Sorry for the absence. I was taking a short breather and recovering from sort of virus. I’ll be here the rest of this week, be in and out next week and then start it up heading into the Sun Bowl starting the 26th. Onward.
Georgia Tech had its seventh bowl practice Monday. They’ll have three more this week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, taking off for finals Thursday and Friday. Then two more next week Monday and Tuesday and then three more in El Paso.
Players and coaches seemed to be genuine in their excitement about playing in the game, despite the fact that it doesn’t mean a whole lot by itself.
1. Guard Omoregie Uzzi, who on Monday was named a third-team All-American by Rivals.com and who will receive his degree Saturday in 3 ½ years, said he is “very motivated” to end the bowl losing streak. “I know the last guy that told me he won a bowl game was (former offensive tackle) Andrew Gardner (in his) freshman year (2004). It’d be a great compliment to send these seniors out with a ‘W,’ something that hasn’t been done here in a long time.”
2. Some notes from Paul Johnson’s post-practice interview:
The team is well into bowl-game prep after spending time early last week giving younger players more repetitions.
There were players who’d caught his eye, but none he wanted to name and put a target on their back. What these practices accomplish for younger players, he said, was to give them a base to help them compete in spring practice. “You have your ideas on what people are anyway,” he said. “You’ve watched them all fall, even if they’re on the scout team, so you kind of know what they are.”
The speed will be a bigger adjustment for players who’ve been on the offensive scout team, since they haven’t been going full speed like the scout-team defense has.
I asked Johnson if any loss from the season would eat at him in particular, and he said they all do, but mentioned that the “Virginia Tech game here, we were a couple plays from being in Charlotte. But they all eat at you anytime you lose.”
On what ending the bowl losing streak would mean to him and the program: “Me, personally, that’s something that we’ve got to do here to put an end on the season. I think I was 2-2 in bowl games at Navy. That wasn’t great, either, but you want to win every time you play. We’ve drawn a couple really good teams (in bowl games). We should have won the game last year and didn’t. The first two years, I’m not sure the better team didn’t win.”
(2008 was LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and 2009, of course, was the Orange Bowl loss to Iowa. Last year’s loss was to Air Force. Interesting answer, I thought.)
3. Bowl ticket sales are predictably slow. As of Friday, the school had sold about 2,000 of its 8,000-ticket allotment. About half of the tickets purchased are being donated to soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss, located outside of El Paso. It’s one of the largest military installations in the country, with more than 30,000 troops stationed.
The team will visit Fort Bliss during its bowl trip and the school is encouraging fans to purchase tickets to donate to the troops that will be presented during the visit. Link here.
(Of some degree of interest to the department also is having fewer tickets to eat.)
Thanks for reading. I’ll have something up Wednesday morning.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog