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Mailbag 9/8

you didn’t want 1200+ words on kicking, but sit down and shut up.

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Georgia Tech Jenn Finch-USA TODAY Sports

Did someone complain about Billy’s goat again? Is Charlie Leibrandt pitching? Did Devonta Freeman miss a block? What is the cause of the curse against Tech football? - jahannah

Ben: I don’t know the answer to any of these questions.

Carter: The superstition you’re looking for is “a RAT touched the ‘Reck”.

Chris: Collins forgot to tip once at Waffle House and now the WaHo Gods are out to get us.

Dottavio: Maybe GC5 should wear sleeves?

Nishant: It’s a sports team in Georgia. That or I wore the wrong shirt/cap on Saturday.

Logan: Tech is a team in Atlanta. The city is cursed, not the teams. Even Atlanta United is starting to get weighed down by the curse when they were able to avoid it earlier.

Jeff: I’m starting to wonder if I am living in a simulated world where only I am real and my actions have consequences on my sports teams. I apologize to all the simulated people who must bear this suffering.

Jake: The downfall, my friends, is hubris. In what? I dunno - you decide

And now for something completely different. How do you roll (through space and time) Ornithopter? Guild Heighliner? Harkonnen Frigate? Shia-Hulud? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: I don’t know what any of these things are, but to travel through time and space, I feel like the TARDIS would be fun.

Dottavio: Yes. No. Uh, time, not space... No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Andrew: You have to use the Guild Heighliner to safely move over cosmic distances. Without the Navigators directing you safely, you are liable to come out of folded space in the center of a star.

Carter: I feel my nerd creds are lacking on this one, so I’ll just say give me the Enterprise-D. Gonna kill a bunch of time in the holodeck.

Chris: I’m about 34 of the way through Dune right now and I gotta say, science fiction writers needs to do a bit better of a job describing their technologies. I can picture pretty much everything else in my head, but thinks like Ornithopters are just lost on my brain for some reason. (Really good book though, highly recommend).

Nishant: Rocinante/Tachi for large-scale transit, Starfury for fighter combat, and DeLorean for ground ops.

Logan: I dance if I want to, and I leave my friends behind. Because my friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, they’re no friends of mine.

Jeff: You lost me after the Monty Python reference

What were y’all’s thoughts on the decision to try to win the game on the 60 yard field goal rather than a Hail Mary? - SullyGT

Ben: I think that decision was made because Jordan Yates’ arm isn’t as strong as Jeff Sims’. If Sims is still in the game, I think you take the shot. I am genuinely curious to see how far Gavin Stewart would have kicked it, had it not been blocked.

Carter: Geoff Collins could have sent a taxi to Trader Vic’s in the Hilton downtown, where I was enjoying a Blue Hawaiian, picked me up, suited me up on the way over, and put me on whatever yard line it was, and my kick would have had the exact same odds of making it in as the one Tech actually kicked.

Chris: I’m fine with it. We weren’t going to convert a Hail Mary either.

Nishant: The only thing I can’t reconcile is that Gavin Stewart clearly has a strong leg, as evidenced by the multiple kickoff touchbacks and the long-range FG specialist role, and yet last year the coaching staff didn’t trust him to attempt a FG from beyond 30 yards. But otherwise I agree with Ben. Except now I’m watching Stephen type his response live in the editor and I think I agree with him instead. Also I wrote that when he was two sentences in and I would pay money for him writing a novella about bad field goal decisions.

Logan: Look, I’m just upset that we didn’t take the points earlier. If we had kicked the field goal instead of letting the boos of the fans convince Geoff to call a timeout and then run a play that didn’t turn into a touchdown, then this situation doesn’t (theoretically) happen. Given the scenario, and the fact that we haven’t seen our kicker make that field goal, at least a hail mary makes it fun, but nothing is fun in the moment.


[finishes cooking dinner, actually takes time to read the comments of his fellow bloggers]. SOMEBODY MENTIONED TIMEOUTS, AND I TOTALLY FORGOT WE BURNED TWO TIMEOUTS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT TO HAVE ON THIS FINAL DRIVE.


Mason rushes to the 2yd line. Finally gets out of the pile with 28sec remaining on the play clock. Team stands around until roughly 22sec. Then Yates signals for a huddle to discuss the play and people sub on/off to get in the formation we want to run this 2nd & Goal out of. You can see Yates mouthing the actual play call at 10sec. Huddle breaks at 7sec. Can’t for some reason get the play off in the 4sec or so after everyone gets to the line. First timeout of the half is called.

Runs some sort of counter where Jack Coco is sealing your block on the playside and 77 blocks out and you see a C/G double team that leaves basically two guys free to hit the RB. Whatever. Third down now.

I’ve watched it 15 times and I don’t get the play call. NIU is seemingly in man coverage, we’re in a bunch formation. Motion McCollum from right to left, snap comes, Gibbs and another WR go right, everyone else in the offense goes left. The whole OL moves left. You’ve got McCollum looking back for the ball expecting a screen. Only problem is, there’s an unaccounted for pass rusher who Gibbs doesn’t get a chip on, Yates has to loft it over the rusher, and the man marking Gibbs makes the easy tackle. Fourth down.

It’s 26sec from the time the play clock starts until the second timeout of the half comes in. It took that long to realize what everyone in the crowd understood from the moment the field goal team trotted on to the field. Card says go for it. You’re a P5 program at home on the 2yd line against a MAC team that hasn’t been good since Jordan Lynch was in the zeitgeist. Go for it.

AND YOU RUN ESSENTIALLY THE SAME PLAY, ONLY THIS TIME, WITH A FORMATION SHIFT BEFORE THAT DEFINITELY FOOLED THEM! NIU is still in man. Again, you motion right to left. The only thing different is that instead of being a sidecar to Yates, this time Mason is lined up where a traditional A-Back would play. THE ENTIRE LINE BLOCKS LEFT AGAIN. YATES IS IMMEDIATELY PRESSURED AGAIN. WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING HERE. Pass is overturned on replay because we missed a toe drag by a few inches.

Long way of saying it, but no, I wasn’t enthused by the decision to attempt a field goal to end the game. You could even say it upset me.

Jake: I’ll have what he’s having.

Jeff: I think Stephen covered that pretty well. Hell, should have just screened to Gibbs. That was your best bet honestly.

Before Saturday, I decided I wouldn’t say “hot seat” until at least year 4 or 5. Do you think such a badly coached game has made CGC’s seat hot? - Neal Royal

Ben: Geoff Collins is not on the hot seat yet. He is owed far too much money for Tech to afford to fire right now. That being said, though, I don’t think his seat has ever been warmer, and if Tech can’t win this weekend, then some conversations need to start happening.

Carter: As Collins himself said — though perhaps the context was slightly different — it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Chris: Warm Seat for sure. A third three-win season would put him on the actual Hot Seat in my mind though and losing this game was not a good way to give me confidence in 4+ wins.

Logan: We can’t fire him, because we don’t have the money available to do so (unless someone knows something I don’t). With that in mind, if Geoff knows he’s not gonna get fired how hot could the seat possibly get for him? I don’t expect his relation to the fans to get better, but I can’t really call it a “hot seat” if Georgia Tech can’t provide a repercussion to bad coaching.

Dottavio: I think he’s nearing the scapegoat firing of coordinators hot seat territory if the season plays out like this is a team that can’t beat NIU. That usually buys you one more season barring a miracle swing like at LSU with Joe Brady.

Nishant: I think Logan is right, but I also am curious to see how the program’s power brokers (to the extent that we have them) respond after virtually nobody shows up to the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on 9/25.

Jake: If you think the seat is anywhere near warm, just wait to see what happens if the ship goes sideways on Saturday.

Jeff: I say he is on the hot seat right now. He just happens to have a nice pair of flame retardant pants that Adidas made for him but won’t be available to anyone else like all their other gear.

What the [Foghat] have we done to deserve this? - jabsterjacket

Ben: I wish I had an answer to this, but I don’t. I think the Geoff Collins era will be over sooner rather than later, and when it happens, I hope that Georgia Tech will do its due diligence and not offer the job to the first two guys they interview and actually seek out qualified candidates.

Dottavio: Now you have the trouble of convincing good candidates it’s possible to win at GT without the triple. This becomes an, “If GC can’t do it, who can?” scenario. Jay Norvell will be a hot name but he could wind up at a west coast job like Arizona State or even soon-to-be Big 12 program Houston if they’re tired of Dana’s losing ways.

Carter: A segment of the fanbase I once thought was rather large but I am starting to think is simply extremely vocal are some combination of nostalgia blind for the 90s, willfully ignorant of how college football works in the year of our lord 2021 (possibly due to the aforementioned nostalgia blindness), and/or are extremely dogmatic in their beliefs of how college football should be played. And for those people I would simply say that sound you heard Saturday was reality telling y’all to wake the [Fleet Foxes] up.

Chris: If anything, I think we thought a little highly of ourselves in the Johnson era. We weren’t great, but I think we were juuuuust good enough to pick fights with people and play the history card. And lo, look upon what our hubris has wrought.

Logan: Because you touch yourself at night. It’s the same reason the dinosaurs are extinct.

Jeff: I’m not sure but when we find the guilty party I say we make them watch reruns of these games.

Austin: No idea but when you figure it out, Leviticus 4:23.

Whatever is ailing us, can we go and sneeze some of it onto the dwags? - jabsterjacket

Ben: Man, I wish.

Carter: That program is immune to everything except Athens PD and COVID, apparently.

Logan: Hmm... is there a way we can get Geoff Collins hired on in Athens. You know, I think if GT sells it right we could find a way.

Jake: Somehow the “brand” guy split the fan base worse than it was before. I think that one might be hard pressed to find someone that would take on the combination of money and fan and academic pressures we have here.

Jeff: If you could find a way to divert the Chattahoochee into their drinking water. That could cause some dysentery.

Instead of a NSFW thread, can we have a positive vibe thread? No negativity, just positive GT posts. - notwima13

Ben: This is a blog by the fans for the fans. Fans typically get mad after seeing their team lose a close game to a team that had no business being remotely close to winning. The purpose of the NSFW threads are for people to vent. If you want to start a positive vibe thread, you can always write a Fan Post.

Chris: You can always post positively in the NSFW thread.


Logan: No

Jeff: Sure, as soon as I can get a positive result from the team.

I personally think that the 2 point play by NIU was an incompletion, if it had been called that way how do you think that would have changed the general reaction to this very bad loss? - DiffusedAcorn

Ben: No, not really. Tech never should have been in a spot where they could lose that game. Joey covered this in his column earlier today, but in terms of team talent, the Yellow Jackets are more than head and shoulders above Northern Illinois. Coach Collins and Co. simply got their [Aerosmith]s handed to them by NIU’s coaching staff.

Carter: Ben covered it pretty well, I don’t feel the need to add anything.

Chris: So let’s assume we win if that call is overturned (although with GT football anything can happen with under a minute to go...). I think the general narrative outside of the core fanbase is “Collins better get it together this year, because it isn’t looking pretty” and a 1-point win eked out over a team as bad as NIU certainly wouldn’t do anything to help that perception. So from that perspective I think we’d still get made fun of nationally. Fanbase-wise I think there would still be a lot of anger. You wouldn’t see as many people calling for Collins to be fired, but I think you’d still see a large reaction of “hang on, we were told this is the year things start to come together, what the [Fleetwood Mac] was that?”.

Logan: You know... I think the generic fan actually is comforted by us winning the game and can find a narrative to support us winning a close game. I personally would not be comforted by winning a close match, but I think regular fans who aren’t huge on football might find a way to be more at ease with a close win rather than a loss. It wouldn’t be the appropriate reaction, but I could see fans lying to themselves early in the season.

Nishant: I think it could have been forgiven eventually. To toss out an example, we still remember Paul Johnson’s loss to MTSU in 2012, but the near-miss against Georgia Southern in 2014 is all but forgotten. But more importantly, two of the biggest reasons you schedule games like this early in the year are to 1) give yourself an opportunity to test out new things in a low-pressure environment and 2) get more players some actual game action. When you flounder in a game like this, regardless of the end result, it takes away your chance to do either of those things, which hurts you in the long run in ways that are hard to measure.

Jake: I agree, but I think it is worth acknowledging it never should have been that close in the first place.

Jeff: Remember when we thought we were going to be ok last year after squeaking by a piss poor FSU team? Don’t let history repeat itself.

What is the actual reason the band plays so little this year? And why is it not replaced with music over the loudspeakers, at the very least? There have been unofficial rumblings of what’s going on (seems to point to Collins and his staff) but I’d be interested if anyone with connections to athletics can get a scoop, and/or start beating the drum to bring it back a bit. - Ramblin_Illini

Ben: Not a clue. Of the folks on staff, Carter would probably be the most knowledgeable, so I’ll defer to him.

Carter: All I’ll say is it is probably not the band or directors’ decision to play less. If this is as much to your displeasure as it is to mine, you may feel the need to direct that feedback towards athletics and/or the AD. Politely, of course. Late update: forgot about this, but if you’re a season ticket holder, you got an email containing a postgame feedback survey. Good avenue to let athletics know we need more band.

Logan: This is news to me, but now that you mention it there wasn’t much music on Saturday. Even though I have a lot of hate I don’t want to spew it irrationally, so I’m not gonna blame it on Geoff or the rest of the coaching staff without some kind of evidence. I do hope it comes back, because that’s one of my favorite parts of attending home games.

Jake: Having been in Reck Club for the first two years of the experiment, I have had the pleasure of already having...opinions...on how the staff and its leader feel about certain traditional aspects of Tech and college football, and it hurts to see a fine band limited. Just ask a certain someone about their opinions about the now long-gone pregame tunnel banner...that’ll get you close to an answer.

Jeff: Yeah I won’t point fingers until there is proof but trying to reduce the band playing is high treason of college football.

How can you be a recruiting genius and recruit such a bad offensive line. It is a basic principle that offensive line are what good teams are built on and yet in year three we have nothing or “less than zero” as Coach Football not Found would say. For sad entertainment rewatch the NIU game and just focus on the offensive line wander about the field. - YankeeJacket

Ben: Man, if I had the answer to this question, I’d be doing a lot better. Truthfully, I don’t have an answer to that question, other than that it comes down to coaching.

Dottavio: O-Line IS the hardest position to recruit. But between recruiting geniuses Collins and Brent Key, what gives?

Carter: Joey said it best for me on the Basketball Conference podcast: you see the practice B-roll, and then you see what happens on the field, and you wonder just what the hell the team is doing in practice.

Chris: The OL bothers me a lot for sure. At this point its largely made up of Collins recruits and well-regarded transfers and is led by ostensibly the best OL coach in the country. So what gives? Beats me.

Logan: So I can’t speak as much to O-line, because I don’t know much about the technique involved. O-line is one of those where you can tell immediately when something is done poorly but it takes awhile to realize if the group is improving. I do look to how Sims played at the start of the game and think back on all the talk going into the season questioning what the team was even doing in practice. Some groups seem to have a clear understanding of what they are doing and how to play, and some groups looked completely lost. You can get all the pretty rocks you want, but if you don’t polish or cut them properly they’ll never become jewels.

Nishant: I think it might be a symptom of a broader issue: Collins assembled his staff based far more on recruiting prowess than on coaching ability. For a few assistants, I remember seeing some comments from fans of their prior schools saying those coaches had recruited well but the on-field product and player development had been lacking. I know better than to put too much stock in online scuttlebutt, but... let’s just say that what we saw on Saturday seems to align perfectly with those concerns.

Jeff: To be a little fair the offensive line is the hardest thing to develop and the drop off from top talent and the next group is a cliff. Even the best high school linemen take time to adjust to the college game. It just requires good knowledge of the schemes while perfecting techniques like footwork and positioning. Buuuuut allowing NIU four sacks means something isn’t clicking.

Austin: The issue is development. We’ve seen commitments get poached to Playoff contenders, we’ve seen Jordan Williams come in and be one of the more dependable men up front. So the talent evaluation is there. But what we haven’t seen are players get demonstrably better under this coaching staff, and more importantly the group come together and play together. That falls on one man, who apparently was in high demand this past offseason.

Can anyone tell me how, with NIL and the transfer portal, college football will not just wind up looking like how the NFL would look without the draft and with no salary caps? I am not optimistic that college football will not turn into something unrecognizable and the thought depresses me. - YJAlleyCat

Ben: The teams aren’t fronting the money, legally at least. NIL just allows players to make money off of their name, image, and likeness. They also contribute in earning millions of dollars for their University. Why should they not receive some kind of reward for that? As far as the transfer portal, players were transferring long before the portal existed. This is just a more organized way of doing it. Coaches are free to come and go as new opportunities present themselves, why shouldn’t players be afforded that same opportunity? As an addendum, there are very few sports in which athletes are required to sit a year before playing after transferring. It happens to predominantly be the sports that make a lot of money.

Carter: All I’ll say is: right now, Georgia Tech is not really competing with the Georgias and Clemsons on the schedule. In a couple decades it’s quite possible Tech will not be competing with them in a more literal sense.

Chris: Maybe not NFL-like, but I do think the future of CFB is very different looking from its present. I think we’ll definitely see a SuperLeague of the top 30 or so programs break off into their own association. NIL will be the start, but those 30ish programs are the ones that are absolutely rich enough to start paying players directly. What could be interesting is a relegation/promotion style system where that SuperLeague allows new members that prove themselves, but that’s a rabbit hole that’s too long for right now. I think a SuperLeague would still functionally look like CFB today with the tradition and passion and all, it’s just that the fact its all about making money would be actually out in the open. Short-term I think it’ll do harm to the broader CFB landscape, but there’s just way too much interest in football for it to actually shut other things down. There are too many talented players out there that couldn’t make a SuperLeague roster and there will always be “alternative” paths to the NFL.

Jake: College football won’t truly be dead until true monetary contracts are being exchanged between “students” and schools. If or when that happens, that will be a sad day for the sport.

Logan: College football has changed significantly just over the past few decades. Looking at conference changes, to poll era, to BCS, to major conference expansion with TV deals, to the playoff era, and now the NIL is here. It is sad in some ways, but this is just how things go. Just look for the positive things in the change, because things are always going to change and we won’t be happy about all the changes we see.

If I gave you $10,000 to bet on a winner and you got to keep the winnings, out of all the games this week, would you put that “money down” on Gatech to beat Kennesaw state. - gtbadcarma

Ben: Absolutely not. Alabama plays Mercer this weekend.

Carter: You’re just..... giving me $10k? And I don’t have to make that specific bet? Yeah, no, I can think of many better uses for that much cash.

Chris: Agreed with Ben, if it’s just about who wins them I’m probably going Bama every time (actually, even if its spread I’m probably going Bama every time). At this point it’ll be a while before Tech is remotely a lock to win any game.

Jake: I know my pick record in the staff pool, and I know this staff’s records in, uh, should-win games. Let’s go with absolutely not.

Logan: This is kind of a poorly worded question that I could find plenty of loop holes to because I’m a smart ass. I’m just gonna take it at face value though. If the only game I could bet on to double my money is GT, I would just keep the cash. If you asked me what game I should bet on, I’d actually take Purdue over UConn assuming spread doesn’t come into play. No offense to UConn, but they look so bad right now.

Stephen: No, if it’s against the spread, give me Air Force (-6.5) over Navy or uga (-26.5) vs UAB.

Of last week’s underdog teams who won their games, which team was getting the most points? Would that team be NIU? And would that define the greatest upset, or in Georgia Tech’s case greatest failure of week one. - YankeeJacket

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.

Obviously last game was not great. But being the foolish optimist that I am (look at my previous posts if you don’t believe me), here’s what I thought was good from that game that I want to see this team build on.

  1. Jordan Mason and Jahmyr Gibbs almost had 100 rushing yards….EACH! CAN WE PLEASE RUN MORE TWO-BACK SETS? That way we can get a bit more creative with the running game, maybe run some tricky option stuff, and potentially more. AND we’ll have an excuse to keep Gibbs as a receiving threat on the field next to a bruiser like Mason/Griffin or a speed back like Smith
  2. Yates looked pretty [Steely Dan] good all things considered! I hope CDP rides the hot hand and goes with Yates until Sims is healthy and proves he can orchestrate the offense like he did in his better games last year.
  3. Is it me or was the outside zone (and the other concepts we could execute off it) one of our more effective plays? Maybe run it more? - Anuj Bhyravabhotla

Ben: I appreciate your thoughts and that you can be optimistic, but quite frankly, I’m not. Personally, yes, I would love to see Tech run the ball a lot more. It’s quite evident that the running game is the strength of this team (by a lot), and the fact that we don’t run it more is a crime. I also agree that there should at least be a conversation about quarterback this week at practice. Given what we know Sims is capable of, I’m not completely ready to just dump him, but he needs to show something.

Logan: It’s just... hard to overcome the negative feelings from the first game of the season. How we lost that game also seems to verify what many already assumed about the coaches and the program. I like your comments, and I do agree there is some positive things to work around this year and build up. Maybe we use this loss to learn and start something positive, but after two years of 3-9 ball and a loss to NIU I have a hard time believing we can turn this ship around.

Nishant: 1) At the open practice on Fan Day a few weeks back, I specifically remember them doing a two-minute drill simulation with Gibbs, Mason, and three wideouts out there. Fast forward to Saturday, and... they had Dylan Leonard out there instead of Mason in both end-of-half sequences. Putting a second RB out there instead of a TE maximizes the skill position talent on the field, and it’s frustrating that we don’t see it more. 2) I don’t think it’s fair to cast Sims aside based on one bad quarter, and I don’t think the coaches will either. Yeah, it was an ugly showing, but he deserves a mulligan. If he looks equally bad against KSU, then we might talk about a permanent switch. 3) While I think Patenaude’s offensive playcalling was generally fine in the opener, I also have no reason (yet) to believe that this staff ever tries to build on things that prove successful in games.

Jake: I liked what I saw in the spring, and Saturday didn’t look like that. I need to see something, anything, to have some optimistic momentum again.

Carter: I think it’s clear to a lot of people, including you and I, that playing more 2-back sets (preferably with as few TEs as possible) would be the best way to play to this current team’s strengths. Why they are not doing so is anyone’s guess.

Austin: 1) All I can hope is we are saving the two back sets for the games that “truly matter.” Only thing is, every game should matter to this team. 2) Yates both showed why he is the next man up and also showed why he is not the starter: his heart and want-to were clear but while his floor is higher, his ceiling is lower than Sims’. I would prefer Yates to a still-recovering Sims this week, but I think you give Sims the run of things once he’s back to full strength. 3) For all the talk of ‘3 yards and a cloud of dust’ in the CPJ days, we sure saw a lot of running straight into the teeth of the defense and praying JPM and Gibbs would make someone miss. Dontae Smith’s touchdown scamper was arguably the best blocked run play of the night. Yes, it would be a good idea to at least try and play to our strengths. We’ll see what happens.

Ben: Well, if Tech loses this weekend, I would say this weekend. Otherwise, whenever you decide it’s not worth your time.

Carter: The good news is Saturday’s game is on a channel fewer and fewer people actually get, so that question may or may not already be answered for you!

Chris: If we start 0-5 then I’d say you’re within your rights.

Logan: Really you should just stop now... but lets be honest, If you haven’t stopped in all the years you’ve been a fan, you’re not gonna stop now.

Austin: Did you hear they sell beer at Bobby Dodd now?

Ben: Offense is sexy, defense isn’t.

Carter: I mean, theoretically, last year Geoff Collins donated to charity for every money down converted on offense and stopped on defense. But then they just made up a number which didn’t match up with the real stats at all and donated that instead, so..... who knows who’s really getting paid?

Chris: I don’t know how Money Down works and at this point I’m too afraid to ask.

Dottavio: The money down is like Miami’s turnover and TD gimmicks, a gimmick. Just play football and shut up about it.

Logan: Good question. I think Ayinde deserves some cash for his play, if no one else.

Ben: I’m not ready to say that Cimaglia is “completely destroyed” quite yet. The first kick was absolutely on him, but he slipped on the second one, which would be more of an equipment or field issue.

Carter: I don’t know, but a good friend is a practicing Wiccan and I’m about to ask her if she knows of any way to fix this kicking situation.

Chris: Paging @Stephen. I dunno man. Logic tells me that they do practice these things?

Logan: They do things to get in the Kickers heads. An example would be, oh I dunno, setting your kicker up for a field goal on the 3 yard line only to show you don’t trust them by burning a time out to take them off the field and bring on an offense that scores no points. How is the kicker supposed to feel about that? “You trust the offense which has struggled to move the ball at all more than me, good to know”

Nishant: I dunno but it’s amusing that we had four kickers listed as Above The Line and still went 0-for-3 on field goals. I think Cimaglia will be fine though.

Austin: When they trotted the kicking team out, I said out loud to section 124 “This is the right decision. He’s already missed twice and you need to show you have faith in your kicker.” To let the booing crowd sway you not only into changing your mind, but into burning your SECOND timeout to change things up, showed me all I needed to see. And guess what happened after we didn’t convert? The crowd booed. The rare lose-lose-lose situation.

Stephen: I’ve watched the kicks a good dozen times each, that’s my only qualifier. Here’s what I can think of:

  • First field goal attempt (43yd, dead center): Kent’s hold is a little straight up/down, which does Cimaglia no favors once the ball starts drawing right. Other than that, sometimes they just miss. Blocking on the OL was shades of Syracuse 2020.
credit me for all math/drawing

I was always taught to protect the middle of your OL, you know, the place where the ball goes over the OL and the most likely place it’s getting blocked, you block down. That means everybody needs to be leaning in towards #5 in White. Instead, Jordan Williams gets double-teamed. Ryan Johnson is only blocking #6 in Red, Billy Ward really isn’t doing anything here but slowing down #7 in Red, and #9 in White’s whole purpose in this life is to chip #8 Red and deter him from getting to the ball. (Dottavio: I was taught step inside, grab hip of your teammate, punch with outside arm, this staff tries to hard to be the smartest guys in the room.)

  • Second field goal attempt (51yd, just inside right hash): Kent’s hold is fine. Like Ben said, Cimaglia’s follow-through does seem to buckle a little bit, not sure if that’s truly a slip or a result of differing his swing through the ball to generate more height/power, but it doesn’t really work at all. And we’re treated to more blocking:
credit me for all math/drawing. ACCDN for content.

This time, they are in FG Safe. They aren’t trying to get this ball, so they only bring 6. #1 & #2 White chip #1 & #2 Red. Fine. Cade Long (#5 White), is effectively just chilling once the ball is snapped, which is fine, he’s treated as a defenseless player on field goals. Jordan Williams again gets double teamed. Kenny Cooper is driven off the ball as soon as it is snapped. Nick Pendley is this free to slant down and get a piece of #3. Ryan Johnson isn’t really doing anything but throwing an arm at #6 Red. In the pre-snap, you can tell exactly where the pressure will be coming from, yet your OL don’t do anything to address it before Cooper and Williams get stood straight up and let someone through. More on this to come.

  • Final attempt (61yd, left hash): This kick never stood a chance. Didn’t have the height. But from 61 yards, you’re playing an angles game to try and have the leg to kick it that far at the collegiate level. On to the blocking!

Guess where the pressure comes from? I’ll pause...

If you guess Red #4/5 and #6/7, you win! And we have again 2 players to deal with these 4.

Computer- enhance.

Long does a good job occupying space after the snap. Cooper is getting driven back, but has Pendley in support. Meanwhile, wouldn’t you know, Johnson doesn’t block down, forcing Ward to deal with one player on each arm. And not only does the previously labeled #4 Red get through clean, but #5 Red entirely turns Jordan Williams sideways and #5 ends up getting the block. Field goal blocking assignments shouldn’t be that hard. And for the record, that’s a coaching problem, not a player problem.

Watch all of these (TW: Chris Blewitt) and tell me we’re doing it exactly right. Could we be getting more height sure, but there’s still something terminally wrong with the blocking assignments.

If you want to blame something other than coaching on the OL, I choose to blame the turf we installed to host all those live events we’ve been hearing about.


I’m trying to enjoy labor day weekend so fast question this week. What is your favorite disaster? Favorite is kind of a weird word but maybe the one that stands out most in your mind. For me it’s the Hindenburg. Have a nice week,

Tamatoa (submitted via email)

Ben: The one that stands out the most to me would be the Boston Marathon bombing, because I remember seeing it on the news as it happened on TV. It was the most surreal thing.

Carter: My favorite disaster? Well, that’d have to be.... my wedding! (Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all season. No, other than some DJ hiccups, it went great.) Probably something in one of the Shutdown Fullcast disaster episodes. Gonna go binge them all again now.

Chris: Ooooo honestly same Ben, I remember sitting in Brittain dining hall watching the TV for like 3 hours.

Logan: Pompeii stands out, just for the image it left behind with people frozen in time. It’s pretty unique in that way. Although I’m sure there are going to be plenty of people telling me how its not that unusual now that I talk about it on the internet.


Nishant: I don’t feel comfortable calling a disaster my favorite, but since Logan mentioned Pompeii, I feel compelled to make sure that anyone reading this knows about the glorious graffiti (note: very NSFW language in places) that has been found in the ruins there and translated for our viewing pleasure.

How can our coaching staff miss so badly on evaluating skill and more importantly the results a player has? The prime example being quarterback. The Saturday game would not have been close with the right person leading the offense. (submitted via email)

Ben: Honestly, I don’t think it was an issue of determining skill between the two quarterbacks. I think Jeff Sims is a more talented quarterback than Jordan Yates. I think he’s faster and has a stronger arm. I think the issue would be who is playing better, which Yates clearly did. What we don’t know is how they looked at practice, which is what made the coaching staff go with Sims over Yates. Well, that and the fact that they know what he is capable of.

Logan: I actually listened to a podcast about this recently. Some teams place the player who has been there the longest or has the most experience over other players who have more talent or work harder. I disagree with this approach, and so do (seemingly) coaches like Nick Saban who constantly cycle in new QBs despite having ones who have won important games or even championships. I can’t say for certain that’s what happened in this game, but it’s what I thought of.

Break down our 2nd to last offensive series. Why couldn’t we run our running backs to run out the clock? - GTalbatross

Ben: The long and the short of it is this. Our offensive line has improved a little bit, but it’s still not great.