Sunday, October 22, 2006

Did last night really happen?

Well, I was planning on watching the GT / Clemson game last night on TV. Then Friday night on my way back to Chicago a buddy of mine calls and says he has tickets and would I like to go? Of course the answer was "heck yeah". In hindsight, watching on TV would have been preferable. It was a long drive back to Greenville. So what did we learn from last night?

Real good. Serious good.

CJ still has a shot to get an invite to the ceremony, but his first career collegiate game without a catch will ensure that he won't win. I felt bad for CJ, because frankly he was open a decent amount. So why didn't he get the ball? Read on.........................

This is the old cliche, but last night proved yet again that it is a fact. GT was was absolutely overmatched by Clemson's O-Line. Yes, we held on for life for a half. I was amazed we were only down 7-0 at the half. But then the size, strength, conditioning and pounding took its toll on our D-Line.............. On the other side of the ball, Tech's O-Line just didn't get it done. Reggie was under pressure constantly, and as a result, even when he had a little time he got happy feet. He never really had enough time to find his receivers. The real head-scratcher - they got pressure on Reggie WITHOUT blitzing. Just your standard rush. Add to that our runners getting stuffed consistenly. It was just that kind of night. Our undersized lines were exposed tonight. They just wore out. Game, set, match.

Say all you want about extended rest, healing injuries, additional preparation time, blah, blah, blah. Bottom-line is that it takes an incredible focus to keep you team's routine when you have a week off. It is a different mentality. Chan Gailey Tech teams are 2-6 after bye weeks. In my mind it tends to have as many or more negatives as positives. It was a factor in my opinion.

Mamma always said there would be days like this. Tech has been good for one or two of these a season. The bad - ours was last night on national tv. The good - this time it happened against probably the best team in the league - not Duke....... not UNC...... not Samford....... not Troy......... not Maryland........... not UVA. We lost to an outstanding team that beat us in all phases of the game. The offense stunk. The defense stunk. Special teams was ok (Durant Brooks continues to be our bright spot). We were beaten in all phases of the game. Say what you want about the offense, but our defense was absolutely ebarrassed. Clemson has a 200+ yard rusher and another 100+ yard rusher in the same game. That's never happened in Clemson history. Anyone ready to dump on Jon Tenuta and throw him under a bus? Didn't think so. Let Mamma give you a hug, put on a band-aid and send you back out to play again.

Folks, I said it before the game. The Clemson game was important for pride and national exposure, but it is the Miami game that REALLY matters. The Miami game will basically decide the ACC coastal division. Beat Miami and Tech only has to beat Duke and Carolina to win the coastal and go to the ACC championship game. So last night was frustrating, but it really doesn't matter when it comes to OUR TEAM'S goal - win the ACC championship. Remember, that is the goal the THE TEAM has set for themselves. Last night Georgia Tech went into the Clemson game as the only ACC team without a conference loss. Losing to Clemson the way we did hurts, but we are still in control of our destiny. Heck, Clemson isn't even in control of their own destiny. They are tied with BC and WF for first and BC owns the tiebreaker against Clemson. So Clemson needs help to win their conference and we don't. Before you start the "here we go again", don't forget that fact.

We sat with Ryan Stewart, Dorsey Levens and Joe Hamilton. I've got pictures of them and if I get time I'll post them later.................................... When a tight end caught a pass for the first time THIS SEASON, the Tech crowd burst into a chorus of cheers, yelling "A PASS TO THE TIGHT END. YEAH".............................. As always there are terrible fans everywhere. While the vast majority of Clemson fans were outstanding, we happened to sit near a guy and his girlfriend who found it necessary to turn to the Tech section and hold up both their middle fingers almost the entire game - and they were right in front of a family of 5 with 3 small kids. I have a picture of it, but I've decided not to dampen the rep of most Clemson fans by focusing on these idiots. Redneck girl then picked a fight with a Tech girl, but luckily cooler heads prevailed.

(As Of October 22)
School Conference Pct. Overall Pct.
Clemson 4-1 .800 7-1 .875
Boston College 3-1 .750 6-1 .857
Wake Forest 2-1 .667 6-1 .857
Maryland 2-1 .667 5-2 .714
NC State 2-2 .500 3-4 .429
Florida State 2-3 .400 4-3 .571
School Conference Pct. Overall Pct.
Georgia Tech 3-1 .750 5-2 .714
Miami 2-1 .667 5-2 .714
Virginia Tech 2-2 .500 5-2 .714
Virginia 2-2 .500 3-5 .375
North Carolina 0-4 .000 1-6 .143
Duke 0-5 .000 0-7 .000

Folks, it was embarrassing. It was frustrating. Get over it. Keep cheering for YOUR Georgia Tech YellowJackets. There is much work to do, and much hope that remains. Show these kids that you're not going to jump off the band-wagon because they had a bad night. NOW is when they need your support. It's easy to support these 18-20 year olds when we're winning. What about after last night? Do you have it in you?

I am going to to re-post a speech from Bobby Dodd that is found on the Hive. But it is worth a read after such a tough loss:

"Football is one of our great American games. It is the duty and responsibility of each of us to see that it is kept in its proper perspective, and that it is protected. We should see that it is used to attain the objectives that mean so much to our way of life.

We feel that the spectator can be most influential and instrumental in helping to achieve these objectives, if he will develop the right attitudes. May we suggest a few?

First, and foremost among these attitudes that must be developed, is the realization that in football there must be a winner and a loser (excepting the occasional tie). The fan who recognizes this principle gets a great deal more enjoyment from the game than one who becomes irritated, aggravated, and rambunctious when "his" team loses. We would never minimize the importance of winning, but it is very unfair to the coach, the player, and the school when the fan forgets it is impossible to "repudiate the law of mathematics"--i.e., there must be a winner and a loser.

It is important that each of us develop the art of appreciating great plays made by the opposition. We should always give our opponents credit, rather than criticize our team when the opposition makes a great play. We believe perfection in the execution of a great play in football is to be admired and appreciated, just as we appreciate and admire the work of a great artist in any field.

The spectator should remember the football players are just human beings. They perform at times under great pressure, and they, as all other earthly inhabitants, are likely to make mistakes. It behooves all of us to remember, "To err is human, to forgive, divine."

Finally, we should always keep uppermost in mind that football, with all its glamour, glitter, thrills and chills, plus everything that makes it great, has one thing more important than all of these combined--that is, the boy who plays it."

Robert L. "Bobby" Dodd
Head Coach and Athletic Director
Georgia Institute of Technology