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Mailbag 7/10

Come check out our book and podcast recs!

NCAA Football: Temple at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

What are you reading/listening to (podcast or audiobook) right now? Do you recommend it?

Ben: I’ll talk about podcasts in the next question and focus on books now. I’m a big Star Wars fan, so I also like to go through the extended universe stuff as well (in the current canon). Currently, I’m working my way through the second novel of the new Thrawn series. The first one is really good, and it’s the same writer who wrote the original Thrawn trilogy in the old EU, so I’m hyped.

Andrew: Ron Chernow’s Ulysses Grant biography. It’s incredibly in depth about all of Grant’s life.

Akshay: Right now, Archive Atlanta and Sports Wars are getting a lot of my time. Great, well-researched historical content about Atlanta and sports rivalries, respectively.

Nishant: Just finished Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law, a side story set in the universe from his amazing Mistborn series. If anyone likes fantasy novels, the original Mistborn trilogy is up there with the best in the genre. Up next... I might pick up Leviathan Wakes again since I want to re-read all of The Expanse before the final book comes out. Can’t recommend that series enough for anyone who likes space sci-fi, and the TV show is a solid adaptation overall. Also I’ll second Ben’s Thrawn rec—haven’t read the new ones, but the original Thrawn trilogy was excellent.

Jake: I miss College Football’s Marriage of Numbers and Words and nothing will ever quite be the same. Pardon My Take has filled the gap by default, more than anything.

Any audiobook or podcast recommendations?

Ben: Well, I’m glad you ask. I’ve been listening to this great new podcast that’s called Some Jerks Who Talk About Movies. How did I find it? Another great question! I started it! Is this the excuse I’ve been waiting on to plug my completely unrelated podcast on this site? You betcha. Oh....some guy named Joey Weaver also runs a pretty neat podcast. You may have heard of him.

Andrew: I record a weekly college football one, Toe Meets Leather. It’s not very good, but we have fun. I also really like Not another DnD Podcast, it’s pretty funny.

Akshay: Obligatory rip PAPN. In addition to Archive Atlanta and Sports Wars, I also recommend The Solid Verbal (if you need a CFB fix during the offseason) and the Scuffed podcast (if you want to get into the nitty-gritty about US Soccer).

Joey: Hello, it me, former manager of FTRS and current host of Basketball Conference: The ACC Football Podcast. Now, before you ask...yes! Our podcast is named “Basketball Conference”! No, it's not about basketball! Yes, it's entirely about ACC Football! (Okay fine, there's also the occasional interlude about Bowling Green football, now featuring HC Scott Loeffler (formerly VT and BC’s OC) and DC Brian VanGorder...formerly DC for Notre Dame and Louisville.) Look for us on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you find your podcasts!

Who is your favorite author?

Ben: It’s a guy by the name of Steven James. He writes a lot of suspense-thriller stuff that’s really good.

Andrew: Frank Herbert.

Nishant: Michael Lewis for non-fiction, and fiction is split between a few different names.

Jake: Out of nowhere, here’s my plug for Adam Zamoyski’s Rites of Peace about the Congress of Vienna, which I just finished. But I like the obligatory Lewis, like Nishant, and if Harper Lee had written more than one book*, she’d probably be alone atop my list.

*We here at From the Rumble Seat have chosen to ignore Go Set a Watchman because it was clearly never meant to be published and instead just reread To Kill a Mickingbird over and over and over again.

Do you prefer fantasy or sci-fi? (Feel free to answer about books or movies.)

Ben: I probably lean more towards the fantasy side, though I don’t hate sci-fi at all. Honestly, that’s a large reason I like Star Wars as much as I do. It’s a nice mix of sci-fi and fantasy. I also enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons, which plays more into the fantasy side of things.

Andrew: I lean more to Sci-Fi.

Akshay: Sci-Fi all the way — I grew up watching Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek.

Nishant: In both cases, sci-fi is my first pick, but I’ll take fantasy over most other genres.

Jake: If I had to choose, sci-fi. But unsurprisingly you’ll probably usually see me pick up something historical fiction.

What does Geoff Collins normally do on 4th and short situations? Is he a gambler of sorts like CPJ?

Ben: I couldn’t find data for fourth-and-short, but it looks like Temple went for it on fourth down 27 times last season. Tech went for 34 times. I think you’ll see closer to the 27 this year for a few reasons. First, Wesley Wells is a good kicker, so there’s no need to go for it on fourth-and-short close to the red zone. Tech will probably still be close to the top, though.

Who’s your sleeper for Offense, Defense and Special Teams?

Ben: I don’t know if you can call him a sleeper on offense, but I’m going to say Ahmarean Brown. I think he’ll be the starting slot receiver this year. As long as he stays healthy, I think he has a chance to put up some good numbers. On defense, I’m cautiously optimistic about the defensive line. They are inexperienced, but I’m hopeful there. On special teams, I can’t really think of a sleeper since Wells, Pressley Harvin III, and Juanyeh Thomas have that pretty much locked up.

Nishant: I was gonna say Brown on offense, so I’ll go with a deeper sleeper—Nazir Burnett, another true freshman WR. He’s a very polished route-runner, which is a unique and valuable skill to have in this transition year. On defense and special teams, I’ll go with Jaylon King. He’s the early front-runner to start across from Tre Swilling at cornerback, and he was an electric return man in high school, so I’d like to see him get a shot at punt returner—the one special teams spot that hasn’t been filled.

Isn’t it amazing that you now see recruits identifying Tech as the Institute rather than Georgia Tech University?

Ben: I love it.

Akshay: No better feeling.

Nishant: The next evolution of this will be University of Georgia Institute of Technology. You’ve been warned.

Jake: My favorite player forever will be the first one to give history a shoutout and go with the Georgia School of Technology.

One of my co-worker’s daughter is attending Tech this fall as a freshmen (we live in Connecticut). Any advice you want me to relay over to him? “Dress Her in White and Gold”?

Ben: I can’t speak specifically to attending Tech, but as for college in general: have fun, make friends, and get involved with some organization. It makes the whole experience more bearable.

Snarky Nishant: Run. It’s not too late.

Less Snarky Nishant: It might feel overwhelming early on, and that’s okay. Try to find a handful of classmates to study with on a regular basis; it’s a great way to fill in the gaps in your understanding of the material and just to make friends. When you have down time, try to get involved with stuff outside the classroom—if it’s research or something, that’s fantastic and great for your resume, but not everything has to be resume padding. Join a cultural club, an intramural sports team, or really just whatever seems fun, because school will be stressful and this is a great way to give yourself an outlet for that stress. It won’t be easy, and if at any point you decide Tech isn’t the right place for you, that’s completely okay, and nobody has the right to give you any grief about it. But as long as you’re willing and able to put in the work, you have the tools to make it through.

Jake: Hi. Current undergrad here. Take all the free shirts and free food you can get. You’ll thank me later. Also, go to sports (duh) and (echoing Less Snarky Nishant) find a community, be that Greek life, the two time defending national champion swim club, another, also cool club sport, the kids on your floor, or an organization. Also try to become the Lettuce King.

Do you guys have goals you set for yourself for the website? In other words, are you planning for percentage increase in readership? Increase in new content? Etc, etc, etc.

Ben: Well, if I told you that, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore...But for real, one of my biggest goals since being promoted to site manager in 2014 was to make the website less focused on reporting news, and turning that focus to analysis and commentary. None of my staff (myself included) get paid to do this stuff full time, so I’ll let the big J Journalists take care of going to the media events. I think we do a really good job with what we do. Kieffer and Nishant have done a great job with film stuff in the past, and then adding Matt and Andrew last year has been a tremendous help, and I know they’re going to keep producing great content there.

For other stuff, I really like what Jake does in terms of talking about non-revenue sports as well as his historical columns. Those are both things that don’t get talked about a lot, and I appreciate Jake a lot for putting in the effort. I can’t tell y’all how much I appreciate Bill Brockman for his baseball coverage, because that’s another thing that doesn’t get covered as much. Having Akshay and Kieffer help out with some of that has also been really helpful.

Things that I’d like to see improve moving forward is essentially everything outside of football season. I’ll be honest, from the time we got done talking about the coaching search to when the 100 Days to Kickoff preview started, the site was pretty dead. That’s a hard time since a lot of our readers are primarily coming for stuff about football and recruiting. We try to keep up with recruiting, but none of us have great connections to recruits or local high schools, so we don’t have the capacity to report on it like Kelly does at Rivals or Rod at 247 Sports.

How can we continue to improve? Well, we’ve got some ideas we’re churning, but I know Cade and I would also like to hear what the readers want to see.

I’m guessing we’ll need a good punting unit during this transition year. How do we look personnel wise for the Fall?

Ben: It’s tough to say until we see who trots out there against Clemson, but I’m happy that Pressley Harvin III will be coming back. I just hope he finds a little more consistency this year, as he had a few punts last season that got shanked.

Nishant: I have absolute faith in His Grace Pressley of House Harvin, Third of His Name, King of the Punters and the Football Men, Lord of the Coastal Division, and Protector of Field Position.

What would a CGC gameday bingo card look like?

Ben: Spaces that are required: anything about Waffle House, #404TheCulture, Grew up in Conyers, “Pro-style Offense,” “something, something tight end for the first time since ‘07,” and something about Geoff Collins and the 2007 recruiting class.

Nishant: I’m just glad “they’ve figured out the offense” won’t be on the bingo card anymore. Of all the silly announcer-isms from the Paul Johnson era, that one was the most grating.

Jake: One column has to say something about having GriT, attacking with Relentless Enthusiasm, whatever A stands for, and Together.