This one was coordinated by Nathan from GoldenTornado. He went back and forth with me, Kyle "The Mayor" King and Hey, Jenny Slater. Only HJS has the recaps up as of 10:00 am this morning.
My questions for Nathan are in bold. Nathan's answers are below.
1. For as long as I can remember, Georgia Tech has said that it "stood for something more." That the "Total Person Concept" was taught at Tech as part of Bobby Dodd's legacy. Tech fans constantly belittled UGA's player discipline as "They only sit players for homecoming." Given that long history of rhetoric, how do Tech fans justify Gailey's decision to play Reuben Houston vs. Miami given Reuben Houston is awaiting trial on a 100 lb federal felony drug charge and that the courts did not force Gailey to play him? Do you agree with Lou Holtz's comments on ESPN News today that Gailey made the decision that a pro coach would make. Holtz basically said that no college coach would have played Houston b/c it reflects so poorly on the school. How many times do you think that Bobby Dodd rolled over in his grave when Houston took the field?
Nathan - First off, at this point it seems pretty much a forgone conclusion that Houston won’t be convicted of anything, and that some of the more sensational of the accusations aren’t true (100lbs of MJ in his diaper bag, etc). However, he was involved in a drug deal no matter how minor the role and as such should have never seen the field again in a GT uniform. Once the judge ordered that he hadn’t violated the code of conduct and threatened to hold the institute in contempt of court for failing to follow earlier rulings – Braine basically told Gailey to use him as a normal player. Personally, it was a terrible move and something that 90% of Tech fans strongly disliked, we do feel that we “stand for something more”.
That being said, I don’t ever want to hear Lou Holtz and his sorry cheating weasel of a self talking crap on anyone’s program. I’m waiting for his fellow ESPN staff to call him on the carpet for the crap that he’s left USC-E with, and the fact that he hasn’t yet left a program without NCAA sanctions. Him calling out ANY coach for ANY reason is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Also, I’m not sure Bobby Dodd is rolling over. While he wasn’t quite as ruthless as some old SEC coaches, he basically followed the Vince Dooley school of recruiting – if you get them on campus, it was worth it. I’m not saying he cheated per se, but some of his tactics would end you up on probation today, as would Dooley’s or Bear Bryant’s. That’s just the way it was back then, we pay much more attention to off the field behavior now than in the 50’s.
I don’t like the judge’s ruling. I don’t like Houston on the field. I don’t like being on probation, even if the NCAA found the school had no “intent”, just incompetence. I don’t like even being remotely in the same conversation as UGA in this matter, it’s not what GT stands for and the people responsible for it need to hit the pavement, pronto.
PWD Note: I agree on the Holtz "pot calling the kettle black comment."
2. You asked me "Am I shocked that Braine hasn't been fired?" I would ask you the same question.
Nathan - I cannot believe he’s not hitting up AtlantaHelpWanted.com as we speak. He’s done some wonderful things for the GT athletic department, especially in women’s sports. He’s also presided over the two biggest black marks in GT history (Flunkgate and now this probation). You can’t do that to Ma Tech and keep your job. We can’t fire him fast enough, imo.
3. Does it worry you that 2 of Tech's 3 losses have come to mobile QBs much in the same mold as Shockley. Why is it that Tech has struggled so much this year with mobile QBs like those of VT and UVA? (BTW --- ignore the 3 of 4 losses comment in the responses I just sent you. I was using Reggie Ball's abacus to count to 4)
Nathan - Marcus Vick didn’t beat us running the football, heck – VT’s offense didn’t do much that game – their special teams and defense just obliterated us. Marques Hagans on the other hand owns us completely, and has for his career.
The problem with mobile QB’s is that they negate GT’s biggest advantage on defense, our speed on the d-line and linebackers and uses that against us. Tenuta would blitz the tuba player from the band if he could, and that leaves openings if you are quick enough to exploit them. Will Shockley recognize them quickly enough is the question. I think he’ll do alright, though he hasn’t seemed to run as much this year as I thought he would. This isn’t going to be Cox or Wright sitting back there like tackling dummies.
On the other hand, UGA’s offensive line isn’t nearly as good D’Brickashaw and company up at UVa. They are more of a slow plodding type of line, and our d-line has given those types of lines fits. It doesn’t matter how much your QB can run if it’s a jailbreak every play. (FWIW, my brother actually knew Dan Inman growing up – he’s from the same part of NC as I’m from, doesn’t mean I don’t hope he gets abused by Oliver/Robertson over there).
4. What is your biggest worry about the UGA offense? What is your biggest worry about the UGA defense?
Nathan - Lining up behind that big slow o-line and running it right at us. Our d-line is undersized and can get pushed around by a power running game. Again, watch UVa or NCSU tape for this (NCSU has a couple of tremendous young backs by the way, they are like Arkansas in that regard). Wrotto is our only really large DT, and he’s a better o-lineman than d-lineman.
Leonard Pope scares the poop out of me. Philip Wheeler and KaMichael Hall will both play in the NFL, but it’s going to be a tall task to keep him under control. That guy is inhuman.
Try anything fancy though and our D will shove it right back up where the sun don’t shine. It’s not a mistake we looked faster than Miami last weekend, because we are. Gailey’s recruiting model has been to get kids with speed and big frames that might take a year or two to fill in. Everyone on Tech’s defense can really run.
Biggest worry about the UGA defense? Well, you don’t rush the passer tremendously well, and that’s what killed us in Blacksburg. Other than that game, our offense is basically good for 300-350 yards and about 20 points every game. It’s going to be on our defense to keep UGA below that number, we’re just not built to win shootouts – and I’m not sure UGA’s defense really matters into that one way or the other.
5. I haven't followed Tech's special teams this year. However, I watched the Miami game and saw a special teams display of total ineptitude. Are you special teams "Special" in the "short bus" sense of the word? Or are they normally "Special" in the "Key contributors most weeks but not vs. Miami"
sense of the word? (Note: If Luke Manget sneaks onto the field, I'm going to frigging lose it).
Nathan - Helmet Stickers for GT’s special teams...
Lets just say that as both the Special Teams Coach and GT’s Recruiting Coordinator, David Wilson shouldn’t be feeling too good about his job security – on either front.
Thanks to Nathan for putting this roundtable discussion together.