Friday, January 2, 2009

CFA Bowl Ride-out

So the game sucked but riding the Ramblin' Reck out onto the field was pretty sweet. I a video of the first half below. Unfortunately I got caught up in it all and forgot to record the 2nd half ride out which included driving in front of our fan section. I suggest you keep your volume down a little bit as I get kind of loud. Hey, I was excited.

Biggest Fear Confirmed.

The bad omens began at 10 AM Wednesday morning......

The LSU Tigers had approximately a month to prepare for our offense and it showed. My biggest fear was that the team was not at the level where we still hold an advantage when there are multiple weeks before the game. This season we still relied on the element of surprise and unpreparedness to overtake our opponents. LSU looked ridiculously good Wednesday night and finally resembled a defending national champion.

Going into the bowl season, we were the darlings and the pride the ACC. Now with the conference's year completed, we also have the responsbility of owning the worst loss of the bowl games. We were embarrassed.

What does this do to the season? It doesn't necessarily take anything away from this one. But next year....the hype that everyone was expecting us to ride is been taken out from under us. Paul Johnson's reputation? Well it took a hit, a big one. We were all humbled last night in a multitude of ways.

Let the countdown begin for next year...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nix out at Miami

Wow, did anyone not see this coming after that Emerald Bowl debacle? I think my little bro summed it up, "Miami hired Patrick Nix because Calvin Johnson made his terrible offense appear good." I hope we've seen the last of Pat Nix in the ACC, honestly. Maybe Auburn will hire him after they fire Chizik in two-three years.

Paul Hewitt Nation New Year's Resolution

Paul, here's my GT Hoops New Year's Resolution. Let's beat uga mercilessly at home, go .500 in ACC play, land a middle seed in the ACCT, win 1-2 games in ACCT play, and take a spot in the NCAA's. I wouldn't mind a nice upset of University of No Chance. Paul, you've got their number. I don't know how but you do. Let's do this for the children. Let's do it for the GT children in 2009.

Do you still have faith in men's bball or have you bought women's season tickets and scalped the men's on ebay? Thoughts are welcome on the coming ACC season.

Monday, December 29, 2008

45-42 Commemorative Ring?

Georgia Tech has figured out another way to remember its win over Georgia.

As part of its bowl bounty, Tech is giving each player a ring. Coach Paul Johnson left the design of ring to the team’s seniors. He said the seniors decided to include the score of the Georgia game, 45-42, in the ring’s design. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Bulldogs...

Read the rest of the article here.

Throughout the year, we realized more and more that we were experiencing something special. As the Georgia game quickly approached, everyone on the Yellow Jacket side became extremely confident. The victory over Georgia meant many things...respect, pride, and Bobby Dodd's winning streak was kept intact. However, this victory does not deserve a commemorative ring. Getting caught up in this excitement puts us just barely above Georgia retiring Theron Sapp's jersey for ending "The Drought". After the game, Paul Johnson said it best when someone asked him why he didn't take any of the "hallowed" hedge. He said (and I paraphrase) "I'll act like I've been there before."

It's a much bigger smack in the mouth to your rival when you come in and you act like you expected the victory instead of acting like it won't happen again.

Guest Blogger: Bayou Bengals Edition

Last week, I exchanged Q&A's with Richard from AndTheValleyShook, an LSU blog. We discussed the status of our programs and what to expect for the upcoming bowl game. Click here to see our responses. We learned some new things and we hope you all do as well. Enjoy!

Various teams have prepared for the triple option differently. For instance, FSU attempted to defend our offense by practicing without a football trying to emphasize disciplined defense. How has LSU prepared for our attack?

As I mentioned in [this write-up], LSU's bowl preparations are a mystery on the order of Roswell, New Mexico or "Who Shot Mr. Burns?". But there is one piece of information that may be of some use. LSU hired former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Larry Lacewell to come in and consult on how to stop a triple option offense. I figure Lacewell should know, as he was at Oklahoma during the heyday of the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry, and later was a head coach of a triple option team. It's an interesting decision, and one that it is hard to find fault with.

Michael Johnson has an obvious presence on his side of the defensive line. How do you expect the Tigers to make him as little of a factor as possible?

Honestly, I can't say I'm knowledgeable about Georgia Tech football, and I have to confess that until reading your questions, I had never heard the name Michael Johnson in a non-sprinting capacity. Doing a little checking on him, it seems he's a pass rushing defensive end. Which side? If he's over the left tackle, I am fairly confident that our left tackle, Ciron Black, can hold his own. Our right tackle is a lot less experienced, but very talented. If we have a lot of trouble with him in passing situations, you can expect roll-out passes going away from him. The QB who will be starting this game is very mobile.

In the running game, look for a lot of misdirection and/or pound-it-right-at-the-defense. Jordan Jefferson can run some option from the quarterback position, and Charles Scott is a bruising tailback. I can't say I know what they would do, but my guess is that if he is the focal point of the defense, they will try to overwhelm him at the point of attack and/or try to make him spend his energy reading what the offense is doing rather than attacking.

Do you see the next Matt Mauck (or Flynn) coming out of this group of LSU QB's? Or is the QB of the future still playing HS ball?

The LSU quarterback situation has as many opinions as there are LSU fans, and probably even more than that, as non-LSU fans also have opinions on it. I think Jordan Jefferson is the quarterback for the moment, but what happens in Spring and beyond is anyone's guess. Jarrett Lee's problems were well-documented, but what seems to be forgotten is that he was doing very well thank you very much until the interceptions started going to his head and he started getting down on himself. Unlike most freshman QBs, you could see him become less and less comfortable as the season went on, rather than more and more comfortable.

Lee is a pure pocket passer, about as mobile as Bernie Kosar at this point in his career. That's fine, but you have to be accurate if you're going to play football that way. Unfortunately, Lee was really asked to come in and produce too early. He was just not ready yet, but you see the flashes of brilliance that you expect to see in a young player with potential. The problem for Lee is that Jordan Jefferson has potential too, and let's not even get started on the potential that Russell Shepard possesses. Have you seen his senior video out of Cy Ridge High School? Good God! I rarely gush over the abilities of a high school player, but this kid looks like Michael Vick without the character problems.

And everyone seems to forget Andrew Hatch. Hatch is no great talent, but I don't think it's a coincidence that Lee's season came off the rails when Hatch got hurt. Hatch was steady if unspectacular, and he was able to give Lee the breaks he needed to keep himself even-keeled.

As for the next Matt Mauck, well, keep in mind I am no Matt Mauck-worshipper. I think the guy was a solid college quarterback, but that 2003 team won with defense, effective running, and LOTS AND LOTS of screen passes. It didn't take a lot of skill to be the LSU quarterback that year. He had a very high completion percentage, but it's deceptive because he threw so many safe passes. It is my fervent hope that when the LSU quarterback situation is settled, whoever wins the job will be better than Matt Mauck.

Name a player who will have to step up (even up to the level of "average") in order for LSU to win.

I can't name one player, but I think the entire interior middle of our defense will have to step up to stop the option. The interior middle of our defense (the defensive tackles and starting middle linebacker Darry Beckwith) were supposed to be the strength of the defense this year, but an injury to Beckwith slowed him down all year, and Ricky Jean-Francois (who was supposed to be our stud DT) had a very ordinary 2008 campaign. If Beckwith can be the stud he'd been in the past, and if Jean-Francois can elevate to where he was supposed to be, that will make life very difficult for you inside.

For those who don't know enough, can you summarize LSU's offensive scheme?

It's hard to summarize. We can throw a lot of different looks at people. We run a lot of Power-I with Charles Scott behind fullback Quinn Johnson. We can also go 5-wide. We line up with two tight ends, one tight end, or no tight ends. We can do no-huddle. We run the pistol formation. We run shotgun. We run under center. We can throw a bruising back at you, or we can run a 5'6" sprinter who almost made the Olympics this year. You will rarely see a college team who runs as many TYPES of things as LSU does. When it works (see the 2008 BCSNCG against Oklahoma), it can be intimidating. When it doesn't (see most of this year), it seems to overwhelm our own players more than it overwhelms the opposition.

Over the course of the year, we were at our best when we could throw to set up the run. For all the fancy gadgets we ran, our most effective plays were play-action passes and I-formation runs between the tackles. For all of our 5-wide setups, we really only had one WR and one tight end who were consistent pass-catching threats.

Hypothetical situation: What do you think about GT replacing Arkansas in the SEC (or any other school in the SEC for that matter)?

I would be for it. GT is a natural in the SEC. Arkansas really isn't. Aren't you guys in the "Coastal" division or some such crap like that? How do you fit into the ACC? You're an original SEC team, and I'd be happy to see you return. The problem is that if you replaced Arkansas, the divisions would have to re-align. Would you guys come into the West? Or would Vandy move into the West?

Who is the biggest rival of LSU: Tulane, [SEC West Opponent], or Ole Miss? Any season, any sport.

LSU's biggest rivals are Ole Miss, Alabama, and Auburn. Tulane was our biggest rival at one time, but that time was before I was born, and I am now 34 years old. We don't even play Tulane every year anymore, and it's been a very long time since we were willing to do a home-and-home with them due to the big disparities in our fan bases. It would be like Georgia's biggest rival being Georgia State. Ole Miss is our other traditional rival, but this year notwithstanding Ole Miss has not really been on our level in football in a while. Sure, they beat us on occasion, but we are clearly overall the better program since Ole Miss declined in the '60s. Even in our 1990s down period we still were as good of a program as they were overall.

They beat us this year, but I think it's something of an aberration. Ole Miss has its most solid team in a long time, and it won't be that good much longer. Because of our problems with personnel at quarterback, and with coaching on defense (both of which will be corrected sooner rather than later) this year was an aberration for LSU. It may sound conceited, but I am firmly convinced that we will be back in the hunt for the SEC next year. Ole Miss may be there too next year, but I don't think their recruiting will keep up in the long run.

Alabama and Auburn on the other hand...

Triple Option 101

This is for the LSU fans who aren't totally accustomed to Tech's version of the Triple Option. Let's start with basic terminology:

A-back - This is our slotback in the basic Paul Johnson formation. Starters are Roddy Jones and Lucas Cox. Typically, this position is played by a smaller back with able hands and good speed. Cox is an atypical A-back. He found his way into this position however because he plays hard every play and is an excellent blocker.

B-back - This is our fullback in the basic Paul Johnson formation. The starter is Jon Dwyer. Typically, this position is a big bruising back that carries a bulk of the load.

Here's our basic formation:

The basic Tech Triple Option involves one of the A-backs motioning presnap into the backfield creating an "I-formation" and right as the I is dotted, the ball is snapped. The QB reads the defensive end on the play side and determines if the end is crashing in to take the B-back or dropping off to cover the option. If the DE crashes, then the QB keeps the football and runs around the blocking A-back with the motioned A-back trailing as a pitch man. The QB then makes a second in play read on whether or not to pitch or keep. Thus, the Triple Option. Option 1 - Nesbitt hands to Dwyer. Option 2 - Nesbitt keeps the football. Option 3 - Nesbitt pitches to Roddy or Cox.

For information straight from the horse's mouth watch this video.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Basketball vs. Virginia Tonight

The Georgia Tech men's basketball team starts ACC Conference play today at 5:30 PM EST.

The game is on Fox Sports Net. It's the weekend and it's Winter Break so look for an "analysis" sometime Monday.