of the Dawg Zombies marching towards the Sacred Land.
Alas, during harvest time of that year Pharaoh Richtus of the Dawgs had been possessed by an evil spirit. The spirit made Richtus send the Zombies to stomp on the Swamp Zone of Alligators. During battle with the Tiger-Men, the demon commanded Richtus to don the Zombie Army in Black Tunics of the Underworld. Now the spirit blinded Richtus and the Zombies to the Jacket army's strength.
The heretic Scribes and Pharisees of the Atlantis Jehosephat Constantinople news tablets inscribed in clay how the Dawg Zombies were destined to find the Promised Land of Sugar, and they saw not the angry host of the Jacket Army in the path of the Dawgs.
So it then came to pass that the Jackets and the Zombies met in battle at the setting sun on the Sacred Field of Dodd. Fattassica Staffordus, the Centurion of the Dawg
Zombies, was repeatedly knocked from his Chariot and he didst lose the Golden
Orb of Battle many times. Morenovius the Lesser couldst not advanceth through
the battle lines of the Jacket Army.
Battle Master Tashardicus of the Jackets did often carry the Golden Orb through the Zombie army to the Line of Reward. And the Jacket Army did prevail 27-24 and the people did rejoice and did eat lamb and drink bourbon and ridicule the retreating Zombies.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
No one mentioned the general point that I wanted to get across. The sportsbooks think this is a tighter game than the GT fans do.
Bryan and anonymous have it right in their comments. If the sportsbooks see an opportunity to make more than their 10% vig based on something they know, they'll play with a line to get more action one way, especially early in the week. No way 50% of money in Vegas is going with the Jackets at +3-1/2 or +4.
I think Vegas is looking at three things:
1. UGA's poor performance on the road against Alabama, Tennessee and Vandy.
2. GT 13 Clemson 3. Clemson and UGA both live off of the run to set up the pass. Clemson had no running game and Cullen Harper got killed. UGA has not faced a run defense like GT all year. In 9 BCS games GT has allowed 782 yards on 330 attempts for an average of 2.37 ypc. This a full yard better than anybody they've played. UGA has three freshman offensive lineman that have never seen Jon Tenuta blitz packages. If GT makes UGA one dimensional with three freshman offensive lineman, they won't break 14 points (barring no turnovers).
3. Durant Brooks. If the game goes to form, Brooks is a big advantage.
Posted by Lennie Mac at Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
by Lennie Mac
Take you back a year ago, a 9-2 GT football team was a 3 point road underdog versus a 7-4 UGA team that appeared to be in rebuilding mode. We were scratching our heads about the line. Four hours later, UGA 15 GT 12.
The opening line just came out on this week's game versus UGA. Georgia is a 3-1/2 point favorite. That's right 3-1/2 points. The way GT fans and alums have been talking, I would expect that they'll all take a charter flight to Las Vegas and bet every penny they possess on the Dawgs, its such a sure thing. I don't know if you know this, but the Vegas oddsmakers know more about football than you and I put together. That's why they have those cool hotels. Why would they make this line so small?
1. The sportsbooks want everybody to bet on UGA.
2. The sportsbooks think GT is going to win.
Why do you think that is? Let's take a look:
1. UGA has been horrible on the road, a sign of a young and immature team. UGA has played only three games in hostile territory. They are 2-1 and could easily be 0-3. Florida was a neutral site game. It's not like Vandy, Tennessee and Alabama is murderer's row.
2. Say what you will about Chan Gailey, but his teams play pretty well as underdogs in big games. Take a look at his record:
vs. Top 10 teams thru 2007 Against the spread 5-4
vs. Top 25 teams thru 2007 Against the spread 12-11
As a home underdog thru 2007 Against the spread 5-5
I'll try to come up with more explanations regarding this line as the week goes on. I believe that GT has a good chance to win, but I'm biased. Vegas has no such bias and obviously they think GT has an excellent chance.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Well, if you had to judge where our season is going in hoops, it could be a pretty murky crystal ball. Four games in and the Jackets are 2-2. They lost to Winthrop tonight in the Virgin Islands. The Jackets were up for most of the first half and appeared to get off to a good start in the 2nd half. However, then it fell apart, with Winthrop hitting a bunch of shots in a row with no answer for Tech.
Here are some comments from watching our first game:
POINT GUARD IS AN ISSUE
With Mo Miller out, Causey and Bell got the PT, and it's clear that the PG spot is going to be a struggle during the season. Causey played well in the first half dishing out some nice assists and alley-oops, but his defensive play was VERY inconsistent and he is a fouling machine. His foul rate per minute could set some new records before the season is over. If Causey was a freshman, I would be feeling pretty solid about his future. However, he is a 5th year senior, so I'm not sure I would hold out hope that he turns into the next Steve Nash.
REBOUNDING - WHAT'S GOING ON?
Last year's team was a rebounding machine. This one is getting outrebounded by teams that don't have a guy over 6'9". What's going on? Rebounding is mostly about heart and technique. These guys are just not getting on a man and boxing out. Certainly it hurts to be missing Ra'Sean Dickey and Zach Peacock. I fully expect our rebounding to improve with their return.
Well, I don't have much more to add. At this point, it's hard to envision this team getting far this year. With the difficulty of schedule coming up prior to the ACC slate, it's hard to imagine this team winning 18 games..................... but you know, maybe the "light" will come on for these guys. There's certainly plenty of upperclass leadership to make it happen.
Posted by Scott at Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
"I could see once it was in the air it was traveling like a missile," Brooks
said. "Then I looked at the returner, and I was like, 'He's not going to get to
this. Finally.' Most of them stand back 45 or 50 yards. It sounded like this one
had rockets behind it. It got over his head, and I was smiling. It took a pretty
good roll. I wish it would have rolled straighter."
Friday, November 16, 2007
So the Jackets are now 1-0 in true road games........................ 1-0 in neutral sites..................... and 0-1 at home............. Go figure.
Jackets beat Charlotte in a tight game throughout by a final of 82-77. Tech never led by more than 6 and was only up by two with 2 minutes left. Some key take-aways from this game:
- De'Andre Bell played PG for most of the 2nd half with Mo Miller nursing a back injury sustained in practice. Turns out Bell looked half-way decent in that role. He certainly hit a couple of key shots down the stretch as well as some key free throws. He ended the game with 12 points and a team high 8 boards. If Bell has a breakthrough year that would be quite a pleasant surprise. While I do not see him logging many minutes at PG with a healthy Causey and Miller available, it is nice to have him as a defensive stopper who can pop an occasional shot and feel comfortable running the team.
- Anthony Morrow continues his hot offensive output, leading the team again with 19 points. It would certainly be fantastic to see him have a breakthrough season as well. I have always like A-Mo in terms of his attitude. It appears that he has made a step change in his defensive play and his sharp-shooting looks to be............ well......... sharp
- So how does a team shoot 52% overall, 50% from long range, 71.4% FT, and hold their opponent to 37.3% overall, 39% from long range and 61% FT yet only win the game by 5 points? Well, Charlotte ended up with 9 more shots that Tech. How? Well, first Tech turned the ball over 4 more times than the 49ers. Also, Tech was outrebounded by 1 board. More importantly, Charlotte had 7 more offensive rebounds than Tech. Charlotte ended up with a lot more 2nd chance points and a lot more points-off-turnovers. In addition, Charlotte hoisted up 18 more 3-pt shots and made 6 more than Tech. So there you have it. We gave the opponent more possesions ending in a shot. We allowed them to grab their misses more often and hoist it up again, and they also had more 3pt shots......... Voila, tight game.
- You know, with all the bodies Coach Hewitt has to plug in, it's easy to remember that we are missing Ra'Sean Dickey, Zach Peacock and Mo Miller. That's a lot of important players. What it means is that Causey, Sheehan, Lawal and Bell better get their minutes now and make the most of them.
- Next game should be Sunday at about 6:00pm on Fox Sports South. Watch it folks!!!!
So today marks the "end" of the first probationary period in the history of Georgia Tech athletics. However, the impact will be felt for a few more years with the limited scholarships available for the football team. Yes, we can sign our full compliment from now on, but the team will be lacking key experience players in the soph / junior / senior classes that would otherwise be in the program now. It's going to take getting the upcoming signing class to their senior season before we are "whole" again.
DAN RADAKOVICH TURNS DOWN PITT
There was a blurb in a Q&A interview that indicates that AD Dan Radakovich was contacted about the Pitt AD job, and turned it down. No word on the progress of finding a replacement for LSU's retiring AD and D-Rad's name still gets thrown around in the press.
So it seems that if we can win out, our best chance at east coast bowls include the Music City Bowl in Nashville and The Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. Here are the tie-ins and the pecking order. Don't ask me to get into all that mess about who can pick a team with a worse record, etc. Just read it for yourself.
So the hoopsters play Charlotte today at 1:00pm. If they get the win, they most of you will have a chance to watch them on Sunday and possibly Monday on Fox Sports South. If they don't win today, the team will have plenty of beach time.
By the way, Mo Miller has a slight injury and won't start, but might play. Causey will start at PG. Zach Peacock did not make the trip.
IMAN SHUMPERT SIGNS
Coach Hewitt signed one young man in the early period - Iman Shumpert, the big tall guard. He missed out on all his other high profile targets. There are rumors out there that high profile recruit Scotty Hopson, who was supposed to sign with MSU but didn't, is considering changing his allegiance to either Kentucky or GT. However, I wouldn't get my hopes up at this point. Just internet speculation.
END WITH A BANG
The football team has a real chance to end this season on a great note. If they can take care of business and beat the Tarheels Saturday, then somehow upset Georgie, then actually win our bowl game, you would have to say that the season was pretty good. Considering the frustration of Tech fans during the season, we could all go into January feeling pretty good about things. After all, my true disappointment was not so much that we didn't win the ACC title, but that we were out of the race so early.
UNC ROAD WOES
Did you know that UNC has lost 19 consecutive games outside of the state of North Carolina? It's true. Their last win outside their home state was October 5, 2002 against Arizona State. Let's make it a nice even 20. That's a nice round number.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Heading down from Boston for my first game this year. Doesn't get much bigger than GT-UNC at noon on Jefferson Pilot. Who would want to see Michigan-Ohio State anyway?
Two things of note about UNC:
- They average only 2.8 ypc against BCS opponents.
- In 8 games against BCS opponents, we have a grand total of 2 picks. T.J. Yates, the Todd Burnett of his generation, has thrown a whopping 14 picks in 8 games against BCS foes.
- If we can't pick off a pass Saturday, we never will.
- If our defense gives more than 10 points, it's a disgrace.
Posted by Lennie Mac at Thursday, November 15, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The Jackets got a win today, but this is the famous "yeah but.......... it's Duke" game. The Jackets won handily 41-24................ "but it's Duke". Things were a bit tenuous for awhile after the Tashard Choice fumbled the ball resulting in a Duke TD. Later the T.Bennett threw an INT which led to another 3 points. Throw in a blocked Durant Brooks punt that led to another TD and you just wonder how many points we were going to give them.
Tashard Choice was still leading the ACC in rushing coming in to the game, and he distanced his lead by rushing for 170 yards on the day. From a health standpoint, he was clearly not 100%. On one long run he pulled up and went out-of-bounds. However, it appears that was the hamstrig tightening up again - not the knee. Good news. There's just no doubt that this guy is the critical cog on this team. When he's in there it just makes a huge difference.
It's worth saying that Tashard Choice is a special back. However, it's not because of his speed or his physical ability. It's his vision. The guy just knows where to go and how fast to do it. He sees the holes, knows when to cut-back, knows when to slow down and follow his blocker. We are all dazzled by the future of Jonathan Dwyer because of the physical tools he has - speed and power. However, right now I don't think he has half the vision and instinct that Choice brings. If Dwyer can learn those things and combine them with his God-given physical ability - then watch out. But in the meantime, let's just enjoy watching the final 2-3 games for our man Tashard.
In addition to all this, Choice passed the 3000 yard mark for his career and the 1000 yard mark for this season. He is the first Jacket in history to have back-to-back 1000 yard seasons.
If it weren't for mistakes, this game wouldn't have been close. A Choice fumble which was returned for a TD. A Taylor Bennett INT that led to a FG. A blocked punt that led to another TD. That's 17 points out of 24 that really cannot be pinned on the defense.
In addition there were a minimum of 5 passes dropped by receivers. Bennett finished with another sub- .500 completion percentage, but had they made those catches, it could have easily been a statistical success for him to along with the W.
BELL ECLIPSES SCORING MARK
Well, our man Travis Bell surpassed my man Scott Sisson to move into 2nd place on the all-time scoring list for GT. In addition, he beat Sisson and Luke Manget's single season FG mark with his 20th through the uprights.
So the Jackets avoid the unthinkable and live to fight the Tarheels next week. I know..... yeah but it's Duke. A win is a win is a win.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Well, there I go doing a write-up about the team and how they should finish above .500 in the ACC and go to the dance again - and then they have to go lose our tune-up opener against UNC Greensboro. Ouch. If our days weren't murky enough with the controversy and frustration swirling around the football team, now we have to start tossing our hands up over the hoops team.
I listened to most of the first half and not much of the 2nd as I was putting my girls to bed. Instead of trying to piece together an analysis based on a box score and some snippets, I'll ask those who actually went to the game to share their insight and analysis. What I will do is post the best and most insightful comments on the next post. Now, that means "fire Coach Hewitt" isn't going to make the cut. I'd like some serious analysis here. Of course, I imagine that most of the internet ranters didn't go to the game so it won't matter. Again - I'm asking those who were AT the game to provide your feedback.
Well, it took me awhile to get into hoops, but it is certainly made easier by the struggles of the football team. With the home opener against UNC Greensboro tonight, I thought I would provide some thoughts.
There are some key questions that need answering that will ultimately determine how the book is written on this team. In my mind, the key storylines are:
1. Who will play the point and will they get it done?
2. Will this team play solid defense?
3. Can this team win on the road?
4. Will the loss of JC, RY and Rio send us backward or will it be 2004 all over again?
5. Which frontcourt players are going to win playing time?
6. Will the senior class of Morrow / Dickey / Smith put their stamp on a season?
So let's take a look at the key areas of the team:
The loss of Javaris Crittenton is certainly disappointing, but life goes on in the form of transfer Matt Causey, freshman Mo Miller and junior D'Andre Bell. It looks like Causey and Miller are going to battle it out in terms of starting but both are sure to play. Each brings some slightly different skill sets to the court. Causey is a better shooter while Miller is a better penetrater (although not to the level of JC). Miller is more physical and might end up being a better defender. Causey has been around the collegiate block, with GT his 3rd stop, so he might be considered more of the grizzled veteran.
Neither of these guys has the skill set of Javaris Crittenton - however, they are both pass-first type point guards. I see that as a refreshing change. While it's possible that D'Andre Bell sees some action at the point, I see this more as a last resort than anything else. He's probably our best on-ball defender, but unless things have changed in the off-season, he wasn't the best option at the point.
So what's the prognosis? Well, point guard play drives everything - particularly with Paul Hewitt's system. I am not buying into the popular storyline of looking at 2004 after losing Chris Bosh and Ed Nelson, then playing for the national title. This year we lost JC and Thad Young - so can we pull that stunt again? I don't see it. That 2004 team had a veteran, experienced ACC Point Gaurd. This edition does not. We're stacked everywhere else on the court, but PG is the true x-factor. It's the one place you just can't hide a weakness.
Anthony Morrow is in the best shape of his collegiate career. He claims he has a new focus on defense, which will be interesting to watch. He is still the dead-eye shooter he always was and will likely be looked to for a few game-winning shots this season.
Lewis Clinch is back after missing most of last season and immediately becomes the best scorer on the roster. We are all hoping he has improved his defense as well. Having Clinch will take a lot of heat off other guys so they can make plays. He's a true scorer and we will need him 100%.
D.Bell is likely to see most of his time at the 2/3 spot and should provide a steadying defensive influence and nice little mid-range jumper every once in awhile. Freshman Lance Storrs looks to bring his shooting touch to the court and has looked good early. However, he will likely have a
hard fight for minutes once the ACC slate starts.
Lastly Mouhammad Faye has the most unique physical presence of any wing player we have (6'10" with a wingspan over 7'). Unfortunately I see Faye ending up as a lost man this season. Yes, the long arms make getting off shots against him tough. However, his lack of strength and limited lateral quickness could prove difficult against some of the quicker 2-guards in the league. Offensively, he doesn't pass up too many shots we he gets them. I expect Faye to see decent action prior to the ACC season, but I expect the minues to dry up after that.
Overall, we are in great shape with Clinch and Morrow offensively and Bell defensively. If these guys can take a cue from Bell and play tougher D we should see a lot of production at the wing.
Bodies bodies everywhere, but which bodies will end up where? There are truly lots of guys that could earn their PT down low before the last whistle blows. With Ra'Sean Dickey and Zach Peacock likely out until December, there are going to be opportunities to step up. Dickey will return for the new semester after having academic difficulties. The question about Ra'Sean is the same as it always has been - can he bring it every minute of every game and can he improve his defense? Offensively this guy has weapons as good as anyone in the ACC. Great footwork in the post. He's learning how to pass from the post, which was a problem early in his career. He has a beautiful jump shot that probably extends to 3-pt range if they let him. With Dickey, it's just all about focus and motivation........ and defense. He has so much upside, but these same questions still linger heading into his senior campaign.
Jeremis Smith is the anchor in the 4-spot with his gritty, physical play. He is undersized for the position, but has a knack for using his body in space. We have heard about a better jump shot, but I will believe it when I see it. However, Jeremis is also the leader of this team, so look for him to speak up when needed.
Zach Peacock is out for awhile nursing an injury that they are trying to heal before it becomes a full blow stress fracture. Peacock has a nice skill set too, with solid post moves and a jump shot that definitely extends to 3pt range. Zach is a physical guy who often got into foul trouble, but he does play good defense which will probably earn more PT when he returns. He should stick in the rotation when games get tight.
Alade Aminu looks the most ready to step in make a statement in the next few weeks. He's tall, athletic, bouncy and fast. What I like most about watching his game is his uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. He just seems to have a good feel for "space" - where to slide over, when to move back, when to fight for position. He got a lot of easy shots last season because he could find the weak spot in the defense. In addition, he has the ability to jump over guys for rebounds without getting the over-the-back call. I like his game a lot. It's hard to believe he's already a junior, but Alade is the case of a guy who has done a lot of growing and maturing while at Georgia Tech. He came in as a freshman with only a handful of seasons playing organized ball, so he's had to learn the game. In addition, he's learned a bit about prioritizing and focusing on what's important as evidenced by some comments from Coach Hewitt last season.
Brad Sheehan rips off the redshirt to show us what he can do. The 6'11" 220lb Latham, NY native has a nice jump shot out to 15 feet. Down low, when he gets the ball above his waist and he keeps it there, he seems to be very effective. He still struggles when attempting to put the ball on the floor. In addition, he continues to try and add strength and muscle to his thin frame. I expect Sheehan to see a good bit of action in the coming weeks, but see it trail off further into the season.
Gani Lawal is the all-out overdrive motor of a freshman who comes to Tech with some high expectations. He has a reputation as a guy who doesn't stop running and working. A big strong 6'8" body, nice work in the post and probably a very very short range jumper are what to look for. Evidently he's also quite the personality and joker, so it should be interesting to watch his interaction with teamates.
CHEMISTRY AND LEADERSHIP
Jeremis Smith is the captain, and personally I wouldn't mess with him if I were on the team. Chemistry is one of those things that are so important. One wrong guy or one right guy can make all the difference. Was losing Ed Nelson (one wrong guy) more important than losing Chris Bosh (one right guy) to the NCAA tourney run the following year? Was Clarence Moore (one right guy) or Anthony McHenry (another right guy) the real difference? Was losing Zam Fredrick (one wrong guy) more important than adding JC / TY (two right guys) that helped go from a losing season to 20 wins and a trip to the dance?
Who knows, but don't underestimate the importance of how these guys get along, how they treat one another, how they lift each other up. In the Fox Sports South GT Hoops preview show, they interviewed J.Smith, and he jokingly said that Zach Peacock "is my man" but that they can't leave the locker without arguing about something. Now, I'm sure that's all in good fun and I'm sure that they get along great, but how they get along matters. How this group trusts one another matters. Chemistry and leadership are so important yet so fuzzy in trying to quantify and put a finger on.
So there it is - a quick look at the team. What should we expect out of this group? The easy thing to do would be to look at the loss of Javaris and Thaddeus to the 1st round of the NBA as reason to lower expectations. Losing those guys is a big deal. However, TY's loss is truly offset by getting back Lewis Clinch in my humble opinion. The PG spot is an unanswered question and will likely determine how far we can go. However, this is a veteran team. How many teams have this many experienced upperclassmen on their roster? Not many.
The other popular thing would be to hark back to 2004 after losing big names and still make a big run. I covered my opinions on that earlier.
My personal opinion is that a trip back to the NCAA tournament is well within their capability. Competing for an ACC title is going to be tough with the Tarheels loaded and ready to go. However, I fully expect this team to finish above .500 in the ACC, win more than one road game this season, win a game or two in the ACC tourney, get to the big dance ..........and who knows what happens after that. When you have a veteran team with talented players, you should expect poise under pressure and you should expect good results.
The Jackets are truly one of the big unknowns in the ACC this season. Predictions run the gamut - and with inexperiaenced PG play you're going to get that. But nobody really knows what this squad will do - including them................
Whatever happens, the ride starts now. Opening night folks.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I hate to open this can of worms, but we all know there has always been a serious divide amongst Tech faithful when it comes to Coach Gailey. It existed from day one. There is a group that have always supported him based on "Chan Gailey the man" along with winning just enough along the way. There is another group that never liked him and never will no matter how much he wins.
Then there's the swing vote in the middle. Right now, straw polls indicate that this voter block is more negative than at any time during the Chan Gailey era. Why is that? Well, part of the reason is that this Chan Gailey team came into the season with the highest hopes of any during his tenure. The program he has built had "his best team" (in coach's words) this season. The starting line-up abounds with upperclassmen. Expectations were never higher for a Gailey-coached team after playing for the conference title last year. With 17 returning starters and his best recruiting class coming in, the bar was set high. So it certainly confounds and confuses people as to how we could be 2-4 in the ACC, needing to beat UNC and Duke to finish with a .500 conference record. But as the saying goes - it is what it is.
So now that the "change the coach crowd" is puffing out their chest again, let's take stock and talk honestly about some pro's and cons of Coach Gailey.
He has never had a losing season, either overall or in the conference. That is a mark of consistency and Georgia Tech has the current longest streak of non-losing ACC seasons in the conference. We won the coastal division in 2006 and played for the ACC title.
He has not had that "breakthrough" season that stands out among the rest because it ends in some kind of glorious triumph. Certainly 2006 stands out above the rest as we won the coastal division and played for the ACC title in Jax. It was the one 7+ win season so far. However, when you lose the final three games of the season (by 3 pts each), it just leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. It's ironic, our rivals had a terrible year by their standards last season but ended the season with three strong wins and went into the off-season really optimistic. The only optimism Tech fans left with was the misguided belief that our offensive outburst with Taylor Bennett throwing to Calvin Johnson against a terrible WV defense was somehow repeatable in 2007. It wasn't.
Coach Gailey has clearly designed fantastic running offenses at GT. We are consistently one of the best running teams in the ACC since his arrival. Tony Hollings was leading the nation in rushing before his career ending injury. PJ Daniels, a former walk-on, led the ACC in rushing. Tashard Choice last year led the ACC in rushing, and is inline to do so again, even with significant injury time. Coach Gailey and his staff clearly know how to design running scheme's that take advantage of the skill set of the offensive line. They clearly know how to incorporate the fullback and Tight Ends and scheme blocking into a successful running game. In addition, they have shown this season the ability to deal with injury adversity in personnel on the O-line, still producing another strong running game. It is also starting to pay off in terms of attracting higher level backs with more God-given ability (witness J.Dwyer and R.Jones)
The polar opposite of this is the passing game. To say that the Georgia Tech passing game has struggled during the Chan Gailey era would be putting it kindly. Now, anyone who reads this site knows I am not one to pile on and bash. However, I am one to deal with facts. My friend Bryan did some interesting digging into the facts about our passing game during the Gailey era, and the results are certainly eye-opening. Maybe we will dig into those details in a later post, but here are the highlights.
When you combine all stats from ACC teams since 2002 to 2007 current, you will see that:
(2002 - 2007 combined)
1. GT is 12th out of 12 ACC teams in completion % at 50.3% (including VT, Miami, BC stats in those years prior to being added to ACC)
2. GT is 11th out of 12 ACC teams in yards per passing attempt at 6.1 (Duke is last). By the way, Duke is passing the ball way better this season and could pass us if we keep our current pace.
3. GT is 11th out of 12 teams in total interceptions thrown at 84 (FSU is last).
4. GT is 12th out of 12 teams in % of passes resulting in INTs (3.88%). So while FSU has more INT's, they also chucked the ball more often. Had they thrown it the same number of times as GT, we would have been 12th out of 12 in the previous category as well. Now, what is fascinating about the INT stats is that part of the rational for the low completion percentage is a low risk passing game to help control the ball and limit turnovers. Yet, it turns out we are basically the worst ACC team over a 5 year span in terms of throwing INT's, even with a limited passing game. As Bryan put it - turns out we have a low reward / high risk passing game.
5. When looking at other ACC team's combined 5+ years worth of passing stats, you will find that the ACC has not been a very good passing league (no surprise). However, maybe you would be a bit suprised to find out how bad. The median ranking for ACC passing teams in 2006 was #80 in the nation, and only two teams were better than the 61st best passing team in the nation (BC at #25 and FSU #29). The rest ranged from 25 to 104, with GT coming in at #91. There have been a few good teams during a few of the previous years (Philip Rivers at NCST for example). But mostly the ACC has had terrible passing offenses, and GT has been at the bottom of the bad. Now, here's an interesting point Bryan also made in his note to me - could this be the #1 reason why GT defenses under Jon Tenuta have looked like world-beaters? We are always stout against the run, and since there have been no great passing teams in the ACC, it has allowed us to win a lot of games. Well, Matt Ryan showed what a good passer could do this year. Sean Glennon showed what a good passer could do this year. Even that freshman kid at Maryland showed what a good decision maker could do against our D this year. The passing offenses in the ACC are getting better slowly. How are we going to adjust?
I have gotten off topic a bit, but I think it's worth discussing. Let's get back to the pro/con debat.
GT has gone to bowl games every season under Chan Gailey and we are now at 10 straight.
Too many of the bowls have been west coast lower tier bowls. In addition, Tech has lost the mantle of winningest bowl record in the nation since Coach Gailey's arrival.
Coach Gailey seems to make good staffing decisions based on how things are working. Bringing in Charles Kelly certainly seems to have been the right move for special teams. Making Giff Smith the recruiting coordinator has certainly brought new life and excitement to the year-around recruiting season for Tech fans. It was a brilliant move. Hiring Jon Tenuta cannot be argued. There is a solid list of staffing decisions and most of the changes to his staff have worked out for the better. It is way too early to judge Coach Bond so he gets a pass.
Coach Gailey makes changes too slowly. Did he wait too long to replace our previous recruiting coordinator? Did he wait too long to make a change in special teams? Did he wait too long to give up the offensive playcalling duties? While you could argue that he was too slow to make changes or even that his original staffing decisions were flawed, it's clear that he seems to make the right decisions once he decides they need to be made.
You cannot question what Coach Gailey stands for. It is clear that his intent is to take boys and turn them into high character men. He is a man of strong faith, which I admire. He recruits kids with high character to begin with. From an ethical, moral and representative perspective, as CEO of the football team, he does an outstanding job. He is the right guy for Georgia Tech in so many of those ways that matter off-the-field and in areas that cannot be measured by wins and losses or statistics.
He's not a dynamic coach who fires up fans and talks tough. Coach comes off a bit "folksy" when interviewed with that southern drawl and slow talking manner. Combine that with the coach-speak and some fans just have a hard time lining up behind the guy. For some reason it's a lot easier to get behind those young, lean hard-talking head coaches.
Another problem for some is that he just won't place any additional emphasis on the UGAg game over others. Some people just want him to say how important it is to beat these guys (then do it). Interestingly, Coach Gailey was in a fairly contentious interview on 790thezone last week where they asked him about beating UGAg. He basically said that it wasn't any more important than any other game on the schedule and talked about how the "upcoming" VaTech game was pretty important. He said it mattered to a lot of families, but that it didn't carry more importance than others. If it were me, I would have said exactly what Coach Gailey said, but in reverse - "There isn't another game that is more important than the UGAg game". Same definition, but the vast majority of fans would read it in a better light.
Also, ironically, I happened to record on FOX Sports the 1991 GT/UGAg game (Flash Classics), which would be Bobby Ross's last as our head coach. They showed an interview with him in which he said this prior to the UGAg game:
"It's a big game for us for a lot of reasons. You know, we'd like to end the season with 5 consecutive wins. We'd like to go out of here with three consecutive wins over the University of Georgia. We'd like to end 8-4. But I think if you put all those things aside, still the most important thing are the braggers rights. You know, just for the state of Georgia. I think this is a little bit of a reputation on the line as far as ACC and SEC, and we like to think that ACC football is as good as SEC football."
There was a little more pop in Coach Ross's statement. Of course after beating them two times in a row, it's easier to talk like this as opposed to have never beaten them in 6 years as the head coach.
Coach Gailey and his staff are outstanding talent evaluators. This is different than good recruiters. It is clear that this staff has a very strong ability to recognize talent, develop it and put it in a position to succeed on the field. There are players upon players that have been "no stars" that have turned into stars, or players that switched positions, only to blossom. This staff does an outstanding job in this area. Combine that with the clearly improved recruiting and you have the makings of a bright future.
Talent recognition is fine if you can win more games at some point, and you can be competitive when it matters the most (like on a Thursday night national tv game). Wins are the ultimate tonic but playing competitively in every game sure makes the losses a little easier to take and gives you a little bit more confidence in the program.
I think I've babbled on long enough. I still like Coach Gailey but I did expect more out of this season. The chances are very good that the program will take a dip next year as we lose a lot of upperclassmen, so to me - this was the year. The schedule was very favorable. You had lots of experience, talent and depth. This year could have been everything last year almost was............. and more.
Will Coach Gailey head up the 2008 edition of the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets?......... Who knows. I'm sure a lot depends on what happens in the next 3 games (and hopefully 4 games). Dan Radakovich did not provide a strong endorsement of Coach Gailey when they were quoted about CBS Sportsline rumor and him getting fired.
As to best to worse case scenarios for Coach Gailey, my honest opinion is that he needs to beat both Duke and UGAg to have any semblence of good will going into the off-season. Lose to Duke and it's all over. The mutiny will start. Lose to UGAg again and it will be hard to put lipstick on that pig. If we're going to win out - GREAT!!!! However, from my perspective, losing to UNC is the only real scenario that still nets out some good-will at the end of the year.
When the season is over, we'll see what happens. Was Dennis Dodd right? Will Coach Gailey be gone? Did Coach Gailey read the writing on the wall when he went looking for an NFL job earlier this year? Did Patrick Nix read the writing on the wall and decide to jump ship before it happened? Does Dan Radakovich want to get "his guy" in there? These are all questions that are clearly in play and we'll just have to wait until January to find out the answers.
Regardless of all this - I still support this team 100%. I still cheer for them. It's a great group with some interesting leaders and personalities........... and make no mistake - while you may not support our coach - they do. These players made life decisions to be led by Coach Chan Gailey and regardless of personal agendas - that should be respected. Losing stinks, but Coach Gailey down to the 5th string water boy work their tails off figuring out ways to win.