Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dawan Landry joins P.J

Man, I'm going to have to start cheering for Baltimore ... ugh. Former Yellow Jacket safety Dawan Landry was selected in the 5th round (#146 overall) by the Ravens, joining earlier Ravens pick P.J Daniels as '05 Jackets on the Ravens roster.

P.J to the Ravens

Former walk-on, 7th stringer and then ACC single season rushing leader (that's an interesting combination) - P.J Daniels was drafted this afternoon in the 4th round (#132 overall) by the Baltimore Ravens.

As an interesting side note to this, it is very likely that P.J will take former Bulldog Musa Smith's spot on the Baltimore roster, and we all know that a Yellow Jacket will be an automatic upgrade on a 'dawg. P.J has been one of my favorite players throughout his career, it's hard to not get drawn into his story and his heart and effort. He turned himself from an afterthought into a team leader and now an NFL player. Congratulations to P.J - he's earned every bit of it the hard way.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gerris to the Giants

Georgia Tech alumn Gerris Wilkinson was drafted today by the New York Giants in the 3rd round (96th overall). Wilkinson will rejoin fellow Yellow Jacket James Butler on the Giants defensive unit.

What's interesting is that many teams felt Wilkinson was a better fit in a 3-4 defense because of his experience at OLB and DE in his career at GT, but it looks likely he'll be playing ILB for the Giants like he did at the end of his Tech career. Tech has had a ton of success producing NFL linebackers recently (Smith, Fox, Brooking, etc) and Wilkinson with his work ethic, leadership and broad skillset should make a fine addition to that list.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Kenny Scott! (the best site on the planet) has totally redone their interface and player, taking an already excellent site and improving on it even more. Since I'm already getting worked up for football season, this is a great excuse for me to go through my video collection and upload more of them as I can.

One of the keys for next year's defense is going to be the play of Kenny Scott, who's going to have the unenviable task of matching up against everybody's #1 WR ... and with our lack of depth and experience anywhere else in the secondary he's going to get very little help. Scott has more than lived up to his big time reputation coming out of high school, and hopefully his senior year he can truly step and show off his leadership ability to go with his ridiculous athletic ability. Scott can play himself into a early first day draft pick with another solid year, and if so - he'll be a huge reason why this should easily be the best Chan Gailey coached Tech team.

Scott made a couple of terrific plays last year, and I figure they are worth rewatching to get the blood flowing for the season to kick off. First was the interception return for a TD against UCONN where he stepped in front of a (telegraphed) pass and jetted down the sideling, capping it off with a front flip into the endzone.

This second play was one of the biggest of the season, a key 4th and 7 stop late in the Clemson game that sealed the win. He absolutely stoned his man, and refused to give up any ground with a terrific hit (watch him square his body and drive through the hit - somewhere his high school coach is smiling at the technique). Big play by a big time player.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Could this happen to us?

Dan had to weigh in on the NCSU coaching hire and whether or not a potential replacement for Gailey would put GT in the same boat - I guess one column a week isn't enough to cover everything for him. (For the record, I think NCSU's coaching search debacle says a lot more about the quality of job that Lee Fowler is doing as their AD than anything about their fans or the job in general - so I do agree with Dan on this one).

One of these things is not like the other.

Everyone is getting a great laugh in the ACC, and probably across the nation, out of NC State’s trials and tribulations in finding a new men’s basketball coach. Hell, I rank among them since I absolutely cannot stand NC State in any way, shape, or form. However, I still think they were at a dead-end with Sendek. He’s a good guy and a solid coach, though not as super genius as people were trying to give him credit for. Let’s be honest the Flex offense is like blackjack strategy. You do the same things over and over again based on the given situation. You might have at most three choices to make in said situation and the best choice is usually heavily weighted against the other two unless you’re willing to gamble a bit. Everyone out there calling him some X’s and O’s genius doesn’t seem to realize that it’s just a system that you drill over and over again. It’s great for under talented schools like Air Force and Princeton in that it enables them to compete with other more talented programs, but its weaknesses mean the odds are very long of it carrying you to a national championship.

But I’m not here to get into basketball minutiae; this post is about the aftermath of Sendek’s departure and what’s being said about it in GT circles. Right now NC State is struggling to find a replacement HC and Chan Gailey supporters have taken this as gospel testament that if you let a winning coach go that it will be impossible to replace him. I was a firm believer in this argument when people were saying to get rid of Chan in years 1 and 2 of his service (full disclosure: I didn’t like him back then either, but I knew that firing a coach after two years of winning seasons would be a disaster in finding a replacement). For this argument to hold now the following statements would have to be true; as I will show they are most certainly not.

Herb’s record is similar to Chan’s in the W-L column

In the last 5 years Herb Sendek has won 20+ games in 4 of them and had 18 wins in the one year that he was under 20. Comparing this to the 7-6, 7-6, 7-5, and 7-5 campaigns under the Gailey era is just not being realistic about what a 20 win season in basketball means. Even with the increased amount of patsy non-conference scheduling in basketball you have to have a very successful conference campaign and likely a small run in post season play to achieve 20 wins in men’s basketball. This is why it’s considered such a high water market for a program to hit 20 wins in a season. Football on the other hand basically starts with 6 wins being a requirement for bowl eligibility with 7 wins being the standard for a moderately successful season. To even compare multiple 7 win (two of which came in 13 game seasons) to multiple 20+ win seasons in basketball is ludicrous.

Herb’s post season exploits are similar to Chan’s

I’m working on not swearing in articles for this blog so I’ll blank it out, but this is about the ****ing stupidest thing I have ever heard. Comparing the Silicon Valley, Humanitarian, Champ Sports, and Emerald Bowls to 5 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament is ridiculous. At best you could compare that to 4 trips to the NIT and I’m not certain that’s even fair considering the supply/demand ratio for post season basketball play is much higher than that for post season football play. Let’s just move on before I start throwing things.

NC State’s coaching search is being conducted in the exact same manner GT would conduct its coaching search

I defended the feeling of the Pack with regards to Sendek up above. Wanting him gone was still not a mistake in my mind, but the aftermath of his departure has been an absolute cluster****. The State faithful seem to believe that a 20-year-old national title puts them in position to be an elite b-ball program. In this regard they are no different than your average Tech fan talking about 4 MNC’s in football. The difference here is that the NC State administration seems to have bought into the hype and feel like they offer a program that can attract away a happy coach from a current or rising national basketball power. This same train of thought just isn’t going to happen within the Tech administration as shown by the Gailey hiring. We set very realistic expectations during that hiring (in my opinion they haven’t worked out or I’m very frightened if they have) and I see no reason why the new AD wouldn’t follow suit.

The truth is that all of the pieces are in place for Chan Gailey to prove me wrong this year. Studly offensive line, future top 5 draft pick at WR, “veteran” starting QB, and a front 7 on defense that would willingly sack your grandmother and then spit on her. There can be no excuses this year, because we look pretty damn stacked. I was close to believing last year with how the season started out, but eventually I came to see the same old things that I’d always seen from Gailey teams. Stunningly brilliant play in one game (Miami) followed by mind numbing ineptness in another (Utah). I am locked into one more year of potential heart attack inducing inconsistency from game to game (yet there is amazing consistency come end of the season.) I would LOVE to be proven wrong about my suspicions. Unlike your average Tech fan I don’t think being wrong is the worst thing ever in the world, but I don’t have any faith that he will prove me wrong and NC State’s post Sendek search doesn’t have me quaking in my boots about us finding a new coach if I’m right


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Like a Crack Addict and are seriously the two greatest inventions in modern man's recent history. Now pathetic shaking addicts like myself can satiate our desires for college football year round. I'm honestly not sure how I made my way through previous offseasons without these wonderful sites to get me over the hump.

One of the best hits from last year was Miami linebacker Jon Beason absolutely destroying Colorado QB Joel Klatt on a block as Klatt was attempting (with no chance) to stop a defensive TD. Beason was actually flagged for unneccessary roughness on the play, which was basically the referee ruling that a hit so vicious couldn't possibly be clean no matter what it looked like. When the QB flies 5 yards in the air, it's gotta be a flag somewhere - at least that had to be the line of reasoning.

Most underated part of the scene though? Backup defensive tackle Kareem Brown (#99) making the "U" sign to the crowd and strutting around ... while his teammate is still 25 yards from the end zone. Nice hustle to keep up with the play there big boy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shockers (and I don't mean WSU)

So, there's a lot of pictures of basketball recruits going around the net - and it looks like being a bit time baller has it's privledges. Check out Greg Oden, for example. (by the way, where on earth is he? That house looks like something out of Napoleon Dynamite).

But Greg Oden is, well, Greg Oden. He's not a big white stiff who's going to spend his ACC career getting postered and clogging the lane. I mean, Serge Zwikker wasn't pulling that kind of action in high school, or it certainly wasn't getting out much. Not to mention, Zwik (or Nick Smith, or any of a litany of other 7 foot big slow white guys) wasn't going to a school currently under the cloud of a sexual assault investigation involving athletes. You know, one of those situations that would probably have you keeping a low profile for a little while, regardless of the perceived guilt or innocence of the involved individuals.

All of that brings us to Brian Zoubek. Zoubek is a 7'+ center from Jersey who is going to Duke next year, and he's currently pretty much a big slow fouling machine with some potential but certainly not a lock for any sort of greatness. What pops up on the internet though? Zoubs throwing the shocker to a couple of high school girls at what appears to be his prom. Niiiiiiiiiice. I'm sure Duke loved to see that right now.

(click for bigger version)

By the way Brian, you might want to stick with the blonde on your left - the brunette is a bit "Jersey" if you catch my drift. Of course, going to Duke ... maybe that's your style. Stay classy.

(p.s - I'm very glad the whole digital camera / / stage came after I left high school)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dan weighs in on Zam

As has become common knowledge, Zam “Buck” Frederick has decided to transfer from Georgia Tech and conclude his basketball career someplace else. I’m personally pretty conflicted about this. On one hand nobody on this year’s team made me throw things quite like Zam did during games. Poor decisions with the ball, poor shot selection at times, and obvious conditioning issues. On the other hand he played hard every game, maybe not smart, but hard and he was willing to give it a shot playing out of position. Although by the end of the season we had to move him back to his SG spot for the most part. I give him credit for trying to prove that he deserved that starting spot for this year and even next. He failed, but you can’t succeed if you aren’t willing to risk failure. With all of that in mind, I would like to bid him a hearty good luck. This is really the best thing for him and team in the long run.

So let’s look at some of the concerns floating around out there. with your average Tech fan all this really means is furthered opportunities for worry in

  1. Dickey is Zam’s BFF and will leave with him – Really pretty silly, but then again so are most Tech fans. For one thing he didn’t look to transfer last year when we went through this with Zam then. Secondly, he’s a guaranteed starter and probably will be on several pundits’ pre-season ACC players to watch lists. Third, they aren’t married and the advent of the cell phone and the Internet make staying friends not that difficult. Considering Dickey is apparently one of our smartest students I just don’t think he’d be this dumb.

  2. Who’s going to be our backup PG . . . WHO!?!?!?!? – The guy that finished the season as the starting PG actually. Folks seem to be forgetting that for most of the last run of the season Mario started at PG with Zam coming first at SG and then rotating over to PG for brief minutes. Is Mario West an ACC caliber starting PG? Of course he isn’t, but next year nobody is going to ask him to be. He can rotate between the 1 and the 2 to spell guys and give us a spark of energy as well as a solid defensive stopper in the backcourt when dealing with some of the nasty talent floating around in the ACC. At best Zam was going to be the 3rd option at the 1 and the 2 with Paco possibly stealing his thunder, as he’s longer and less of a defensive liability than Zam.

  3. But, but, but what if Critty or Mario gets hurt? – What if Thad gets hurt? What if Dickey gets hurt? What if we decide to make Chan Gailey the basketball coach a well? What if there’s a plague of locusts contained solely within the Thrillerdome and we have to play every game over Peter’s Parking deck. You have to plan for the things you expect to happen and that’s it. The truth is that we’re stacked at the 2 which is Zam’s natural position and I think De’Andre Bell, Paco, and Mario were better PG’s than Zam for the few minutes we’re spelling Crittendon. As somebody on the Hive pointed out, even Thad’s got a better handle. We can have him bring the ball up the court like Bosh did at times. We’re okay on depth at the PG barring a season ending injury and well you can’t prep for those.

In terms of the positives for Tech in the long term there are many, but let’s hit some of the bright spots.

  1. This freed up the scholarship for Faye (big guy goes about 8’ 455 lbs from what I heard) next year and Lance Storrs the year after that. Everybody was wondering where this scholarship was going to come from within the Lance Storrs class and now we know. Of course if Thad stays another year we still have a problem, but that’s a bridge that I would happily cross if we came to it.

  2. Hewitt’s hotel is a little easier to manage. I love Paul Hewitt as a coach, recruiter, and human being. All of that said, he has an almost pathological need to get his older scholarship players some minutes. One less cooperative cog in the machine makes next year’s rotations much easier to set.

  3. An obviously unhappy player is off of the team. I said a lot of good things about Zam and I personally don’t have a problem with him, but unhappiness can be infectious in a locker room. With the way our backcourt got thrown under the bus last year it was a tough year for Zam and that makes it a tough year for the team. You really only can go two ways with the unhappy player, a) you end up hating his guts which distracts you in game and effects team chemistry or b) you worry about trying to make him happy which distracts you in game and effect team chemistry. If the unhappy guy can’t get happy, then it’s best for everyone that he finds a place where he can be.

So there we are, it’s a tough situation to be in emotionally, but logically and logistically it’s the best thing for the program in the long run and by far the best thing for Zam in the long run. Especially once you considering that we’ve got another top notch PG coming in ’07 in the form of Tyrel Reed, Maurice Miller or Chris Wright. It’s looking like a good time to be a GT basketball even in light of this last season.

Thad Young shines in the Big Apple

Thaddeus Young was the MVP of the 2006 Jordan Classic with a dominating performance of 28 points and 13 rebounds. The 28 points was the second most in the history of the event, and Young is one of only 8 players to ever have a double double in the Capital / Jordan Classic.

What has struck me more than anything watching Thad each time I see him is the fact he truly seems to enjoy playing basketball, he has a smile and attitude that are infectious. Every time to you see him he's smiling, hanging his tongue out, goofing off with other players on the floor and looking like he's having a blast. Young doesn't seem intimidated in the least by the national stage, taking over Madison Square Garden for his personal showtime and he's going to be a huge fan favorite for his attitude and exuberance.

Oh yeah, he's a heck of a player too. In the Jordan game, Young had 10 offensive rebounds and capped several of them with huge dunks in the lane. He reminds me a lot of Antawn Jamison or Drew Gooden in the low block area - guys who could get off the floor seemingly faster than everyone around them. Actually, Thad's game in general reminds me a lot of the NBA version of Antawn, with the nifty footwork and finishing around the hoop combined with a smooth jumper and ability to handle the ball on the perimeter. Watch the highlight package (I apologize for the horrible Jay Williams commentary, I didn't edit the audio track) and get excited for basketball next year.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I'm not dead ...

Yikes, the last month has been beyond hectic. I've had a monster project at work (yada, yada, we're all engineers nobody wants to hear it), and my wife got accepted to Columbia University for her M.A - so planning a move to Manhattan at the same time has pretty much eaten my time. Added to the fact that the end of the basketball season basically sucked the excitement out of me for a while and you get a month in between updates.

On the bright side, GT athletics has been quite busy over the last month and heck ... today alone was better than most program's years. There was a TV replay of Thad Young's monster MVP performance in the Jordan Classic, the men's golf team tied for the ACC Championship with Cameron Tringale winning the individual title, baseball finished off a sweep of FSU in Tallanasty and the women's tennis team won the ACC title as well. That's a pretty solid day for the GT athletic department, to say the least.

JacketDan from What's the Good Word is going to start writing somewhat regularly on this site as well - we both have real jobs and this is just for entertainment, but it will be easier to have more content on the site with multiple writers participating. He has an article on Zam Fredrick's transfer that I'll put up tommorow morning. I also have a highlight collection of Thad Young's Jordan Classic appearance that will be going up tonight or tommorrow (basically, when I finish it and stop watching the NBA playoffs). In other words, it's safe to actually check back in here - there will be new content for the first time in forever.

Oh, and if anyone is a GT fan from the NYC area - I'm all ears if you know a bar that caters to Yellow Jackets ... football season is going to be killer stuck in the northeast.