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Mailbag 1/11

What movie or TV show are you most looking forward to in 2023?

2022 SCAD Savannah Film Festival Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Ed. Note: I missed a couple questions from last week, so I have included those as well.

GTSMURF: WBB - what’s up with them this year?

Before the season I said that we needed another big center/pf to be successful this year. I do not believe Nerea could be a successful without another taking up space and being more physical with the opponents. Aixa Wone and Kayla Blackshear apparently cannot provide the inside support yet.

What’s up with Eliya? We need to pray for her. She does appear heavier. Is that a result of Fortner and the WBB staff wanting to make her more physical? Or something else? She is a slasher. Sometimes added weight, even if it is considered good weight, works for some people.

How much of this is Nell trying to force a change in how her team plays and it isn’t working?

Jack: It’s a strange time with WBB right now. The Swartz/Jackson tandem has suddenly become very ineffective (23% combined shooting in the last two games). Aranaz and Blackshear played their best games all season against Wake Forest. Aranaz was making tough shots that Nerea has never shown an interest in making. I don’t know if she’s afraid of contact or what, but switching to Aixa underneath the basket is working because she’s done the best at replacing Lorela Cubaj’s physical play. That was a question in the air for me coming into the season, and I think it’s pretty clear she’s the answer there.

Without Blackshear, rebounding goes down a level. She most consistently provides toughness to the team. While her and Aranaz underneath will likely not reach the level of Cubaj/Hermosa last season, it’s a path forward that is showing signs of improvement.

Nell and the coaching staff wanted to speed up the offense, and honestly I don’t think it worked. If they get full court pressed, the team suffers. If Bianca or Cam just holds the ball and waits for something to happen, the team suffers. And then she shifted to a Noguero/Morgan/Dunn backcourt, and it might be working. While it’s produced 2 losses so far, if Jackson makes one bucket against Wake, we’re 1-1 with the freshman lineup.

On Love, we don’t know anything beyond that she was dismissed and apparently is in the transfer portal. I share your observation that she looked physically different at the beginning of the year. But, she still found playing time and had positive spurts. I do hope she lands on her feet and can continue her career in a good place.

Jake: Jack hit all the major points. I would agree on essentially all of them. One thing I do want to reiterate is that the retooling we saw this year is a shift from the traditional ground and pound style basketball Tech has played for a long time, and the personnel changes are kind of a swing in that regard. It may take a bit to get used to the new system, but, regardless, I think some greater presence up the middle is my primary concern looking ahead at next year and beyond.

jabsterjacket: Did Tech dodge a bullet by not looking at Deion Sanders?

Ben: I don’t know if “dodge a bullet” is the phrase that I would use. I think they were wise in avoiding an unknown commodity in Deion Sanders. Sure, his move to Colorado has generated some excitement, but nobody actually knows how good of a coach he will prove to be. If he doesn’t get Colorado winning quickly, well, it may prove to be a good move on the part of Auburn to not hire him. Granted, I don’t think Auburn made a good decision anyway. In fact, I don’t think they’ve made a good decision in some time.

Chris: I wouldn’t necessarily say so. Deion is no different than any other coaching hire - he might work out, he might not. Personally I didn’t really want us to hire him, but I wouldn’t have been particularly mad about it. He’s probably going to have to learn to play ball with the bigger name programs though if he wants a bigger name job; Colorado is a place willing to concede some of those things and take a big risk but the blue bloods are not going to operate the same way.

Jake: I’d say yes, Tech did. A lot of that is personal bias against the cavalcade of other things he brings along with him, but the video of him openly saying he was going to process the whole team goes against essentially the entire Bobby Dodd modus operandi.

Logan: Not sure if I would go as far as saying we dodged a bullet. Deion has a clear idea of how he wants to run a program, and his idea does not align with how Georgia Tech currently runs things. It’s hard to say conclusively whether Deion will see results while following his vision, but it’s clear that if Deion had come GT it would have been a change in team philosophy and attitude which I doubt everyone associated with the football program would agree with. That said, if you’re of the stance that an attitude and philosophy shift is what Tech needs to become competitive again maybe you feel otherwise.

Frodo Swagginz: With the recent portal additions, assuming everyone is schemed and deployed well, what position group do you see as the weak link next season?

Ben: Georgia Tech still doesn’t have a surefire way to replace the production of Keion White, so I am curious to see how things go along the defensive line. I don’t think the linebackers will be quite back to where they are, but I am pleased with the additions there.

Chris: It’s been the offensive line for years so they’ve got to be the odds-on favorite.

Logan: It’ll be on offense. I expect the O-line to continue to be a problem as they have been the past few years. If the O-line can’t block you’re going to continue to see struggles moving the ball. Defense needs an edge rusher, but that may not stop the defense from being at least decent

CTjacket: Could you give a short recap and initial reaction on the recent football staff (on- & off-field) hires?

Ben: Yes! Larry Knight (DL) and David Turner (Defensive Run Game Coordinator) were both dismissed, and Jason Semore (LB/ST) was moved explicitly to Special Teams Coordinator. To replace Knight and Turner, Brent Key hired Marco Coleman from Michigan State to coach the defensive line and free agent Kevin Sherrer to coach the linebackers. Starting with the dismissals, I’m a little disappointed to lose Turner. He brought a wealth of experience, and I believe he was a big part of the reason for the improvements along Georgia Tech’s defensive line this season. I’m also a little bummed to see Jason Semore moved away from the linebackers. I thought he did a great job pulling the best out of Charlie Thomas and Ace Eley. As far as the hires, I think Coleman is a good option to bring back. He was a really good recruiter, and I’m curious to see what he can do with the defensive line. Sherrer, I am less familiar with. I know he is a former SEC defensive assistant, and there’s a rumor that Saban wanted him to replace Jeremy Pruitt as Bama’s DC, but Pruitt hired him at Tennessee first. I don’t know the validity of that, but it’s intriguing, nonetheless. The hire I am probably most excited about, though, is an off-field hire in Tim McFarlin as Director of High School Relations:

As Kelly mentions in the tweet, McFarlin is well-known around the state, and should hopefully help develop the relationships Georgia Tech’s staff has with those high schools to improve Georgia Tech’s in-state recruiting. Right now, Tech’s in-state recruiting is quite atrocious, so I will welcome any help! It also appears that the extra money that Key received for assistants will mostly be going to off-the-field staff like McFarlin, so that’s also pretty exciting.

Georgia Tech also added former NFL DL coach Brian Baker as an off-field analyst. He previously also coached linebackers at Georgia Tech.

In general, I am pretty happy with how the staff shook out, even if I didn’t like all the hires. Particularly, I am excited that Georgia Tech is investing in its off-the-field staff with hires like Brian Baker and Tim McFarlin. Just so it’s somewhere, here’s the full on-the-field staff:

Georgia Tech 2023 Coaching Staff

Name Title
Name Title
Brent Key Head Coach
Buster Faulkner Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach
Chris Weinke Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Norval McKenzie Running Backs Coach
Josh Crawford Wide Receivers Coach
Geep Wade Offensive Line Coach
Andrew Thacker Defensive Coordinator
Kevin Sherrer Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Marco Coleman Defensive Line Coach
Travares Tillman Defensive Backs Coach
Jason Semore Special Teams Coordinator

As a side note, Georgia Tech has not officially announced any of the new hires, so these are mostly reported titles.

jabsterjacket: Thoughts on this:

Ben: Easiest decision in the world.

Drew: Fantastic. I’m very happy for Paul. He was THE triple option guy for much of his career and had some serious accomplishments as a head coach. The College Football Hall of Fame should reward innovators and those who mastered parts of the game like Johnson did.

Chris: It’s awesome. He leaves an enormous legacy and a lot of the concepts he pioneered are found all over CFB and even the NFL. It’s great for the Tech brand as well - it keeps our name on the national stage even during these hard times.

Jake: A well earned reward to one of not only Tech’s most successful coaches of all time, but someone who elevated and innovated at every level he coached at. Even more so, I would say it is not a stretch to also add that he was unfairly underrated for those accomplishments when he was an active coach, too. I am so happy for coach.

Logan: I think PJ flies under some people’s radar as one of the most talented coaches of his time, but if you look at his record and what he did for the programs he coached at then you know he deserves a spot in the CFHoF. I think it’s a shame that he gets tied down to being THE Veer Option coach; it’s true, but I think it overshadows that PJ was just flat out one of the best coaches in the game during his time.

jabsterjacket: When will we next win COFH in football?

Ben: Your guess is as good as mine.

Jack: Next year. All you gotta do is

Chris: I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts on this in the FTRS slack for a couple days now. Here’s where I’m currently at: I’m finding it hard to believe we’ll win more than once in the next 10 or so years, and by that time I think they’ll split off into a super league and the rivalry will end. I really don’t think a lot of people realize how far apart we now are - I think the “rah rah beat the dwags” stuff blinds people to just how astronomically beyond us they are as a program. We’ve won just four of 22 games this millennium and much of that was their “can’t get it done and always underperform expectations“ era. Now we’re in their dynasty and domination era. There’s always a chance anything can happen in the chaos of CFB, but that’s exactly what it’s going to take: absolute chaos.

Jake: I would say it might be a while…and that hopefully it happens within the next decade.

Logan: A lot can happen in 10 years. We’ve seen plenty of big programs drop off and small ones rise up in shorter amounts of time. I can’t say I’m optimistic given where things have sat the past few years, but I would expect sometime in the next decade.

thebugman10: When is the next time we beat uga at BDS? O/U 12 years

Ben: Your guess is as good as mine. To elaborate a little more, Georgia Tech isn’t even in the same class as Georgia right now. Sure, Tech kept it close for a half this season. TCU kept it close for a little bit too. Georgia is just a better team than Georgia Tech in every conceivable category by a wide margin, and with the amount of funding that Georgia has flowing into its program compared to Tech, that isn’t going to change anytime soon. And until it does, I don’t see Tech being able to be competitive with UGA.

Chris: See above, but yeah, I’d probably say over if at all.

Jake: I don’t want to agree with them, but I think it’s a fair assessment.

Logan: I’ll take the under, per my comments above, but I don’t feel great about it.

GTalbatross: I haven’t watched too many hard court games yet this year but I was happy to beat Miami. What remaining games on the schedule should I look to be good match-ups for the team? What should I expect to see for the team performance?

Drew: For the third season in a row the ACC is terrible at basketball. Additionally, Tech has basically the easiest schedule possible with them getting two games against most of the worst teams. Home games against NC State, Duke, and Virginia Tech and an away game at NC State are the only remaining games against top-50 teams (according to kenpom). Clemson has surprised everyone by jumping out to first place and we still play them away.

This team just is not good and I would expect more games like the Florida State one than the Miami one. I think the home games remaining that have the best chance to be a good game are Pitt on 1/14 and Syracuse on 1/21. Look for some young guys to start making a leap at the end of the season.

Jake: It would be nice to have last night’s overtime loss in South Bend back, that’s for sure. Georgia Tech has a fair shot in pretty much any conference game, and has played Virginia, Miami, and Clemson already, who represent some of the ACC’s best this year. I would think we could collect at least a few more ACC wins along the rest of the way, accordingly.

Asa: Well, the Yellow Jackets are fortunate enough to have two games against Louisville left on the schedule, as well as a matchup with Boston College. If any of those three end up being losses, then some panic is absolutely warranted. Outside of that, who knows. The ACC is a little wacky this year and I’m not sure any team has a legitimate claim to being the creme de la creme of the conference. I think it is important to remember that this team was picked to finish dead last in the conference after losing the two best players from a team that finished second to last in the conference. With that in mind, this season is going about as expected, maybe even a little better. I feel confident saying that the Jackets will struggle to compete with the top half of the conference, as we have already seen. However, the bottom half is anyone’s for the taking and the schedule is fairly forgiving. BartTorvik predicts the Yellow Jackets to finish with a 7-13 record in conference, I’d say that would be a fairly reasonable expectation.

Rbissman: When are we going to start talking about change with GT basketball?? Pastner just can’t turn the corner with this program. GT deserves better.

Ben: I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with you about GT deserving better. Unfortunately, though, unless someone is willing to put up the money to make a change, I don’t see it happening before the end of the season. A quick Google search did not provide any helpful information on Pastner’s current contract situation/buyout information, but seeing as Stansbury gave Geoff Collins a full buyout, I imagine Pastner probably got a similar treatment. His contract is currently set to go through a few more seasons at roughly $2.2 million-ish, so it would cost about $6.5 million to fire him after the season, assuming his salary hasn’t changed. And then you have to find and hire an interested coach.

Logan: As a wise person once said “It’s all about the money, money, money”

Asa: We are still less than two years removed from an ACC Championship, so I seriously doubt there will be any actual change within the next year or so. Last season was very bad, and this season is not looking much better. However, things change very quickly in college basketball. One or two transfers can completely transform a roster. There is talent on this team, just not an identity. If next year looks like more of the same, I think Pastner will be cut loose. Until that actually happens, I will choose to remain optimistic and hopeful that he can right the ship after one and a half wayward seasons.

Submitted via email: Hey guys,

Hope all is well for you. Another year of dealing with barking from uga fans who didn’t even go to the school huh? That’s not how we were hoping for things to end, but I guess that’s what’s happening. Apparently everyone doubted them the entire year... Get over yourself Stetson Bennet; I can’t wait to see you get to the pros only to be terrible for 2 years and then be a backup for the rest of your career.

Don’t really feel like talking about sports for obvious reasons, so I guess lets talk about tv or movies. What TV or Movie are you most looking forward to in the coming year? I’m excited for The Last of Us, but also kind of worried because video game movies and shows tend to get messed up by directors who don’t understand the source material. We’ll see how that plays out. What are you looking forward to seeing this year that will distract you from sports in the coming year?



Ben: I watched the trailer for Ant-Man earlier today, and I’m incredibly hype. Outside of that, I’m going to steal the answers I see Jack writing right now and also say Oppenheimer and Ahsoka. I’m a big Christopher Nolan fan, and somehow he has managed to recreate the atom bomb blast without CGI, which is concerning. But I have to see how he did it. Over all of these, though, my most anticipated movie is Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Looking at some other movies set to come out (in not particular order), I’m interested in Creed 3 (I enjoyed the first two), Shazam! Fury of the Gods (the last good movie of the old DCEU?), Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (I can’t tell you how excited I am for this), The Super Mario Bros. Movies (I’m not excited for Chris Pratt, but the rest of this looks good), The Flash (I have to see this absolute travesty), Indiana Jones 5 (come on, I have to see this too), and Dune: Part Two (the first one was amazing). Man, that’s a lot more than I expected, and there were a few I left off, so I guess there are a lot of movies I’m looking forward to.

Jack: I’m big on Oppenheimer and Ahsoka. I’ll definitely be in the theater for Ant-Man: Quantumania when it comes out.

Chris: Oppenheimer, Dune Part Two, and Killers of the Flower Moon.

Jake: Haven’t looked too closely at what is coming out next, but I think the Percy Jackson tv show will be a good boost of middle school nostalgia whenever it finally hits the streaming platforms.

Logan: Across the Spiderverse is gonna be great if it delivers the same experience as the first movie. I’m generally burnt out on Star Wars and Marvel but I am going to watch the new Mandalorian season and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 regardless. People taking big swings with Mario Bros and the Dungeon and Dragons movie, I’m hoping for the best but I’ve seen plenty of those movies fall short in the past. Lowkey interested in Justified: City Primeval because I always liked that series. Also excited for the Shogun tv series which may release this year (currently no official release date, but some indication that it will be late this year) as I loved the book and have been wanting an updated adaptation for a while.