With Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium not set to open until well after the beginning of the 2017 MLS season, the newly-minted Atlanta United FC will have to play its first few home games at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium. Though the situation is hardly optimal for ATLUTD ticket holders who paid for seats at a brand new venue with much more club-level seating than Bobby Dodd has to offer, it will be neat to see the stadium transformed into a soccer venue for a while. The mess could get even worse, however, if Mercedes-Benz overshoots its summer 2017 build date and extends into Falcons football season. It would be an absolute mess to try and figure out a way for everyone to get into Bobby Dodd for a game like that, which leads me to believe that Sanford Stadium may be the optimal backup in that situation despite its distance from Atlanta.
It’s no secret that head basketball coach Josh Pastner is facing an absolute and total rebuilding job at Georgia Tech, but the energetic Calipari disciple seems more than willing to tackle the challenge. In that article from the Savannah Morning News, Pastner shares some of his feelings on both the current status of Tech’s program and its potential for growth in the coming years. He makes a number of poignant and honest points, hitting largely on the need for patience among the Tech fanbase.
“There’s great potential here. But potential is a scary word, too. And hope doesn’t win you games, either. But we’re doing everything we can. It’s just going to take a little time.”
We’ve discussed the immense potential here in Atlanta at great length since the dismissal of Brian Gregory at the conclusion of last season, but Pastner’s comment that potential won’t win any games is a valid one. It will certainly take some time, likely far beyond this season, before anything gets noticeably better. Hopefully Mike Bobinski hired the right man for the job before bolting.
The 2014 Pittsburgh game was, by all accounts, the pinnacle of Tech’s good turnover fortune during the Orange Bowl-winning season two years ago. The Jackets forced six turnovers in that game, including five in the first quarter alone, taking advantage of everything from a bad snap to an exceptional goal-line play by D.J. White. That aspect of Tech’s game has been completely absent this season, however, as the Jackets have failed to force turnovers at the same rate. The staff has largely brushed it off as bad luck, but it seems reasonable to note that other factors — including lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and exceptionally soft coverages — have also played a role. Saying that all turnovers come down to pure luck is just silly, not to imply that the staff sees it in that way. There’s always some way to impact the quarterback, be it a physical impairment or one to his decision making, that can make it easier to create turnovers. We saw that firsthand last week when Miami scored on back-to-back fumble recoveries for touchdowns, one as a result of strong defensive line play from the Canes and one as a result of not-so-strong offensive line play from the Jackets.
Have a great Thursday!