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Mailbag 8/18

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In which we take a look at the depth chart.

Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

What walk on not named Willis has the best chance to play this year?

I'm going to say B-back Ryan Braswell. Even though we'll definitely have at least three guys capable of playing B-back, I'm not sure all three of those will play. That's where Braswell comes in. He could fill that role left open by Matt Connors. Also a potential fit for that is Brady Swilling.

What is the decision process on the sideline if (Lawd forbid) QBJT is hurt on a play vis-a-vis bringing in Byerly?
Do the MD’s/Trainers on the sideline have the authority to "downcheck" him under a suspected injury (outside of concussion protocol)? I ask because my guess is he’d have to have his right arm hanging onto his body by the last bloody ligament before he’d downcheck out of the game.
In the olden days, I’m sure the HFC would just tell his QB to "man up" and rub some dirt on it, but with the violence inherent in the system, there has to be a formal process, or professional process, that over-rules a player’s desire to "leave it all on the field" including his long term health and safety.
As a corollary, is there a decision point where the Coaches would look at a woozy player and; knowing we were in 3rd and short, downcheck to uninjured legs?

I can't personally speak for our trainers, but my thought process would be dependent on the health of the player first. That's more important than the game.

Now depending on the severity of the prognosis and the importance of the game, those decisions are subject to change. But I would sayou err on the side of caution.

On a scale of 1 to awesome, rate this.

I really enjoy stories like that. It's always fun cheering for those walk-ons to work their way up and earn their scholarships. I also liked how Brian Kelly went about telling him. He had the player modeling the new uniform talking about what a model he is and then congratulates him on becoming a scholarship athlete. Great story, and I love seeing them.

Watching Timmy Touchdown and our second string offense dismantle a decent NC State Defense last year gives me a pretty good amount of confidence in his ability to run the offense. However, how much do you think our outlook would change if Byerly had to start this season?

Right now I think it's a safe bet for Tech winning nine games in the regular season with Thomas at quarterback. From what I've seen of Tim Byerly, I don't see that changing much were he the starter. We would win those games differently, but I'd still have us winning nine games.

Has Ike Willis received a scholarship?

Yep. Ken Sugiura actually just posted an article about it after Paul Johnson's Twitter announcement. He and Chase Alford were both awarded scholarships.

Who is the best blocking A-back at this point? From what I’ve heard, there has been a significant amount of regression in that regard since Andrews was dismissed, and that is probably one of the main reasons losing Perkins, Andrews, et al. hurts so much.

I would say Willis is the best blocker mainly because of how he's been able to work his way up from being a walk-on to now being a scholarship player. At A-back, that doesn't happen if you can't block.

What do you think of Brant Mitchell so far? I’m excited to have a more prototypically sized linebacker on the depth chart who can help shore up our relatively undersized front seven (especially on running downs). Do you think that there is any chance that he could see the field in that capacity this season?

I'm a big fan of Mitchell. And with MLB still kind of a question mark, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get plenty of playing time.

What do you think the final depth chart will be like for the offense before Alcorn State?

For Alcorn State, obviously JT at quarterback. The starter at B-back will probably be Patrick Skov, but we'll see a good mix of everybody. At A-back, Broderick Snoddy and Qua Searcy should be the first two up. At wide receiver, things get interesting. Ricky Jeune will be starting, but Micheal Summers is hurt. Thanks to a reliable source (and Ken Sugiura), it looks like Brad Stewart may have the other starting spot at wide receiver. On the offensive line, I think it'll go Chamberlain, Braun, Burden, Devine,  Joe, so no surprises there.

On defense, the starting line will be Rook-Chungong, Gamble, Gotsis, Freeman. At linebacker, it's looking like PJ Davis and Terrell Lewis. And in the secondary, it should be DJ White and Chris Milton at corner, Jamal Golden at free safety, Demond Smith at strong safety and either Lynn Griffin or Lawrence Austin.

Who will be in the two deep at B-back, who will be first off the bench at A-back and WR, and who starts at the open OG spot?

For right now, based off of everything I've been hearing, Marcus Marshall could very well be listed as the second string at B-back. As for A-back, Ike Willis and Clinton Lynch will be the first guys off the bench. At wide receiver, it'll be Stewart once Summers is healthy, but until then, we'll probably see a good bit of Antonio Messick.

How do you think the offense and defense depth charts will change between the opener and ND? Between the opener and the end of the season?

I think that Micheal Summers should be back by then, so that will unseat Brad Stewart for the time being. Also someone who could be back by that time is Quaide Weimerskirch. It will certainly be interesting to see what becomes of him this season. By the end of the season, we will see the true freshmen more integrated in the depth chart. It's something that will be progressive, but it should definitely happen.

The interesting changes to watch for will be on defense, especially with the linebackers and secondary.

Who will be the biggest surprise in the Coastal and Atlantic divisions respectively? And which teams do you think have the greatest potential to make the biggest improvement?

In the coastal, I'm going to go with Pitt. The offense is in place, but just needs more balance. The defense needs a boost though. In the Atlantic, I'll say Boston College. No reason, just a gut feeling. I really like Steve Addazio, though I'm still of the opinion that they shouldn't have fired Jeff Jagodzinski in the first place.

What is the first drink you will imbibe in the hours before the toes meet the leather-like skin of the football? What figures to be your first tailgating snack?

I'm a coffee drinker, so my first drink will most certainly be coffee. As for tailgating snacks, I like chips.

What is the likelihood that you could be persuaded to paint yourself yellow and yell raucously for the entirety of a Georgia Tech football game?

Maybe if I were still as rambunctious as I used to be. I've become more tame in my old age of nearly 21 years.

Has Christian Campbell become the heir apparent to JT5? Do you suspect that he will inherit the throne of starting QB and option-man extraordinaire? How is his arm?

With Matthew Jordan's official move to A-back, it is all but imminent that Christian Campbell will be in line to replace Justin Thomas in 2017. The key factor here is the health of Jaylend Ratliffe. Personally, I think Ratliffe is a better quarterback, definitely capable of beating out Campbell. But he's got to prove to the coaches that he can do that.

How many 1,000 yd rushers will we have this season and name them?

Right now, I'll stick with Justin Thomas. I think we'll be spreading it around too much for anyone else to do so.

What are some good nicknames for our rather stoutly built B-backs Patrick Skov and Marcus Allen?

I'm terrible with nicknames, so I'll go with the ones from the comments: left fist and right fist. You decide which is which.

What do you see JT5 doing after he graduates?

With his athleticism and playmaking abilities, he'll definitely get a shot in the NFL. Whether or not that's a quarterback depends on how his passing develops in the next couple of years. He definitely has the talent to do it, but he's got to continue to develop these next two years.

What's the over/under in how many questions goldfella will submit in one hour?

Since the average WPM for guys (assuming goldfella is a guy) is 44, that means in one hour, an average man would have written 2,640 words. Assuming all questions are 10-20 words each, that puts him at 132-264 questions total in that hypothetical situation. Realistically, I think a safer bet would be about 30.

Explain the weird time warp that will make the next 2.5 weeks seem like 2.5 months.

Atlanta sports.

I want to go to Australia this winter break but don’t want to miss Tech’s bowl game if we go to a good one. (I went to the OB last year and it was one of my favorite memories of the year) What are the three bowl we’ll most likely play in? Also, do you think we will go to a better bowl game this season or next?

It depends on what part of winter break you want to go. The earliest I could see Tech playing is the day after Christmas, and that's only if they get relegated to the Sun Bowl again. Regardless of what they do, I would say go on the trip to Australia. You can always watch the game later. Better yet, you could watch Gotsis blow some people up with some Australians.

It's really tough to tell at this point which year we will be better. For a while, I was set on 2016, but this year's team also looks really good.

Which true freshman have impressed the coaching staff thus far in camp and which ones have made a case for playing time this season?

Right now, there are two: Marcus Marshall and Brad Stewart. Both are practicing wonderfully, and because of injuries and such, they could each be starting against Alcorn State.

First weeks biggest upset: If you had to choose one who would it be?

I'll stay in the state and say Georgia Southern-West Virginia. Southern was better last year than the record indicated. I see no reason why they won't be just as good.

Over/under: how many fans show up to the first GT game?

12,500.

What plays will we see Tech run against Notre Dame that we didn’t see against Alcorn State and Tulane and will you be surprised at how well Tech runs those plays?

Tech will probably keep the playcalling relatively simple against Alcorn State and Tulane, as to not give anything too drastic away. It all depends on how the team plays on that given day.