Sunday, December 31, 2006

Football Pre-Game Bites

So the ACC is now 2-1 this bowl season as Maryland played a strong game against Purdue (along with an FSU win and Clemson loss). Tonight should be an entertaining game as Jacket nation mostly roots for the Hokies to neuter the mutts in the ATL. Mostly though, we're gearing up for our showdown with West Virginia. Here are some random thoughts:

There is a lot of truth to the adage of picking bowl winners based on how disappointed a team is to be in that particular bowl. Take the Nut Bowl (Emerald) last season. The Jackets clearly didn't want to be there, the fans thought we got jobbed by the bowls - and voila - crushing defeat in SanFran...................... So what does that say about the Jackets this season? Is the team disappointed in going back to Jax? Are they recovered from the ACCCG loss? Honestly, I get the genuine feel that the team is happy to be back in Jax and excited to be there. In my opinion there's an overlooked aspect of the "is the team disappointed" line of reasoning. I believe it has as much to do with the opponent they are playing. Do they respect their opponent? Against Utah, I think the Jackets lacked respect for them. I believe that played in to as much of the disappointment as dropping in the bowl pecking order................................. However, as disappointed as the team is in not playing in the Orange Bowl, they respect WV. They know they got a quality opponent in the Mountaineers. They know this team is nationally legit. In addition, they know they finally get a chance to stay on the east coast................................ I think this Tech is coming prepared, and with the right mental attitude. I hope I'm right, as it will take nothing less to beat this team.

Will this be the parting shot of CJ's career? The swan song? the farewell tour? Odds are certainly yes, but as usual, he's not saying much.

The saga of Pat White and Steve Slaton.............. will they play or won't they?................ are they 100%........................ Look, #1 - they will play - count on it....................... #2 - nobody is 100% at this point in the season. Everyone is dinged up, banged up. They will play - bet on it, and the'll be ready. True, Slaton hasn't practiced much - and that could add a little rust, but let's just prepare for the duo at 100% and if we get anything less - great.

Taylor on the first pass of his collegiate career, a TD to CJ:

“Yeah, that was pretty exciting,’’ Bennett said. “To tell you the truth, the whole play was messed up. But I knew where I was throwing it and that’s who I was throwing it to, no matter what. I only threw it 12 yards and he took it the other [30]. He did most of the work on that one.’’

Taylor comments on how he heard about Reeggie's academic issues - straight from the horses mouth:

“He called me the night everything happened. I think I was the first person he called because he just wanted to tell me what happened and give me some support,’’ Bennett said. “I still don’t know the details, but it’s just something we have to deal with.’’

...... when you look at the depth chart, things look awful encouraging for next season as well. Think about this -

Did you know that Gerald Ford played center for Michigan? Yes, you did. Did you know that Michigan played Georgia Tech in 1934, his senior season? Did you also know that Georgia Tech refused to take the field that day because Michigan had a black player? How about the fact that Michigan gave in and said they would play Willis Ward - said black player. Did you know that Gerald Ford was so ticked that he quit the team on the spot? Did you know that the black player, Willis Ward, convinced Ford not to quit, and play the game. In a case of sweet justice, Michigan would beat Tech that day........... It would be Michigan's only victory in 1934.

Rather ironic story considering Tech ended up on the other side of another famous civil rights battle years later when the governor of Georgia tried to pressure Tech into not playing a game because the opponent had a black player. Tech students marched against the gov and the game went on.......................

Coaches have relationships with players. Fans don't (or shouldn't). I certainly appreciate what how Coach Gailey treats his players. Check out this quote:

“I’m disappointed for him, not in him,’’ Gailey said. “If you start becoming disappointed in players or kids or sons or daughters, you start to lose relationships. And there’s too much relationship there you don’t want to lose. And you don’t want to discourage him from fighting back and getting his degree and things like that. Somebody’s got to be his ally. That’s what we’re trying to be is his ally.’’
Coach Gailey told the media that he and his staff talked about playing Taylor in the 3rd series of the game:

“We had planned on playing him anyway,’’ Gailey said. “We’d talked about maybe putting him in there the third series and then seeing how it went from there.’’
From Coach Gailey:

“He probably knows it wouldn’t accomplish anything to be here,’’ Gailey said, referring to the distraction Ball might create. “But if he comes, that’s great, too.’’
From Taylor Bennett::
"I'd love to have him here," said Bennett, who converses or sends text messages to Ball daily. "It'd be great. He was going to try to make it down, come down with his mother or something."

In case you're curious, the Jacket curfews in Jax:
Tuesday................ midnight
Thursday...............1:00 am
Saturday................ midnight (one hour more than WV)
Sunday...................11:00 pm (New Year's Eve, 30 minues more than WV)