Archive for May, 2009

Roddy Jones on ziti, The Run, and espanol.

Georgia Tech A-back Roddy Jones sat down with me for a few minutes on Tuesday to talk about last season, this summer, and what’s coming up for the Jackets. 

 

AJC: Are you taking any classes right now?

Jones: Yep, I’m taking three classes right now: Math, Spanish and Management Science.

 

AJC: Which one is your favorite?

Jones: I’m probably the best at math, but Spanish is my favorite. It’s just a fun class. The teacher’s real light and it’s a small class. So, it’s pretty fun.

 

AJC: How do you say “We’re going to beat Georgia” in Spanish?

Jones: [In English] We’re going to beat Georgia. I don’t know what ‘beat’ is, but I can say ‘we’re’ and ‘Georgia.’

 

AJC: What are you going to do with the rest of your summer?

Jones: Take classes. Try and go home every couple of weekends. I want to spend as much time with my brother before he leaves for the Air Force Academy.

 

AJC: You’re not the kind of son who brings home five or six duffel bags of clothes are you?

Jones: I usually keep …

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Scott Blair on Bob Marley, the hedges, and Miami

Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair sat down with me at the athletic offices for a quick, summer-time themed Q&A.

 

AJC: School is out right, you haven’t started classes again, right?

Blair: School has started for me. I already have a test tomorrow.

 

AJC: What’s your test in?

Blair: Music. I’m taking an easier load this summer, music and finite calculus.

 

AJC: That doesn’t sound too easy.

Blair: It’s easier.

 

AJC: What’s the music class?

Blair: Music composers from 1800-present.

 

AJC: So what have you learned?

Blair: We’re talking about Mozart, Beethoven, and the elements of their symphonies.

 

AJC: Does that agree with you, that kind of music?

Blair: I guess it’s growing on me the more I have to listen to it for class.

 

AJC: You’ve got two months and a week thereabouts before practice starts. What do you hope to do for fun with the rest of the summer?

Blair: I’m going try and just hang out with some friends this summer. Going to kick a lot this summer to try and get ready …

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Q and A with Tech basketball player D’Andre Bell

D’Andre Bell took a few minutes to call me on Tuesday afternoon from Los Angeles, where he’s rehabbing following surgery to correct a spinal condition.

He was cleared to return to Georgia Tech’s basketball team by his doctor, and coach Paul Hewitt announced Bell’s return on Tuesday.

Here’s a question-and-answer session with Bell:

 AJC: This will sound odd, but were you happier to get a clean bill of health, or happier knowing that you were going to get play basketball again?

 

Bell: Of course I was looking the most forward to successful health, whether basketball was there or not. I look it as a step-by-process. Even luckier that I’ll get to play.

 AJC: With your return, and depending upon what Gani [Lawal] decides, and with the freshman class coming in, how excited are you about this season?

 

Bell: I’m very excited. I’m always a guy that plays basketball. It’s my first love. I’ve grown very, very fond of Georgia Tech. Happy to do it for them one more year.

 AJC: When or how …

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Georgia Tech vs. Georgia State: a battle of Atlanta

In one of the more intriguing draws and games, Georgia Tech will host Georgia State on Friday in the first round of the NCA baseball regional. I half thought the NCAA might have some fun and put UGA and Ga. State in the Atlanta regional, as well. 

While making the NCAA is old hat for Danny Hall and the Jackets (he’s now guided the Jackets to the playoffs 14 of the past 16 years, including the College World Series in 1994, 2002 and 2006), this will be the Panthers’ first time in the postseason.

There have been some comments on this board from Tech fans unhappy with Hall’s reign, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. The playoffs 14 of 16 years in what has arguably been the toughest conference in the country? Three times in the College World Series? One loss in the title game? There’s a reason you don’t see too many dynasties in college baseball. In fact, during the past 10 years no team has won the CWS more than twice. LSU is the closest thing to a dynasty in baseball, …

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Relegation and a rainy day…what would you do?

As we wait to see what happens with softball today, as well as the baseball regional assignments that come out tomorrow, I got to thinking about this scenario:

Let’s say you had the ability to take one team out of the ACC for football and basketball, teams that perennially just don’t do anything, and sub in any other team within reason from a less-than-popular conference. It’s kind of like the relegation formula used in soccer everywhere but the MLS.

So, for example, in football out goes Duke. In comes…East Carolina from the CUSA. Though it could be argued that East Carolina hasn’t done much to deserve “promotion” either. Appalachian State would be another interesting choice, for example.

In men’s basketball, the decision is tougher. But as it stands, even though it has been in the ACC a long time, and used to be a good team that contended each year, out goes Virginia. Why the Wahoos? Yes they have a new arena, yes they were recently in the NCAAs, but those seem to be more …

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Dwyer for the Heisman….why not?

It’s one of those oddities that no player from Georgia Tech has ever won the Heisman Trophy, named for one of the Jackets’ greatest coaches, John Heisman.

As you know, Heisman coached Tech from 1904-1919 and led the Golden Tornado, as Tech was nicknamed then, to 33 consecutive wins.

Could this year snap the 74-year streak?

Could Jonathan Dwyer bring the Heisman Trophy to Atlanta?

The credentials are obvious: 2008 ACC Player of the Year, 107.3 yards per game rushing average from his B-back spot, 1,395 rushing yards overall last season.

This after just one season in coach Paul Johnson’s offense.

Just think what could be accomplished in Year 2.

The competition will be tough: Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy will likely top everyone’s lists of favorites.

And, throw in the possibility that Dwyer’s stats may not be as good as they were last year. Why? Because Tech has a lot of players who figure to get a lot of touches this year. So, while Dwyer’s stats could theoretically go …

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ACC non-con football musings

Much has been made of the ACC’s inability to win big bowl games, i.e. BCS, of late. Only Virginia Tech has cracked that nut, and it came last year against a Cincinnati team that, while good, wasn’t particularly memorable.

This poor showing has also been a point of discussion in regard to the ACC’s overall strength as a conference. SEC’ers point to national championships won. Big 12′ers point to the same, as well as appearances in the big game, as well as appearances in other BCS games. The Pac-10 hangs its hat on USC, and that’s about all it has to offer. The Big 10, well, that’s a long, slow, dull story.

So, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of this season’s non-conference games.

9/3: South Carolina vs. N.C. State. Tom O’Brien has the Wolfpack on the rise. Is this the year that Stephen Garcia finally figures out Spurrier’s offense?

9/5: Maryland at California. This game was a stunner last year, with Maryland thumping the Bears (back to the USC thing …

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Best bet for a title

OK, we are getting near the end of the 2008-09 college sports season.

Tech still has baseball, softball, men’s golf, men’s track and women’s track alive and well. In addition, th women’s tennis team has several competitors in the NCAA individual tourney, including defending champ Amanda McDowell, and Guillermo Gomez is the 11th seed on the men’s side.

Which team, or person, do you think has the best chance of winning an NCAA championship this season?

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Bit o’ baseball news

Deck McGuire, he of the unblemished record, was named the ACC’s Pitcher of the Year on Monday, a first for the Jackets.

McGuire, a right-hander, has a 10-0 record with an ACC-best 101 strikeouts. He held opponents to a .210 batting average in 2009, which is stunning considering the inflated stats that aluminum bats produce.

Joining McGuire from Tech on the first team are Luke Murton, Jeff Rowland. Derek Dietrich made second team. 

 

The softball team will host Washington at noon on Friday in the first game of their super-regional. Game times for the next two games haven’t been set.

 

What are your predictions for the upcoming ACC tourney. Not sweeping Duke and earning the top seed didn’t do Tech any favors. FSU and Miami won’t be easy, but Tech did take two of three from them already this season.

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Big win for baseball

Tech picked up a big win over Duke last night in the first game of their three-game series. North Carolina, the second-place team in the Coastal Division, lost to Boston College as well.

The Jackets need to win two more to pass FSU and take the top seed in next week’s tournament. 

Coach Danny Hall told me the other day, and I’m paraphrasing, that the top seed is important for two reasons:

1. On paper, and he emphasized “on paper,” it puts the second- and third-best teams in the other side of the bracket. But because the ACC is so tough, just because 2 (FSU) and 3 (UNC) are on the other side, it’s still a deep league. So, you still have to watch out for No. 4 (Clemson).

2. The top seed is a nice reward for a team that played one of the toughest schedules in the country this year. The Jackets have a top-5 RPI, depending upon which one you look at.

3. How about Deck McGuire, who is now 10-0 this year?

 

Other goings on today: the golf team needs to maintain the steady play it …

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