Monday, July 30, 2007

Quick Take

Wide Receiver AJ Jenkins from the state of Florida made it official and committed to the Jackets. This was after a visit to the U of Florida and their "Friday Night Lights" and an offer from them. Snagging a few from the big boys. Nice.

Also, in beesball news, Mark Teixeira is headed back to the ATL, as he will be a Brave. More later...........

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Case for Tashard Choice for Heisman

Georgia Tech had arguably the best wide receiver in the history of the game (Calvin Johnson) and he only managed to finish 10th in the Heisman voting after leading the ACC in receiving. So what are Tashard Choice's chances of winning the big individual prize this season. It's an interesting case study. I would argue that his chances are pretty slim and yet they are certainly greater than Calvin Johnson's chances.

Voting for the Heisman is somewhat of a black box. It's always been a bit mysterious about what is important to voters and what isn't. Let's take a look at some key elements to winning the Heisman. In essence you could categorize each as either "stats, flash and w's".

All winners are upperclassmen. Just a fact. While there have been underclassman as runner-ups, none have take the trophy home................TC is a senior................. check.

Having said that, with more and more players leaving early, the tide seems to be changing. I think the day is coming when an underclassman wins. It's coming.

Most Heisman winners had bigtime hype in prior seasons. If you're the QB at Notre Dame, you've got name recognition. If you finished as runner-up for the Heisman the prior season (Darren McFadden), you've got name recognition.

Does Tashard have it? Not really. He did lead the ACC in rushing last season, but the media generally views the ACC as having a down year last season. TC is known for being Adrian Peterson's backup at Ok, but that's not enough to hang your hat on. Without bigtime name recognition, TC must really excel in other areas - like putting up numbers.

Media types don't treat jerks too well. Just ask Barry Bonds. Good news here - Tashard is not only a likable guy - he's got some spirit to him. He's a talker, but not so much from the Reggie Ball school of smack talk. It's a more friendly, respectful smack............. if smack could be endearing, TC has grasped how to do it. TC also comes across well in an interview. He's understandable and comes across as a "nice young man".

It is VERY hard for a wide receiver to win the Heisman because they are not in control of getting the ball. On top of that, if they do, 5-10 touches a game is "a lot". Running backs and QB's don't have that problem. Tashard ran the ball 21.1 times per game last season. In fact, I think only 4 other rushers in the nation had more carries. He's going to have plenty of chances to prove himself in 2007...................... check

So first you have to get the ball a lot, but then you have to do something with it. Tashard led the ACC in rushing last season and he also averaged a stout 5.0 yards per carry. He had over 100 yards in each of his last 9 games. He led the conference with 1473 total yards. However, that's not going to be good enough. Personally I think he's going to need AT LEAST 2000 yards to win the Heisman. In addition to the yards, TC is going to need about 15-20 TD's. Last season he had 12 and without Calvin to throw fades to, TC show get more opportunities to break the plane.

There's another factor that will be interesting to watch in terms of building up these kind of stats. The "blow-out" factor. There were at least 2 cases last season where Reggie, Calvin and Tashard were basically pulled at halftime because the Jackets put the game away early against inferior opponents. Getting pulled never helps a player's case for the Heisman, and the only way to prevent it from hurting your case is to have about 80-120 yards rushing by halftime. It's shallow, but you've got to pile up the stats. The Jackets have Samford in week 2, Army in week 8 and dare I say it - Duke in week 10. Chan Gailey is not the type guy to let someone pile up the stats and to embarrass an opponent, so this is worth watching.

There is a subset of piling up stats - doing it on national tv and against bigtime opponents. Nothing gets the media attention more than a big game against a big opponent on their HD TV. So with that in mind, Tech will probably end up with most games broadcast on a national or local level. Here are the TV games scheduled so far.

9/1....Notre Dame - NBC
9/8....Samford - ESPNU
9/15..Boston College - ABC
11/1...VaTech - ESPN

I think it's rather obvious which two games are the "big ones" so far. Notre Dame in week one is critical to jumping into the Heisman race and getting into the minds of voters. The Heisman race tends to come down to a group of about 5 players, and you don't play your way into the running late in the season. Breaking out against ND will be key. The VaTech game is the annual Thursday night bash. It's in the ATL and that game may very well decide who plays in the ACC championship from the Coastal Division. There will be other games that will get picked up by TV (UVA, Clemson, MD, UM, UGA) and others that might (Army, Duke, UNC). However Notre Dame and VaTech are key to Tashard having a chance if you ask me.

This is really code for "wins". Very few Heisman winners come from teams outside the top 20. Heck, most come from top 10 teams or better. Some of this is a bias towards typical national powers, but if your team is not a typical power, you better still be winning.

So for Tashard to remain a serious contender, the Jackets really need a strong start to the season and need to probably finish with no more than 2-3 losses.

Ok, this is a slant on being in the national picture. Reality is that most Heisman winners come from the football factories. The last 15 awards have been given to Ohio State (2), USC(3), Oklahoma, Nebraska, FSU(2), UW, Texas, Mich, UM and Colorado. Tell me why Ladainian Tomlinson, while at TCU was the nation's leading rusher, at 170.4 yards per game - and he rarely even got a mention as a Heisman candidate during that season? Tell me also why Brady Quinn was on the cover of every pre-season magazine and mentioned with every breath about the Heisman when he didn't have any level of overwhelming statistical or team success last year? Bottom-line is that it's hard to win from a non-football-factory school.

In fact, over at, they claim a specific heirarchy. There are 9 schools currently considered "traditional powers" -
Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, Miami and Florida State. If you come from one of those schools, are a QB, RB, WR, and have a decent statistical season and your team wins about 9 or more games - you're probably going to win the award. Their shining example - Peyton Manning of TN loses the award to Charles Woodson of Mich. However, swap the two and Peyton walks home with the hardware - no question asked.

Georgia Tech is not a football factory, so again, to get into the minds of the national media, Tech must win at Notre Dame. Tashard has to work against the fact that Tech has special limitations as a program that make winning there more difficult than most places. Notre Dame will ALWAYS get attention no matter how terrible they might be. Tech just won't. It must be earned.

QB's and RB's basically dominate this award. They only really do that by getting the time to throw or having holes opened up for them by the faceless giants in front of them. In that respect, TC has a lot going for him. The 2007 O-Line returns 4/5 starters and will be among the best in the ACC. Last season TC averaged 5.0 yards/carry. He didn't do it by himself.

There's another secret weapon that TC has going for him - maybe the best fullback in the nation in Mike Cox. Not only that, a healthy Mike Cox. Last season Cox was never really 100% due to a shoulder injury and still had a major impact. Think of what a healthy Cox leading Choice could mean.

This is a category somewhat linked with "Pile up the stats", but I thought it was worthwhile talking about separately.

Hey, we all know that Joe Hamilton was robbed when Ron Dayne won the Heisman. Simple point of fact (well, for Jacket fans). The fact that Ron Dayne was chasing the all-time collegiate rushing mark that season is what ultimately put him over the top. It didn't really matter that Little Joe had a better individual season. Dayne had an excellent season and it was capped off by breaking a bigtime career record for rushing. Ricky Williams did the same thing the season before and took home the trophy. Break a major collegiate record and you typically take home the hardware.

Unfortunately, there are no big records TC is going to take down, unless you know something I don't.

Lastly, you pretty much have to remain injury free. This is such a fine line as football is nothing but organized chaos. Football is a brutal, violent sport and one wrong turn - one awkward hit - and it's all over. Tashard has proven to be a durable guy and we can only hope and pray that this season is no different.

So will TC win the Heisman in my opinion? He's got a shot, but I just don't see it. There are just too many things that have to go right for it to happen and too many media biases to overcome. Of course I seem to remember a certain season in 1990 where too many things had to go right.............. and they did............ So never say never. While I don't see him winning it, I do see him finishing in the top 10 with a great shot to be in the top 5. And if he wants any real shot at it, he better be in the magical "top 5" early in the season.

Check out this quote from Beano Cook:

"You must either play for Notre Dame or beat Notre Dame to win the Heisman."

Could the storybook be setup any better? Jackets - Irish in week one............Folks, week one is not make-or-break for the Jackets and their season. However, it is make-or-break for Tashard winning the Heisman. If we lose to Notre Dame, he won't win it. It we beat the Irish but he doesn't have a big game, he won't win it. If we win AND he has a big game.......... then he's got a shot...................... "so you're telling me there's a chance!"........

Either way, win or lose, there is just so much to look forward to as a Jacket fan. It's going to be an exciting season for TC, his mates and fans alike. I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chan Gailey at the ACC Kick-off 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Promises of Fall Football

Sunday was the unofficial media-driven start of the ACC football season, as all the media "experts" from the various ACC markets gathered with coaches and player representatives from each team to discuss the outlook for 2007. Those "experts" picked Tech to finish 2nd in the Coastal, behind VaTech, which sounds fine to me. Of course I always say - who cares what the media thinks? Polls and predictions in the pre-season are just conversation starting, ego-tabloid driven, lazy reporting wastes of air. Do I really care who Tony Barnhardt thinks will finish 3rd in the conference? No, of course not.......... Enough of that. Let's talk Quarterbacks.

You know, the ACC has not had a "stable" of strong QB's in quite a long time. It looks like 2007 is no exception. Maybe it's a sign when there are 24 player reps at the ACC media day (2 per team), and only one of them is a QB (Matt Ryan - BC).

There are almost as many QB questions as there are teams in the ACC, and Georgia Tech is no exception. While some of you might take exception to that comment, I think we have to look at facts. Taylor Bennett has built some extremely high hopes in the ATL based on his play in the Gator Bowl. But let's remember a few things:

  1. Calvin Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Calvin Johnson. While Taylor had some very impressive throws in that game, there were a large number of his passing yards chalked up to Calvin's ability to take the ball out of the WV defender's hands on more than one occasion. That game alone was all ESPN needed on draft day for CJ's highlight reel.
  2. His only other significant game experience was the UConn start in 2005 when Reggie Ball had meningitis. The stat line, 11-30, 142 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks, 5 "rushes" for 1 yard. That does not exactly inspire confidence. Of course it was his first start ever and it was two years ago. It was also the game where Taylor became a trivia question answer as only the second guy to throw a TD pass on his first collegiate throw. The other - Matt Lienart.
  3. The West Virginia defense stunk. No other way to say it. They weren't good and we lit them up. It just was the ultimate irony that our defense fell apart at the same time that our offense looked like world beaters.
  4. Taylor could not beat out Reggie Ball as a starter. I know I'm opening this up to go downhill fast, but folks - the word I hear is that there's a reason he didn't overtake Ball - and it didn't have to do with player preference at all, or Gailey stubbornness. Bennett just wasn't ready - period. Maybe he wasn't mentally prepared that he was "the guy". None of us will ever really know, but you cannot discount the fact that Taylor never outplayed Reggie enough in practice to at least get a shot to run a series or two every game.
  5. It is different being "the man" versus "the back-up QB". Being the back-up QB is actually a pretty low-pressure situation. Taylor really didn't have big-game pressure on him. Nobody has looked at him as numero uno, and we do not know how that will impact his performance. Could be for the best, he's got the big-game pressure on him now.
  6. The Chan Gailey era has not produced any eye-opening QB play. Now, we know most of Gailey's tenure was dominated by one QB, but never-the-less, the staff's ability to develop QB's has not been impressive. Not bashing - just a fact.

Now, having said all that, there is some "meat on the bones" to have a higher than normal level of confidence in a new starting QB.

  1. Calvin or no Calvin, cruddy WV defense or not, the Gator Bowl performance was the best GT QB performance since prior to the Reggie Ball era. That's right - Taylor had a better passing game than Reggie ever had - and that is something to hang your hat on.
  2. The Spring practice and scrimmage results brought nothing but praise over Taylor's performance, leadership, and mastery of the offense. That includes some very high praise from his 'mates, who appear to have a tremendous amount of confidence in him. The 1st string offense was much more effective against the 1st string defense, which is usually not the case. That is either something positive for the offense or something negative about the defense. You should probably chose the former.
  3. 6'3" versus 5'10" + decision-making............. A few inches = the full field. Being able to see over the O-Line AND being able to make sound decisions opens up the field and opens up the playbook. The prospect of passing to more than 2 WR's, to RB's as let-off valves, backs in the slot, maybe a fullback and dare I say it - a tight end...... More options, a good decision-maker and a quick release all add up to something else to hang your hat on.
  4. The best O-Line under Chan Gailey. This unit is ranked as the best in the ACC by many of the pre-season mag's. It is not only the most talented group he's had - it is also the most experienced and the deepest. While their strength is clearly more in opening holes for the running game, they should provide adequate protection for Bennett in the pocket.
  5. Tashard Choice. Having a workhorse, ACC-leading back will take some serious pressure off Taylor to produce. As with much of Reggie's career, Taylor will not be asked so much to win games - just not to lose them. Choice is really the focal point of the offense this year, and really should be. That should help Bennett.
  6. John Bond. This one could go either way honestly, but I get the feeling that Bond is a ore hands-on guy with the QB's and that should help. He has completely re-tooled the passing game and about 20% of the running game (mostly eliminating QB draws). We don't know if a John Bond offense will be better than a Patrick Nix one, but my sense is that it will be - even without CJ.
  7. Bennett has been in the program 4 years, so he's not green. By this point he should be "getting it". Let's not forget that Philip Wheeler didn't see the field much until last season because he wasn't "getting it" mentally. Once his knowledge of the game and playbook caught up with his freakish athletic ability - he was an All-American candidate. While Taylor doesn't have athletic tools of Wheeler, the same theory holds true. Maybe he's putting together all the mental and physical things that are required to play the QB position......... and let's face it - it's the hardest position on the field to master. Here's what Chan Gailey said about playing Reggie Ball - "We felt he gave us the best chance to win games". Folks, it's that simple.
  8. Something new. If nothing else, there is always that anticipation of a new guy at a key position. That's something to get excited about.

So there you have. Reason to be concerned. Reason to optimistic. The bottom-line is that Taylor Bennett as a success is not a given. There are many things going for him and the team to make it a success, but as they say................ that's why you play the games.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Football - 2007 - The Poster

I'm not the only one that noticed that the perspective on this picture made Philip Wheeler look like Paul Bunyon. However, let's talk perspective. Wheeler is in the far back and the camera perspective is looking down. This makes him look taller. Remember, #42 on the right side is Adamm Oliver, who happens to be 2" taller than Wheeler.

Now, don't ask me to explain why his head makes Barry Bonds' look like peanut.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Do You Remember

I was there. I was heartbroken. It was one of the first college football games I ever attended ............ but it was the start of something big with Bobby Ross.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's Buzzin - July 19

A few quick hits from Jacket nation

On their defense:

Allen said all of the WV defensive players got tired seeing themselves on ESPN giving up a lot of yards to opponents during the National Football League draft. For example, Calvin Johnson, a top pick, caught nine passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns against WVU.

“Just seeing those highlights over and over again got really old,” he admitted. “We don’t want that to happen again.”

A UVA site gives a GT preview
Here's a Notre Dame site previewing GT
One of the most in-depth GT previews by SundayMorningQB.

This long story on the "Get ready for the CJ Blast-off"
By the way, there is a very good chance CJ won't be reporting on day one of pre-season because he's not likely to have a contract signed. Talks are dragging out evidently, and the fact that a contract for Jamarcus Russell is also dragging make things worse. In addition, the Raiders start camp a few days after the Lions, so if CJ's agent waits until a deal is done with Russell to "set" the market, then CJ is going to miss the start. We all know he won't like that, but he's got to "play the game".

ESPN has I believe a free preview of the Blue Ribbon Notre Dame write-up. Check it out.

JC signs with Adidas.

Folks, it's coming. It's not "if" but "when".

Will speak to youth locally

In case you didn't know, Mansfield Wrotto, after inking his new deal with the Seahawks, has been working out at GT and helping coaches with the recent football camps.

....David Duval, or so Golf World asks.

"For however many years, no one liked him; now everyone's pulling for him," says Puggy Blackmon, Duval's college coach at Georgia Tech and one of his closest friends. Blackmon's exaggeration is but a slight one. The longer Duval has struggled, the more popular he has become, which qualifies him as a tragic hero at this stage of his career. It is hard to imagine any sunken superstar continuing his search on such a public platform, with less ego or more tight-lipped dignity, a perseverance for which the man has been justly rewarded.
The AJC reported that Calvin Booker enters day 1 of fall ball as the #2 guy behind Taylor Bennett........ as expected.

Still toting a posse and still fighting the good fight. After summer league with the T-Wolves, Luke Schenscher heads down under.

"I got on a plane in Adelaide to play for Sacramento and when I got off the plane (in Las Vegas) my agent said I'd be playing for Minnesota," Schenscher said. "I felt it went really well. We had a training camp at the start."

That helped Schenscher settle into the team and he opened in the 'Wolves first game, scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting with eight rebounds in 30 minutes.

"For some reason, I only played eight minutes in the second game," he said.

"But really it doesn't matter how many minutes you play. That's the type of situation I'll be in if I make it (into the NBA). I won't be playing 30 minutes a game."

Interesting list and detailed stuff on the top 5, including our own Chris Bosh. By the way, check out that pic of Dwight Howard "kissing" the rim. Sick. Just sick.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What's Buzzin'

Some random hits from the world of GT:

You knew that Kenny Anderson had been named the head coach of the new ATL Krunk, a CBA team. Did you know that Stephon Marbury's company will be providing all the gear for the team?

Marbury, who earned the nickname "Starbury" as a playground legend in Coney Island, spoke about his kinship with fellow NYC point guard and Georgia Tech alum Kenny Anderson, and what the sponsorship deal means for his Starbury brand. Stephon: "It's a blessing to be part of something that is about to become something big... I am proud of Kenny as he makes his pro coaching debut. He and I share a bond that goes deeper than the Tech connection, and being point guards from New York City."

Added newly named Head Coach Kenny Anderson, "I am humbled by all the love and support that has been pouring in from around the country since the announcement of my hiring. For Steph to do this for our organization, and for me, is huge. Me and my assistants, Vince Smith, and Lamont Moreno, plan to instill the same pride and determination in every player that dons that uniform, that Stephon has shown throughout his entire life.

Luke Schenscher is on the Minnesota T-Wolves summer league roster. Here are his stats (5.4ppg / 5.4 rpg). Still fighting the good fight to make an NBA roster.

Both Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young have signed their first NBA contracts. Both kids have impressed their respective coaches and players with their hustle, attitude, work ethic and aptitude. Both continue to say nice things about their one season at GT, which only helps with prospective recruits. Seems like Laker fans are starting to think Javaris was the steal of the draft. He has had an excellent offensive summer, although he did have a goose egg one game.

"I wasn't very aggressive in college, and I realized this is a grown man's game and I have to be aggressive at all times and stay focused," Thaddues Young said. "That is what I've been doing - staying focused and getting comfortable within the flow of the offense and defense."

Jarrett Jack has been told by Blazer management that they do not intend to trade him and that he was NOT involved in trade rumors. Having said that, they just signed Steve Blake, so the competition to feed Oden and Aldridge is going to be strong. Jack has become his head coach's whipping boy it appears, as he goes through cycles to being tough on him and his play.

Mario West has been invited to try out for the Hawks, although the odds of making the team are slim to none. As you also know, he was "drafted" by the Harlem Globetrotters. Brings new meaning to "Sweet Georgia Brown".

Reggie Ball is still trying to make the Detroit Lions roster as a WR. Don't see it happening, but certainly wish him the best of luck. You know, I feel a little bad for Reggie. He leaves as a 4 year starter with a very small amount of support and allegiance. Some of that was due to his lack of development as a player and the resulting fan frustration. Some of it was due to his general mouthiness on the field, which turned some fans off. Some of it was due to becoming academically ineligible as a senior, letting down his mates and missing the bowl game. Yes, it allowed Bennett to shine, but it also sent a negative signal about an outgoing senior's committment to success and education. All-in-all, Reggie is a good guy and I wish him the best.

So Steven Threet did not leave for a girlfriend, did not leave because of competition, did not leave because of homesickness. He says he left because of the departure of Patrick Nix and Geoff Collins. While I certainly understand the logic that the two guys who recruited you are gone, I don't buy it as 100% of the story. The fact that his local team and parental favorite, Michigan, never offered him a scholly out of high school, but that one became magically available after the transfer of one of their QB's, is no coincidence. My personal feeling is that if Michigan still had no room for Threet, then he is still a Jacket. Sorry, but I do not believe for a second that he decided to transfer THEN started looking around at where to go. Don't buy it for a second. He knew there was a slot available at Michigan and I'm willing to bet there were some contacts determining if that slot could ultimately go to him - prior to withdrawing from Tech. Just too good to be true............................ Having said all that, it doesn't really matter. He's gone and Tech will be fine with the stable of guys we have and the prospects we have to develop like Nesbitt and Renfree.

Speaking of Nesbitt, he is one of the players garnering player raves over the summer. He's a workout freak and has evidently done well in some of the informal drills. Having said that, I re-watched some of his high school film. While the playmaking ability is impressive, I have to say I am not all that impressed with his arm motion or mechanics. However, I am no QB coach so we will just have to see how this translates to the field........ one day. Here's an old but good article on Nesbitt. It will be interesting, because of course most schools wanted him as a DB or LB, not a QB. Sound familiar? Maybe, maybe not. Coach Gailey has talked about using him in a "Tim Tebow" role for the Jackets.

How good is QB Sean Renfree? From the AJC:

How good is Sean Renfree, the Scottsdale, Ariz., player who committed to Georgia Tech after being recruited by Curtis Modkins? "I've seen from Danny White all the way on, and Sean's the best quarterback to come out of the state of Arizona," Notre Dame Prep coach Scot Bemis said, adding that Renfree's decision-making is off the charts. Renfree threw 25 touchdown passes and five interceptions as a junior, Bemis said, and three of those five interceptions deflected off receivers and should have been caught. "He's way ahead of the game mentally," Bemis said. "He's the youngest kid in our senior class. He's only 16 right now." Bemis has experience coaching talented players; he coached Tank Johnson and John Tait, who went on to play for the Chicago Bears, Kenny Wheaton (Dallas Cowboys and Toronto Argonauts) and Jason Kyle (13 NFL seasons). "As a football player, you've got a great one," Bemis said, "and as a person you've got a better one."
Meanwhile, he's been helping recruit other players to the most recent class:

"When I committed to Georgia Tech, I also committed to doing whatever I could to do to help out the team as much as possible," Renfree said. "I want to be around the best players possible, so it was important for me to be there to meet the other players we are recruiting and tell them all the great things about Georgia Tech. I really thought everything went well."

Keith Brooking and Bobby Ross have been inducted into the GT Sports Hall-of-Fame. Congrats!

Here's an interesting story about Matt Rhodes' mom, a high school softball coach, who is taking a new job so she can watch her son's senior football games this season.

“She was offered the position at North Shore, where she will do nothing but softball,” Angleton athletics director Finis Vanover said. “She kept looking at the offer and we met and finally said she had to try it. With her daughter graduating, she now will have an opportunity to go see Matt (Rhodes) at Georgia Tech every week.


Speaking of parents, how about Matt Wieters' dad:

--Richard Wieters. He is currently best known as the father of Matt Wieters, the former Stratford High School and Georgia Tech star last month selected in the first round of the Major League draft by the Baltimore Orioles. But Richard Wieters, as a Citadel pitcher and slugger was a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year. If you can argue that he was the best player a traditionally good college program has ever produced, he is a Charleston Baseball Hall of Famer.

The Braves still have some reported interested in Mark Teixeira and Mark has some very reported interest in his hometown Orioles. In fact, he shares agent Scott Boros with Matt Wieters and has high hopes that the Orioles will ink Wieters to a deal and that in less than two years he can join him there.

The Notre Dame Fighting Patriots

Notre Dame has a new defensive coordinator for their opener against GT. Corwin Brown was a defensive back for Bill Parcells back in the mid-90's. He was a fair to middlin' defensive back, but has gone on to be a secondary coach for Parcells, Belichick and Mangini. Like all coaches from the Parcells tree, his defense plays a 3-4, which is very uncommon in major college football.

The 3-4 D has the following characteristics:

- There are 3 defensive lineman (DL) and 4 linebackers (LBs).
- The primary function of the DL is to protect the LBs and play the run. Each defensive lineman is responsible for 2 gaps.
- The pass rush is generated by the 3-4 OLBs. On almost every play, 1 of the OLBs will rush the QB. The OLBs are standing up.

Negatives of a 3-4 defense:

1. How will Tashard Choice gain his yards? Right over the center. What the defense gains in quickness and deception, it gives up in weight. If the NT can not hold his ground, the defense is very vulnerable to runs between the tackles.
2. If the 3-4 OLBs are unable to consistently apply pressure on the QB, the D is very vulnerable in the passing game. The aggressiveness up front puts tremendous pressure on the secondary. No matter how disruptive the front seven are, the corners and safeties have to do a good job in coverage. I would expect to see GT throw the ball a lot against ND, and ND won’t be successful playing the 3-4 defense unless the defensive backs can keep the offense from making big gains on pass plays. If we have WR's that can play at this level, they should have big days.
3. It's tough for a 3-4 DE to pick up as many sacks as a 4-3 DE, because a 3-4 DE doesn't have the freedom to go recklessly upfield. He has to protect the LBs.

What are the advantages of the 3-4 defense?

The offense does not know which of the 2 OLBs is going to rush the QB, as both of the OLBs are standing. This creates the following advantages:

1. It's harder for the offensive linemen to correctly determine their blocking assignments before the snap and execute. The 3-4 defense is the poster boy for flexibility. The strength of this defense is the number of speedy athletes you can put on the field at the same time.
2. Lateral quickness. The additional LB's cut off the edges of the field on a consistent basis.
3. It puts more mental pressure on the QB. The defense is so versatile that you could be in what appears to be a 5-2 defense because you have so many similar players that can do the same thing. You have endless combinations that you can zone blitz. You get the impression that their calling defensive plays out of a hat.

My advice for Taylor Bennett: watch the AFC title game this year between the Colts and Pats and watch the playoff game this year when the Pats beat the Chargers. The Chargers played a lot of 3-4 with superior athletes.

Friday, July 13, 2007

No Tom Brady Here

written by Lennie Mac

One of the things that I noticed is that with the exception of Matthew Stafford, GT lost to very good quarterbacks. Here are the QB ratings for the 5 QB's that beat us last year:

Brady Quinn - 104.4
Will Proctor - 87.0
Matthew Stafford - 62.5
Riley Skinner - 96.9
Patrick White - 103.5

UGA aside, GT lost to teams that had above average QB play, and beat teams with average or inferior QB play. If you look at the upcoming season, there will be:

Notre Dame - 1st time starter
Boston College - Matt Ryan - 84.1
Virginia - Jameel Sewell - 69.6
Clemson - 1st time starter
Maryland - 1st time starter
Miami - Kyle Wright - 79.3
Virginia Tech - Sean Glennon - 76.2
Duke - Thaddeus Lewis - 63.5
North Carolina - 1st time starter
Georgia - Matthew Stafford - 62.5

With the exception of Matt Ryan, you could make the argument that we will face no superior QB's all season. Also keep in mind that all QB's had a passer rating of 66.1 against GT's defense which was 12th out of 66 BCS teams.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hoops Recruiting

Alade Aminu's little bro - Al Forouq - has made his choice. The #1 SF in the nation has chosen.................. Wake Forest................... over GT and UNC. So at the end of the day, playing with Tony Woods, a big-time center who also committed on the same day, was more important than playing in-state with his bro.

So what will the reaction be? Are you going to be a "Coach Hewitt is losing it on the recruiting trial" person?.................... Are you going to be a "Who cares - he is a one-and-done player and we don't need any more of them" person?

My take - it IS a big miss when one of the top players in the nation, who is in-state, whose brother plays at your school, choses to play out-of-state but in your conference. The fact that Coach Hewitt has not been able to parlay his top recruits into any semblance of on-the-court elite success is a separate issue............ #1 - You have to get the horses to be successful.......... #2 - you hope to keep them in your program for at least 2 years to have any continuity............ #3 - you have develop a playing strategy that takes advantage of that talent.

Is not getting AF Aminu a big deal? Yeah it is. Is it the end of the world? Absolutely NOT. Wing players typically do not have a huge impact by themselves unless there is an experienced, talented supporting cast around them. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the key piece is the Point Guard. Losing Javaris Crittenton as a one-and-done will set us back a lot more than Thaddeus Young. Guess what - AF Aminu is a VERY likely one-and-done guy. Losing him isn't going to impact Coach Hewitt's ability to be successful - even though it is incredibly disappointing.

My key focus continues to be how to recruit and develop a PG that you can develop in a program........... Why weren't we successful with Chris Bosh for one season?.......... Jarrett Jack as a freshman.......... Why weren't we successful with Thaddeus Young for one season?........J.Crittenton as a freshman............ Why did we go to the National Championship Game without ANY high profile 3/4/5 position players in 2004? An experienced Jarrett Jack at PG and a great above average supporting cast that played well together.

This is why I am bullish on Mo Miller. He is a guy that can develop as a successful PG but does not have the physical size (a la Javaris) that attracts NBA scouts. I'll say it again - if Javaris Crittenton is 6'1" - he's still at Georgia Tech - period, end of sentence. Heck, he's probably still here if he's 6'2".

Coach Hewitt loves big PG's. So does the NBA.......... UNC takes Ty Lawson - and he's back for another season............ Tech takes Javaris - and he's gone............. 3-5" is the only real difference here. Trust me - if Ty Lawson is 6'5" - he's a 1st round pick and he's gone. Ty Lawson had a better season as a PG than JC did.

So is the perfect PG recruiting strategy to take the very best PG that is no taller than 6'1"? It goes against Coach Hewitt's philosophy, but how do you develop AND keep big talented PG's? How do you do it? I just don't know - and you NEED an experienced PG to really be successful. The NBA only gets more confirmation of the value of big PG's with Deron Williams, Jason Kidd and others.

At the end of the day, we all should wish AF Aminu all the best at Wake - except of course against Tech. Now Coach Hewitt will surely turn up the attention on the next guys on the list. Tech will be fine, although it is entirely possible that Coach Hewitt misses out on ALL his top targets in this recruiting class. We are still strong with a lot of elite players, but there are many ways the domino's could fall.

The sky is not falling I say. Worry more about how Coach Hewitt can win more games than how many blue-chippers he can bring in. His success so far has almost been inversely proportional to the number of blue-chippers on the roster. Food for thought.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Steven Threet Leaves Tech

Not good news - highly touted QB recruit Steven Threet has left the program and gone back home to Michigan. No word on if he withdrew from classes. Wow - with Threet and Marius leaving, that hurts.

"That is the case," Gailey said. "He gave me reasons but I don't like to speak for guys. He was in school this summer and I don't know if he has withdrawn from class, but he has gone back to Michigan."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Where are they now - Javaris Crittenton

In his first summer league game, Javaris Crittenton scores 18 pts, grabs 4 boards, dishes a few assists and has no turnovers. Oh yeah - he hit the game winning shot with 1.7 seconds. check it out.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Front Seven Index

by Lennie Mac

Let's get back into it by measuring the front 7's of all BCS teams in 2006 based upon its ability in three key categories: stopping the run, making the QB look like Sonny Corleone at the tollbooth, and minimal time of possession for the opponents offense. Specifically, we look at each opponents average yards per carry, negative pass plays - total sacks made plus interceptions thrown, and time of possession. Teams are then ranked based upon their average performance in each of these three categories. I don't think there is a GT fan that didn't believe that this one of the top 2 strengths of the team.

Rankings are listed as (yards allowed per carry-time of possession-negative pass play %):

1. Rutgers 10-7-1 Total 18
2. Miami 2-15-10 Total 27
3. Texas 3-10-19 Total 32
4. LSU 14-22-3 Total 39
5. Michigan 1-2-37 Total 40
6. Florida 4-11-26 Total 41
6. Oregon State 26-9-6 Total 41
8. Ohio State 21-16-8 Total 45
9. Louisville 23-13-12 Total 48
10. Virginia Tech 5-43-4 Total 52
10. Georgia 15-35-2 Total 52
12. Wake Forest 13-26-23 Total 62
13. UCLA 6-37-20 Total 63
13. Arizona State 30-17-16 Total 63
15. USC 11-14-39 Total 64
16. Oklahoma 16-8-41 Total 65
17. Washington State 24-29-13 Total 66
18. South Florida 17-38-14 Total 69
19. Penn State 7-36-27 Total 70
20. West Virginia 12-24-35 Total 71
21. Wisconsin 41-3-31 Total 75
22. Cincinnati 32-6-38 Total 76
23. South Carolina 46-27-5 Total 78
23. Notre Dame 38-18-22 Total 78
25. Clemson 9-56-15 Total 80
26. Boston College 28-20-33 Total 81
27. Nebraska 34-4-46 Total 84
28. Auburn 33-23-30 Total 86
29. Georgia Tech 19-28-40 Total 87
30. Virginia 22-60-11 Total 93
31. Mississippi State 25-40-36 Total 101
32. Kansas 29-19-54 Total 102
33. Syracuse 62-34-7 Total 103
33. Alabama 43-5-55 Total 103
35. Arkansas 27-52-25 Total 104
36. NC State 35-41-29 Total 105
37. Florida State 8-45-53 Total 106
38. Vanderbilt 49-50-9 Total 108
39. Connecticut 56-30-24 Total 110
40. Oklahoma State 45-49-18 Total 112
40. Colorado 18-46-48 Total 112
40. Texas A&M 54-1-57 Total 112
43. California 37-44-32 Total 113
44. Arizona 42-12-60 Total 114
45. Oregon 53-51-21 Total 125
46. Missouri 36-62-28 Total 126
47. Illinois 20-58-51 Total 129
48. Northwestern 52-33-45 Total 130
48. Kentucky 66-21-43 Total 130
50. Kansas State 48-66-17 Total 131
51. Washington 44-42-49 Total 135
52. Texas Tech 40-63-34 Total 137
53. Michigan State 39-39-64 Total 142
54. Tennessee 47-57-42 Total 146
54. Duke 58-25-63 Total 146
56. Indiana 61-32-56 Total 149
57. Minnesota 51-53-47 Total 151
58. Maryland 60-31-61 Total 152
59. North Carolina 55-54-44 Total 153
60. Iowa 31-65-58 Total 154
61. Pittsburgh 57-55-50 Total 162
62. Mississippi 50-48-66 Total 164
63. Iowa State 59-47-59 Total 165
64. Purdue 64-64-52 Total 180
65. Stanford 63-59-65 Total 187
66. Baylor 65-61-62 Total 188

Georgia Tech held opponents to 3.30 ypc (19th), was on the field for 30:09 (28th), and caused 48 negative pass plays in 496 attempts (9.68%), which was 40th.

The big problem for the defense last year was the lack of interceptions. They only had 13 interceptions. You'll see in a later column that aside from points on the scoreboard, interceptions have the biggest impact on winning than any other stat.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Football Recruiting - Jackets Nab Ohio LB

BJ Machen became the latest Jacket commitment. Machen is a 6'0" 220lb LB from Ohio. He had offers from over 25 other schools, including Duke, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Stanford, Syracuse and West Virginia. His father played at Stanford and his grandpa played at Illinois in the 50's, so there's some player blood in him......... Deron Jasper, a Tech DB, is Machen's cousin, so there were some family ties here............ Rivals lists Machen as a "3 star" guy, for what it's worth, the #37 LB in the country, and #21 prospect in the state of Ohio............. While some schools actually recruited him as a safety prospect, he's coming to the Jackets as a LB prospect............... Here's a little more info................ here are some video clips.

Here are some dudes discussing the Machen in their look at players from Ohio:

19. B.J. Machen – Hilliard Darby – WLB


Bob: Is a kid I have been talking about all year long and I think he is a good one. This whole group of players that we are talking about here are good enough , that in some years they could be the top five players in the state and their not far off this year. Machen is a tackling machine. He has great lateral movement and is like a heat seeking missile. I like backers who finish tackles and play with bad intentions, that is Machen. The kid is very cerebral, a trait that his father has instilled in him. Someone is getting a winner here.

Greg: I found out about B.J. Machen when Lichtenfels hit me up with his highlights after discovering early this year. He told me that he had found a real hidden gem, and it only took a few minutes scouting his film to realize that he was spot on. This kid plays with bad intentions, and will flat out lay the boom when laying a hit on the ball carrier. He shoots the gaps well and shows nice instinctual fluidness when he moves. He may not have ideal size, but these intangibles make him worth a chance.

Bill: Yet ANOTHER great LB prospect in Ohio, and this one is a flat out tackling machine. Offers from West Virginia, Nebraska, Pitt, and others. Machen will probably not get an Ohio State offer but someday might be a looked at as a player that should have. Machen takes great pursuit angles and doesn’t miss when he gets there. He gets it done in the classroom too and that also makes him a desirable recruit. He doesn’t get the publicity of Brandon Beachum or Justin Staples, but he’s just as good a football player. I expect to see Machen succeed at the next level.

Dave: When I last spoke with Hilliard Darby head coach Paul Jenne about one of his seniors in the 07 class he was quick to point out Machen as being a major prospect. After watching film and talking with a few other coaches I fully understand what all the fuss is about. Shows great instincts and an explosive burst.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Football Recruiting Video - Sean Renfree

Check out this video of our latest verbal recruit - QB Sean Renfree

Sean Renfree Highlight Video - Click here for the most popular videos

Thaddeus Throws out the 1st Pitch

At a Philly / Mets game:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

1990 Revisited

Monday, July 02, 2007

Football Notes

Some random notes from the football team:

Mike Cox's little bro is transferring from UConn to Tech. He's a fullback also - must run in the family. If he's as good as big bro', then that could be outstanding. The short-term great news is that Mike should be back 100% when fall practice starts, which would be the first time in a long time, after dealing with a nagging shoulder issue.

Another kid heading to Tech is a kid who played as a freshman at Tulsa, but decided to change schools after his head coach left for a bigger job - Anthony Egbuniwe - a good sized DE. He's from my backyard in Greenville SC. By the way, he appears to have gained about 40 pounds since he came in as a frosh - up to 260lb. He should have 3 years of eligibility left.

By the way, the picture below is Egbuniwe chasing down future Clemson QB Willy Korn. This is a sight I would hope to see often in the next few years.

Arizona QB recruit Sean Renfree has committed to the Jackets. We are talking another guy with size - 6'3" 185lb. He plans to enroll early, then redshirt and prepare for winning the starting job once Taylor Bennett is gone. If it matters to you, Renfree is a "3 to 4-star" caliber guy and Rivals ranks him as the #8 pro-style QB in the nation right now. He's the #17 QB from In addition, he won a spot in the prestigious "Elite 11" QB camp (put on by EA Sports). He passed for 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns his junior season and was intercepted only five times. He's more of a drop-back pocket passer with a quick release (important to John Bond), and good accuracy. He also happens to be a 3.7+ GPA kid with a high SAT score and a transcript full of AP and honor courses, so he's got the smarts.

I like this quote from

"It's not really important to me how much they are going to be throwing," said Renfree. "As long as I'm winning games – that's what's going to be important. As long as we can be competitive to win a conference championship and a national championship – that's all I care about."

Nice article on senior AG - and his new married life. However, Calvin needs to step up for the guy who has been his teammate since high school:

"[Calvin] was invited to the wedding, and sent a text message saying he was sorry he couldn't come because he had an obligation with the Lions. He said he'd send something nice. He hasn't yet. Maybe I need to call him."

Nice story on Durant Brooks.
Rumors by someone at the Hive that Dan Radakovich is pushing to get the UGAg moved to the season opener. Just a rumor, but interesting none-the-less. If there are legs to this story, rest assured that the topic will absolutely split Jacket fans. You can see that coming a mile away.
Nice story about Dwyer wearing Calvin's number this season:

"The thing about it is, I don't want to get too carried away with overstating how important a uniform number is," Gailey said. "Jonathan is going to be a great player, and I want him to make his own reputation."

That is exactly the same message Johnson had for Dwyer when the former and future Yellow Jackets spoke shortly after the latter was issued No. 21.

And Dwyer has taken that conversation with the Tech icon to heart.

"He was telling me not to worry about it too much," Dwyer said of Johnson. "He said, 'Just go out and do what you do and make a name for yourself."

Here's another great story on the super frosh RB Dwyer.

Great update on Joe Burns. He has returned to Tech to finish his degree. Oh yeah, he also married Tech's first African American Female Student body president.

Ahhhhhh....... The Beach...........

Sand between the toes................ hot sun................... salty waves.................. no email.... our family's annual trek to Hilton Head. I love this time of year. Of course it has been raining all day today, but who cares..................

So I finally got the wireless connection working here and thought I'd post a few things.

Ok, so we all know that Thaddeus Young was drafted #12 by the Sixers and Javaris Crittenton was drafted #19 by the Lakers. A set of 1st round draft picks for the Jackets................. like ships passing through the night. We will have to enjoy watching them reach their potential at the professional level.

You know what, I got a lot of flak for one of my earlier posts, where many of you felt I was a bit condescending in my defense of guys going pro early. You know what - oh well. The only reason I get defensive is when I see comments by people saying "good riddance" or "they were never Tech men". It's amazing how people wash their hands of these kids as soon they are no longer wearing the uni................ and man, heaven for bid they short change fans by not staying longer than a year. If I'm a kid, these comments reinforce one thing - fans care about their school, and only care about the players to the level that they contribute to the school. All that junk they read when they are being recruited in high school "Javaris, Tech wants you", "Thaddeus, we love you".......... please.

Ok, sorry for the soapbox yet again. Here's the bottom-line. I hate the system. You hate the system. It's not the players that we should have the problem with. It's the system. The NBA one year rule benefits one group - the NBA. These kids want to play NBA ball. Their dream is not to play Georgia Tech basketball. Tech is a means to an end. In fact, as my friend Bryan put it -

There's no point in playing college hoops if you want to be a pro. There's no reason - none - for a guy to play coollege hoops one second more than they have to. They should drop out of school and train full time the minute their teams season is done. Staying in school won't help anybody's draft stock any more It can only hurt it.

Well, here's what I would say. If you are ranked as one of the top....... say......... 20 players coming out of high school............ AND you have size for your position................... and you are athletic.................. then going to college isn't going to help you much. The risk that you hurt your stock is greater than the possibility you improve it.

So, the REAL question is - how on earth can Paul Hewitt build more successful programs at Georgia Tech considering the reality of the system now? Frankly, he hasn't quite figured it out yet. One great run to the national championship without any one-and-done guys, but not much else to speak of before or after that. It ain't easy. Here's what Coach Hewitt had to say:

“It’s bittersweet, no doubt,” Hewitt says. “But when I look back at it, there’s two more millionaires that we’re producing.”
Cha-ching for them. Frustration and unsettled-ness for the rest of us.

From reading some of the reactions by Sixer and Laker fans, it was apparent that they jusr were not familiar with these guys. Sixer fans were actually pretty upset at the TY pick - check it out............

"[Fans] are upset because it's a name people weren't looking for. Nobody knows this guy," said Drew Hemmert, a Bucks County, Pa., resident. "They hear that name and haul out of here because it's not a sexy name."
Thaddeus showed he is willing to set some modest goals while in Philly:

"I'm a lottery pick and that's over with," he said. "Now I've got to come in and work hard, earn every minute I get and hopefully I'll become a franchise player or a Hall of Fame player."

Now, Sixer's VP Tony DiLeo wasn't exactly glowing about Thad's time at Tech:

“He showed a lot in high school,” Sixers’ senior vice president Tony DiLeo said. “He didn’t show as much his freshman year at Georgia Tech. He came in here and showed us some things that we thought he would do and he could do those things. You’re not going to find a better, complete package as far as a person, a player who wants to become great."
Some similar reaction for Javaris in LA, where the Lakers took PG Jordan Farmer in last year's draft. Fans just weren't familiar enough with JC on the west coast.

By the way - check out some interesting graphs / breakdowns of the draft by position, by age, and a bunch of other breakdowns. Interesting.......