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Mailbag 9/15

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Another mailbag, another film study! This time on the offensive line!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Kennesaw State at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How do we best use Yates and/or Sims against Clemson? Is it better to go with Yates, risk him getting beaten up and lose some of the confidence he’s managed to build in the last two games, or go with Sims and his potential of higher ceiling for a game where we are outclassed by talent and have very little hope of winning? Do you use a combination to keep Clemson on their toes defensively? - chilidogringsFO

Ben: After his performance against Kennesaw State, I think you’ll have a hard time proving that Jordan Yates shouldn’t be the starter. No, we don’t know what they look like at practice, but as far as in-game performances this season, Jordan Yates has been head-and-shoulders better than Sims, so I say go with Yates. The key for him will just be to get rid of the ball quickly to avoid the Clemson pressure.

Logan: To me, this goes back to the old saying “If you have 2 QBs then you have none”. Whoever we are going with, that person needs to be the starter on and off the field. Based on the current performances this year and how the other players seem to treat both players I think Yates should be the guy we stick with. No matter who the coaches pick to lead, that person needs to start against Clemson if they aren’t injured. We can’t not play someone just because we are worried about how bad they might look or if they might get injured.

Chris: I wish I knew what the expectations given to Yates by the coaches were. Because “you’re the starter until Sims is healthy again” is very different from “you’re the starter now” and I think those expectations need to be extremely clear to both players to ensure there’s no hard feelings. But like Ben said, I think you have to stick with Yates right now after his recent performance. Yeah it was against an FCS team, but he looked good and it should have given him a ton of confidence. Throwing Sims against a team like Clemson after having a horrendous brief outing against NIU while also coming back from an injury feels like doing him a huge disservice. I think you throw him in there for a few series to ease him back into competition and then bring him back as the starter later in the season when he’s more comfortable.

We always struggle to get paying fans in the stadium but the limited student interest is a bigger negative IMO. What actions would you recommend to get more students to attend games? - sportsfan4life2012

Ben: The easiest thing to do is win and give the fans a product worth seeing. Georgia Tech looked a whole lot better against KSU than they did NIU, but they’ve won three games each of the last two seasons, which isn’t super awe-inspiring.

Logan: Decrease ticket prices until we win games. Win games we’re supposed to win. Maybe more spirit events on campus... I don’t really know what we do for those now. We have many international students, it wouldn’t hurt to find a way to reach out to them and make them interested in American Football if we want more fans. Also teachers need to assign less homework.

Chris: The fact that we don’t give students free tickets is insane to me. Give out free tickets and do what you can to make the gameday atmosphere desirable to attend. Give students one guest pass each to bring a friend, do giveaways that require you to attend the game to enter, offer students one free drink and concession item, literally anything. Make it an absolute no-brainer for students to spend 3 hours of their time in the stadium on a few Saturdays a year.

Jake: This was my bread and butter in school. I think it’s very clear what the answer is: winning. It’s not a coincidence that Tech had better student attendance in 2016 - we were good and won ballgames. Look how baseball, or more importantly, volleyball, has been able to drastically increase student attendance of late. It’s not because people are suddenly possessed with some all-encompassing athletic spirit, or someone went door to door to teach them the sport and why it is cool (though that one might be useful too), it’s because they cut the losing nonsense and the results are paying off.

Carter: What kills me is: Georgia Tech student tickets used to be free. I know fees — and especially fees that go directly to athletics — have increased over the years, so nickel and diming students for football tickets seems, well, like just that. Anyway, yeah, win more. Winning cures all.

Did we seriously look past a MAC team, in our season opener, to focus on an FCS team? - SullyGT

Ben: Looks like it! More likely, though, I think NIU genuinely surprised Tech and they just prepared poorly for the game. After that, they were understandably mad, so they decided to come out and show what they can do against KSU.

Logan: This might be a conspiracy theory on my part, but here we go. Did Geoff Collins spend more time focusing on how to defeat a team which runs a veer option offense to prove that things have changed since we lost to Citadel and prove that the offense run by Paul Johnson is overrated? Did he have lower expectations against an NIU team that had no wins last year and therefore not spend as much time prepping for that game? My answer is Yes to both.

Chris: I usually don’t buy the “team looked past a team” thing, so I think this was more of a bounce-back from a bad game than anything else.

Carter: Kinda looks like it, huh?

Drew: I think it’s extremely unlikely. I just think they didn’t play well against Northern Illinois (and got a few bad bounces) and played much better against Kennesaw. You see times every year where a team plays horrible one week and great the next with little rhyme or reason.

Is there any real reason for the season? - Bill Brockman

Ben: I mean, I’m on board with not playing UGA every season, but as for this season, I’m still going to be watching every game that I’m able to so I can watch for improvement. This is a team I care a great deal about, no matter how crazy they drive me.

Logan: Speaking of reason for the season, have y’all seen the new Hawkeye trailer?

Carter: The added context to this question is: “Alabama being named champion, again, appears to be a fait accompli.” So in that regard, no, not really. Find joy in other things, like Miami losing.

Chris: Yes because I think this season is very important for our roadmap. This is the year we need to show improvement and progress and what happens this season is going to have a huge effect on what happens in seasons to come.

How can we get rid of the “money down” schtick on 3rd downs? - Neal Royal

Ben: I’d be good with that.

Logan: How about... if we’re gonna keep calling it money down we need to get a NIL sponsor to throw money at whoever makes the tackle if it stops the opponents from getting a first down. I’m not sure how that would work with current rules for NCAA, but if that happened I might be cool with keeping it. Like “The Money Down, sponsored by Capital One ‘What’s in your Wallet?’”

Jake: Playing chords on non-third downs feels so wrong.

Carter: I have an answer, but you’re not gonna like it.

Chris: A petition maybe?

Austin: Regardless, let’s all stand up and yell on third downs. I go to games to cheer on my team and will continue to do so.

Follow up question: Why does this bother people so much? Like how does it affect you in the slightest? - thebugman10

Ben: I think people are just tired of seeing shtick and want to see on-the-field results. Think about when Butch Jones was at Tennessee. All of his “Champions of Life” shtick would have been more bearable if they were doing well on the field.

Logan: I dunno, I just stopped paying attention to it. I think some people find the silly ideas childish and not particularly helpful. Like if once we started calling it money down and our ability to stop the opposing offenses improved people probably wouldn’t care as much. But since it hasn’t led to an improvement on defense it seems pointless and kind of insulting to players and fans. We already know 3rd down is important, we shouldn’t have to be told how important it is to see better results. All that said, if the players like it then they can keep it for all I care.

Carter: for me it boils down to a few things:

  1. It really feels like Geoff Collins has done his best to diminish the presence of the marching band at football games, with “Money Down” being the prime offender. As a band alum, stuff like that really chaps my [Air Supply].
  2. The offense Paul Johnson ran was derided by many as a “gimmick” pretty much his entire time at Georgia Tech. A lot of those same people love “Money Down”, which is an actual gimmick.
  3. Like all gimmicks, it’s endearing if it works. So far, at Georgia Tech, not so much.

Chris: I think it’s natural to pick fights with the little things that bother you because they’re easier to focus on. It just feels so pointless of a change, like they made a change just for the sake of making a change. I’m all for creating new traditions, but I don’t think that they should come at the cost of old ones. Space chords from the marching band were awesome and uniquely college football. In general I think marching bands being a huge part of the atmosphere is so fun and localized to CFB and it just sucks to see it get slowly taken away.

Jake: I agree with Chris. If I wanted generic vibes, I wouldn’t be watching Georgia Tech college football. Traditions help make the sport what it is.

I need a good comedy to stream from the last 20 years. I have watched The Office, Parks & Rec, Brooklyn 99, Community, The Good Place, and Arrested Development. What should I watch next? - ramblin gooner

Ben: Well you have the two that I would have recommended in Brooklyn 99 and Community. Another option I’d recommend would be Barry, starring Bill Hader, on HBO Max.

Logan: My recommendation is kind of Blue (dirty jokes). “Dave” is a comedy on FX about a neurotic Jewish rapper who has views on youtube trying to become a real rapper by hanging out with other rappers. It’s pretty darn good, but doesn’t really match the rest of the things you are watching.

Carter: Someone else in the comments brought up a mailbag from a couple years back where we answered a similar question. I stand by 30 Rock being one of the funniest shows I’ve ever watched.

Jake: 30 Rock is my all time favorite show. Psych is awesome and will keep you entertained for a long time, too.

Chris: Dave and 30 Rock are both great recs. My favorite comedy of all-time is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia though, I’ll stand by that.

Why do some GT fans love to hate this team so much?

It feels like guys like Joey Weaver and Carter Templeton would rather us lose so they can complain than try and lift the team up.

CGC said in his presser was asked, do you listen to all the negative talk? He said no, but they players do.

They read what we post. They aren’t out there TRYING to lose. More than likely we will lose to Clemson. What will the overreaction be then?

I understand that sports fans aren’t always rational, hell I haven’t been most my life. But why are we shit talking kids?

CGC has a 7 year contract, he isn’t going anywhere for a while because a rebuild takes time. Can we please just be supportive of the team and stop overreacting. This season has proven that a 22-21 upset isn’t the worst loss out there. - notwima13

Ben: Before I get too far into this, let me start with your comment about us hating on players. You mention that the players are reading our posts and might take the criticism to heart. Two things here:

  1. Our ire is always directed at the coaching staff. We may say that a player could have done better, but we would never say that X player is the reason we lost a game or make any kind of personal attack.
  2. Do you really think any critiques that we have to say could be any worse than critiques provided by the coaching staff? They literally get paid to point out what the players are doing wrong and coach them to be better.

Now, for the rest of your comments:

Why do people confuse being critical with hate? Being critical about something means that you care enough about it that you want better for it, and you want it to be as good as it can be, not that you want to see people lose. You can talk all you want to about the BiGgEsT tRaNsItIoN oF AlL tImE away from the option, but in his last season, Paul Johnson won seven games and went to a bowl. A lot of the players that were on that team aren’t anymore, and the vast majority of this team has been put together by Geoff Collins. You don’t get to use the option as an excuse anymore. We want better for the team we spend our time cheering on — the team that we spend our own Grade A American Dollars out of our pockets supporting. Since I became the site manager here, I have wanted to bring a focus on analytics. That is something that no other Georgia Tech site I’ve been able to find offers. When you have a team that is performing poorly — especially by the numbers, then yes, we are going to be critical. To watch the first two games this season and act like everything is sunshine and rainbows both on the scoresheet and the underlying figures is absolutely ludicrous, and we have talked about in several articles on the site. This is Year 3 under Geoff Collins, and there has been virtually no improvement from the beginning. Also, we have talked about the good things that have happened this season, while still offering criticisms where needed!

Looking at Jeff’s recap from Saturday, he spends the entire article praising the team (including several individual players) before bringing a very valid criticism that the offensive line underperformed against an FCS team that is probably not going to be very good.

Moving on to Sammy’s Monday Morning Report Card, there’s not a grade below a B-. That sounds pretty good.

How about Robert’s Advanced Stats Review? “Georgia Tech responded to last Saturday’s disappointment in resounding fashion. This was a dominant victory, exceeding Vegas and computer model expectations. Jordan Yates used his first career start to make a case to keep the job.” He continues the article by giving a fair review (with pros AND cons) of Tech’s performance on Saturday.

It took Collins up to the game against Kennesaw State to meet the number of wins that Paul Johnson had in his final season. Bill Lewis, the coach commonly referred to as the worst coach in Georgia Tech history, had 10 wins through his first two seasons before having a one-win season that got him fired. You mention that our criticism is not rational, but hell, given what I’ve seen online, I’d offer that we might be among the most rational. Some people are so blinded by the Geoff Collins shtick that they refuse to call a spade a spade and recognize that there is A LOT of room for improvement.

As for your last point, I don’t think we’ve ever said that Tech’s NIU loss was the end of the world, BUT what we have said repeatedly is that a loss to a G5 team that won no games last year is absolutely unacceptable for a coaching staff in its third season, especially when the stats (regular and advanced) show that we should have won that game with ease.

If you don’t think we are being “positive” enough, you are more than welcome to write your own FanPost where you can pretty much write whatever you would like. Anyways, good look defending your coach and not your team.

Joey: I don’t normally jump in on the mailbags around here, but since my name was specifically dropped in this question, I’ll bite.

I don’t hate the team at all. I don’t want them to lose. I want the Geoff Collins tenure and staff to work brilliantly. Nothing would make me happier than to watch Georgia Tech win a national championship, conference championship, division championship, or even just a bowl game under Geoff Collins. Nothing would be better for the athletic department of my alma mater than for Geoff Collins, his staff, and his team to succeed. I’m in a good mood when this team wins, and I’m disappointed when they lose. I’m guessing that doesn’t make me a whole lot different than any other member of the Georgia Tech fanbase.

I’m also not interested in “shit talking” any of the players on the team, as the rest of the FTRS staff has said. I don’t blame the players for the state of the program. My criticisms are for the coaching staff.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly once said that you can boil down the success of a coaching staff to three things: talent acquisition, talent development, and talent deployment. (In other words: talent evaluation/recruiting, development/coaching/strength and conditioning, and scheme/playcalling/game management.) We can all probably agree that the staff is doing a relatively good job of talent acquisition, considering recent history and other context.

My issues largely surround the latter two, including aspects like coaching (players understanding where to line up, where to go when the play starts, and what to do as the play develops), scheme/playcalling (do game plans make sense, how are players being used relative to their skill sets), and game management (how are timeouts used, how is tempo used, can the team substitute smoothly, kick/go decisions on fourth downs). These are not things that take 6 years to show progress on if a coaching staff is effectively coaching their players. Think back to the NIU game (give it a rewatch if necessary), and consider how many moments in the game were not evidence of effective coaching based on all of the above listed criteria. There were numerous moments like that, and they ultimately cost the team the game against an opponent they had a substantial talent advantage over.

This is what frustrates me, and where I would like to see improvement. If we do not see improvement, I would like Georgia Tech to try and find a new coaching staff who will do those things more effectively.

Carter: Norm MacDonald just died yesterday and here you are already trying to take his place of being the funniest person alive. You, of all people, asking for “positive vibes only pls :(” is peak comedy. Why have I humored you every mailbag for the last two-plus years? Cleary my generosity has not been rewarded.

As Joey and Ben have already mentioned, I reserve my ire for the coaching staff and not for the players themselves. Now, if I had a dime for every time a Georgia Tech fan sniped at me for having the temerity to suggest this coaching staff has been deficient (and they have been, provably, multiple times), I’d be a rich man indeed. Conversely, if I had a dime for every time I was convinced by a Georgia Tech fan my thoughts on this staff were harsh, unfair, or unwarranted, I would have ZERO DIMES.

You want us to be less negative? Collins and company need to give us reasons to be. We were feeling pretty optimistic in the offseason leading up to year three.... and then they opened with that wet fart of a loss to a MAC team that was winless last year. COVID is not an excuse — everyone had to deal with COVID. Wins against FCS teams don’t earn you credit. It’s just something you’re supposed to do — and Collins hasn’t always even achieved that. It’s time to win more, lose closer, and stop showing up to games looking like you don’t have a pulse. If not, it’s your ass. A common refrain I heard during the later Paul Johnson years was “clearly you enjoy mediocrity”. What we’re experiencing right now is much worse than that. I would like to see it end, and at the moment, I am not feeling particularly choosy about the way Georgia Tech gets there.

Go with god, because I will not be responding to any more of your questions, ever.

Worst Upset of the year:

FCS Montana beating #20 Washington

FCS Eastern Washington over UNLV

FCS South Dakota State over Colorado State

FCS Holy Cross over UConn

FCS East Tennessee over Vandy

FCS Duquesne over Ohio

FCS Jacksonville State over FSU

or

NIU over GT by 1 point - notwima13

Ben: Responses from last week’s Mailbag:

Ben: Of the upsets this week, NIU was absolutely not the greatest upset. FCS Montana beat No. 20 Washington.

Carter: I think by points ETSU over Vanderbilt was a bigger upset. If that’s any solace to you.

Chris: Agreed with Ben and Carter, Vandy and Washington had worse weekends than us somehow.

Logan: What hurts the most, is being so close... and having so much to say, and watching the victory walk away. No, our game was far from the biggest upset of the weekend, but knowing that won’t stop it from hurting.

Doesn’t look like anyone said that Georgia Tech’s loss to NIU was the worst loss out there. Crazy. Anyway, I stand by what I said last week: FCS Montana beating No. 20 Washington.

Logan: Given these options, Montana over Washington. starting in the top 25 and the losing to an FCS program is rough. If this were any other year (or a team talked about more on TV), Washington would be hearing about it all season... In fact they still might be hearing about it, I don’t live in Washington so I can’t say. I mean look at what the Michigan loss to App State did for both of those programs (one for the worse one for the better).

Chris: Montana over Washington is probably the worst. Vandy and UConn are just the funny kind of sad.

Austin: Sir, you seem very focused on not being the worst. Is your measurement of success how far above the bottom we are? That is not the Tech way, not on the field and certainly not off of it.

Offensive Line Issues: Probably the most glaring unit so far this season, which is needless to say not good. Can you guys potentially break down the film of the sacks we have to far and dissect what is going on? If that unit isn’t cleaned up we are going to set a record for sacks allowed. - DTGT

Ben: Sure, let’s go through these.

NIU Sack #1 (1Q 12:29)

So here, we see the left guard (Kenny Cooper) pull to the right side while the rest of the OL slides left. NIU’s DT (#95 Devonte O’Malley) engages with the right guard (Ryan Johnson), and as soon Cooper bumps into Johnson, O’Malley is able to get off the block and close in as the defenders that the left tackle (Devin Cochran) and center (Mike Minihan) are against also get off their blocks, boxing Sims in to take the sack. Honestly, the whole OL kinda looked broken on this play. It also looks like the right tackle (Nick Pendley) tried to squeeze into Ryan Johnson, making it that much easier for O’Malley to get off the block.

NIU Sack #2 (1Q 1:22)

This one is technically a sack, but really more of a pressure breakdown or some kind of miscommunication. We see Johnson and Minihan pretty much split in the middle of the line allowing that DT (#1 James Ester, I think) to easily run right through the line. The defender (O’Malley again) also bounces off of the right tackle (Jordan Williams), so he and the DE (#99 Pierce Oppong) covering a shallow zone are are easily able to force him out of bounds before the LOS, which statistically results in a sack. Jeff Sims does a really good job of avoiding Ester and making it as small a loss as possible, because this could have been a lot worse.

NIU Sack #3 (2Q 4:32)

So this one is sort of the opposite of the first play. On the first one, the LG Cooper pulled, but on this one, the right guard Johnson pulls to the left side. Johnson tries to block the linebacker as the running back (Jordan Mason) is trying to get into the flat to catch a checkdown pass. As the rest of the line is shifting right, Ester is able to slip between Cooper and Minihan, so Yates has nowhere to go.

Ed. Note: I wasn’t able to find the full Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State game on YouTube, so I’m just using the condensed game, which doesn’t show the time, so bear with me! ESPN’s box score said KSU had three sacks, but I could only find two on the condensed game, so that’s what we have here.

KSU Sack #1

On this play, the right tackle (Pendley) just gets beaten on a speed rush by the stand-up defensive end (#95 Joel Parker). Other quick note here, Gibbs does a good job of picking up the block on the DE (#99 Peyton Moore) who stunts and runs right around the left guard (Cooper).

KSU Sack #2

There’s a lot going on with this one. There’s an argument that this is a designed run, but to me, it looks like an RPO where Yates keeps the ball, and the entire right side of the OL is pulling and successfully block nobody. There’s also a CB (#20 Erwin Byrd) blitz coming from the short side of the field with no one there to block. Minihan is able to block the DT, but there’s literally nobody three to block the DE (#58 Jahon Myers) barreling towards Yates. I might be wrong, but I would assume that the RB (Gibbs), but as Myers slips before hitting Yates, he’s never really into position to do it. There’s also the DT (#96 Travis Bell) that Cooper is blocking who is able to swim around him pretty easily. That ends up three guys also closing in on Yates who has no choice but to take the sack. I’ll chalk this one up as a broken, because this one is rough.

Final thoughts:

On three of the five sacks I listed here, Tech pulled at least one guard, and each time, it directly contributed to Sims or Yates being sacked. My advice, quit pulling your guards on passing plays. Devin Cochran has looked mostly good, but the interior offensive line has struggled tremendously. Also, I didn’t include the plays here since this question was primarily about sacks, but there were a number of plays against Kennesaw State where Yates stood in the face of pressure and fired off a shot, which was nice to see from him.

Logan: ^ See above, I ain’t competing with that.

Carter: there goes Ben, just casually writing an entire film study as a response to a single mailbag question.

Ben (again): What can I say? I got bored at work yesterday.

Sims was out “recovering” and with the win against k state, fanatics have anointed Yates as the second coming. Who do you believe will start against Clemson? Do you worry about 1. Collins will announce the dreaded two QB system or worse, to me, 2. If things don’t go Collins way, he pulls and replaces the starting QB due to the wants of the crowd. - gtbadcarma

Ben: Personally, I loathe the idea of a two-QB system. If it were completely up to me, I would put Yates in. Quite simply, I think he has shown better play in the season. One thing of note that I want to mention from the last question. There were a number of plays where Yates was about to take a sack but was able to get a pass off. I think Clemson’s defense will pretty easily have their way with Georgia Tech’s offensive line, so I think having someone that will stay in there and still make the pass (if it’s there) is a great quality to have.

Logan: See my answer on the first question for more details. Short answer I worry about both of those potentials, especially #2 happening after the UNC game.

Chris: I think it’ll be Yates, and I worry about #1 more than #2. We kinda did a rotating QB thing in 2019 and it sucked. I don’t think he’ll change the QB in-game because of what the fans want, but I do worry that he’ll change the QB at the wrong time.

Drew: Yates has looked significantly better than Sims so far. Admittedly Sims played only a little bit, but he looked flustered by the pass rush (which I thought was a strength for him last year) and his accuracy was way off (which was an issue last year). Yates has come in and made smart, accurate passes. Obviously there’s a reason that Sims started the season so if he has looked much better in practice than Yates maybe he gets the start when he’s fully healthy.

Aerosol cheese or Aerosol whipped topping: Greater benefit to mankind? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: I’m an aerosol whipped topping kinda guy. I’d prefer my cheese not to come out of a can.

Logan: Whipped topping. Whipped cheese doesn’t taste good to me, big fan of the topping though.

Jake: Whipped topping and it’s not particularly close.

Carter: Cheese “whiz” is what you should put on a Philly cheese steak, and I will not accept arguments to the contrary. That said, any place worth their salt makes their own. Whipped topping by a country mile.

Chris: Neither, both are gross.

What does a player led program:

1) mean

2) how, if at all, does it influence expectations for development of a program?

3) how does it better prepare student athletes for future success? - GTalbatross

Ben: If I’m being perfectly honest, I couldn’t tell you what it means. As far as what it does, it’s something that sounds good to recruits, I guess.

Logan: Your guess is as good as mine.

Carter: Without having added context on this, it sounds like something you probably shouldn’t have at the college level. I mean, there should be leaders amongst the players, obviously, but ultimately they’re still kids, and the real leaders should be the coaches.

Chris: Wait is that what we are? Uhhhh my guess is something kinda like a ship, where the “crew” elect leaders (quartermaster, etc.) to confer and work with the “officers”? Idk.

Drew: As far as I can tell it’s about 10% trying to get players to lead themselves in things like setting expectations and working as a team and 90% a recruiting slogan. Given that, I don’t really think it means anything significant for the program or the results on the field.

Austin: What comes to mind are the 30 for 30s on The U, where players like Ed Reed and Santana Moss talked about older players bringing the freshmen into the culture and holding them accountable, rather than depending on the coaches to control everything.

When everyone is used to being the best player on their team, it often takes an older colleague to sort of put younger guys in their place and show them the way of things, that they have to earn their spot. With things like waking up for workouts and giving full effort in drills, not complaining or talking back to coaches, and showing up in the big moments and making plays, it’s the leaders on the field setting the tone.

With that said, it seems tough to have a player-led program when many of your leaders are still young and/or new to the program themselves.

What is your best guess for the record of Collins’ peak season at Tech? I’m going with 6-6. - Jackets4Life

Ben: I think Collins could absolutely be successful at Georgia Tech. I think the work he’s done on the recruiting trail has been great, and he’s brought some pretty good players to the Flats that probably wouldn’t have come otherwise. To get to the next level, though, I think he needs to seriously improve his game management skills and also work to develop the players he has on his team now. I understand that a lot of the team is still young, but there are some upperclassmen (and transfers) on this team who aren’t any better than they were a couple years ago.

Logan: At this point... probably 9-3. I do believe he could improve, or maybe everyone else in the conference could get much worse. I can’t see us getting over Clemson or uga if we have to keep playing them (no matter how bad they get) and I always expect 1 loss a season due to coastal chaos.

Carter: Reply hazy, ask again (in two years).

Chris: I mean, I don’t think an undefeated regular season is completely insane. I think going a step further to a National Championship or something is a bit too far, but a season in which we beat our pretty weak ACC schedule + happen to string UGA and Clemson together feels technically doable (in the future mind you, not in the next two years).

Drew: This teams looks more or less the quality I expected by year three (although I expected a much better defense and much worse offense). Getting through this year with improvements on the field is important, but there’s basically no chance Collins gets fired this year and unlikely to move anywhere else. Next year is the year when there has to be a good. I’m still optimistic for next year so let’s say 8-4 next year. After that who knows. 6 wins or less in year 4 and he’s probably out of a job.

Jake: I really thought there was a path to 7 or 8 this year, but the schedule gets harder next year and I’m less optimistic. I wish I had a clearer answer than that.

Austin: There is so much [Gander Duck] talent in this program and I still have a ton of faith in these players. With a bit more accountability, I don’t see why 9 wins is not consistently attainable. But to get there, it’s not enough just to get better year over year, and that shouldn’t be the goal. That’s a basic requirement. The goal should be to be as good or better than every team we face. Strength of schedule shouldn’t matter. We’re trying to be better than our opponents and cannot settle for incremental improvements or moral victories.

Hello Guys,

I’m much happier this week after we actually won a game. I can’t really say what a win against Kennesaw State will mean for the rest of the season, but it’s good to win a game you’re supposed to win.

I don’t know if you saw the UAB “turnover chain” last week, but it was pretty intense:

My question this week will require some creativity. If you could design a turnover chain for any team, and wanted to make it the coolest turnover chain in the world, what team would you pick and how would you design it to make sure it is cooler than everyone else’s?

Welp, be sure to hold onto the ball this week. We’re gonna need to limit those turnovers against Clemson. Have a good one y’all!

Smaug (submitted via email)

Ben: Well, it’s going to be difficult to beat UAB’s turnover dragon skull. Another personal favorite of mine is Kennesaw State’s turnover Plank. Thankfully, we didn’t see that come out on Saturday, but just take a look at this thing!

I feel like another thing that would be cool, albeit quite nerdy, would be to have a turnover lightsaber. I think that would be pretty fun!

Logan: For mine, I’m gonna lean in on being insanely ridiculous and dumb. Ok, so for the Syracuse Orange, whenever they get a turnover they take a garbage can filled with orange paint and dump it on the player who recovered the ball. That player has to stay orange for the rest of the game, so whenever the offense looks out they see that orange player staring them down waiting to attack. It is so dumb and I love the idea.

Other option, for West Virginia they let the guy who recovered the ball pour gasoline on an old couch and light it on fire. Stay true to your traditions Mountaineers!

Carter: Damn it all, Ben scooped me on Kennesaw’s turnover Plank.

Jake: I definitely wrote a hypothetical article about what a Tech turnover thing could be a long time ago. I’ll see if I can find it for next week.

Chris: holy [STYX] that thing is cool, I can’t top that.

Drew: There was that high school offensive line coach in Georgia who would celebrate a pancake by pouring syrup into the o-lineman’s mouth.

Austin: East Carolina comes to mind. The Pirates could incorporate some kind of treasure chest, filled with gold or some kind of trophy from past turnovers. When players get to the sideline, they put on the chain and those around them rain down gold coins. Idk, I’ll keep workshopping it.