Friday, October 31, 2008

Irrational Preview: Florida State

If you know me well enough you should know how much irrationality irritates me (alliteration!). Well, raise your drink to irrationality because here's the preview. Growing up, I looked forward to this game like crazy. I began to despise Florida State. Bring on the hate. Sorry for the shortness of it but it's been a long week for me. Here's some random ravings.

Last time we played Florida State was in 2003. The biggest fear of every Tech fan since that day was that Florida State would be good. That fear has become reality.

Georgia Tech Wins If: Our O-Line figures things out. Swiss Cheese is not a happy metaphor when you speak of an offensive line and I'm tired of using it! If we held onto the ball against UVA, we would have won. So let's hold on to the ball. Basically my argument for this game is this: We have yet to lose a game where we were totally manhandled. If we can control the tempo, we can control the game. The ability and potential is there but can we do it?

Florida State Wins If: They take advantage of our mistakes. They have the athletes and the speed. Florida State seems to be back this year. I'm not terribly impressed by their offense but their defense could give us issues. Just like us, their defense is their anchor and they are fast. This could very well be the best defense that we'll face all season which could throw a wrench into our O-Line.

Sidenotes: Do I need to mention again that we haven't beaten the Seminoles?

Irrationally Optimistic Prediction: Georgia Tech 24 Florida State 16

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guest Blogger: Noles Edition

This weeks Guest Blogger is Bud from By now, you all know the drill. We sent over some questions and here are his responses. Click here to read our responses. Enjoy!

1. The ACC is a crazy conference this year with everyone beating up on each other. The Coastal Division is also one of the toughest divisions in college football as every team has a winning record. As an Atlantic Division team, what do you make of this if anything? Also, go through FSU's remaining schedule and tell us if they can and how they'll stay on top of their division.

I think the ACC is the closest thing we have to the NFL in college football. SMQ profiled this in past years Here, and Here. I'll add that we've put more defensive players in the NFL than the SEC, over the past 5 years. The offensive talent in the league seems to be lacking, however, and I think that is because most of the head coaches are defensive natured. With so much defensive emphasis, games are bound to be close, and close games create parity. The Coastal Division has better records right now, but I'm not so sure they are better now with the injuries to VT's QBs. I'll point you to this huge piece I did on the remaining schedule issue, here.

2. Since 2005, the Seminoles have gone 8-5, 7-6, and 7-6. They are currently 6-1 and are 1 game away from being bowl eligible. What is different from this year when compared to the previous three?

The obvious answer is the change at Head Coach, err, "Offensive Coordinator" and Quarterback. Jimbo has completely changed the culture. Practices are much more intense. They pay attention to details. I'm not sure many realize just how disorganized and inept the previous administration was. At QB, Ponder is already ahead of fan favorite Weatherford, and our situation at QB looks excellent, with promising young talent, and experienced veteran depth. In short, it's the attitude changes brought on by the changes in personnel. One underrated angle, however, is injuries. FSU was the 2nd most injured team in the Nation over the past 2 years (measured by starts lost), and this year they seem to be slightly better than average in that department.

3. Last week, the Cavaliers picked our defense apart (we'll ignor the missed holding calls) with a solid running back and a calm quarterback. What about Florida State's offensive scheme scheme is going to give us fits?

I assume you mean what about FSU's OFFENSE. I don't think anything we do will give GT fits. I do think, however, that this offense is very difficult to defend, because if it's diversity. We have 2 guys on the outside who are very tall, and will be in the NFL, in Corey Surrency (6'5"), and Greg Carr (6'6"). At any time, Ponder can take a 3 step drop and throw the jump ball to those guys. In fact, he did it twice against one of the ACC's best corners in VT's Macho Harris (Carr caught both for 48 and 39 yards). Given than, teams are pretty reluctant to play Man- Free or Cover -1. It's safe to say that we see a lot of cover 2 and cover 3. There are also 2 other elements. We have 3 excellent slot guys, in Parker, Easterling, and Bert Reed. Parker was our huge weapon last year, Easterling has been phenomenal this year, and Reed is a serious track guy. When teams go cover-2 or cover-3, we throw bubble screens to those guys, over, and over, and over. Ponder threw 11 of them for over 150 yards against NC State, and we killed Miami with them as well. Instead of being a gimmick like many use it, we throw it as a base part of our offense. There is a 5 play set based off of this. We run the zone read, with fake bubble action (nice cutback lanes), the bubble, with zone action, the fake bubble and go (see the tall guys), the fake bubble qb draw, and the bubble- WR pass. FSU runs it so often that they're pretty smooth in it. This is truly a great screen team, and with our small linemen (averaging about 280 lbs), we should be. The other thing that might give VT fits is the running of Ponder. He has already run for over 20 first downs this year, and posted the top pro-shuttle time on our entire team. That said, our OLine has had major issues, and are in fact the youngest in America, with 3 True Frosh, a Soph, and a RS Soph.

4. Bobby Bowden: How involved is he actually on gameday? You don't usually see him grab for a headset. Is he a head coach in the fact that he manages the team Sunday through Friday and let his coordinators take over or is he really the epitome of a figurehead?

We get this question a lot, and it really implies two extremes, neither of which are true. Bowden doesn't do a lot of x and o's stuff, but he is not a complete figurehead. In modern day big boy college football, the head coach has a lot of duties that people don't think about. Bowden handles the media pretty well, and spends a lot of his time with that, as well as dealing with boosters stuff. That allows the true general, Jimbo Fisher, to watch film 24 hours a day like a maniac, haha. He seems much more alert this year than past, and my guess is that comes with his increased comfort level with Jimbo Fisher. On Gameday, he watches for things on the field, handles the officials, etc. What he doesn't do is get in his coaches way. If you're going to be the CEO type, and Bowden created this role, you can't meddle with your coordinators. He's done a great job of trusting them this year, something I and many other wondered if he could do.

5. Now that you have seen Jimbo Fisher in action for a bit, what are your views on him being the next in line for head coach? Do you like the trend of "next in line" coaches?

I think everyone loves Jimbo. He saved us from a pretty ridiculous situation. I don't think he is some offensive genius, though he is pretty damn goog. I would put him somewhere between the crazy schemer type (Saban), and the motivator, recruiter, caretaker (Less Miles, Mack Brown). He puts in the hours that you expect from someone who will soon make 4 Million. He's about to seal his second consecutive top 10 recruiting class, and has energized our efforts in that area, as recruits now know who will take over when Bobby retires. I'm going to pass on the second half of this question. It really is situation specific. Obviously, it brings a lot of stability. It also could create a horrible leadership conflict dynamic if the head coach stays too long, or opposes the deal. The real key is to do your homework as a University.

6. It's been quite a few years since Georgia Tech and Florida State last played football against each other and a rivalry seemed to be in the making. What do you miss most about those yearly matchups?

I asked Tomahawk Nation's resident historian, Fsued to answer this one: Always winning! Seriously, perhaps its because the Noles have enjoyed somuch success against the Yellow Jackets, but this has always felt like afriendly rivalry. One theory -- we've both been fighting for equal footingwith the "big in-state giant" (in your case Georgia, in our case ... well,you know who; guess we'll be rooting against each other in TWO games thisweekend!). For that reason, I think FSU fans have viewed GT as anon-threatening rival. Honestly, for those familiar with Seminole footballhistory, the 29-24 win in 1992 over the Jackets was so important to theevolution of the FSU program, that for that reason alone we've probablyreserved a soft spot for our neighbors to the north. With Tommy Bowdengone from Clemson, Ga. Tech is probably FSU's most natural out-of-stateACC rival. For that rivarly to blossom, however, the Jackets are going tohave to win some games -- y'all have a great shot to do that this weekend.

Reader Opinion Thursday: Measuring Success

How do you measure success of a football team that brings in a new coach with a new system?

The expectation of Georgia Tech were minimal at the beginning of the season. The expectations now are varied as we get into the meat of the 2nd half of our schedule. We have seen excitement and disappointment. We've made it into the polls, we've dropped out of the polls. At the end of the day, what one or two factors will cause you to say "It was a successful season." ?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The BCS and its suckiness

Found an interesting article talking about Penn State and their absymal strength of schedule. It also goes in talking about how the Big-10 has mastered the BCS Championship Game. Click here to read it.

Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday In-Class Update 10/27/08


I've been out of commission for two weeks due to school, homecoming, and, ironically, football.

And now I get to talk about why we got dicked in the mouth on Saturday - it mainly sucks because we beat ourselves. Now, UVA played better than they have the entire season so far (from what I've seen at least). However, due to a combination of the classic Tech susceptibility to screens and other assorted out routes, a ridiculous number of uncalled holding penalties, and our... impotent o-line, we got worked in front of our Homecoming crowd.

Hey, Coach Johnson, everyone knows we need fans in the stands. No, there is no reason to not have a packed house for Homecoming. And yes, our team deserves better fans. However, you should probably save those kind of statements for weeks when you know your offensive line isn't going to lay an egg on Grant Field, or when we have a QB that has figured out how not to fumble in the opponent's red zone. I'll be there every week come Hell or high water (well, unless there is a wedding), but that was the most deflating scenario I can imagine save getting blown out 51-7 or some other terrible number.

For defense, as of right now, we lose to Georgia if they simply run the screen (seeing as they do it as well or better than anyone else in the nation) against us every play. Our line had almost no effective pass rush to speak of, and our linebackers looked utterly confused at any cross route, TE out route, or bubble screen that came their way. Not to mention that everyone apparently forgot how to tackle on the trip back from Clemson. John Bird was right, "what a debacle."

And that is all I have for negativity.

Good news - Morgan Burnett is the shit. He leads the nation in interceptions, and has more than our entire team did last year. He is quickly replacing any bad connotations we have with the number 1.

Splitting the season into thirds, we have gone 3-1 and 3-1. Despite the unsettling things I've seen against VT, Gardner-Webb, and UVA, I wholeheartedly believe we can pull off 3-1 again for the final 4 games. I have begun talking some mad crazy shit a certain UGA fan, keeping it concentrated to a single soul for now. On the season, I've lost years due to stressful games, my head is still spinning from this past weekend, but goddamn, I'm still high as a kite on our team. Which brings me to my final point...

Go Jackets, To Hell with georgia!

UVA and Season Thoughts

An alumni friend told me something two years ago after a loss similar to Saturday. He said: "Winfield, I told my boys that if they want to be Tech fans they should just
expect their hearts to be broken at least once or twice a season."

Now, this may be a little dramatic, but the past 7 years has seen plenty of Tech fans (ourselves included) give their hopes up only to see their dreams crushed. The opportunity to take control of the ACC Coastal division was there for the taking on Saturday but it just didn't happen. As frustrating as it was, and still is, we must remain positive.
For the rest of the year we are playing with house money. No one expected us to be where we are today. We are gaining respect and our players are gaining experience. Remember, we are the youngest team in the ACC.

Many of you know that I tend to be too optimistic for my own good and maybe I am still doing that, but we have to take this season for what it's worth.

It's no consolation, but look at these ACC facts:

-Two teams are bowl eligible (UNC and Maryland).

-Six teams are one win away from bowl eligibility (Miami,
VT, FSU, GT, UVa, BC).Every team in the Coastal Division has a winning record, and there are a few circumstances under which they can ALL go bowling.