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Mailbag 8/8

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Uh-oh, someone mentioned BBQ

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Miami at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For anyone that’s seen the latest season of Last Chance U, what did you think of former Tech QB Jay Jones’s decision to stay on the sideline? Did he have a legit complaint about how the coach handled the QB situation, or should he have gone back into the game?

Ben: I never got into Last Chance U, so I don’t have a take here.

Akshay: I didn't watch the series, but I heard it includes Jay Jones saying that he expected to throw the ball a lot in Paul Johnson’s offense while at Tech. That’s...certainly interesting.

What’s up with the O- and D-lines so far in camp? Is Tech going to have the size, and skill on the line of scrimmage to be competitive? They and the D-line are my largest concerns for the up-coming season. Or, are there enough “above the line” players to step in and produce?

Ben: Right now, you’re going to see a lot of shuffling along both lines until the coaches find the guys they like that are above the line. Like you, those are my biggest concerns coming into the season. If we aren’t at least moderately successful on both lines, it’s going to be a long season.

Nishant: Any hopes of success this season (however you want to define success) hinge on the lines playing well. The offensive line is the bigger concern of the two for me; those guys are probably undergoing the biggest transition of anyone on the roster, and depth is a huge unknown at both tackle spots. Playing time at QB may depend in part on which guys are the best at scrambling when the pocket collapses. I feel like the defensive tackles will be serviceable and there’s at least some depth there, but how the Edge spot shakes out is anyone’s guess. Jaquan Henderson is a bit undersized for the position, and the other candidates—Jordan Domineck, Sylvain Yondjouen, and Kelton Dawson—are all young and/or inexperienced. All of those guys will probably play, but it’ll be interesting to see how the snaps are distributed.

What is your take on black alternate uniforms?

Ben: I’m not a huge fan of all black uniforms for Tech, but I also know funky uniforms are more for recruits than they are for fans.

Jake P.: I’m personally opposed to any black alternate uniforms, unless they’re tied to something like the black watch defense. Black for Black’s Sake (uni-watch.com) is ridiculous and kind of tacky.

Carter: I thought we as a collective nation had grown out of our Black for Black’s Sake phase a few years ago. Plus, a nearby school has black as one of its primary colors, and they already have black alts.

Jake: I can’t understand this regime’s obsession with the vaunted “Black Watch” defense of the late 1980s. Not a single recruit was a twinkle in the eye to remember it, and all it does is dilute a brand we just unified less than two years ago. Not to mention, the Hedge People of the East essential live and breath red and black doesn’t make matters any better. For years, the only available [Russell] football jersey was a random all-black option. I didn’t like it then, and I certainly don’t like it now. I, admittedly, am a sucker for navy blue, but that’s a secondary color now, too. And still, visually it’s very similar to black. It’s essentially trading out one of our identifier colors for something else. Up with the white and gold.

Akshay: No black uniforms, period - the color’s not in our palette, and as previously mentioned more than a few times on my uniform column and uni-watch.com, Black for Black’s Sake is just dumb. I understand the connection to the Blackwatch defense, but the AA just spent an unreleased amount of money to unify our athletic branding (as Jake mentioned). A black jersey would undo all of that effort in a single afternoon for a gimmick.

Related question: What would you choose as our standard home/away kits (Helmet/Jersey/Pants), and what alternates would you introduce (if any)?

Ben: I like the Gold/White/Gold or the all whites with the honeycomb helmets.

Jake P.: I honestly would keep the home style that Tech currently has. (Gold/White/Gold). It’s neat that the Jackets are one of a couple of teams that predominantly wears white at home. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a Gold/Gold/White combination at some point though. Away combinations (G/W/W or W/W/W) are perfectly fine.

Carter: Remember the white/white/gold combo worn a bunch in 2014? That was great. Hopefully this year adidas remembers gold is one of Georgia Tech’s colors.

Jake: I’ll use this as my platform: Tech should have Ohio State-esque helmet stickers that are honeycombs. The more of some arbitrary good thing you do, the more white hexagons you get. That would look great on a gold base. Could be interceptions, could be touchdowns, could be All Star Specials. You name it, let’s do it.

Akshay: The three kits from 2018 are fine, so long as they’re all worn in their standard configurations. The only swaps I’m willing to permit are gold pants with the whiteout combo and gold helmet on the whiteout combo. All other combinations are cursed, especially those with navy mixed with the default or whiteout set.

Nishant: The navy pants need to be burned. Other than that, I second Carter’s preference for the white/white/gold look. Those white honeycomb helmets were the one good thing that came out of Russell’s ill-conceived honeycomb blitz, and I’m a bit sad that they’ve been retired.

How long will it be before we know who the starting QB will be week 1? Any chance CGC waits until gameday?

Ben: Right now, Lucas Johnson is the safe bet. There’s still a couple weeks until the Clemson game, so that could conceivably change, but if I were a betting man, I’d go with Lucas. When will we get an official announcement? We probably won’t. In the weekly media guide, we’ll see who is Above the Line, but since there wasn’t a previous game, no previous starter will be bolded.

Jake P.: I think it’ll be like it was against Tennessee in 2017, we won’t know until kickoff. When you’re playing Clemson you want any possible advantage.

Carter: Let me tell you a story, dear reader: the year is 2007. Star Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn has departed for the NFL, and the Irish face a three-way race to be his successor. In an effort to keep their opponent guessing, head coach Charlie Weis refuses to name who that will be, at all, until gameday. Do you remember who it was? No, you don’t. His name was Demetrius Jones, and he did not even make it to halftime in the Irish’s game against Georgia Tech. He did not board the team bus to Michigan the following week, and transferred out a couple weeks later. So, hopefully Collins does not wait until then.

Akshay: We’ll probably know on game week during media availability or whenever CGC releases his first Above-The-Line list (or would it be a chart? Maybe even a table? Who knows.).

Nishant: I’m pretty confident it’ll be Lucas Johnson. I’m also pretty confident that Collins and friends will refuse to say who the starter is and will only say that three or four of the QBs are Above The Line™, thus leaving everyone in the dark up until kickoff.

Is the North Deck a cautionary tale?

Carter: Upper north is asymmetrical (and thus ugly), only full if it’s full of opposing fans, and put Athletics in a lot of debt, debt it’ll be paying off for years to come. Anime was a mistake, and so were the upper north stands at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Jake: Was only up there once, for the very first Atlanta United game. Not a pleasant experience. Can’t image it’s any better when all the people around you aren’t rooting for the home team, either. Oh, and the ridiculous debt ain’t great, though, if the Toddcast is to be believed, the suites are selling like hotcakes.

Akshay: Yes (see other responses for more eloquent explanation). I think it might be a good revenue boost if it’s renovated into a plaza and billed as a luxury suite/club level of sorts.

Nishant: The view from upper north is nice if you’re the sort of person who likes to see how plays develop. It’s a great vantage point for seeing how the offense is lining up blocks and how well the defense’s coverage is working. That’s where the positives end. It’s a boring place to be if you want to really get into the game, and as the others have said, the only time it fills up is when opposing fans show up in force. Also it makes the stadium seating chart look remarkably stupid. It was a mistake at every level.

How strongly do you agree that if Collins can’t recruit at Tech, no one can?

Ben: I don’t know that that statement is completely true, but I think Geoff Collins is well on his way to proving that he is the best recruiter Tech has had for football in the modern era.

Carter: In a word, not.

Jake: Firm disagree. GTJason could do a fine job, too.

Will GT ever sell beer or booze at Bobby Dodd Stadium?

Jake P.: It has to happen someday, do I think it should? Not really, but it’ll happen eventually whether I like it or not.

Carter: I’d like to talk directly to Georgia Tech’s athletic director for a moment. Look, Todd — can I call you Todd? You’re trying to raise millions of dollars to hit that #AI2020 goal, right? You know what would help with that? Alcohol sales for general seating at your school’s sporting events. Would I buy a beer at Bobby Dodd? Probably not, because I’ve bought a stadium beer, like, five times ever. But a lot of people will! It worked for Atlanta United when they played there, and it’ll work for Georgia Tech.

Jake: As a now-21 year old person, I will firmly commit myself to buying at least one beer when they finally come around to it. I imagine GTAA seeing it like Illinois sees the new laws legalizing a certain drug - there’s money to be made, so they’ll probably try to get their slice of the pie.

Akshay: BDS vendors sold alcohol for Atlanta United games, but the logistics of said sales were...messy. I think the AA would have to figure out how to sell alcohol without creating lines that wrap around the concourses before committing to full stadium sales. I’m for the idea though.

Have I lost my everlasting soul? I’ve taken a serious like to brisket with North Alabama white sauce; even over pork/pepper vinegar.

Ben: I love brisket and white sauce, so I think you found your everlasting soul.

Carter: People want to bag on white sauce because it’s weird and different, but weird and different is how we got Diet Coke and LSD, so people need to embrace the goodness of white sauce for what it is. As for brisket.... look, I grew up in Texas. You think brisket BBQ is your ally? I was born in it; molded by it. I didn’t taste pork BBQ until I was already a man. On the other hand, certain people would say I’m soulless, so maybe I’m not the best arbiter of these things.

Jake: Love brisket. Not a big fan of white sauce. I’d estimate you’re at about one half-soul at the moment, how’s that?

Given the talent of running back group as a whole, and option drills at fan day open scrimmage, how much do you expect two back or one back option plays to be a part of the playbook this year?

Ben: I think we’ll still see plenty of option-based plays. It’ll just be from the shotgun or pistol, rather than the flexbone.

Jake P.: I think option based plays will be a huge part of the playbook this year. Why wouldn’t they? Most of the team has spent the past few seasons running the option, and teams all across the country are embracing option type plays. It’ll be a key this year.

Carter: They’ll be there. Won’t be the three-back flexbone sets we saw exclusively for the past eleven years, but if Tech is looking to move away from the ‘bone while adopting more *ahem* modern football concepts, the spread option is where Collins should be looking.

Jake: I like this Carter guy. We keep saying mostly similar things on stuff.

Akshay: Meme answer - If Tech doesn’t line up in the two-back set for the first offensive play versus Clemson, we riot. Serious answer - I’m sure they’ll be there, just out of the shotgun/pistol/(insert any formation without the QB under center here).

Nishant: Ignore all of Collins’ talk about installing an “NFL pro-style offense”—that’s just a marketing tactic to win back the people who hated Paul Johnson’s offense. Option plays are a part of modern college football, plain and simple. There’ll be plenty of read option out of one-back sets, some more creative stuff out of split-back sets, and even some communism RPO mixed in. If you look past the fact that it’ll be run out of the shotgun and/or pistol, you’ll find that the principles behind some of those plays look very familiar.