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Mailbag 6/19

Good news! We’re talking about food again!

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Option vs. Pro. Do you think they will still incorporate triple option principals in year one? I get they will be running the spread option and there will obviously be option principals ala every team in the acc. I am more referring to “some” option from center. OR, will it strictly be spread option out of the shotgun. I’m not quite sure what option out of center would look like (No A backs and B backs obviously), but occasionally getting the QB to the perimeter with one defender and a pitch man, on occasion, may produce some yards. I guess the drawback would be that, if they don’t practice it a ton, it may produce turnovers. I am just thinking that even if they don’t practice it as much, there may be some muscle memory there.

Ben: If the question is will we see some option concepts in the new offense, I think the answer is a solid yes. Simply put, Tech has all the personnel to run it. Will they run the option from under center? We might see Tech line up in the flexbone once for the first play of the Clemson game to honor CPJ, but since they did that during the spring game, I don’t think that’s super likely.

Andrew: There will be a good bit of option in the run game. I also think we will see some zone read-bubble plays that involve some of the same reads as triple from last season. I’m interested to see how much split back gun we see, given our running back depth.

Jake P.: I agree with the two above responses, and I fully believe that outside of the possible one play under center line up that Ben mentioned, there will be no option from under center at all this year. Geoff Collins is trying to distinguish Tech as much as he can from CPJ’s regime, and lining up under center would not help him in that goal at all.

Nishant: Regarding how to run it from under center, you could run any of the standard Paul Johnson option plays from the I-formation. The only differences between that and the flexbone are that 1) the I-formation uses a tight end instead of a third running back and 2) the flexbone A-back is in motion at the snap, while the I-formation tailback is stationary. As for how much we’ll see under center, I’m hoping (as Ben suggested) that they’ll run a flexbone option play for the first snap against Clemson, but I think Jake is mostly right; the only times where I actually expect them to line up under center are in goal line sets and in victory/kneel formation. And I’m afraid they might even do victory formation out of the gun, which is one of my least favorite trends in modern football.

Now vs then: In CPJ’s first four years I-A defenses were giving up a national average of 26.7 PPG to I-A opponents. This increased to 28.4 PPG in his last four years. Is this trend going to start backsliding or do we foresee 100 PPG by the 25th century? What’s the point in hiring expensive defensive coordinators if there’s a national trend in the wrong direction? Is that like investing in tube televisions when TVs will weigh 5 grams next year and cook steaks in 30 seconds?

Ben: You hire the expensive defensive coordinators to stop the constantly improving offenses. Sometimes that works (i.e. Brent Venables, any Bama defensive coordinator, Mel Tucker before being hired by Colorado State) and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless, as the offense continue to improve, teams are going to spend more trying to figure out how to slow those offenses down.

Andrew: The game is always cyclical. Eventually the defenses will “catch up” to the offenses and we will see changes on offense as well. I’m excited to see which coach dives back in to the past to make something old new again, a la Gus Malzahn’s usage of the old Tubby Raymond wing T and the incorporation of Lombardi’s sweep in many teams perimeter run game.

Nishant: What Andrew said. It isn’t a question of whether defenses will catch up, but rather how soon they will and what specifically will be the spark. The interesting thing is that while innovative offensive ideas tend to bubble up from the lower levels of football, defensive countermeasures tend to flow from the top down. So if you’re curious as to how future college defenses will handle things like more fast-paced offenses, keep an eye on the most successful NFL defenses, because the cleverest college-level coordinators will be watching those teams and looking for ideas.

Send help! If one’s high schooler is extremely interested in horses and large animal care in general and has been hinting at wanting to be a veterinarian, what majors at Tech might be of interest? Or failing that, what other programs around the state, like literally anything, might persuade her from wanting to attend that school out east?

Ben: As someone who literally got his degree in the mail from UGA today, I’d say if she wants to go to UGA, let her. I get that they are a rival, but UGA is a good school, so if UGA will provide her with the best education, you have to let her go.

Andrew: Vets have to go to grad school, I think a simple biology or biomedical engineering degree would help prepare someone for that.

Nishant: As someone who has no ties to UGA whatsoever, if there’s a program there that turns out to be the best possible fit for your kid, you know what you have to do. Give her your blessing and support her every day of the year... except one.

Carter: Biology, biomedical engineering, and even chemistry at Tech are all good programs for people looking to take a medical track. But after undergrad your high schooler is gonna have to go to vet school, and take a wild guess as to where the best vet school in the state is.

Which game is the team looking forward to the most this year? Revenge against USF? Continuing to own Fuente’s VPI? NCSU since it’s been a minute?

Ben: I don’t personally know, but my gut tells me it would be either Clemson or UGA for obvious reasons for both.

Andrew: My guess would be Clemson or UGA. Duke might be another interesting one, given that we have lost 4 of the last 5 to them.

Jake P.: I think for all of the freshmen and incoming transfers, Clemson or UGA will clearly be the game they are most looking forward to. For the experienced players, I think it will be VPISU, because even though it will be a big test, they know that they can beat them and have a chance to give Coach Collins a statement win in his first year.

Carter: It ain’t the Citadel, I can tell you that.

Which games are you (FTRS writers and commentariat) looking forward to the most?

Ben: I’m looking forward to the three games after Clemson because I think those will give us the best idea of just how good Tech can be this season.

Andrew: The Citadel, I think it is our best chance for a win and I still have a soft spot for PJ’s offense.

Carter: Temple, because I’m booking a trip to Philly to see it. (Accepting any and all food/beer recommendations. Do not say Yuengling.)

Your tailgate spread is anchored by which protein: Avian, Porcine, Bovine, Ovine, Cervidae, Leporidae, Capra, Bovinae?

Ben: I’m a sausage guy myself.

Andrew: I like pork ribs or pulled pork.

Carter: Look, anything beyond beef, chicken, and pork is just showing off.

Is GT too elite?

Andrew: I think that is an interesting question to ask. I have often wondered if Tech does the best job it can of giving back to the state and fulfilling that mission. I think the article above does a poor job of debating the question of practical engineers vs. theoretical engineers and what is the mission of a school like Tech is in regards to that.

Favorite non-American cuisine?

Ben: Italian. You get pizza and all kinds of pasta plus some of the best desserts.

Andrew: I don’t think I have run across one I have not enjoyed. It’s tough to pick a favorite. There is a great Ethiopian place up here that I wish I got to more often.

Jake P.: Japanese or Korean. Korean food is especially healthy and there’s food for all climates and seasons. Japanese food has gyoza (dumplings). Enough said.

Carter: Indian. I honestly have no idea how Indians find American cuisine palatable. Kaaju katli is basically crack.

What’s your go-to pizza order?

Ben: Get ready to hate me. I like a pizza with bacon, pineapple and red onion. It’s a good mix of tangy and sweet that just works.

Andrew: Supreme. There is also a Brenz Pizza here in Chapel Hill that has a pizza called the Rustic that is really tasty.

Jake P.: Half cheese and half pepperoni. Thin, but not too thin crust, and parmesan sprinkled on top. But not the crappy kind of parmesan that you can buy at Walmart, the good stuff that the cooks in the back put on.

Carter: Sausage, mushroom, and onion. Preferably Detroit style, but that’s hard to find around here.

Which unit has the better season: offense or defense?

Ben: I don’t know which will be better, so I’ll answer it differently. I have higher expectations for the defense, because I think it’s an easier transition for them and the coaching and talent there is at a higher level.

Andrew: I think the defense is going to have to start fast for this team to have a chance at a bowl game. I like the defensive staff Collins has brought in and he is a great defensive coach.

Jake P.: I’ll say the offense because the defense will just have too much transition along the line. The offense will have established runners, and for the past 11 years we have seen that you don’t need to throw a whole lot to win football games.

Nishant: It’ll come entirely down to which of the lines plays better. I’d go with the defense, but not by much. It’ll be a long year on that side of the ball if the front four can’t get much pressure, and there are no truly proven pass rushers on the roster.

Carter: I’d lean toward the defense. I feel like the defense has an easier transition than the offense does, and the new coaching staff has more of a defensive lean.

Will CGC pull in GT’s first ever 5 star? If so when do you predict that will happen?

Ben: Oh yeah, totally. George P. Burdell committed the day Geoff Collins was hired. How’d you miss that?

Andrew: That is what the kool-aid drinkers keep telling me. I think we see it in year 3 or so, the staff will have had the time to build early relationships with players and families.

Jake P.: I feel like people are setting expectations way too high for Geoff Collins and his recruiting so far. Yes, there have been a lot of players committing, but the quality of the players that are committing is not much better than what CPJ was pulling in. The rankings so far are much higher, but that’s just due to the sheer size of the class at this point. People need to be happy with 3-4 four stars this year and will have to see what happens from there.

Carter: Sure man, why not? Give it, like, four, five years. It is certainly possible.

There was a news story a while back of CPJ consulting with the Ravens. How long until CPJ wins a Super Bowl?

Ben: Current Ravens offense + Paul Johnson as an offensive consultant + ??? = success
Makes sense to me!

Andrew: It was interesting a few years ago when NFL teams really experimented with the option out of the pistol, with RG 3 and Kapernick, defenses really struggled against it. I think it would be really interesting for an NFL team to give some level of PJ’s offense a chance, especially if he opened up more of the Run N Shoot passing game that the offense is based out of.

Carter: Paul Johnson will be back coaching in 2022 and have another FCS championship by 2025, so it’ll have to be before then.

Which unit uses the better seasonings: offense or defense?

Ben: The Swilling brothers are both from Louisiana and are both on defense. Let’s give them the edge.

Carter: It’s really just a lot of cayenne pepper. But damn if it isn’t tasty.

Who do you think can handle the spiciest wings?

Ben: I don’t know why, but I want to say Wesley Wells.

Carter: Paul Johnson once ate 50 TMI wings from Taco Mac. Didn’t blink. Didn’t sweat. He was so unimpressed with the spice level he never returned.

Will CGC pull in GT’s first ever 5 star restaurant on campus? If so when do you predict that will happen?

Ben: Waffle House is all over Atlanta. What else do you want?

Nishant: The real question here is: when Collins eats at other restaurants, does he take the Waffle House to-go cup with him and ask the waitstaff to fill it up with soda?

Carter: One of my sources has informed me Georgia Tech has a secret commitment. So, yes, and very soon.

There was a news story a while back of CPJ consulting with Joey Chestnut. How long until CPJ wins an eating contest?

Ben: Hotdog eating competitions are no joke. I actually tried it once, and I think I finished like three or four hotdogs in the 10-minute period allotted. It was a mistake. Don’t do it, CPJ.

Carter: CPJ is definitely more of a hot wings kind of guy. (See above answer re: spiciest wings.)