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Mailbag 9/29

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How are we feeling about the all-blue uniforms?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Mayhem at MBS - North Carolina at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What is this feeling I have? When it is 3rd and long for the opposing team I no longer feel the need to cover my head in shame. When an opposing QB running threat is on the schedule I no longer get night sweats. When we are up by a single score late in the game I don’t have to worry that the offense will move and score too quickly so that the other team will match scores and convert 2. I have visions of our uniforms behind the opposing team’s line of scrimmage consistently. I don’t know what this feeling might be. I’ve heard someone mention that my symptoms match the description of “trust in defense”.. but I’m not sure.. could it be? - chilidogringsFO

Ben:

Austin:

Chris: Confidently watching a game is pure bliss.

Jeff: Sic transit gloria mundi. (Thus passes the glory of the world)

Logan: Its a feeling of trust and support. Its important in any healthy relationship.

Jake: I really forgot how is it fun to have fun. This is called the feeling of exceeding expectation.

I can’t remember who, but someone responding to a question a few weeks back called it right that Collins would pull Yates if he wasn’t getting exactly what he was wanting in the UNC game. Do you agree with how Collins decided to pull Yates mid quarter? Do you think that Collins will pull the QB again if he doesn’t like what he sees and do you think this could have a negative effect on either player, ie. do you think either could be drawn to the portal if they feel they should be a starter? - gtbadcarma

Ben: I think Sims is the guy. Part of me thinks he’s always been the guy, but this may have been some kind of way to motivate him. The ethics of that could certainly be discussed, but I don’t know that something like this will happen again. One thing I have noticed with this coaching staff is that they will commit to their guys (sometimes to a fault). Perhaps you remember a kicker by the name of Wesley Wells?

Austin: Sims showed against UNC that he is game, and that he’s put the jitters from the NIU game behind him. With him at the helm, Coach Patenaude’s play calls and scheme were well executed and GT’s offense looked unstoppable. I was surprised when we didn’t see Sims against Clemson, but at the end of the day I have to give the coaching staff credit: they pulled the trigger at the right moment and Sims seized the opportunity. It’s his job and I see him thriving from here.

Chris: I think it was the right move. Giving the game time to settle down takes a lot of pressure off of his shoulders and means he can go out with some intel. My only question is why we didn’t do this earlier, like in the Kennesaw or Clemson game. The first half of this game played out exactly like the Clemson one, so what’s the difference? It wouldn’t have been fair to have Sims start against Clemson as his next outing after NIU, but surely the extra four quarters didn’t make much of a difference? [Heart], maybe if Sims plays the second half against Clemson we come away with the win.

Jeff: It scored a touchdown so the timing seems sound. I think Collins was looking for a good opportunity to put Sims in during a good situation.

Carter: I wasn’t a fan at the time, but it worked out on Saturday. Hopefully we see more of this Sims and less of the one we saw during DragonCon.

Logan: I honestly still feel like Yates is the guy... I’ve seen Sims be good and be bad. Sims’ inconsistency is what bothers me. Yates, despite struggling against UNC, has been pretty consistent with his performance. That doesn’t mean I’m going to hold it against the coaching staff if they want Sims to play. Sims has shown he has a higher ceiling, he just also has a lower floor if things don’t go well. I think in the game it was the right decision, you can’t argue with Sims’ performance on the field. In a weird way, I don’t want Yates to leave but I do want to see what he would be able to do at the helm of another program. I do believe Yates has the talent to be a great leader. So if Yates decided to transfer I wouldn’t hold it against him. This definitely falls into the first world problem category.

Jake: I like Yates and Sims a lot; they both have things that make them fun players and men who are good quarterbacks. In a lot of ways, I think they complement each other. In terms of when the staff pulled Yates, I think that gave him a chance to see what the opponent was doing and relay that to Sims, as well as Sims the opportunity to use a different skillset to change what the defense was seeing. I think that isn’t necessarily a trick the team can pull against every opponent, and probably one a lot of teams could now prepare for, but if the goal was to change up looks and build Sims’ confidence, I would hope that would do the trick. I really do hope the relationship between the two is as cordial as they say it is, it seems like they really do complement each others’ skillsets.

Do we have a QB controversy now or did Sims establish himself as the guy? - thebugman10

Ben: See my answer above, but in short, Sims is the guy, and I think he’s always been the guy.

Chris: I think Sims is the guy. Yates is awesome, but Sims just has a higher ceiling. I think Yates would be perfectly fine all year, but Sims is the guy that we need at the next level.

Jeff: I think Sims was always the guy except for the injury that allowed Yates some borrowed time.

Austin: Once Sims was fully back, they wanted to give him a good shot to earn the #1 spot back. UNC gave him that chance, and he took it and ran with it. Sims is the guy.

Drew: I was a proponent for Yates before because he looked decent. What Sims showed against UNC was well above what Yates has shown. Yates has made smart decisions with his passes, but he wasn’t challenging the defense. Sims made several tough throws look easy. He also looked unstoppable on the run. If Sims has been looking like that in practice it’s hard to imagine Yates playing over him.

Logan: If (key word IF) Sims begins struggling again we will have a QB controversy. That is the just the nature of fans and sports media. At the moment I think even the people who like Yates have gotta admit that Sims looked sooooo good against UNC its hard not to keep Sims at the helm. From what I can tell it doesn’t seem to be an issue in the locker room though. So the media and fans can talk about it and stir up “controversy” but if the players aren’t bothered by it then I think things will be fine.

Jake: I see no controversy. Sims is the primary guy, but they both have similar and compatible skillsets. If the assignment can be done by Sims, it is his to lose. I am eager to see the next step in this dynamic on Saturday.

Also, can you break down why the offense was more successful under Sims? Obviously, Sims brings a lot of athleticism that Yates doesn’t have. It just seemed to me that Yates wasn’t playing bad as much as the line wasn’t blocking well enough to get the run game going, and receivers weren’t getting open. It didn’t look like Yates was missing throws or anything. Did the playcalling change when Sims came in? Does the dynamic Sims brings cause the defense to react or line up differently than with Yates in? Sims definitely made plays that Yates couldn’t have, but I don’t know if that accounts for everything. For example on Sims’s first TD, he ran in untouched, so that play in particular didn’t seem like something Yates couldn’t do. It also looked like Sims was able to throw more to open receivers. - thebugman10

Ben: I think the long and the short of it is that Sims, when he is at the top of his game, is a better quarterback than Yates. I don’t think Yates is a bad quarterback; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. But Sims has far more top-end talent. He’s a better athlete. He has a better arm. I think Yates is a better game manager and has more will-you-to-a-victory attitude, but in the longterm, I don’t know that Yates can lift this offense to the point that Sims can.

Chris: Agree with everything Ben said. I think the play-calling when Sims got in the game was very well-designed; they leaned on his running strength while not asking him to do too much with his arm until later in the game when he got more comfortable. Totally agree though, basically anyone with a pulse could’ve scored that first TD based on the way it opened up.

Austin: Patenaude’s play calls have been largely spot on all season. So more than the play calling, Sims’ playmaking ability kept the defense on its toes. He brought an added element to the offense, both in potential for big plays and in execution. While his first TD was a walk-in, the open receivers were a result of both the scheme and the defense not knowing what to expect. Sims still has to hit those passes, and he did so at a high level.

Logan: Sims has more versatility than Yates. Not to say Yates can’t run, but Sims is slippery like an eel when he starts moving down field. I’m not the biggest expert on breaking down defenses. What I saw was Sims started making the line backers have to worry about an additional runner which split focus. Once the line backers began adjusting to the run the coaches let Sims open up the passing game with intermediate passes. from there they continued stretching the field to open up for longer plays. Simply put, with Sims on offense it makes scheming for opposing defenses more difficult because Sims can do so much with his talent.

Jake: One thing in particular I want to highlight (not to repeat too much of earlier comments) is that Sims has a second gear and some serious wheels. Watching him turn on the jets a couple of times on Saturday, well, that is something that can be seriously beneficial.

Do you think the all blue uni is a good look for Tech? Should not both white and gold be somewhere on the uniform even if just a stripe or numbers? - Yeller Bug

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Mayhem at MBS - North Carolina at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chris: They look really good, but I’m still a bit of a purist when it comes to gold and white being our primary colors.

Ben: I really like the all-blue uniforms. That’s not to say that I don’t like when Tech wears white and gold, but the all-blues are a good alternate. There really hasn’t been an alternate I haven’t liked.

Austin: The all-blues are a very clean look for me. While the classic white and gold is our best, most recognizable look, a big game like this one calls for a good alternate, and the blue was a good choice. I was fully expecting the Black Watch, but the team came out and made 1990 proud regardless. The blue with the white helmet would’ve been cool to see, I don’t think we’ve done that combo yet.

Jake P.: I just wish the honeycomb helmets would come back.

Logan: Am I crazy or do we seem to win more when wearing the blue unis? I don’t think they’re our best looking uniform, I prefer the white and gold personally, but if wearing them leads to us winning (because I’m super-superstitious) then lets wear them more often.

Drew: I’m not a purist, but I’d like to see at least a little bit of white as an accent look.

Jake: I am a purist (and a well documented one, at that) but I do like the look. I think white accents would tie it together and give it a bit more pop/depth, though.

Is Charlie Thomas the next Isaiah Simmons? Or can he become that? Or is he better off as strictly a Sam/Will LB? - Anuj Bhyravabhotla

Ben: I think Charlie Thomas is a great linebacker, but I don’t know that I would say he has the same kind of flexibility to drop back as a safety like Simmons does. I know Tech tried him out in the secondary, but they ultimately decided to keep him at linebacker. Personally, I think it was the right move.

Austin: Let’s just appreciate him for what he is: the #1 rated Linebacker on PFF as of Week 4. He is playing out of this world right now and I’m glad he’s on our team.

Drew: The way that he’s playing at linebacker I don’t think they should be moving him at all. He’s just been fantastic.

Robert: As Ben said, he really struggled in coverage last year. He’s been better this year, but he really thrives closer to the line of scrimmage.

Logan: Charlie Thomas has been a huge surprise this year. Its not like there aren’t other good linebackers on the team, with Ayinde Eley and Quez Jackson highlighting the position, so for him to step up like he has surprised me. I don’t know what to say as far as “what he can become”, but I will say this year the coaching staff is making the most of putting these players in positions where they can succeed.

If we lost a close one, could you legitimately say it was because of the refs? - Neal Royal

Ben: If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas. I’m not going to worry too much about what we would have had to say if it was a close loss. I will say that I think the running into the kicker penalty was the right call. You can’t see it in the condensed game because it goes to the next play before showing the close-up, but the guy who hits him is already in motion before Shanahan gets the punt off, and then he hits the kicking leg, instead of the planted leg. Stephen can probably explain this better, but yes, I think it was the right call. I think it’s dumb that there is a difference, but I digress.

Chris: Eh, I feel like there are very few times when you can legitimately blame the refs. Sure there were some pretty awful calls, but there are bound to be other things to point to in a close loss.

Austin: I think we can honestly say if we lose a close one, it’s because we just didn’t play our best football that day. This team has shown they’re good enough to overcome bad calls and still win.

Drew: In all of football fandom I am one of the biggest ref defenders. That shit is hard. I get messing up. I even get messing up big. Most games decided by one score you can probably argue that your tea

Logan: Can anyone ever really say that... well I guess the fifth down was a good example. No, not really in that last game. It wasn’t like with the SEC refs screwing up the dead ball in the Memphis v Miss St game. There were some missed calls but overall nothing I can point at as being completely unfair compared to reffing in other games. That said, we won so it doesn’t really matter.

Jake: I was really mad about lightning last week, but I feel like blaming the refs for a loss is like rooting for a pass interference to be called on a play — something still feels missing or unearned. I feel like sometimes having issues with refs is more symptomatic than the actual root issue.

What are your plans for the best sports month of the year, ROCKtober? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: Well, Georgia Tech has a bye week coming up in October, so I have a Pokemon-themed power ranking article that I’m really looking forward to! If there are any things you would like to see us power rank, let us know in the comments! I’m also finally getting to catch a game in person this weekend, so that will be fun too.

Chris: a big ole TV and a newly acquired ESPN+ subscription.

Austin: I took Saturdays off.

Jake P.: Hopefully getting tickets to UNC’s matchups versus FSU and Miami.

Robert: Getting bowl eligible!

Logan: I’m actually traveling to Tuscaloosa on a shared by week by GT and Bama to go to the 50th anniversary of the Kentucky art festival. Going to the Duke game, so hopefully that goes well. Homecoming is at the end of the month, which I will be attending. This month is looking pretty promising, I’m hoping for plenty of good things.

Carter: Traveling to Denver for the bye weekend. Maybe try to fit in a trip to the Triangle for an away game.

Drew: I’m going to an WNBA playoff game (go Sun!). Other than that I’m planning on going to at least one Northwestern game. I’ll watch a ton of football and MLB playoffs. October is the end of the outdoor sports season here in Chicago so I’ll try to get some soccer, tennis, and outdoor basketball in.

Jake: I am headed to Helen the weekend of the Duke game, because as a beer guy and a now seemingly permanent Atlantan, it seemed like a great fit. Honestly, it’ll start strong with some great volleyball games coming up, a pair of home football games to bookend it, and, even though the Cubs are not in the mix this year, I really do love playoff baseball. It’s a little funny in retrospect that I was able to burn 4+ hours a night for a whole month for three straight years of college and not fail everything, but here we are. At least this year, I’ll get a year with no high hopes (which thankfully were met at least just once).

Anyone else at the game surprised that GT fans so heavily outnumbered and outnoised the UNC fans? Weren’t we all led to believe ‘Heels fans would take over the Benz on us? Even if you weren’t there, as you’re rewatching the game (we all do that, right?) listen to the noise difference when they score or get a sack vs when we do – don’t you think that had to impact the sideline at least as much as the Juice Crew and The Thackening (y’all did see him do his got-the-big-stoppy-stop-4th-down-flexy-flexy-squeezy-rageface, right?) - GT_Jason

Ben: I don’t know if we were “led to believe” that, but rather, that is demonstrably what has happened in the past, so we all just expected it. But yes, I was pleasantly surprised that Tech fans outnumbered and outnoised the UNC fans. Side note, I would pay good money for the hoodie that Thacker was wearing @adidas and @Georgia Tech.

Chris: I tweeted @adidas and @GeorgiaTechFB about that hoodie and got ZERO response, I want it SO BAD. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised since the stadium is literally down the road from campus, but I will say that I also wouldn’t have been surprised if we were heavily outnumbered by UNC fans.

Austin: I’m here for Tech producing boisterous crowds, and was sad to not have been able to attend the UNC game. Here’s to continuing to bring the noise against Pitt.

Carter: You’re asking if I’m surprised that.... Tech had more fans than the other team at a home game? No, I’m not, nor am I surprised that the crowd looked like one at a weeknight Atlanta United game. Here’s hoping for more filled out sections in the near and distant future.

Logan: I can’t speak for everyone else, but I was surprised. Our fans have struggled to fill stadiums in the past, so it was nice to see people coming out in force. Might be because it was a late game, or because the stadium is easier to access, I dunno; but I hope fans continue to show up.

Drew: I’m not surprised. This game seemed to have somewhat fewer fans than a normal home game and GT fans normally greatly outnumber UNC fans at Bobby Dodd. I don’t think the game at MBS brings in many more away fans.

Jake: How are so many people surprised? I had no indication that that was close to happening. The stadium is a mile from campus and has been heavily promoted to the fanbase and area at large for a while now; it was a home game for Tech, after all. UNC doesn’t typically seem to travel well to Bobby Dodd Stadium, at least in my time as a fan—it’s not a basketball game, so the more casual Atlanta UNC grads aren’t all that engaged—and this time wasn’t really all that different. Also, the attendance wasn’t all that great. We had our lowest attendance against UNC in quite some time, historically not our highest draw, and yeah, presumably some of that is due to COVID, but the crowd looked all the emptier in the extra 20,000 seats than it would have at Bobby Dodd. I was honestly a little disappointed with the size. That being said, I was completely satisfied with the energy of the crowd that did come, and I think that is likely some roof effect, but more importantly I think it comes from the students, who were the one group of fans whose turnout really startled me. That section is typically the fan section that brings the most energy, and they managed to nearly fill two endzones, one of which is far larger than the space they are typically asked to fill at Bobby Dodd, and both could very well be bigger, too — just look at the size of the South End Zone in comparison, for starters. Perhaps I’m biased, former Reck Club Football Chair and all, but if we want to have an energetic stadium crowd, I think it solidly built on a foundation of engaged students. In that respect, I think it was perfectly good.

Imagine a situation where one quarterback was a more explosive runner than another, but he also did not secure the ball as well. From an advanced stats perspective, how many extra 25 yard runs would that quarterback have to make over the other one to make up for an extra lost fumble on one of those runs? (I know all kinds of assumptions would have to be made to answer this, but imagine the fumble happened on the 50.) - An interested reader (submitted via email)

Ben: I’ll leave the advanced stats to Robert, but I’ll say roughly two or three, depending on if they can score and other circumstances surrounding the game. I think you would also have to consider if the opposing team scored after recovering the fumble.

Chris: Looking at the very excellent gameonpaper.com (shoutout Akshay), Sam Howell’s final fumble was on the 47 and had an EPA of -3.52. A random rush from Jahmyr Gibbs of 29 yards that took us to our own 49 (closest to midfield I could find in this game) had an EPA of 2.14. So the very rough answer is that you need 1.5 midfield 25 yard rushes to make up for a midfield fumble, but that’s purely based on isolated math with a small sample size.

Robert: I like this question. The specifics depend on down, distance, and field position. But I just ran through some things quickly, and a typical 25 yard again is worth about 2.5 EPA, while a fumble at the 50 is usually worth about -5 EPA. If you think about it, this makes sense because fumbling the two 25 yard gains pick up half the field, and the fumble gives away about half the field.

Logan: I dunno man... how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?

Woof,

Well I’m still worn down from the rush of endorphins saturday night. so much chaos, so much good play by GT, so many things to make me actually excited about the future.

I don’t know if this will hold up into next week, but right now I’m just gonna ride the high. Hope it felt just as good for y’all to watch that game.

Last week I heard a few good insults/taunts while watching the games on TV with my friends. This week is what is your favorite insult/taunt for football? I think my favorite new one that I heard is the following...

“Howell just got pooped on so much, he’s gonna need to call a plumber”

I may have altered some of the language on that one. It was my first time hearing that insult, but I was caught off guard by the absurdity of it. Also, the more I thought about it the more I realized you should probably call a janitor instead of a plumber... kind of makes it better that they say plumber instead. So that’s dumb, but I love it.

What’s your favorite taunt/insult? Preferably pick one not directed at your own team. Hope we have another good week this week. Later,

Sincerely,

A large number 1 deluxe, with colby jack cheese, polynesian sauce, and a diet dr pepper... actually can I replace the diet dr pepper with a milkshake? I can’t do that? Ok, I’ll just get a small milkshake... Peach flavor please. Thanks, see you at the second window. (submitted via email)

Ben: For me, it’s always been the passive-aggressive “Bless your heart.” There was also one time I was playing DnD, and an NPC called my player a [Pink Floyd], so he responded, “Well, you are what you eat,” and everyone at my table died laughing. As you can guess, he was a bard.

Austin: Duke Basketball’s student section is relentless, but you have to respect their commitment. The pressure they put on opponents trying to inbounds the ball always seemed so imposing, I’d hate to have a side-out at Cameron Indoor.

Carter: Chick-fil-a over Cook-out? For shame. Anyway, the band has an old one that goes like this:

call: Someone call that ref a taxi!

response: Hey, ref! You’re a taxi!

Jake: I had to slide my answer here, because I was just thinking about the same response as Carter. It just catches opposing fans off guard so much (especially in their building) because of its candor, and they laugh rather than get all hot and bothered at us. It’s one I hear the most at volleyball, probably, and I see newcomers to the sport/experience at Tech laugh a lot from it there, too.

Logan: Big fan of “Get off your knees ref! You’re blowing the game!”. It’s one of those one that sneaks up on you.

Also, I don’t know if this still exists, at one point we had a guy who would bring whiteboards to the games and write insults on it for the opposing teams. I’m sure there have been more than one in the history of Tech, but at one point one of them was my big brother in my fraternity. Favorite insult I saw him write was against Clemson, it was “YOU MAY BE A TIGER, BUT YOUR MOM’S A COUGAR!!!”. I don’t know if he thought of that himself, but I love it.