Thursday, October 23, 2008

Q&A with The LegacyX4

The LegacyX4 is your place for fine Georgia Tech opinionating, and Winfield and I have exchanged Q's and A's in preparation for this week's showdown in Atlanta. Here are his answers, and do head over to The LegacyX4 for my answers to the questions of a helluvan engineer.

1) At the risk of being accused of horribly shameless self-promotion, in my GT season preview I suggested that the Jackets would find success this season because ACC defensive coordinators would have a tough time getting a handle on the Paul Johnson offense. How have you seen this play out so far? Has the offense lived up to its billing? and if not, where does the fault lie: execution, coaching, or simply that GT's opponents have generally been of better quality than what Navy faces?

We have seen your words become truth. Jacksonville State (take w/ a grain of salt) and Miss. State both said they prepared for our offense over the summer and they still couldn't do anything with it. Clearly, stressing that your defensive players play to the triple option (disciplined man defense) is either not the key to blowing up Johnson's system, or is a lot harder to do than it sounds. Even though the offense has appeared to struggle every game (save Miss State), they have managed to pull off that one big play that either gets us back in the game or puts us ahead for good. In doing so, the offense has been a rather pleasant surprise this first half of the season. Let it be known, however, that the 2nd half of the season is the harder half of our schedule. Josh Nesbitt and Jon Dwyer have shown significant improvement in their quick learning of the system (something that hasn't been seen at Tech in the past six years, coaching++), and with a team of more talent than Navy, Paul Johnson has shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win games, including throwing the ball (see Duke 3 weeks ago).

2) Very few people had the Jackets pegged for a bowl game, and if they did, it was probably Boise. Now that GT is on the cusp of bowl eligibility and controls their destiny in the Coastal, what are the new expectations? What bowl would the Jackets have to sink to, to make fans grumble and complain that it's not enough?

Actually it's actually the Wahoos who control their, and our, destiny at this moment. But that's beside the point. With every win (and every comment by Coach Johnson or a player) we expect more and are surprised by less. Our upper lips are stained with the Paul Johnson Kool-Aid. Any bowl West of the Mississippi River is a disappointment. If we are east of the river, that means two things: 1. Improvement in the pecking order of bowl invitations and 2: that Yellow Jacket Nation can travel to the game and actually support Tech!

3) Tech is currently fifth in the land in total defense and one of only three teams nationwide to give up less than four yards per play; this despite losing Jon Tenuta, who everyone said was pretty much the bomb and the main reason you had a defense in the first place. What are you doing differently, and what are you doing right?

People who continuously fawned over Tenuta's defense wore GT gold-colored glasses. It is common knowledge that CJT lived an died by the blitz. If you were a DC (note: I think he means OC here - ed.) who was relatively unfamiliar with his schemes, you fell in his traps. But once the coach began to see patterns, the tables were turned (see Clemson 2006, UNC, VT, and BC 2007). A small little dump pass to the tight end became a reliable pass play that more often than not resulted in long yardage because Tenuta, once exposed, did not adjust, and we paid for it. We thought we had it good, because that defensive scheme was all we knew and statistically, our defense was one of the best. Unfortunately, the only statistic that matters is wins and losses. Today, David Womack takes a few schemes from Tenuta and fuses them with his defensive mindset and mixes the two together. He simplifies the defensive attack, and gives the team a more balanced defense to rely on.

4) You are an inspirational speaker to a class of high school seniors. One of these kids stands up and says he wants to go to a Tech school in the ACC but can't decide: VT or GT. Set this impressionable young man on the right path and keep him out of Blacksburg.

First of all, we would tell this young man that other than football, he had better get used to losing in athletics to the rest of the ACC. But beyond athletics, we would tell this poor soul that when it comes to academics, Georgia Tech cannot be beat. Georgia Tech is known worldwide for good reason. Furthermore, while Georgia Tech has built its reputation on cutthroat academics and expansive research, VPI built the 'Virginia Tech' name on an advertising blitz in the 80's. Compare the names: Georgia Institute of Technology vs. Viginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Caltech and Cal Polytech are known by their respective names for a reason). If the young man is interested in any history of college football, Georgia Tech is the place to be. [The True] Tech is the home of John Heisman (namesake of the Heisman Trophy), who is also the father of the forward pass, and Bobby Dodd ( for whom the national Coach of the Year Award is named after). The Jackets were the first team to win all 4 of the traditional bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Cotton). Grant Field is also the oldest on-campus football field in college football. To top it off - the Ramblin' Wreck: the one and only 1930 Ford Model A Sports Coup that has led the football team onto the field for 302 consecutive home games since September 30, 1961. Competing traditions from VPI? A Metallica song. Finally, and honestly, if the young man actually confuses the tier that Georgia Tech resides in with the tier that Virginia Tech finds itself... well, he might belong at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University after all.

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