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Mailbag 12/15

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Should GT expand its enrollment criteria to possibly allow more recruits?

Louisville v Georgia Tech Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Dennis is [ARS]hole. Why Charlie hate? - Stephen Murphey

Ben: Stephen, I don’t understand.

Chris: Because Buzz is a [Bon Jovi] man!

Jake: I definitely didn’t write this card.

Austin: No idea, but It’s Always Sunny on the Flats.

Logan: Is that show still on?

You wake up tomorrow in an alternate universe. Everything is exactly the same as our universe, except that the Yellow Jackets are going to be playing in the college football playoff. Who would you assume was coaching them to that level? Or in other words, which coaches do you think could realistically get GT to at least a CFP berth? - Pkaltman1

Ben: If I’m waking up in an alternate universe where everything is the same except for the fact that Georgia Tech is in the CFP, then the only logical choice is that I would assume that Tech had their current coaching staff. If everything else is the same, why wouldn’t the coaching staff be the same? Now to actually answer your question, I don’t have a particular coach in mind, but it would take a coach who is able to run his scheme, recruit, and develop his players well. Tech can never seem to get all three of those in a head coach.

Chris: First name that came to mind was Luke Fickell - proven track record of taking a small non-blue blood to the Playoff.

Jake: I like Chris’ thought. I think that Clawson could do it, too. But, in reality, we all know it would just be the retread robo-Heisman 2.0 - that seems on brand for Tech.

Austin: Urban Meyer does it again.

Logan: In an alternate timeline where Chris Petersen went to GT instead of Washington and didn’t retire in 2019. I think Petersen has shown the ability to work with less talented teams and develop unique offenses which are hard to plan for. I think Petersen could get us there, but not necessarily win the CFP.

How long until Choice returns as our OC? - ramblin gooner

Ben: I think he’ll get an interview under the next HC, and I think he should have at least gotten an interview this time, even if it was just a courtesy interview.

Chris: If he does that I think it would be at minimum 5-6 years from now. He’d have to gain and responsibility experience at USC and then probably be OC at at least one smaller school, ideally more. I’m not really on this train of wanting that eventually that bad. He’s been great in his role for us but he has zero OC experience right now and we have absolutely no clue how he’d perform other than our usual trap of BUT HE’S A TECH MAN!

Jake: Finally a BUT HE’S A TECH MAN that would get me excited. Seems like he is the logical endpoint of the mold of a successful Tech coach based on his success as a player, coach, and recruiter here. So one would hope that the answer is “eventually,” at the very least.

Austin: I could see him jumping straight from position coach to HC. Hire someone else for the ins and outs, let him do what he does best: lead and motivate.

Logan: Not soon enough... He could be back in a decade or so, but I imagine he will take a few years to at least see how successful he can make a lower tier program as a OC or Head Coach before moving up.

Carter: Long enough that you’ll have forgotten you were hoping for it so long ago.

Sammy:

When does the sickhole open up and swallow up Bobby Dodd Stadium this week, or are we waiting for Christmas? - LeeNobody

Chris: That’d be a bummer Christmas huh?

Jake: Not to get all “well actually” history on you, but Bobby Dodd is built on a historic creek bed, so shenanigans related to water-related erosion aren’t the most unlikely disaster that could befall Grant Field. There is still a main that passes through there, even though the stream is long gone.

via Google Images

Austin: Seems more of a Christmas occurrence, but please spare Britton.

Logan: If you are currently going to Tech you may want the Sinkhole to open tomorrow so you will have more time to study for finals. But I have bad new, the finals start coming and they don’t stop coming.

Carter: No, no, take Brittain.

How did a bunch of U(sic)GA fans end up running a Georgia Tech sports website? - MuchoQueso

Ben: Man, that sounds like it’d be a horrible idea. Why the [Foreigner] would you want to run a website for a rival team?

Chris: Some people get lost in the sauce, I think you’ve gotten lost in the queso.

Austin: You gave yourself away when you still capitalized the U, G, and A. Nice try, Kirby, but your powers are useless here.

Logan: I dunno which site you are referring to but, whoever they are, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Carter: Spencer Hall was in charge of everything at the time, and he’s not one to check too closely.

Any updates on picking up a quality QB from the portal? - GT Guy

Ben: The more I see about Zach Gibson, the more I like. I don’t know that he’ll necessarily beat out Sims for the job, but I think it will be a fun competition.

Jake: The Zach Gibson fellow from Akron seems interested and looked like an intriguing prospect.

Austin: Sims bounceback year imminent!

Carter: I’ll tell you for $5.

How many years will it take for GT fans to stop talking about hiring someone from the Paul Johnson coaching tree? Not really trying to comment on the viability of it, just curious if you think it even has an expiration date. - Namrebeil

Ben: That will take a coach being successful with something other than the option, which can certainly happen. It could have happened under Geoff Collins. He’s recruited very well, but he lacks in the scheme and developing areas I mentioned in the CFP question.

Chris: People really just bring up Brian Bohannon and Jeff Monken right? I mean, those guys have been very successful at what they do and we are currently very not successful at doing not what they do. I think you’d have to see years of sustained success in a non-flexbone style before people don’t bring it up as an option (no pun intended). Personally I’m more concerned with: how many years will it take for GT fans and administration to stop talking about only hiring people from the Tech world?

Jake: I think an intriguing counter-question would be to ask how long the Greatest Transformation in the History of Football folks keep laying faults of the current team on Paul Johnson.

Austin: Imagine doing something well for a decade and then changing careers, being immensely unsuccessful, and seeing someone else doing your old thing well. It’s only natural to want to get back in the old game.

Logan: Fans talk about silly stuff, its what they do. It’s kind of what we do here, we just try to back it up with facts to prove our points. The fans will stop complaining about finding a new coach when we have a successful program, but they will immediately find something else to complain about.

Do you miss me yet? Signed, CPJ - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: No, not really. Don’t get me wrong, I was a big fan of Paul Johnson and his offense, but the time was definitely right for him to step away from things.

Chris: Uhhhhhhhh I dunno, sorta maybe? I love CPJ, but it was definitely time for him to go. I’m not sure we would’ve done more than 7-5 or 8-4 in the last three years but at least that’s an improvement? I dunno.

Jake: I’m sentimental, I didn’t follow college football all that closely before college, and he was the coach when he got here. Some part of me will always miss him.

Austin: Much like Paul Hewitt, his legacy is inexplicably tarnished and I don’t really know why. All he did was make Tech relevant. He did it his way, sure, and maybe that rubbed people the wrong way.

Logan: Obviously have rose colored glasses, but the thing I miss the most isn’t even CPJs offense. I miss CPJs attitude. He was a serious dude and he commanded respect and tried to keep his kids in line. I kind of respect that given the history of the school and I thought it was an attitude that fit well here.

Carter: For the record, Paul Hewitt tarnished his own legacy by allowing his coaching ability to fall off a cliff following a national title game appearance. Anyway, it would have been neat to see what Paul Johnson could do with an athletics department that actually gave him some support, as opposed to one that was actively trying to hinder him.

Pic’em, Rudolph or the Power 8 Reindeer field? “I like Blitzen; like always”, Jon Tenuta - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: Rudolph would be disqualified for Performance Enhancing Substances. A nose like that isn’t natural. Give me Dasher.

Chris: I’m a Comet guy, surely he’s got the most speed right?

Jake: Donner always ran a bell with me.

Austin: Rudolph is O V E R R A T E D. He was good for one night in history, one! Field all day.

Logan: So, you’re telling me they can’t put a spotlight on the sleigh with the technology we have now? Everyone wants to give it to the male reindeer, but I think Vixen puts in work.

Are grits really just corn soup? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: It’s really more of a hot cereal like Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat.

Chris: No, because liquid isn’t really a component of grits. It’s a solid food.

Jake: I’ve had corn soup. It ain’t grits.

Austin: I’ll allow it.

Logan: ew... no

Carter: Definitively, decisively, no, grits are not soup. Next question.

Why aren’t we more focused on the offensive line and the coach???? - Rbissman

Ben: I’ll assume you mean why isn’t Georgia Tech more focused, and with that, I would say that they are sticking with Key whether we like it or not. He was very involved in hiring Chip Long, and there’s no real reason to think he won’t be a coach for Tech next season.

Chris: What angle is this from? More focused on how bad the OL has been and how Key has been disappointing? Cuz I feel like I’ve complained about that many times.

Austin: We’ve given them quite a bit of attention.

Logan: At a certain point you can’t focus any harder on those items. We’re trying though.

Should we have promoted Coach Choice to OC instead? - Neal Royal

Ben: I think he should have gotten an interview, but I don’t know that he would have been a good hire since he didn’t have any experience. It could have been a fun experiment though.

Chris: No. He doesn’t have experience in that role. Maybe he could have been the interim if Patenaude was fired midseason, but I personally think we need someone with a lot of good OC experience.

Jake: To be quite honest, I’ve kind of hit the point that I was thinking, “Sure, what the heck, let’s get weird with it.”

Austin: On the one hand, he certainly would’ve stayed. On the other, I don’t believe he would’ve succeeded.

Logan: No. Pulling dumb stunts is not the way to dig ourselves out of a hole. I like Choice as a person and player but he does not have the experience as a coach yet to become a full OC.

6 wins and a team gets a bowl invite. It use to mean something if a team made a bowl game 25 years ago; but, today its a sign that a team has met a minimum standard of mediocrity. Do you believe things are fine how they are, should the standard to make a bowl game be risen, or do you see another scheme out there that would be better? - gtbadcarma

Chris: I think of making a bowl as “okay you’re a normal team”. I don’t think we need less bowls, I like that there are a lot of them because it’s fun to get the matchups. Where there’s an opportunity though is to make the stratification much more clear - right now it’s just a soup of teams. I think we need to have much more robustly defined levels of Tier 1, Tier 2, etc. bowl games that can better reward teams for making the higher ones. Part of that in my ornery mind is not doing sponsors as the dominant naming convention. Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta worked in the BCS era because they had recognizable names that set them apart. Also don’t make those games the semis - come up with new names for those and let those four be the Tier 1 behind the Playoff.

Jake: Totally agree with Chris. I would love to see some more bowls with stakes again - give the #1 MWC team a shot at the SEC East runner up or something weird like that. They all just seem so disorganized and random these days. Went to the Quick Lane Bowl, it was a lot of fun. But really think making more regional matchups or the “stakes” type things that I mentioned above would be worthwhile.

Austin: The Tier 2 bowls are kind of a wash now, with players opting out becoming standard for the big programs. Stakes would certainly make things more intriguing.

Logan: Short answer is no. I believe the 6 win criteria is a good one.

Since I said a few mailbags back “can it get worse” it has progressively gotten worse, let me break up the trend by asking “can I get better?” - YellowJacketHeritage

Chris: Yeah I mean, we’re pretty close to the bottom right? Only one way to go.

Jake: I sure hope so!

Austin: The ceiling is the roof.

Logan: I believe in you, you can get better. We can get better too. It just takes time and effort.

What are your opinions of Todd Stansbury? I kinda want to see him take another shot at a FB coach hire, especially since it seems the rest of GT athletics are doing well and he’s doing a good job on fundraising, but it def seems he’s connected himself to Collins and people are saying that may make or break him. - YellowJacketHeritage

Ben: Outside of football, I’ve been a big fan of how Todd Stansbury is running Athletics. How he’s handling football is certainly concerning though. I would be okay with giving him more time after Collins is gone, giving him a second chance to hire a head coach.

Chris: I like Todd, he just has this one big glaring error. I’m willing to give him a bit of a pass for it being his first high-profile FB coach hire though. But if he messes up the second one then I think that breaks him.

Jake: We’ve had the three highest years of giving in the past three years. That’s a big part of his job. Looking at the list of every other program, let’s survey the scene, and we’ll limit it to just those three record-breaking years (2019-2021) to separate that as the “post transition” from his arrival in fall 2016ish:

  • Baseball: Back-to-back Coastal Division Champs, nearly won the ACC Tournament, National #3 Seed
  • Men’s Basketball: ACC Champions, first NCAA appearance in a decade
  • Women’s Basketball: Sweet Sixteen, risen to be the best “non-NC State/Louisville” team in the conference, in and out of top 25 rankings, first NCAA appearance in
  • Cross Country: Women had best finish ever
  • Golf: 15th place finish in 2021, 2019 and 2020 US Amateur champions, 2019 ACC Championship, likely would have been top 5 had COVID not cancelled the 2020 NCAA championship
  • Softball: Returned to ACC tournament for first time in years, recruiting in the top 20
  • Swimming and Diving: Women had best finish ever, men have had two top 25 finishes in a row
  • Men’s Tennis: #3 doubles pair and #9 singles player in the country, NCAA appearances
  • Women’s Tennis: 2021 Sweet Sixteen, timeframe just misses 2018 Final Four
  • Track and Field: Largely rewritten record boards, several national finishers
  • Volleyball: 2021 Elite Eight, best season in team history, back to back NCAA appearances, including the first in a decade

I liked the Collins hire at the time, and there are very, very real financial constraints behind why it would be very irresponsible to fire him after this past year, and much smarter ways to spend that buyout money. We should know that particularly poignantly, as the school that was paying three basketball coaches there for a while and under a mountain of debt. Say what you will about that, he has absolutely blown the rest of the job out of the water, especially compared to his successor. This is absolutely a case of football getting an irresponsibly large amount of attention, and I get I’m the Olympic sports writer, but it is completely a true statement that the rest of the athletic department is thriving more than we’ve seen in quite some time.

Logan: Tech has seen a lot of success in other sports (see above) we just lose the forest for the trees because the football tree is REALLY ugly. Football is the big moneymaker so most people who are interested in college sports tend to key in on it. I think Todd is doing a good job in general, but he clearly has some areas which need improvement. If I had to give a grade, somewhere between a C+ and a B-. Todd is meeting the minimum requirements and a little bit more, but he is definitely falling short in some areas.

Kieffer: NOT SO FAST. I’ve done a massive 180 on Todd the past month. Like Jake, I was caught up in the overall success of Georgia Tech athletics, but Stansbury also has a long list of failures since he’s been here that I can’t ignore anymore.

  • The Apparel Deal: It’s awful. It pays out terribly and the quality and quantity of merch has been so bad, an alum was able to launch a successful company primarily focused on fixing the shortcomings in Tech’s apparel catalog. Adidas offered “collaboration” and other buzzwords that have failed to materialize in 4 years. While I’ll admit that he was not negotiating from a position of strength, he had more than enough leverage to get something better than this.
  • The Quick Lane Bowl: Remember when the ACC sent Paul Johnson to Detroit for his final game? Well, you can thank his boss for not playing the politics game that is inherent in the bowl selection process. What? He was on the CFP committee that year? I don’t care. It’s a hard job. You’re paid well. Figure it out.
  • The Football Coaching Search: I guess I could re-title this bullet: TUNNEL VISION FOR TECH PEOPLE. I mean Ken Whisenhunt? Really? Then Godsey during the OC search this year? Offering the first person you interview? He caused a fan revolt as close to Tennessee as Tech fans will ever get.
  • The Collins Contract: I won’t blame Todd for hiring Collins. But 7 years? For an unproven coach with 2 years of experience who was basically begging for the job? What about BATNA do you not understand Todd? Maybe if you’d seriously interviewed more candidates, your BATNA would have been better. Jimmy Sexton absolutely made a fool of Todd at the negotiating table.
  • The Pastner Extension: Did Josh Pastner deserve an extension after winning an ACC title? ABSOLUTELY! But 3 years? That’s the extension you sign when teams are lining up down the block to poach your guy. Pastner never came up in any carousel discussions beyond a fleeting mention. Likely agent orchestrated. Sensing a theme? Now the team is falling below expectations again. If 2020-2021 proves to be a flash in the pan, can the boosters fork over enough cash to buy out the 2 most expensive coaches in a year’s time? Is that a good use of their resources when the organization is drowning in debt and likely will be until we’re all gone?
  • Keeping Collins: I bought the idea that the buyout was too much. Until the interviews with the mega boosters hit the AJC. From their comments about Todd tying himself to Collins this offseason, it became clear that the money was there to fire Collins this year. Todd said no. This was where the 180 began, and the above came rushing back.

Todd Stansbury is a terrible negotiator. Agents and his fellow ADs have walked all over him repeatedly. I applaud the efforts of AI2020. Fundraising has been awesome and well-directed, but how much of that was due to boosters coming back after CPJ? How much was people excited about Collins after his first press conferences? Nell was a great hire, but Collins has been dreadful. Oh and he cooperated with the NCAA. Don’t do that. It may have worked out for now, but it’s usually not the move for a low revenue power-5 school. Ask Mizzou.

Should GT expand its enrollment criteria to possibly allow more recruits? Do you think that risks the value of a GT education? Hopefully this so worded correctly since I don’t want it to sound snobby. I just feel a lot of ppl clamour that the admin should loosen majors and redo curriculum to encourage more applicants (but mainly they want high profile recruits) to apply and enroll. I’m on the opinion that the school should continue to place education above just simplifying majors or creating pointless programs just so we can expand the recruiting pool. - YellowJacketHeritage

Ben: I don’t even know if it’s a question of if Tech should do it, because I don’t think the Board of Regents would let it happen. From what I understand about higher education (which isn’t much, so this might be wrong), there is supposed to be some kind of balance among the USG schools, and from an academic point of view, it doesn’t make any sense for Tech to expand its majors.

Chris: This feels like a subject I want to do much more research on, but my initial take is that I don’t know that we necessarily need to. I think we can meet program expectations with academics as they are. Sure we’re gonna miss out on a lot of recruits, but not every recruit is a fit anyways and its all about finding “our guys”. Being a top engineering school is our identity, I don’t want to get away from that.

Jake: I agree with Chris. It doesn’t hold us back in really any other sport (see my above answer), and there are enough bright fellows who can play football that we could find talent. Georgia Tech is first and foremost a school, and the model of the modern technology-focused institution of higher learning.

Logan: I don’t know enough details about our current standards for athletes (required GPA) and full list of curriculum. I’m not opposed to the idea of creating different majors for athletes; but changing curricula of majors that currently exist so athletes can take advantage of easier courses seems to undermine the purpose of a college. I guess I would be open to certain changes, but I would need more information.

Present your current sentiments as a GT football fan in the form of one of your favorite album covers. - Lx_Un1c0

Chris: Sturgill Simpson - SOUND & FURY. Just like this album I am angsty and indifferent and annoyed and mad all at the same time (btw this is a fantastic album, not just a fantastic cover).

Austin: Polo & Pan - Cyclorama. Waiting out the hour glass at this point.

Logan: Piece of Mind by Iron Maiden. I’m just losing my mind in the corner y’all

Hello Y’all,

My question this week, do you have the phone number of any good therapists? I think many GT fans will need one before all this is over.

Sincerely

Sigmund Freud

Ben: I could give a joke answer here, but I do want to take this opportunity to talk about how beneficial therapy can be. A few years ago, I went through a pretty traumatic event and ended up in therapy for a little while. It was immensely helpful in helping me understand my brain better so that I could process the trauma in a healthy way. Even if you haven’t gone through a traumatic event, I think therapy can be an incredibly healthy thing to go to. You can even go to therapy online now! I haven’t personally used it, but I’ve heard some really good things about Better Help. It’s been a crazy last few years, and right now, we’re in a time where it’s really easy to let seasonal depression settle in. Your brain and the things that happen in it are all very real things, so you should take care of it like you would take care of any other body part. And remember, at the end of the day, you are never ever alone.

Chris: The thought of Freud seeing a therapist is kinda funny.

Jake: With the holidays coming up, my personal goal is to log off Twitter, exit r/gatech, etc. It’s tough because it’s habitual, but I think making efforts to do that as a collective would be for our own good. Enjoy a needed break.

Austin: I’ve found that having a group of fellow Tech fans to discuss the odds and ends of Tech athletics really puts things into perspective. For example, I’ve learned the real joy fandom is appreciating the little things, like subordinate volleyball fans or students chanting airball 20 game minutes after the fact.

Logan: Don’t you usually just blame your mother for everything? I thought that was how therapy was supposed to work.

Carter: Actually, I’ve been meaning to ask that same question for a few years now.