An AJC preview of the 2016 B-Back position can mean only one thing: spring practice is just around the corner! I'm not sure why I decided to throw an exclamation mark on the end of a sentence about something as evil as spring practice (an entity which stripped Tech of a number of projected starters before the 2015 campaign even began), but I suppose that the official beginning of football season is worth celebrating anyway. The B-Back position in particular was shaped largely by injuries last season, with projected starter C.J. Leggett and the subsequent projected starter Quaide Weimerskirch both going down with injures prior to the season. While those occurrences did allow for the emergence of Marcus Marshall, they also forged some pretty serious question marks regarding the position's status this season. Ken Sugiura does a great job of going through some possible scenarios in the above article.
Georgia Tech baseball got back on track in a big way over the weekend, sweeping the rival Hokies in a three-game set at Russ Chandler Stadium and improving their record to 15-4 for the season. The Jackets were just as dominant in this series as Florida State was in the one prior; they outscored Virginia Tech 38-15 over three games just a week after scoring 15 total runs versus the Noles. Perhaps the best part of the sweep is that it allowed Tech to improve to 3-3 within the ACC, a mark that is much more comfortable than the team's previous 0-3 position. It seems trivial now, but starting the conference season 1-5 or 0-6 would've been detrimental for the team's national perception and potentially its confidence. The next conference series will be this weekend at No. 4 UNC, a perfect opportunity for the year's first statement victories. Winning or sweeping that series would be a wonderful thing indeed.
Before that huge set with the Tar Heels, however, the Jackets will have to pass tonight's test with the in-state rival Kennesaw State Owls at Stillwell Stadium in Kennesaw. The Owls are off to a rough 7-13 start to the season but still represent a sizable test for the Jackets -- they are just a couple of seasons removed from a deep College World Series run which saw them win the Tallahassee regional. Tech will send the veteran hurler Cole Pitts to the mound to face off with KSU's Tony Dibrell, an apparent strikeout artist with 28 K's so far on the year. Tech and Kennesaw split the series last year 1-1 in what was a mediocre year for both teams.
One of the most respectable aspects of the Mark Richt era at UGA was the fact that the former Georgia head coach had an open-transfer policy, one which allowed his players to transfer to any school. Unfortunately, new head coach Kirby Smart made short work of that policy, immediately redacting it and blocking transfers to a list of schools which includes the likes of Miami and Florida. I understand blocking transfers to a bitter rival like Florida, but I'm of the opinion that players should be able to follow a coach that they signed to play for. I get that they are setting a precedent, but it just seems a bit much. In the meantime, we still have this sour grapes quote from UGA's Greg McGarity after Tech blocked Robert Carter from transferring to Georgia two years ago.
The student athlete's best interest is at the forefront of our program.
Have a super Tuesday!