Sunday, October 29, 2006

Football - Jackets in the Driver Seat

Wow, the Jackets take down Miami 30-23 on homecoming day. When Wes Durham told Chan Gailey on the post-game show that Tech had won their last 11 homecoming games, his response was "Are you serious? Guess what - we're going to make every game homecoming next year."...........................What a win. What an example of perserverence, heart, guts, confidence and playmaking.

Today was not a perfect game. Today was an example of overcoming mistakes, making plays and shaking off adversity. The Jackets had frustrating penalties at the worst times, coverage breakdowns, missed opportunties - the list goes on. But the never gave up or lost their confidence.

Today was a step up. Today was about the heart of the team. Today was about the boy inside all of us. This Yellow Jacket team showed us all that they are ready to step up and rid themselves of their "average" rep. This team has spirit. They have gumption. They have fight. This is a team that deserves and has now demanded respect. This is a team that was willing and able to win in the 4th quarter.......... and they did. It's one thing to have a team that can lead for a time, but to be champions you have to be willing to win EVERY game on the last play. The Maryland game was a preview. Today was the main course. Is there an encore in the future?

Well, after Tech's first snap of the game, my first thought was - uh oh. It is going to be one of those days, with Miami running a fumble back for a TD. Commenting on his team being down 10-0, Chan Gailey said - "Down 10-0 they had bruised us, but there wasn't blood - no bones were sticking out.".................... The defense bucked up and the offense moved the chains a few times and everybody settled down. Then it was a bit of a contest of wills. Probably the best way to characterize this game was methodical. Strong defense on both sides - struggling offenses............... one step forward, two steps back. It was just one of those kind of days. Winning in the 4th quarter against Miami is a big deal. Let me throw a couple of stats at you:

  • Miami is 188-18 when they score first
  • In 196 games, Miami has lost only 4 times when they led after 3 quarters. Make that 5 times..
  • Oh yeah, teams that score a defensive TD win 80% of the time. That's a general stat but important to remember.

The Jackets overcame all that to battle back to a tie to end the half, then towards the end of the 3rd quarter they started to grab control of the game on the offensive side of the ball, and it carried into the 4th. Again they were willing to win the game in the 4th quarter - and did.

If there is one thing you have to admire about this edition of the Jackets, it is that they do not panic. They don't lose their heads. They never think they're out of it. Being down to Miami was not intimidating to this squad. You have to give credit to Chan Gailey, the coaching staff and the senior leaders for that.

So who gets the playmaker awards for today's game? Let's point out a few:

Durant Brooks - this guy deserves serious consideration for team MVP on the season. I'm serious - a punter. Backed up in our own endzone, all Brooks did was boom a 63 yard punt - and Michael Johnson wrapped up the returner for no gain. Then to seal the game he boomed another one that backed up the Miami return man so far he fumbled the ball and we recovered. Game set match. 6 punts with an average of 51 yards. By the way, Brooks was the guy holding on Travis Bell's last field goal, which was a very high snap. He grabbed it, got it down for Bell. Nice. Durant Brooks - you are the man.

Gary Guyton - Guyton played a solid game today and made one of the most critical plays of the game with a 3rd down pass break-up that would have been a sure first down. The replay showed strong closing speed and outstanding timing. Gary, you are the man.

Mike Cox - This guy will be playing on Sundays. Period. End of sentence. That guy is just an absolute bull. You can crank up the game film and show probably 10 examples of textbook blocking and opening up holes for backs. Then you throw in a couple of key catches, including the one that got us down to 1st and goal. Mike - you are the man.

Travis Bell - Hit 3 field goals after taking a lot of slack for his misses. Bell was 1 more miss away from losing his job and he responded. He hit 3 key field goals that REALLY made a difference today. Seriously, Chan Gailey told him one more miss and he's on the bench. Travis - you responded and you're the man.

Tashard Choice - 26 carries for 118 yards - the first ball carrier to run for 3 digits against Miami, including critical yards and a TD to seal the game in the 4th quarter. The go-to guy showed he has what it takes against one of the top run defenses in the nation. Tashard, you are the man.

Adamm Oliver - Forces a critical fumble in the 4th quarter, a real turning point to the game. With a man draped on him the whole way, he still made the stick. Nice going. Adamm you are the man............

Philip Wheeler - The defense had 6 sacks today - you had three of them. Nice game today. Keep it up. You are the man Philip.

Michael Johnson - This guy will be playing on Sundays also. The only thing holding back this kid is size and strength on the D-Line. Was it me or did he make about EVERY special teams tackle today? It is going to be exciting watchin him develop the next two years. MJ - you are the man.

Reggie Ball - Reggie, your absolute worst critique in the world can NEVER question your heart, your will or your competitiveness. You are a fighter. You didn't have a great game. The first half was as unpleasant to look at as much of the Clemson game. You were hurt. However, you made plays at the end of the game to lead your team to victory. Your completion percentage was terrible, but you threw 2 TD's and had no INT's (well none that were called INT's - one was arguable, but it's in the books now). Your pass to James Johnson in the back of the endzone was one of the best balls of your career.............Reggie - nice going today - you are the man.

Listen. It must be said. Georgia Tech is a well-coached team. Tenuta did his regular thing, bend but don't break......... Patrick Nix showed patience and never seemed to panic. While he didn't call a "wide open" offense through most of the game, he did call the two biggest plays at the end that changed things up against Miami - the pass to Mike Cox, then the pass to TE Michael Matthews to setup up the TD to CJ. Nice coaching today by Chan Gailey and company!!!!

Ok, the road is paved to Jacksonville. Win two more ACC game and the ticket is punched, and with games against NC ST, UNC and Duke left, it all looks good. Throw in a Thanksgiving day game that we are ALL salivating over and there is plenty left to play for. Have you bought your tickets to Jax yet? Think about it folks.


GO JACKETS!!!!!!!!!

(As Of October 28)
School Conference Pct. Overall Pct.
Boston College 3-1 .750 7-1 .875
Wake Forest 3-1 .750 7-1 .875
Clemson 4-2 .667 7-2 .778
Maryland 2-1 .667 5-2 .714
NC State 2-3 .400 3-5 .375
Florida State 2-3 .400 4-3 .571
School Conference Pct. Overall Pct.
Georgia Tech 4-1 .800 6-2 .750
Virginia Tech 3-2 .600 6-2 .750
Virginia 3-2 .600 4-5 .444
Miami 2-2 .500 5-3 .625
North Carolina 0-5 .000 1-7 .125
Duke 0-5 .000 0-8 .000