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Mailbag 1/28

From migraines to the Super Bowl to a gorgeous display of guts, we're covering all the bases in today's Mailbag.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Where has Solomon Poole been?

Chas: Solomon has not been around the program and I do not expect that he will be for much longer. He has had some off court distractions that have caused him to not play as of late.

I’m starting to notice that in the Gregory era, nobody really has been dunking the ball aside from Daniel Miller. Is that just an issue with getting looks or what? Seems like other teams dunk plenty more than we do, especially in the NBA.

Chas: Daniel Miller is an NBA prospect and that is what you are seeing. He is our only current true post presence (no, the Holsey Hook is not successful) and when the team feeds him he capitalizes. The issue is that we sometimes fail to find him to get easy buckets. He has to carry the Jackets low block play and you can see how tired he gets as the game goes on. If we want to fight late against strong ACC opponents, we have to have more people pick up the slack in the paint.

Can't find any news from Sr. Bowl. How fared the good guys?

Joey: Neither did much in the game, with one tackle apiece. Sounds like they played Attaochu more at OLB (both 4-3 and 3-4) to test his combo of pass-rush and coverage abilities. I've read that he did pretty well, moreso at pass-rushing but also establishing that he could play 3-4 OLB along with 4-3 WDE. Thomas sounds like he had a pretty good week as well, mainly in practice. In any case, I think they both helped their stock over the course of the week. Attaochu continues to look like a guy who will be picked in the first three rounds, and Thomas would look like a guy who will go in the middle rounds (probably the 4-6 range). Exciting to see two Tech guys with a great shot to make it! Especially considering that they were both recruited under Paul Johnson.

Broncos v Seahawks. Who ya got? Over/Under?

Joey: Man, it'll be close. Really good matchup. The Broncos have been fantastic on offense and I really think that Manning is one of the absolute best QBs of all time. That said, they'll have their hands full with a physical, athletic Seahawks secondary. There's a reason they were the best defense in the league -- good pass rush combined with a solid secondary. I'm guessing it's a close game, but that Russell Wilson is the difference in a Seahawks loss. Broncos win, 21-17.

(We might have a "Super Bowl Prop Bets" game later this week, for those interested.)

How’s North Ave handling all this chilly FRIGID weather?

Joey: Probably better than most local schools, considering the population has a higher concentration of folks from up north. Plus, as much as Tech students enjoy their adult beverages, they can stay warm in any type of weather.

Why does the [basketball] offense look so inept at times? There are times when they stand there and pass the ball around a bit, but they can’t seem to find an open lane to drive or a get a guy open for the 3-pointer. It’s kind of like the football team. Sometimes the offense just stalls out.

Chas: This is a great question. I have really seen a lack of organization in our front court and it really bothers me. When Gregory writes something up(like last play of OT against NCST) it really works. I don't know if our ineptness is caused by our injuries or something on Gregory's side. I think he is a great coach but I don't know if he can do it with 8 scholarship spots. Also though, remember that it is not bad to run down the shot clock at times. Sometimes we need conservative play and for us to have a few different looks. Tech gets very frustrated at times on offense and forces passes and shots, so to see them sit back and let their offense play out shows a bit of maturity I think. They have gotten much better as the season has gone on, especially with the injuries we have right now.

Hypothetically speaking… If we get rid of Paul Johnson after next year where do u think our current players and committed players would be moved to in order to play in a normal scheme?? We have like 10-12 RBs so I’m wondering what position they may switch too?? I know it’s a tough question but I’m just curious to know how a depth chart may look if this were to happen.

Joey: I'm guessing, based on our current roster and the way that college football is trending, that our next offensive system will look like that of an Oregon or an Auburn. Luckily, we'll be able to stick with a lot of our players in the places they're at. B-Backs would translate to running backs or H-Backs (fullback/TE hybrid), depending on size and mobility. That said, you might see a few A-Backs switch over to WR, although they'd be more of a slot-receiver type due to their size. If I had to guess (and in no particular order)...

RB -- Synjyn Days, Charles Perkins, Broderick Snoddy, Travis Custis, C.J. Leggett

H-Back -- Zach Laskey? Travin Henry? Trey Klock? Marcus Allen? Michael Summers (+30 pounds)? (David Sims had a great body type for this role. Otherwise these guys would be a bit like Taylor Bennett playing QB in the current offense.)

Slot WR -- B.J. Bostic, Dennis Andrews, Deon Hill, Tony Zenon

Outside WR -- DeAndre Smelter, Darren Waller, Corey Dennis, Anthony Autry

You could also have guys flip between defense and offense (both directions) to make the personnel fit. For example, they could get a CB to play slot receiver, and switch Anthony Autry to DB where he's capable.

In a pro style set, I'd guess Henry and Klock are your two main TEs. Allen is probably the FB, along with Days or maybe Perkins or Laskey. WR crew stays the same. This might actually benefit Snoddy a lot -- for some reason I see him running between the tackles well in a pro set. But what do I know?

Since certain conversations are your favorite time of the week on this site, why don’t you help us out and elevate the conversation for us. Let’s assume that Tech has not had the recruiting budget that regional competitors have had in the past. Let’s assume that this is improving and that Tech is adding recruiting staff but that Tech still lags behind in this area due to budget constraints. Let’s assume that Tech needs to recruit nationally and is making strides in this area which only improve in the future. Let’s assume that the effectiveness of negative recruiting against Tech based on coaches or offensive schemes will all be a moot point if Tech is winning. Let’s assume that Tech has to work a lot harder than other schools in the region due to academic intergrity as well as generally poor academic preparation in most Southern schools. Let’s assume that the SEC has a huge footprint supported by the most powerful sports news network in the country. Let’s also assume that Tech has more to sell than any other school in the South for those who are interested in things other than 15 minutes of fame. What have we not talked about that Tech could do to improve still further its approach to recruiting?

Joey: My mom always told me that you have to sleep in your bed after you've made it...

I think the biggest thing that could be done is work to establish a national brand as a top-tier school. It's crazy how good of a school it is, relative to how it's recognized. I was actually talking to my girlfriend tonight about how, before I visited and toured campus before my senior year of high school, I just saw Tech as a solid school that was right down the road. I had no idea that it was ranked right there with MIT, Stanford, Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Cal-Berkeley, and other top-notch institutions. The name "Georgia Tech" never had the same ring to me as "Stanford". Establishing a national brand is the major hurdle between us and Stanford, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, and others with high academic standards. Now, how we do that? I'm not sure. Maybe it involves PSA's that combine school rankings with athletic achievements, which other schools seem to be better about. Maybe there's other ways. Who knows. I wasn't a marketing major.

The other thing I can think of is playing more guys as true freshmen. You'll notice that, of our 62 players returning to the roster, only 15 played as freshmen. (Include Autry, Bostic, and Isaiah Johnson in there, who redshirted later in their careers. Remove Smelter who didn't join the team until he was a junior.) I wonder if some of the negative recruiting done around us is that you likely won't play as a freshman.

With the graduated seniors and soon to be incoming freshman, what do our numbers look like? By position, class, etc?

Joey: I've updated the Football Scholarships Breakdown page to reflect the early enrollees and Custis. Also, below is a spreadsheet I developed for a little more breakdown. Notice that we have 4 open spots at the moment when accounting for commitments. However, notice also that Tim Byerly is not counted, as he's not on scholarship. That might change this year considering he and Thomas are the front runners to start at QB this fall.

The spreadsheet used to track all of this can be found here.

Looking at our recruits by position, we seem to be light on DT (0 commits), BB (0 commits), LB (2 commits), WR (1 commit), and Safety (1 commit if that’s what Jalen Johnson plays, 0 if he plays WR). My question is this: Do we know of additional targets beyond Sawyers, Whitehead, Autry, and Rogers to fill the depth at those positions? Those recruits wouldn’t fill the holes at BB, WR, or LB.

A quick perusal of the depth chart shows only 4 DTs, 3 BBs, an assload of LBs and WRs (most of whom are walkons), and 10 DBs on scholarship. The depth at DT and BB seems especially lacking.

Joey: See above. I'm not sure where you're getting your depth chart numbers from when it comes to DT's. Akins and Kallon were originally recruited as DE's but have grown into DT's, especially after the scheme change. Commissiong and Chungong could also go there, as could Trey Klock or Michael Preddy. Similarly, we have 13 scholarship linebackers, but notice that they're largely an old group. That's another residual effect of the scheme change coupled with lots of redshirting (remember how many LB's you need in a 3-4).

Of the positions you mentioned, the only one I'd worry about at all is WR, where we'll drop to 5 after this year assuming everything goes according to plan. That said, Travin Henry could flip back from LB (did you notice?) if need be. Otherwise, I'm sure we'll get a couple of receivers next year for the sake of depth. As far as BB, Donovan Wilson and C.J. Leggett can both play there if need be, but Custis looks like the feature back moving foward. That's not to say we won't recruit another next year though. As for LB, you said it, we have an assload.

I think you'll see the position distribution within the class change significantly next year as we lose 5 A-Backs, 4 Linebackers, 3 Wide Receivers, one O-Lineman and one D-Lineman. Hopefully all this answers your question though -- sorry for the disorganization of it all.

Joey: You know something, we as Tech fans give our Athletic Association a lot of crap for a lot of things. We're actually pretty ungrateful in general. But in this case, you should know that our administration played it perfectly. They actually took the liberty of releasing the news before Tulane was prepared for them to. The reasoning provided was accurate, and it made Tulane look really dumb. Basically, they forced Tulane's hand, and the Green Wave went back on their renege as a result. It was played beautifully by the Georgia Tech AA, and we should all be proud of them and thankful for ensuring our trip to New Orleans still happens.