Sting Daily Mailbag

Nov. 29, 2010

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Monday brought the biggest reader response of the year as fans weighed in with opinions aplenty after I asked if the suggestion that Georgia Tech could somehow profit in the future from the nature of Saturday’s game, in which the Jackets played extremely hard, and whether or not Tech fans took any solace in the suggestion that their team was better coached than the other guys.

Later this week, we’re going to write a little something about the start of the indoor track season, some women’s basketball, some men’s basketball, and perhaps a sliver or two of football as well.

For now, excerpts (in part because most responses were so long) from fan mail, and in some cases an editorial comment from yours truly:

From Jason Johns: Part I: I don’t think GT fans expect to get man-handled by UGA. We expect to win seven out of 10 games, like we did during the 1990’s. We can’t expect to recruit the same players as UGA, nor should we want to.

Edit: Jason, I truly hate to bring this up, but Tech’s record against Georgia from 1990-’99 was 3-7. Tech recruits some of the same kids that Georgia does, and wins some of them. That list includes guard Omoregie Uzzi and wide receiver Stephen Hill, among others. Tech cannot recruit some of the players that Georgia does for reasons most GT fans can theorize about and be accurate.

From Michael Goldfarber: After reading all of the articles and comments by the experts regarding Paul Johnson needing to recruit better players, what I can say is that all he needs to do is keep recruiting his players. This offense works, and now that he has some better offensive linemen that he recruited contributing up front (Finch, Jackson, and Uzzi) they are only going to become better for several seasons to come.

From Thomas Hunter: We will never compete with Georgia year-in -and-year-out until (1) we improve the overall caliber (mainly speed) of our players; (2) we develop a credible and effective passing attack to complement our ground game; and (3) we develop a solid defense again.

Edit: Thomas, I don’t disagree with anything you say, although I’d point out that about 95 Division I teams in the nation probably have an identical wish list. Personally, I’m not sure that increasing the overall speed quotient will be as important moving forward (not that Johnson wants to stand pat in that way) as getting bigger and stronger in the trenches.

From Gary Barnett: I think [Paul Johnson’s] offense has limitless possibilities but there are three recommendations I would offer if asked and they are: Utilize a solid, play-action passing game; Develop better game experience at the QB position; Gain more respect for field position (regarding when to punt, kick a field goal, go for it).

Edit: Everybody loves it when those fourth-down conversions work, and second-guesses them when they don’t.

From Dennis Jones: Yes, we can build on this disappointing season. Paul Johnson and Al Groh are certainly more than capable, I believe. Having said that, however, they must recruit. We must get players. The recruits will have to be big and fast and smart and on both sides of the ball. A tall order for an academic school like GT I know, but, it can be done.

Edit: Correct, correct, correct.

From Sam Mercer: Mark Bradley is a moron. Enough said.

Edit: Hey, that’s not nice. I’ve known Mark for many years, and he is many things. He is not a moron.

From Blake Peck: I will give you my perspective as a third-generation fan who has been watching Tech football since the Bobby Dodd era as well as having played and coached at the college level. I have never been more optimistic after a loss to UGA than this one. [UGA] never really stopped our offense with what is essentially our backup quarterback.

After three years, they have no clue how to stop Johnson’s offense despite having a clear athletic advantage and extra time to prepare. Our defense will be much better next year with a full year under Groh and a number of redshirt playmakers joining the depth chart

More importantly, I think the staff has done a much better job recruiting to our scheme and in two years, our roster will be complete. By 2012, we will have 300-pounders across both lines.

Edit: Here’s hoping you’re dead on the money. Again, I think Tech needs more size.

From Tom Dixon: Losing gives us a focused passion and urgency . . . I think what you saw Saturday was the results of last year paying off in intensity and focus. When you look at last year, one of the few games we got beat up was UGA, so this was one of the only games most of the kids on the team wanted to amp up.

Now the problems we face: 1) Special teams; 2) Defense – I can only hope we are playing young kids. I’d love to know more how we ended up having Cooper Taylor quit the team; 3) Offense – The Offense does well. If we can get the defense up to speed, then the points we are scoring now will win most games.

From David Joiner: I am extremely disappointed still that Johnson let the Bulldogs sneak up on us in 2009. But I more or less agree with the sentiment that this year’s game gives me hope for the long term. And to be fair to Johnson, I always felt he would need a good five years to get rolling anyway, as did Gailey.

Saturday’s game highlighted the cultural differences between the Tech nation and the Bulldog nation. They are like the bigger, good looking, popular kid in the class. But we enjoy being more clever, and they aren’t even smart enough to realize it. I watched that last UGA touchdown on DVR over and over. I could not get enough of those Bulldogs celebrating before they realized they had just given us one more shot.

Edit: It is still difficult to swallow that ’09 result as Tech had one of its better teams and Georgia did not. I agree that the Jackets were oddly short on passion that day, but I’m not ready to blame any one person as much as I am the fact the ACC championship game waiting on the following week’s schedule. Not saying I’m right . . .

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