Georgia Tech beesball rode some great hitting to a win over the North Florida Ospreys on Tuesday afternoon. A big performance from catcher Mitch Earnest, who went 2-4 with a homer and 4 RBI's, as well as a couple of shutdown innings from Dusty Isaacs to earn the save (5) saw the Jackets escape with their 29th win on the season. The win also saw the Jackets improve to .500 on the season versus Atlantic Sun opponents-- they went 1-2 against Mercer and Kennesaw State earlier in the campaign. While the pitching staff as a whole was great in the game, they couldn't quite shut down the nation's leader in batting average; Drew Weeks went 4-5 with an RBI and saw his impressive average rise a few points for his efforts. Every batter in the Tech lineup reached safely in the game, and they will certainly need to keep their hot hitting going if they want to take down Virginia and their otherworldly pitching staff this weekend in their final series of the year before the ACC Tournament begins.
Georgia Tech player personnel director Matt Griffin is no longer on staff. News of his departure comes shortly after the announcement that special teams coordinator Dave Walkosky will not return for his fourth season on The Flats. Griffin, who was just completing his rookie year as a coach at Tech, spent two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and another year on staff with the Omaha Nighthawks as an offensive assistant. While his departure is unrelated to that of Walkosky, they both recruited much of the same area in the Midwest/South while at Tech (Griffin spent much of his time coaching in this area at Murray State) and their decisions to leave (forced or not) will leave a large gap in the Tech recruiting system.
Several former Georgia Tech players are getting very anxious in anticipation of tonght's NFL draft, and with good reason. Linebacker Brandon Watts will be spending his hours leading up to the draft with his family in his native Washington county, hoping for good news come the end of this week. Former defensive end Emmanuel Dieke's stock has been rising, albeit quietly, after a very solid pro day performance which saw the Georgia Tech staff have to remove the ceiling tiles so that he could complete the vertical leap portion of his workout (I can't find the picture, but rest assured it was impressive). Robert Godhigh is fortunate to know that he will be playing football for a living no matter what happens come draft day, as he worked out with the CFL's Montreal Allouettes and was offered a contract afterwards. If everything falls into place for the Jackets this year, we could see as many as six players drafted based off of the amount of interest generated by some of the recent graduates-- although it is unlikely, Thomas, Dieke, Watts, Godhigh, Finch, and maybe even Will Jackson or Ray Beno could all feasibly go in the later rounds. That'd be a great way to rebound from a goose egg in the draft department last year, for sure.
Sporting News decided that it would be a good idea to rank the ACC's coaches and completely rob Paul Johnson of his rightful place at the top; they have CPJ at number eight in the conference. I think that's absolute highway robbery because despite his record over the last few years, you cannot deny that Paul Johnson is one of the best coaches in the ACC. I personally have him ranked fourth behind Jimbo Fisher, Frank Beamer, and Dabo Swinney respectively, but I can see why some people wouldn't get it. It's a hard life, but someone's gotta live it, PJ. Let's just go ahead and go 14-0, then we'll see who's number one. That sounds like a plan to me.
Let's go ahead and turn our attention to Georgia State for a few minutes, which could be in the market for the area that is currently home to Turner Field. The school hopes to acquire The Ted and its surrounding parking lots/general nothingness so that they can add a new southern site to their campus. The new site would have their very own football field (which they apparently couldn't find a place for in the sprawling grassland of downtown Atlanta), a baseball field, and some dormitories/academic facilities. We had a nice discussion about how Georgia Tech is an oasis in the comments a few days ago, and somewhere in that discussion, the not-so-friendliness of GSU's campus came up; this would certainly be a bit more inviting than downtown. It is strange to think, but if this plan came to fruition I can see Georgia State becoming a rising power in the world of college athletics; they already have a successful baseball and basketball team and a nice, big stadium could do wonders for their football program.
Daily Debate: Where would you rank Paul Johnson among the ACC's coaches or even among every coach in the nation? Am I really the only one who thinks he is severely underrated in that article?
Have a great Thursday!