clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Meet the Writers: Stephen

come learn about our favorite backup punter!

How are you?

Good, all things considered. My job hasn’t been impacted, other than working from home for 7 weeks now. It was rough going at first, but I’ve gotten decently acclimated I think.

What’s your quick bio?

I live in Middle Georgia, so definitely miss the ITP lifestyle and all the convenience that comes along with it. I moved in 2018 and have tried to make my way up to Atlanta pretty frequently to get my fix of the big city life. I work as an engineer at a chemical plant during the day, which affords me ample opportunity to frustrate myself with problems that I can’t solve.

What did you do while you were at Tech?

I was a member of the football team my freshman year in 2012, but was essentially the emergency punter. Under no circumstances would I have seen the field. I did decent enough in my 5am tryout to get the attention of someone, and I was fortunate enough to make a dream a reality for a season. After that, I joined the co-op program, but didn’t technically do my rotation the right way, so the dumb folks on The Hill didn’t give me a co-op distinction despite working 4 and a half semesters with one company, and interning at another. Bureaucracy didn’t win a friend in my last weeks on campus. Outside of uprooting myself every other semester, I was a member of Greek life on campus, and didn’t do much else honestly. I was an IE major, and outside of those classes, was likely one of the last people to finish the certificate program in Land Development, as it was eliminated and streamlined into the Real Estate Development certificate. Those classes were honestly more fun than Quality Control, Linear and Discrete Math, and half of the other major classes I took (Except 3104 and 3133 - shoutout Damon and Santa).

Note from Chris: shoutout Professor Barb Faga

How did you get to FTRS?

I did the Lord’s work of posting in the Fanshots shadow realm for a season because my hubris convinced me I was funny enough to warrant taking up other people’s time. I wrote the Monday Morning Backup Punter for the 2016 season, then when openings got posted the following spring/summer, I hopped on board. My first front page article was in response to a Rocky Top Talk article calling out CPJ in advance of the 2017 season opener. Was it overly aggressive? Maybe. Did I feel personally assaulted by the RTT article? Oh, hell yea.

What do you normally write about?

I peddle my wares and go roughly 1500 words 60% of the season as the M?M?BP. Trying to emulate some combination of EDSBS and Peter King’s prime form, I ran common segments each week and formed some semblance of being an actual writer. How it normally worked is that I would run out of creative things to say / the will to live as a Tech fan somewhere around Week 10, and the columns would slowly go away. That’s when I decided the column would be a meritocracy. It not only saved me time because we weren’t good for most of the 2017-19 seasons, but it allowed me to deal with the burnout that I consistently deal with. In trying to bring my A game week in and week out, I often felt like I wasn’t giving y’all good enough material, so it was often easier to hide behind that meritocracy than to churn out stuff that I wasn’t proud of. When it became a chore to write the column, that’s when I started to decrease the frequency. Did that answer your question?

Note from Chris: I’ll count it.

Favorite Tech sports moment?

2012 Sun Bowl. It was colder than hell. The entire game felt like we were in a Nike commercial. I was definitely star-struck seeing USC in person. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee were on the other sideline, as was something called Max Wittek. Sun Bowl Stadium is an awesome stadium to visit, and is a truly unique setting. The local fans were incredibly supportive of Tech, which went a long way towards the feel in the stadium since both fan bases were far from home on New Year’s Eve. There was some point in the 3rd quarter maybe that the band broke out Put On, and everyone on the sideline was FEELING it. The defense ended up winning the game for the Yellow Jackets, a rare sight to behold, and we packed things up to arrive back in Atlanta at midnight to ring in the New Year.

What are some others as a non-athlete?

Outside of the Sun Bowl, being at the Orange Bowl was a lot of fun because everything was absolutely clicking. It was incredibly cathartic to feel like we were on the right side of things for once. Outside of the Hail Mary to end the first half, I never doubted the outcome of the game.

Other than that, there was a feeling just before kickoff against Notre Dame in 2015 that I will be chasing for the rest of eternity. Then it all came crashing down because of Jaylon Smith.

Favorite non-Tech sports moment?

If it wasn’t my wedding day, I would have been in attendance for the 2018 MLS Cup. Sorry to everyone that missed it to share in my special day with me and my wife.

I credit Vince Young for turning me into a college football fan, so that Rose Bowl will always hold a special place in my heart.

I get a big kick out of watching Atlanta United play. Just to have a soccer team to cheer for since the EPL and other big leagues all felt so foreign has been a really gratifying and nerve-wrecking existence. Those things can exist at the same time right? After all, it is Atlanta sports.

Favorite piece you’ve written for FTRS?

There was some primo writing that happened in the Fanposts, which you’re more than happy to read here (also on Page 4, formatting is weird). I can’t really recall most of what I write, oddly enough. Still, I’ve got a couple of favorites:

God bless Louisiana

I low-key love Louisville, great city


the only time I’ve had a basketball opinion

this walking migraine

my Tigah Tigah Burnin’ Bright attempt - shoutout Ryan Nanni

2017 Week 7 MMBP

2019 Week 10 MMBP


Not an article, but an original creation:

credits: my brain, and local historian Jake Grant’s technical savvy

Favorite off-the-beaten-path Atlanta restaurant (i.e. not one of the typical ones everyone talks about)?

Oh lord. Where to start…

Nuevo Laredo. Varuni Napoli. The Korean grocery on the same exit on Mt. Zion that has the Joe’s Crab Shack. Aforementioned pizza place Chris referenced in his Meet the Writer’s article. Pit Boss BBQ near the airport. Urban Tree Cidery - if you don’t love a good cider, you aren’t living. I could go on and on, but at the moment, I’m too far removed from living there to provide an exhaustive list. Hit me up on twitter sometime if you’re an out-of-towner, and I’m normally pretty quick to respond with requests.

Note from Chris: Grant Central Pizza and Pasta. Show them love.

What kind of media are you into (music, tv, movies, books, podcasts, etc.)?

Big on the podcast game. I digested all of the Banner Society content, but they are on hiatus currently. I listen to Armchair Expert, Revisionist History (highest recommendation), Pardon My Take, Reply All, Mouths of the South (ATL Utd SBNation production). My 40 minute commute affords me ample time to digest them.

My big kick recently as far as music goes has been St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Ripe, Mulligan Brothers, and Marcus King Band. I try to make it to a Dave Matthews concert once a year, and think Bleachers was one of my favorite concert experiences. Moon Taxi and Dirty Guv’nahs round out the rest of my most played list.

Note from Chris: ditto on Bleachers; whenever the world allows us to have concerts again, seek them out.

I claim to be a bigger reader than I truly am. I love Michael Crichton, John Grisham, PT Deuterman, and anything that Malcolm Gladwell writes. I tend to switch back and forth between Grisham and some behavioral psych books. Nudge was really good, and anything of that genre really makes me think about a lot, which is nice for a change.

For TV, currently watching Game of Thrones through with my brother who’s home from college for good. Watching House of Cards with my wife. We just finished Westworld, and I don’t hold it in the same stratus as you do Chris. Season 3 was good, but with like 4 episodes left I called that they had no idea how they were going to wrap up the whole thing. They’re trying to be too deep in my opinion, and they lose sight of what made the first season so good. I still enjoy it, I just have a hard time following anymore. During quarantine, we also finished Season 3 of True Detective (don’t waste your time), Arrested Development, Archer 1999, the most recent season of Always Sunny, and I’ve lost track of what else.

We’re gonna end up somewhere north of 2000 words on this, so I’ll spare you my movie takes. Instead, a list of my Top TV shows:

What do you do when you aren’t watching sports?

Recently, that would be yard work. We built a house last year, and since then I’ve been learning to love my lawn, patches of dead sod and all. This past weekend I spent two days putting mulch beds down. Last month, I had an extreme bout of poison ivy. I’m living my best life and getting all that sweat equity everyone always talks about. Other than that, it’s really just reading, playing Warzone, beating anyone at FIFA that’ll get on the sticks, and playing with our newly adopted cat Po.

What’s your go-to icebreaker “fun fact”?

I got nothing. You’ve been spared enough rambling. Normally I just say I actually was on the team for Tech.

Do you have a rivalry with any of the other writers?


Note from Chris: a battle raging in our hearts and minds

Closing words?

Hit me up @murphey_stephen if you want to talk anything. I’ll listen.