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Mailbag 10/3

Man, no food questions this week

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Georgia Tech at Temple Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Was September the worst month in GT athletic history?

Ben: Probably not. I can’t think of a specific example off the top of my head of a worse month, but there’s gotta be one.

Stephen: yea, I don’t want to put any thought to a worse month in our history. First time reading Ben’s response I definitely thought he said he COULD think of a worse month, and I got really anxious.

Carter: It’s the worst one I can personally remember, but my knowledge of Georgia Tech athletics history doesn’t go back too terribly far.

Jake: Do you want my actual answer or my tongue in cheek answer? Because those post-1893, pre-1903 football teams were so, so, so bad. And there was no golf or baseball to save them then either. But did anyone really care about the team from the 150ish student boys school outside of town back then? No. The month we lost Beringhause and Luck was pretty bad. The lean years of the 1980s were really, really lean. When dropping football is on the table, that ain’t great. And, in better news, golf is two for two on tournament titles this season so far (including toppling no. 1 Texas) and Tech’s Caio Pumputis is the odds-on favorite to win not one but two individual swimming national championships this year.

Does CGC’s history (not counting this year) indicate his teams/units typically outperform, underperform, or perform to the level of their recruiting rankings?

Ben: That’s tough to say, as a head coach, because he’s still fairly young as a head coach. His teams at Temple certainly weren’t bad, and they tended to improve as the season went on.

What range does CGC need to recruit in (Top 10, 10-20, 20-30, etc) to therefore have Tech consistently ranked in the top 25?

Ben: I think Collins can get us in the 20-35 range every year with an occasional top 15 class.

Andrew: Probably in the 20-30 range with a higher class every now and again. We need to out-recruit the teams we play regularly.

Stephen: I think we’ve got to either be Top 30 and have a coaching staff good enough to win the games for us with their talent, or you out-recruit everyone and ride the coattails of being able to out-athlete everyone.

Chris: I think Top 30 with one or two really strong recruits each year. You can earn a Top 25 AP Poll spot with a 9-4ish season and I think getting us to 9-4 isn’t that hard considering our schedule. I don’t think we’ll ever be the type of school that out-recruits people, but I do believe we as a program (and CGC as a coach) have what it takes to get the most out of talent.

How long will it take to achieve those results, and when should the fanbase lololol ADTS be concerned if we haven’t pulled in classes ranked that high yet?

Ben: I think we’re already seeing some of those results. You may not see a lot of higher-rated recruits, but look at the guys we’re beating out for these players compared to those we were beating out under CPJ.

Andrew: I think we will see a slight uptick for the class of 2020. I don’t expect to see huge improvement until 2021 or 2022, give the staff time to build early relationships with underclassmen.

Stephen: I ain’t worried about stars, cus stars get you fired. See Butch Jones.

Chris: Agreed with Stephen. I think our ~~style~~ is much more “get the guys that are right for us” than “get the top guys period”. I think a couple years to get to a consistent recruiting result is reasonable, but I also don’t think we’ll be putting a ton of stock into actual recruiting rankings.

Carter: Agree with Chris — you still need to get guys that fit at Tech. If you have a bunch of five stars commit, but they all fail to qualify or go on academic probation after a year, then congrats — you have zero five stars. Recruiting is not an exact science, so we have to trust Collins & co. to know what they’re doing on that front — and in that regard, I believe in them quite a bit.

Mens Basketball sanctions: What’s the likely outcome of an appeal? Post season ban lifted? Moved to 2021?

Ben: The NCAA does what it wants without much rhyme or reason, so you’re guess is as good as mine.

Andrew: I doubt it. The NCAA doesn’t like to acknowledge that they could possibly make a mistake or be too harsh.

Carter: This appeal will go about as well as the last one did.

Jake: To quote the commentariat every time ‘09 comes up, the NCAA can kiss my [Aerosmith].

Where’s the best place to grab a drink before a tech game (besides at a tailgate)?

Stephen: Quit going to Cypress. It’s too packed. Honestly if it’s a noon game, just accept the fact you’re resigned to drinking at your tailgate and just pony up for better drink.

Chris: Stephen just says that so he himself can go to Cypress and take your seat. But really, given that we love noon kickoffs your best bet will probably be some brunch place where you can get mimosas.

Jake: Chris, that’s called Cypress Street Pint and Plate.

Smash main?

Carter: I lost interest in Smash around the same time they lost interest in having interesting single-player modes. Is Meta-Knight still OP or did they finally nerf him?

Do page hits or readership decline heavily after a big loss? Or a bad season? If so, how long until it usually recovers?

Ben: There’s a lot that goes into it, but readership goes about how you would expect. When Tech is playing well, there are a lot more people interested. When they aren’t, a lot of people don’t care to look for information about them. You’ve also got the diehards that will read rain or shine. We’ve had some issues with that long time between the end of football and the beginning of the 100 Days to Kickoff, so readership tends to fall off then too, but we’ve got some ideas cooking that should help improve that. We recently added a couple new writers that you’ll be seeing (one has already started, and the other will be putting his first piece out soon). We also recently got a pretty nifty tool that helps us calculate more advanced stats, so you’ll see that start to be integrated as well.

Jake: Not necessarily answering the question, but I think the thing that surprises me the most looking at stats is that number of comments doesn’t necessarily correlate with page views. For example, there’s always less comments on basketball posts, but the numbers aren’t shockingly lower. Or, you’ll just get something that sparks discussion (or not). I guess intuitively, you’d think more comments equals more views. Regardless, I love hearing y’alls thoughts, especially the insight it adds to things like Rearview.

Would Lee, Cooper, and Camp be eligible for medical redshirts? They would all three be eligible for a regular redshirt (since they’ve only played 4 games) but the medical hardship (unless I’m mistaken) means they won’t count against our scholarship count next year. Right? I’m a phillistine with NCAA eligibility stuff so I could be way off.

Ben: So you’re actually talking about three different things here. Medical redshirts are used for players applying for a sixth year of eligibility, so Lucas Johnson received a medical redshirt for last season because he redshirted his freshman season. Lee, Cooper, and Camp would all be using their normal redshirt seasons. For both situations, they count against the scholarship count. There are other student-athletes that are medically disqualified, like AJ Gray, who stay on scholarship, but because they are medically disqualified, they don’t count against the scholarship count.

Can you tell us some good news?

Ben: We’re bringing in some advanced basketball stats this year, so that’s pretty fun!

Stephen: I worked on some hundred year old pocket doors for 12 hours this weekend to distract me from football. They’re real pretty.

Chris: In 10 years after we’ve won our 3rd straight National Championship, you’ll be able to yell at all the young kids and say “I was there for the beginning, you don’t even know”.

Carter: AEW premiered on TV last night and it was preeeeeeeeetty sweet.

Jake: Golf is good! Baseball pitching news seems promising! Men’s swimming should be top 25 again and women’s cross country might get there too! Hockey is great! Swim club is superb! Non-revenue and club sports! Woo!

What is the likelihood baseball improves on last postseason’s performance and advances to supers or Omaha?

Andrew: I am really excited for baseball. We brought in the #4 ranked class in the country and didn’t lose any to the draft. We have to find pitching, but I think some of the freshman hitters will be impact players for us. I love bringing in Danny Borrell as the pitching coach, and I love his use of analytics so far.

Jake: We lost in a regional we hosted, with our ace on the mound, at home, to a come-from-behind walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth to a rival. It can’t more heartbreaking than that can it? So now we’re ready for anything.

Will California’s effort to ensure athletes get paid for their likeness spell the end of GT’s ability to put together competitive classes?

Stephen: Probably not. I’m of the camp that nothing is really going to change all that much. The people with the stuff will beat the people that don’t have the stuff. Be “the stuff” recruits, money, boosters, a fun slide in their facilities, whatever.

Chris: Yeah I’m pretty sure Cali kids go to Cali schools and GA kids go to southern schools and that will continue. I think this really only affects the absolute top echelon of recruits that actually have a shot at making real money off of their likenesses. I just don’t see that being a real possibility for the vast vast majority of recruits (and especially the ones we’re targeting).

I picked up this impression during the USF game, and it has only strengthened through the abyss of the last two games, does it seem like the coaching staff are treating the games of the 2019 season as basically glorified practices in which they attempt to install their system regardless of outcome?

Ben: I don’t know that they are basically “glorified practices,” since I think they’re still trying to win games, but yes, I do believe they are just trying to install the system they want to use.

Andrew: That is kinda my tinfoil hat theory. The staff knows they are in no danger of losing their jobs and are so focused on breaking every link to the PJ era, that they shoehorn their offense in instead of trying to meld the two together. Everything Collins has said and done is to try and distance us as much from PJ as he can.

Stephen: I think they’re using this season simply to transition. No more, no less. It is what it is, and hopefully the outcome doesn’t kill morale too much. The folks that definitely saw 9 wins on the schedule, I’d like to sell you some property. Great view of the ocean.

Chris: My guess is that the coaching staff feels that the sooner they start doing what they actually want to do the better, and if that means sacrificing this season, then so be it. I think they’d prefer that rather than a year 0 where the players don’t learn the new system but still don’t do well because of the overall transition, then a year 1 where they don’t do well because they’re learning the new system. Better to go 2-10 -> 6-6 than 4-8 -> 4-8 basically. And I don’t know that I necessarily disagree.

Carter: When I first heard this suggestion I thought it sounded totally insane, but as this season trudges on it’s getting more difficult to argue this isn’t the case. College football is pretty much all about the now, so it’s interesting to see a staff playing the long game.

Jake: Carter said it well. However, I’m also pretty sure that mysterious CPJ tweet yesterday was aimed directly at this staff for reasons similar to Andrew’s tinfoil hat theory.

Their have a been a lot of comparisons to other coaching transitions mentioned however, one I haven’t yet seen but appears (to me) to be the closest is the one from Paul Johnson to Brian VanGorder at Georgia Southern. Given the outcome of that one, does FTRS see this as a likely scenario, if not are there examples out there of a team successfully transitioning from the option within 1-2 years?

Ben: I think Collins is a better coach in every aspect than BVG. I think it’s going to take some time to build some depth in key areas, specifically, in the trenches to do what Collins and Co. really want to do. I think you’ll see some improvement next year, though the record may not reflect it. I think 2021 looks pretty bright, though, and you’ll start to see more tangible results at that point.

Andrew: You could argue that the Georgia Southern transition from Jeff Monken to Willie Fritz was kinda along the same lines. Fritz though brought in Bob DeBesse as his OC, who is a gun option coach and helped to make the transition easier.

Carter: At this point it wouldn’t surprise me if Collins added #thereisnooption to his ever growing list of hashtags. I do think his ceiling is higher than BVG’s, but this staff hasn’t really set the team up for a smooth transition.


How will medical Redshirts given out (hopefully maybe) this season affect the upcoming recruiting class and our numbers?

Ben: Well, Georgia Tech was already well over how many they could take in this class, so I know Collins and Co. are expecting a decent amount of attrition in the offseason. I still think Tech adds a few more players to this class.

If we can beat UNC, how big of a statement could that actually be?

Ben: There’s a decent chance they’re hungover after that heartbreaker to Clemson, but I still think it would be a big statement. If nothing else, I think it could help instill some confidence in the team, especially if they can figure out how to score on offense.

Stephen: See I don’t see it as a statement. It wasn’t a statement win last year for us, and we haven’t fallen so far from whatever level of glory we want to assume we had or seen anything outside of this one game to show this was the new normal from the Tar Heels. It’s the Coastal, give it a week, it’ll all change.

Chris: Man we’re really getting nihilist Stephen today. At this point I think a win over any ACC team would be a pretty big statement from the standpoint of realizing we can in fact compete with our conference in our new world. I think it would be huge as a proof-of-concept to the whole idea of Tech being this radically new program.

Carter: Gonna have to side with Stephen here. What kind of statement is beating coached by a retread, lost to App State, ain’t won a conference title in 40 years UNC?

Jake: “Hey look we beat a Power 5 team after having a rough stretch” is fairly positive in my opinion, if not all that impressive.

How many player-games have we lost due to injuries from the first weekend’s ATL to this weekend’s ATL chart (approx. half way into the season)? Any new standouts emerge?

Ben: Obviously, you’ve got the three that are out for the season. I know Lucas Johnson is also hurt. Jordan Mason also got hurt against Temple. Past that, I’m not sure of anything, and you’re probably not going to hear of any. College coaches are tight-lipped about injuries. As far as standouts emerging, I’ve been impressed with Myles Sims. He and Zamari Walton have been handling the spot across from Tre Swilling, and Sims in particular has been doing a solid job. Dontae Smith has also been pretty impressive at running back in his limited carries.

Chris: It doesn’t matter. The L I N E is the L I N E. If you’re A B O V E you’re A B O V E. We don’t track players, we track E F F O R T and G R I T.

From what you’ve seen so far, do you think Patenaude is a scheme-based coach or a player-based coach? Do you see anything that makes you think we’ll at least get out of the bottom quartile of offenses?

Ben: From what I’ve been able to gather, Patenaude’s offenses have a tendency to start really slow and then improve over the course of the season. I’m hoping we get the same thing here now that we’re moving into October.

Andrew: While I am not the biggest fan of Patenaude, I think it is too early to look at firing him. Many of our offensive issues are assignment mistakes and poor pass protection. The offensive line was going to be an issue and guys getting hurt has compounded that.

Side Note: All coaches are scheme based. They call and coach the schemes that they know and are able to teach. The “player-based” is just a buzz word, more of Collins’ push to break all of the links to the PJ era.

Carter: Patenaude said he was a player-based coach, but that pretty clearly doesn’t track with what we’ve been seeing so far. Just say you’re a scheme-based coach, and don’t give us a complete word salad answer when asked what kind of scheme that is.

What’s up in Athens? I drove around that town (sic) for 48 hours, slowly (I mean school zone slowly), all windows down…Not one sheepskin, diploma, or certificate was to be seen in the back seat. Should the Board of Regents investigate? Is this a case for the I Team?

Ben: I’ve got mine sitting on my desk!

Carter: I’ll say this: I’ve worked with a couple (literally two) CS grads from there, and both of them were pretty sharp.

Jake: As much as I shudder to admit, really loved the guy from Athens’ mechanical engineering school I worked with this summer. Bright guy, personable, too. But I still don’t like the place on principle.