What do you hate most about that school out east?
Ben: Honestly, might get some flack for this, but who cares. Honestly, outside of when Tech is playing them, I have nothing against them. I got my degree from there and met some of my best friends there.
Chris: I’ll start with some diplomacy and say that I know what I’m about to say doesn’t apply to everyone. I’ll re-phrase this as “of the mentalities that come of the extreme parts of the school out east, which one do you hate the most?”, and to that my answer is the wild unwillingness to acknowledge that there are other football schools. There are certain people that when you talk to them, they act like Athens is God’s gift to Earth and there isn’t a single other football program in the country that has traditions or does well at football. You want to tell them about this neat thing Minnesota does? WHY DOES THAT MATTER? THE DAWGS HAVE BEEN DOING THIS OTHER THING SINCE 1955 AND LITERALLY NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER THOUGHT OF DOING IT WE ARE THE PINNACLE. They have no concept of the vast landscape of college football and are lost in their own world where its Georgia Football and then a bunch of other peons. I’ll argue for hours about how awesome Tech traditions are, but I also have the capacity to acknowledge that Paul Bunyan’s Axe is also awesome. Various people from the east I’ve met have not shared that capacity. This also manifests itself when they get left out of the Playoff for losing games. “So what we have two losses and 6 other schools have either one loss or none plus a conference championship? We’re Georgia Football and we’re clearly better than everyone, so just put us in the Playoffs”. Some of them seem incapable of understanding how the system at large works and think that their “blue blood” status (don’t even get me started on how untrue that is) gives them all the entitlements in the world. But also let me repeat: this is not all of them, nor is it most of them. It’s just the loudest of them.
Akshay: I more or less agree with Chris, but I will extend his statement — in my experience, most of their fans are punch-drunk on their football program. This particular part of Chris’s diatribe sums it up pretty well:
they act like Athens is God’s gift to Earth and there isn’t a single other football program in the country that has traditions or does well at football.
Carter: So here’s my deal — and obviously, this is not universal — but Georgia fans, by and large, and including at least one blue checkmark on Twitter who may or may not be a writer in NYC, hold these two beliefs simultaneously: 1) that Tech fans are some of the worst people to walk the earth, and 2) as such, it is their responsibility, nay, their birthright, to remind Tech fans of this at every opportunity, often by harassing them, in public, simply for existing. Additionally, they don’t think about Tech, ever, and Tech is definitely not a rival, and we know this to be true because they tell us this all the time, completely unprompted.
Jake: My entire exposure to that school is via interactions related to sports. And, man, have they been poor.
Are there any players you think will transfer and surprise some folks (i.e. Parker Braun and Kirvonte Benson last year)?
Ben: I’m not going to speculate about transfers. It would be a complete guessing game.
Carter: Well they wouldn’t be surprises if I had a good idea, would they?
Can you give us a list of all of the injured players from this season? Hopefully this will be easier to find now that the season is over and Collins can talk about injuries.
Ben: The reason Collins didn’t talk about injuries isn’t because the season was going on. He just doesn’t really talk about them. But off the top of my head, here’s who I remember getting hurt at one point or another this season: Jalen Camp, Kenny Cooper, Jahaziel Lee, Chico Bennett, Tariq Carpenter, Connor Hansen, Brad Morgan, Mikey Minihan, Sylvain Yondjouen, Juanyeh Thomas, James Graham, and Lucas Johnson. I’m sure there are others who missed time due to injury, but I don’t remember them currently.
Carter: Add Bruce Jordan-Swilling to the list.
Can you give us a list of all of the walk-ons that played this year?
Ben: According to the Participation Report on RR.com: Josh Blancato, Djimon Brooks, Jack Coco, Hinson Fowler, Hampton Gibbs, William Lay, Dylan Leonard, Cade Long, Spence Massey, Taylor McCawley, Austin Nash, Rich Stanzione.
Who is at the top of your recruiting wishlist?
Ben: Defensive tackles.
Andrew: Gibbs would be a great get for the optics alone. RB is not really a position of need, but beating the big boys would send a great message.
Chris: Offensive linemen.
Akshay: Many offensive linemen.
Carter: Defensive linemen, too.
Who would hurt the most to lose from the recruiting class?
Ben: On offense, it’s not big position of need, but not being able to secure Jahmyr Gibbs would be annoying since Collins is trying to prove that Tech can recruit with some of the other schools after Gibbs (Bama, Georgia, etc.). On defense, I don’t think it’s likely, but I would hate to lose Tyson Meiguez. We don’t have much in the way of true linebackers, but Meiguez is one of my favorite commits in the class.
Andrew: Gibbs, it would show that the big boys can still jump in late and take guys.
Are there any transfers you think we should go after?
Ben: After taking a look at 247’s Transfer Portal, I see some intriguing names: Tennessee OT Ryan Johnson (attended the same high school as Brandon Adams) and Temple TE Kenny Yeboah. If there’s a good situation for a grad transfer quarterback, I wouldn’t be against it, but I won’t be upset if Tech doesn’t get one. Maybe a defensive tackle?
Which head coach firing is the biggest surprise to you?
Ben: Part of me is still surprised that Willie Taggart got fired before he finished his second year, but outside of that, the most surprising to me has been Chris Petersen stepping down at Washington. Because that isn’t what you asked, I’ll say Addazio at BC, though, with what some former players have been saying about him, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
Andrew: Matt Luke at Ole Miss was a surprise, as was Addazio at BC. I think programs often struggle with finding their place in the college football food chain.
Carter: Barry Odom at Mizzou was the biggest surprise to me. As Godfrey tells it, the staff was so paranoid about getting fired it essentially became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Akshay: I feel like Addazio’s firing was a long time coming, but Matt Luke has got to take the cake here. Until I listened to this week’s PAPN, it never occurred to me that the Egg Bowl is basically just the Iron Bowl without the national consequences — losing coaches (regardless of quality — though not to say Luke’s tenure was particularly impressive) often get fired.
Jake: So the logical addendum to Akshay’s comment is that Nick Saban is toast.
How much better will the basketball team be once we get Jordan Usher eligible?
Andrew: I don’t really know. This team still seems to struggle with basic basketball things. There is no positive in get old, stay old, if your older players don’t get any better.
Jake: I haven’t seen enough of him outside shoot-around and stuff like that. I guess Usher could fall anywhere on a wide spectrum between James Banks and Shembari Phillips. So who knows?
Did Epstein kill himself?
Carter: Nice try, but you’re going to have to be more clever than that that, FBI.
Can we take credit for GT volleyball’s ncaa tourney snub as our MBB postseason ban?
Ben: I’m pretty sure the MBB team will be self-imposing a postseason ban on itself anyway the rate they are playing currently. Sorry, that was a cheap shot.
Carter: Did you see the sheer number of postseason accolades the team received the day after the field was set? There’s enough salt from GT athletics and volleyball — and rightfully so — to preserve an entire cow.
Jake: Carter clearly has not seen me in person since the news. I am a veritable mountain of salt. I think the NCAA would love to see us fail to make another tournament, or, at least, they don’t really care who’s in and who’s out, as long as the big boys make it.
What are the chances that we could move COFH off of Thanksgiving weekend? Are we contractually locked into that weekend? If so, for how long? Could we at least move our home games? Duke doesn’t play a rivalry game that weekend, so we could play them then. Neither does Miami, but I wouldn’t call them as big a rival as Duke. Failing that, is there a way that we could incent our fans to come to the game instead of selling their tickets to dwag fans?
Ben: In order: almost zero, until 2026 (see Carter’s link to future schedules), I’m not sure what you mean by move, and finally, win.
Carter: That’s a lot of questions, but: yes, we are contractually locked into that weekend, until at least 2026. Don’t hold your breath on moving it to another weekend. As for keeping fans from selling those tickets to opposing fans.... I’d have to think about that.
Chris: I don’t really see it being moved. I’d also argue that Miami is still a bigger rival for us than Duke. Re: tickets, my tangential answer is that I think it’s semantically important to point out that I think very few people are explicitly selling tickets to known UGA people and the vast majority of people are just throwing them on stubhub or something. The real answer is that the only true incentive is to field a competitive team that people are excited about. People go to Clemson games because 1. Clemson is really really good and 2. Clemson has a ton of really exciting players that will one day play in the NFL. Getting players (and a program) with national attention is to me the only way to entice the portion of the fanbase that tends to be more apathetic.
Jake: Ending the season with a meh opponent won’t do anything to solve the student attendance problems. The amount of kids that finagle getting their Athenian friends into the game because they have friends that will be home is absurd, but I also think it’s unreasonable to condemn out-of-state kids for not being at the game and spending a holiday with their family. So, yeah, you could move it, but then, especially in a down year, instead of having an almost guaranteed full house, you’re got...not that.
What letter grade would you give CGC, CDP, and CAT for their performances so far; individually for off-field (recruiting, developing, etc) and on-field (personnel, play-calling, etc) performances?
Ben: For Collins, I think he’s done a good job selling the program and recruiting, though his repetitive coachspeak has gotten a bit annoying. I’ll give him a B+ in that respect. As for in-game stuff, I was a little disappointed with some in-game management skills and special teams (which is something Collins really emphasized), so I’ll give him a C+ there. Patenaude, I feel like as far as development goes, Brent Key deserves an A++, but for Patenaude, I’ll say an Incomplete. I say that because of his onfield grade, which is also a D+. It never felt like we had a base offense or identity the entire season. We would try stuff in one game, and then in the next, the offense would look almost entirely different. That makes it difficult to see how the offense as a whole is progressing. Hopefully that gets cleaned up next year. For Thacker, I’ll give him a solid B in both areas. We saw some nice improvement from an inexperienced defensive line, and Tech’s secondary was one of the best parts of the whole team. They heavily struggled against the run and at producing a pass rush, and that killed them by the end of the season.
Chris: I’ll give Collins a C+. Overall this season was below my expectations but there were some flashes of what could be. I love the culture stuff, but the on-field product just wasn’t up to snuff. For Patenaude I’d probably go D-. Credit to him for finally sticking with one QB and starting to give Ahmarean Brown more opportunities, but overall the offense was just nowhere near where it needs to be. He certainly had an extremely difficult job but I would’ve liked to see a little more creativity out of the solution. Thacker probably gets a B-. We played some amazing defensive halves and saw some really great potential, but it never quite all fit together. And like Ben mentioned, the run defense was a massive struggle.
What’s your 2020 Way Too Early(TM) record prediction?
Ben: I think this team can get to six wins with some improvements along the offensive line and some tightening of things on the defense.
Andrew: I have a sinking feeling we see another losing season.
Chris: 5-7. Wins against Gardner-Webb, Duke, Miami, Pitt, and Syracuse.
Jake: Gardner-Webb, Syracuse, Pitt, UVA, Miami, UNC (6-6)
Is there a “drop dead” date by when we could withdraw our appeal and declare that we’re going to take our MBB postseason ban this year? If things are looking bad for this year?
Ben: The postseason ban is the thing I’m least concerned about with the appeal.
How long, oh, how loooonnnng until BEEZBALL SEASON?
Andrew: Feb 14th is opening day. I am really excited for this season. We need to find some arms, but I really like what Borrell has done with the pitchers since coming on.
Jake: Not soon enough, that’s for sure.
What’s the chances that our golf team can finally bring home the NCAA title this year?
Ben: Jake Grant could probably answer better than me, but I sure hope so!
Jake: Well hello there, Ben. Anyhow, well, if there’s a year to do it, it’s this one. The team is as experienced as it gets, they have won the ACC two years in a row, and made it to the final weekend last year. Golf seems to be a finicky sport, so they really do have to make sure they’re clicking to make it into the top. But they’re one of the best regular season teams in the country and I absolutely think that they have a shot. You can never, ever say it’s expected. But, if there’s a time best aligned for it to happen, it’ll happen in May of 2020.
Is Graham the guy at QB for the foreseeable future or was he just the best option this year?
Ben: From what I can tell, Tucker Gleason is expected to enroll early, so I expect a full-on competition between him, Graham and Jordan Yates. Graham had his struggles this year, but the main one was accuracy on short to intermediate throws. It felt like if it was a 10-yard pass, Graham would either bounce it to the receiver or throw it into the stands.
Andrew: I like Graham’s arm, he seems to throw the deep ball with ease. He seems to struggle with reads in both the passing game and the run game. I expect the QB battle to last into fall camp, and we might see all 3; Graham, Yates, and Gleason play early in the season.
Like many have already stated, the amount of red in BDS was painful and, having talked to a friend who was there, the cheers for U-G-A were deafening, my question is around the south end student section. What is the Athletic Department doing get students in those seats because it looked pitiful on TV? Yes, i know it was Thanksgiving. Yes, I know it was (probably) going to be an unpleasant game to watch. But I can remember those tickets being really competitive when I was student (‘06-’11) and I was only able to get tickets in the lottery once.
Ben: I can’t speak to how difficult it is to get tickets, but I have heard that it isn’t particularly hard for non-students to get into the student section, so they could tighten things up there.
Andrew: The soccer clubs in Europe do a really good job of segregating opposing fans, we might want to look in to how they handle it.
Chris: I’m pretty sure when I was a student the South End Zone was free first-come-first-serve with your BuzzCard, though I could be misremembering. I’d be all in favor of just making all student tickets free (ala Clemson) to encourage student attendance. I don’t think we’d run into the problem of too many students wanting to come, and I think it would fill out the sections nicely. The student thing is especially tough over Thanksgiving though. Again I think the only answer is a nationally relevant program with nationally relevant players.
Akshay: (see below)
Jake: Problem is, the South End Zone tickets are already free to claim. If people don’t want to come, whether it’s because the team isn’t doing great, or they’re just apathetic about sports - which is a very, very real problem that I sure as heck don’t have a great answer to - they aren’t going to go. I’ve seen it fill up in my four seasons here. But that’s for schools like Clemson, the homecoming game, or the Miami night game in 2018. Other than that, I think incentivizing attendance and teaching people why Tech and Tech sports matter gets lost on the vast majority of this school. I could go for the fences with this one, but for the sake of time it boils down to this: Tech doesn’t have a sports-specific problem, it has an apathy problem.
Do they still do a lottery for the game? Is it open for any student but participation is that small? I can remember there being a conversation about turning that area into a patio for big donors but I’d rather see rowdy students banging on the walls.
Akshay: I’m gonna lump my answers to the ticket-related questions here. At this time (well, as recent as of Fall 2018), there’s two ways to acquire Georgia Tech football tickets as a student: 1) purchasing the entire season’s worth of tickets for $60ish (that price has slowly gone up in recent years) and choosing a dedicated block to sit in in the North End Zone OR 2) reserve a free student or guest ticket in the South End Zone on a first-come, first-serve basis starting on the Wednesdays (I believe?) of home game weeks (so, to answer your second question first, the lottery still exists). The problem isn’t really acquiring tickets to the game: if you’re on the athletics mailing list — like every student is (and I somehow still am), it’s pretty clear that the free student tickets are usually readily available.
...but that’s the problem, isn’t it? If a student isn’t Greek or SWARM (two examples of student groups that have routinely high attendance — I’m sure there are plenty others, but those are just the main examples that come to mind) who regularly buy season tickets, students can only get in via the free tickets. Most students are notoriously fickle fans. Students won’t come to games if the team isn’t winning. Thus, if the free student tickets don’t get claimed, those sections probably either 1) go empty or 2) get put on sale on a service like StubHub for other fans to buy.
Georgia Tech football has had a rough patch over the last five seasons (2015 to 2019, inclusive). Given its relative lack of success combined with a variety of other factors affecting attendance across the country (weather, alcohol sales, kickoff times, etc.), it is not surprising that student attendance has declined since the 2006-11 period you’re basing your comparison on. On top of that (like Chris mentioned), Thanksgiving weekend is a tough travel weekend for a fanbase that is already fairly decentralized in a city that has an inherently transient nature AND a student body made up of ~40% out-of-state students.
On top of that, Athletics asked students to come to campus on their holiday weekend to watch what was not only going to be a surefire loss but also a certain massacre. Students aren’t blindly loyal — they read sports media, and they’re aware of how good or bad the team and its opponents are to a certain extent. Why should they go to a game they know is going to be a loss? We’ll say “school pride and tradition”, but the fickle student fan isn’t necessarily considering that because for most of their time at Tech (considering the last five years), the team hasn’t won enough to develop that pride and respect for tradition.
Really, what I’m trying to say is (and what Chris has said a number of times above): winning fixes all problems. Becoming a national contender — or even a national name — fixes most of your problems. If they want to see the student section full of white and gold on Thanksgiving weekend, Georgia Tech football has to convert the fickle sidewalk student into a diehard fan, and that’s going to be the hardest part of this rebuild.
(As an aside, I’m absolutely here for tearing down the South End Zone seating area and adding field-level suites. I have no insider information to that end; it’s just something I’d really like to see that could also make the AA a lot of money.)
Chris: This is me in real time scrolling down and reading Akshay’s description of the lottery that is more accurate than mine above. Carry on.
Jake: I kinda answered the question in the last one, but, to be honest, how are these kids going to be drawn into caring about Tech sports if it’s just “oh, they’re always mediocre” every year? My first year, we won nine games, beat the school in Athens and VPISU and went to and won a bowl game. There was no building on that. Just regression. Add two more years of mediocrity on top of that, and there’s value proposition here. You aren’t having your most powerful voices, your captive audience say anything to promote the team. There’s nothing I love seeing more than the SWARM with a twisted bleacher after a game because someone was that into the game that they stomped on that rattling metal so hard it broke. That is passion I wish I can bottle. But, really, outside of band, the Swarm in 117, a couple frat and organization blocks - certainly not all of them - and Reck Club, there’s not all that much unbridled enthusiasm in the North End Zone, either. I think encouraging more grassroots things, rather than force canned music and fake money, will build that fan support, too. Look at the supporters section at Atlanta United, for starters. We’ll never go back to mandatory football attendance, but if Tech can sell itself on the field, then that’s how the stands get more full.
Lastly, when ADTS took over, he made a comment that getting existing alumni interested in football was an uphill battle (work and life kind of gets in the way) but if you could get the student body excited, that will help now and in the future. Has he done anything tangible to get the student body more interested in going to Football games (besides potentially replacing the Triple Option with a more traditional scheme)?
Ben: I’ve noticed a lot of giveaways for students who get to the game early. Outside of that, something I think you could do is really reach out to club teams in the community to have them come to the games and get some younger-than-college kids interested in Georgia Tech.
Chris: Like Ben I’ve noticed a ton of giveaways and have been extremely jealous. I’ll also repeat part of my answer above: I think student tickets should be free and I think that would bring in more apathetic students.
Jake: Surely everyone at FTRS is sick of my grumbling, but I think it’s dumb to offer giveaways 1) before games, as opposed to like halftime, because the amount of students I saw leaving the stadium 45 minutes before the game started was egregious and 2) tell your school spirit organizations that they’re not the target market. Just because they care a lot doesn’t mean you can take them for granted, especially when it’s hard enough as it is to get people in the stadium and caring about the team. I don’t think the scheme has moved the needle at all in student attention. If anything, replacing Paul Johnson, who was somewhat of a cult hero, with the Geoff Collins experience has resonated poorly with the circles I run in, though I most certainly cannot claim to speak for everyone. Winning is the most exciting thing. I have some ideas, mostly narrow-reach, deep-exposure, which makes it hard to apply to everyone, but I think the 16,000 undergrads turn out at like a 4,000 or so person rate for football, which is a similar rate to participation in Greek Life, or about double that of competitive club sports. Those two markets are going to inherently be high buy-in, and I think that better focus on the so-called “middle” - your Tech students who have clear organizational, and therefore institutional buy-in will get you farther than giving out free stuff. Show them why to care. Winning is the value proposition, but the active or indirect relationships with a program, team, or players are why one stays invested. Again, I have plenty more words I could say, so I’ll save them, but I hope that got at the question a little bit.
Surely Tech fans know that 404 is the error code for file, page, or server not found. Why would Georgia Tech brand its football team with a number associated with the ultimate failure of the internet?
Carter: ....because it’s the Atlanta area code, and a lot of people see their home area code as a big part of their identity? It’s also one of the original area codes, so it carries more importance than any of the overlaid area codes in the area.
Chris: Software Engineer spinzone: 404 isn’t a failure, but rather an elegant solution to a potential problem. But yeah, area code. People love identifying with it. 912!
Jake: This actually made a lot of sense to me when they went hard into the 404 idea since my high school had been using 708 for a while. I don’t mind it. 777 has both gambling and aviation connotations. 76 is a gas station, a sports team nickname, and a highway. Numbers have many meanings. And Atlanta’s area code has long had powerful allure in symbolism. So as much as I’m firmly on the fence about the #404theCulture vibe, I think the idea is firm.
Of the three teams Georgia Tech beat this year, which coach has the hottest seat:
USF’s Charlie Strong, NCSU’s Dave Doeren, or Miami’s Manny Diaz since USF has already fired Charlie Strong, NCSU has retained Dave Doeren but fired their defensive coordinator, and Manny Diaz … who’s the next coach that gets fired for losing to Tech, and why is it Manny?
Ben: With Bryce Perkins graduating, I really don’t know what Virginia’s offense is going to look like next year, so I’ll add Bronco Mendenhall as a wildcard option here.
Carter: If Tech beats georgia in the next five years they’ll probably fire Smart on the spot, so I hope it’s him.
Chris: Miami’ first four games of 2020 will be against Temple, Wagner, UAB, and Michigan State. They are absolutely losing two of those, and maybe three the rate they’re going. My money is on Sparty canning Manny. To answer your question though, I’ll throw out a wildcard: Dino Babers. Cuse really took a drop this year, and if next year gets worse a late season loss to Tech could be the final straw. Plus apparently coaches don’t get that long anymore.
Akshay: Manny if he’s still losing to Tech in year three, but wild card option: Justin Fuente, who is only a paltry 1-3 versus the Jackets in his time in Blacksburg and has had some controversy surrounding his program throughout the 2019 season. Especially without Bud Foster to shore up the Hokie defense next year, Fuente could get the can if the Jackets win in Blacksburg again.
Jake: Manny Diaz
How are we getting our scholarship numbers in line with the size of our recruiting class? We honored 12 seniors this past week, and I assumed not all were on scholarship. I dont want to see any greyshirts or dismissals of guys already on scholarship. So… is a mass exodus expected? Or a lot of 4th year juniors walking away with a year left to play?
Ben: There will be attrition. The coaching staff wouldn’t be getting this many folks committed if they weren’t expecting it. As Andrew says below, you’ll probably see some older guys not ATL leave.
Andrew: There has to be a lot of attrition next year, but I don’t think we have to be down to 85 till after spring ball, so I bet we see a lot of guys that are not “atl” leave after spring.
How many of our 2020 commits plan to enroll in January?
Ben: Gleason is the only one I’m pretty sure about, but I’m sure there will be others. Keep an eye out on RR.com early January, and they’ll make an announcement there.
Will I be alive the next time Tech beats uga at BDS?
Ben: I sure hope so!
Carter: Depends. How old are you? If you’re pushing 70, your odds might not be that great. If you’re closer to my age, then yeah, definitely.
Jake: The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Everything the can happen, will. Murphy’s law.
Can we have the Gold-Gold-White combo more often?
Ben: I actually didn’t really like the gold jerseys with white pants. Make those pants navy though, and then we can start talking.
Andrew: Sure, but we should always wear white shirts at home.
Carter: I far, far prefer white-white-gold, but let’s not get into another uniform fight.
Chris: I’m just here for my annual advocation for a uniform that looks like a Model A. I don’t care how you do it Adidas, just make it happen (almost typed “just do it”, whoops!).
Akshay: Not a fan, personally — partly because of the result and partly because this combination made it very obvious that the shades of gold on the jersey and helmet do not match.
Jake: Oh boy, a uniform question. I kind of like the consistency of standard sets, so, well, if you agree to make it a standard set, well, then go right ahead.
I was a fan of CPJ, and like what I’m seeing from CGC thus far, but at the u(sic)GA game I couldn’t help but wonder what the outcome would have been with CPJ offense when we were +3 on turnovers, we recovered an onside kick, and we were leading time of possession at the half. Would we have won it if we could have had this D and CPJ offense?
Ben: With CPJ’s offense, you still probably have Mike Sewak coaching the offensive line. So no, Tech still wouldn’t have won the game. Also, CPJ’s offense had one good game against Kirby Smart’s defense since he’s been at UGA, and that was in his first year. Kirby’s got that defense firing on all cylinders and always had them ready to face the option, so honestly, I think it might have been a little worse.
Carter: I don’t think so. This defense still allowed 52 points against an offense that hadn’t scored that high since early September. And PJ’s offense couldn’t overcome it’s poor O-lines the past few years, it wouldn’t have fared much better this year.
Chris: I’d say CPJ wouldn’t’ve kicked the onside, so throw that out. Agreed with the above fellas, I think the game would’ve been something like 21-52 maybe. Better, but not really.
Jake: Kirby Smart also had unlimited practice every week before the Tech game...hmmm...thoughts.
Alright. So I will admit, even in my foolish optimism, that there were moments in the season that were painful to watch. But what I saw was a program that’s extremely raw. I feel that this is what we have to deal with when you switch coaches and radically switch systems. It’s a scrambled identity and a team of young and scrappy, yet unrefined (keyword here) players. Honestly, I don’t think it was realistic to expect them to have every single little thing on lock in year 1 of a culture/scheme/philosophy change. Despite all of this, what I saw was a team that was bought in to Coach Collins’ culture. They showed it with the way they went out and fought until the last whistle regardless of the quality of their opponent. With that in mind, I sincerely think that Year 1 is going to be a bounce back year as the players continue to learn the new schemes and become more refined, the new recruits infuse the roster with youth and talent, and the offense begins to discover its identity. Is my optimism misplaced? If so, how much longer do you think CGC needs to fit the pieces of the puzzle, specifically talent and team identity?
Ben: Okay, there’s a lot here. I think there is definitely a lot of good things to pull out of this season. One of the things that really stood out to me was how much this team fought in some of these games. To give an example of that, I felt better after this year’s edition of COFH than I did last year, despite the score differential being much higher this year. The biggest thing I think they need to do is figure out what the identity is going to be on offense. I mentioned this earlier, but that was my main complaint with Patenaude: the offense changed with almost every game. You’re not going to find success if you do that. I think this team can make a bowl next year, but I think 2021 will be the real litmus test to get an idea of how good Collins can be here.
Chris: I too am optimistic. There’s a lot to like about where we’re trying to go. Agreed with Ben, I think 2021 will be the year we’ll know something. That gives us more recruiting, more development, and plenty of time to find an identity.
Akshay: Your optimism is not misplaced — like the other guys have mentioned here, there’s a lot of progress being shown on the recruiting front, and we’ve talked before about how there have been positive takeaways from a number of games this season (NCST, UVA, etc).
Here’s the part where I get cynical: in year zero, the goal was to be better in November than August. I don’t know if that happened, and given that, I’m not super hot on 2020, especially given that the schedule gets harder. 2021 and 2022 are the benchmark years for me: if Collins can get to bowl eligibility and gun for top of the Coastal by then, we’re cooking with gas.
Jake: The team has an identity off the field. I would say the defense probably has an identity on it. But the offense sure as day doesn’t, and I think it needs to find that before you can Texas-is-Back-ify the Jackets. For that, well, based on this season of QB roulette and scheme fluidity, it doesn’t seem to be coming all that quickly.