Sunday, August 31, 2008

Alright already, the ACC stinks, we get it.

All the talking heads have been saying the ACC is down for a couple of years now and hasn't lived up to the hype with the addition of Miami, VaTech and BC. Many of us had some reasonable ability to fight back and lay claim to some level of respect. Nobody really thought we were as good as the SEC, but surely we could claim one of the 3 or 4 best conferences.

Well, most of those arguments started disappearing last year with our poor non-conference showing, starting with VaTech's woodshed beating by LSU. Well, another BCS loss later and we find ourselves winding down week 1 of college football, and where are we now? To say the ACC laid an egg would be making it sound soooo much better than reality. The reality is that we laid a cruddy, smelly, giant DoDo egg.

Let's review the carnage, shall we?

  • NCST loses in a primetime Thursday night match-up against USC-east, in a battle between two teams that didn't look like they belonged on a football field. In the battle of pitiful play, NCST managed to take home the trophy for embarrassment, by losing 34-0. Oh, it was only 3-0 at the half, so maybe most of the country fell asleep before watching the wheels fall off. Doubt it. The Pack were certainly the underdog and they were on the road, but they just plain stunk
  • Saturday afternoon, Virginia Tech managed to lose to East Carolina, albiet on the road. Truthfully, it wasn't a stretch to pick the Pirates. Let's see, VaTech lost every single skill player on their team as well as Macho Harris, who basically plays every position on the team and returns punts and kick-offs in his spare time. Oh this one was close, but it was reverse-Beamer-ball that did them in, with a blocked punt for a TD in the final 2 minutes for a 27-22 loss.
  • Then for a nice 3:30 game, USC-west decided to bring in their NFL franchise and whoop up on the Virginia Cavaliers to the tune of 52-7. Hey, they kept it close for all of about 30 seconds. That's worth something, right?
  • For the coup-de-gras, the ACC's shining star, the Clemson Tigers, made NCST's DoDo egg look downright pedestrian. Tommy Bowden managed to pull one of the most lackluster, unenergetic performances out of one of his most skilled teams since he arrived. The Alabama Crimson Tide rolled to a dominant 34-10 victory in what was nothing short of an overwhelming show of force by Nick Saban. Strength on strenth, and Tigers turned to pussycats when all was said and done. One side note, this was not an upset. Losses in week 1 are not an upset in my book unless you're playing a IAA school. There are no real rankings. There is no proof of anything to base who's better than who. Clearly Alabama was a better team, period. No upset. Is Tommy Bowden the new Chan Gailey? Or maybe he's the original Gailey since he's been there 10 years.
Now, along with these showcase pride-killers, there were also some too-close-for-comfort games that were ACC victories, but not close enough for bragging rights.

  • Maryland slipped by powerhouse Delaware by the score of 14-7.
  • Butch Davis's media friendly Tarheels scored 14 points in the 4th quarter to slip by might McNeese State 35-27.
There were only 5 ACC victories in week 1, and truthfully, only 1 can be help up as "significant" and nationally relavent.

  • Wake Forest went on the road and pummelled a Baylor team 41-13, for the only ACC win against another BCS opponent, albeit a bottom-feeder from the Big12.
  • Boston College showed their defense dominance by trouncing Kent St 21-0, a MAC bottom-feeder.
  • Miami did what they needed to do against by knocking off Charleston Southern 52-7. Of course Miami fans are under the delusional impression now that they're "back". Right. Let's give a few weeks, shall we?
  • Duke knocked off James Madison 31-7. Hey, it's Duke, so you can't take any win for granted.
  • Finally, Georgia Tech handled their business in Paul Johnson's debut, beating Jax St, 41-14.
So there you have it. A wasteland my friends. If someone tells you the ACC is the worst BCS conference right now, don't fight it. You don't have much ammo. Just accept it, and live to fight another day. It's only week one and plently of battles lay ahead.

Here are a few other interesting notes from the weekend:

  • Taylor Bennett helped his LaTech team defeat Mississippi State, for possibly that's school's biggest victory ever. Tator didn't have gaudy stats (something like 13-40), but his team won and he was running the show. Nice work
  • Georgia Tech transfer Steven Threet got some playing time in Michigan's opening day loss to Utah. He had a nice 30+ yard TD pass, but couldn't convert the 2 pt attempt.
  • Jonathan Garner is now the 2nd / 3rd string QB at Marshall, in case you didn't know.
  • Durant Brooks won the Redskins punting job. Their 3-year starting punter, Derrick Frost, was cut, and he wasn't happy, spouting off that he was never given a fair chance to win the job. Of course he had the job for 3 years and was very inconsistent. Eventually that's going to catch up to you.
  • Gary Guyton made the Patriots roster (which is a stunner!)
  • Eric Henderson was cut from Cincy
  • Wrotto made the Seahawks
  • D.Robertson cut by Dallas, although Tashard made the squad.
  • Mike Cox made the Chiefs and is likely to be the starting fullback
  • P.Wheeler made the Colts
  • All 3 Giants are still active - Wilkinson, Butler, Matthews
  • Chris Reis made the Saints
  • In case you are curious about the Jackets passing efficiency in game 1, it was 128.9 using the standard NCAA formula. If you applied the NFL formula, it would have been 84. Here's a link showing those calculations using 8/15, 135 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
  • The BC game will be on Raycom although it's not clear if it will be regionally broadcast in the south.

Cool Player Intro Video

This is the player intro video that played before the Jax St game. Well done. Dan Voss, you are diabolical.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Perfect Option Video

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sting Stat, 8/29/08....

Last night GT's starting backfield had 269 yards rushing with 5 TD's at 10.35 yards per carry.

I know it's Jacksonville State, but that's pretty good for the first game in a completely new offense that wasn't even executed all that crisply.

I'm back.... and tired

A few quick hits before I go to bed:

  • Very entertaining to watch. Tons of variations out of the base formation. Anything can happen.
  • Pass on the first play of the game! You almost knew that would happen, right? Of course Jones dropped it, but it could have gone for some good yardage
  • Paul Johnson is intense. He gets in players faces. I saw three different episodes where he went after kids after mistakes (one a late hit, one a fumbled snap). See the picture to get a feel for what I'm talking about
  • Nesbitt commanded the team pretty well. He made a couple of very impressive plays with his feet, and had a couple of beautiful option reads. The first half looked pretty crisp and well executed for the most part.
  • In reality, GT did not run the true triple option but a few times. It was mostly counters, sweeps, etc.
  • Jaybo Shaw played most of the 2nd half and played very respectfully for a true freshman. Commanded the game pretty well. Had some nice plays. Wasn't as dynamic as Nesbitt on the runs, but overall some good experience.
  • Things got sloppy in the 2nd half. We put the ball on the ground 5 times. Wow. Lost 2. Lucky it wasn't more.
  • Morgan Burnett is special - 2 INT's. By the way, we had 5 INT's the entire year last season......... and Burnett had 3 of them.
  • Derrick Morgan had a strong game.
  • The D didn't allow a 1st down for the first 18 minutes of the game
  • We rushed 4 guys most of the game against the Jax St front 6. Yeah, they blocked 4 with 6 most of the night, and we still pressured Perriloux pretty well.
  • Dwyer looked strong. Over 100 yards. Broke a lot of tackles.
  • Total offense - 349 rushing, 135 passing = 484 total (7.9/play). Not a bad start.
  • Injuries - Michael Johnson left due to dehydration. A.Barnes shoulder issue. Gilbert neck issue. Jefferson might have a dislocated wrist. Bowen hurt his leg. A bunch of other nicks / bruises.
  • Roddy Jones looked great running and catching.
  • GT's longest drive, 5:05, the opening one that ended in a punt. Four drives of less than 2 minutes resulted in scores. The other 2 were less than 3 minutes. So much for ball control.
  • True freshman who played - J.Shaw, T.Melton, E.Peeples, R.Reid, C.Taylor
  • 8 plays that were 20 yards or longer - strong.
  • 45000+. Good crowd.
  • Kicking game looked awful. Special teams in general needs major work.
  • Overall, some good things and a lot of mistakes. Not a lot to complain about. We did about what you'd expect - run over an inferior opponent and make a lot of mistakes along the way.
  • Jax St head coach comment after the game - “There’s just too many issues with [Tech’s] offense,” JSU coach Jack Crowe said. “We had two-and-a-half weeks to deal with it. The rest of these folks will have two days. Good luck, ACC.”
  • For me, tonight was more about the fun of unveiling the team. I'm just not convinced I learned anything about the team against a I-AA school. I think we'll have our hands full at BC and will be blessed to come out with a win.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In-Game Commenting

While I won't be online blogging, use this post for all your in-game comments. That way all the happiness and frustration is captured forever (except of course when I get back and kill all the profanity).

Enjoy, and click on the permalink at the bottom so you can see all the comments as you refresh.

Heading to the game this afternoon

I'll be at the game tonight. However, I will be doing some live "twittering" throughout. So check out the twitter feed in the lower right column. You can actually subscribe to my feed and probably get text alerts, etc. Not sure how though.

My twitter name is GTBlogScott, to subscribe.

Click the image below for a printable depth chart. There are probably errors in it. I'll correct it as we go along. Also, the depth chart is really only accurate to 3rd string. It's up for grabs after that.

I love the smell of napalm in the morning

That Robert Duval line pretty much sums up my feeling today. Battle lines have been drawn. Weapons are at the ready. The smell of death is in the air. Opponents must be crushed. Time to exert insurmountable force on our enemies, crush their spirits, then break their backs. No mercy. It's not about mercy. This is personal.

Watch out Jax St. The D is coming:

Paul Johnson Press Conference

From August 2, in case you missed it:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

College Pick-em - Almost at 100 Entrants

Well, in just over 24 hours, we've signed up almost 100 people in the Football Pick-em challenge. If you haven't signed up, here are the details. Go sign-up and compete with the rest of your fellow fans at picking games:


Please forward the link to other GT fans that might not visit the site. Let's sign up as many as possible. I certainly want to break 100, which it looks like we'll do easily. The good news is that new people can sign up even during the season.

Keep pushing!

Jack Crowe has a man-crush

Evidently Jacksonville State head coach Jack Crowe likes Paul Johnson and likes Georgia Tech. Some of Crowe's comments yesterday include Georgia Tech winning the ACC title and comparing Jonathan Dwyer to Earl Campbell. Link here. Wow. Heady stuff. Either a true man-crush or a pre-game strategy to try and setup his opponent for an App.St type shock-the-world moment.

"But, here is my assessments and that’s all you can do is make assessments. I think that in their scheme and they had Adrian Peterson at Georgia Southern there was a phenomenal fullback in this offense. But I think in Jonathan Dwyer, they probably have a better player than they’ve ever had at that position. I have great respect for him. Some of our players tell me what a really special person and player he is. Some of our players know him. I don’t know if they ever could have recruited Jonathan to play fullback in this offense, but he’s probably perfect. You know, I see all kinds of problems because this is a fullback first offense and he is. I think you’d have to go back to (Earl) Campbell at Texas, to where you had such a great athlete running in such a similar situation because it was easy to see the way he finished the year last year. He was the next All-ACC right behind Tashad Choice. He was the next guy that was going to be the All-ACC runningback. So, that is a phenomenal issue for us, is him. And then you got a quarterback, quite honestly, that I think fits the thing to a tee. It’s a fullback/quarterback offense and you’ve got Josh Nisbett, a guy that was recruited to play a lot of positions by a lot of people. And probably his best skill is what they ask him to do and that’s when he plays with his legs and they’ve really ended up with a great fullback/quarterback. I don’t know if somebody picked a coach with a system to fit the players, but they did. You have to give somebody credit for making this a pretty good pick because those both fit.

"In fact, I think they make them an enormous threat early on, to anybody they play. You add to that, that they probably have down the field receiving ability - to change over from a previous offense and it probably gives you a higher passing threat than by far just in the carry over from people that normally line up in this offense. And, it’s hard to play the pass and play the option. I think - you can go back to Homer Rice who’s from Georgia Tech and back to Joe Hamilton. There has been an option quarterback that you just better not avoid the middle or down the field because Ralph was there and he would play the option and kill you with the pass. So its part of a Georgia Tech tradition to have these kind of quarterbacks with a really great combination of option and pass together.

"I have a very much appreciation for Paul and what he’s done at other places and I see an emerging offense that is going be very hard to handle for anybody. And you put us out there and I think we’ve got, maybe three starters returning on defense, maybe four, depending on if you want to call one that rotated a starter. We’re very young and that’s an enormous challenge for us. The real challenge is getting your offense the ball, because they can take the ball and keep the ball all day. So our defense is going to have to really show up and make plays because everybody wants to talk about offense and offensively we’re transitioning also.

Football Strategy - Straight from Paul Johnson

If you haven't seen it, now you can:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Football Recruiting Comments on Chris Crenshaw

Nice comments on next year's incoming recruit Chris Crenshaw:

Of the experienced players, senior defensive end Chris Crenshaw already has verbally committed to Georgia Tech.

Since then, the 6-foot-3 player has put on 25 pounds of muscle. Now, he's up to 240 pounds.

"He isn't scared of anybody, and he knows how to use what the good Lord blessed him with," Arnold said.

Crenshaw has an 82-inch span from fingertip to fingertip.

"That's 6 feet, 10 inches," Arnold said. "That's just crazy. And as a pass rusher, it makes a real difference. He has worked extremely hard to get where he is. He deserves all he gets."

More on DJ Donley

Well, more facts are in about the status of DJ Donley. We may not know where he's headed, but we know he'll never play football again at Georgia Tech:

Receiver D.J. Donley, a transfer from Georgia Tech, has not arrived at Purdue, and coach Joe Tiller said Donley might end up at a junior college this season.

"We're (still) planning on getting him, but I don't know when," Tiller said Sunday. "Right now the thoughts are we might have him go to Coffeyville (Community College in Kansas). I don't really know. He needed a B and a C (in summer school), and he got a B and an F."

Video Warm-Up

R U Ready?

Monday, August 25, 2008

After a long hiatus...

by Lennie Mac

I am back for the new season. After a summer of studying Mike Sewak and Ken Nuimatolo triple option videos and after watching an replay of the Navy-Notre Dame several times, I am ready for the upcoming season.

As a refresher to the stats that I provide for each game, they are as follows:

- The Freidgen Formula - Comprised by Ralph Friedgen, this formula holds true in 95% of football games. Take the number of fumbles, interceptions, dropped passes, offensive penalties and sacks and divide it by the total number of plays. If it is under 12%, you will win 90 to 95% of the time. Likewise, if you are over 12%, you will lose 90 to 95% of the time.

- Success Rate - I got this one from Rock M Nation Here are the rules for a successful play:

1st Down - 50% of necessary yardage
2nd Down - 67% of necessary yardage
3rd and 4th Down - 100% of necessary yardage

Sucess Rate can tell you how a game will flow, and over the long haul can tell you who's winning and who's losing.

- Defensive Success Rate - If it's a sucessful play on defense, then it's an unsuccessful play on offense.

- Line Yards - This measures run blocking (I will follow this one closely). Here are the rules:

- For a play that resulted in negative yards, the O-line is given 120% of the effort (i.e. a 3-yard loss would be a 3.6-yard loss for the O-line).
- For a play that resulted in a 0-4 yard gain, the O-line is granted 100%.
- For a play that resulted in a 5-10 yard gain, the O-line is granted 50% of the yards over 4 (i.e. an 8-yard gain would be a 6-yard gain for the O-line).
- For a play that resulted in a 10+ yard gain, the O-line get no extra credit—by that point, the runner is into the secondary, and the line won’t get much chance to block. Therefore, the most credit an O-line can get is 7 yards.

This works a lot better for runs than passes since, obviously, the O-line isn't allowed to run down the field and block for receivers until the ball is actually thrown, and in most cases (some screen passes being the obvious exception) the ball is thrown pretty far away from the line.

- Sack Rate - This is used to measure pass blocking. Pretty easy:

Sack Rate = (sacks)/(sacks + passes)

Other things I'll try to put together after each game:

- # of plays by each skill player
- # of defensive players rushing the QB
- # of defensive backs

I'll start doing this for the BC game. Two reasons:

1. The Jacksonville State game is not televised.
2. I only consider games against fellow BCS schools.

College Pick'em Challenge - GET PICKS IN NOW!!

I just created a Georgia Tech college pool over at Get bragging rights for your ability to pick games!!!!


Just head over, sign up, and get your picks in before Thursday night!!!! There will be between 10-15 games each week. The pool will run every week during college football season and you can view your standings against everyone else in the pool.

I've basically included all ACC games each week, as well as UGAg's matchup that week. We might also add an interesting game or two each week as well. In addition there is a weighting factor for each pick. The higher the confidence, the higher the number you assign (1-11 in week one). You have to assign one number to each game, and you'll get that many points if you get the game right. FYI - you're picking straight up, not against the spread.

There is no cost. There is no spam involved. Should be fun. Spread the word!! Get as many people signed-up as possible.

Sign up now!!!

FSN Georgia Tech Football Video Preview

For your viewing pleasure. A Georgia Tech fall preview, done prior to the beginning of fall camp.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Deja Vu Anyone

Check out this review of an ACC team, and guess which one it is..... and no, it's not an old Chan Gailey flashback:

Coaching: Allow me to depart from my usual overall coaching report to go off on a diatribe. When you have no division or league championships (let alone the national titles promised upon his hire), when your seven-year record is worse than the program's seven-year mark prior to your arrival, the arrogant, brusque and generally secretive demeanor exhibited by coach ???????? point to a guy who made the wrong career decision seven years ago. It's not as if he's reinvented the game and is protecting his secret formula for winning national titles. While none of the qualities mentioned above are admirable, they'd at least be understandable if championship banners were fluttering in the breeze around ????? Stadium. Coach did, and would again, make a solid NFL coach. He's good at developing talent for the professional ranks. He sure as hell manages games like an NFL contest. And that's the problem - the NFL is about playing close to the vest and not taking many chances. It's about surviving the grind from week to week, but not necessarily winning every week. 9-7 in the NFL can still win your division and get you a shot at the Super Bowl. And the NFL is where ????? should've remained. College football is about taking chances, having fun, playing loose, and playing to win instead of playing not to lose. Does ???????? do that? Not in my eyes. ??????? will get you anywhere from 4-8 to 9-4 in a given year. He's good enough in that the bottom will never fall out. But his style makes ??? incapable of bringing home championships (division, league, national) and he's always going to be in some type of rebuilding mode. I know a lot of faithful disagree, but I'm also aware that plenty are ready for a new direction. ?????????? football can be so much more. It's about change! It's about hope! Thank you ladies and gentlemen, God bless America and God bless ACC football.

Sound familiar? Can you guess what team of which they speak? Here's the answer.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where are they now - Calvin Johnson

Great article on Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams, and check out the highlights from his 2nd pre-season game.

In case you didn't get enough, how about watching the catch:

Turns out CJ even does it in the games:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rushing against good run defenses....

Some skeptics have pointed out that Navy under CPJ accumulated a lot of rushing yards against very poor run defenses. In an absolute sense this is true. Of course Navy usually still had even lower-rated talent than those teams' defenses, but that's another story.

Looking at the stats I found that Navy only played one BCS-level top-10 rush D since 2004. However, facing this offense tends to screw up your rush D stats. Navy played two other teams that would have placed in the top ten without the Navy game included, and you can also throw in one of GSU's opponents under Mike Sewak. Here are the four teams and their rush D ranks with and without the Navy/GSU games:

School Year Rank Sans Navy/GSU
Wake 2007 #15 #5
BC 2006 #26 #8
ND 2004 #4 #1
UGA 2004 #15 #5

Here is what these teams' defenses averaged per game against their other opponents, and what Navy/GSU averaged against them:

Others Navy/GS Delta
Rush YPG 90.1 290.0 +199.9
Rush YPC 2.82 4.64 +1.78
Scoring 19.5 21.3 +1.8
Rush TD's 0.65 2.0 +1.35

Navy/GSU averaged just over 21 first downs per game -- varying from 17 to 24. None of the games were early blowout losses so they didn't spend much time facing backups.

Not to give false impressions, there have been a few games that Navy didn't move the ball in. Most notably they got completely shut down and shut out by the #17 rush D of Rutgers in 2006.

But then, even great championship teams with explosive offenses are shut down on offense sometimes. GT beat VT 6-3 in 1990.

More importantly, GT will never face the talent and size disadvantages that Navy and GSU did in these games.

The point is that Paul Johnson and Mike Sewak have repeatedly taken 1AA level players up against top notch D1A run defenses and shoved the ball down their throats in 90's Nebraska fashion. True, the Navy and GSU defenses lost the games, though they were respectable for their talent levels. But the offensive numbers would've been solid for teams with top-20 talent levels.

In 2009, if not this year, GT is gonna start hanging 350-400 rushing yards and 4-5 rushing TD's on some good defensive teams. Rival fans think that's just ludicrous and that it can't happen, but the evidence is pretty plain that it will. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to transpose Navy's offense to GT's talent levels, and you can tell in interviews that many opposing coaches already know it's coming. Sooner or later their fans will be sitting with their faces in their hands in mournful disbelief as their title hopes evaporate.

Paul Johnson, Mike Sewak and the GT offensive coaches run the ball like Mike Leach and Norm Chow sling it, and that dominant running game helps their defenses and passing games more, too.

These guys are the gurus of the modern triple option and they have a national cult following among HS and small college coaches -- who will be sending a lot of tapes their way.

Tech has the best running game coaches in the country and now they on the big stage with chips on their shoulders, armed with top-15 dual-threat QB's and Parade All American running backs.

Johnson's Jackets are gonna take us for a very fun ride.

BlogPoll - I'm in

Don't ask me why I decided to accept the invitation to participate in the College Football Blog Poll. It's not like I care that much about polls, and it's not like I need another thing to spend 10 minutes a week on. But here I am.

What is the Blog Poll? Well, read here to get the 411. It's basically a bunch of bloggers voting each week for a top 25. Here's my initial ballot:

1 Southern Cal 25
2 Florida 24
3 Georgia 23
4 Oklahoma 22
5 Ohio State 21
6 LSU 20
7 Clemson 19
8 West Virginia 18
9 Texas 17
10 Kansas 16
11 Auburn 15
12 Missouri 14
13 Wisconsin 13
14 Virginia Tech 12
15 Texas Tech 11
16 Tennessee 10
17 Wake Forest 9
18 Illinois 8
19 South Florida 7
20 Oregon 6
21 Arizona State 5
22 Brigham Young 4
23 Michigan 3
24 Florida State 2
25 Georgia Tech 1

Dropped Out:

Key Points:
  • Yes, blatant homerism with Georgia Tech at #25, but hey, Playboy thinks we're #25 also, and obviously they know a lot about spread options.
  • Georgia gets in the top 5, but I'm not sure they'll be able to get into the title game after losing Thanksgiving weekend :-)
  • Who cares about the rest? It's silly to do this in week 0 anyway.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Paul Johnson Show #1 Recap

Here is a link to the audio of the Paul Johnson show from MOTG - link here. Here were my takeaways from the show:

  • There are a set of blue jerseys, ok already. Also Paul Johnson made his position on the subject clear. First, he didn't have anything to do with the choice. Second, the players like the uni's, so just get behind what the kids want to wear. Third, he thinks it's more important how the kids play than what they wear. Got it?
  • QB play has been better in the fall. Guys are getting more comfortable in the offense.
  • O-Line, can't sugarcoat it, we don't have a lot of guys who've played a lot. That's why there's been a lot of shuffling.
  • Practice needs to be harder than the game, but that's not necessarily how it was before he got here. Uhhmmm, what are you trying to say coach?
  • On mental toughness - There's a difference in being hurt and being injured. Being mentally tough is about pushing through when it doesn't feel good. We need to know who has that toughness.
  • Jaybo Shaw will play, probably even in game 1.
  • On Kyle Jackson: he has played very well and will probably start
  • On freshman LB's: They look great, but he really wants to redshirt them to save a year of eligibility. They'll be better in year 5 than year 1.
  • On Marcus Wright: talented, but inexperience and he's not sure what they are going to do yet, he's good, but he's a freshman, 17 yrs old. He still might play, there just are no upperclassman at skill positions.
  • Embry Peeples will play for sure - battling for a starting spot. In a game we'll play 4-5 AB's. If we had to play tonight, he'd get some snaps
  • Jon Lockhart playing well at AB. PJ never saw him as a DB, even though Charles Kelly recruited him for it.
  • Scout team work is situational work to prepare the kids. He might ask the scout team to let a kick get blocked, ask a guy not to go on the field to see if the backup is watching, have the return team score a TD to force a quick extra point play,
  • PJ overheard players say it was the toughest camp they had been through, but PJ didn't think it was all that physical.
The usual straight-up, no-nonsense answers, although there wasn't a ton of insight or new information. A good start to the season, except for the fact that 790thezone didn't decide to broadcast the show until about 15 minutes after it started. Way to go flagship station!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Gold

Angelo Taylor.
400m hurdles
Gold Medal.

It's a story of 2nd chances. A story of redemption after some challenging personal and legal troubles years ago.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Introducing Sting Stats

I'm a new contributor here on the GT Sports Blog, so here's a little background: I'm a native south Georgian, a GT alum and diehard fan, and a Navy veteran. My brother is a Georgia Southern graduate, a triple-option HS football coach, and also a die-hard GT fan. So I've followed Paul Johnson's career with considerable interest for years.

Over the summer I've been researching Johnson's career and statistics, and posting some of my findings over on the Hive. With Scott's kind request I'll be revisiting and expanding on them some here on the GT Sports Blog.

In an appropriate segue, Scott pointed out after the Saturday scrimmage that Paul Johnson rarely punts. Brandon then asked in the comments: is the offense that good, is CPJ a risk taker, or both?

Well, it is definitely true that Paul Johnson has punted less than anyone in else in college football:

NCAA D1A punts per game (2003-2007):

1. Navy..........2.92
2. Texas Tech....3.05
3. Hawaii........3.26
4. Louisville....3.45
5. Southern Cal..3.69

A big part of this has to be attributed to offense's extremely high success rate on third down:

3rd down conversions (2005-2007):

1. Hawaii.........49.66%
2. BYU............48.42%
3. Navy...........48.02%
4. Ohio State ....47.99%
5. Southern Cal...47.97%

(The NCAA's website didn't begin publishing these numbers until 2005, unfortunately).

Finally, there is a convincing argument that Paul Johnson has no peers when it comes to fourth down conversion success. The last three seasons, Navy is the only program in the top five of these three fourth down categories: total attempts, total conversions, and conversion percentage.

4th down conversions percentage (2005-2007):

1. LSU.............77.27%
2. Auburn..........71.74%
3. Air Force.......67.14%
4. Navy............64.10%
5. Southern Cal....64.00%

Successful 4th down conversions (2005-2007):

1. NMSU............61
2. Navy............50
3. Southern Cal....48
4. Notre Dame......47
5. Air Force.......47

Total 4th down conversion attempts (2005-2007):

1. NMSU............116
2. Toledo...........89
3. Notre Dame.......86
4. Houston..........80
5. Navy.............78

So while Johnson is something of a risk-taker on fourth down compared to most football coaches, he is certainly no Hal Mumme (of Kentucky fame and now at New Mexico State).

Plus, if you make it most of the time, it's not much of a risk!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Football - Scrimmage Notes

The last public display for the Jackets prior to the opener is now in the books. So here are some random notes

Well, it turns out the team is just flat getting worn out after flat going at it full speed for 2 weeks. Paul Johnson called off Friday afternoon practice and cut the scrimmage short after 90 minutes. Looks like coach is going to back off a bit in the final two weeks, although probably only a notch. There were still a bunch of fumbles today though, and that means Johnson will want to keep contact high.

There was a fascinating comment from Paul Johnson today. He was talking about the above point, that his guys are a bit beat up and worn out. Here's what he said:

“We’re to the point where I know what they can do, so we just got to get ready to play."

Again it was in the context of speaking about scaling back a bit, but I still find it very interesting. Coach knows what these guys can do now. He's comfortable with the skill level of his team. This would lead me to believe that for the next two weeks it's about game-planning for Jax St, getting more reps and nursing injuries. It's not so much going to be about switching guys back-and-forth between positions. Sure, there will be some switches, but it sounds like moving to closed practices coincides with the next phase of this season.

One guy that is seriously performing, yet won't be able play this year of Anthony Allen. He has led the team in rushing in both fall scrimmages and has looked fantastic. There's a bit of a debate on where he will line-up next season. Paul Johnson is all about the best players on the field. That probably mean Jonathan Dwyer is still your starting B-Back. Allen, who transferred from Louisville, has a body more like a B-Back, but could end up in the A-Back position. We're going to get a great idea of what Dwyer and Roddy Jones (nice article on him here) are like, as well as Greg Smith. I can't imagine what PJ is going to do with a guy like Allen.

Atlanta head coach Mike Smith watched the scrimmage today. Evidently he and PJ are friends from way back.

Lots of dings, bruises, cramping, strains and pulls. The team is a bit rag-tag evidently. David Brown went off on a stretcher today, but X-rays were negative. That's good news, but we'll hear Monday his status. The O-Line in general is in rough shape and probably the #1 worry at the moment....... Correy Earls was back today, but may have lost his starting WR job to Tyler Melton, who has performed well, and not missed any time.

Well, Playboy ranked the Jackets #25, which is a bit surprising. However, Andrew Gardner could care less, as he and Tim Tebow both took a pass on the Playboy All-American team. Gardner might want to rethink the "exposure" he might get, as he has a chance to "spread" his name around, especially considering everyone buys that thing for the articles. Actually, I applaud Andrew for it. It's a moral stand and the right one. Way to go!!!

So you get the starting punter job, after the best punter in the nation moves on to the NFL, and once again, there isn't a single punt performed in the scrimmage today. If Chandler Anderson punts more than 20 times this season it will be seriously out of character for Paul Johnson. Folks get ready for 4th-and-3 at our own 35 and going for it. I think Navy only punted about 11 times last season. Crazy.

Schedule Advantages for our Opponents

I started a post the other analyzing our opponents schedules, to see which ones have certain advantages when the play us. I didn't finish it before I noticed someone at the Hive posted a similar concept.

First, here's an ACC Helmet Schedule for your review.

Now, let's breakdown the key scheduling advantages our opponents have going into the season.

Clearly, we all expect Georgia Tech to improve dramatically as the season goes along. That means those who play us early are at a distinct advantage. Putting aside the DI-AA teams, here are the teams we play prior to October:
@Boston College
@Virginia Tech
Mississippi State


Completely whacky, different offense. Teams with one week to prepare will have tremendous difficultly preparing for the spread option.
Jax St has all the time in the world to prepare but no film to look at.
North Carolina and UGAg get a bye week before playing GT
Duke, Clemson, Miami have a bye week 2 weeks prior to playing GT

Home is home..... for whoever is home. BC, VT, Clemson, UNC and UGAg all force us to hit the road.

Another advantage would be to have Wake Forest or another option team on your schedule prior to playing us. The Georgia Tech spread option is different than anyone else's but learning assignment defense certainly will carry over to other variations. Wake Forest is much less of an option team than a couple of years ago, but some elements are still there. Georgia will have faced spread teams like Florida and now Auburn, who is moving to the spread.

Mississippi St. plays Auburn the week before GT, a team moving to a spread offense.

DUKE plays NAVY 3 weeks before the GT game. If there's one team that can help prepare for our scheme, it's going to be NAVY. It's PJ's offense.

Clemson plays Wake Forest the week before they play GT, and they have a bye week prior to WF.

FSU plays Wake Sept 20, then GT Nov 1..... Miami plays Wake Oct 25 and GT Nov 22.

Georgia plays Georgia Southern in week 1, then Florida and Auburn later in the schedule.

Georgia has the best scenario of all our opponents. They will play at least 3 teams that highlight a spread attack prior to the Georgia Tech game, AND they have a bye week before our game. Working against them is playing us last on their schedule, when our offense should be running its best.

Clemson also has a great advantage. They have a bye week before playing Wake Forest, then they play GT at home. So they get to spend a lot of time preparing for assignment defense, then get a week to practice it against Wake.

DUKE may have the best advantage of all. They play Paul Johnson before they play Paul Johnson, because they have NAVY 3 weeks before GT. Then they get a bye week before playing UVA and GT consecutively.

North Carolina has a bye week before our game and in addition gets us in their house.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Football - Depth Chart Released

Georgia Tech released an official depth chart, which is bound to change daily, so take it all with a grain of salt. Here you go:

Aug 13 Depth Chart

Here are a few interesting points:

  • All offensive skill positions are led by either freshman or sophomores, and 16 of the 18 in the 3-deep are as well.
  • Where is Willie White?
  • Quite a few walk-ons ahead of scholarship guys. Not surprising with PJ.
  • Clearly the class of 2007 is making their mark. They are seriously penetrating the depth chart.
  • Lucas Cox is listed as the #1 A-Back ahead of Greg Smith. On one hand, Lucas has a number of outstanding runs in the spring, but mostly at B-Back. He's performed well in the fall as well, but to list him as the #1 A-Back shows that Paul Johnson does want to get guys on the field who perform. However, he's not the prototypical A-Back at 6'0" 238lb. On the other hand, Greg Smith was in the doghouse a bit for heading to the beach one time too many (beach is where injured players sit during practice). Maybe this is a bit of a message to Greg Smith to push himself a bit harder.
  • Jaybo Shaw is listed as the #2 QB. While that surprises nobody, it does put Shaw in a pretty solid position to get snaps this season and not use his redshirt. Lets say we head into game 1 with Jax St. Let's say the Jackets go up big. Is Paul Johnson going to ride Josh Nesbitt the entire game and risk injury? Is PJ going to use the opportunity to get the #2 QB some game experience? I just don't see a Chan Gailey situation. I see the #2 guy getting snaps no matter what.
  • Marcus Wright is nowhere to be found in the 6 listed A-Backs. On one hand that is not totally suprising since he's a true freshman. On the other, he seems perfect for the position and the offense, and I think many people pegged him to make his mark early. Kudos to Jonathan Malone, Jon Lockhart and Embry Peeples for making the depth chart.
  • Correy Earls isn't listed, but is shown as injured at the bottom right.
  • O-Line 1st team- Gardner, AJ Smith, Voss, Gilbert, Brown. A redshirt frosh, a rs-Jr and 3 rd-seniors. Experience typically trumps talent, although you have to hand it to Gilbert as a rs-frosh. Evidently he's got a mean streak and it's paying off.
  • O-Line 2/3 deep - I found it interesting that Nick Claytor is at 2-deep and Clyde Yandell at 3-deep behind Andrew Gardner. Claytor has really been re-shaping his body, but Gailey almost didn't redshirt Yandell because he performed so well in practice last season. Now we find him 3rd on the list. I guess I pictured Claytor and Yandell as bookend tackles for the next few years. Interestingly though, all 3 left tackles are at least 6'6" and are all around 300lb, while all 3 right tackles are 6'3" and are 271, 254, and 253 lbs, respectively. Left tackle is Josh Nesbitt's blind-side protection and typically the most important line position, although successful execution of the option relies on an extremely talented center.
  • At linebacker, Shane Bowen is listed in the 2-deep, behind AT Barnes. This is a little surprising because he has more game experience than anyone. However, he didn't practice in the spring and I sure haven't heard his name much in the fall. Kyle Jackson and Brad Jefferson show up as starters, both in their 2nd season. I have to be honest, I did not think Jackson was going to make a big impact. However, he's evidently worked extremely hard reshaping his body and preparing to play. Kudos.
  • In the defensive backfield, you have Jahi and Mario Butler at the corners, and Mario Edwards and Morgan Burnett at safeties. No surprises there.
  • Scott Blair looks like he's our FG kicker and kickoff man, as well as 2nd in the depth chart at punter. Chandler Anderson is the 1st string punter.
What are your thoughts after looking at the depth chart?

The Expectations Battle Rages On

I don't think there's any doubt - the 2008 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are the biggest unknown in the ACC this season. It might even be fair to say they are the biggest unknown in the country. So much is changing - schemes, coaches, players, attitudes, schedules, etc. How do we know where we'll end up this season? The short answer is that we'll just have to wait until the whistle blows.

That said, radio sports jock Buck Belue recently called out Jacket fans for not having more energy around this season, as he expected big things and couldn't understand why some fans see this year as a down year.

Last week I posted my game-by-game expectations, which basically got us to 7 wins and a bowl game. A case can easily be made for 4 wins and a good case could be made for 8 to 9 wins.

I decided to come at the expectation battle a different way. Let's start with how we ended up in 2007 and try and capture the key elements that drive future results. On a team with coaching and scheme continuity the key elements are easier to judge - schedule, key player losses, returning starters, depth, new talent.

For Georgia Tech it's much more complicated. We have to add new coaching staff, new offensive schemes, new defensive schemes, different playcalling ability and even softer elements like attitude changes and belief systems. So with that, here's my visual on how we go from here (2007) to there (2008).

(Click image to see larger version)

It's still a 7 win season in my book, but how we get there is so different. Let's face it - if Chan Gailey was still the coach, he would have his most difficult challenge yet achieving the vaunted 7-win mark. With all the key player losses and the tougher schedule, he was going to have his hands full. The cupboard is not bare, but folks, let's just remember for a second who we lost - Tashard Choice, Rashaun Grant, Jamaal Evans, Mike Cox, James Johnson, DJ Donley, Matt Rhodes, Kevin Tuminello, Nate McManus, Colin Peek, Darrel Robertson, Adamm Oliver, Philip Wheeler, Gary Guyton, Avery Roberson, Pat Clark, Jamal Lewis, Djay Jones, Joe Gaston, Travis Bell, Durant Brooks, Taylor Bennett, Kyle Manley. I'm sorry, but that a mass exodus of talented expired eligibility.

So my key factors are the following:

Road games @BC, @VT, @Clemson, @UNC, @UGAg. Throw in home games against Miss St, UVA, FSU and Miami, and it's not an easy schedule. We have a few very winnable games, but nothing's going to come easy. For me the schedule alone will be a net 1-2 additional losses for this season.

I listed the losses above. While we have some uber-talented guys ready to step in, they lack the game experience necessary to consistently do their jobs. I'll take an above average 3 year senior starter over an incoming high school phenom almost every time (unless your name is Calvin Johnson). Jonathan Dwyer backed up Tashard Choice, right? Choice backed up PJ Daniels, right? Experience is so important in football. It's not so much making outstanding plays as it is avoiding bad plays. Seniors just don't tend to make as many mistakes. There's a reason that there's a coaches saying that goes like this - add one loss to your season for every freshman you start on your team. Lack of experience is probably a net 1-2 losses in my book this season. Again, this is experience, not talent. Experience matters.

This was a tough one for me. I am a big believer in what this offense will do, but I'm also realistic about the repetition, execution and decision-making required to really make it hum. I don't know if the learning curve will be steady upward throughout the season or if it will be in step-changes, but it will go up-and-to-the-right. They offense will get better and better at some pace during the season. However, I still see the new offense as a detriment in year one, primarily due to turnovers and poor decisions. The new offense is probably a net 1-loss impact on the season, but will move to a positive starting next season.

An ever tougher call than the offense. To be honest, this could be a positive impact. We just don't know yet. The D-Line is the heart-and-soul of this team, but they are also going to be called on to "make plays" by themselves (one-on-one) more this season. The result is that Georgia Tech will see a significant drop in tackles-for-a-loss and sacks, stats for which will led the nation at various times through last season. In addition, we are going to rely on our corners to man-up more often, which leaves them out on an island at times. I really like that Charles Kelly is coaching those guys now, but they are having to change the way they cover, the way they backpedal and turn, how far up they play on the line, how the bump at the line, etc. I am going to be fascinated in how Georgia Tech performs defensively as we move to a more "traditional" defense (did I just start a new scheme debate?). All-in-all, the defensive changes will probably take a season to work through as well, but I see it as a very minor net-negative impact this season. However, we will still have a stout D that will keep us in most games.


Seriously soft stuff on this one, but a potentially huge impact for the season. Paul Johnson is trying to instill new attitudes. It's no longer about the offense or defense. It's about the team. Nobody cares how many stars you had or if you're a walk-on. If you perform in practice you play, period. Practices are very regimented, with little wasted effort (read John Wooden's book on the magic of orchestrated practices). QB's have no special green jerseys in practice. They get hit like everyone else. You will work harder, but also play harder (how many teams play dodgeball at practice). Mental toughness will be taken to a much higher level than under the previous regime. "Four quarters" won't just be something we put on a wristband, it will be a way of life.

Not everyone bought in though, as evidenced by the transfers. The reality is we don't know who's left with doubts. We don't know who's going through the motions or creating negative energy with other players. I guarantee there are still doubts.

Travis Chambers was interviewed by Adamm Oliver for his website recently. He said that a key difference with Paul Johnson is that it is clear that he has a plan for where the team is going. Again, very soft stuff, but if these players buy in, I believe it's at least a net +2 factor in the win column this year. Honestly, I believe this category is almost the make-or-break to a bowl season for me.

What we lose in experience could be made up somewhat with new blood, right? If the outgoing experience is replaced with better talent, then as they gain experience, we will be better off. Logical arguement I think. In this case I think we are upgrading talent at many key positions (just not experience). Josh Nesbitt as QB..... Dwyer at RB...... R.Jones at AB....... M.Johnson at DE....... M.Burnett & M.Edwards at safety...... There are other positions that are a gray area, but all-in-all I think we're putting better talent on the field coming into the year. Once talent marries up with experience, things should kick into another gear.

I had to put this on the board because Paul Johnson's playcalling ability and knowledge of his offense is so complete that it's probably good for a net +1 win on the year. His ability to react and adjust in-game is legendary. He's not a "play-not-to-lose" guy and his game management is going to be a net positive for us. Punt? Who punts people? If you can't get 10 yards in 4 plays, you don't deserve to be on the field! That's the PJ attitude. Nothing conservative about that.

Ok, this is a nebulous thing. I believe there's this undefinable boost that Paul Johnson will provide this season. There's a lot of it in the "TEAM ATTITUDE & BELIEFS" section above and there's a bit of it in the "PLAYCALLING" factor. However, I think there's something else that I just can't put my finger on where he'll make another positive difference. Maybe it's just swagger. I don't know. Bottom-line is that there's some undefinable positive impact to what PJ is doing and how it will play out this season. It's the smallest of the positive factors, but could play a role.

What we have are firm, quantifiable, real factors working against us going into the season, and softer, less definable factors which could lift us back up. That really means a slight pull downwards from last season. That also means what people have said is really true - if Paul Johnson can get us back to a bowl game, he's done a heckuva coaching job this season. Only one of the Jax St / Gardner-Webb wins will count towards bowl eligibility, which makes that challenge a bit harder.

So is it "negative" for fans to think we'll win 5-7 games? It's certainly not "fan-atical". It's just a very realistic, fact-based conclusion. The head speaking. The heart, however, says something very different. The heart sees 8-10 wins and a maybe even an ACC Championship visit. However, the general engineering population tends to defer to their heads, right or wrong.

Again, it's clear - the Jackets are the #1 unknown in the ACC. We're also one of the most fascinating storylines across the nation as people finally get to see what Paul Johnson can do at the BCS level. Whatever happens, it's going to be a ride. Strap yourselves in. Keep you hands in your seat at all times............. and have fun!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Georgia Tech Player Poll

People like lists. If they didn't, journalists wouldn't use them so much. Barnhart lives off them. They're an easy gimmick to start discussion. Not necessarily a bad thing, although I would say they're a bit lazy for many writers who use them in leui of true reporting.

The good news for me is that I'm not a reporter. Therefore, I'm creating a new totally meaningless list - The Top 25 Players on the Georgia Tech squad. Totally subjective and really quite irrelavent since 1) I haven't seen enough of the players play and 2)they play different positions and 3) there's a balance between "talent" and "fitting the system". However, I am also basing the ranking on best "football players", not the best athletes. So my list weights guys with experience who have proven something at the collegiate level over "phenoms" in high school. Therefore you won't see any of the incoming freshman class in my list and very few of last year's class.

So here's my list - help me fine-tune it:


1. Vance Walker
He's been hard to keep off the field from the moment he arrived. He's an everydown guy in the middle of the line who still manages to break through and blow-up plays. At least one website lists him as the best player in the ACC

2. Michael Johnson
There's a case to be made for MJ as #1 on the team as well. The only thing keeping that from happening is proving he's an every-down type guy with a strong run-stopping mean-streak. He could be a top 5 NFL pick and could establish himself quickly this year.

3. Andrew Gardner
A starter every year since he arrived. He's seen it all and done it all. He's the anchor of the O-Line and even with a totally different OL philosophy he's still the key leader and best player out there. He should be a legit NFL guy

4. Jonathan Dwyer
This is a pretty high ranking considering he's only had one year and played 2nd fiddle to Tashard Choice. However, he showed enough to make it clear that he's the feature back in an offense that technically doesn't have one. He's big. He's fast. He's versatile. Paul Johnson can do a lot more with this guy than just run him up the middle, so it will be interesting to see how he's used. Even with the "spread" of carries, he should put up monster statistics this season.

5. Morgan Burnett
There are some guys you watch and it is totally clear that they are just different. Morgan's one of them. He's hugely athletic and just has a nose for the ball. He's a true "football player". He's going to anchor the defensive backfield for at least 2 more seasons and will probably have a great shot to be drafted after that. He's a special player with serious game.

6. Daryl Richard
Leadership. That's what this guy is all about. Graduated in 3 years. Accepted to the MBA program. Involved in all kinds of student activities. Unprecedented role as the only student on the committee to "elect" the next president of Georgia Tech. With all that, it's easy to forget that this guy can play. Richard was a dynamo in limited action his freshman season but an injury forced a medical redshirt. His senior campaign could be his coming out party, particularly since O-Line's are going to have to decide very carefully who they want to double-team.

7. Derrick Morgan
This might be a little high on the list for a true sophomore, but it's clear Penn's #1 player from a two years ago won't be denied the starting spot at DE. He's big, fast and has a motor. It's going to be fun watching him the next few years.

8. Anthony Barnes
Athletic for sure. Once Barnes really gets a handle on playing LB he could be a force. He got by on just natural talent and insticts last year. Has a lot to learn, but a serious player.

9. Josh Nesbitt
So much is riding on this guy right now. He's not a vocal leader but his teammates do view him as a key team leader. He's got the tools to play a lot of positions, but he's going to get a real shot to put his talent to work in the spread option.

10. Jahi Word-Daniels
Experience. That's why he's here on the list. Jahi has been through the battles. It should be interesting to see how the change in defensive philosophy suits his game.

11. Demarius Thomas
BeBe is almost the physical speciman as Calvin Johnson. While he is no CJ, nobody else is either. Thomas has the toolset to excel though. Big, fast and can go up and get a ball. Even though this year's offense won't be a prolific passing offense, BeBe could easily eclipse his passing stats from last season.

12. Brad Jefferson
13. Greg Smith
14. Shane Bowen
15. Calvin Booker
16. Jason Peters
17. Dominique Reese
18. Roddy Jones
19. Jerrard Tarrant
20. AJ Smith
21. Dan Voss
22. Jason Hill
23. Correy Earls
24. Mario Butler
25. Cord Howard

The list isn't right and it isn't wrong. It's just a point for discussion. So what are your initial thoughts? Totally whacked out list? What would you change?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Breakout Players ???

Give me one player on each side of the ball that is going to have a breakout season for the football team. However, don't make it the obvious ones, like Michael Johnson, Josh Nesbitt, Roddy Jones, etc. Give me someone we're not hearing much about right now. One of each side of the ball.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Disney Day 3 -

So I just finished with day 3 of Disney World. The kids are absolute troopers. The expensive double-wide stroller rental was a big hit today. Rode some rides. Saw a bunch of shows. Ate ice cream. Drank and drank and drank water. I have to tell you - the water fountain water at Magic Kingdom has that distinct 20+ year old pipe taste. I'm sure that helps drive bottled water sales. The fountain water at Animal Kingdom was pretty tasty by comparison. To the person who commented on kids memories. I can promise you, my 6 and 3 (she turns 4 next month) will remember. My 3 year old still reminds me about things when she turned 2. That one has a steel trap for a memory. It certainly was brave bringing a little one, but we still wanted our 6 year old to have that "magical" feeling about it. We'll come back again in a few years, after plenty of vacations in Hilton Head to get us grounded again.

Back to Georgia Tech sports. Let's get your breakdown of how the season is going to play out. Here's my take - what's yours?

Date Opponent / Event
08/28/08 vs. Jacksonville State
09/06/08 at Boston College
09/13/08 at Virginia Tech
09/20/08 vs. Mississippi State
10/04/08 vs. Duke
10/11/08 vs. Gardner-Webb
10/18/08 at Clemson
10/25/08 vs. Virginia (Homecoming)
11/01/08 vs. Florida State
11/08/08 at North Carolina
11/20/08 vs. Miami TV
11/29/08 at Georgia

Date Opponent / Event
08/28/08 vs. Jacksonville State
A must win. I don't care who their QB is. He's one guy and the rest of the team is mostly made up of guys that didn't get DI-A offers. New offense or not, fumbles or not, this is a must win game. No excuses here.... 1-0

09/06/08 at Boston College
BC won't be the same team they were last season. However, they have a good coaching staff, and they'll be tough to beat on the road. I give us a 40% shot to get the W here, which means I'm really picking us to lose in a close one....... 1-1

09/13/08 at Virginia Tech
Not a game I expect us to win. Still too early in the season for our team to be hitting on all cylinders and our youth will ultimately hurt. I expect VaTech to take this game soundly...... 1-2

09/20/08 vs. Mississippi State
Swing game for me. Could go either way, but we really should get the win. I would put the odds at about 60%...... 2-2

10/04/08 vs. Duke
Another must-win. I hate playing Duke any more. They're like a live grenade rolling around the floor. It's going to go off on someone eventually. However, we should still win this one - no excuses. 3-2

10/11/08 vs. Gardner-Webb
Another must-win. If we win our opener, this one won't even count towards bowl eligibility, but it will be important in working on schemes and execution.... 4-2

10/18/08 at Clemson
I live in upstate SC. The Tiger expectations this season have almost become a joke because they are so high. However, if Clemson doesn't win the ACC this season, it won't be because of the talent on the field. We'll find out how good of a coach they have once and for all.... maybe. For GT, I expect a loss. The rivalry is one of the most underrated in the ACC and other than a couple of blowouts is always down to the wire. Having said that, I do not expect Georgia Tech to win 2 years in a row here...... 4-3

10/25/08 vs. Virginia (Homecoming)
GT does not lose homecoming games. It's become an amazing streak by itself (something like 11 in a row, although I didn't look it up). Virginia lost half it's team to academics, arrests or other issues. Key players too. They season last year was marked by a bunch of amazing close victories. It's a statistical fact that the law of averages will catch up to them. They won't win so many close ones again. The Jackets will prevail on homecoming once again...... 5-3

11/01/08 vs. Florida State
Things are starting to get interesting. Why? It's this final stretch in the season that I expect to see a step change in the timing, execution and precision of the offense. The FSU, NC and Miami games also present a perplexing unknown in what we will be facing. Will FSU be "back"? Is UNC really that much better? We'll know. Is Miami "back"? Well, I think this will be a close game, but that GT will fall short..... 5-4

11/08/08 at North Carolina
By this point we'll know if Butch Davis has taken his team to the next level. However, I think Paul Johnson will have plenty of unanswered questions for Butch and the Jackets will take home the victory..... 6-4

11/20/08 vs. Miami TV
It's dangerous to predict that you'll beat a team for the 4th year in a row. It's just seems crazy to think it could be the Miami Hurricanes. There aren't many teams that have beaten them 4 times in a row. Could we join that club? I honestly don't think Miami will be "back" yet. I'm just not sold on Randy Shannon and I'm really not sold on Patrick Nix. I think we can win this one.... 7-4

11/29/08 at Georgia
Heart versus head. Heart vs head. I keep going back to Paul Johnson's 1st season at Navy. His only losing season as a head coach. A season where his daughter cried the streaming tears of someone experiencing losing for the first time ever.......... then a crazy thing happened. In the midst of finishing the season with only 1 victory, Navy ended their season with stunning victory over Army... Whoah. Where did that come from. That victory was the springboad and soapbox for Paul Johnson's success at Navy. It made people believers, and they never looked back. PJ has made the Georgia game a priority for everyone. We know what it means to us. We know what it means to him. In a year where UGAg opens the season #1 in the coaches poll, is it conceivable that the Jackets actually win? Could the Jackets play spoiler to the mutts national title hopes. I will dream about it, and relive it over and over if it happens. However, my head is overruling my heart on this one. Jackets lose a heartbreaker, but the battle has only begun..... 7-5

So that puts us at 7-5, with the bowl streak extended. How do you see the season playing out? Post it in the comments.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Where am I?

Not much on the blog this week so far. Why? Trying to enjoy Walt Disney World with a 6 and 3 year old........ and a 10 month old. That's a challenging feat as it turns out. It's brutally hot and of course kids can only take so much.

Anyhow, as time permits I'll post some things. I'm sure you've followed the Fan Day events Saturday, the new controversial uniforms, some depth chart shifting and the general positive attitude of the players & coaches. I like what I'm reading.

Can you believe football season starts this month??? Yeah baby!!!