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Mailbag 11/20

A whole lot of football questions following the Techmo Bowl.

Georgia Tech v Clemson Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Why does it hurt so much? (But, in .gif form)

Ben: Do you really want an answer to that?




CFB is 50 years older and ______ % better than rooting for laundry football?

Stephen: 100% , I wish I had time to sit around for 20 hours each weekend, so I just pretend all the players that graduate do go on to major in something other than sports.

Chris: 50%. There are some NFL games that are a lot of fun to watch, at least a couple per week. Still though, I’d choose CFB most of the time.

Jake: Let’s add 10% for all of the following:

  • universal proliferation of marching bands
  • vehicles that lead teams onto fields
  • fight songs
  • trophies
  • actual traditions
  • bowl games
  • petty pranking
  • cheerleaders and mic men and such
  • stupid trophies
  • rock throwing, casual border skirmishes, and legitimate beef causing rivalries
  • the inherent uncertainty of the system
  • burning effigies, traffic lights, furniture, etc. over a dang game
  • pointless trophies
  • the ability to split towns in two over a dang game
  • feeling like you belong when you’re far from home, most likely alone for the first time

Most annoying ads interrupting my sports viewing?

Ben: The ones that annoy me the most are the ones that are about a team that isn’t playing. Like sometimes, I’ll be watching a Georgia Tech game, probably an ACC game, and then we get to the commercials and it’s a Georgia commercial, and I’m just like, “What the [Foreigner]?”

Nishant: Mostly I’m just sad that we don’t get to see those Tactical Sunglasses commercials more often. But my answer to the actual question is any of the 10-second cut-in ads that they show during brief stoppages in... pretty much every major sport now.

Stephen: Any of the 6 ads that come on Sling. At least with cable you get a nice breadth of advertising.

Chris: To Ben’s point, I love the absurd commercials for colleges. Like somewhere as a society we decided that we need to advertise gigantic public universities. As if you didn’t know that Florida State existed. What’s even funnier is that the ads make every single college in America seem like the most academically proficient and well-rounded campus ever. You’ll be watching a West Virginia University ad where 30% of it is B-roll shots of students in a lab and go “huh, they do good science there”. My real answer is those “At Home with Baker Mayfield” ads though. One of them is funny, the other 85 aren’t.

Why do I not feel that bad about the VT loss? Is it because I didn’t get to watch because my sister got married? Or am I just numb from the rest of the season? Seriously though, sure we got shut out, but is it actually worse than losing to the Citadel? Or losing to uga 51-7 in 2002? Or 38-7 in 2017? Or losing to uga at all? Is it a worse loss than MTSU? Or Kansas?

Ben: Welcome to the numbing world of a bad Georgia Tech season! I’ve lived through some pretty bad years of Tech football, but none have been as bad as what we’re suffering through currently. The numbness is only emphasized by the decline towards the end of the CPJ era.

Stephen: I also didn’t watch the game (gasp). I too am rather numb to the shock of a shutout. But I will say I had a buddy text me a picture of the stands in the 3rd quarter, and that made me more angry than the score I think, since I couldn’t obviously judge the actual gameplay.

Chris: I think you could make a solid case that this is a worse loss than The Citadel. I don’t know that I’d ultimately agree with you, but it isn’t a wild take. Blowouts are embarrassing and shutouts are embarrassing. When you combine them, ew.

Nishant: I think what bugs me the most is just that there didn’t seem to be any semblance of a game plan in this one. After the gradual improvement of the last few weeks, this game was so deflating that I wasn’t even angry—just disappointed.

Jake: And to think I was a spoiled freshman who got a wins over VPISU, the school in Athens, and in a bowl...I get that nine wins is kind of a high bar of expectation, and that my optimism is blinding sometimes, but it doesn’t give good mentality to this.

Based on the good, the bad and the ugly how many wins do you expect CGC to top out at during his tenure?

Ben: I’m still optimistic about the Geoff Collins era. It’s his first season, so it’s way too early to give up on him. With the way that he’s recruiting right now, I expect improvement over the next couple seasons. I think Collins could definitely get this team to a regular Coastal contender.

Stephen: O/U is set at 28 thanks to Dreadbob. I tend to agree with his estimation. The upcoming schedules are not friendly. So my guess is that if we’re not seeing 8+ by year 5, then he’ll be packing his bags.

Chris: What’s interesting is that while we aren’t a real “blue blood” program, I’m not sure that there’s a better job for CGC to “level up” to. We play in a weak division that a decent program could easily dominate year in and year out. If you have the ability to play in conference championship games with not that much effort, why leave? If CGC does well here, we could easily dominate the Coastal and always be in the running for a championship game spot. From that perspective, I don’t see him leaving on his own. Plus he’s a Tech guy, not just some rando. If he left, I think it would have to be a firing. In that case, I think I mostly agree with Stephen. If we aren’t getting 8+ wins and title game berths after ~2022 then we’ll part ways. If we are though, I could see him staying for a long time because of the reasons I listed above. In the event that we become actually really good, we’d have a pretty easy path to Playoff contention. So to wrap it up: The Ugly is O/U 12, the Normal is O/U 28, the Good/Great is O/U 65.

Does Graham take big next steps in the offseason to become the #1 QB without question or does Gleason come in a take the job as a true freshman?

Ben: Like Andrew, I expect an open competition during the offseason. Gleason arrives in the Spring, so it will be a clear three-way competition between him, Yates and Graham, and I wouldn’t bet to know the final answer until the very beginning of the season, if we even get an answer at that point.

Andrew: I expect we see an open competition going into the first week of the 2020 season. Gleason is an early enrollee, IIRC, so he will get spring to compete with Yates and Graham. I do know that one of the things Temple fans talked about was an inability for Collins and Patenaude to pick a QB, and they went through multiple ones both seasons in Philly.

Stephen: Questioneer fails to remember Yates exists. On to the next question.

Chris: I think it’ll ultimately come down to Yates and Gleason. Graham has been okay, but the little I saw of Yates on Saturday gave me confidence in him (even though everyone kept dropping his passes).

Will we see an offensive line consisting of all freshmen (or mostly)?

Ben: I think at most, we’ll see three freshmen starting on the offensive line. I think Zach Quinney is a safe bet, as is Kenny Cooper, assuming his recovery goes smoothly. Mike Minihan has also done pretty well when he’s healthy. Other than that, I think the OL spots will be up for grabs.

Andrew: I doubt it. OL players always tend to take longer to adapt to the college game. The one spot I expect a freshman is the tackle opposite Quinney. My favorite OL signee is Rankins and I think he is an early enrollee.

Stephen: Same as the above thoughts. And my pessimistic life view won’t let me assume the new recruits are going to be any better than the current flock until they form a pocket and road-grate some fools in an actual game for Georgia Tech. Until proven otherwise, I’m a doubter.

Nishant: It’ll likely be a mix with 3-4 freshmen in the rotation... unless Collins and Key decide they really want to prove a point. And honestly I wouldn’t put it past them.

What did you think of Jordan Yates’s performance?

Andrew: It was ok, our WRs need to stop dropping balls. I want to go back and watch the tape to see what was called for him.

Chris: About the same as Andrew. He looked very fast when moving with the ball, and I think the drops were pretty awful. From what I remember, he placed the ball pretty well on a lot of those throws. It also felt like he was consistently having to scramble with 4 defenders in his face, so I’d like to see him in a more normal situation.

Nishant: For a true freshman behind an awful OL (how did they regress so badly after weeks of improvement?) against a good defense, he did fine. As the others said, his stat line looks worse than his performance really was because of all the drops. His placement wasn’t perfect, but whenever he missed, it was by inches rather than feet.

How much playing time should he get this week against NCSU?

Ben: I think you stick with Graham as the starter for now, but if he struggles, I wouldn’t give Graham a long leash.

Andrew: I think you let Graham start and see how he plays.

Chris: I’d be in favor of starting Graham and then going to Yates in the second half if we’re down by 10+.

How much time will he get?

Ben: Depends on which James Graham shows up.

Chris: My honest guess is probably not much. NC State is pretty bad and I really expect CGC to get the team fired back up, and that includes Graham.

Hypothetically, if he plays and plays well, do you start/play him against u(sic)ga?

Ben: I think it depends on how well Yates hypothetically plays. If he plays just slightly better than Graham in any given game, I don’t know that I would start him against Georgia. If he goes out and turns into Jalen Hurts, then yeah, start him against Georgia. The tl;dr version is that Graham is probably gonna start the rest of the season barring an injury.

Stephen: I really don’t want to ruin him by making him run for his life for the 13 minutes we hold the ball in that game.

Chris: Depends on your definition of “well”. If he wins the game for us against NC State, then I think yes, you start him. If he just comes in for a couple drives and does okay, then I think that’s what you’ll see out of him against UGA as well.

Nishant: What Stephen said. Throwing an inexperienced true freshman out to face the UGA defense would be wildly irresponsible. I’m already concerned about Graham having zero time to throw.

How much of our performance last week was the result of injuries (or other factors outside the coaches’ control) that will still affect this week’s game, especially on short rest? How much was the result of bad preparation that could (conceivably) be fixed?

Ben: It’s tough to know exactly where all the issues were, but I think the biggest one is that the team just looked completely unprepared, almost like they weren’t even in a good mindset coming into the game. Personally, I think that falls on the coaching staff to make sure that the team is hyped up for the game, and I hope that’s an easy fix.

Chris: The injuries definitely don’t help, but I agree with Ben. The team just looked lost for the most part. It was one of those situations where a couple things went wrong and the whole thing spiraled. I think that’s on the coaching staff to make better immediate adjustments to prevent that spiral.

What’s NCSU’s weakness on defense, and do we have a better shot airing it out or keeping it on the ground?

Ben: NC State’s defense is actually the strength of the team this year. They’re ranked 55th in Defensive SP+ and the Wolfpack’s defense has been more effective against the run than the pass, so I expect Tech to still try to establish the run and then take a couple shots.

Drew: I think we’ll try to pass it early to get James Graham’s confidence back up. Get him some easier passes early, maybe a scramble or two and hope that gives him the confidence to keep throwing.

What’s your preferred way to tailgate on Thursday night games?

Stephen: being an out-of-towner, it’s now a tricky situation. Ideally, you take off at lunch. Find your spot, get the grill going. Sip a nice beverage and take in the fall weather.

Chris: Definitely take off at lunch. Fire up the grill and pull out all the stops. Don’t just go with your regular burgers and dogs; take a different path and do some Italian sausages and peppers or something. Change it up.

Jake: Skip the afternoon classes if you can and chill on the IC Lawn at the usual tailgate. Nothing like people watching while kids wander to Linear Algebra and gawk at a bunch of swim club types tailgating during class change.

How the hell do we get through the uGA game? Not we the team, but we as fans? Noon-er, vanishingly small chance of success, sitting in a sea of barking red, feeling hopeless…

Ben: Just pretend that the game doesn’t count. It’s just a meaningless exhibition that has no bearing on anything.

Andrew: My wife and I are spending the weekend in Chattanooga. I plan on not watching any of the game and just enjoying the city.

Stephen: Actively avoid it. I’ll be on the beltline, I pray it’s sunny that day.

Chris: As someone who will be at home with one UGA grad and one current UGA student I will probably try to convince my family to do an early lunch and then go to the beach or kayaking (#IslandLivingPerks) alone where I will be nowhere near a TV. Honestly debating offering to take my family to dinner that night so I can pull a “I’m paying for this, shut up and let’s talk about other things” card when either of my red family members starts to bring it up.

Does anyone else think “frumbleseat” when they type/read the name of this website or is it just me?

Ben: I don’t think I have ever once thought that. The common mistake I typically see is people calling us “The Rumble Seat,” which irritates me to no end.

Stephen: I only ever type “fr” into my google search bar, hit enter, and don’t think about it outside of that.

Chris: No, but now I will, I love it. @Ben, motion to rename our Twitter account to “frumbleseat” after every loss?

Jake: Agreed with Stephen. I go by FTRS when I go shorthand. I think we should have a feature called The Seat and I don’t know what it is but I think it sounds cool. Maybe like bye week kinda vibes. Just interview FTRS folks about life? Or The Rumble/Hot Seat. I don’t know. I’m spitballing here. Let me know your thoughts.

Where does James Banks rank among the nation’s top defenders?

Ben: I’m not super knowledgeable when it comes to basketball, so I’m not the guy to answer this. Paging one of Rob, Drew, Reed, or Patrick.

Drew: He’s dang good, but he’s not challenging for one the top spots. He’s a very good rim defender, but he is too aggressive, leading to a lot of fouls and offensive rebounds, and he’s not great on the perimeter. He’s a fantastic defender and is perfect for what we need him to do, but there are a few better out there.

Is it concerning that James Graham said he was not “locked in” and was not prepared for a home game against the hokies? How can a player not be in the game as big as this? Was this lack of focus trickling down to the entire team and the way they practiced all week, which can explain the horrible outing? Or was VPISU really that much better and Tech’s attrition and severe lack of talent starting to catch up, especially on the OL/DL?

Ben: I get that Graham is running for his life behind Tech’s patchwork offensive line, but yes, that is a huge concern for me. As the starting quarterback, the team is going to follow you, so if your head is in it, they will follow you, but if it’s not, they’ll still follow you.

Stephen: Sort of concerning? Wasn’t it like one week ago he was talking about how he finally was taking it more seriously and making a concentrated effort to focus on the prep work it takes to be an ACC quarterback? I know the team would go through stretches like this in the past and you could sense things were off in practice. At the end of the day, they’re college kids. Consistency isn’t often synonymous with that demographic as a whole, athlete or not.

Chris: Yes, but no. I’d still argue that all of this is very new to him and a lot has been asked of him this season (maybe too much). What’s more concerning is that we didn’t adjust from it. You could tell pretty early on that things weren’t going his way, and I would expect a strong coaching staff to make adjustments and find a way for others to pull more of the weight. Instead, it seemed like everything collapsed around him.