Oct. 27, 2011
By Matt Winkeljohn
Roddy Jones has been through quite a bit in five seasons at Georgia Tech, dating back to observations made while he was redshirting in 2007 to a breakout performance in a win at Athens in ’08, through an ACC title drive in ’09 and disappointment aplenty in ’10.
He’s been through just a couple games like the Yellow Jackets will play Saturday night, when No. 6-ranked Clemson comes to town. Night games are different in Bobby Dodd Stadium, and especially Saturday night games (as opposed to nearly annual Thursday contests). These are rare.
Add all this to an unhealthy dose of media attention dumped upon the Jackets this week, and the wise, semi-old running back decided to speak out to teammates this week.
A two-game losing streak is bad enough. The notion that the Jackets might tuck their tails between their legs, or walk around with “heads down,” and be bothered by criticism was too much. So, Roddy rocked on and encouraged his `mates to do the same.
“We were kind of taking a beating from the media, from the fans maybe. People really kind of were pounding us,” he said of his reasoning. “The fact that [Clemson is] coming in here highly ranked, undefeated . . . it’s a great challenge. It’s on primetime TV in our house. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.
“Not a lot of guys get a chance to play in this kind of game. Some people go their entire careers without playing in one like this.”
Head coach Paul Johnson isn’t arguing. There ought to be no need to take the pulse of his players this week.
“We haven’t had that many night games actually here. We had the Saturday night Virginia Tech game [in `09], which was a great atmosphere.” he said. “Hopefully, it’ll be good to be home. I think we’re going to have a full house and get the fans behind them. If you can’t get up for this one you probably not ought to be playing.”
As for Saturday night games in Bobby Dodd, there have been a few in recent years. The Wake Forest overtime game in ’09 comes first to mind. Nesbitt on fourth-and goal for the win . . .
Regardless of the day and time, really, the Jackets need to bring more than they have recently.
So, Jones sermonized on energy and the seizing of moments.
“We are a good team, and we just have to go out and prove it,” he said. “We still have a lot in front of us. If we run the table, we’ll be 10-2, and that’s a great year. Everyone has to be accountable for their job, and just give it their all. Take ownership of their job.
“I think we just have to get back to the basics. It’s the same guys, the same team, the same scheme that was executing earlier in the year. It’s not as bad as it looks. I think we have to play together more. You try and forget about the past and move on. [Saturday night games are] pretty few and far between. I think that as a team, we’re going to step up . . . and embrace the challenge.”
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