Sept. 30, 2003
ATLANTA – J.P. Foschi and Sons, Inc. It sounds like a fine name for a construction company, but it may also be a fitting working title for the Georgia Tech football team’s offensive unit in 2003.
As one of the leaders of the Tech offense, senior tight end John Paul Foschi has been right in the middle of the development process for the Yellow Jackets early this fall. Along with a number of veteran players in the lineup each game, the Jackets have also been faced with the task of infusing a number of young performers in the game plan, including freshman quarterback Reggie Ball. While the unit has shown signs of progress each week, Foschi understands that it will not be an overnight process.
“It takes time to build that edge that you need to succeed in college football,” said Foschi. “The young guys on our team are still learning that. The older guys on the team have had to help them understand that this year and we’ve been successful before so we know what it takes. We all understand that we have made mistakes out there, but the biggest thing for us is to be consistent. We’ve played well in spurts this year, but we really need to focus and come to play every week.”
Certainly not unfamiliar with building things, Foschi, a building construction major at Georgia Tech, was an intern on the renovation of Bobby Dodd Stadium in the summer of 2001 and has worked to build himself into a consistent performer for the Jackets’ offensive unit. Foschi can also draw from personal experience, as his family are the proprietors of M. Foschi & Sons, a residential construction company in Queens, N.Y.
Off to a solid start in 2003, he already has six catches in the first five games, only three away from his career high of nine a year ago. Included in those receptions are two of the biggest grabs of the last two seasons for Tech. In the Yellow Jackets’ win at Vanderbilt last Saturday, Foschi tied the game with a six-yard touchdown catch from Reggie Ball with just 32 seconds remaining, and in last season’s win over NC State he caught the tying touchdown on a two-yard pass from A.J. Suggs with 11 minutes to play. The latest trip to pay dirt was one Foschi saw coming as soon as he reached the line of scrimmage.
“It was a play that we ran a lot during preseason practice in August,” said Foschi in reference to the Vanderbilt touchdown. “This was the first week that we’ve had in the game plan all year. We’ve run it in practice, but haven’t had a lot of success with it there. Most of the time when we run the play it either goes to me or to Jonathan (Smith). We got bracket coverage on the play and I just went and found an opening. I knew it was going to come to me as soon as I saw how the defense was set up.”
Known primarily as a blocker in the early part of his career, Foschi has had a more active role in the offense in 2003 as a pass catcher. He knows that there have been many opportunities for him to have been the target of passes that went to other locations this fall, but understands that anything he can do to help the offense is a good thing.
“I just go out there and try to get open,” he said. “I know there have been times that I’ve been open and not gotten the ball, but coverages and reads determine where the ball is going. I know we’ve done some different things every week this year and whatever will help us move the ball is fine with me. As long as I’m out there on the field.”
In the sixth week of the season, the Jackets’ offensive building will continue with NC State visiting Atlanta for an Atlantic Coast Conference tilt. After a gritty win a week ago at Vanderbilt, Foschi knows the importance of the match-up with the Wolfpack and hopes it can mark the beginning of a mid-season run of success for Tech.
“We all understand that this is a must-win game for us this week,” said Foschi. “I know it’s been difficult to keep some of the younger guys focused on the team’s goals, especially with the tough competition that we’ve faced this year. But, the good thing is that once you get that feeling of putting a few wins together, you want to keep it going and hopefully we can do that this week.”
With the taste of an overtime victory still sweet in their mouths and some solid offensive execution late in the game in Nashville laid as a foundation, perhaps the game with NC State will be another beam on which the Jackets’ offensive construction company of J.P. Foschi and Sons can continue to build.