Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Where’s The Buzz

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We’re a few games into the college football season, so we have a small sample size to evaluate teams.

The team we are going to examine is Georgia Tech. Geoff Collins is in his third season as head coach and I’m wondering has the program gotten any better?

The Yellow Jackets started the season with a loss at home to Northern Illinois, 22 – 21. Losing to a school outside of the Power 5 is embarrassing enough, but the Huskies were winless in 2020 (0-6). This game should have been an easy win before ACC play begins.

The one positive from that game is Jordan Yates came in to relieve an injured Jeff Sims at quarterback. I believed he was a better player and he has played like it so far.

The next game was against an FCS team, Kennesaw State. They won 45 – 17, which is expected.

The Jackets then went to #6 Clemson. Last season the Tigers humiliated Tech, 73 – 7. In 2019 they won 52 – 17. Clemson did have the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence playing quarterback in those games. They also had fellow first-round pick, running back Travis Etienne.

They are replacing a lot of talent and experience, but we expect a program like them to reload. Their offense looked anemic in the season opener, but they did play an elite Georgia defense.

The Tigers won, 14 – 8. This score was much closer than anyone would have predicted. Did Tech close the talent gap between the programs or is Clemson overrated?

I think the truth is closer to Clemson struggling on offense, led by sophomore quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. He completed 18 of 25 pass attempts for 126 yards, 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

Yates completed 20 of 34 passes for 203 yards, no touchdown and 1 interception.

Clemson had not been held under 20 points in an ACC game since losing 28-6 to Tech in 2014. Likewise, the Tigers’ 284 yards of total offense was their fewest since the same loss to Tech, when they gained 190 yards.

The Tech defense came out in a 3-3 (three defensive linemen, three linebackers) look for the first time this season after playing out of a 4-2-5 (four linemen, two linebackers, five defensive backs) as its base defense. They worked on the 3-3 throughout the preseason but Collins did not feel they were ready for the first two games.

“And then once the guys were really confident in playing it, we rolled it out there (Saturday) and they did a really nice job with it,” Collins said.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said that Tech lined up in “absolutely nothing that we prepared for.”

This moral victory may give the team some confidence going forward. The question is will that translate to wins?

Looking at the rest of the schedule I think there are four games they have a chance to win; Duke, Virginia, Boston College and Miami.

Pitt, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Georgia are guaranteed loses. The Yellow Jackets are in for another losing season and missing a bowl appearance.

Returning Sting?

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Georgia Tech kicks off the college football season September 4th at home against Northern Illinois.

Geoff Collins is entering his third season as the head coach in Atlanta. His record is 6 – 16 and he won three games in each of his first two seasons. The question is ‘can the Yellow Jackets finally turn the corner this season?’

Last season true freshman quarterback Jeff Sims started. As expected, he went through growing pains learning and gaining experience. He passed for 1,881 yards, 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 492 yards and 6 TD’s. I think he will be drastically better as a sophomore.

True freshman running back Jahmyr Gibbs was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He missed several games in 2020 due to injury. He rushed for 460 yards, 4 touchdowns and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. He was also second on the team in receptions with 24 catches, 303 yards and 3 scores. If he can stay healthy, he should run for a thousand yards.

Junior running back Jordan Mason can run effectively when he plays. In 2020, he rushed for 352 yards, 2 TD’s and averaged 4.3 YPC.

They did lose the leading receiver last season, Jalen Camp. He graduated and was drafted in the 6th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Left tackle Devin Cochran is a grad-transfer from Vanderbilt. He’s 6’7, 320-pounds and should immediately improve the offensive line.

Tackle Kenneth Kirby is also a grad-transfer from Norfolk State. He was a three-year starter and two-time All-MEAC selection.

You may be noticing a theme so far with the grad-transfer players. Linebacker Ayinde Eley joined the team in January after transferring from Maryland. He was voted a team captain for the spring game and has been a leader since showing up on campus.

Georgia Tech needs to improve in every aspect because they have not done anything well in the Geoff Collins era. We have seen they can win three games but they will need to double that to become bowl eligible. One thing that was promising is that all of the wins last season were against ACC teams. T

hey are starting to level the playing field and they now need to win one more conference game and two non-conference games to get to six wins.

I believe Tech will win the season opener against Norther Illinois.

The following week, September 11th is also at Bobby Dodd Stadium against Kennesaw State. The Owls are an FCS team but they are tough. I think this will be a close game but I give the advantage to Tech.

Week 3 is the first away game against Clemson. We all know that GT will be slaughtered. Last season they were embarrassed 73 -7. I think this game will be closer but that would still be a forty-point loss.

The fourth game is against North Carolina at Mercedes-Benz stadium. The Tar Heels are a better team. Collins needs to start winning games like this if he plans to turn the program around. I give the advantage to UNC.

The next two games before the bye week are Pitt and at Duke. I think Tech can beat Duke.

After the bye, the next four games are at Virginia, Virginia Tech, at Miami and Boston College. BC and UVA are the games they have a chance in.

The final two games are at Notre Dame and home versus Georgia. These will be blow out loses.

I think GT will improve and win 5 games but they will not become bowl eligible.

 

Increasing Buzz

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Georgia Tech head football coach Geoff Collins is going into his third season in Atlanta.

He currently has a record of 6 – 16. So far, he has recruited better than his predecessor Paul Johnson but it has not translated on the field.

Tech’s spring season included 15 practices over a 24-day span that began March 30th. The Spring game was at Bobby Dodd Stadium on a Friday night, April 23rd. Fans were able to attend.

Left tackle Devin Cochran is a grad transfer from Vanderbilt, and he looks like he will make a big contribution next season. He’s 6’7, 320-pounds and he can stop a pass rusher in his tracks.

Quarterback Jeff Sims has shown what he can do with some time to pass the ball so the offense can be explosive.

Another grad transfer tackle, Kenneth Kirby will come to campus in May when he graduates from Norfolk State. He was a three-year starter and two-time All-MEAC selection.

Sims accounted for 173 yards of total offense and 3 touchdowns. He ran for a 48-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the game and completed 9-of-10 passes for 125 yards and two scores in front of a large crowd of season-ticket holders and students.

Coach Collins reset the score occasionally to make it more entertaining. He did this in the waning minutes to set up an exciting finish.

First, an 11-yard touchdown run by true freshman quarterback Chayden Peery and subsequent two-point conversion by Ryan Lantz gave the “White” team a 25-24 lead with exactly two minutes to go in the third and final period of the game.

On the following series Sims led the “Gold” team on a four-play, 65-yard drive. He threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to grad transfer Kyric McGowan to win the game.

The Yellow Jackets signal callers played well in the game. Playing in his first game in nearly 18 months due to the cancellation of his senior season of high school football in his native California, Peery completed 7-of-10 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown and ran four times for 26 yards and another score.

Redshirt freshman Jordan Yates connected on 6-of-10 passes for 99 yards and a score.

The defense forced two turnovers. There was a fumble recovery by senior defensive lineman Antonneous Clayton and an interception by senior Tariq Carpenter.

Carpenter’s INT came on a defense called by Georgia Tech men’s basketball head coach and honorary spring game defensive coach Josh Pastner.

The offensive line played well. They were not called for any false starts, which was a big problem in 2020.

Center Mikey Minihan accurately delivered snaps to the Sims, blocked effectively and had a handle on the defense’s pre-snap movements. Last season was his first-time playing center and he struggled at times.

Before the game team captains for offense and defense met at midfield. Three of the four were unsurprising selections – Sims and right guard Ryan Johnson (who was voted a permanent captain for the 2020 team at the end of the season) and safety Juanyeh Thomas. The fourth was grad-transfer linebacker Ayinde Eley, who joined the team in January from Maryland. They were voted by their teammates earlier in the week.

In his brief time at Tech, Eley “has made a tremendous impact to our program,” Collins said. “He is a great leader; he is a great teammate. He is a great worker within our program.”

Tech’s first game is September 4th at home against Northern Illinois. Hopefully this is the season where they can get back to a bowl game.

Dumpster fire

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As you look around the Southern college football landscape you see the Alabama, Clemson, Florida, and Georgia’s of the world playing a very good brand of football, but you can also look around and see some programs not performing very well.

We have a few programs in our geographical region that currently look like dumpster fires. Let’s take a look at my top five programs that have fallen on hard times.

 

  1. Georgia Tech: The Jackets were number one on this list two years ago. Now they are about remove themselves from lists like this. Georgia Tech is doing the right things to not be included on lists like this much longer.

Teams 1-4 on this list need to follow the Jacket blueprint. The Jackets land here as a motivational tool for 2021.

 

  1. Florida State: My how the mighty have fallen. This once proud football program has sunk to an all-time low.

Gone are the days of ruling the ACC with an iron fist, and now we see FSU backing out of playing home games against Clemson and using Covid-19 as an excuse after Clemson had already made the trip.

FSU used to be a recruiting machine and now they fight Georgia Southern and South Alabama for 3-star athletes.

FSU will be back eventually but how in the hell should a program of this magnitude ever appear on a list like this?  It cost Clemson $250K to travel to Tallahassee for a pre-game meal, but they got to see a top five dumpster fire in person.

 

  1. South Carolina: Are you starting to see a pattern of the SEC East yet?

South Carolina is a State with good high school football, Columbia is 80 miles from Charlotte and less than 3 hours from Atlanta. The recruiting base is there.

South Carolina’s biggest problem is that they are Clemson’s little brother and they can’t shake that label.

You mention that to the fan base and they get fighting mad. How can Clemson be so good and South Carolina be so bad currently? I just don’t get it and many football observers in the south don’t either.

Will Shane Beamer fix this dumpster fire?

 

  1. Vanderbilt: Vandy has never been very good in football. We all understand that the academic prestige of Vanderbilt presents some competitive challenges for this fine University.

Derek Mason has been fired and been replaced by Clark Lea from Notre Dame.

Vandy needs to get back to work of becoming a competitive football team. The Commodores did not win a football game in 2020, and decided they were just not going to show up and play Georgia in their final game of the season. That mentality alone has to go and makes Vandy a dumpster fire.

 

  1. Tennessee: How did we get here Vol fans? You are the biggest dumpster fire in college football currently. A ten-year-old boy and Tennessee fan asked his father “What is it like to beat Alabama dad?” Dad answered “I don’t know son we are Vol fans.”

Tennessee just suffered through the worst decade of football in its proud history. Six head coaches in 12 years.

Now apparently Tennessee has as many as 30 level 1 and level 2 major recruiting violations. Rumors of giving away cash in McDonald’s bags and so on.

Due to NCAA sanctions forthcoming it may be 2025-26 until Tennessee has a full complement of scholarships to offer (they could lose up to 30 over next 4 years).

This program is about to be on life support. Tennessee is having a mass exodus via the transfer portal.

Memphis is the best college football program in the State of Tennessee right now.

Damn, just damn, Big Orange nation you are the biggest dumpster fire in all of college football.

No Sting For Tech?

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Geoff Collins is only in his second season at Georgia Tech. It may be too early to say if he was the right hire, but we can check his progress.

As you know he replaced Paul Johnson, who was there for 11 years. He was famous for being the only Power 5 team to run the triple option.

Collins runs a spread offense, so he has a completely different style. Many of the kids on the roster do not have the skillset for that offense.

Johnson was also notorious for not recruiting well. Collins is trying to improve the overall talent on the roster.

Tech’s 2020 recruiting class was ranked 27th nationally and fifth in the ACC.

There were four 4-star recruits in that class. They include quarterback Jeff Sims, running back Jahmyr Gibbs, corner back Miles Brooks and defensive end Jared Ivey.

The 2022 class is currently ranked 32nd and they have two 4-star players in the class. Obviously, it’s not set in stone until signing day so this can change.

Anytime you see Collins he talks about changing the culture and the 404 (Atlanta’s first area code). I’ll be honest, I think it would be better if he spoke more about the game of football.

It seems like he has more style than substance because of that but what do I know.

Let’s take a look at his on-field results. His record at Tech is 6 – 14.

In his first season in 2019 he was 3 – 9 and 2 – 6 in conference play.

He was not expected to have instant success. One score I want to mention so we can compare it to this season is the Clemson game. Last season in Death Valley the Tigers won 52 – 14.

This season they played Clemson at home in the fifth game of the season.

They were steamrolled 73 – 7. I was alarmed by that score because it made me think, how was your team better last season?

In year 2 there should be better talent and more experience playing in your system. I probably oversimplified his progress by just looking at that game.

The Yellow Jackets are 3 – 5 so far in 2020. All three wins are in conference play, so they have more ACC wins than they did last season.

Also, we have to admit during this pandemic that this year is more difficult than normal circumstances.

Speaking of that, Georgia Tech just played their first game after an unexpected four-week layoff. I think this game may have been the turning point for Collins.

They beat Duke 56 – 33 at home. The true freshmen played well. Gibbs had touchdown runs of 61 and 26 yards in the first half before leaving with a hamstring injury.

Sims threw for 3 touchdown passes and ran for 108 yards, setting career highs. Jordan Mason ran for 105 yards.

Three players earned ACC honors after the game. Defensive end Jordan Domineck was named defensive lineman of the week. He had 2 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. He had a strip sack in the end zone and recovered the ball for a touchdown.

Sims was rookie of the week and offensive lineman Zach Quinney was co-offensive lineman of the week.

My opinion on Collins has changed and I think he has the team on the right track. He needs one or two more recruiting classes and a normal offseason to get things back on track.

Florida Recruiting Wars

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

With the Early Signing Period less than a month away, I want to look at the Big Three in Florida’s potential recruiting classes for 2021.

The Current ranking for the Miami Hurricanes is 13th in the nation and fourth in the ACC with 21 commits.

The Canes currently have 1 running back, 5 receivers, 3 offensive linemen, 4 defensive linemen, 3 linebackers, 2 defensive backs, 2 athletes and 1 kicker.

Coach Diaz has done an excellent job of keeping the top talent in South Florida to commit to Miami.

Leonard Taylor, the number two player in the state and ninth nationally, is the anchor to an outstanding class. The Canes have commitments for three of the five heralded players from Miami Palmetto (Taylor, Bashard Smith WR, and Savion Collins DE).

Miami has 19 current commits from the State of Florida and 16 of the 19 are from South Florida.

Key players in this class: James Williams 5-star safety, Romello Brinson high 4-star wide receiver and Laurence Seymore 4-star offensive guard.

Miami needs to find a quarterback, two or three more offensive linemen and 3 or 4 more defensive backs.

When the dust settles after the early signing period, I predict the Canes will be in position for a top 10 class.

The Florida State Seminoles are currently ranked 28th and in the ACC with 15 commits.

The Seminoles currently have 1 quarterback, 4 receivers, 3 offensive linemen, 3 defensive linemen, 1 linebacker and 3 defensive backs.

Coach Norvell must think he is still at Memphis with the star power of the current class. FSU (Five Star U) has ZERO five stars in this class, four 4-stars and eleven 3-stars.

The Seminoles only have six recruits from the State of Florida.

The disaster on the field has affected recruiting. If Norvell wants to be competitive on the field it starts with recruiting top players in the States of Florida and Georgia.

Norvell may want to utilize the transfer portal this season to acquire some talented players who are dissatisfied with their current situation. The current roster has six five-stars and a top 10 composite ranking but only two wins on the field.

The Seminoles need to add 4 to 5 offensive linemen, 2 receivers, 3 defensive linemen and 2 defensive backs. Norvell sure looks to have his work cut out for him.

FSU will finish the 2021 with a class ranked around 25th. Maybe FSU fans are wishing they didn’t fire Willie so quickly!

The University of Florida Gators are currently ranked seventh in the nation and fourth in the SEC with 26 commits.

The Gators have 2 quarterbacks, 6 receivers, 5 offensive lineman, 5 defensive linemen, 2 linebackers, 5 defensive backs, and 1 athlete.

When Dan Mullen arrived in Gainesville, he was not known as a top recruiter but he had made smart hires. The Gators will carry over the success on the field into recruiting.

The Gators snagged the two remaining players for Miami Palmetto in Jason Marshall and Corey Collier. The Gators currently have 18 commits from Florida and 3 from Georgia.

Florida may have lost a commitment from 4-star linebacker Chief Borders out of Franklin, GA to Sanford.

Players to watch for commitment are 4-star linebacker Xavian Sorey and 4-star safety Terrion Arnold out of Tallahassee, it’s a Florida – Alabama battle for both players.

The Gators are in good shape to finish with a top 10 class. My prediction is they will have the sixth ranked class in the nation.

Florida is one of the richest recruiting states in the country, and if the Big Three want to stay in the Big Three, they must recruit the State of Florida first.

Georgia Tech Wrecked

By: TJ Hartnett

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The number 2 and number 3 college football teams played each other on Saturday, a showcase game for the SEC and a contest with huge implications for the National Championship scene coming up in just a couple of months.

But there was another kind of showcase for the number 1 college football team in the nation.

The Clemson Tigers hung 73 points on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday, and while Tech was never going to be able to put up much of a fight, they managed a meager 7 points, losing by 66 to the number 1 ranked team in the country.

That score might give you pause and reasonably so: you aren’t the only person wondering if Clemson ran up the score on a lesser team just to show off and build up stats; but the things that they pretty clearly weren’t.

It wasn’t as though the Tigers left their first-string players in the game while the scored touchdown after touchdown after touchdown after touchdown after touchdown after touchdown after…well, you get the point.

No, it was Clemson’s second-string scoring on Tech’s first-string; the Tigers were showcasing nearly their entire team as the game progressed – getting experience to the inexperienced.

In fact, primary backup quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei didn’t even see any snaps after Trevor Lawrence was subbed out of the game. Coach Dabo Sweeney went with their third-string QB instead (Uiagalelei had some shoulder soreness, but still).

So, while the cries of running up the score are understandable given the 66-point score differential, the truth of the matter is that Clemson – the whole squad – was just that much better than the Yellow Jackets – they were on the same field by they were barely playing the same game.

The offensive, the defense, the special teams; the Tigers’ depth chart was in play and dominating. Third stringers were thriving up and down the gridiron. Tech simply wasn’t on Clemson’s level.

Circling back to Lawrence; the young QB obviously had an incredible game. His 404 yards and 5 first-half touchdown passes were career bests, the 52 points he led the Tigers to in the first two quarters was a new school record.

Irrelevant footnote: Lawrence’s first-quarter interception was his first since last October, breaking a streak of 366 completed passes without one.

That’s a fun fact in and of itself, but it’s representative of the level of excellence at which Lawrence has been playing football in 2020.

During the first five games of the season (in which the Tigers have unsurprisingly gone 5-0), Lawrence has completed over 70% of his passes along with 1,544 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 4 rushing touchdowns and remember that he just threw his first interception of the season in a 73-7 victory against a fellow ACC team.

For a young man who has already announced that he’ll be entering the draft after this season, he is rising the hell out of his own stock and it’s always been pretty high (Clemson is 30-1 in games that Lawrence starts).

Perhaps the craziest part of this drumming of Georgia Tech is the fact that half of this article has been devoted to the massive accomplishments of a quarterback who left the game after the first drive of the second half. That’s how impressive he and the rest of the team were on Saturday.

So, while Alabama and Georgia can battle it out until the cows come home Clemson made a statement to them – you’re only playing for second best.

Saturday’s Buzzing Chant

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Mike Norvell era begins on Saturday September 12, 2020 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

It’s game week for FSU football, which means it’s time for Coach Norvell to unveil his plan to get FSU back to relevancy.

After four seasons as the head coach at Memphis, Coach Norvell was hired to replace Willie Taggart.

FSU comes into the game week as a 12.5 point favorite against Georgia Tech.

One of the biggest questions going into the contest is Mike Norvell; is he the right person to lead FSU back to prominence?

The past two seasons FSU has struggled with costly penalties, turnovers, personnel, alongside other detailed issues.

The first offseason at a new school is always a challenge for a head coach, as they set out to install their offensive and defensive schemes. FSU’s culture and expectations for the program remains high.

This offseason has been even more complicated by COVID-19, Norvell was attempting to operate the offseason remotely. The trying nature of this offseason has taken the anticipation to perhaps an even higher level ahead of Saturday’s kickoff.

Saturday is a great opportunity for the FSU football team and Mike Norvell to show their fans, alumni and supporters that the program is in good hands and is heading in the right direction.

Watching Coach Norvell’s press conference on Monday, Coach Norvell never stopped smiling. He beams confidence and leadership. His job is to rebuild one of the most dominant college football programs from a deflating down period.

Don’t get me wrong, FSU is not competing for a National Championship or even an ACC Championship this season, but Coach Norvell must show positive results on the field. He will be playing his home games on Bobby Bowden Field.

Norvell will be facing a program in Georgia Tech with second year head coach Geoff Collins.

Georgia Tech coming off a very disappointing 3-9 campaign in 2019. The Yellow Jackets look to rebound in 2020.

Saturday’s game is a big game for both teams as the Jackets look to take a big step forward in year two of the Geoff Collins era, while FSU looks to get the Mike Norvell era off to a good start in his first game as the Seminoles head coach.

With both programs having plenty to prove, I expect things to be sloppy at times with missed tackles, blown assignments, and penalties on both teams.

I think it will be a fairly high scoring game, but we do have to take into account the lack of practice time.

The Seminoles biggest problem on offense last year was their offensive line which allowed a whopping 48 sacks, that’s a weakness that Georgia Tech must exploit to win.

Look for James Blackmon to stay upright and FSU’s team speed will be the difference in this matchup, as Florida State simply has too many talented weapons at their disposal and that leads tips the game heavily in favor of the Seminoles.

Final Score Prediction: FSU 34 Georgia Tech 13