Kenneth Harrison

Southern Draft

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The 2022 NFL Draft starts April 28th in Nevada. We’re going to take a look around the AFC South to see who the first picks will be for each team.

#1 Jacksonville: The Jaguars (3 – 14) have the top pick in the draft for the second year in a row. Last year they picked Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He struggled in his first season but that’s because they were a bad team with bad coaching.

The Urban Meyer experiment ended during the season. Doug Pederson has been hired to replace him. He won a Super Bowl in Philadelphia, which was the first for the franchise.

“This culture is all about winning. The players here want to win. I want to win. And that’s what I can bring to the Jacksonville Jaguars, to this community, and to our fan base,” Pederson said at his formal introductory press conference, with the former Eagles coach flanked by owner Shad Khan and general manager Trent Baalke.

Jacksonville’s first priority should be a tackle to protect Lawrence. Alabama tackle Evan Neal will be the pick. He’s massive, standing 6’7 and 360 pounds. He’s versatile and he should help improve Jacksonville’s fifth worst third down conversion rate (35.8 percent).

#3 Houston: The Texans (4 – 13) have a ton of needs which also includes a quarterback. The problem is this is not a great quarterback class and rookie signal-caller Davis Mills got better later in the season. I think they’ll draft the best available player which will be someone on defense.

Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux will be a good pick. He’s the best pass rusher in the draft. He’s 6’5, 258 pounds and a great athlete. Last season he had 35 solo tackles, 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He should be an impact player and an immediate starter.

# 26 Tennessee: The Titans (12 – 5) had a surprisingly good year considering star running back Derrick Henry missed several games with an injury. They were the top seed in the AFC and lost to Cincinnati in the divisional round.

Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum would be a good pick. He’s athletic with a mauling mentality, which is perfect for the run game. That would be an ideal fit for the Titans.

Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams might also be a possibility. He tore his ACL in the National Championship Game against Georgia, which unfortunately altered his draft status.

He obviously will need time to recover from his injury, but this may be a bargain for an explosive receiver. Williams had an amazing 2021 season with 79 receptions, 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns.

#47 Indianapolis: The Colts (9 – 8) traded their first-round pick to Philadelphia for quarterback Carson Wentz. The Eagles have the 16th pick and Wentz struggled last season so it may not have been worth it.

Washington corner back Kyler Gordon would be a good selection because he addresses a need. He had 36 solo tackles, 2 interceptions, 7 pass deflections and 1 forced fumble. He’s 6’0 and 200 lbs. so he’s a big corner back.

Crean Not Rising

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

Georgia is riding high after winning the national championship in 2021.

They had a historically great defense that helped deliver their first football national championship since 1980. The question is can that inspire some of the other teams in the athletic department?

The UGA men’s basketball team needs some help. They currently sit alone in last place in the SEC. Their overall record is 6 – 15 and 1 – 7 in conference play.

The most recent game was an 85 – 77 loss to Vanderbilt (11 – 9), led by Scottie Pippen Jr. The younger Pippen scored 23 points and dished a season-high 9 assists and Vanderbilt snapped a three-game losing streak, leading from the opening tip. This was the first time the Commodores swept an SEC opponent since 2017.

Aaron Cook led four Bulldogs into double-digit scoring, finishing with 18 points. Kario Oquendo and Noah Baumann each scored 15 points and Braelen Bridges contributed 14 points. Baumann led Georgia (6-15, 1-7) with nine rebounds.

Vanderbilt led by as many as 15 points in the second half after a Pippen layup with less than five minutes to play. The Commodores hit 7 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half and knocked down 12 of 23 overall. Vandy shot 63% from the floor in the first half, hitting 28 of 55 (50.9%) for the game.

Last season the Bulldogs were 14 – 12. Not great but at least they were over .500. They had one returning starter from the 2020-21 team, P.J. Horne. The 6’6 forward from Tifton, GA suffered a season ending knee injury in October.

Head coach Tom Crean had to know then that season would be tough.

“This is such a major blow to us because (Horne) was playing so well and showing great leadership as our leading returning player,” Crean said on Twitter. “But more so because he is such a great person and one of the finest people I’ve ever coached. He cares about his teammates deeply.”

In May, 9 players entered the transfer portal. This is happening to every team but to have that many players enter at once is still shocking.

No team has been hit more squarely in the mouth by player free agency than Georgia. They have been picked nearly down to the bone. From a raw numbers’ standpoint, the Bulldogs have lost 83.4% of their scoring (1,680 points), 72.5% of their rebounding (701) and 72.1% of their 3-point field goals made (119).

One of their best players, K.D. Johnson transferred to Auburn. The Tigers are currently the number one team in the nation. The Bulldogs had the 4-star recruit for all of 16 games, with Johnson missing the first 10 because of NCAA academic eligibility issues. He averaged 13.5 points a game, second on the team.

Another notable name to leave was graduate transfer Andrew Garcia, who transferred to Kent State.

The Bulldogs appear to have done reasonably well with the six transfers they’re bringing in, led by sophomore guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim, who’s coming from Virginia.

Crean has been in Georgia for four seasons and last year was his only winning record. He did go 16 – 16 in 2019-20. The finished 10th in the SEC that year which was the best they have done in his tenure. He has a 47 – 64 record in Athens.

It might be a good time to move on from Crean after this season and rebuild.

Dawgs Eat

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

Something I thought I’d never see in my lifetime happened.

Georgia won their first national championship since 1980. I’m not a UGA fan at all so I was shocked they finally beat Alabama.

Kirby Smart lost his previous four meetings to his old boss, Nick Saban. In his case the fifth time was a charm. It was a close game through three quarters, but Georgia won 33- 18.

“I told the guys in the locker room, just take a picture of this, because I think back to the ’80 championship picture and seeing all those players and the Frank Walkers and the Herschel Walkers and all these people that have reached out and said things,” Smart said. “Our guys have accomplished that, something special, and as they say, they’ve become legendary, and I want that for them.”

The teams traded field goals in the first half and Alabama took a 9 – 6 lead into the locker room at halftime. In the SEC Championship win, the Crimson Tide lost wide receiver John Metchie III with a torn ACL. He leads the team in receptions with 96 and he was second in receiving yards with 1,142.

The other star receiver, Jameson Williams suffered a knee injury in the first half after catching a 40-yard pass. Williams is the team leader in receiving yard with 1,507 yards.

The first touchdown came with 1:20 left in the third quarter. James Cook broke a 67-yard run to get the Bulldogs in the red zone. Three more running plays and a facemask penalty by Alabama got them into the end zone. Zamir White went in standing up from a yard out. It gave Georgia their first lead, 13 – 9.

Alabama added another field goal after that. They got the ball back on a play that was ruled a Stetson Bennett fumble. It looked like he was trying to throw the ball away and the ball rolled out of bounds. Bama’s Drew Sanders casually caught it jogging out of bounds.

They got the ball in the red zone and Bryce Young threw a 3-yard touchdown to give them an 18 – 13 lead.

Bennett was 13 for 22 for 141 yards as the next drive started. He completed all three of his passes for 68 yards, including a long strike to Mitchell for a touchdown with 8:09 left that gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead after a failed 2-point conversion.

The Georgia defense forced a three and out and got the ball back for the offense to seal the win. UGA scored 20 points in the fourth quarter.

With less than a minute remaining in the game, UGA corner, back Kelee Ringo intercepted Young and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown.

“I hadn’t cried in — I don’t know, years — but that just came over me,” said Bennett, who was named the offensive player of the game. “That’s what — when you put as much time as we do into this thing, blood, sweat, tears, it means something.”

In the SEC Championship Georgia didn’t sack Young. Last night he was sacked four times and threw two interceptions.

“We had a lot of opportunities, moved the ball relatively well. We did some stuff well. We didn’t execute, and at the end of the day, that’s on me,” said Young.

“We played a heck of a game against a heck of a team for the first three quarters of the game,” said Saban. “Nobody can take the SEC championship away from this team, the Cotton Bowl championship.”

Wreck In Atlanta

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

William Geoffrey Collins has finished his third season as the head coach at Georgia Tech.

So far Geoff Collins hasn’t had much success in Atlanta, but should we be surprised? Collins only has head coaching experience at one school prior to Tech, which is Temple. In his two seasons in Philadelphia coaching the Owls his record was 15–10. Not very impressive but he’s looked at as more of a recruiter.

So far three is his magic number in Atlanta because that’s how many games they win each season. They lost the season opener by one point to Northern Illinois. The Huskies did win nine games, but they aren’t from a major conference. This should have been an easy win.

They were fairly competitive in most games, losing three games by one-score. They lost to Clemson 14–8, Virginia 48–40 and Miami 33–30. If they can figure out how to focus and have better attention to detail, they should have better success in close games.

They finished the season with two consecutive shutout loses. Notre Dame won 55 – 0 and Georgia 45 – 0. Both teams are drastically better but that’s embarrassing.

Once the season ended Collins fired several assistant coaches. He gave pink slips to offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Nathan Burton and cornerbacks coach Jeff Popovich. Collins gave insight into how he plans on turning things around.

“As I began the deep dive into everything we need to fix to take the next steps to get the product on the field and the results on the field at the highest level possible,” Collins said, “the things that I’ve realized is, less branding, more coaching. Less worrying about culture, more worried about ball.”

That strikes me as interesting because that’s what it looks like from the outside. I always see social media posts of pregame outfits, uniforms and doing things for the 404 (an Atlanta area code). I kept thinking is he coaching or making social media posts? The fact he had to address plans to focus on coaching now, three years into being at Tech is frightening. That should have been the only focus.

“We’re to the point now where it’s time to work,” Collins said. “The brand is set, the culture is set, all of those things. Now it’s time to coach. Now it’s time to work.”

Collins needs to get to work with the defense that finished tied for 111th in scoring defense, 117th in total defense, 117th in third-down conversion rate and tied for 112th in plays allowed of 20 yards or more.

He was asked if they should change the defensive formation or fire defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker and he did not directly answer those questions.

“I know Andrew Thacker would be the first person to say that we didn’t play to the standard that we’ve had playing defense wherever we’ve been,” Collins said. “His main focus is to do everything in his power to make sure we’re doing that.”

Chip Long has been hired as offensive coordinator and Travares Tillman as defensive backs coach and defensive pass-game coordinator.

Collins was defensive coordinator at Florida from 2015-16 and he led the Gators to consecutive top-10 finishes in total defense.

So far, the Yellow Jackets have the No. 40 recruiting class in 2022. They are getting better players than Paul Johnson did but not winning.

Next season they have non-conference games against Ole Miss and UCF so things won’t be easy. I don’t expect Tech to get drastically better next year and not make a bowl game.

Urban Dumpster Fire

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

Urban Meyer is a Hall of Fame college football coach.

He was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars as head coach in January 2021. Meyer was fired by Jacksonville in December of 2021.

Team owner Shad Khan issued a statement about it.

“After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone.” Khan said. “I informed Urban of the change this evening. As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen.”

Darrell Bevell, the offensive coordinator, will serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season, the owner said.

Unfortunately, Meyer has had several controversies during his tenure. Most recently, a report came out this week that former kicker Josh Lambo accused Meyer of kicking him at practice in August. He was released in October after missing all three of his kicks from Week 1 – 3.

Lambo said that Meyer came up to him while he was stretching and said, “Hey Dips–t, make your f–king kicks!”

“And kicks me in the leg,” Lambo said of Meyer.

“Josh’s characterization of me and this incident is completely inaccurate, and there are eyewitnesses to refute his account,” Meyer told the paper. “(General manager) Trent (Baalke) and I met with him on multiple occasions to encourage his performance, and this was never brought up. I was fully supportive of Josh during his time with the team and wish him nothing but the best.”

Lambo went into further detail about the kick.

“Truthfully, I’d register it as a five (out of 10),” Lambo told the paper. “Which in the workplace, I don’t care if it’s football or not, the boss can’t strike an employee. And for a second, I couldn’t believe it actually happened. Pardon my vulgarity, I said, ‘Don’t you ever f–king kick me again!’ And his response was, ‘I’m the head ball coach, I’ll kick you whenever the f–k I want.'”

In February, Meyer hired former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle to be Jacksonville’s director of sports performances.

Doyle, who was on the staff at Iowa from 1999-2019, was placed on administrative leave by the school in June 2020 after several former Iowa players accused him of racism.

Shortly after, the university and Doyle agreed to part ways. Doyle posted a statement on Twitter at the time — which has since been deleted — saying the accusations about his behavior are “not true.”

A day later Meyer announced Doyle’s resignation from the team.

In October, following a Thursday Night Football game at Cincinnati Meyer did not travel home with his team. He went to a bar in Columbus and a video went viral of him sitting on a stool with a woman dancing on him. This woman was not his wife.

He has also reportedly called his coaches losers and Marvin Jones had to be restrained from him after an intense argument.

Jacksonville was 1 – 15 last year and they have won two games under Meyer. In the end we shall see if he gets another opportunity to return to college or if this is his last job.

Getting To Know Napier

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The college football regular season is over.

Some coaches at prominent programs were fired and vacant positions are being filled.

USC lured Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma about 24 hours after they lost to Oklahoma State. He was the most high-profile coach on the market.

The Florida Gators fired head coach Dan Mullen. In my opinion Urban Meyer should have been targeted to return to Gainesville. He’s struggling in his first season in Jacksonville. Instead, the Gators hired Billy Napier, who is currently the head ball coach at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Napier played quarterback for Furman from 1999 – 2002 and took over as the starting quarterback his junior year. He led the Paladins to the 2001 NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game and they lost to Montana, 13 – 6. He earned second-team All-Southern Conference honors in 2001 and 2002.

His father is a high school football coach in Northern Georgia. Napier followed in his footsteps and started as a Grad Assistant at Clemson from 2003-04. From 2006-08 he was the tight end coach and recruiting coordinator for the Tigers.

In 2008 Tommy Bowden resigned and Dabo Swinney was named the interim head. Swinney promoted him to quarterback coach. When Swinney was promoted to the full-time head coach after the 2008 season, he promoted Napier to offensive coordinator. In 2009 Clemson scored a then school record 436 points and won the ACC Atlantic Division.

The offense was not nearly as productive in 2010 and he was fired after the season.

In 2011 he was hired by Nick Saban as an offensive analyst for Alabama. In 2012 and 2013 he made coaching stops at Colorado State and Florida State.

In 2013 he returned to Tuscaloosa as wide receiver coach and stayed there until 2016. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Arizona State in 2017.

In 2018 he was hired for the head coach position at Louisiana-Lafayette. His record for the Ragin’ Cajuns is 39 -12. They were 12 -1 this season and beat Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Championship game.

Hiring coaches from the Nick Saban coaching tree is very popular, considering he’s the best college coach of all time.

Every program is hoping they can replicate his success. Napier will make the 27th former Saban assistant to get hired as a head coach.

I think this is a decent hire for Florida. They have someone who has proven he is capable of turning a program around.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I rate this as a 7. Hopefully he can turn the Gators back into a powerhouse.

SEC Hardwood

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

We’re about two weeks into the college basketball season. The SEC is known for football but there are several programs ranked in the top 25 in basketball.

It looks like Kentucky will have some competition after a down 2020-21 season. Let’s examine the ranked teams to see who the real contenders are.

#10 Alabama: The Crimson Tide (4 – 0) have been doing well on the hardwood lately. They advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season and lost to UCLA in overtime.

They also won the SEC Tournament. Alabama finished last season ranked No. 5 in the final AP Poll and Coaches Poll. Those were the school’s highest season-ending rankings since 1956.

Junior guard Jaden Shackelford leads the team in scoring with 19.5 points per game. Junior Jahvon Quinerly averages 15.5 PPG and senior Keon Ellis averages 14.5 PPG.

Alabama heads to the ESPN Events Invitational this week in Orlando, where it will meet Iona on Thursday at 4 p.m. CT in a rematch of its NCAA tournament opener in March. They will play either Belmont or Drake on Friday, with a chance to meet Kansas on Sunday in the finale. The Jayhawks are No. 4 in the AP poll and No. 3 in the coaches poll this week.

# 10 Kentucky: The Wildcats (3 – 1) lost the third game of the season to No. 5 Duke, 79 -71. Last season they finished 9 – 16, their worst season since 1988-89.

Since head coach John Calipari took over in 2009, he’s built the team with the top one-and-done players every season. Surprisingly, out of the top four scorers on the team only one is a freshman.

Freshman TyTy Washington Jr. and junior forwards Oscar Tshiebwe, Keion Brooks all lead the team with 13 PPG.

The next four games are against Albany, North Florida, Central Michigan and Southern. Those should all be blow out wins. The schedule gets tougher after that with games against Notre Dame and Ohio State.

#13 Arkansas: The Razorbacks (3 – 0) are looking to make the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. In 2020-21 they were 25 -7 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Senior guard JD Notae leads the team with 21.7 PPG. Fellow senior Chris Lykes averages 15.7 PPG.

They have eight games before conference play begins December 29th and only two of those games are against Power 5 teams. They should be undefeated during this stretch.

#15 Tennessee: The Vols (3 – 1) just played some elite teams over the weekend in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament. They were blown out by No. 5 Villanova 71 – 53 on Friday. They rebounded Saturday and beat No. 18 North Carolina, 89 -72. They have some marquee games against Colorado, Texas Tech, No. 9 Memphis and No. 17 Arizona before SEC play starts.

#19 Auburn: The Tigers (3 – 0) have been doing well the last few seasons since Bruce Pearl took over as head coach in 2014. They advanced to the Final Four in 2019 and would have been in the 2020 NCAA Tournament if it was not cancelled due to the pandemic. Last year they were 13 – 14.

They play UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas for their next game. No. 24 Michigan State, No. 6 Baylor and Syracuse are potential opponents in the next round.

#23 Florida: The Gators (3 – 0) play Cal in the Fort Myers Tip-Off this week. They will face No. 21 Seton Hall or Ohio State in the next round.

The best team they have played so far is Florida State and they won 71 – 55.


Figuring Out The Ramblin’ Wreck

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

Last season Georgia Tech made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010.

The Yellow Jackets were 17 – 9 and 11 – 6 in the ACC. They finished fourth in the conference. They won the ACC Tournament by beating 15th ranked Florida State in the championship game. It was their first ACC Tournament Championship since 1993.

Georgia Tech lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Loyola (IL), 71 – 60.

Head coach Josh Pastner was hired in 2016. He was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2017 for leading Tech to a 21 – 16 record. He led them to wins against a top 5 North Carolina team and top-10 Florida State.

Last season’s team was led by senior forward Moses Wright, who was the AP ACC Player of the Year. He averaged 18 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. Senior guard Jose Alvaredo was another key contributor from last season that has to be replaced.

This season started with an upset loss at home to Miami (Ohio), 72 – 69. Pastner is now 3 – 3 in season openers at Tech. Miami is the third mid-major from the state of Ohio to beat Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion in the last five seasons.

Games like this are supposed to be easy wins. They need as many of those as possible before conference play starts. They bounced back to beat Stetson the next game, 77 – 52.

“We were far from perfect, but when we play with great energy, we’re a good basketball team,” coach Josh Pastner said.

The last game was a 75 – 66 win against Lamar. Lamar has a new head coach and they were 10 – 18 last year. The Yellow Jackets led by 22 points in the first half but looked sluggish in the second half.

“We definitely should have played harder,” said Jordan Usher, who finished with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds but also turned the ball over four times. “I felt like we came out kind of lethargic at halftime and we can’t do that coming down the stretch when we play more skilled teams. But props to Lamar. We just need to be better.”

Tech had 10 turnovers. The announced crowd attendance was only 3,625 people so it was far from a packed house. They are struggling with figuring out roles for returning players and newcomers.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Pastner said. “If we’re playing a Division III team, a Division II team, if we’re playing Lamar, if we’re playing North Carolina or we’re playing Gonzaga or we’re playing the Atlanta Hawks – if we don’t have energy, it can be a recipe for disaster.”

Georgia Tech currently has two players that average double digits in scoring. Senior guard Michael Devoe leads the team with 21.5 points per game. Senior forward Jordan Usher averages 13 PPG and 10 RPG. Freshman guard Dallan “Deebo” Coleman is third in scoring with 9 PPG. I think that will increase if he gets more playing time.

The next game is Friday at Georgia. The Bulldogs are 1 – 1 and will play South Carolina State before they play Tech. This is a game Tech needs to win against their archrival because they don’t have a chance in football.

The next two games after that are against Charleston Southern and Georgia Southern, both at home. Then things get tougher December 1st against Wisconsin in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will see if Georgia Tech is a team that can make the NCAA Tournament.

Pretenders or Contenders?

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

Week 4 of the NFL has just ended. We have a small sample size to observe which teams are contenders or pretenders. Let’s take a look around the NFC South to see which teams fall in these categories.

Atlanta Falcons: Pretenders. Atlanta (1 – 3) is currently in last place in the division. Statistically they rank poorly in several categories. The Falcons are 25th in rushing offense, 23rd in scoring and 23rd in total defense.

They had every opportunity to win the game against the Washington Football Team but the defense gave up a touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the game. If they won that Atlanta would have been 2 – 2 heading into a Week 5 matchup with the New York Jets (1 – 3).

The offensive line is still a problem because they can’t run the ball or protect Matt Ryan. Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley have both gotten off to slow starts.

Ryan is 19th in passing yards, which is pretty low when you look at how often they pass. They are 24th in rushing attempts. The Falcons are destined to have a top 5 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Carolina Panthers: Contender. I’m surprised to say that about this team. Carolina (3 – 1) traded to get quarterback Sam Darnold from the Jets. In his three seasons in New York he looked like a bust. He’s playing drastically better in Carolina is 6th in the league in passing yards with 1,189.

Christian McCaffrey is the best all-around running back in the NFL but he’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Wide receiver DJ Moore is tied for 2nd in receptions (30) and 4th in receiving yards (398). The combination of him and Robby Anderson can create explosive plays.

The defense has looked elite so far, ranking 3rd in total defense. They give up an average of 251 yards per game. They did give up 36 points to Dallas in their Week 4 loss so it appears that a good offense will not have trouble against them.

New Orleans: Pretenders. New Orleans (2 – 2) is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because they look completely different each week. They started the season with a dominating 38 – 3 win against Green Bay (3 – 1). The following week they were beat down by the Panthers, 26 – 7.

Week 3 they beat New England convincingly, 28 – 13. Playing the winless New York Giants at home looked like a slam dunk victory, right? They lost in overtime, 27 – 21. The Saints are 11th in total defense so they are solid. Jameis Winston is ranked 29th in passing with only 613 yards.

New Orleans does rank 7th in rushing offense. Star receiver Michael Thomas has not played yet, but he is expected to return around Week 7.

Tampa Bay: Contenders. The reigning Super Bowl champs return every starter from last season. Barring a major injury, I think the worst case scenario is getting to the NFC Championship. The Bucs (3 – 1) are 30th in rushing. With Tom Brady I guess you don’t have to worry about running the football.

Brady is 2nd in passing yards (1,356) and tied for 3rd in passing touchdowns (10). They have the best receiving corps in the league with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. The only loss was against the Los Angeles Rams (3 – 1).

Where’s The Buzz

By: Kenneth Harrison 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.