Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Tech’

Heat Check: The Braves are hotter; Tech has a spiffy cistern

Georgia Tech's new indoor practice facility. Cistern not shown. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Georgia Tech's new indoor practice facility. Cistern not shown. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

One day late — hey, Monday was a holiday, though not for me — we offer our weekly Heat Check of the local sporting entities. Given that two of our professional teams are locked out, maybe we should rename this feature Slim Pickin’s. (Not to be confused with the gifted thespian Slim Pickens. Definitely to be confused with former Falcons No. 1 pick Bruce Pickens, who was much less gifted than Slim.)

The Braves: They’ve won six of seven, and they should have won seven of seven. The Sunday loss to Baltimore was a case of bad luck, iffy umpiring and one lousy pitch from Scott Proctor. They’re still not hitting for average (.237), but they’re pitching like champs (ERA of 3.04, best in the business). Imagine if they’d hit just .250, which really wouldn’t be asking so much. The National League average is .251. Heat Index: Not quite scorching, but temperatures are definitely above …

Continue reading Heat Check: The Braves are hotter; Tech has a spiffy cistern »

About UGA, Tech, press conferences and misTweetment

This is Kirby Sma ... er, SMART

This energetic fellow is Kirby Sma … er, SMART

I know it’s an anxious time for many of you. Heck, it’s an anxious time for me, because I’m not sure where I’ll be today. A brief explanation:

The Falcons are having their customary season-ending press briefing at Flowery Branch at 3 p.m. That was to be my destination until Georgia Tech announced a 1 p.m. session with juniors Derrick Morgan, Jonathan Dwyer and Morgan Burnett. So that’s where I’m going, as of this moment. I attach the qualification because there’s  a chance — a “chance,” I said –  something could happen in Athens.

Tech is also having a 9:30 a.m. session with Paul Johnson on Wednesday. It’s described as a season-ending wrap-up, and that could be all it is. But Johnson is believed to be attending the coaches’ convention in Orlando these next two days, and … well, last I heard, Tech needs a new defensive coach. A coordinator, if I’m not mistaken.

Yes, I know. Georgia needs a DC, too. And speculation is so rampant …

Continue reading About UGA, Tech, press conferences and misTweetment »

Presenting 5 top storylines for Atlanta sports in 2010

Santa Claus will be comin' to town soon enough. Will the Eastern Conference finals follow? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Santa Claus will be comin' to town soon enough. Will the Eastern Conference finals follow? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

1. Will the Hawks reach the Eastern Conference finals? Step by inexorable step, this team keeps moving. It made the playoffs in 2008 and won a series in 2009. Can it do what the Hawks haven’t done since 1970 — when they were based in the West, not the East, and you needed only one series victory fo reach the conference finals — and play for the right to go to the NBA finals? Bradley’s prediction: Yes, they can. Yes, they will.

2. Will Ilya Kovalchuk re-up with the Thrashers? This isn’t so much about a player as it is a franchise. The Thrashers have made a bright start to the season, but all that goes poof if Kovalchuk won’t agree to stay. It has been a decade-long struggle to sell hockey in this Southern city, but if the franchise player leaves, will the franchise itself be long for the A-T-L? Bradley’s prediction: Kovalchuk stays, simply because Don Waddell …

Continue reading Presenting 5 top storylines for Atlanta sports in 2010 »

Tech’s Paul Johnson: The best playcaller in the business

PJ's adjustments haven't included sending this guy in motion. But just wait. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

PJ's adjustments haven't included sending this guy in motion — yet. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

It was the night of Oct. 3. Georgia Tech was playing Mississippi State in Starkville. With 9:21 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Jackets punted.

I mention this for a reason. That was more than a calendar month ago, and the Jackets haven’t punted in a second half since. Not at Florida State. Not against Virginia Tech. Not at Virginia. Not at Vandy.

Eight quarters of football. Not one second-half punt. And you know what this says?

Paul Johnson is the archduke of adjustments.

We hear announcers talking about them all the time. We hear Erin Andrews and her sideline-reporting ilk ask, “Coach, what adjustments will you make at halftime?” Ninety-five percent of the time coaches wind up doing the same thing in the second half as they did in the first.

Not PJ. He tweaks. He brings a guy in motion from a different angle. He splits a guy a tad wider. He runs the same stuff, only slightly …

Continue reading Tech’s Paul Johnson: The best playcaller in the business »

SI has Tech No. 12 and UGA No. 15, and I say, “Close”

Two good Jackets: Josh Nesbitt dodges Derrick Morgan. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Two good Jackets: Josh Nesbitt dodges Derrick Morgan. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

A year ago Sports Illustrated, like pretty much everyone else, ranked Georgia No. 1. This year the venerable magazine has the Bulldogs No. 15, three spots behind Georgia Tech. And I saw that yesterday and said to myself, “That’s pretty darn close.”

The USA Today coaches’ poll was released last week, and it surprised me. Georgia was No. 13, two places ahead of the Jackets. And that, you should know, made me go, “Hmmm.”

Flying home from the Capital One Bowl, I did a back-of-the-envelope estimate and guessed, without Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, Georgia would be ranked No. 21 to Tech’s No. 9, but I realize now I might have been suffering from jet lag. (Yeah, I know. Orlando’s in the same time zone. But it’s only excuse I can find.) I probably had Tech a tad too high and definitely had Georgia too low.

Were I doing the same computations today, I’d put Tech No. 10 — I think this is a Top …

Continue reading SI has Tech No. 12 and UGA No. 15, and I say, “Close” »

ESPN: Tech’s Dwyer is the nation’s second-best back

I tried to make the point last week, but nobody ever listens to me. But maybe you folks will take heed when somebody employed by the Worldwide Leader says something. So here goes:

Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com Insiders presented his list of the nation’s 10 best backs, and he ranks Jonathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech No. 2. (Who’s No. 1? Caleb King? Uh, no.) Since this is one of those links that requires registration, I’ll provide Mr. Feldman’s top 10:

  1. Jahvid Best, California
  2. Dwyer, GT
  3. Quizz Rodgers, Oregon State
  4. Charles Scott, LSU
  5. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State
  6. LeGarrette Blount, Oregon
  7. C.J. Spiller, Clemson
  8. Evan Royster, Penn State
  9. MiQuayle Lewis, Ball State
  10. Noel Devine, West Virginia

It’s a nice list, as lists go — heavy on the Pac-10, which is fine by me. And Georgia fans should note that the Bulldogs will face three of the top five. But it’s from Feldman’s description of Dwyer that I find my sustenance:

“Despite playing in a major college football media market, Dwyer still is a …

Continue reading ESPN: Tech’s Dwyer is the nation’s second-best back »

Meet Jonathan Dwyer, unannounced Heisman candidate

Pretty good college football right here. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Pretty good ballplayer right here. As good as C.J. Spiller. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Theoretically, every collegiate football player in the land is “a Heisman Trophy candidate.” But we tend to attach that label to a player only when the player’s school first attaches it. And Georgia Tech, being practiced in the lost art of understatement, hasn’t gone wild over Jonathan Dwyer just yet.

He’s billed on the cover of Tech’s media guide not as an “HTC” but as something a tad more tangible — the ACC player of the year. Which he was in 2008, and which he was just voted by the league’s media, assembled in Greensboro, N.C., to be again this season. And that if that doesn’t make someone an HTC … well, my name’s not George P. Burdell.

In Sporting News Today, Matt Crossman noted that Dwyer met the media in Greensboro from the seat “previously occupied by C.J. Spiller, the blazing-fast Clemson running back. Clemson brought with it life-sized posters of Spiller to hype his Heisman …

Continue reading Meet Jonathan Dwyer, unannounced Heisman candidate »

All-Football Friday! The questions facing Georgia Tech

A surprise a year ago, Georgia Tech will surprise us this time only if it stinks. Which it probably won’t. But that doesn’t mean it has no issues. Every team does, and thank goodness. If teams had no issues there’d be no place for folks like me. Forty-three days ahead of its opener against Jacksonville State, here’s what we should be asking about the Jackets:

• Is Paul Johnson’s offense, as Paul Johnson contends, going to make an exponential jump in Year 2? Are there really that many different ways to hand or pitch someone the ball? Or will the going get tougher for the option-based spread the second time through the ACC?

• Will the passing game become more than a diversionary tactic? Does Tech need to bring the disparity between rushing and passing yards — 73 percent of the offense against 27 percent last season — into closer harmony? (Say, 65 to 35?) Will the Jackets, who could well be playing for a championship, throw the ball effectively when the day comes when they’re …

Continue reading All-Football Friday! The questions facing Georgia Tech »

Bradley’s Buzz: ESPN likes Tech in Coastal, but not Ga. Tech

On her ESPN.com ACC blog, Heather Dinich makes three predictions regarding Georgia Tech. First, that the offense will be even better. Second, that junior Jonathan Dwyer will turn pro after this season. Third, that the Jackets, even with this upgraded offense and with Dwyer on his farewell tour, won’t finish first in their division. Virginia Tech will.

To be fair, most people pick VPI — we old folks still remember Virginia Tech as the Virginia Polytechnic Institute — to win the Coastal. I’m not among them. (Then again, I’m often wrong.) I’m picking G-Tech over V-Tech because V-Tech plays at G-Tech on Oct. 17. But Ms. Dinich offers a compelling reason for her forecast: The newness of GT’s offensive and defensive lines.

“It’s the most glaring weakness for Georgia Tech,” she writes, “and one that only time and game experience can overcome. Having to replace three of four starters on the defensive line will be no easy task, and the offensive line continues to be a work in progress. …

Continue reading Bradley’s Buzz: ESPN likes Tech in Coastal, but not Ga. Tech »

Our first Guest Blogger: Why Tech will finally win at UVA

Today we present something new on the ol’ MB blog: A post written by someone other than MB. (For many of you, this will represent the best development yet.) Our first Guest Blogger is Matthew Harrison, who won the right to write by answering a trivia question that turned out not to be so trivial. He grew up in Atlanta and lives in Midlothian, Va. He started going to Georgia Tech games at age 5 with his grandfather, who had season tickets.

Matthew’s two favorite things regarding Tech games: “Before the games we would sometimes go to Krystal [or the Varsity]. I remember how excited I was when I could finally eat 2 Krystals! Another thing that was neat? I got to say a bad word at the Tech games with my grandfather. ‘Helluva engineer’ — love that fight song!”

As was part of the guest-blogging arrangement, Matthew got to pick his topic. And here, by golly, it is:

Nineteen years is too long
By Matthew Harrison

In 1990, gas was $1.16 a gallon; “Murphy Brown,” “L.A. Law and “Northern …

Continue reading Our first Guest Blogger: Why Tech will finally win at UVA »