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Mailbag 5/21

From the ACC baseball tournament to football scheduling, we're covering all the bases you wanted to cover (and then some) in this week's Mailbag feature.

"What on Earth is this white pentagon thing anyways?"
"What on Earth is this white pentagon thing anyways?"
Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

With Beesball season drawing near a close, how do I fill the void between now and football season?

That's a great question, and I'll have an answer for that...tomorrow. (That's not meant as a joke. Seriously. You'll find out tomorrow. Stay tuned.)

Why in Hell does it seem like every time I check, another football player has transferred? Has this been an abnormal amount? I just don’t remember it being this bad before. Is there any unrest among the team members? I know all the transfers have been for different reasons, I’m just starting to worry about team chemistry and whatnot. It doesn’t seem to bode well for a coach on the proverbial hotseat.

It does seem like a lot. For those keeping score at home, Georgia Tech's football team is currently at 6 players departing early, being Vad Lee, Kevin Robbins, Justin Akins, and Ty Griffin transferring, with Travis Custis transferring being declared academically ineligible and Anthony Williams having been dismissed prior to his senior season. An already-small 2013 signing class of 14 players has been depleted to 11 players (although only 2 of the previous 40 commitments have departed -- Lee and Jeff Greene). I do think it's a higher number than normal, but I'm not sure what to chalk it up to exactly. The three from 2013 were all redshirted last year and have yet to play a down, but at least Robbins was in line for a lot more playing time at SDE. Custis was an academic case that can really be attributed to what sounds like a pretty subpar high school. Vad Lee is a pretty bizarre case of a guy lying to his coaches. Anthony Williams was more or less occupying a roster spot after four years of very limited playing time, and he'll be much better suited playing a lot this fall at Troy.

I don't know that you can really pin it on one thing -- just a lot of strange cases hitting breaking points at the same time.

Do we think any of the player transfers have any connection (morale, team chemistry, academic purview, etc.) to the two coaches who are no longer with the program?

No way to know for sure, but I think only Griffin announced his transfer after Walkosky was announced to be out. There could be something there, but I'd be surprised considering Griffin is a QB and Walkosky coached a whole lot of things not related. So long story short, it's a very faint possibility that Griffin had some play in that, but I highly doubt the two are related.

How does Beesball do in the ACC tournament?

I'm no betting man, but if I were, I'd bet you that they beat Wake Forest in the opening round and make it into pool play. From there (with jokes aside), this team's inconsistency come into play more than ever. They could go 3-0 in pool play and go to the championship as the 9-seed, or they could go 0-3 and not score a run in the process. I'm guessing with the youth at play, they'll go 1-2 in pool play. Miami will be a tough game on Wednesday as the Hurricanes are one of the hottest teams in the country, though the Jackets took 2 of 3 from the Hurricanes in mid-March. The good news with Duke is that Georgia Tech swept the Blue Devils in early April, and the Jackets have yet to take on Clemson this year. So again, I think youth comes into play. I think Tech beats Duke and falls to Miami, with Clemson being a toss-up. A lot of this will come down to pitching and stamina as they play four games in four straight days between Tuesday and Friday.

Honestly, I am not trying to set you up for an argument. But my impression is that Tech’s football recruiting has been slowly getting better and better. Do you have an opinion about this? :-)

I don't think the rankings reflect it, but I do think the recruiting situation is better now than it was a few short years ago under Coach Johnson. I think he's paid a lot of attention to recruiting abilities in the assistants he's hired lately, and I think they're doing a great job of leveraging their recruiting staff to enable the coaches to keep up with recruits and prevent flips. I think they're still good at evaluating talent, but I think they're getting better at locking that talent down, where before it had a bad habit of slipping through our fingers at the last minute.

And one more about recruiting. There are several basketball players who have yet to play, and are therefore unproven, who look like they could step in pretty quickly and help this team. Is this just wishful thinking or is there an outside chance of this? I confess I have not followed basketball much in recent years due to not liking to watch Tech lose.

No, you're absolutely right. When you talk about replacing three starters (Golden, Miller, Carter) with freshmen (Jorgenson and Jackson) and transfers (Sampson and Cox), there's a definite uncertainty in what you're going to get. Whether or not folks agree, I think that the talent is there for the group to be contenders in the ACC. Now, that being said, it would take a lot for the group to learn to work together, for the transfers to learn Coach Gregory's system, and for the team to play at a high and cohesive level against ACC-level competition. So it's possible, yes, but there's a lot that would have to go right.

What do you think of the idea floated during the ACC Spring meeting that ACC teams who don’t see one another for a long time could fill their newly required Power 5 slot with one another? For example, NC State and Duke want to face each other more often than they do, but the new scheduling puts them at six year intervals, so they might now be allowed to schedule each other annually but only have it count toward their conference record once every six years.

I dunno really how I feel about that. As the ACC got larger and now the cross-divisional matchups are cut down, I understand wanting to keep up games with other teams, such as the NCSU-Duke matchup you mentioned. But that said, it reduces the motivation to provide the rest of the country with interesting matchups that ultimately end in TV revenue, which gets distributed to the schools. I'm at a point, personally, where I'd rather we cut out the crappy games, and scheduled only FBS games, with maybe a minimum of two Power-5 opponents. In the scope of this season, that would mean replacing Wofford with a BCS-level team -- a huge swing. I'd only want to do it if everyone else had to (no good motivation to put your team at a competitive disadvantage like that), but I think it would make for a far more interesting product.

Which ACC Atlantic team do you think Tech should schedule more often if that became allowable?

If it were to become a thing, I have three preferences. First is Louisville, but that's just personal bias at play. Second is Boston College, which has provided some classic matchups in the past. Finally is Florida State, another major, historical program in the area, and more recently the best program in the country. Those would be my three preferences.

The new STs coach -- have we discussed his recruiting background, professional relationships, coaching record/impact, or coaching style yet? (Ignore this if we’ve covered that already.)

It was officially turned from rumor to fact yesterday, but there is a little more to talk about. As mentioned, he has a successful record recently, having helped the Colts to a Super Bowl berth in 2009. He spent 2001-2008 working under Steve Spurrier and Ralph Friedgen. He also brings 28 years of college coaching experience to the table, so I'd have to think he's (at the very least) experienced in the recruiting game. Time will tell of the results, but of Coach Johnson's past four hires (Walkosky, Bryan Cook, Ted Roof, Mike Pelton), three have worked out really well so far, with the jury still out on Cook.

When will this bull market end? Will the GOP gain control of the Senate? Is their any thing better than white chocolate baguettes from La Farm Bakery? Forget that last question. Nobody knows of anything.

These are good questions. You ask a lot of good questions.

To tag onto JohnHeisman, how will you/we survive until 8/30?

See above.

What Blockbuster is must see?

Wish I could tell you. I already saw Captain America 2, but need to go see Spiderman 2 and am considering seeing Guardians of the Galaxy. A Million Ways to Die in the West seems like it could be pretty funny. I'll probably see a couple of other movies this summer too.

What will you drink?

Just an awful lot of beer. The local breweries are Karbach, Saint Arnold's, Buffalo Bayou, and 8th Wonder for starters. Bufalo Bayou is only about a mile from my apartment, so I might find myself there more often...

Where will you go?

So, as was mentioned in the thread yesterday (and in your question), I'm actually going with Nate, packerman, and a slew of other fraternity alumni to Boston on July 4th to see the Red Sox play and catch up with everyone. I'm excited to join after two years of this trip where I didn't have money. I'll be sure to report back on the inebriated arguments that occur on said trip.

Why do I have to be a fan of a school with high academic standards? When my parents went to Alabama and Ole Miss as well? I have lots of bandwagons to choose from.

All I have to say is, good choice. It'll make it easier to adapt one day when you end up at Tech. (Working off of potentially poor assumptions here...)

Do you have any input into the advertising we see here? I went out and bought a Big Mac once because it made me hungry. But otherwise I have seen ads for birth control and for E$ECPN’s new SEC coverage. A few of us may be interested in birth control, but I doubt many of us are interested in E$ECPN’s new dedicated network. Do you have any control or suggestions over what we see, or is someone at SBN just not doing their analytics very well?

Truthfully, I don't. That's something that's operated entirely by the mothership. I do have my AdBlocker turned off for this site, just so that I can see what others are seeing and monitor to make sure everything's showing up how it's supposed to. Also, none of it is analytics-based, to my knowledge. I think it's all straightforward ad campaigns being run across large sections of SBN blogs. All users are seeing the same ads, as I understand it.

How come we still only have three football recruits?

It's funny, this actually falls right in with the pattern of Georgia Tech's recruiting. If you look at guys who have signed with us in recent years, it's been a decade since we had more than 4 commitments to begin June. No need to panic, June usually is a big month for us in terms of scoring commitments. A lot of the evaluation our coaches do happens at summer camps, especially with offensive linemen. If we only get a couple or three more before I see you (packerman) on 4th of July weekend, we'll have reason for concern.

Shouldn't a WNBA team have MALE cheerleaders?

Yes. I feel extremely discriminated against every time I show up for try outs. One day, they will learn of the beauty inside of me...