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Mailbag 9/18

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Is Tech’s season over? Probably not.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 The Citadel at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Does CGC have the same policy that CPJ had that if a verbal commit visits anywhere else after his commitment, he loses his scholarship offer?

Ben: As someone mentioned in the comments, it’s more of a “If you’re looking, so are we” policy. As far as I can tell, CGC hasn’t been quite as stringent, but I guarantee that Collins and Co. have back-up plans for any commits that may start to show interest in other schools.

Stephen - I doubt it, it seems that is largely going by the wayside, and becomes a non-realistic expectation once you get into “Big Boy Recruiting”

Jake: I prefer the Manny Diaz Massive Hypocrisy model myself.

Pittsburgh or UCF?

Ben: Pat Narduzzi can [Foreigner] off, go UCF.

Stephen: THE WEAPON IS STILL CHARGING. THE FOE IS UNWORTHY OF ACTIVATION OF THE WEAPON

Jake P.: I don’t know what Stephen means but UCF, by a big margin.

Carter: Stephen is talking about the Pitt superweapon, and it’s going to need time to recharge after bringing Penn State down to its level last week. UCF by 30.

Jake: Carter just referenced Shutdown Fullcast, which is a podcast that exists. That’s all I have to say about that one.

Do you want the ACC team to win and ruin Cinderella’s dream or would you like to see UCF win handily and have another undefeated season and AAC championship?

Ben: Please see my previous answer.

Stephen: Pitt can’t win, they’d deplete their resources to knock off somebody else at a later date.

Chris: I’m not a huge fan of “conference loyalty” and I think the UCF “thing” only becomes funnier the longer it goes on, so I’m all for them winning as many games as possible.

Jake P.: I think that UCF winning this game and finishing undefeated for the third (?) straight year gives even more credibility to people who want an expanded playoff. I don’t think that’s a good idea, so even though I feel UCF will win, I don’t want them to.

Carter: My typical decision tree is something like, “if ACC and not Miami, then sure, #goacc,” but Pitt deserves nothing nice after Pat Narduzzi’s galaxy brain coaching last week.

Jake: Undefeated Clemson #1. Yawn. Undefeated Alabama #2. Yawn. Undefeated Oklahoma #3. Yawn. Undefeated UCF #4. Now I’m interested...buuuuuuuut it’s never going to happen. Ever.

If UCF indeed has the undefeated season, do you think they should get serious consideration for the CFP?

Ben: There’s like three SEC teams in talks to be in the CFP if it were decided right now. There’s no way that UCF is getting in.

Stephen: oh gracious, give it a rest with the UCF questions, there’s like 100 other games on Saturday.

Chris: Its tough. On the one hand, they will have been utterly dominant for 3 straight years. On the other hand, do we really think they can compete with Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, or Georgia? I don’t think a G5 in the Playoff will happen until a team goes undefeated two years in a row where each year contains a win against a blue blood top 10 program.

Jake P.: I feel like the only way to justify putting a G5 team in the playoff is by giving all P5 conference champions an automatic berth, the top G5 champion a berth, and the top-2 remaining teams a berth.

Carter: Consideration, sure, but a lot of things would have to happen at the very top for them to get in this year.

Jake: Allow me to regale you with a story. Back in the day, oh, say, fall of 2016, I was but a small freshman unfamiliar in the ways of Big Time Football. Erm, BiGTime. Sorry, Geoff. Anyways, I dreamt up a terrible 16 team playoff scenario (yay for saving the Rose Bowl though, haha) and it has never before been shown to the world, for very obvious reasons - it is hot garbage. But, I’m pretty sure this is the only way a G5 school makes it into the playoff:

Please accept this as tongue and cheek.

Tear it to shreds, I care not. It’s bad. Second place divisional teams getting first round bids when all the divisional champions play in the first round? What the what? But point stands. Only in something as ridiculous as this does Central Florida make the playoff. Or an 8 team with all conference champs and the number one Group of 5 team. But that would make too much sense, wouldn’t it?

Lining up in the shotgun for short yardage plays seems crazy to me. Is there a non-BS reason?

Nishant: There’s logic behind it, though I disagree with it. If a team runs 99% of its plays from the shotgun, that likely means they spend very little time in practice lining up under center, which in turn increases the likelihood of a fumble on a center-QB exchange. The goal of running those plays from shotgun is to avoid that exact scenario. It’s just... it’s something that could be mitigated by spending, what, one practice period a day on snapping from under center? Plus it’s just silly for Tech to use the shotgun in short-yardage situations when the starting center and top two QBs have spent the past 2-3 years working on under-center exchanges. Work with what you have, not with what you want to have.

Ben: Counter-point Nishant. Tech is just as likely to screw up the shotgun snap at this point. I don’t know that I’ve seen them snap the ball above the quarterback’s knees.

Stephen: Pro-style offenses run from under center sometimes... this has been beat to death all over the commentariat, I refuse to discuss it further.

Chris: I’m sure the staff has their reasons. My guess would be that it has something to do with either letting the blocks develop or subscribing to “well if the O line can’t block anyways it doesn’t matter where we run it from”.

Carter: I’m just here so I don’t get fined.

Why can’t we have nice things?

Ben: Checks notes. Yep.

Stephen: Your mother said so.

Chris: If you don’t eat the marshmallow now, the football Gods will give you two later.

Jake: Nice things are only for fans with GriT, RelenTless enThusiasm, Accountability, and Excellence, or something.

Carter: I’m just here so I don’t get fined.

After a team is penalized and elects not to use a timeout to avoid the ten second runoff, and then they end up using the timeout before the snap, should they be able to reverse their decision and restore the clock to before the runoff, since no play has officially occurred?

Stephen: No, because you wanted the Shrek birthday cake, you have to eat it even if it is a nasty combination of green and brown that makes you want to barf.

Chris: Nope.

Carter: Once you’ve peed yourself in front of everyone you can’t un-pee it.

Jake: Carter is only here so he won’t get fined.

Tech is an overly patient institution and fan base when it comes to the football HC job. In your opinion, what is the minimum number of years a coach would be given before he would be terminated from Tech?

Ben: Let him have a team where the team is predominantly made up of players Collins and his staff are responsible for bringing in.

Stephen: Until we can afford to pay the buyout of both the basketball and football coaches. AI2020 babayyyyyy.

Chris: I’d guess three. Year 0 is free, a bad Year 1 can just be bad circumstances, a bad Year 2 is a trend. I actually think we’re becoming less patient; I feel like CPJ was the inflection point: transitioning away from him was already the hardest thing to do and moving from someone more “normal” like Collins to someone also “normal” would be way easier.

Carter: I am going to be generous and assume you’re being sarcastic by regarding the Tech fan base as “patient”. The Institute is giving Collins a lot of rope here, so it’ll be five years minimum for him unless something really goes sideways. For coaches that don’t get a two year mulligan, I’d say three or four.

Jake: I read terminated as “laminated” and I was really confused as to what Ben Lammers did to deserve firing from a position I didn’t know he had.

So this was the 21st loss by an ACC team to an FCS/I-AA team since 1983. We are bookending with the Tech-Furman loss and the newly minted Citadel loss. Typically, it was Wake getting upset by App State or UVA being beat by Richmond. VPI-James Madison is the only time a ranked ACC team has lost to a I-AA team in this span. I think the difference I see in many of the I-AA upsets all time and this game is that we are typically seeing perennial power I-AA teams knocking off weak/struggling I-A programs. Michigan/VPI/Iowa were beat by perennial playoff/NC title teams that knew how to win. I’ve followed the SoConn for about 20 years now and Citadel is typically a doormat and was showing similar colors early in this season. The most common questions I heard in the stands on Saturday were around this theme, “Is Geoff Collins micromanaging the wrong details about this program to allow I-A talent to fall to a I-AA mediocre program?”

Stephen: eh, I think there’s still a ton to figure out, and while I personally can’t stand the play calling this season AT ALL, I’m electing to not tie any emotional well-being to the outcome of this season. I wrote last year about avoiding this sort of endless internal game of self-doubt and loathing that leads to questions like this. I just read it again, and I think it makes even more sense now than it did back then. Georgia Tech is your family at this point, you don’t leave it just because things are hard. Sure you can be disappointed, but at the end of the day, you’ll be there when it needs you. So yea he could be focusing on the wrong little things, or he could be spot on. Doesn’t change my interest in the product on the field, and that’s all that matters really. Be it a blowout against Clemson or a nail-biting, no way in hell we should have won OT game against Virginia, it’s all the same song.

Chris: For better or worse, Collins is a lightning rod. Everything he does is going to be under a microscope and everyone and their mother is going to come out of the woodwork when slip ups like this happens (i’m so sorry for the number of idioms in this sentence). The thing is, we only see the public facing side of what Collins is focusing on. I think it’s silly to say “WELL IF HE WERE LESS FOCUSED ON WAFFLE HOUSE AND MORE FOCUSED ON THE RUSHING GAME” when in fact we as the general public have no clue what he’s focusing on from a true football perspective. His public persona is all about building the brand, that’s all. So no, I don’t think he’s micromanaging the wrong things, I think we as fans tend to focus on the easy things to blame.

Is it all going to be ok?

Ben: Checks notes again. Shrugs.

Stephen: Yea, most likely.

Chris: Yes. Trust me, I write on the internet.

Jake P.: I’d give it a 50/50 shot.

Jake: Don’t cry, we have $3 bills with Geoff’s face on them now.

Carter: Eventually we will all lie in the ground.

Seriously: whats our o-line going to look like going forward?

Ben: Desperately avoiding injuries like the plague...and avoiding the plague like injuries.

Nishant: They’ll improve. Whether that takes weeks or years remains to be seen.

Stephen: A rag-tag bunch of effort monsters who hopefully make it to the end of the season without becoming injured.

Chris: I’d guess the same with maybe a slight uptick as they gain experience.

Jake P.: If we’re talking about this year, close your eyes. Next year, bigger.

Carter: For this year? It is very much not good, my friend.

Does anyone in the next class have the skill set we need at quarterback?

Ben: The quarterback battle should be a fun one next year. Assuming Brent Key can continue to improve the offensive line, we’ll get to see what our quarterbacks can do, and next year, we’ll have three potentially really good options: James Graham, Jordan Yates, and incoming freshman Tucker Gleason.

Nishant: Tucker Gleason, the first 2020 commit this staff pulled in, looks like a guy who could be dropped into any system and succeed. He’s listed as a pro-style QB but is also a really capable runner, which is crucial for running read option plays and the like. Current true freshman Jordan Yates might be even more talented than Gleason, but for now he’s behind the three guys who have played so far. I’m also firmly of the belief that any of the current QBs would look better than they have if they weren’t being subbed out so frequently.

Stephen: I’d personally like to see the same Tobias Oliver that played for Northside Warner Robins cus he balled out in high school. I think he’s too timid and is thinking too much about messing up. That’s just my opinion, but I’d love to see him just get buckets and not care if he throws a couple picks along the way. Future, I like Yates until proven otherwise.

Carter: I’m not sure what “the skill set we need at quarterback” really is right now. Fortunately, our offensive coordinator..................... You know, I’m not sure anyone knows what it is right now.

Jake: It’s super frustrating to go from a school with the strongest offensive identity in the country to one that doesn’t know which quarterback to expect on any given play. But I’d also say the last class already gave us Yates...

Does the coaching staff know how ridiculous a Juice Crew looks when you’re losing to The Citadel?

Ben: What looks ridiculous is trash-talking the FCS team you’re losing to enough to get flagged. Multiple times.

Stephen: Most likely, but it makes things less somber than 26,000 people in the stands not really making any noise at all unless Tre or Tariq beg and plead for noise from the Lower West. Speaking of which, I vote we demolish the Upper North, move the student seats to the East stands, and just physically lock the stadium until halfway through the fourth quarter. The attendance problem is outrageous. I don’t want anyone to go in the comments and start the discussion on that because I know all the sides to all the arguments. I just want to snap my fingers and it be fixed. Thanks.

Jake: BUT THE MANAGERS HAVE SIGNS THAT SAY MONEY DOWN AND SO DO THE CHEERLEADERS! This feels like the equivalent of Tech replacing Bud Peterson with Quavo. Let the band play space chords. Free the banner and balloons and shakers. Bring back the state and national flags on the run-on. Bring back Buzz. Why get rid of stuff that worked, just for the sake of it? Georgia Tech values traditions, or so I’m told. Now I see why this staff wants to get games in the Dome so badly. Just wait until that place is a crypt next year...

Jake P.: If it’s #404THECULTURE it doesn’t matter how bad it looks.

Carter: This question is not very #404theculture.

This is why I tell people to take every season a game at a time. Because if you aren’t focusing on the current game, stuff like this happens. All we can do now is learn from our mistakes and look forward to how we’re gonna fix them in the next game. And oh boy is there a lot of work to do. Is this enough for our fanbase and team to learn this lesson, and if not what needs to happen for us to learn it otherwise?

Ben: It was always going to be a process, no matter how gold our kool-aid was. Will the general fan base ever understand that? Checks notes. Shrugs.

Chris: Don’t wanna get anywhere near talking about the team learning lessons. As far as the fanbase, I’m not sure there’s anything to learn. Fanbases don’t operate on logic. You can lose ‘em in a game or two, but it takes years to build up a strong consistent group.

Carter: I’m not gonna talk about the team either, but the fanbase...... look, I get it, most Georgia Tech fans hold a degree from there, and as such, tend to be some pretty sharp individuals. But a lot seem to think this translates to thinking more logically about football than other football fans, and my observations over the past decade or so indicate nothing could be further from the truth. For a lot of fans, Saturday was the wake up call that the people in the fake news media may have actually known what they were talking about. But the people who bought in the quickest and the most are just going to dig in deeper. And if you don’t believe me, go check out Georgia Tech football Twitter and/or Facebook.

Jake: I was told the option was the problem...

Will Collins last at Tech long enough to recruit highly talented guys that get a little tired of the constant threat of losing their job because of a bad day at practice?

Ben: I certainly think so. I also don’t think one bad practice day is going to cost anyone their job. And that’s what worries me about Wesley Wells. I’ve made it pretty clear that I think all kickers are head cases, and I think that’s what’s happening here.

Stephen: I think there’s more to it behind the scenes, and they’re trying to work out the kinks as well as the new staff are all under full blown trial by fire. They knew this was coming, but as they say, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Chris: I’m a full believer in the second year glow up.

Jake: Chris, tell that to Wesley Wells.

Jake P.: I feel that Collins will get at least four years, and if he isn’t getting #biGTime recruits by then, it’s a Josh Pastner situation where you want to fire him, but financially there’s too much of a commitment.

Carter: As much as I think there’s some galaxy brain coaching going on right now, I think this is a bit of an exaggeration.

We can still beat VPI right?

Ben: Fuente still the coach? I’ll write it up til I’m proven wrong.

Stephen: By the power of Matthew Jordan and Touchdown Tim Byerly we will.

Chris: Yeah, I suppose.

Carter: I mean..... they’re not great.

Jake: If you have a lane, you have a chance, or something.

Nishant: The Techmo Bowl might rival El Assico for best terrible game of the year.

Are there any teams we have a rat’s [ARS] of a chance of beating?

Ben: Have you seen just how bad the Coastal is? This season isn’t over yet.

Stephen: Don’t worry about that. Just hope Jalen Camp can get enough highlight tape to convince somebody to take him in the 5th round and proceed to be a coverage nightmare for folks.

Chris: Yes. Bad losses don't define teams and it’s a long season.

Carter: Sure. What, you want me to name any of those teams? Get outta here.

Do you think it is a good idea to have Oliver returning kickoffs while being the starting, main, or most productive quarterback? If you do think it is a good idea, could you please give an example of another major college team that has done this and what were the results.

Ben: He’s the best kick returner I’ve seen back there for Tech in a while. He’s freaking dangerous with the ball in his hands, so you gotta find a way to give it to him, and he’s been really successful so far.

Stephen: Yes. We ArEnT lIkE eVeRy OtHeR mAjOr CoLlEgE fOoTbAlL tEaM. But seriously, with Juanyeh not able to perform said duties due to the cast on his hand, you put the ball in the hands of your best player. We’re straight up Boobie Miles-ing this season, injuries unforeseen.

Chris: Gotta disagree with Smurph. Stick a WR or safety out there.

Carter: It seems like a great idea until he gets hurt, then your already dicey quarterback situation gets suuuuuuuuper dicey.

Jake: Bobby Dodd played quarterback, on the defense, and kicked. Turned out alright for him back in the day. Tobias Oliver is an incredible athlete, I love seeing more of him.

Nishant: Fun fact—if you try putting your QB at kick returner in NCAA 14, his speed gets nerfed badly. I know this because I tried to put Justin Thomas (excuse me, QB #5) back there once and was confused as to why he suddenly had like a 52 speed rating. On topic, I’d be good with it if they committed to making Oliver the offense’s utilityman instead of both the utilityman and a part-time QB.

Bonus question: When Oliver gets injured returning kickoffs will you then jump up and down and yell what a stupid idea that was?

Ben: Yeah, probably.

Stephen: Nope. Put Boobie in Coach.

Carter: My angry reaction is to throw things on the ground. Hats, sunglasses, bottles of water that may have not yet been empty.... but otherwise, yes.

Jake: That’s a problem for future Jake. Man, I don’t envy that guy.

Given that it’s a bye week, what are your revised (if so) season predictions? And why (or why you think your original prediction would still hold)?

Ben: I’d say my win prediction is down to 2-3 wins this season with a ceiling of four barring a major turnaround. The ACC Coastal is still hot garbage, so I think they’ll be able to pull off a couple wins this season.

Stephen: I will consume food and drink, enjoy the company of my friends, and for another season, will refuse to purchase a white coat of any form for when we play NCST.

Chris: Well mathematically I at least have to go down from 4-8 to 3-9 because I obviously thought we’d beat The Citadel, but I’m gonna stick firm on believing there are two more wins out there.

Carter: I plan to join Stephen in enjoying the company of friends with food and drink. I have no more expectations.

Do people think there is a realistic chance Pastner gets fired this year?

Ben: There’s no money to replace him, so nope.

Jake P.: It depends on how the season goes, I think if the team crosses the 14 win mark, there’s no chance of him being let go. For #money reasons.

Carter: Yeah, but someone’s gonna have to back up the money truck for that to happen.

Jake: What is basketball? Do we have it?