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Mailbag 2/5

We talk #ProJackets, baseball and Atlanta eateries!

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Has every team that has had a GT grad on it won a Super Bowl?

Nishant: Nope. Keith Brooking on the 1998 Falcons, Jonathan Dwyer on the 2010 Steelers, and Demaryius Thomas on the 2013 Broncos all came up short (though Thomas did get his ring a couple years later). I don’t have the energy to look up any others.

What’s the current Super Bowl ProJackets streak?

Nishant: Sigh. Fine. FINE. I’ll muster the energy to look it up, and...

A ProJacket has been on the field for at least one team in the Super Bowl for few years now. What’s the active streak for former GT players playing in a Super Bowl? What about just on the roster?

Nishant: Looks like the streak sits at five years. Per this article, there were no GT alumni on the Patriots or Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, which capped the 2014 season. Since then:

  • 50: Demaryius Thomas (Broncos), Vance Walker (Broncos), Lou Young (Panthers)
  • 51/LI: Philip Wheeler (Falcons), Shaq Mason (Patriots)
  • 52/LII: Shaq Mason (Patriots)
  • 53/LIII: Shaq Mason (Patriots)
  • 54/LIV: Harrison Butker (Chiefs)

Pretty sure all of them played in the game aside from Young. This also means Mason in Super Bowl LII was the most recent player to be on the losing side.

In all 54 Super Bowls, what is the number of ProJackets who have played? How many played on the winning team?

Nishant: Courtesy of the illustrious Ken Sugiura, here’s a list of the winners, a list that has since expanded to 18 to include Mason and Butker. As for players who were on teams that reached the Super Bowl but were never on a winning team... (deep breath) Keith Brooking (98 Falcons), Willie Clay (96 Patriots), John Davis (90-93 Bills), Jonathan Dwyer (10 Steelers), Lee Flowers (95 Steelers), Gary Guyton (11 Patriots), Joe Harris (79 Rams), Drew Hill (79 Rams), Kent Hill (79 Rams), Mark Pike (90-93 Bills), Zach Piller (99 Titans), Travares Tillman (03 Panthers), Philip Wheeler (16 Falcons), Reggie Wilkes (80 Eagles), Lou Young (15 Panthers), please don’t link me to the site that inevitably has the entire list because I looked for it before compiling this manually and really don’t want to find out that said site does indeed exist

Ben: I just want to say that I’m really happy that Nishant went so in depth with his answers to these questions and even happier that Ken did the research for all of this. Ken is really great, and y’all should support him!

Its been my opinion that the upper part of the upper north should be a platform tailored to game day experience. A firework launcher for touchdowns, maybe a giant looking steam whistle that pumps out white clouds of steam upon touchdowns as well. What would you do with it besides cover the seats up?

Ben: I want to see the person doing the talking at the games (my mind can’t think of the right words) do better at their job.

Carter: Do what they did in Jacksonville: put in a pool!

Chris: Roof deck paradise. Pool, bar, grill, DJ, cornhole, the works. Basically make it Atlanta’s hottest (in two senses) roof deck. Call it The LEGENDS Deck. Slightly more seriously, I actually think some sort of giant artwork would be interesting. Like a massive rendering of looking at the Reck head on. I dunno. Looks really good in my head, but no clue how to make words out of it.

Jake: The word is PA announcer, Ben! I was up in the Upper North skybox level for a recruitment event for Reck Club and it hit me - the biggest point of that addition was probably the suites. Seems like they even use them as offices/meeting space when it’s not gameday. If there was a way to stack a second level of those on there, and then cover the top of that with a fancy fun deck, I think that would probably be the move. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Tech doesn’t hurt for demand for the nice seats. Also, for the record, they did add a gold steam whistle on top of the Edge that I really like.

Some times it seems like our music choice at games and what we choose to display on the jumbotron is some of the most un-cool content ever. Along with social media evolution and integrating new game day features such as money down, what influence or cooperation do the Marching Band, Head coach, and AV guys have together?

Ben: I don’t know how much cooperation they have currently, but I would like to see a bigger focus on the band (spoken as a true band geek!)

Chris: I also have no idea, but I came here to say that I am a traditionalist for these things and would also like a heavier focus on the band. I absolutely do not want to become one of those stadiums that just pumps recorded music. Band + tradition-focused video programming is my ticket.

Jake: I am with Chris and Ben, and I think this staff skews reformed band geek, so a fair bit of the rest of us will probably have the same opinion. I know there’s at least some communication, as seen from those odd home games where the band would play space chords for two quarters and then it would be the money songs for the others. That said, if I wanted to listen to piped-in music, I’d go to a Falcons game. College football is special because of things like the band. Whoever is doing the coordination could stand to make it a little more cohesive in year two of the Geoff Collins Experience™.

How will Danny Hall manage his pitching staff to avoid an end-of-season swoon (especially with series versus conference foes Pitt, Duke, and VT, as well as the Spring Classic vs Athens)? (huh, this seems familiar from last year, doesn’t it?)

Andrew: I love hiring Borrell. I think our whole pitching philosophy and how we manage them looks to have changed. We have a lot of young depth that we need to grow up fast, but the talent is there and the new voice in the dugout is gonna be great. This might be the deepest we have been with arms in a really long time.

Jake: Injury played a big part in last year’s pitching situation come the end of the year. I trust Borrell based on everything I’ve heard and seen from him, so I think I’m more confident in large part due to his management philosophy.

What effect will new pitching coach Danny Borrell have on the Jackets’ pitching staff? Could someone with his pedigree have as big an effect on Tech’s pitchers as Ramsey did with Tech’s hitters?

Andrew: Please see above. We have fully bought into the analytics revolution. I think Borrell is an amazing hire and I am really excited to see what he can do. We also signed both assistants to multi-year contacts. As part of the new Russ Chandler renovations, we are adding a pitching lab that will integrate a lot of motion capture abilities and allow for instant feedback for pitchers and hitters. We are really trying to be on the cutting edge of the analytics and use of technology, which is refreshing after looking like a team who ignored those things.

Can a younger Tech team build on last year’s Regional appearance? Can they compete with UNC, Louisville, Duke, and FSU for the conference title? Can they advance out of a Regional for the first time since 2006?

Andrew: If the cards fall the right way, the young bats are what we think they can be, and the pitchers can make the progress I hope they can. I think this can be an Omaha level team. We have a ton of experience and a lot of highly rated young talent.

Jake: It sounds weird to say that a coach that has been here for years is “starting” to build a juggernaut, but the hiring of Ramsey then Borrell seems to have opened the floodgates, so to speak. They are the right men for the job. All of this is to say, well, if they don’t hit a Super Regional this year (hot take: just call them Sectionals), it won’t be much longer before they do. Tech is seemingly doing everything right.

How will a younger Tech team handle a rigorous schedule that includes the likes of Ohio State, #5 Athens, and #8 Auburn (per D1Baseball), as well as a gauntlet of ACC heavyweights (including #3 Miami, #12 Florida State, #15 Duke, #16 NC State, and #23 UNC)?

Andrew: I think we may lose some games early but grow and put it together late.

Jake: It’s interesting that a lot of places haven’t really called Miami a contender in conference, despite that daunting ranking. The good news for us is we get them at home and late in the season, so I think that, though the beginning might be tough (see: late February for all three games against Athens), I think we’ll be in a good place by the time we see, say, the Hurricanes.

Can Tech overcome the unfortunate end to its 2019 season and the loss of most (if not, all) of its major contributors from that team to reach the NCAA tournament once again?

Ben: I think the biggest thing here is not losing confidence at the beginning of the season. I think Andrew is pretty spot on saying that Tech is going to drop some early games, and those will make it easy to lose confidence, but I really like where the coaching staff is at now with Ramsey and Borrell, so I think it could be a potentially good season.

Jake: Host a regional? Might be a tall order. Go to a regional? I absolutely think it’s possible. That seemed to be the expectation in 2017/2018 on squads without nearly as much backing as they’re getting now, staff, analytics, and otherwise.

How do you like the unis in this tweet?

Ben: I LOVE the gray uniforms. They are probably my favorite specialty uniforms that adidas has created. I like the gold ones, but I wouldn’t want to use them all the time. I will say, the gold jerseys with navy numbers are a whole lot better than the gold jerseys with white numbers from the spring game last year.

Chris: I am also a huge fan of the gray. I just don’t love navy.

Carter: I like them as much as I did last year, which is to say, I think they’re alright.

Jake: I really like the gold uniforms with navy numbers. Shoot the grey into the sun, but I understand that is more of a hot take/

Any new “must eat at” establishments in the ATL metroplex?

Carter: Oh man, where to start? Kevin Gillespie opened up Cold Beer on the Beltline by DeKalb Avenue. That follows another recent success of his, Gunshow. And it’s not new new, but Food Terminal opened up a new location on Marietta Street. Now you don’t have to go up Buford Highway to get your Malaysian fix.

Jake: For the record, I have never heard of or been to any of those restaurants, but I can safely say that Carter is a much more worldly restaurant connoisseur than I.