Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Podcast - The Birddog

This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of podcasts with fellow bloggers, people in the sports media and other "characters of interest" if you will covering Georgia Tech sports specifically, and college sports in general.

Today is the first of these, and the guest is Mike from The Birddog - a Navy blog that many GT fans are already familiar with thanks to his excellent breakdowns of the "option based spread" offense and the history of Paul Johnson and modern option football. There isn't anyone you can find who's doing better work with regards to covering option football anywhere. He was gracious enough to spend nearly an hour with me discussing some history of the offense, specifics with regards to the play by play execution and a bunch of topics related to the option based spread, Paul Johnson and GT football.

edit - technical issues with hosting the podcast should be resolved now

Click here for MP3 file
Click here to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed

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Monday, August 10, 2009

New Basketball Assistant Coach

So, it's started to leak out that the new assistant coach to replace Charlton Young will be former GT guard and current ECU assistant coach Darryl Labarrie. This hasn't been officially confirmed by the GTAA, but I expect the announcment will be made any day now.

Darryl is considered to be a very promising rising star in the coaching community and Labarrie has strong ties to the Atlanta AAU scene and is an excellent recruiter. Since Young was the primary recruiter, especially for the key Atlanta area, Labarrie should slide in and take over many of those responsibilities immediately. I'm excited to see a GT guy do well, and Labarrie certainly has a strong resume already for a young coach.

This hire probably won't go over well with many who are frustrated with the current state of the program, and who would like to see another older experienced voice on the bench. In fact, I expect this hire to create quite a bit of negative backlash in certain parts of the GT fanbase. This hire wasn't for that though, this hire was to replace Coach Young, and to fill the hole of head recruiter and find someone with strong ties to the Atlanta Celtics and other AAU programs in the southeast. Under that list of requirements, Labarrie is probably the best hire that could have possibly been made - he's young, he has a history with GT, he's known as being a very hard worker and he's a terrific recruiter.

Much like a roster of players, a roster of coaches is built to meet a broad range of challenges and with skillsets that compliment each other. Just as a team of a dozen centers would be deficient in ball handling and outside shooting, a roster of coaches that all have the same strengths can be deficient in other areas. Labarrie seems from the outside to be yet another young coach known for being a strong recruiter, which is a very important skillset in college basketball, and he fits a the hole left by Coach Young.

If there's to be a critique of the current staff for a lack of experience or gravitas on the bench, it should be a critique of the members of the staff who are in those roles right now. Both coaches O'Connor and Zaharis are long time career assistant coaches with a depth of experience outside of GT's program and should have those roles covered. The role that Coach Young had was empty when he left for Georgia Southern, and Labarrie moves into that spot now. Having a program without a lead recruiter is just like having a team without a point guard ... and we all know how that story ends.

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Why did this ever sound like a good idea to anyone?

Look - I can understand (sort of) the thought process that led people to shirtless football players standing with hot cars like this and this. In the end, it wasn't a good idea ... but at least I can follow the thought process.

This though ... I don't know where to begin.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Podcast News

One of the bigger focuses of this blog in this reincarnation is going to be podcasting. While I'm still trying to line up various guests ranging from other bloggers to "professional" media members to fans and friends - the first two podcasts are booked now.

In the next couple of days (pending technical issues) I'll have podcast #1 up with myself and a couple of friends discussing the ridiculously absurd ESPN 40 team draft and some general college football wide trends. In the middle of next week, Mike from the Navy blog The Birddog has graciously agreed to spend some time talking about Paul Johnson and the "spread option" offense. We'll cover some of the history of the offense as well as some of the more technical details.

The goal is for 1-2 podcasts a week of about 30 minutes each. We'll see how successful I am in keeping up that pace, but it should be entertaining.

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I'm sorry, I think you left out some key points ...

Calvin Johnson has a video up on Youtube teaching young WR's how to run a fade route, part of a series of instructional videos that Nike sponsored football players have participated in. It's actually a really good look at the technique required to get off the line cleanly and run an effective route (Calvin looks even bigger than he did at GT, if that's possible). And considering that CJ might be the best WR in terms of running the fade route I've ever seen (remember this catch against Auburn?, or this one against Clemson?, or this one against ND?), it's probably something that young WR's around the country should check out. Maybe someone should stick it on Stephen Hill's Facebook page, he should be watching it every night before he goes to bed.

All that being said, there were some important things he left out of the lesson. Calvin doesn't mention that growing to 6'4", working on your ability to verticle jump more than 3 feet and having gigantic soft hands are important prerequisites for this class (sounds familiar to some math classes I had where they conveniently forgot to tell you that a firm grasp of Bessel Functions was essential to even making it through the first day). The final line of the video is "more times than not, you'll be successful". Really? Somehow I just don't think that's true in my case, no matter how closely I follow Professor Calvin's instructions.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Check, check, check ... is this thing on?

So - Golden Tornado is back.

A lot of things have changed since I first started writing this blog - I moved twice, took a different "real" job, wrote on the side for AOL's Fanhouse for a couple of years and a bunch of other good GT blogs sprouted up. It used to be this blog, Scott over at the GT Sports Blog (which appears to be on some sort of hiatus right now) and Goldtimer over at Wreck Ramblin (defunct since 2007). Now there's all sorts of options - the guys at From the Rumble Seat are doing an awesome job and Jacket Buzz has been making a strong start with excellent practice reports.

Those sites are based in Atlanta, and they have larger groups of writers - they will always do a better job than me of covering the day to day activities in the program. This blog will go back to being what it was before - some random combination of analysis, snarkiness and personal opinions and experiences. Expect to continue to see more hoops stuff here than most of the other GT sites on the net just like before. There will also be some form of a weekly podcast, still trying to work out the details but it should be entertaining.

It's funny to look back and see what I was writing on this blog in the fall of 2006. The excitement for the basketball programs seems just sad in hindsight, and the soul crushing losses to Georgia and Wake to end what had started as such a strong football season hadn't happened yet. Maybe it's fitting that I'm spinning this back up at what is probably the highest point of anticipation for both programs since that time.