Monday, January 01, 2007

Footall - What A Whacky Game

What a whacky, non-Georgia Tech, non-Chan Gailey type game. If you liked offense, you had a treat today. If you like watching a tough Jon Tenuta defense stuff the run, you came to the wrong place. If you like the Jackets, you walked away disappointed. The Jackets somehow lost 38-35 as the defense gave up 444 yards total, even without Steve Slaton having an impact.

It was a heart-breaker, yet somehow a little easier to accept than the past two losses, as the offense came to life. More on that later. Some of my thoughts.

I know I know. You want to talk Taylor Bennett and the offense. But the name of the game was the fact that the speedy Jon Tenuta defense could not get the job done. WV did what they do....... and they did it well. They also did it without Steve Slaton. They chewed up 313 yards rushing and had enough yards throwing (131) to keep scoring and scoring. The 3rd quarter and twerhe final were killers, as WV just kept chewing it up 8 yards at a time. While Jon Tenuta's boys have done it year after year and the offense has let us down more often, today was the exact opposite. To be fair, we have not faced a team like this AT ALL. As good as this defense is, they haven't faced an offense like this in the ACC. But I thought they would be up for the challenge. They just didn't get it done today.

Not a solid effort to Coach Tenuta's resume today.........

As always, special teams plays a key role in this game. The onside kick by the Jackets to start the 2nd half was inspired and surprising. The kick-off by WV that resulted in a turnover that lead to 7 pts for WV was much less than inspired. That played really sparked WV as they exploded for 21 points in the 3rd quarter. We gave up a lot of kick return yardage and also for a change, the punting was just ok.

TB has no reason to put his head down. He flashed some glimpses of real hope for Jacket fans heading into next season. My guess is that the QB spot isn't going to be as up for grabs as people think. TB finishes 20-30, 335 yards, 3 TD's, 1 INT. That's a 67% completion % for his 2nd career start in a big bowl game. You have to like that. Folks, Taylor had more yards passing in one game than Reggie's EVERY had in a game for his entire career. That's right. There hasn't been a passing performance like this since George Godsey (at least statistically).

Now, the debate will start with fans - why on earth wasn't this guy playing sooner? Honestly, I don't have a good answer. I can't help but ask that question myself. Loyalty, stubbornness, I don't know. However, you HAVE to give credit to Chan and his staff for developing a guy like Bennett who was not recruited highly out of high school and only played his senior season. That's right. Those who want to criticize coach for not playing TB have to acknowledge that he seems to have developed in Gailey's system. You can only really criticize him for not putting him in sooner.

"I'm excited for the future of Taylor Bennett" - Chan Gailey.

Set all-time Tech career yardarge receiving record, along with a host of other records and had his career best day. He's not going to have long to make his pro-career decision, so expect to hear something in the next week or two. Taylor certainly gave him something to think about, but odds are that it is time to bid farewell to The Truth.

Tashard Choice was mostly unstoppable today and for the 9th time this season he goes over 100 yards, which breaks another Tech record. In all, 27 carries, 169 yards. Throw in 5 catches for 36 yards and you have quite a day for that young man.

2006 Sugar Bowl: WV 38 UGA 35

2007 Gator Bowl: WV 38 GT 35

Honestly, not terribly too much............... Was the offense great today? Pretty darn good. Was WV's defense that good? Not really. Folks, that was NOT a good defense we just faced. So 35 points is an excellent effort but very achievable by a team that scored more than 30 on both VaTech and Miami.

Should we read a lot into the play of Taylor Bennett? Well, yes and no. Today's performance should provide hope and anticipation for next season. But is Bennett the next George Godsey? Well, I wouldn't give him the badge yet. I seem to remember A certain Tech team putting bigtime numbers up in a bowl game in Boise and another bowl game in Orlando. I mean, it's just one game, and it's a loss.

So, Georgia Tech ends in the 2006 campaign 9-5. It will end up being the season that started and progressed with huge hope, and ended in an incredibly disappointing way. To lose the last three games hurts no matter how much you try to look at the bright side. And no matter how hard you try, you can't turn 2006 into a "great" year. A "good" one? Certainly. A step up? Absolutely. A buidling block? You bet. Special? Not in that "look back 10 years later" kind of way.

But this team fought hard. Aside from one weird Saturday night in Clemson (I was there), this team was in every game and fought to the end. The lost to Notre Dame by 4, UGAg by 3, Wake Forest in the ACCCG by 3, and now WV in the Gator Bowl by 3. That's 4 of our losses by a total of 13 points. It also contained 4 4th quarter comebacks, as many as anyone in the nation.

So now we will take some time off, find out with The Truth plans to do, and think about the outstanding recruiting class about to sign, and the fact that this team has about 18 returning starters (counting kickers). There is so much to be thankful for this year and so much to look forward to once again.

GREAT SEASON JACKETS!!! You did us proud. Coastal Division Champions. Ran the table winning every coastal game....... and ooooohhhhhhh so close at the end...... Don't hang your heads. Seniors, thanks for the memories and all the hard work. Go out in the world and continue to make us proud. You'll always be family.................. every single one of you.............