Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Back from the dead.

So today the Georgia Tech Sports Blog comes back online after about 3 days of dead air. Nada. Nothing. One day we're there. The next day we're not. Three days later we're back again. Nothing from Google before during or after. Just a big black hole of mystery and intrigue.

So what happened? I had some conspiracy theories, like the good people at Georgia Tech decided I have somehow infringed on some GT symbol and got the IS department to hack me. Then I thought - nah - this is a pro-GT site, so the last thing they want to do is shut us down. Then I thought on a bigger scale. Seeing as I'm working my way through season 4 of the show "24", I have Jack Bauer syndrome, so the conspiracy theories started running wild. Maybe my recent post on two government contractors killed overseas who both happened to be named "Paul Johnson" put me on some kind of watch list, and the folks at the DOD shut me down. Maybe they thought the site was some type of silent trigger signal for an attack on the nation's nuclear reactors. Who knows.

Barring any conspriracy theories, I'm just left with the explanation falling into some type of techno-glitch over the "big G" (Google, which owns Blogger). I never got a response from Google before, during or after the process, so I don't really know what happened and why it's back now. We could be back because they did receive my many pleas and decided to review the situation. They may have responded because I put my Blog on a Google site review list for sites mistakenly blacklisted as "spam sites". The old "false positive".

Or maybe it was just the power of networking. I noticed the following comment below the AJC story on Trey Dunmon today at about 1:00:

By GoodWord on the street
April 29, 2008 10:48 PM
HELP! Does anyone know how to get on scott’s gtsportsblog? I can no longer find it on the web and it is my favorite source to ga tech sports. Concerning Dunmon, I wish him all the luck. If it isn’t the system he wishes to play in then let him go be successful and happy. I think he is a high character guy and gt will miss that. Can’t blame him one bit, it is his life and his decisions. Good luck as southern Trey! Upset UGA the first game of the season!

That was the very first comment on the Dunmon story. Then further down there was this today:
By Tekgeezer
April 30, 2008 1:17 PM
I just contacted the Engineering Director at Google re: GT Sports Blog. He says he has just “loosed the hounds”

It was a few hours later that the site was back up and running. The "hounds" found their mark I guess. Tekgeezer, if you were the reason why, then hats off to you chap. Thanks!

I want to thank the entire Georgia Tech community for your patience and generosity. I got numerous offers of help, lots of interesting ideas and I even had someone offer free server space at their professional server farm and help with a custom domain if I wanted to ditch Google. The GT community is a great one, and I'm glad to be a part of it.

Thanks for all the support all of you have given the Blog over the years. We will be 5 years old this fall. That's like 50 in internet years.

Thanks again,
GT Sports Blog

I'll leave you with this. For a few minutes, an Elton John song seemed appropriate. First it was going to be "Don't let the sun go down on me"..................................... then I thought maybe it should be "I'm still standing"............... I almost settled on "The Bitch is back"

In the end, I decided Elton John just wasn't the "aura" I wanted to send, so I went a little Houston of Pain hip-hop on you (some bad language). After all, I have to represent:

I think this verse sums it up:

Look at all these rumors
Spreadin like tumors, gossip and lies
Exaggerated reports of my demise
And if you believe them well then you got gassed
The media deceived them just like in the past
.. Cause I'm....... back from the dead

Now, a question. Have I just completely ripped to shreds some unwritten social contract I have with my readers as an "approaching 40-year old white guy"?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wheeler, Choice get Drafted

Philip Wheeler becomes the 1st Jacket drafted in the 2008 NFL draft, going in the 3rd round to the Indianapolis Colts. He was the 30th selection in the 3rd round, the 93rd pick overall.

Tashard Choice was drafted in the 4th round by the Dallas Cowboys with the 122nd overall pick.

Both guys head to good teams with a chance to win a lot of games. Wheeler certainly goes into a great situation with one of the best teams in the league with all-everything P.Manning at QB. I find Dallas's pick of Choice a bit curious, since they already picked RB Felix Jones earlier in the draft. Just not sure where Choice will fit in.

Wheeler's selection continues quite a streak of Jacket linebackers drafted. He becomes the 5th GT LB drafted since 2002. Gary Guyton is likely to be drafted in the next few rounds as well, adding to that streak.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Football - ACC Does it Again

Well, go figure. The ACC once again is the dominant conference in the 1st two rounds of the NFL Draft. Seven players in the 1st round, more than any other conference. The ACC had two players drafted in the top 4, which is the 3rd year in a row that has happened. No other conference can say that. Through 63 picks, the ACC had 12 picks total, again more than any other conference.

Through the 1st 63 picks:

Through 63rd pick...

Big East-4

Sun Belt-1

Third String News

So, every week there's a lot of secondary news that you never hear about, or maybe catch on the Hive, but that's relavent or interesting to GT fans. Mostly, I never have time to tell you about them, but I thought I would throw some interesting stuff out there.

So Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban were in concert in the ATL, and Urban collaborated with none-0ther than the Georgia Tech drumline on the song "I Told You So". Evidently the drumline came out and you couldn't tell they were GT............ until a huge GT was flashed on the big HD video screen behind the band. Apparantely that led to both a chorus of cheers and boo's as Jacket and Doggy fans expressed themselves. Good stuff, and maybe I just became a Keith Urban fan.

Anyone who has been at GT knows about "taking the M-Train", which means changing your major from some type of engineering or architorture track and jumping on the management / business bandwagon. Well, some buddies of mine sent this link to me of a video done by some GT students which highlights two key things.... 1) they have way to much time on their hands........ 2) They have way too many connections to be GT students. So without further wait, here's their musical ode to the M-Train, complete with Buzz, cheerleaders and more. Fan-freakin-tastic I say!!

Well, the NCAA said that our Athletic Dept was not "in control" with their investigation a few years back. Well, maybe the problem was the school itself and not the GTAA. A couple of GT professors were recently arrested for double-dipping their salaries with their former job at U of Minnesota. We had some GT employees abusing school credit cards. Now we have more of the same, with another old lady bilking her GT expense card for electronic goods. Honestly, looking at her mug shot, I did not realize that the mom from the Partridge Family worked at GT.

Evidently Jacksonville State got into a little trouble last year for spying - and has been cited for a secondary violation.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Football - Trey Dunmon Transferring

Well, I said it yesterday - Paul Johnson in his press conference said that almost everyone has bought in to what he is doing. Almost ain't everyone, and that minority evidently included offensive lineman Trey Dunmon, who appears to be headed to Georgia Southern. As always, we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors. It's best if he's dissatisfied to move on to other pastures and not be a negative influence on the team. Now, let's get back to those who are in this thing with heart, mind, body and spirit 100%.

Where does that leave us? Pretty thin on the O-Line. Trey was a top guy at center, so it looks like Dan Voss could be the new guy to take that role. Center is THE key role on the line in this offense. One injury and that could leave us in a big lurch.

Speaking of being in it 100%, counteracting this news is the fact that Joe Hamilton is almost officially back on the staff. As mentioned here before, he'll report to Liam Klein and basically get involved in on-campus recruiting visits and other player personnel issues. Great job by Paul Johnson finding a way to get a GT legend and nice guy back in the fold. Of course Lil'Joe wants more than this, as his dream is to become a QB coach.

T-Day Highlights

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Paul Johnson Press Conference

The ACC Football Teleconference was held Tuesday and here's what Paul Johnson had to say - link here. Some interesting comments from PJ on recruiting, learning the option and our defense. One thing is clear by reading between the lines - not everyone on this squad has bought in to what PJ is doing. He said he thinks just about everyone buys in, but stopped short of any all-inclusive statements. Combine that with some continued internet chatter of another possible transfer and you have more to think about.

To hear all the ACC coaches speak - click here.

Catch the Fever

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dose of Reality

Sometime's you're just clicking along in your sports-induced coma / haze / parallel universe, when all-of-the-sudden you get whacked in the back of the head harder than a Kristi Miller forehand.

I have various tools to easily stay updated on GT sports. Searches sent as RSS feeds is one of ways to keep on top of things. As it turns out Paul Johnson is a very popular name. In fact there's a Facebook group just for people with the name "Paul Johnson". There's PJ the photographer, PJ the musician, PJ the historian, PJ the professor, PJ the other professor, PJ the Geophysicist & artist, PJ the director of resoures at, PJ the consultant, PJ the musician again.................... it goes on and on. He's had churches named after him, schools, badminton teams, etc, etc.

There are two more Paul Johnson's that I want you to know about.


#1 - This Paul Johnson who was born in Township NJ. This Paul Johnson moved to Florida in the 1980's to work at Lockheed Martin as an engineer. This Paul Johnson worked as a government contractor in Saudi Arabia for 10 years.

This Paul Johnson was was captured by Al Qaeda Saudi Arabia in 2004 and was threatened to be killed if Saudi Arabia did not release al Qaeda prisoners and the US did not leave the country.

This Paul Johnson was beheaded 6 days later, with pictures of his corpse posted on the internet. This Paul Johnson made headline news at the time for reasons that go beyond heart-breaking.

This Paul Johnson left behind a son, daughter and wife.


#2 - This Paul Johnson is a security contractor from Minnesota. His full name is Paul-Johnson Reuben. This Paul Johnson is a former Marine. This Paul Johnson was kidnapped, along with 4 other contractors, in Iraq about 16 months ago. This Paul Johnson had his severed fingers sent to the US government officials in Baghdad last month, who later confirmed that they were his. The remains of this Paul Johnson were recently found in a grave, along with the other contractors. This Paul Johnson is being put to rest in Minnesota with a full military funeral.

This Paul Johnson leaves behind twins and and ex-wife.

I don't share these with you to gore things out. I just wanted to share how I was snapped back into reality in a very unexpected way and how we all should never forget that while we sit at our computers slamming which coach isn't getting the job done, people are dying. They are dying serving this country. That includes those in the military, but also contractors putting their lives on the line in dangerous places.

As a society we seem more interested in what Brittainy Spears is doing than what is going on in Iraq. If that were false, then the news would reflect it. It doesn't. We learn more about Brittainy, Paris and Jessica than we do about people who lose their lives fighting for our freedom to watch crap like that.

It's not Memorial Day, or July 4th or Armed Services day. But here on my Blog, today is officially "Paul Johnson Day"......... and it's got nothing to do with the Triple Option.

Rest in peace Paul Johnsons..........

Sunday, April 20, 2008

T-Day or D-Day?

Fans looking for offensive brilliance Saturday were once again left disappointed and bewildered. The annual spring game, "T-Day", really wasn't a grand unveiling of a shiny new sports car. It was more like opening up a sick patient, exposing what was wrong for the world to see.

The offense was clearly dominated by the defense, and it started in the trenches. That wasn't a new development as the O-Line has been run over and run through most of the spring. There were yet again loads of fumbles and dropped pitches. The various offensive combinations really didn't move the ball much on Saturday, although it got a bit better in the 2nd half. B-Backs weren't too successful, A-backs were out-of-position, and assignments were missed by many.

It's really no wonder Georgia Tech officials decided not to let the game be filmed for CSS in it's entirety. I think Paul Johnson knew that this thing is still a work-in-progress. There will be a one-hour special with highlights from the game shown in between interviews and spotlights on players. That's probably a better idea, having seen what many saw. Sounds like there were enough highlights to stitch together a show.

For me, I had planned on going to the game with my family. I was at the Duke University business school all week at a leadership training course, given by a bunch of Harvard Business School professors. I got home Friday night and unfortunately found a gaggle of sick people in my house, so we stayed home. From the sounds of fans who did attend, the event was not organized too well, with long lines, expensive food that ran out and long waits for the kids activities. Of course the fan turnout was in the neighborhood of 10,000 people (officially 8500). Not sure anyone planned for that many, and maybe it showed.

Getting back to the game, there are different ways of framing Saturday in your mind as we wait for fall. Somewhere between optimism and worry is a realistic expectation level. But where is it? At the extremes it's the "this will work in the fall" or "this won't work" mindsets. The more realistic approach focuses on when it will work, not if it will work. Some fans were fully expecting this offense to be clicking by the end of the spring. Others think it's going to take at least one season and maybe two. So what is the right level of expectation? From my perspective there are a few data points that figure in to building an expectation level:

We did not just change coaches. We changed the entire philosophy of the organization. We're talking a Lou Gerstner IBM type-turnaround. The offense might be the most visible change, but Paul Johnson has been changing the entire organizational philosophy.

Johnson is transforming the organization from a culture of personal responsibility (Gailey) to a culture of personal accountability (Johnson). Under Gailey you were responsible for making good decisions, for managing your own business, schedule, and focus. Under Gailey it was assumed you were responsible and you needed to take care of your own business. Under Johnson it is more about accountability, not just to yourself, not just to your teammates in your field unit, but to the entire team and organization. You earn rights by what you do. With Gailey, you were given rights up front. With Johnson you are held accountable for every single movement you make on the field. Make a mistake and there are immediate consequences. Cause..... effect.

The shift may seem subtle, but there is a difference between personal responsibility and personal accountability. To me it's the difference between a more individual mindset and a team mindset. Going through that shift will take a little time. However, it is difficult to figure out how it translates to the football field. It is a serious cultural shift though, and cannot be discounted.

At the end of the day, this team has had about 14 practices with an incredibly different offensive philosophy. That's not many. We may want them to be showing out as an offensive juggernaut, but realistically, that's almost not possible after only 14 practices. It may be completely unrealistic to expect a lot more in season #1. I just don't know, but if repitition is key, then you can't replace reps with anything else. There is no osmosis in this case. It's all about reps over time. Reps over time. Reps over time.

Let me ask you a question. If the offense was dominating the defense this spring, how would you feel? How would you feel if Michael Johnson, Daryl Richard, Vance Walker and Derrick Morgan were getting run over and run through? I tell you how I would feel - panicked. We have one of the most talented D-Lines in the conference. If that line is not getting penetration and pressure on a set of banged up, inexperienced offensive lineman trying to learn a completely different way of blocking, then I become extremely worried.

Knowing what we know about the time and repetition it takes to install a good spread offense, I am glad to see that our defense dominating. Now, I don't like to see all the fumbles and dropped pitches, because they aren't all because of the defense, but by in large it means more to me to see a great defense than a great offense after 14 practices. Yes, the defense is under-going a scheme shift, but it is quite evolutionary compared to the revolutionary changes we are seeing in the offense.

Navy went 2-10 in Paul Johnson's first year. Now, they barely won any games the prior two years, but Johnson's turnaround at Navy took more than one complete season. They won their first game against SMU, then proceeded to lose 10 games in a row. It wasn't until they beat Army in their rivalry game that people started to believe. Here's what Paul Johnson's wife Susan had to say:

“When we beat Army [58-12] to end the year, it gave everyone hope. It almost single-handily wiped out the previous ten losses,” noted Susan Johnson

Here's the thing though. Paul Johnson worked that situtation tirelessly until he figured it out:

“He and the staff were at the office all the time, even at the peak of dawn on Sundays, but there was really no second guessing about [the decision] to come to Annapolis,” remarked Susan Johnson

That season was the first and only losing one in Johnson's career, and even his daughter could barely handle it:

“But I’m the worst person after a loss,” said Johnson’s daughter.

“Kaitlyn will cry, she can’t help it,” said her mom. “Fortunately we haven’t lost that much…but that first year [at Navy] she didn’t know how to act.”

We know Georgia Tech has better athletes compared to Navy. We also know we have a better defense. We also know we will play a tougher schedule. We just can't lose sight of the fact that Paul Johnson is not a scheme. He's a football coach, and a dang good one. He's got fire in his belly and a chip on his shoulder.

Paul Johnson is not immune to losing. However he is immune to continued losing.


One thing to remember about the offense you are seeing. Our defense has been practicing against it for weeks now. They know the drill. They know the calls. They know the checks. They know which side the play will be run to. The opponents won't know any of that stuff. That will make a difference.

So in the end, where on the continuim should we drop our expectations? Mine are this.

1. The offense will work at the IA level........ and work well.
2. Paul Johnson will win at Georgia Tech
3. Season 3 will be way better than season 2 which will be way better than season 1
4. We'll win somewhere between 5 and 8 games in year 1
5. I'm very optimistic and very realistic at the same time.

What are your expectations after watching or reading about Saturday?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Where are they now - Luke Schenscher

Luke Schenscher gets a gig back down under. Luke's still chasing his dream.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

T-Day Game Details


T-Day Game Set For April 19 At 1 p.m.
Band, cheerleaders, Ramblin' Wreck will all be on hand for first peek at Johnson's team

April 10, 2008

ATLANTA - Head coach Paul Johnson's first Georgia Tech team will play in the highly-anticipated T-Day Game April 19th at 1 p.m. in Bobby Dodd Stadium.

A full compliment of game day entertainment will be on hand with the marching band, cheerleaders and dance squad all performing. Former Yellow Jacket standouts will be interviewed on the video board at various points during the game.

Tech fans will get their first glimpse of Johnson's spread offense and a youthful defense under the direction of new coordinator Dave Wommack. The Yellow Jackets return eight starters from a team that won seven games in 2007 and earned an 11th consecutive postseason bowl appearance.

April 19th will be a busy sports day on the Georgia Tech campus. In addition to the T-Day Game, Tech is hosting the ACC Track and Field Championships as well as a home softball doubleheader against Boston College.

Information concerning the T-Day Game:

Admission: No charge.

Parking: The Georgia Tech Campus Parking and Transportation office is charging $5 for parking in all lots on April 19th. Parking at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is reserved for the ACC Track and Field participants and officials. No T-Day Game parking will be allowed in this lot.

Seating: Lower level seating in the East, West and North stands. Enter through Gate 1, 4, 5, or 7.

Concessions: Concession stands will be open in the east and west seating areas. Concession vendors will also be open for business on Callaway Plaza near Gate 7 before kickoff of the Spring Game.

Pre-game Activities: Activities for kids run from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. outside the stadium on Bobby Dodd Way. A DJ will play music and lead games for kids and adults. Face painters, inflatable games, a giant inflatable slide, a golf driving cage and more will all be part of the festivities.

During the Game: The marching band, cheerleaders and Ramblin' Wreck will all be on hand. Several Georgia Tech football legends will be interviewed on the sidelines during the game and shown on the video board.

Also, this email was sent out this week to ticket holders on a new ticket system:

Dear Season Ticket Holder,
I am pleased to announce the implementation of digital ticketing technology in Bobby Dodd Stadium for the 2008 football season. This new technology offers greater flexibility and convenience to ticket holders, by providing you with several new options. For the upcoming season, you will be able to:
-Print your tickets at home when purchased online
-Scan your tickets at the gates adding more security and eliminating duplicate tickets
-Email unused tickets to friends and family
We are giving this new technology a test run at our spring football game this Saturday, April 19th. Your participation and feedback is requested as we work to assure that this system enhances your game day experience during the 2008 season. As part of this process, you will be receiving, by email, a print at home ticket for you to bring to the spring game. Tickets for this game are not required as admission is FREE for all those attending. However, by utilizing the email ticket we are forwarding, you can help us test our new system and become eligible to win an assortment of prizes during the game, including:

- Autographed Paul Johnson mini-helmet
- Autographed Paul Johnson Football
- GT Football Polo Shirt
- GT Hat
- GT t-shirts and more...
You will receive your ticket beginning Wednesday, April 16th at the account we have on record. Please open up the file attached to the email and print the ticket from any desktop printer. To be eligible for the prizes noted above, please have your ticket scanned by our staff at Gate 4 of Bobby Dodd Stadium. Gate 4 is the only entrance where digital scanning will take place this Saturday.
I look forward to seeing you at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, April 19th and thank you for helping Georgia Tech athletics as we implement this new system.

Dan Radakovich
Director of Athletics

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Where are they now - Ismail Muhammad

According to site, Isma'il Muhammad is playing hoops in Saudi Arabia, along with the former NBA standout Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, aka Chris Jackson.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Engineers Doing Productive Work

Now, I call this productive work. "Texaspetegt" at the Hive calls this the "Bobby Dodd Stadium Visual Acuity Tracker". It's an Excel spreadsheet with BDS mapped on it. Click on any section and see how good your view of the field is, based on that class you took where you learned about the Cartesian Coordinate system. Here's Texaspetegt's explanation of the math involved:

The formula first sets up a reference frame with the origin translated to your (x,y,z) position and rotated about the y-axis by the angle between your eye and the equivalent position in the z=0 plane. This is done so that your eye and two positions on the field that are 5 arc-min apart for you all lie in the new x-y plane. So, the formula determines the distance between your eye and the point of interest on the field (L1 = sqrt((x1-x2)^2 + sqrt(y1-y2)^2 + sqrt(z1-z2)^2))) and the angle to rotate the reference frame about the y axis (phi). This defines the reference frame. Then, your distance to the field in the new x direction is calculated. (u2 = (x1-x2)*cos(phi)), as is the y-distance to the second of the two points defining your resolution on the y-axis (VL2 = u2/tan(your acuity + atan(u2/(abs(y1-y2)))). Once you have these values, you can determine the equivalent angle to your acuity in the new xy plane (theta = atan(u2/VL2)). Finally, you can determine the y-distance to the other of the two points on the field, (VL1= L1 * cos(theta + your acuity)). Your resolution is then simply the distance between the two points (R = VL2 - VL1). This is calculated foreach position on the field to create the overall map.

Now, if he really wanted to make something useful, he could have applied all the actualyview-maps (snapshot) available on, so you can really SEE your view (this is available online) from each section.

Personally I think he should have gone multi-dimensional with Elliptical Cylindrical Coordinates, which are "prisms of confocal ellipses and hyperbolae". I think we can all appreciate a good hyperbolae, like "Michael Johnson is more dangerous than 1000 ninja warriers".......

Where are they now - Joe Hamilton

The golden boy returns. The best all-purpose, dual-threat, option-superstar QB in Tech history evidently is coming home. Joe Hamilton is apparently taking a job as something along the lines of "Assistant Director of Player Personnel" per a recent "Lunch Bunch Report" with Paul Johnson.

Isn't that fantastic!!! Boo-yah my friends.

Other key points from Paul Johnson:

  • Coaching Clinics - they get such high attendence because of the system they run and the success they've had with it - and it's different. Said it should have an obvious recruiting benefit
  • Team didn't have enough "team unity" when new coaching staff arrived. Too many small cliques, and too many players satisfied with their individual perfomance even if the team loses.
  • Pumped that GT needs some improvements in facilities - not major stuff - just some new bells and whistles that are important to kids today
  • All players "except a couple" have bought into what the staff is trying to accomplish.
  • Wasn't impressed with GT media coverage from primary beats.
  • Does NOT call his offense the "triple option". He calls it the "spread option". Said the T.O. is only one aspect of what they do.
  • Playcalling - said most college coaches have about 15 basic plays - and most coaches have a similar set. Why use the same set of plays? Different = good = wins.
  • Recruiting stars are a joke. PJ and staff combined have a hard time tracking all key recruits just in the state of GA, but one guy living up in the midwest is going to track and evaluate all of them? Said that who gives a kid offers plays a strong role in their rankings. Even said some of the old GT staff fell into the "star" trap. Said he doesn't care if a kid is a "24-star". If they don't want him..... they don't want him
  • D-Line pretty much dominated the O-Line all spring, but OL dealing with lots of injuries.
  • Said his teams led the nation in rushing the last three seasons and if a running back doesn't want to come here because he doesn't like "the system", then he doesn't want him anyway.
  • Navy only punted 18 times all season last year. Wow
  • Views UGAg as a challenge and can't hide from the fact that it's not just another game. Likes Mark Richt but said we won't be scared of them.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Changes on the Blog

You may have noticed some subtle changes to the Blog. I am always trying to keep things interesting and add better functionality

You'll notice a new MUCH more effective search box in the right column. When you search a term, you'll see a set of choice pop up in the main column, where you can search on this Blog only, or other GT Blogs, ACC blogs, all the web, etc. I've tested it some and it's pretty good at finding what I'm looking for on the Blog.

Ok, I'm like seriously going web 2.0 now. I have a Twitter feed. OoooohhTherefore I feel part high-tech and part like a 14 year old kid. What is twitter you ask? Well, some refer to it as "micro-blogging". Basically I can put short updates, links or comments that may or may not relate to this Blog - although they mostly will. I can easily do the updates from my phone, etc. The right-hand column about halfway down has the "Twitter Feed" Box. Now, if you have a Twitter account, you can "follow" my twitter feed and you can get updates by text message, email, etc. For those of you already following me, I did change my username to "GTBlogScott" to be more recognizable.

We now have a mucho-easy way to not only subscribe to the RSS newsfeed of the Blog, but also the actual comments people are making. Just look at the top of the left-hand column. Click it and it gives you different options depending on your newsreader of choice.

We have an easier way to add new polls to the site, so I'll be updating them more often, giving Jacket fans to get the pulse of different relevant topics.

Of course you still have the ability to leave audio voice-mail, and I'll be challenging you with some topics to leave your thoughts about in the near future. The "Call Me" button is mid-way down the right column.

I'll be keeping a list of the most popular posts in the left column. Most of that will be based on viewer stats. That's in the left column part way down.

I've neglected the links to other useful sites for GT fans, and it's time to get them updated. They changed a bit recently and you'll be seeing updates on an ongoing basis. Those are in the left-hand column.

The "Latest News" link is a great source for updated Jacket news as well as links that I think Jacket fans will find interesting. Most of that is automatic, but I can easily add some things of interest myself as well. It also allows you to see the history as well. That's in the left column as well.

I now have some additional ability to create posts and "schedule" them to appear automatically in the future. This is great for me to keep the continuity. For example, this week is going to be extremely busy and next week I'm going to be completely out-of-pocket. I will spend a little time creating a handful of posts to show up in the next couple of weeks so you won't be left high-and-dry. In the past, I could create content before I wanted to publish, but had to go back in on the day I wanted it to show up................. In fact, I am writing this while watching UNC lose to Kansas in the Final Four (by the way, I picked Kansas to win it all).

Just wanted to thank everyone again for the support and compliments about the site. Some of you recently donated money through the "Tip Jar" in the right-hand column. It is greatly appreciated and affirms for me that my passion is other people's passion as well. I also want to thank those who continue to buy their stuff through the link in the right-column. It's a small gesture that helps support what we do. Of course it's not such a bad thing to take a few dollars out of Amazon's pocket and send them to a GT supporter, right?

Thanks!!! I'll keep trying to update the site and add new functionality.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Your fears just might be real....

... so we've all speculated that option offenses do not provide a sufficient practice environment for defenses to practice against more "conventional" offenses. Well, it looks like Paul Johnson's protogee, who's the new head coach at Navy, has decided to do something about it. He's got his offense practicing in 4 WR sets, 3 WR/ 1 TE sets, slinging the ball all over. You need to read this article and absorb the reality of it. It is a concern for me. It should be a concern for all of us.

"This spring, we've tried to find a way to service the defense as far as doing things similar to the teams we're going to play next year. I just felt we needed to spend more time running conventional offenses or spread-type offenses in order to help the defense," head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "That means getting good on good and running our opponent's offense. Hopefully, by the end of the spring, the defense will be more comfortable going against those types of attacks."

During the six-year tenure of head coach Paul Johnson, Navy's first-string offense only ran the triple-option during practices and scrimmages. During the segment of practice when the starters squared off, the defense always went against the triple-option. As a result, the Navy defenders got pretty good at stopping the option. Unfortunately, the Midshipmen never played a true option team during the season. Meanwhile, the Mids struggled mightily to defend more diverse offenses.Statistics tell the sad story. Navy allowed an average of 36.4 points and 439 total yards a year ago. The Midshipmen were particularly vulnerable against the pass, giving up 263 yards per game and a total of 32 touchdowns through the air.

Under Johnson, the responsibility for mimicking the opponent's offense fell to the scout team, which was loaded with freshmen and sophomores who could not replicate the size, speed or skill of the starters from Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and Notre Dame. By contrast, Navy's offense practiced the triple-option against the first-string defense.

I'd be interested to hear what Paul Johnson has to say about this. First team defense goes against the option every practice, which really gets the offense ready. What about the other way around? There's just no way I can believe that it doesn't impact the defense. Guess we'll see..........

Keep Your QB Healthy

Very interesting reading from Gary Danielson on the spread option, especially this on the reality of having a good, healthy running QB:

I think the cog that makes the offense go is a running quarterback. The spread without a running quarterback really is pretty easy to defend, and if you don't have that guy operating at pretty near peak performance, teams can throw that offense off-balance and you see it all over college football. When Oregon lost their guy they had nothing. When West Virginia got Pat White nicked they lost both games. When Florida got Tebow nicked they lost the game. That's why Florida had a perfect scenario last year. When you run the spread offense, it's not a bad break when your quarterback gets hurt; it's inevitable. It's like having two running backs: you must have two tailbacks to play these 12-game seasons nowadays, I think we've seen all the major colleges go to this. The next wave with spread offense is you'll have to have two quarterbacks be ready.

Thanks to Paul WesterDawg for the link

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pitcher Michael Hutts Dies


Pitcher Michael Hutts Dies
Yellow Jacket junior found dead Friday morning

April 11, 2008

ATLANTA - Georgia Tech's baseball players and coaching staff were notified late Friday afternoon on the death of pitcher Michael Hutts, 21, of Dunwoody, Ga. Hutts was a junior in the College of Management.

Atlanta Police Department officials, in conjunction with the Georgia Tech police, were still trying to determine cause of death late Friday afternoon.

Friday night's game against No. 1-ranked Miami has been postponed.


The tragic news of Michael Hutts' sudden passing can not be justified in words. Michael was an outstanding student-athlete, but more importantly an outstanding young man who had a deep impact on his teammates, coaches, classmates and the entire community. Our deepest heartfelt condolences go out to his parents and the entire Hutts family.

Head baseball coach Danny Hall and his staff will work closely with our players during this very difficult time. It is important that we offer these young men all the support that they need.

Hutts was found in his apartment at about 1:40pm Friday. Hutts father was on a business trip and was flying back from Toronto. Danny Hall told his team in a team meeting at 4:00pm and said they were devestated. An autopsy will be performed on Saturday.

Miami head coach Jim Morris, who coached at GT for 12 years, was notified about 2:00pm. Morris didn't know if the game would be played and learned later that the team had called it off.

``We went to the park [Russ Chandler Stadium] dressed for the game, not knowing whether we'd play. Once we got there they made a decision that the game would be cancelled, and rightfully so. [Coach] Danny Hall and their administration met with their team in the locker room and made us aware of their decision not to play.

``Danny Hall was very shaken, I can tell you that.''

There is already speculation on the net, but we won't participate in it. We'll just wait for official word like everyone else. In the meantime, we'll just offer our thoughts and prayers to the Hutts family and to his teammates.

D-Rad had this to say:

"This isn't supposed to happen to fine young men like Michael. It's not supposed to happen to college student athletes. To have a life cut short like this just just tragic."

Holy Schnikees, Batman.....

In the insanely competitive world of Robotics comes this quote:

Needless to say, the biomimetic borg arms race seems already to have begun. DARPA and Georgia Tech with their puny moth-terminators may rue the day they went up against the US Army/U-Michigan chiropterthopter war bat with its smell scanners and gargoyle mode.

The counterstroke would almost inevitably involve the use of Robocop-style powered assist mechwarrior gear with moths at the controls - again, something already being trialled.

Why, of course that would be the "counterstroke". I mean, that's what popped into my head first time I read that. It's pretty obvious isn't it?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

R U Ready for some Beeeeessball ?

Georgia Tech

#1 Miami

the ATL

...... it's on. 3-game set. Time for the Jackets to make a statement.

By the way - a nice story on Zach Von Tersch.

Football - QB Issues for our first opponent

We open the season on a Thursday night against Jacksonville State. While in theory they are extremely undermanned against a team like Georgia Tech, it appears that things are getting worse for them at the most important position on the field - QB. First, their apparent starter, a rising senior, was dismissed from the team. That hurts. But now one of their prized recruits has decided to go to junior college and try and get his academics in shape to go to a bigger school.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Glorious Day.... unless you're a mutt

It's always a nice day when you can beat your dog............. However, when you can beat him not once, not twice, but three times in a single day, it's time to kick back and enjoy. The Jackets sweep a double-header in ladies softball, then the men took center stage and promptly won 9-4 against the crew from Athens. That was #10 ranked GT against #11 UGAg. Word is the crowd was amazing. For the ladies, that's 4 straight and 6-of-7 vs the dogs.

In other news, lady hoopster Chioma Nnamaka was drafted in the 2nd round of the WNBA draft, then traded to the Atlanta Dream. Sweet deal.

Can you believe spring football practice is 2/3 of the way done? Wow. Here's the FACT SHEET you didn't know about until now (tip from the Hive).
D-Rad turned a profit on the H-Bowl. Wow. Now he's putting his team on a road show. Check out the coaching caravan in your area. Check out this graphic (full version at the link)

500 Coaches At GT???

So for $40, you can head to the ATL and watch a Paul Johnson practice and hear PJ & staff share the secrets of their coaching philosophy. Here's the flyer. So how many coaches would you guess might show up? Maybe 50? 100? Sounds about right to me. But NNNOOOOO. Try close to 500 high school / college coaches. We are talking some serious turnout if you ask me.

What do you get for your $40?
- Watch practice Friday
- Pizza / drinks
- 45 minutes of offensive presentations (Bohannon, Monken, Sewak)
- 45 minutes of defensive presentations (Wommack, Smith, Jean-Mary)
- 75 minutes of break-out sessions with one of the coaches of your choice

- Q&A first thing in the morning
- Watch practice / scrimmage
- Cringe at all the turnovers
- Post scrimmage Q&A with staff

What you have here is your basic cult following. PJ has developed a following possibly like no other at the high school level. Many coaches are willing to come from far and wide to learn from the guy that they consider the zen-master of the triple option.

Heck, college coaches all know that he does his thing better than anyone. Here's a quote from Jim Grobe:

"That’s why they run it so well. Paul knows this offense better than anybody who has ever run it. There’s not anything you can throw at him he hasn’t seen. And they coach it as well as it’s ever been coached. That’s the key."

There are such a long list of quotables about Paul Johnson that I'm working on a collection of them for your treat. Just this week there was this from Ty Willingham:

"This man has run his system for so long he knows every heartbeat," said Willingham, who faced Johnson's Navy teams three times while coaching Notre Dame. "He knows where every shoelace goes through every eyelet. He knows all of that. So, therefore, when you move here, guess what he does? He's already moved there."

I could go on and on and on. Bottom-line is that he has a following like no other. What's interesting is that there is a LARGE group of coaches at the high school level that will be following PJ very closely and rooting for him to be very successful. There are a number of reasons. Part of it is the man and part of it is the system. When PJ's system is successful, it actually opens up more opportunities for guys that might not get a chance to play at the DI level. That's a good thing for coaches at the high school level. So they're not just there to learn tips for their teams.

For those "in the know", can you tell us what type of clinics Chan Gailey put on, and what kind of attendance we had? Frankly, I don't even remember this as something Coach Gailey did, but I'm sure he did. However, I cannot imagine it had this kind of turnout. 500 coaches? Wow.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

It's all about the Markov Chains.... ya feel me?

Dude, it's all about the Markov Chains. I'm telling you. Just ask the Georgia Tech professors who picked Kansas to win it all based on their highly proprietary, highly formulaic, satellite bustin', brown-out generating, prediction model. Check it out. In fact their system has picked 30 of the last 36 Final Four teams. Not bad if you ask me. Here's more from the NY Times.

Here is the actual ranking online, called the LRMC ranking. . Guess what team they predicted would win? Kansas..... Guess what team they predicted they would be playing? Memphis. Guess what teams they predicted would be in the other side of the Final Four? UCLA / UNC. Strong.

One of the main keys of their model - margin of victory. In essense, a close win or a close loss count the same.... or close to it. They determined that teams win about half their close games consistently, so why give more points? UNC won more than their fair share of close ones this year, so in LRMC terms - they were lucky. Crush teams and you rack up the LRMC points. Win close ones and it doesn't help you too much. It's interesting because the RPI could never actually use margin-of-victory, because of course that would contribute to poor sportsmanship, running up scores, etc.

In terms of the game, kudos to a lot of guys that had Georgia Tech in their final recruiting lists (Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers, Chris Douglas-Roberts and there were others).

So in the end, Georgia Tech proves yet again that we rock. As to my bracket, I did in fact pick Kansas to win it all. What did that get me? Well, if I hadn't of stunk it up in the early rounds, I might have won something. In the end, in one bracket I finished 5th out of 43, and in the other I finished 5th out of 32. I did have some subtle differences between the two, but in the end I finished about the same.

My crowning bracket still continues to be 2004, where I correctly picked the Final 8, the Final 4, the Final 2, and the National Champion. Yes, I picked GT to go to the Final, and yes, I picked UConn to beat us. What a great year.......... which seems like eons ago.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Football - Freshman Get Numbers

In case you were wondering, has been updated with the freshman jersey numbers (tip from the Hive):

3 AB Marcus Wright
4 S Brandon Leslie
11 QB Jaybo Shaw
13 QB Tevin Washington
23 WR Quentin Sims
24 AB Embry Peeples
28 CB Rashaad Reid
29 CB Jon Lockhart
34 LB Steven Sylvester
39 S Cooper Taylor
40 CB Kamaron Riley
42 LB Malcolm Munroe
48 BB Richard Watson
58 LB BJ Machen
61 OT Phil Smith
62 OG Omoregie Uzzi
76 C Nick McRae
80 WR Daniel McKayhan
84 WR Tyler Melton (finally! welcome to the NATS)
88 DE Antonio Wilson
90 DT TJ Barnes

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Where are they now - Matt Wieters

Matt got off to what you might call a "good" start in his professional debut, going yard in his first two at-bats as a pro. Nice. Take my word for it - you will see Weiters with the Orioles by the end of the season, probably closer to mid-year. To say he's been "fast-tracked" would be an understatement.
"You always dream of [a debut like this], but you just go out and play," Wieters said. "I never have [opened] like tonight. I've only hit two home runs in a game a couple times. It's good to get the year started off right, but there's 139 games left."

Beesball - Jackets beat a ranked team

I was starting to worry that this team wasn't going to figure out how to beat a really good team. They get swept in Tallahassee and then lose the first two against the #3 ranked Tarheels. Well, the good news is that they won the finale 4-1. Nice going Jackets!!

LSU fills their Athletic Director Role

Well, good news for Jacket fans. Looks like Dan Radakovich isn't going to LSU to become their new AD. Oddly enough, Duke's AD, Joe Alleva is the guy they hired. I find that strange since he was able to do NOTHING to make Duke football successful, and he basically let Coach K do his thing. However, here is what he was able to do - raise money.

Dan Radakovich was never named publicly as a candidate, although the press continually brought up his name as a possible "under-the-radar" candidate. D-Rad never said anything publicly about it. Well, I take that back. He did actually comment on this very site - in the comments - check it out. Here's what he said at the time:


Thanks for the great work on the BLOG.I just wanted to let you know
that my family and I are very happy here at Tech. As you know we have a lot of work to do, and my staff and I have jumped in feet first. I hope to be here a long while. I am usually not a "no comment" eveidenced by the "Good Word"... but the writer caught me at a banquet last nite where I could not speak.

Thanks again


Well, he was true to his word. He said he hoped to be here a long time, and by passing up a chance to to replace of the guy who gave him a big opportunity, he shows that he's here to finish what he started.

So far, D-Rad has pushed all the right buttons and has represented himself and the Institute with class. Some took exception to the change in season ticket policy and the increased donation requirements. But honestly, in the simplest explanation he was hired to figure out how to separate you from your money. A "warmer" way to say that is that he's in charge of putting an exciting, quality product on each field and arena. By firing Chan Gailey and bringing in Paul Johnson he made it clear that "a little better than average" wasn't going to be good enough. For D-Rad, it's going to take winning, excitement and putting rears in the seats. It worked for me, as I bought 4 season tickets for the first time ever. Finally bit the bullet.

So we can put that one to rest............. at least for awhile, until Alleva retires or doesn't pan out.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Football - Scrimmage #2 Notes

The Saturday scrimmage was..... well...... not good ........ at least for the offense............ and Paul Johnson was..... well..... blunt about it.

"Certainly there's no way you can win a game if you don't take better care of the ball than that," Johnson said. "The defense pulled a couple out, but the majority of them had nothing to do with that. They're just pitching them on the ground or dropping the snap. It's unacceptable."

By the way, there were 8 fumbles on pitches, 2 from center-snaps and 6 more fumbles between handoffs and just getting hit. Yes, it was wet and raining, but give us a break. Oh yeah, there was an INT and a botched FG hold as well. Not a banner day for securing the football. And PJ was not happy that the guys who fumbled the ball stood around and watched other guys pounce on it.

Now, PJ made no excuses and put a lot of blame on himself and the coaching staff.:

"I'm going to guess there must have been 60 missed assignments, 70 missed assignments on offense. Clearly, we don't know what we're doing. That's a poor reflection on us as coaches. We haven't done a very good job coaching them if they don't know what they're doing. I'm embarrassed that they don't know what to do."

Josh Nesbitt didn't play, as he was nursing an injury (he'll be back in practice Monday). Calvin Booker, bless his heart, tried to take the high road in terms of leadership:

"It's almost like it gets contagious. We've got to get mentally tough," Booker said. "It starts with me. The ball is in my hands. I've got to make the right decisions, make the right reads, keep us in good situations. Whatever you write, make sure you put it was on me. All the balls on the ground, everything we did that wasn't executed right, that was my fault."

Now, Calvin, that's as admirable as it gets, but it certainly won't help you get PT in the fall if it keeps up.

Another interesting situation at B-Back. This is the position everyone assumed Jonathan Dwyer was the heir apparent. Weelllllllllllll, not so fast. Dwyer has been pushed mostly to 2nd team, while Lucas Cox has shown the ability to break off some nice runs and did it again today in the scrimmage.

Here's what PJ said about Lucas Cox:

I'm not into the hype. They've got to show me. I've heard all the hype about everybody, but I'm not seeing it. Show me."

If that ain't a shot across the bow to J.Dwyer I don't know what is. JD has been challenged. Will he respond? Actually I find the B-Back situation very interesting. In PJ's offense, the B-back is really all about hitting the hole and getting the 2nd level quickly. It's more about power and running people over than speed. It's less about duck-and-dive and more about straight ahead power. Obviously Dwyer is a load. However, I think Dwyer is really a "tweener" between A-back and B-Back? JD likes to break the ball outside. He likes to make guys miss. He can run between the tackles, but he tends to like to find his hole and make his own decision about when and where. In the triple-option you don't do that. The dive play is very specific and hits a specific hole....... and quickly.

Lucas Cox is more of your traditional fullback. He hits the hole hard and quick. Now to be fair, in the scrimmage Dwyer had 15 carries for 92 yards and Cox had 18 carries for 80 yards, including a 27 yard jaunt for a TD. However, Dwyer did have a fumble, and that's a no-no. Of course if PJ challenges every guy who fumbles, it looks like he'll have to get some more walk-ons.

When the offense struggles you'd like to be able to draw the conclusion that the defense played well. That's really only partially true. First team defense gets a better grade than 1st team offense, and maybe 1st team offense gets a better grade than 1st team defense. The D had some hard hits on guys, ran a couple of fumbles back for TD's, and were consistently getting into the backfield. Should we be more worried about what that means about the O-line? Probably.

So back to the drawing board for the offense. A few things are clear
1. This team has a long way to go........ particularly the offense
2. Josh Nesbitt is looking more and more like what the doctor ordered.
3. I'm feeling a little better about the defense....... a little

Friday, April 04, 2008

Where are they now - Adamm Oliver

While Adamm Oliver gets 100% healthy, he's preparing for his possible future in the NFL and also getting into the web-game. Check out to see what he's doing. If you dig in you can find a discussion forum where you can ask current and former players questions. In addition, he's started doing a live radio show which is going to be weekly. You can listen live over the inter-web AND you can listen to recordings of prior shows AND you can even subscribe to the show in Itunes as a "podcast" and listen on your IPOD. Click here to check it out.

One great story Adamm posted on his forum was the following:

From Adamm Oliver:

This story was in our locker after the come from behing Clemson game 04'.

"Carter Martin, age 7, has spent the last 2 years fighting cancer. Over the past 3 weeks the cancer reached his brain and his coordination grew worse. He was also a huge Georgia Tech fan and loved the football team. Saturday night he asked his father to do play by play of the Tech game, as he was unable to see the television from his bed. As time grew late and tech was losing in the fourth quarter, his father ask him if he could stop, as it had to be miserable to hear Tech losing and he needed his sleep. Carter said "please don't stop-I know Tech is going to win." His father bravely kept doing the play by play and Carter struggled to stay awake. As Tech scored the winning touchdown Carter squeezed his fathers hand tightly. Shortly Carter fell asleep, aglow in the Tech victory. He died Sunday and will be buried on Wednesday with a Tech football helmet panted on his casket"

Now, I don't care who you are and how much you got frustrated with the excitement level of Chan Gailey's offense, or the points it produced, or the yearly loss to UGAg. The bottom-line is that Chan Gailey never did anything to embarrass the Institute. He represented us with class, he recruited really high character kids and he taught them about the bigger things in life. Heck, I don't even know if Chan Gailey has anything to do with putting that story up (or how it got to the locker-room so quickly - stange timing??). Honestly no matter how it got there - Coach Gailey had a part in it. He set the tone for what mattered.

This is just one of those stories that reinforces my faith in God, puts all this in the proper perspective and reinforces my belief that judging a program solely on wins and losses is a dreadful mistake.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Iman Shumpert not happy with McDonalds AA Game

Well, one thing's for sure reading this article - you would be led to believe that Iman Shumpert values team principles and winning over showboating and individual accomplishment. Why? In a nutshell - he hated his McDonalds All-American game experience - at the least the part where they actually simulated the game of basketball.

Iman's stat-line: 0-1, 0pts, 5 boards, 1 assist. The two times I saw him with the ball he was looking to find open guys streaking up the court.......... and he did.

Check out these quotes:

"I don't have fun losing and I don't have fun watching people not play defense, so [the game] wasn't fun for me at all," Shumpert said. "If you don't touch the ball, you can't do anything really. Every time I touched it, I looked up ahead to pass the ball to people who were down the court."

"I figured the game would be like that, but I didn't know it would be that bad," he said. "I can't lie and say I had fun at this game. I just didn't like the way it was set up. It's tough to get going when you're not touching the ball, so I tried to just get rebounds and play defense so I could do something positive for our team."

Now, he did have high praise for the off-the-court experience:

"I had a lot of fun this week," Shumpert said. "This is a great group of guys and we had a lot of laughs and smiles. I'll definitely remember hanging out with all the guys at the Ronald McDonald House. All the kids [there] with the problems they have, and they still find a way to smile. That was the highlight of my weekend."

Are you beaming a bit? Seems like a great kid, with his values in the right place. High character kid. Now, let me give you the reality check. Iman wants what all these kids want - a shot at the NBA:

"My parents and my family have been behind me 100-percent," Shumpert said. "Ever since I was little, they have been telling me I could go to the NBA. A lot of people have doubted me, but when I rose up the rankings now everybody thinks it's true. Being a McDonald's All-American, I definitely have a smile on my face earning that honor."

Thaddeus Young was a high character kid too............ and Chris Bosh........ you get the point.

I'm not saying Iman is a one-and-done guy, and he certainly is not as big or as adept as Javaris Crittenton running the point. However, he is a big-bodied guard who can shoot, play defense, create plays and maybe run a team.

There's a reason that Paul Hewitt called Marquette to express interest in Tyshawn Taylor, another 6'3" Point Guard who is asking to be released from his letter-of-intent now that head coach Tom Crean is heading to Indiana. Hewitt knows the value of depth at the PG spot. It's probably going to be a battle of "Techs" - GT and VT, with maybe VT having an edge.

You know, to me, the college Point Guard position almost needs to become like the running back position in the NFL. Every team is basically looking for two "feature" backs now. NFL teams want two guys to split the load maybe 60/40 or 70/30, and that's been a luxury for college basketball teams. However, the Miller / Causey experiment proved the value of complementary players at PG position. You can go back to Best / Barry for a great Batman/Robin duo. It works.

Anyhow, back to my original point - I like this Iman Shumpert guy. He certainly will hold a place on the all-name team.

WR Depth Chart Down for the Count

Two football items of note this week relating to our wide receivers, specifically James Johnson and DJ Donley.

James Johnson has battled injuries to various named and unnamed parts of his body, and he's ready to call an end to his collegiate career. As always there is more to the story, and we may or may not know what's really behind the scenes. However, I think some of the conclusions can be drawn without too much of a stretch.
Paul Johnson said Wednesday. "[The first time, before spring practice started,] he was just tired of football."

"He just felt it was time to move on with his life," Buzz Preston (WR Coach) said. "I told him I wish him well. It's nothing personal. I would have loved to have the opportunity to coach him for a while. You know what, you've got to do what you've got to do."

"Tired of football" is just so much more than what's on the surface. The prep that goes into being ready to play is grueling and time consuming. When a player battles injuries year-after-year, it takes the obvious physical toll, but also exacts a mental one as well. Then in your senior year you get a new head coach - one know for running the football.......... uuuhhhhh yyeah.......... Oh yeah, he's an aggressive, pushing coach, who happens to REQUIRE you to block like you've never blocked before........... like your life depended on it. PJ is looking to find out "who wants to compete". Oh, and by the way, it doesn't matter that you're a starter and a senior. The depth chart has been completely blown up.

Maybe it's all just a bit much for a guy who's still fighting nagging injuries. Maybe it's all too much for a guy reaching the point of career realization that his life after college most likely does not involve helmet and pads. Who knows. Maybe they had a blow-up. Maybe James is one guy who's not drinking the PJ Kool-aid. PJ's frank and direct approach and take-it-or-leave-it plan isn't going to resonate with everyone. After all, none of these kids signed up to play for Paul Johnson. Part of PJ's job is to get them believing. For very obvious reasons, the wide receiver position might be the hardest sell of all.

Unless James Johnson and/or the coaching staff comes out with a more detailed story, it's probably wrong to assume anything. Either way, we wish James Johnson nothing but the best. He left a solid, lasting impression with some great performances ......................... He will finish his career as one of the top 15 wide receivers in GT history.

James Johnson ranks 13th in Tech history with nine touchdown receptions,
15th in Tech history with 1,240 yards receiving and 17th in Tech history with 78
catches. But his productivity dropped last season because of hamstring, knee,
rib and neck injuries. He finished with 25 catches for 447 yards, 14 catches and
161 yards below his sophomore totals.

Those numbers stand the test of time. He left something here at GT, and he has plenty to take with him to be proud of. All the best James!!!

The saga of DJ Donley comes to an end. He will enroll at Purdue. Why? One - a prolific passing offense. Two - a handful of players from his high school and other kids he knows play there. Fine...... No problem.

Make no mistake - that is a BIG loss for GT. He has serious NFL potential. At the end of the day it's like this for me....... all the best to DJ....................... now let's get on with life.............. The only bright side of this is that Darth Visor didn't end up getting the kid at USC-east.

Ok, so here's the depth chart at WR:

Tier 1 - BeBe Thomas, Correy Earls, Tyler Melton
Tier 2 - Tyler Davis, Andrew Smith, Jonathan Malone, RB Clyburn, Zach Fisher
Tier 3 - (incoming freshmen in fall), Daniel McKayhan, Quentin Sims

Don't forget Greg Smith has moved to A-back, although a move back is never out-of-the-question (just not expected). That's not what you'd call a lot of experience remaing. However, those tier one guys all have plenty of potential. BeBe still has that "Calvin Jr" type game, Earls is a burner and Melton has shown some serious game this spring.

So let me ask you a question - how much do you think we'll throw the ball this year?

PJ says he taylors his offense to the talent. Losing DJ and James just leads one to believe that maybe things just got swung even more towards the running game. The tier one WR's might have something to say about that. PJ ran the ball 80%+ of the time at Navy.

What's it going to be at GT? How do you think the run/pass mix will shake out?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Paul Johnson / GT Simpatico

Many you read the story that came across the wire yesterday from Dennis Dodd over at CBS Sportsline - click here. It's truly one of those pro-Paul Johnson, stick-it-to-you attitude type stories. Dodd did a nice job making a case for Johnson against all the detractors. It's certainly one of those stories that stirs up the emotions for Jacket fans. Reading it a few things struck me:

First, Paul Johnson has been quoted recently in quite a few non-AJC stories saying some things I hadn't heard him say. Here is a smattering from Dodd's article:

On schools that got away from the option:

"Bob Stoops has done a great job, but they haven't been near as successful as when Coach (Barry) Switzer was running the option," Johnson said.

"Alabama hasn't been near as successful (since it ran the option)," he said. "Auburn hasn't been near as successful. It took Texas forever."

When Georgia Tech's leading returning receiver James Johnson said "... we're going to hope that Coach does not do all that much running. We just hope he's saying all that to trick people," Johnson came out firing.

"He caught 30 balls (actually 25) and they went 7-6," Johnson said. "If something wasn't wrong, if what they were doing was so great, we wouldn't be here. It's not like we're coming in here and dismantling this high-powered machine that was lighting everybody up."

That was an interesting one, because I remember James Johnson's quotes, and I remember thinking - James, wake up and smell the Napalm. However, I never remembered PJ's response being quoted (do you?), unless that was something he said this week.

I'd be willing to bet a few former players are feeling a bit stabbed in the back over the last PJ comment. However, facts are facts. Technically, PJ is spot-on about not being a high-powered offense. We often were at the top of the ACC in rushing yards but rarely ever near the top in points per game. That's really the offensive stat that ultimately counts the most. We had the ACC's leading receiver in the same season that we were near dead last in passing efficiency, yardage, completion percentage - you name it. I mean, Calvin Johnson was something like 30-40% of our offense that year.

"If I'm at Washington State or Stanford and I'm trying to beat USC, what possesses me to think I can beat them doing the same thing they do," he said. "If I'm at Ole Miss or Vanderbilt or Kentucky, how am I going to beat Florida, LSU, Alabama and Georgia? I'm not going to beat them in recruiting."

Summing up the ACC offensively, the coach said: "A lot of schools just kind of run football's best 20 plays, (an) NCAA offense."
He's right about that one. Face it - offensively, the ACC has not been too good. Now, the spin on that one is obviously "strong defenses" with the proof being a record setting number of draft picks from one conference. Could be absolutely true, but regardless of how good the defensives have been - the offenses never caught up.
"We have some issues here in recruiting because of the academics," Johnson said. "If we can't recruit such-and-such a kid what are (the recruits) going to say, 'I can't get in at Tech?' They're going to say, 'I don't like that offense,' or 'I don't like the coach,' or 'They didn't do a good job recruiting me.'"
"All these rankings are a joke anyway," he said. "We're probably not going to get a receiver who wants to catch 100 balls here. But if catching 100 balls is more important than winning, I don't want him anyway."

Here's a paraphrase of a PJ quote from an interview he did for the site:

After running through his team’s schedule, Johnson let it be known that six wins for the Yellow Jackets is far from a guarantee.

Pointing to the away games on the schedule - at Boston College, Virginia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina and Georgia, Johnson said it will be a “big challenge” for his “young team that is only returning nine starters on both sides of the ball.”

I will tell you this. Georgia Southern fans, and particularly Navy fans are right now saying to themselves - classic Paul Johnson right there. Hang on to your hats, because Paul Johnson pulls no punches. He's hard on his team, hard on the players who don't give what they are capable of, and he has no qualms about letting people know about it. Don't get me wrong - he is not wreckless in his statements, but he is blunt. He is to-the-point. There's not a ton of coachspeak with PJ.

Now, as to PJ and how he thinks of himself, here's a quote from him being asked how his personality stacks up versus Dodd, Curry, Ross, O'Leary, Gailey.....
“Gosh, I don’t know. I’m probably a little of all of them,” Johnson said, sliding into a smile. “I try to be a teacher, but sometimes you have a lot of intensity if it calls for that, and sometimes it doesn’t require that, and you have to just do what you think needs to be done. Players can tell you [about my personality] better than I can. I don’t know what their perception of me is.”

All this talk about the triple option. We've had more than our fair-share of triple-option posts on this site. We see the positives in the system. However, all the talk about the "system" loses sight of something that's easy to overlook - Georgia Tech is getting a very good football coach......... who happens to know a lot about how to win football games........ and it's more than a "system".

Check out this quote from senior Jahi-Word Daniels:
“We’re still trying to get to know Coach Johnson, but we already can tell that he’s a no-games coach,” said cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels. “He sticks to the rules. He’s all about doing the right thing, and he wants perfection, and he wants to get the best out of us every time we hit the field. I’m sure we’ll learn more about him as the spring, summer and season goes on. But you can tell right now that he won’t accept anything less than the best from us.”
........ or this one from LB Coach Brian Jean-Mary:
“Make no mistake about it. You knew who was in charge at South Carolina. You knew Lou Holtz was the captain of the ship. When he walked into a room, he had everybody’s attention without saying a word. That’s the same thing I’d say about Coach Johnson.”
Coach Johnson has more than a "system". He has a structure for practice. He has an approach to discipline. He has an approach to following academics. He has specific teaching methods. He has an approach to developing young men. He adapts the "system" to the talents of the players. He has resume of winning. He has a track record of being a master in-game tactician. Bottom-line.......He has a plan, and he has a vision for what he wants............... and people are drinking the Kool-Aid. They are buying into it.

With Paul Johnson, we are getting a football coach - not a throw-back "triple option expert". To say it's all about the system discredits the man. The "system" is the differentiated on-the-field product. The "better" mousetrap on game-day. But it's the organization Paul Johnson is building to support, develop and grow that product off the field that Tech fans hopes truly differentiates the final results.

Heck, we know every coach has his own http://www.firecoach/?????.com. But how many coaches have fan sites from opposing schools dedicated to getting him to BE their head coach. I dare say not too many, but Paul Johnson does:

Which brings me to this............

Reading the Dodd article made me realize that maybe there's another reason Paul Johnson seems to resonate so well with Tech faithful (well, aside from the fact that he's not Chan Gailey). Paul Johnson has a chip on his shoulder. In some ways he's been answering the naysayers his entire career. You can do it at I-AA, but not in the big-boy leagues.
“I think that people have gotten too carried away with the triple-option, because that’s only one phase of the offense,” Johnson said. “If we have 75 plays, we’re not going to run 70 times. There’s a run-and-shoot package. There’s a play-action package. There’s different running plays besides the option. And, certainly, there are all kinds of options — counter option, speed option. We’ve got a sprint-out passing game. We’ve got draws. The key will be to come together with what our personnel here can do best.”

I'm sure he's felt the subtle brushback from some of the coaching fraternity that privately poo-poo what he does as "gimmiky". PJ is out to prove something......... and he's chosen to do it here at the house that Dodd built.

Tech fans, particularly alumni, have a bit of a chip on our shoulders as well. There's the general fight for respect on the national stage in the big sports. There's the success and concentrated fan support of our neighbors in Athens, who seem to get more limelight. There's the academic rigor, and the limitations that naturally go along with it. There's the "nerd" factor, which is part fact, part fiction. There's the smaller, spread out fan base. There are just a lot of reasons Tech fans seem to get defensive more than we really need to when it comes to college athletics.

So PJ has something to prove. Tech fans often feel like they have something to prove. It could be a marriage made in heaven.

One thing about this offense is that it's pretty wild. Running does not equal boring. Yet somehow we think the "spread option" is more sexy, when it's really a run-dominated offense run from the shot-gun. Whatever. Certainly PJ thinks it's going to be fun:

“Everywhere I’ve coached, we’ve set attendance records,” Johnson said. “It’s an exciting offense. It’s fun to watch. You don’t know where the ball is all the time. It’s also pretty fast.”

It's true about following the ball. There have been many people attending practices and the Saturday scrimmage that found themselves watching who they thought was the ball-carrier, only to find the play breaking somewhere else on the field.

Again from the Dodd article:

Despite running 86 percent of the time last season, Navy had 13 scoring drives that lasted a minute or less. That is total for the third most in the country. It had 16 scoring plays that went at least 25 yards. Only Florida has a longer current scoring streak of at least 30 points (seven games) than Navy (six).
Of course this Paul Johnson quote about says it all:

“You know what I’ve found? If you win, they like it.”

The unfortunate part about all this is that we have to wait so long to see the finished product on the field. It's going to be a long summer. Add to that the reality of losing so many talented starters and implementing new offensive AND defensive systems and you have to think expectations should be tempered somewhat. Guess all we can do is wait.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Black Eye for the QB Guy

You know, it's great to be "the first" at something. There's a certain amount of cachet that can go along with it. The first to the moon. The first president. The first guy to rush for 2000 yards in the NFL. Well, of course there's a flip side to being the first.

Evidently Jaybo Shaw is pushing to be first in numerous categories.

The Flowery Branch QB was the first QB to commit to Paul Johnson. In the Triple Option, a QB is the heart-and-soul, the coup-de-gras, the cat's pajamas. The system works when you have a QB who knows and can execute the system. Jaybo runs the system. So Jaybo Shaw was the first QB who decided to hitch his wagon to Paul Johnson at GT.

Taking it a step further, Shaw was actually the first guy at any position to verbally commit to PJ after his arrival. Others followed, by Jaybo will forever be known as the first guy to sign up for what Paul Johnson was selling.

When meeting with Paul Johnson, Jaybo bodly proclaimed that he would be the first QB for Paul Johnson that beat UGAg. What bravado. What cahones. Hey, we all like a little mean streak and aggressiveness, right? After all, everyone (eyes rolling in back of head) loved Reggie Ball's bravado of the "we won't lose another game all year" variety. I'm all for confidence and goals, but let's not get ahead of ourselves........... especially since it hasn't happened.

..... whoops...... how did that happen? Here's a more detailed story and the other names involved. Under-age drinking. I know none of us ever expected one of our wholesome boys to go and get caught up in all that kind'a mess. So now Jaybo becomes the first recruit of Paul Johnson's to get arrested. Now THAT'S a first that I'm not sure I wanted on my name tag. I wonder how many arrests PJ had to deal with at Navy. I honestly don't have a clue, but my guess is it's pretty darn near zero. Of course they were learning the fine art of bustin' heads at Navy and putting their lives on the line.

Many of you will be of the "boys will be boys" opinion. Many of you will call the whole thing overblown. Some of you may even be somehow proud - although it's no "Matt Stafford" kind of deal unless there are pictures of him holding kegs over his head. For me, it's sad for the kid, but it is what it is. It's been reported. He'll pay the price in numerous ways - personally, legally, parentally, head-coach-ish-ly - others I'm sure.

My only opinion is that recruits have to be a little bit smarter about how they conduct themself now that they're moving to a more public "arena". Old-timers that are held up as the paragons, legends and figureheads of sports-dom are often legendary for the their off-the-field behaviour as well. It's just now with the internet, digital cameras and the like - it's going to get more publicity than ever before. Maybe Jaybo can consult with Matt Leinart about the pitfalls trying to be careful about behavior (and throw in some future wisdom about how to do it while being a father at the same time). I don't bring up this story to highlight it. I bring it up because it's news, it's relavent to GT sports, and it's a bit of a relatively minor cautionary tale to other recruits / players......................... key lesson - nothing good happens after midnight (Jaybo was arrested at 12:30 am)

If any of you have ever checked out, it's a profane but entertaining college football site. They keep a "big board" of all off-season arrests, award points, and declare a winner prior to each season. All I'm saying is that these kids represent more than just themselves and everything they do is now fodder for public consumption (good or bad). Lucky for Jaybo, his FIRST day at GT won't be until the fall, which means GT doesn't break onto the EDSBS big board. Where's Reuben Houston when you need him?