Tech tees up final stretch

Quayshawn Nealy is learning football from Georgia Tech interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly. Nealy, an inside linebacker, is getting extra credit in golf.

Following Tech’s 33-13 win over Maryland Saturday, Nealy explained how Kelly had tried to frame the Yellow Jackets’ remaining games by likening the team to a golfer playing Amen Corner at the Masters. Starting with Maryland, Tech’s final three ACC games against the Terrapins, North Carolina and Duke were like holes No. 11, 12 and 13, the treacherous string of holes that often separate the winners from the losers.

Kelly compared the holes to “these three games, because they’re all conference (games) and those are the most important during (the Masters),” Nealy said. “That’s what I was getting from it.”

And that was about all.

Said Nealy, “Some of us guys, we don’t know golf terminology.”

A comparison of Maryland, ranked No. 111 in the Sagarin ratings, to one of the toughest holes in the most famous golf tournament in the world may be about the best compliment the Terrapins receive all year. Regardless, the Jackets, who at 4-5 are trying to make a bowl game and finish with a winning record, are in a defining stretch of their schedule.

So, the Jackets birdied Maryland. Up comes North Carolina, and let’s just say No. 12 plays more severely than No. 11. The Tar Heels are 6-3, rank No. 16 in total offense and scoring offense and No. 19 in rushing defense. Running back Giovani Bernard is fifth in the country in rushing yards and has a startling 7.4 yards-per-carry average.

Further, North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner is healthy, as are his three backups, the same of which could not be said for Maryland.

The Tar Heels are also coming off their bye week and will be at home. Tech will learn far more about its mettle and capability Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C., than it did through its pounding of the Terrapins. Sunday, ESPN set the kickoff time for 12:30 p.m. for broadcast on the ACC Network, which includes CW 69 in Atlanta.

Beyond bowl eligibility, Tech may find additional incentive in a goal once thought all but lost – the ACC Coastal Division title.  After the weekend, Tech is tied with Duke for third in the Coastal at 3-3, behind Miami (4-2) and North Carolina (3-2). Virginia Tech is fifth at 2-3. The Tar Heels are ineligible to win the division as part of their NCAA sanctions. Florida State plays Virginia Tech Thursday night in Blacksburg, Va. If the Seminoles deal the Hokies a fourth conference loss, then Virginia Tech’s tiebreaker win over the Jackets, at least for the moment, will be rendered moot.

Further, news broke late last week that Miami may take itself out of the division race. The school is under NCAA investigation, and officials are considering a self-imposed bowl ban for a second consecutive year. Such a ban would disqualify the Hurricanes from representing the Coastal in the ACC championship game. Should that occur – the school won’t make an announcement until the team becomes bowl-eligible with a sixth win – Tech would go to Charlotte with wins over North Carolina and Duke and a fourth loss by the Hokies.

It would be a remarkable, if diluted, achievement for the Jackets. But to even consider it, they’ve got a par-3 to tame first.

“We haven’t even heard anything about that ,” Nealy said of Miami’s possible bowl ban. “We’re looking at one game at a time.”

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

90 comments Add your comment

Stinger 1

November 4th, 2012
6:20 pm

Ken: Saying it would be a remarkable achievement is puting it mildly. To me it would be a miraculious achievement. The defense would have to play much better than they have played all year to stop the NC offense. I hate to say it but I believe the best GT can do is a win over Duke and that won`t come easy. If they finish 5-7 like I believe they will, the good Lord willing, will be back next year (as I have forover 60 years) to cheer the brave and bold.


November 4th, 2012
6:34 pm

Hey, maybe we can back into a conference championship and replace the one we had snatched away due to a RETURNED warm-up suit.

George Stein

November 4th, 2012
6:40 pm

I really have no idea what to expect from Carolina. On the one hand, they have a really good offense. On the other hand, they have lost to Duke and Wake. They’re as schizophrenic as we are.

I also read this earlier today. Interesting stuff about the coach at the Colorado School of Mines.

Hayseed Dixie

November 4th, 2012
6:42 pm

I don’t know, Coach Kelley, the history of football is kinda, you know, storied.

There’s plenty of analogies within the game itself.

Golf seems like more of an *affliction* as the years pass.


November 4th, 2012
6:44 pm

Go Jackets! Behind you and Coach Johnson 100%. We can finish strong! Lot left to play for!

Hayseed Dixie

November 4th, 2012
6:49 pm

@George Stein

Interesting article. You start to wonder if a guy like Stitt could relate to Alabama-level talent.

That’s the question, you have the scheme, can you teach it? CPJ took a bet on Groh, and it blew up in his face. That’s the story of this season.

Guys like Walsh and Belichick, who could do innovative X’s and O’s *and* motivate the blue collar guys- they’re legends for a reason.

Hayseed Dixie

November 4th, 2012
6:56 pm

One more thing, another irony-

I mentioned Walsh in the genius category.

One of Al Groh’s greatest acheivements was the 1986 NFC division playoff where he stunted Walsh and his progeny: Montana and Rice.

To the tune of 49-3. He stuffed the greatest ever when it mattered. It was the football equivalent of “Back In Black”.

I always understood CPJ bringing the guy on board. It’s just a darn shame it worked out the way it did.

George Stein

November 4th, 2012
6:59 pm

I agree, Hayseed. I thought Groh’s hire was a good one, too. It is possible that the guys who get paid to work in the business know more than I.


November 4th, 2012
7:40 pm

Just throwing out a thought… CPJ to Kentucky where he (from his perspective) can recruit SEC caliber athletes and prove his offensive strategies. Kentucky would LOVE to have him. And change is in the wind on the Flats.


November 4th, 2012
7:43 pm

Is it just me or does GT have some pretty good players at the skill positions on offense? I may be crazy but when I see the speed and ability of some of these guys I think we should be a lot better than we are. For example. V Lee, Days, Sims, Godhigh, Bostic, Zenon, Golden.. What’s missing, O linemen? A passing game to counter-balance the running game? Different play calling? For sure we are missing a capable defense. Even there I see some players with pretty good potential. Is CPJ right that we’re not that far away from having a really good team? These next 3 games should be a pretty good indicator. It would be great to finish the season on a winning streak instead of in a funk.

George Stein

November 4th, 2012
7:53 pm

I think you’re right, ramblingbuzz. You can see the talent there with Lee and several of the A-backs. We may lack that hoss at B-back, though.

Let’s not discuss defense or special teams.


November 4th, 2012
7:55 pm

@ramblingbuzz: You ain’t crazy. The skill position is not and will never be the problem for as long as we run this offense. Guys like Days, Godhigh, Bostic, and Zenon are all over the place. They’re quick and speedy, yet small. They’re most likely 2 star athletes. We have no problem getting them. I’d say mostly it’s been our offensive line this year along with some decision making by TW. This past Saturday was a great effort by every position. If Vad and Tevin keep sharing reps like they did against Maryland, I’ll be very interested to see what we did for the rest of the season. I’ll also be anticipating the next few seasons with Vad under center. The kid is gifted.


November 4th, 2012
8:11 pm

GT will be fine– only 6 sr starter this year. Vad is getting some playing time, offense will do fine. Defense will need to switch to 4-3. Need to recruit more DL players– Some of the freshmen/red shirt freshmen will keep gettting bigger and better. FInd a up and coming D coach. Hope the 2013 incoming kicker can hit the extra point too.


November 4th, 2012
8:31 pm

Can we beat UNC? Seems like a tall order playing at their place, but we played decent games on the road at VT and Clemson, just didn’t come out on top. Plus the fact that UNC has been beaten by Wake and Duke tells me we can beat beat them if we bring our A game.

1 4 GT

November 4th, 2012
8:37 pm

George S….thanks for that link. Very interesting read. I think that sounds like what CPJ is trying to do. Wish there was some way to get that on his desk anonymously. And he would read it & say HMMMMMM, let me see…………


November 4th, 2012
9:07 pm

Time to recruit the 2 DL linemen that were going to Kentucky. GT was already pursuing one of the them. Go get both of them.


November 4th, 2012
9:36 pm

On another topic…does Kentucky hire CPJ? Is it an upgrade for CPJ to go to UK in the SEC? UK can’t compete by lining up and playing traditional smash-mouth SEC football but, maybe the option can be an equalizer for them. They do get some good recruits.


November 4th, 2012
9:41 pm

Sorry. Missed the Tech Boy comment before I submitted.

I do think it is a possibility.


November 4th, 2012
10:24 pm

Coach at kentucky will probably be Gus Malzon?– who was at Auburn


November 4th, 2012
10:47 pm

what bowl would be foolish enough to invite these bunch of losers…maybe the dung bowl.


November 4th, 2012
11:16 pm

The quality at skill postions is lacking at receiver. Autry, a true freshman, was starting before his injury due to the fact that no one else can get “separation.” Occasionally, someone is left uncovered, but receivers are not doing it on their own – it’s usually a coverage bust. The A-backs are doing a good job getting loose, but the wideouts are not. CPJ won’t publicize the fact-why help the opposition – but with better wideouts our QB and OL play would look a whole lot better.


November 4th, 2012
11:53 pm

the dung bowl is for UGA after Alabama gets through with them. ROLL TIDE

Delbert D.

November 4th, 2012
11:53 pm

George – Great link, I really enjoyed reading that. I first became acquainted with that school from my dog-eared Street and Smith’s preseason magazines in the early late ’50s – early ’60s. They never seemed to be in contention football-wise, but the grads from the Colorado School of Mines are very much in demand.


November 5th, 2012
7:27 am

Bostic and Days are 3 Star athletes and neither especially Days are particularly small..
3-4 or 4-3 doesn’t matter as long as the new DC can get players excited, execute, and recruit.
Just basing on the size and type of players Tech already has in the pipeline it will probably be a 3-4 scheme.

UGA = Yawn

November 5th, 2012
9:07 am

So UNC lost to Duke and Wake? This is typical in the ACC – you play to the level of the opponent. Heck, we do it ALL the time. UNC WILL be motivated vs GT. The school brings a strong football tradition with it – unlike Duke or Wake.

[...] TECH: Believe it or not, the Jackets won a game. Believe it or not, they could still win the ACC Coastal Division. Believe it or not, they might even play for the ACC title without actually winning the Coastal [...]

GT Joe

November 5th, 2012
9:44 am

i wonder how many drives CPJ will throw away with tevin at QB this weekend.

Gold helmets

November 5th, 2012
10:08 am

GT Joe…you are one persistent evangelist, son. On another note…I was very impressed with S Days running this weekend. Big, strong, physical, athletic guy. He needs to get the ball more IMO.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 5th, 2012
10:34 am

@ GT Joe….BOTH QB’s looked great Saturday. There really should be nothing for you to complain about. And you might as well prepare for this now, regardless of who starts against UNC, Tevin will start against Duke, because it is senior day.

William Casey

November 5th, 2012
10:39 am

I was glad to see Days play. Tough runner.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 5th, 2012
10:48 am

Days and Sims both ran hard Saturday

The New ACC

November 5th, 2012
11:09 am

Going to the ACC Championship Game would be amazing for GA Tech this year. So many odd things would have to happen – but you never know.

Going forward, we simply must recruit better defensive players…. larger players. Our defensive guys are so small and this is VERY obvious when we do play the “better” teams such as VA Tech, Miami, etc.

The New ACC

November 5th, 2012
11:12 am

Ken –

If Miami declines the ACC Championship Game even if they are #1 in the Coastal, do they also lose the title of “Coastal Division Champion”?


November 5th, 2012
11:51 am

So, let me get this straight. Tech has a chance, albeit an outside one, at the division championship. Let’s just say they beat UNC and Duke (way less than 50-50 odds, I’d say) and lose to UGA by a respectable margin. They’re 6-6, bowl eligible, and “get” to play FSU in Charlotte — and get thoroughly demolished. Finish 6-7. Would they STILL go to a bowl? Should they?


November 5th, 2012
12:13 pm

I’m glad I read the article. I thought, based on the headline, it was going to be about our kicking game, which has been less than stellar recently.


November 5th, 2012
12:19 pm

The only programs that would consider PJ would be those in FCS, No one hiring a coach that can’t recruit or win in the ACC.


November 5th, 2012
12:26 pm

Dung Bowl?
That sounds plausible.
#5 in the BCS and get beat by #1, then go to a terrible bowl.
You are a true football expert.

oneeye jack

November 5th, 2012
12:28 pm

What I see missing in th ejackets, particularily evident in the BYU game:
1. Overall team speed. We’d have a hole or gap to run, but zip! BYU would cover it quickly.
2. A mean gang tackling defense. Historically, we may be a few pounds smaller, but we hit you with vigor every time, play every snap hard. Way too many attempted arm tackles and trotting going on on defense.


November 5th, 2012
12:30 pm

I was at the game and noticed the trainers checking over Tevin, as if he got his bell rung. They had a trainer standing by him the whole 4th quarter, never really left the bench. Any word if he was “concussed”?


November 5th, 2012
12:46 pm

UNC is coming off a bye week. Historically. CPJ sucks against teams that have had an extra week to prepare. GT’s bowl chances disappear with finishing with a 5-7 record. Assuming that we can even beat Duke.

TechApp fan

November 5th, 2012
12:52 pm

some strange football games…NC State beats FSU. Tech beats VA. VA clobbers NC State

Therefore, dogs better be scared!

[...] Tech Tees Up Final Stretch (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) [...]

Prepare For Your Beat Down

November 5th, 2012
12:59 pm

………Therefore, dogs better be scared!

A bunch of crappy ACC teams beating each other. We are really scared of Tech.
I can’t wait to face “The Program On The Rise” for another UGA win.


November 5th, 2012
1:05 pm

trueblueeagle will be sitting at home watching real teams play in bowl games and dreaming of playing Bama or even Ga. Southern!


November 5th, 2012
1:05 pm

If you’re UGA, you should be afraid of playing anyone. You have as much of a chance of losing to Auburn as you did to South Carolina. Why? Because you continuously play down to the level of your opponents. Just like any great team does………NOT!

old dog

November 5th, 2012
1:11 pm

You are right….we should be scared. This game has now become so meaningless, and the fact that we could freakishly get somebody hurt before the REAL game give me reason to dread.

Al Bundy

November 5th, 2012
1:12 pm

We got a situation brewing here… If we somehow manage to win the remaining games including the ACC Championship that could be bad. The acting AD would probably give CPJ a 4 year contract extension and raise his pay by $500k and we’ll be stuck with him forever.


November 5th, 2012
1:13 pm

The UNC game is the key to the year end. Lose and we likely lose out. Win and we likely beat Duke, play ugag tough and go to a bowl – perhaps even the acc championship. Afraid our D just isn’t up to beating UNC at home though – hope I’m wrong.

Different subject – has anyone else noticed how well Shawn Green seems to be playing coming off the bench at NT? He’s not huge but man is he quick. Another year in the weight room and he will be pretty good.

Buzz Kill

November 5th, 2012
1:16 pm

Cereal Bowl MAYBE?

C King

November 5th, 2012
1:38 pm

I think we need a bowl in Athens. The “Cesspool Bowl”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!