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Mailbag 5/11

What mascot would you choose to have as a pet?

2021 Cure Bowl - Northern Illinois v Coastal Carolina Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Last year before the BC game CGC said “I think we are showing progress. The team that you see out there competing every single week has grown and developed. I think that is obvious, the growth and development in this program. If you can’t see how much we have grown, how much we have developed, you don’t want to see it,” then lost the last 3 games 141 to 30.... At spring practice CGC said “I thought we’ve gotten better every single practice, and that’s what we’ve got to do all the way up until toe meets leather Sept. 5...” Is CGC still deluding himself?.. or have you seen something that I haven’t that makes you believe the team will be more competitive vs seeing the same performance as last year where games were made closer than they really were by taking advantage of garbage time with desperation plays to close the gap in the score before the end of the game? - gtbadcarma

Chris: I think I’ve said this before somewhere, but I definitely agree that we are making improvements at the micro-level (individual position groups, players, etc.). The problem is that we aren’t at the macro-level. To a certain extent I think CGC kinda has to say things like that. Part of his job is being a frontman for the program and being upbeat and positive is one component of that; being that guy is part of his overall brand as well and I get that. I do wish we’d see a little more realism injected into the positivity though (for instance, saying “We’re improving. We have a long way to go before I’m happy with the state of the program, but I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing in practice” is very different from saying “We’re worlds better than we’ve ever been, we’re so close to being a top team in the conference”). Under-promise over-deliver is certainly a cliche, but I do think part of the problem is that the way he talks leads to some fans expecting 7-8+ win seasons when that’s just flat out not possible. I’ll still remain hopeful and optimistic because I try to do that, but my expectations are certainly not very high.

Ben: I’ll echo a little bit of what Chris said in that Tech is making some micro-level improvements, but those have not appeared at any kind of macro level. He made the decision when he came that Georgia Tech was going to completely change the offensive style to an “NFL pro style spread” word salad offense. In that regard, I think the offense has made a TON of progress, especially from Year 1. I’m willing to give him that on the offense. It’s the defense that has been my main gripe. The defense was on an upward trajectory when Collins—a defensive-minded head coach—arrived. Every year, the defense has gotten worse and worse. And while the offense has improved, it is nowhere close to the levels of production we had from before Collins arrived. To actually answer your question, I think Collins is doing all he can to try and maintain positivity, but he has a knack of making it seem too good to be true, which it has been. This year, my expectations are low. Do I hope that Collins finally puts it all together and has a successful season? Sure! I believe that Geoff Collins believes Tech can have a good season. But until we see that on the field, all of those feelings and beliefs don’t mean a dang thing.

Any reactions to Stansbury’s interview with Sugiura in the AJC concerning football? - Bill Brockman

Chris: Stream of conscious because I’m reading it for the first time right now: I think not specifying the number of wins is the right move - you don’t want to commit to a hard number and box yourself into a corner. “How many wins do you need to see” is definitely an obvious question, but I agree with not really answering it. “We’ve got to look like we’re making progress” is a bit tired for me heading into year 4 - I think that’s something you should be saying in the first 2 years max. Super agree with the assertion that this season will be challenging - we’ve lost a lot of players and the schedule is absolutely brutal. I disagree with the notion that CGC is recruiting at an “incredibly high level”. I think we had one really good year with the 2020 class and that’s about it - we’re not doing a whole lot better than we used to outside of that one. We’ve had like one or two big signings, but the way everyone talks about it you would think we’re landing top 20 classes when we’re actually landing top 50. And at this point I think talent development is 1000x more important than recruiting for us. Recruiting doesn’t matter if we can’t develop the talent. We’re not a program that’s gonna land a ton of 4 stars or a 5 star but we need to be a program that can get the absolute best out of strong 3 stars and we are not doing that at all right now. Agree that the new hires are a net positive - new blood on the offense in particular I think is a good thing. Also agree that having more money for coordinators would be great - history has shown time and time again that a really good OC or DC can enormously elevate a program.

Ben: I think Todd handled it as well as he could have. Again, I’ll echo Chris about the sentiment of not putting a number of wins out there. Because yes, while wins are important, it’s also safe to say that if the three-win Georgia Tech team from last season played the three-win Georgia Tech team from 2015, there’s a clear winner, and it isn’t last year’s team.

Clemson outscored GT 30-1 in innings 1-6 last weekend. Has GT baseball EVER been boat-raced like this?

What a sad, sad showing after taking 2 of 3 from #3 ranked Miami. S-M-H - Ramblin WRECKED

Jake: I’m sure it has happened before, but I don’t have enough of access (or time) to confirm it by going through box scores and the like. However, I definitely think that is is emblematic of the season in a nutshell - this program has the talent and tools to be one of the very best teams in the country, but hasn’t been consistent in the slightest on the mound. When they falter at the plate, too, it makes it really hard to win games 15-12 or something like that, akin to what we saw in the UNC series.

Overall, has the transfer portal helped or hurt CFB and CBB nationally?

Should it continue? Change? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Jake: Regular students can transfer liberally, provided their credits work out and they get into the school. I don’t see why college students that happen to be athletes shouldn’t have the same right. I think the same thing should be extended to the right to capitalize on name, image, and likeness. Where I struggle as a fan, however, is the very real aspect of pay for play that is getting bundled up into the transfer and NIL concepts. This aspect, I would argue, is not good.

Chris: I can’t really speak to CBB, but I think it’s a good thing for CFB. So much can change so quickly in the CFB world, it doesn’t make any sense to lock players into the school they chose as an 18 year old. It’s a great opportunity for guys to find a place that feels like home and that they can succeed at. I think there’s certainly some things to be ironed out around how NIL interplays with transferring, but overall I think the ability to transfer should be as available as possible. I guess the ethos of that is the same with CBB, I just know much less about it.

I think there needs to be some serious thought put into how NIL works with transferring. As Jake said, some of these situations are reaaalllly becoming pay-for-play and that’s not great in it’s current implementation. I think there needs to be stricter guardrails around what does and doesn’t constitute NIL as well as more auditing and maybe capping of the companies actually paying for it. Players getting paid for their contributions is a good thing, but creating a market where good players just spend a year at one school and then transfer to one of the 10 big schools is not. I do think there will be some kind of market correction soon though - the amount of money being thrown at players is unjustifiably high right now and I think it’s akin to an investing bubble. Eventually companies/boosters will get burnt by a few bad guesses and I think that’ll drive the “prices” down.

Ben: Conceptually, I think the transfer portal helps a lot. Coaches have had virtually no restrictions in wanting to change schools, and I think it helps that players are having their restrictions lifted. Personally, I have never understood the concept of making a player wait a year before they start playing after transferring. There are only a few sports where that concept exists. As the others have stated, yeah, NIL could probably use some more finetuned regulations, but that was to be expected.

Hello guys,

Not feeling great this week, but I hope things are going well for y’all. My question this week is if you could have a mascot from a college program as a pet which, mascot would you choose. Not sure that I would want a Yellow Jacket as a pet, having a Husky would probably be my choice. Not sure how I would count a Spartan, Trojan, or any other Human type macot, but that’s what it is. Later

Ronald McDonald (submitted via email)

Jake: I think I would like a golden tornado as a pet.

Chris: A Falcon would be pretty sweet as a pet, provided I have plenty of outdoor space to do falconry stuff.

Ben: Can I have a pet Orange? If not, I’ll take a pet owl, because that just sounds fun!