On the heels of the disastrous 3-9 football campaign a year ago, head coach Paul Johnson is calling for a more "player-driven team" as we head into the 2016 season. With kickoff in Ireland now under a month away, the coach who had previously been the model of consistency -- whether good or bad -- is calling for his team leaders to step up and perform the task that the title entails: lead. That player leadership is something that was plentiful during the successful 2014 season, one which featured strong voices like Synjyn Days and Zach Laskey among other veterans, but was inexplicably absent last season despite equally strong leadership on the team. Perhaps everyone got too comfortable with the concept of winning, or perhaps the rampant injuries took a mental toll. Regardless, the truth is that player-led teams succeed more often than not. Hopefully the 2016's Tech squad's leadership will step up.
At a time when Georgia Tech is being picked to finish near the bottom of the pack in the Coastal Division, there's at least one person who feels that the Jackets could be a team to watch in 2016. I suppose that the logic here is sound -- Georgia Tech just about has to improve record-wise because there honestly nowhere to go but up after a three-win season. It's possible that another three-win season is within the realm of possibilities if quite literally everything explodes spectacularly, but I'm content to pretend that injuries and suspensions don't exist. Kool-Aid is all I know, and the Kool-Aid tells me that this team is going at least 19-0. Don't rain on my parade.
If you get the chance, be sure to wear your white and gold (or navy if you would prefer to incite World War III) and support Georgia Tech for College Colors Day on September 2. All you have to do is upload a selfie wearing your Tech gear to be entered for a chance to win a trip to the 2017 National Championship at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. I got excited when I read Tampa because of the potential opportunity to make fun of Tropicana Field, but alas. That will have to wait until the St. Petersburg Bowl.
In honor of the weekend, I'll spare you the latest depressing news of assault out of Baylor (yes, there's been another one) and instead opt for something a bit more uplifting: Georgia Tech alumnus Sam Ledbetter's first ride in the Ramblin' Wreck. It doesn't sound like anything special until you learn that Ledbetter was born in 1912, making him the oldest living Tech alumnus on earth at 104 years old. For those of you keeping track at home, the federal government spent a grand total of $690 million that year. On the first day of NBA free agency this year, teams committed nearly triple that -- $1.8 billion -- to players. You can be a party pooper and adjust for inflation, or you can just be impressed. Your call.
Have a great weekend!