Good Morning. It’s been two days since the last game of the season. Typically, I break down each position group, but there isn’t much to say about the on-field performance, so I’m not planning to do that. Instead, I want to take a little time attempting to squeeze some positives out of the year while also providing commentary on the things that we, as fans, should see change.
Fortunately, some changes have already been made, which is a positive thing. And possibly the only positive from Saturday’s game is that it ended at 3PM, making it one of the shortest games of the season. In fact, the recap was actually posted at 2:59 PM, which means the game lasted less than three hours despite numerous TV commercials thanks to a national ABC broadcast. Can you imagine sitting through three and a half or even four hours of that? Another positive (this one is actually positive) - Jahmyr Gibbs finished the regular season #3 in All-Purpose Yards amongst FBS players (#1 in the ACC). He is special, very special.
Anyways... Like 10,000 other Tech fans, I sat through roughly 3 hours of pain on Saturday at Bobby Dodd. Honestly, 10,000 is being generous. The fact that COFH remains a quasi-home game for uga is so hard to witness. I hate it for the fans, I hate it for the students because I used to be one, but mostly I hate it for the seniors, a large portion of which joined prior to the Collins era. To paint the picture more clearly, at one point in the second half, Tech was called for a false start because the red fans were too loud. And the ball was on the student section side of the field… It was a perfect representation of the current state of affairs, and it isn’t what any of these players signed up for. I know it’s just a game, but many thanks to the seniors who have dedicated so much time and energy to the White and Gold.
Despite a loss at the very beginning of the season to a well-coached, more inspired Northern Illinois team, the Yellow Jackets finished the first half of the season 3-2 with some exciting wins that showed promise of things to come. One of those wins was a dominant performance under the lights of Mercedes-Benz against an explosive UNC team. One of the losses was a defensive juggernaut against a struggling, yet more talented, Clemson team. Man…. Those were good times.
However, after the bye week, things really fell apart. The defense turned into a broken sieve, allowing 500+ yards four times in the last six games of the year, and the offense developed an allergy to the end zone, scoring zero points in the final two games. I don’t need to tell you any of this because you already know. The last half of the year went about as poorly as it could have gone. And it’s finally over (hey, another positive!). The decision-makers in the program can finally take a step back (without the distractions of preparing for a weekly beatdown) and evaluate. Clearly, some of that evaluation was already taking place during the final stretch. My hope is that next year, if the same struggles are present, decisions are made sooner rather than later.
The reason is clear. The yearly coaching carousel has already started spinning, as Lincoln Riley rope-a-doped OU reporters on his way to accepting the USC job, and Florida snagged Billy Napier from an overperforming Rajin’ Cajun team. And now Tech has some openings. Are the openings on The Flats equivalent to head coaching jobs at two of the most successful programs in the country? Absolutely not. But it’s time for smarter people than myself that get paid buckets of money to have difficult conversations and make tough decisions with the goal of putting this program back on the right track.
What does that look like? I’ll try to give a few examples, but mostly, it doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen over the past month and a half. It looks like winning the games you should win. It looks like packed stands for a home game (preferably a majority of which are Tech fans). It looks like reducing, or better yet eliminating, self-inflicted mistakes as the year goes on. It looks like competing against your conference rivals and your in-state rivals. It looks like hiring coaches that have a demonstrated record of success when it comes to recruiting, developing, and most importantly, winning. I know that isn’t a crazy thing to expect as fans.
They say that people exposed to an odor for a long enough period of time no longer notice it. Fortunately, I don’t think we’ve reached that point, and some of the initial coaching moves appear to be attempts at removing the source of the odor - an important first step. We’ll be covering those moves as stories develop, but it’s hard to imagine things getting much worse. And although Geoff Collins doesn’t appear to be the guy, it’s probably a safe bet both financially and fundamentally to keep certain pieces in place in this upcoming “transition” year. But time is running out. I will always be hopeful, however low my expectations. It’s been a pleasure putting these together this season, and I hope you enjoyed. We’ll get ‘em next year. Go Jackets!