InsidersBUZZ! -November 8, 2001

The Jackets are coming off their most complete performance of the year against a quality opponent. And, as things start to shake out on the playing field, we find things shaking out statistically as well. The stats say the Yellow Jackets are one of the best, most balanced teams in the nation. Of course, they'll have to play a few more games as well as they did last Thursday night --and avoid turnovers -- for the national rankings to reflect it.

What can Tech fans say that perhaps only Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Washington State, Michigan and South Carolina fans can?

"We're only a couple of plays away from being undefeated."

The national statistics seem to support the argument that the Jackets are a Top 15, even a Top 10, BCS-bowl calibre team. They'll have to prove it, of course, in these remaining four games, but few teams are listed near the top of national statistics as often as the Jackets.

The Jackets rank 12th nationally in total defense, 12th in rush defense, and 14th in scoring defense. But if you eliminate schools from the national stats that play in minor conferences, Tech ranks 9th in total defense and rushing defense, and 12th in scoring defense. The Yellow Jackets rank 22nd in both passing offense and scoring offense, but if you eliminate the non-major conference schools, Tech ranks 11th and 14th respectively.

It was widely reported that Joe Burns got some angry, harsh emails following his two-turnover performance against Maryland. ABC's Brad Nessler, a former Tech broadcaster, even rebuked those fans on national television. But Burns was glad to point out this week that all of his post-UNC emails were positve, and some even apologized for earlier remarks. Burns said a couple of fans told him, "At least you used (the earlier emails) as motivation" after his 198-yard game against the Tar Heels. Burns also said he couldn't explain Tech's performance in the two close losses. "It seemed like the harder we tried the more things went against us," he said. Now, he added, things are evening out.

Tech signed three key recruits from the state of Louisiana last year and they all played key roles in the North Carolina victory, even though only one actually got into the game. Everyone knows, of course, about the outstanding job freshman OT Nat Dorsey of New Orleans did on superstar DE Julius Peppers. But it was fellow New Orleans recruit Eric Henderson who was the teams designated Julius Peppers impersonator during practice the week leading up to the game. He showed Dorsey all of Peppers's moves and spins and was named scout player of the week for the fourth time this season. Fellow Louisianan Dawan Landry, who's red shirting at QB, "played" both Darian Durant and Ron Curry last week and was cited by Coach O'Leary for his work as well.

Coach O'Leary also pointed out this week that all five goals that Tech's players set for the team this summer are still achievable. They are winning the ACC, playing better in practice every day, showing maturity, displaying great leadership, and, of course, beating Georgia.

Finally, Tech's bowl possibilities will change with every game, and apparently much will be riding going into both the Georgia and FSU games. If Tech wins out and Maryland loses once more, than the Orange Bowl would be likely. If Tech loses to FSU, the Seattle Bowl (formerly the Aloha Bowl) against a Pac 10 opponent, or the Tangerine Bowl (formerly the Micron PC Bowl) in Orlando versus a Big East team, are most likely destinations.


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