A few notes, leading with the top of a fairly lengthy interview with A-back Roddy Jones about his touchdown run. Particularly for Georgia Tech fans with shorter memories, the run has become iconic. I’d think if you could boil coach Paul Johnson’s four years down to one play, that might be it.
Those who attend Tech games know that the game production crew plays highlights from across the decades before each game. The clip of Jones’ run shrugging off Reshad Jones‘ tackle and tightrope-walking down the sideline invariably draws the biggest cheer. Part of that – perhaps a lot of it – is that it was only three years ago. Some of the other plays, there aren’t many people in the stands that were alive to see them and understand their significance.
But, anyway, it’s part of a longer interview I did with Jones that will run Friday.
Q: What did the run feel like?
A: It was surreal. It all happened so fast. I wasn’t really sure if I’d stayed in bounds, I wasn’t sure if they were going to review it. My celebration was one of kind of figuring out what just happened. I remember getting in the end zone and turning around and waiting for a whistle or something. Then we got to the sideline, we were ready for a review and it never came. It was definitely an exciting game to win. The run, I just say I was at the right place at the right time. (Joshua) Nesbitt pitched me the ball and I just tried to make the best of it.
Q: When did you know it had a chance to break?
A: I guess when they lined up the way we designed it, I knew it was going to have a chance. But they actually played it fairly well. They just missed a couple tackles. Sometimes that happens. I guess when I broke the last tackle and started running, that’s when I knew I was going to have a chance to score.
Q: What’s it like to have made a play that’s so iconic in the rivalry?
A: It’s kind of crazy, especially to still be here and have it mean so much to people. I still have people come up to me and tell me where they were when they saw it. It’s a very cool feeling. It kind of shows what the rivalry means to people. It’s very humbling as well to have people say, ‘That’s my favorite run’ or other things like that. it’s very humbling.
Q: Have you gotten any sort of reaction from Georgia fans?
A: Not that much. Georgia fans tend not to even acknowledge that it happened. Mostly, it’s from Tech fans, which is good.
A couple other notes:
1. Tech will go back to its standard B-back rotation with David Sims and Preston Lyons. Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon (a Georgia grad) said that coaches wanted to give Lyons a chance to heal up some bumps to get him back to 100 percent (or as close as you can get at this point of the season) last week.
“David and Preston have been our guys,” Bohannon said. “We’ve kind of gotten into a little bit of a rotation with those guys, and I would imagine that would be a little bit of our approach, but we’ll see how the week goes and how things develop.”
2. Tech is cautioning fans attempting to buy tickets through secondary markets. The athletic association can’t guarantee the validity of any ticket not purchased through the ticket office or an authorized Tech ticket representative.
Think twice if someone offers you a Post-It note that says “UGA-Tech 50-yard line ticket.”
Seriously, though, I know the Falcons have dealt with counterfeit tickets in recent years as the quality of counterfeit tickets has evidently improved greatly, so do be mindful if you’re going that route. The top asking price for a club-seat ticket is $439 on Stubhub, so there’s certainly incentive for a counterfeiter.
For whatever it’s worth, I know Stubhub has a ticket protection policy, and I imagine other ticket re-sellers have similar policies, though I’d certainly ask about it before buying. With Stubhub, if you get sold counterfeit tickets, your money will be refunded. Which isn’t exactly a guarantee, but at least offers some protection.
3. I’ll hopefully have more information about A-back Orwin Smith after practice, though I’m not counting on much. As you hopefully read, he is going to try to play on a turf-toe injury but didn’t sound 100 percent confident that he’ll be able to play the whole game. As I noted, I’ve been told, read and heard that turf toe can be terribly painful.
With his speed, Embry Peeples is a more than worthy replacement, but Tech would obviously like Smith’s playmaking ability.
4. I’m not sure I want to extend the discussion about Johnson’s remarks, but I find one thing curious about the superiority that some Tech fans (or at least alumni) proclaim towards Georgia fans that hopefully can generate some thoughtful debate. By publicly proclaiming it, I think they’re helping extend one of their most enduring problems – filling Bobby Dodd Stadium.
It should be made clear that Johnson’s comment was referring specifically to the fan who called in to bark, not to all Georgia fans. He had said earlier in the day that most of his interactions with Bulldogs fans are cordial. He said something regrettable and apologized. I think we can all degree that that caller probably needs a new hobby.
This isn’t about him, but rather what feels like a pervasive attitude among Tech fans, if this blog’s comments are any barometer. And even if they’re not very reflective, they’re still comments from unofficial representatives of the school available to anyone with an Internet connection.
I am fairly confident that Dan Radakovich would only be too happy to accept season-ticket orders from whatever Walmart or McDonald’s employee who wanted to place them. However, what blue-collar worker, even if he likes Tech’s offense or Johnson’s brashness, would want to be in a stadium knowing that there are Tech fans who look down on him because he didn’t go to Tech and doesn’t make six figures?
You can say, No, we’re not talking about every Walmart employee. It’s just a putdown of the quality of a Georgia education and its fans in general. It’s just a joke. And not every Tech fan feels that way.
I get that. Regardless, the line of logic is Georgia fan = Walmart employee = inferior to Tech people. I understand it’s a joke, but it’s probably not very funny to people who work at Walmart and people who for whatever reason didn’t go to college.
Further, the “I bet you didn’t even go to Georgia” insult basically is a message, intended or not, to every fan who roots Tech but didn’t go to school there, “You can come visit our country club and we’ll take your money, but you’ll never be a member.”
I imagine none of this is new, and you can call me an oversensitive baby. I probably am. But if you’re wondering why Tech can’t fill up Bobby Dodd or grow its fan base, I think you have to consider it as one reason, however small.
It goes both ways. Some Georgia fans’ use of “nerd” as a pejorative is equally confounding and material for another blog.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog