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Mailbag 12/8

What non CFP bowl are you most looking forward to?

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Arizona State vs Florida State Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Hypothetically, if our offense noticeably improves but our defense doesn’t, which coaches (if any) are let go at the end of the year? - SullyGT

Ben: Well, the big-money boosters already aren’t happy about the state of Georgia Tech football right now, so I imagine the whole coaching staff is on a very short leash. Gregg Garrett specifically mentioned Tech needing to win eight games next year for the coaching staff. Personally, I don’t think the standard will be quite that high, but I wouldn’t surprised to see Georgia Tech move on from the coaching staff as a whole if the team misses a bowl game next year. For this specific scenario, I think this means that Chip Long and folks on the offensive coaching staff might get an interview under a new head coach. If Tech doesn’t move on from Collins, that just means that everyone would stick around and Collins would probably hire an actual defensive coordinator instead of doing it himself (which is the popular rumor for how the defense will be run next year).

Jake: If we are bad, I think anywhere, it isn’t going to matter what the bad part is all that much.

Chris: I don’t think offense vs defense is gonna matter much next year. If we don’t win then Collins is out, period. And if he’s out, a lot of other people are too. In that scenario though I think Chip Long would be the obvious choice for interim coach.

Logan: I’m just gonna simplify for this and the next question. It just depends on if we win games. If we win 6 games by winning a 70-66 shootout or if we win 6 games by winning 3-0, then I don’t think the donors or fans will care how we got there. If we don’t win games, then it doesn’t matter where we improved. If we don’t win games then the HC will be out, and that means most of the other associated coaches will be out as soon as the AD gets an opportunity.

Nishant: What Logan said. The stats would’ve mattered this year if Tech had won a couple more games and the numbers had shown clear improvement in several areas. But with where things are now, the only number that matters in 2022 is the number of wins. If that doesn’t go up by a lot, nothing on the periphery will make a difference.

Carter: I agree with Logan, with one caveat: if Tech loses to uga by 45 points for the third straight game, the rest of the record isn’t gonna matter a whole lot.

Or the reverse, where our defense improves but our offense doesn’t? - SullyGT

Ben: If Tech doesn’t move on from Collins and this is what happens, I don’t think any coaching changes would be made. Instead, we’ll hear about how Chip Long needs time to install his offense despite the fact that it’s remarkably similar to what Dave Patenaude was running here.

Jake: I agree with Ben, but it seems like a lot of powerful people have something to say about where things are at.

Chris: Same answer mostly. Chip Long probably does need at least a year, I’m willing to concede that. I could maybe see a situation where Key gets the boot if the OL continues to be the weak spot though.

Carter: See above. It’ll be everybody.

How many wins would it take to change those answers? That is, would say 7 wins without statistical defensive improvement (aka CCL really works out for us) give CGC another year? Or does that many wins, whatever the number, just get CCL promoted to HC in that scenario? - SullyGT

Ben: If Georgia Tech somehow manages to win 8 games next year, I don’t think any coaches will be fired. I think if the offense shows significant improvement but Georgia Tech still decides to move on from Collins, I think Long would potentially get an interview, but I would not expect him to be Collins’ replacement.

Jake: 8

Chris: I’m also in for 8.

Nishant: I just want to note that there is a recent-ish example of a coach who won three games in each of his first three seasons, then won eight games in his fourth. That coach was Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State, who followed up that 8-5 season by... going 4-8 in his fifth year and getting fired.

Logan: So, assuming we don’t beat uga and Clempson, then we need to find 8 other wins. If we can find a way to beat one of those two rivals, I think you can win less than 8 but you still need to win at least 6 games and make a bowl.

Carter: I’ll also say 8. Unless the condition I mentioned two questions ago gets triggered. Then it would need to be more, and it might not even matter at that point.

Any word on the defensive back coaching hires or the DC situation? - SullyGT

Ben: Interestingly, no. At least to me, this gives credence to the idea that Geoff Collins is taking over the defensive coordinator duties (though some rumors are saying that Thacker will still be serving as the co-coordinator, which bleh). As far as the DB coach, I hear they are interested in hiring Tech alum Travares Tillman from Michigan State. I definitely didn’t have another wall of text here that I had to change.

Nishant: Travares Tillman as DB coach seems like a solid hire. Michigan State was nothing special on the back end this year, but the fact that Mel Tucker, a very well-respected defensive coach, has brought him along to three different stops is a good sign. The thing I’m confused and curious about is the title of “defensive passing game coordinator.” What does this title mean, and how does it affect his duties as defensive backs coach? As for DC, it seems increasingly likely that Collins will be running the defense himself this year. I think it’s a needed step for a guy who has always seemed a bit too detached from the on-field action at Tech. He’s been a very effective DC in the past, and this opens up room for him to bring in a dedicated QB or special teams coach.

Who are the most promising pickups in the transfer portal? - jabsterjacket

Ben: Well given the state of the team right now, I’d like to see Tech add from the transfer portal at quarterback, running back, offensive line and secondary. At quarterback, I would not be mad about getting Harrison Bailey from Tennessee. He’s a much better pure passer than Sims is but not half as athletic. Long has plenty of experience working with scrambling and nonscrambling quarterbacks, so this would provide Sims with some good competition. Another quarterback that could be worth a look could be Myles Brennan or Adrian Martinez, both of whom have a wealth of experience. Whether either of them has any interest in coming to a team that isn’t likely to see much success next year remains to be seen.

Coming in with another late add is Akron QB Zach Gibson, who apparently has a visit set up to Georgia Tech.

I don’t know a lot about Gibson, but it looks like he played pretty well in Akron’s QB rotation.

At running back, I took a look at who was in the portal and found former Louisville running back Hassan Hall. Hall is originally from Atlanta before joining Louisville in 2018. Hall’s best season to date came in 2019, when he ran for 501 yards on 108 carries for five touchdowns. He also had a strong start to this year, averaging over 7 yards a carry before announcing he would be entering the transfer portal with three games left in the season. It looks like Hall will have just one season of eligibility left, so he could serve as a nice transition running back to the younger guys that Tech is bringing in with their current recruiting class. Reading the article about his departure from Card Chronicle, it looks like Hall also had issues with injuries and fumbles, which doesn’t bode particularly well. He has also served as a return man for the Cardinals, which would be very welcome at Tech.

Moving over the offensive line, there has been a lot of talk about Pierce Quick from Alabama and Paul Tchio from Clemson. Both would be very welcome, but let me also mention Cornell grad transfer OL Hunter Nourzad. Nourzad is originally from Marietta and was part of a very good offensive line at Cornell. According to his player bio, he’s also a student in the College of Engineering. Unfortunately, Tech hasn’t reached out to him.

In the secondary, there were two players that caught my eye. First is Clemson safety Joseph Charleston. He’s originally from Alpharetta, and Georgia Tech was interested in him before Clemson got him, though Tech never offered him. The other name is Temple safety MJ Griffin. Griffin was part of Geoff Collins’ final recruiting class at Temple, so that is a good connection to have.

Carter: I’m not trusting this staff’s track record with the portal at the moment.

Nishant: I’m way less concerned with skill position adds (other than QB) than I am about offensive line adds.

Logan: I don’t keep track of the portal enough to know specific names. I need to see pickups in the defensive secondary and on the O-line for major improvement, RBs will need to restock, WRs and TEs will be where we look for additional weapons assuming that is what the coaches want.

Does georgie lose to Michigan, lose to the winner of Bama-Cincy, or win it all? - jabsterjacket

Ben: I can’t tell you how much I want the Championship Game to be Michigan and Cincinnati. I just think it would be absolutely incredible. Realistically, I think UGA/Michigan is more of a toss-up than Bama/Cincy, but more than likely, the Championship Game is going to be an SECCG rematch. UGHHHHH.

Jake: I’m worried that losing the SECCG is just going to have made them mad. Don’t like that!

Chris: Agree with Ben, I think UGA/Michigan is roughly a tossup and probably will be a horrifically gross game. I’m very confident Bama will win but it could definitely be close. So 50/50 we see UGA/Bama again. My only solace is that Bama didn’t get lucky against UGA the first time - they soundly dominated them.

Logan: I think they lose to winner of Bama-Cincy. I don’t trust Michigan to beat them. Michigan could beat them talent wise, but Michigan also has a tendency to implode in big opportunities.

Carter: I refuse to perceive or comment on this question.

What other players are entering the portal, and who is going to challenge Sims for QB1? Also any updates on Gibbs and Yates potential new schools? - GT Guy

Ben: If Tech is going to have someone challenge Jeff Sims, it’s going to be someone in the portal. I mentioned Harrison Bailey earlier, and I think that would be the most ideal situation, but I haven’t seen anything to convince me that he’s absolutely coming to Georgia Tech, so I don’t want to count any chickens before they hatch. I think Gibson would also certainly compete with Sims for the job. As far as Gibbs, he currently has two crystal balls to Alabama, and yeah, I could see that working out really well for him. I haven’t seen or heard anything concrete on Yates, but I think he would really thrive at a G5/FCS school. Personally, I would love to see him follow in Vad Lee’s footsteps and go to James Madison now that they are transitioning to FBS.

Chris: Agree with Ben, if anyone challenges Sims it’ll be a transfer guy.

Carter: Yeah, no one currently on the roster is challenging Sims for QB1. Pyron probably isn’t either.

Logan: As far as who could potentially enter the portal, our LB core was the strongest aspect on defense. I don’t know that they would leave because I don’t know about their relationship with CGC, but they are the ones I would worry about leaving.

Which nonChampionship Bowl game is “Must see” for you? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: The Urban Meyer Bowl (Utah vs. Ohio State) will probably be a lot of fun. I’m a big fan of Kyle Whittingham, so I would love to see Utah pull off the upset. The Sugar Bowl (Baylor/Ole Miss) will also be a lot of fun. Outside of the NY6 bowls, the Frisco Bowl (UTSA-SDSU) is the most intriguing to me.

Jake: I think Pitt/Michigan State will be fun, and I always love the Rose Bowl.

Chris: Baylor/Ole Miss is probably gonna be chaotic, that’s always fun. Utah/Ohio State and Notre Dame/Ok. State are gonna be very fun games to watch.

Logan: I like the state fights. UCF v UF in the Gasparilla Bowl and North Carolina v South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte will be fun because those teams will be out to not just win but to prove they aren’t a secondary team in the state or the best team in the positional Carolinas.

Carter: I am going to be in DFW for the Frisco Bowl, which this year is pitting UTSA vs. San Diego State. That matchup slaps, as the youths say. Beyond that, I’m excited for the Alamo Bowl, which pits Oklahoma against Oregon. That is a game for sickos only, for a couple reasons: one being the obvious one with the (lack of) coaches, the other being this: the series is 6-1 in favor of the Sooners. The 1 was the last game, in 2006, where this happened. Do y’all think OU still wants revenge for this fifteen years later? ‘Cause I do.

We generally feel the football team is underperforming. With CPJ we had an identity. With coach Collins I would argue we have none except for blown coverages. Should we focus more on a unique spread run based offense combined with a havoc forcing defense or focus more on air raid and the roof mentality on defense. I think one major problem with this team it is didn’t seem to focus on things it should have been better at in theory, running outside zone and speed options and on defense covering with speed and rally tackling. With our likely personnel limitations would you rather be risky and possibly successful a la Purdue or Pitt or focus on grinding your opponents and waiting for a mistake like Iowa? - Wrek Bran

Ben: With everything on the line for Collins and Co., I think you have to take more risks. Playing it safely is just going to end up with Tech missing a bowl. If Collins wants a chance at success, it’s not a given; he will have to take a lot of risks and hope for the best.

Chris: Huge agree, we were extremely bad at playing to our strengths. I’m in to be risky. Trying to grind out our opponents sounds like we’d go 3-9 and lose a ton of close games.

Logan: I hate to be the boring and contradictory person here... I think the most reasonable ask is actually to get back to basics. We saw our O-line and Secondary look completely lost last year. We need to coach up the basics and run more simple plays if it allows our players to improve. In that logic, I guess the Iowa strategy makes more sense to me. you just have to grind out on the basics and wear down the opponent. Most teams that use that strategy do it because they have talent though, so I don’t think it’ll translate to wins in the short term. I just don’t think trying to be even riskier is gonna help either, so at least try to get on the right track. Short answer, if I had to choose between the two less risky is the better direction to go in.

Carter: Sorry, I’m laughing at the idea of a guy who coaches like he wants to be the future coach of the New York Jets taking more risks.

Christmas is still about one very important thing... What is the best present and the worst present you received for Christmas as a child? - gtbadcarma

Ben: I don’t know if it’s the worst present, but it was definitely a bit of a disappointment at the time. I had asked for one of the customizable lightsaber kits that you could use to build your own toy lightsaber and change the color or design or whatever you want. Instead, I got a chess set. As far as the best, that’s a little tougher. I will say that I’m particularly excited about the gift I’m getting my fiancee this year. She and I both prefer the more thought-out gifts, and she’s gonna love this one. I won’t post it here because there’s a decent chance she might read this, and I want it to be a surprise.

Jake: I used to hate socks, and one year I got the same set of dress socks from two different people, which was not great. As for the best, well, I think that depends on if you mean when I was a kid or judging now. I still have a couple books that I read, well, a lot, so current me probably says those, but past me sure did like model trains and stuff, so I won’t besmirch him by ignoring those.

Chris: First thing that comes to mind for best is Guitar Hero. I was sick on Christmas day and it was the only thing that got me upright and excited. I played it for hours that day and hundreds of hours afterwards. Worst would probably be a tape recorder. Idk why I got that.

Logan: Worst gift, socks as a child. Best gift, socks as an adult.

Rumors going around that Nebraska next OC will be Army’s OC Brent Davis.

I don’t know what to think about it. I can’t see Nebraska running a true flexbone triple option. Our fans are a bunch of whiners and will throw a hissy fit if our recruiting rankings drop. That’s what happens when you have 5 losing seasons in a row. Fans start finding anything to thump there chests about. Nebraska fans thump there chests about top 25 recruiting classes even tho those top 25 classes have only equaled 15 wins the last 4 years…

I don’t think Davis would be a bad fit. He’s taken a bunch of military cadets and have had them go 8-3, 9-3, 5-8, and 11-2 the last 4 years. Army hasn’t had a top 110 recruiting class in the last 10 years and he’s done all that as well as play tooth and nail with teams like Oklahoma, Michigan, Cincinnati and Wake Forrest. - USMCHusker

Ben: This isn’t really a question, but I’ll answer it anyway. A lot of P5 fans cringe a bit whenever the option or an option coach is brought up in a conversation about who to hire for their football program. For starters, who’s to say that the option can’t be successful at the Power 5 level. Paul Johnson proved that at a school even without amazing recruiting and the lack of financial support and everything else going on at Georgia Tech, he could still win here, making a bowl game in almost every year that he was on the Flats. Were they always the most talented teams? No, but they won a lot of games they probably shouldn’t have. I’m a strong believer that the option can work in today’s college football. What makes me so sure? Well, a lot of schools still use a lot of option-based concepts; they just don’t do it out of the flexbone. Anyway, Jeff Monken has made it clear that he isn’t necessarily tied to the option if he were to be hired away from Army. I don’t see why Brent Davis couldn’t adapt his offense to a more modern look.

Chris: Did I stumble into the Nebraska mailbag? Same as Ben, the option can be very good as long as you can commit the resources to recruiting the right players.

Logan: The option is still run in various forms to this day. It will always be an effective offense if you can recruit the right players and train them properly to run it. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to give it a try at Nebraska, but I’m guessing the Nebraska fanbase may not feel like I do.

Nishant: I think everyone’s looking at this the wrong way. If there’s a school where you could run something in the ballpark of the Paul Johnson flexbone and actually get people on board, it’s Nebraska, the school where option QBs Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch ran circles around the world for the better part of a decade. It’s definitely a roll of the dice, but let’s be honest: the people in your fanbase who whine about recruiting rankings will keep whining no matter how good or bad they are, because that’s just what those sorts of people do.

How could the coordinator of a monumentally terrible defense not get fired, but the coordinator of a bad, but not terrible offense, get fired? How does that make sense? They both should go… Do we believe that Thacker will make a good position coach when he was such a bad defensive coordinator? Or are we just saving money? That seems sad. - YankeeJacket

Ben: That’s a great question, and I don’t have a good answer for you. I’ve heard people say that Thacker will do better just focusing on the linebackers, but outside a couple good performances by Charlie Thomas, they didn’t do very well. What I do know about Thacker is that he’s a very high-energy guy, and that probably serves very well for recruiting purposes. Do I agree with the decision to keep Thacker on solely for his recruiting purposes? Well, no, but they didn’t ask me.

Chris: Recruiting + personal relationships with those in charge.

Logan: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Carter: It’s a GriT thing, man. You wouldn’t understand.

Will CCL keep CTC and the other position coaches? Were there any conditions in his contract to keep certain ones or have the freedom to bring in his own? - GTSMURF

Ben: I think Long should be afforded the opportunity to pick his assistant coaches, but seeing as he and Brent Key have already been seen on the recruiting trail together, I feel like we would have heard by now if someone wasn’t going to be continuing on staff. Could those changes still happen? Sure, but I don’t expect any major changes.

Nishant: Can I request that we only use the three-letter acronyms to refer to head coaches? It took me way too long to figure out those acronyms meant Long and Choice.

Carter: I’m with Nishant, I can’t keep track of all these C__s.

Logan: CCL and CTC are IFL and will STC if ATS. I think GT would be wise to MtSQ and keep CCL and CTC on if only for the MCA.

With Griffin’s announcement of leaving, CGC and staff have no choice but to turn to the portal to fill their roster, but I’m curious how the new OC hire affects (effects? I don’t know. I majored in Math for a reason) this. Is it likely that Griffin left due to the hire? The timing seems to match up with that. - Frodo Swagginz

Ben: While the announcement might make it seem that way, I don’t know about that. Griffin made the decision early on to redshirt after seeing that he was not very high on the depth chart. I don’t know his thoughts on the hire, but he would have been one of two returning scholarship running backs. Any thoughts on timing would simply be me speculating.

Jake: So much for the stacked running backs room...

Chris: I dunno, it’s not really a controversial hire so I don’t really see why that would be a huge factor for him.

Carter: Get ready for new Georgia Tech offense: a pro-style spread air raid!

Logan: I think there is a clear disconnect now between the coaches and the locker room, otherwise I don’t think we would’ve seen all these people leaving to begin with. I do think the coach hire had impact on Griffin’s decision to leave, although it probably wasn’t the major contributing factor. Griffin felt like he might get serious time, but now he feels he may be a backup receiver in the new offense so he decides to leave. I’m sure the record and the pressure of being the last RB left also factored in. This is all speculation on my part, but it seems like the car salesman antics aren’t going to motivate the team to stick together anymore, and many players don’t feel they can trust the coaching staff to actually focus on the player needs on the field and in the locker room.

Additionally, since Long’s scheme seems to be geared less towards running and more towards passing, should we see an influx of QBs and receivers committing to Tech via the Portal? - Frodo Swagginz

Ben: I don’t know if influx is the right word, but I do expect Tech to add a quarterback from the transfer portal. I could see them adding a wide receiver, but I don’t think that’s as pressing a need.

Chris: I agree with Ben too much. Yeah we should add a portal QB and yeah I think our WRs are pretty good as is for what we’ll be doing.

Logan: With how we did last season, I don’t know that we should expect an “influx”. Sims hasn’t shown consistent passing on a game to game basis; so I’m not sure what receiver will want to come here if they feel the passing might be lacking. You might get a few people, but I wouldn’t expect a major talent influx. Obviously this could change based on Sims performance in practices or on transfers, but for the moment its a hard sell.

Final question, I promise. Per 247, Harrison Bailey (4-Star QB) looks to be transferring to Tech from the Vols. Does he challenge Sims for the starting job or is this question one of those ‘only time will tell’ conundrums? - Frodo Swagginz

Ben: If Harrison Bailey comes to Georgia Tech, he will absolutely challenge Sims for the starting job.

Chris: Yup.

Logan: Yeah. They’re two different types of QBs too; Bailey can scramble but is more of a pocket passer while Sims does much more with his feet. the direction in which the coaching staff wants to go with the offense may also impact the decision of who ends up starting.

Do you have a favorite selection from the “Athens’ sound” era? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Jake: Forgive me for being a young and ignorant northerner, but the only sound I know that’s unique from Athens is getting barked at. As for music, well, I guess that also gives me the luxury to not patronize bands (or breweries, for that matter) that come from Clarke County.

Chris: Are you asking if I like REM? Cuz I do like REM.

Carter: My favorite “Athens sound”? Why, that’s easy! *blows raspberry*

Logan: What? What is this? I don’t understand the question but I do want to take a moment to plug the podcast “60 songs that explain the 90’s” which has done a great job of exploring artists and songs from my formative years.

Pretend I am a good OC/DC and you are Collins. What do you say to them to sell the job? i.e., why would a good coordinator come to GT when the head coach’s seat is so obviously hot? (submitted via email)

Ben: This is a great question. My answer is that I would do what Georgia Tech did with Chip Long (and Nate Woody in a sense). I would offer you a two-year deal where that second year is still guaranteed even if they are not retained. That worked out particularly well for Nate Woody who was able to work the 2019 season as a defensive analyst while collecting a nice paycheck from Georgia Tech before accepting the DC job at Army.

Chris: Hey do you want my job later?

Logan: If you’re such a good OC/DC then why are you here?

Hello All,

Hope everything is well! My question to this week is in relation to the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Duke’s is offering, I believe, $100,000 to the winning coach of the bowl game to have a tub of mayo dumped on them.

My question is, what other current bowl game would you like to see follow this trend? I could see a coach having roses, or rose petals, dumped on their head after winning the rose bowl. How about Potatoes for the potato bowl, or hats for the pinstripe bowl, or a bunch of financial printouts from the lending tree bowl.

Thoughts? I didn’t have any this week (see question above) but maybe you do.


Kendall Roy (submitted via email)

Ben: The only right answer here is the Tony the Tiger Bowl, which is a real thing. After the game, the winning team’s head coach will have the honor of running the Oklahoma drill against Tony the Tiger. The winner gets to keep the trophy. My other answer is the Military Bowl, where the coach of the losing team gets, as Toby Keith puts so eloquently, “a boot in your [ARS], it’s the American way!!!!”

Jake: I think I would pay them to dump mayo on me, honestly. Bring it on! Other than that, the Cheez-It Bowl is meme-y enough that getting those dumped on a coach could be fun. It’s a real shame that the Gasparilla Bowl is no longer sponsored by Bad Boy Mowers. Imagine riding off the field in your VERY OWN riding lawnmower. Style! Class! Sophistication! Lawn mowers!

Chris: Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. sticky.

Logan: Autozone Liberty Bowl. Before the game the fanbase of each team chooses a car. The winning coach is given the parts to the car and then has to assemble it on his own. Since the colleges in question are Mississippi State and Texas Tech the parts will probably sit in front of the coach’s house until he leaves the program.

Carter: The LA Bowl. The winning team goes to douse their coach in Gatorade only to find Jimmy Kimmel has been hiding in there the whole time. Just needs Brent Musburger saying “this one’s for all of Jimmy Kimmel, folks”.