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Mailbag 9/7

How are you feeling about Tech’s win total after Week 1?

NCAA Football: Clemson at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

YankeeJacket: Which coach has the most wins against Dabo Swinney?

Ben: It’s actually a tie! The two coaches who have each won five games against Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers are:


Honestly, I expected it to be at least one of these guys. They both had Dabo’s number early in his career. In case you were curious, there’s also three other coaches to have more than one win against Dabo: Nick Saban (2), Pat Narduzzi (2), and Jimbo Fisher (4).

Logan: is this a quiz show of some kind?

Carter: I’ll take the gold star for knowing both of the correct answers, thanks.

Sammy: CPJ > Saban

Chris: It certainly wasn’t gonna be anyone from the current ACC Atlantic.

Jake: Who’s to say? (Clearly, Ben would be to say).

Knipp30: After seeing how the rest of the teams we have on the schedule played this weekend - What do you expect the win total to be? I’m finding it hard to even find a second win (assuming we can beat WCU)

Ben: Honestly, I feel better about Tech’s schedule after their game against Clemson. I think right now, I’ll sit at 3-4 wins. I think it’s tough to take too much from the Clemson game. Yeah, Tech’s defense looked decent in some parts of the game, but Clemson also has a notoriously poor OL.

Logan: that’s pretty dark. Realistically we win probably 4 or 5 games. Personally I’m gonna say we somehow 7 because college football is weird. I really have no justification for this, I just think we looked better than expected and other teams which we will end up playing did not look good enough for me to believe they are unbeatable.

Carter: Pretty sure I said 3-9 a couple weeks ago and I’m sticking with that, unless Tech loses to WCU, which, hey, it could happen.

Sammy: 4 wins - WCU, VT, UNC, Duke. I feel good about those. UNC will probably be a shootout, but I think we improve more than they improve by the end of November.

Chris: I’m still sticking with my original four: WCU, VT, UVA, Duke.

Jake: I am feeling more confident in us taking 4-5 now than I was about 48 hours ago. I’m thinking WCU, VT, UVA, and someone else from Duke/UNC/FSU.

Frodo Swagginz: Watching the game last night was an emotional rollercoaster ride, but the outcome was expected.

I am just simply looking for positives from last night’s beatdown game, so what are some that y’all saw? I think Sims looked much more confident in the pocket and the defense looked good when not being shot in the foot by special teams blunders.

Ben: I came away pretty happy with Chip Long. I think he called a pretty good game. Keion White and Kyle Kennard were both a lot of fun to watch on defense. Hopefully they can keep it up against a better OL. I’m also happy to see Jeff Sims seemingly take a step forward. He looked a lot tougher and more confident in passing and rushing Monday night.

Logan: I actually thought the run game showed flashes of promise when the blocking was present. Granted it was rare, but there were some decent runs on Monday night.

Sammy: Sims looked better, for sure. 63% through the air with 164 yards isn’t Heisman worthy, but it’s an improvement. On top of that, it actually looked like we were executing a game plan at times. The up-tempo, short passes mixed with high percentage bubble screens and RB checkdowns kept Clemson honest. Those high percentage passes haven’t been very high percentage the past few years. Also, the defense looked good. DJ Uiagalelei will never be the deep threat that Trevor Lawrence was, but the secondary did a pretty good job limiting explosive plays for the bulk of the evening.

Chris: Sims played pretty well against what is quite literally the best defense in the country. The offensive play calling was way better than the last few years. The defense played pretty well for 40ish minutes. Punting was very good when we got it off.

Jake: The defensive line felt pretty good, and I think we did a better job of getting in the backfield. I think the game would have looked a lot different/not gotten to garbage time early in the fourth if it weren’t for the two blocked punts, somewhat suspicious targeting call, and luck-fueled pitch for a third down all breaking in Clemson’s favor.

Carter: Well, we got sacks? That was pretty good.

gtbadcarma: Having watched a decent amount of football the last few days I was wondering your thoughts. I heard a lot about transfer portal players. Some moving up and some moving down. What I am seeing is the guys that have a good season and perform are being fed to the “better bigger funded” programs, while the guys not performing and not getting playing time at the “preferred” programs are moving down to a lower level until they prove themselves. Is the system already irrevocably broken relegating the league to a feudalistic system until the NCAA dies or do you see a way of fixing this?

Ben: I’m probably not the best guy to answer this question, but I firmly believe there will be a split in FBS in the next decade or so. Will the transfer portal contribute to that? Yeah, maybe. But I would still prefer kids have free transfers.

Logan: college football is gonna change, but we’re all gonna keep watching because it’s something we love. That is not an answer to your question, just more of a statement about recent changes in college football in general.

Sammy: This is an interesting topic that simply can’t be answered in one mailbag. What I like about my understanding of the current system is that players retain a degree of control. They elect to hit the portal, and then schools can contact/recruit them. It’s like Tinder, both have to swipe right (or is it left?). In some ways, I see this as more of a fix to the old system than a new issue that needs fixing. There is more transparency to where money is coming from and where money is going, which I like. I think you’re right that “preferred” programs are benefitting the most currently, but proper usage of the transfer portal can increase parity once the 12-team playoff begins. It’s not too hard to imagine an on-the-brink program adding 2-3 missing pieces out of the portal and making a playoff run. I’m rambling. Go Jackets.

Chris: I mean, that’s kinda how recruiting already works anyways.

Jake: I’ve recently come around on the take that until all the extra eligibility COVID guys work out of the system and the newness of transferring wears off, it is too early to judge or say for certain.

Carter: Not sure if your intent was to pose this as though it’s a new issue in college football, but I don’t really believe that it is. If the NCAA wanted to impose a level of parity..... well, I don’t envy the people tasked with developing or enforcing such protocols.

Pkaltman1: Who do you think got the luckiest in week 1? NC State? UNC? FSU?

Ben: Absolutely UNC. They should have lost that game.

Logan: NC State got lucky multiple times if you watched that game. FSU really only got lucky once, but they were very lucky that one time. I’ll say NC State was luckier overall

Sammy: FSU. If you thought our special teams were bad on Monday night.... Two muffed punts by LSU, one in the last 5 minutes of the game with momentum 1000% on LSU’s side. A blocked field goal and a blocked XP... I guess you could argue that those weren’t luck, but it looked awfully lucky while watching.

Chris: UNC probably. Winning a shootout always comes down to luck.

Jake: Why not all of the above? In honesty, though, I think the answer is FSU.

Carter: With how many times FSU messed up the end of their game and ultimately still got away with it, I’ll go with them.

gtbadcarma: The blocking rule change:

Do you really believe the rule change is about player safety (as Paul Johnson said show me the list of injuries against Tech)?

Ben: I believe the rule was passed due to the belief that it would increase player safety, despite any evidence against that or lack of evidence for it.

Logan: I certainly believe that was the underlying intent of the rule (increasing player safety). Doesn’t mean there aren’t other reasons, but I’m not gonna speculate on that.

Chris: Agreed with Ben. I think it was one of those “someone thought this was a big deal and lobbied for it” situations.

Jake: A rule made for the sake of making rules? How fun.

Carter: I believe that the NCAA believes it is about player safety.

Some had looked fondly on going back to the old high school offense, but would you agree this rule change has killed that option?(IE NCAA wants the option offense gone)

Ben: Absolutely not. You may not see a ton of teams running flexbone sets, but the option is so integrated into college football now. There are elements of it in just about every modern offensive college football system.

Logan: no. I would compare the flex bone option is like the knuckleball in baseball. It might go away for a time but eventually some team is gonna dig it up and use it to become more successful than they would be without it.

Chris: Nah, probably not. Option-flavored things are found throughout the sport and I think you’ll always see a team or two lean into it’s more pure forms.

Jake: I agree with the above, and I definitely don’t think there is some sort of conspiracy afoot, either.

Carter: Nah, it’s not going anywhere.

chilidogringsFO: I have a nightmare where the team under CGC wins 5 games this year, all against teams that are significantly worse than they were predicted to be, the administration claims this to be progress because 5 IS more than 3 and continues to employ CGC leading to another subpar year where the teams who were bad get better and we regress to 3-4 wins. This chain of events simply delays the inevitable for another year and prevents us from even theoretically returning to competitive football until 2026-27.

Can you provide any evidence why this might not be the case if we do win 5 games against lackluster teams? I need some hope that this doesn’t happen. Because it sure feels like the most likely outcome given what we witnessed over the weekend.

Ben: It’s not evidence, but after three straight seasons of three wins, I cannot imagine a scenario where Tech decides to keep Geoff Collins if he cannot bring Tech to a bowl game. I, personally, don’t think five wins is enough, unless one of those wins is against UGA.

Logan: I have no concrete evidence, but I would like to believe that our athletic department isn’t filled with a bunch of loons.

Carter: This is also my nightmare, and no, I can’t seem to make them stop.

Chris: I agree with Ben, I think 6 is the bar to clear.

Jake: I haven’t seen too many voices saying that the powers that be would be okay with another bowl-less season. I think even the money would be less in scope by the end of the year.

Submitted via email: Hello Guys,

So the first game is over. I can’t say it went how we wanted but it may have gone better than expected. Obviously there are things to be improved upon, but I think many fans will be excited with how close we were able to keep things through the first 3 quarters of the game.

My questions for you this week are what aspects of the game left the most positive and negative impact on you going into next week. Looking at the game I was very impressed by Jeff Sims passing efficiency. Other than an early interception (which I really blame more on playcalling) and some dropped passes at the end of the game Jeff seemed to be hitting every tight pass window he could. We have given him some flak for being more of a runner than a passer in the past, but he looked like a good pocket passer last night against possibly the best defense in the country this year.

The biggest negative impact was from timeout and clock management. I do understand that we weren’t really expected to win the game, but we squandered some opportunities by letting the clock run out at the end of the half and by wasting timeouts in questionable spots. I don’t have coaching experience but the time out calls had me scratching my head in confusion.

What are your takes? Have a nice rest of your week till Saturday.



Ben: As I talked about above, positives for me are Chip Long’s offensive playcalling, Jeff Sims, and Keion White and Kyle Kennard. The negatives are time management and decision-making from the coaching staff, blocking (on special teams and offense), and depth (which can’t really be fixed during the season).

Logan: I liked what I saw from the defense early in the game, stopping the run and getting in the backfield. I was kind of impressed. For bad… what was up with the punt game? Like 2 blocked punts? What are your blockers doing? Sometimes the linemen just look completely lost out on the field and I don’t know what to say about that.

Sammy: Can I copy/paste your analysis? I don’t know if Clemson is going to be the best defense in the country this year. They probably won’t even be the best defense that we face. jorjuh is ridiculous again (I have no basis for this, but I think it’s the steroids...... just kidding. That being said, if the NCAA wants to launch an investigation I won’t stop them). Pitt probably has a case for Top 10 defense in the country. I mention all of that not to eliminate hope, but instead to highlight how important it will be for our offensive line to learn how to not move before the ball is snapped. Monday’s game may have been a little closer heading into halftime had we limited stupid penalties.

Chris: I’ve said this in various places, but summarized: positives are Sims improvement, offensive playcalling improvement. Negatives are the defense falling apart, the offense not staying on the field for more than 3 plays at a time, and special teams.

Jake: Even then, I still felt that Sims looked pretty good on his feet. I think some more sustained drives will be able to hopefully grind down defenses a little more, which hopefully brings the added benefit of keeping our own defense fresher. It wasn’t a perfect game by any stretch — and the clock management was abysmal — but I certainly feel a bit more optimistic for the year than I did going into the game.

Carter: Negatives.... lack of discipline, bad special teams, after all that off season talk about tight ends literally all of us forgot they exist, an inability to play for the full 60 minutes, that one video of that one player giving decidedly less than maximum effort, game management so bad the entire world was laughing. Positives.... um, well, Tech had zero turnovers after the first play of the game? The defense actually recorded some sacks? Jeff Sims’ completion percent was above 60%? Really feels like I’m grasping at straws.