Thursday, October 22, 2009

Q&A with From The Rumble Seat

It's Georgia Tech week, which means it's time for another Q&A session with Winfield, Bird, and Dane at From The Rumble Seat. This is the second year for this (last year they went by the moniker TheLegacyX4), which in the realm of the blogowebs makes it the equivalent of a hallowed tradition by now. FTRS has my answers to their questions about Virginia, and here's what they told me about Georgia Tech when I asked.

1. We beat you last year in Atlanta. What makes you think things'll be different this time around?

Tech fans generally feel that the team is playing much better on offense at this point in the season versus last year's squad. We've got more running backs contributing and we actually have some semblance of a passing game. Also, Josh Nesbitt has made huge strides in his decision making (e.g. his TD:INT ratio increasing from 2:5 to 4:3).

2. And on the flip side, what, if anything, scares you about the current version of UVA?

You guys are currently on your 8-game "Save Al Groh's Job" streak, which is a similar phenomenon to the "7-win Gailey Constant." We are concerned that Al Groh will pull out all stops to beat Tech this weekend in order to ensure his career at UVA extends for at least one more topsy-turvy season. We're expecting Hail Mary's, hook and laterals, double reverses, and flea flickers. No Tech fans are writing this game off at all.

Also, let's look at rushing yardage from your top rushers against Tech over the years. Peerman in 2008 and 2007 had 256 rushing yards at around 4.8 yards per carry. Lundy, Pearman, and Snelling from 2003-2005 averaged a combined 122 yards per game and rushed in excess of 4.5 yards per carry. We lost all of those years. We won when we totally shut down the UVA rushing attack in 2006 and 2002. Our offensive performance didn't appear to be a factor while the one constant was stopping UVA's running game = GT Victory.

Since our defense can't really shut anyone down, this is a major concern for Tech fans. GT doesn't have a solid anything defense besides a defensive end that has to double teamed and a safety that is good at picking off errant passes. The rest is sub par for ACC football.

3. What do Georgia Tech fans attribute the team's inability to win in Charlottesville over the past two decades to? Working off bad karma from the big win in 1990? Bad luck? Tough stadium? Chan Gailey? Or just one of those things, no sense in worrying because the law of averages will catch up to it?

Let's go year by year. 1992 - Bill Lewis was a terrible head coach. 1995 - O'Leary was in a transition year taking over for Lewis. 1997 - Evenly matched teams, home team won. 1999 - Terrible Ted Roof defense couldn't protect a 17 point lead (sounds familiar, eh Wommack?). 2001 - Freak hook and lateral works 1 time out of 100. 2003 - Matt Schaub > Reggie Ball. 2005 - Chan Gailey was a terrible coach in November. He didn't adjust his offense mid-season and lack of depth due to poor recruiting always hurt us. 2007 - Walk on punt returner muffed a punt to give UVA easy score, freshman defensive end playing wingback on FG team had a false start negate game winning kick. Can I just attribute this to poor decision making from the coaching staff?

Honestly, we should have won in 1999, 2001, and 2007 but freak stuff happens. That's why we love college football.

4. That was a pretty big win last week for GT. Prime time against a top-ranked opponent, gives you a clear path and clear rooting interest (Miami must die) to get you to Tampa this year. So...biggest win of the decade? Biggest since the national championship season?

It's up there. It's really hard to say, because Paul Johnson is completely authoring a new era for Georgia Tech. He has one of the highest winning percentages of any Georgia Tech coach so far (.750), ended the 20+ winless years against FSU (including getting our first win at Doak Campbell stadium), defended Dodd's legacy by beating the mutts at Sanford for the first time in seven years, and this latest accomplishment - the first home win against a Top 5 team since 1962 is just another notch in his Pootie Tang belt. The one sure thing about last week's win is that it will be remembered as the moment where Georgia Tech turned the corner in terms of restoring it's former glory.

5. Does watching Rudy piss you off?

Dane has never seen it and hates Notre Dame. He's a terrible Catholic.

Rudy's story doesn't piss us off. The futility that was Georgia Tech football in the 70's pisses us off. The constant scheduling of GT by Notre Dame during our years of futility pisses us off. The running up of the score on Georgia Tech by Notre Dame over those years really pisses us off. The game in the film was really a story within a story as it was the rivalry between Pepper Rodgers and Dan Devine that really threw gas on the Notre Dame-GT fire.

Rodgers coached at Kansas and Devine coached at Missouri before landing their "bigger" jobs. Hence, the constant blow outs by Notre Dame of GT in that era. GT fans in their 50's on down can't stand Notre Dame because of the series. So in short, watching Rudy doesn't really piss us off. The end of the movie pisses us off** but we're glad that era is behind us and that Notre Dame is terrible. Seriously terrible. We beat them 33-3 at home with Chan Gailey.

**Editor's note: This part is basically what I was getting at. I have some GT-alum friends who absolutely cannot let the topic of that movie come up without pointing out that Rudy was offsides.

6. What's with the white jerseys at home? You're not supposed to do that. I'd hate that about LSU if the alternative weren't purple, but GT always looked sharp in gold. And speaking of which, what do Tech fans think of that big uniform change you made last year? Is the mustard yellow supposed to be closer to an older, more traditional color combination than the gold you used to have?

Wearing white at home was a Yellow Jacket tradition during the Dodd Era. After losing some ground over the past couple of years, it was reestablished under the new coaching regime. Not sure who exactly made the call to bring it back. It is definitely an on-the-field example of the regime bringing back some of our storied football traditions.

Our first gold tops were in the sixties. Here's a pic.** We dropped our gold hats and started wearing white hats. The problem mostly revolved around trying to create a metallic gold that matched our helmets and jerseys. We still haven't really perfected it but this year's shade of gold is a helluva lot better than last year's attempt at a mustard.

The old fogies are never happy. If you mention the words "navy" and "uniform" in the same sentence, you better be packing heat 'cause a couple of six shooters and blunderbusses are about to open fire. Black...out of the question (ala Bill Lewis era uniforms).

**Editor's note: The picture is the perfect accompaniment to the answer, because it clearly shows in the affirmative what I was wondering - the "mustard gold" is in fact a lot closer to being historically accurate than the true gold they wore before.

7. Pick one:

- Georgia Tech sweeps through the ACC with relative ease and doesn't lose another conference game, including the ACCCG against whatever Atlantic Division patsy tiebreaks its way to Tampa. You also win the Orange Bowl against a major-league opponent, like ohhh say Florida. You're ranked something like #7 at the end of the season and are major favorites again next year to set up an ACC dynasty. But you lose to Georgia.

- Georgia Tech drops this one to UVA and also loses on the road to an upstart, fired-up Duke team, sending the Jackets to the C****s S****s Bowl against a Big Ten team, which you also lose. People start to wonder if Paul Johnson can do something other than occasionally pull a big ACC win out of his hat (last year against FSU, this year against VT) and then proceed to gack it up in bowl games that aren't rewards for an ACC championship. But his supporters point out he's now 2-0 against Georgia....

Gotta beat Georgie. Winning that game is more important than anything else for the fans of GT. If the athletic department wants dollars, football has to beat Georgie. If the athletic department wants to win recruiting wars with the only other I-A school instate, they've gotta win that game in November.

We've been playing in the ACC for 31 years. We've been playing Georgie for 113 years. The instate title must be won. Secondly, GT has never won a conference/national title without beating Georgie in the same season. A lot of GT fans were incredibly upset about the 2006 ACC Title game because Georgie had beaten us and could've had a victory over the possible ACC Champ. I think in a lot of subconscious ways, GT fans were relieved when we didn't represent the ACC in the '07 BCS bowls because it would've tainted our ACC Championship.

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