For star quarterback Justin Thomas, a successful swan song season will largely rely one one thing that was overwhelmingly absent a year ago: a solid performance from his supporting cast. Thomas, as athletically gifted as he has proven himself to be over the last three seasons, is no different than any other standout player in that his talent is all but wasted when no one else performs well. We saw the exact opposite of that phenomenon in 2014, when a combination of pure talent and veteran presence surrounded Thomas from start to finish. The theory proved resurgent the following year, when an absence of those two factors -- particularly the latter -- caused Tech to flat-line at 3-9 overall. The author of the above article, ESPN's David Hale, does an excellent job of tying statistics into his analysis of Tech's fall from grace, as he's known to do. Perhaps the most poignant figure is that Thomas' fumble rate rose from nearly tripled between 2015 and 2016, from 2.8 percent to 7.6 percent. It seems like a poor reflection on Thomas himself at first, until you consider the struggles of the offensive line. It's one of many things that will need improving, as Hale indicates.
You've seen and participated in the always-successful Whiteout each season, but Georgia Tech has finally decided to make the jump and push fans to wear the other primary color versus Vanderbilt in the school's first Goldout. Perhaps the best part of the news is that the primary beneficiaries of the event will be organizations dedicated to erasing childhood cancer. The shirt, which is more of a bowl-type design than a true rally shirt, was clearly made to appeal to both Vanderbilt and Tech fans to get both maximum support for the cause and maximum uniformity in the stands.
The news also warrants a congratulations to GTJason, our very own FTRS community member who has spearheaded the push for a Goldout. Though we haven't reached the ultimate goal of having a Goldout at every game, this is certainly a step in the right direction; perhaps a successful first attempt will spur on many more.
Unfortunately, no NFL preseason would be complete without a number of key injuries. This time around, a couple of former Yellow Jackets drew the short end of the stick in terms of durability, going down with varying degrees of injuries after just one preseason game:
- Former wide receiver DeAndre Smelter is week-to-week with a leg injury that folks around the 49ers organization speculate could keep him out indefinitely. San Francisco fans are (unsurprisingly) calling him a bust already, but his potential remains sky-high.
- Defensive end Vance Walker's season is over with much more certainty; he sustained a torn ACL and is officially out for the year. Interestingly enough, this injury means that fellow former Jacket Adam Gotsis will likely have an increased role, or at least a better opportunity to find one. It's strange how that works sometimes.