- 1 down, 1 to go... If you haven't already, it is time to start making reservations for Jacksonville. I know. I know. We shouldn't look ahead. Incorrect, the team shouldn't look ahead. Fans absolutely need to look ahead. That's what we do. Back to the game, if I didn't have a horse in this race (GT), that would have been a very fun game to watch. One team scoring explosively on offense (with 3rd quarter exception) and the other scoring every way except offensively. GT had every opportunity to lose this game. GT of 2005 probably doesn't win this game. GT of 2006 has loads of that thing on the left side of your chest.
- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde... I finally found what Reggie should do after his football career is over. Write novels and movies. He has a way of keeping things interesting which would make Tom Clancy & Stephen King proud. Reggie is the ultimate roller-coaster ride. He can throw some of the prettiest balls (Calvin's 2nd TD, James Johnson's 2nd TD) and turn around and throw a head-scratcher (2 would-be Pick-6s). Does anyone throw a prettier deep ball? The arc on those passes make it almost impossible for a defender to do anything if the distance is proper. Reggie's deep ball reminds me of Jeff Blake (remember him throwing to Carl Pickens?).
- You never know what you've had until it's gone... As my signature states, Reggie will be missed. Something many people don't know if Reggie will be all over the stat books for both the ACC and GT when his last 5 games are complete. Of GT records, Reggie is currently 3rd in passing yards, 2nd in TD passes (11 behind Joe Ham), 3rd in total offense (123 yards behind Shawn Jones for #2), and #9 in total for the ACC (250 yards/ game will put him really close to Joe Ham @ #2). So as bad as he has been at times, he has been really good at times as well. If we put up the numbers I expect the next 2 weeks, Reggie might surpass Joe in some categories. Wouldn't that be fun for Reggie haters.
- Jesse James & Da Truth... Sounds like a action flick doesn't it? Trust me, it's a BlockBuster and coming to a stadium near you. You've heard all about Da Truth (Calvin Johnson). He runs at the light. He jumps over defenders in a single bound. He's a future Heisman invitee. Teams probably don't spend nearly enough time on Jesse James (James Johnson) until it's too late. If you've spent any time around me discussing WRs, you'll already know how highly I hold James. He is a very good #2 WR. He catches lots of passes that previous #2 WRs have dropped. This makes 2 weeks in a row.
- Pro-Choice... The really forgotten part of the offense. Choice has been destroying teams of late. I'm so grateful we've found our balance between the spread offense and the power running game. While I still prefer smash-mouth power blocking techniques over the zone stuff, I can not argue with the results. This is the Choice I was missing early on in the season. Choice is becoming PJ'ish in his running style. No more indecision. He picks a hole and blasts into it. The upside is if he gets through the hole, he can do some damage by making people miss. I still wish we could get Choice a few more chances to breakaway (without penalties) so he could get more recognition.
- D-Fense... The opposition's offense isn't doing very much visiting of the endzone. The defense is doing a good job of bending but not fully breaking. We have seemingly stopped the leaky run defense which showed itself in the Clemson game. There are 2 other issues with the defense which unfortunately will show up below.
- Ho Hum... Hall lays people out... Is it possible to have Mr. Hall show his teammates how to tackle and deliver blows? Anyway, there seems to be 2-3 hits a game where you feel sorry for the QB, RB, etc. Hall put a hit on the NC State RB after the DT penetrated that was just punishing. He also caught the QB after a pass once as well. I think his ability to hit is what will endear him to some NFL team come this offseason. NFL kick/punt returners will not enjoy their K-Mike meetings next year.
- Jacket Fans Everywhere... So there is a Jackets nation. I tried to watch the game at Frankies. No Luck. That place was filled to the gills. I think the GT room was full. So I went to Hooters on Cobb Pkwy, GT fans everywhere. I watched the 1st half there and went to another bar... Guess what? GT fans everywhere there as well. Not just casual observers, I mean loud, screaming, yelling GT fans. I love it. I am supposed to be in Baltimore for the Duke game, but I'm working hard to change my schedule to make the last home game of the year. I can't wait to see how we send Reggie off. I know there are many other seniors, but Reggie's sendoff should be interesting to say the least.
- eSPECIALly Bad Teams... We absolutely suck again. I don't understand why we are so bad on Special Teams. Are you telling me we can't find some other guys to put on STs? Has no Starters (Wheeler/Hall/etc) or guys seeing little time (Brown/Elris/Walker/etc) requested to bolster STs? I can't believe we haven't made wholesale changes here. We look like Duke or somebody on KO Returns. We are doing a good job on Punt returns, but that's likely a function of Brooks more than anything else. How about kicking the ball out of bounds and knowing the team will start on 35. I don't trust any other tactics. We are giving up 1/3 of the game each week. Also... Maryland and NC State both stayed in games they were getting dominated in due to the Return game. For everyone wanting 10 yards and a cloud of dust, that's why I'm so adamant about game changers returning the ball. Also, it does help to return the ball against the worst kick return unit in the NCAA.
- Tackling, or lack thereof... This is becoming a problem of epidemic proportions. We miss way too many tackles to be considered a top defense. We have good defensive stats, but our defense will not reach the level many people give it until we start tackling. We miss tackles on WRs, RBs, TEs, Kick/Punt returners, EVERYWHERE. This hasn't been a one year problem. This has been a 3-4 year issue. We might need go to go back to some Oklahoma type drills. We are a soft team when it comes to tackling. Everyone wants to drag or ride ball carriers down. Besides K-Mike and usually MJ, Adam, & Jamal the vast majority of our players don't deliver shots, wrap up and make form tackles. Sorry for the diatribe. I have low tolerance for high numbers of missed tackles.
- Defensive Philosophy... This will probably fill my inbox up, but here we go.... Let me start with a disclaimer. I like our defense and defensive stats. I like our players. I like the coaching staff. What I have a problem with is our constant blitz scheme even when the other team has picked them up. Last Saturday could have turned into Utah again if the QB was accurate at all and the receivers could catch a cold (NCSU WRs looked like Falcons WRs). Why don't we play some tight Man behind our blitz to give our blitzers an extra beat to get there? We are playing Cover 3 (3 DBs cover deep 1/3s) and Cover 4 (4 covering 1/4 field) behind and it seems like teams which running crossing routes or multiple receivers can get to us. We were 3 step dropped to death. When they went longer, we rarely got to the QB anyway. I would have loved to jam a WR or 2 some times when we show the blitz. Think about how effective it would be to fake a blitz and drop 7 into coverage when a team is throwing quick? Anyway, We are a good defense, but at times when an offense is moving the ball i would like to switch something up. It's hard to complain when the D doesn't give up a TD, but this is a problem teams can get us with. I'd hate to face Louisville, USC, etc in a bowl game given our predictable style.
- Hotels in Jacksonville... How did this city ever get a Superbowl with the lack of places to stay? I can't believe there are no hotels in good, tourist areas. It's not like there is a lot to do there anyway, but you'd expect more hotels around the Riverwalk, etc. At this rate, I'd probably stay at Amelia Island, Daytona, or St. Simons. Sorry for my rant. I was hoping as teams started to fall out of contention, hotels would open up. I guess the corporatations and the ACC have everything locked up.
- Playcalling... Ok. Let's reduce the number of naked boots in the offense. It didn't work. Yet we ran it only like 10 more times. Kudos to Reggie for getting rid of the ball and avoiding sacks (except the Grounding call). Reggie should change that call everytime they send it in. Was it me or did I see Reggie point to the booth after one of those calls. That's when I hate that I didn't have this game on Tivo to check that out. I was with him. I'm like that play or group of plays isn't working. STOP CALLING IT!!! Wait until next week to bring it out again.
- Where's Grant... Why have we gone away from Grant? It was fun seeing him in the game. It gives defenses something else to think about. I don't mind giving Choice the bulk of the carries, but I still want to keep tossing Grant out there from time to time. It forces Defenses to play the Reverse, the tunnel screens, etc. We seemed to have gone away from some plays which really opened the field up.
- Size... Girls say SIZE DOESN'T MATTER. Well, that's just what they tell small guys. When you first see the 2006 Basketball team, you will see we are HUGE!!! You know about Crit's size (6'3, muscular PG) and Young's size (6'8+ SF). What you probably haven't seen is Peacock who looks taller and bigger than reported (He'd be a HELL of a TE today if he desired... In my Eddie Murphy voice, "Looks at his shoulders..."). Alade looks bigger. Dickey looks in better shape. Clinch is more defined. Jeremis is a man even more possessed than last year. Teams will hate him even more. Faye is extremely tall and rangy. Bell looks even more like Ish. West is still the fireplug he has always been.
- Faye... Ok. First, he's about 6'9 (from my view). His arms touch his knees (7'3 wingspan looks correct). He is as skinny as a skinny stick. During a collection of 5-6 trips down the court: He picks up the PG full court (PG had to jump and pass the ball). He guarded a SG & switched to guard the SF. He ended up on their Power forward on the next possession. Oh yeah, on offense he sank about 3 or 4 three pointers (prettiest shot rotation on the team). Oh yeah. He ran a give & go with Paco Diaw and ended up passing to perimeter for another 3. Oh yeah. He touched about 3-4 passes/shots from Morehouse. I know it was just Morehouse, but ACC teams will really hate this young man. They will hate him fast.
- Court Vision... In my opinion, our biggest problem last year wasn't a lack of a pure PG. You don't need a pure PG in college basketball. Our problem was a lack of court vision by everyone. While that problem will not be cured in one offseason, our young guys have really high basketball IQs. Young, Crit, and Faye all "see" the court while playing. Passes come from everyone, not just the PG. The misconception is if you have a good passing PG, you're a good passing team. NO!!! You only have a good passing PG. You will see much better and less predictable ball movement this year. Hopefully we don't overcoach the players to where they don't trust their vision (This happened a lot since the Final 4 team).
- Diaper Dandies... Without giving too much hype. Young and Crit are the absolute truth. Young has been doing his thing on the big televised "Classics". Well, your boy Crit is a legend already. He has been destroying cats all over Altanta this summer and Fall. I'm not talking about bums. I'm hearing he has been showing out at events with bonafied NBA players.
- Spirit of Ish... We have some serious dunkers on the team. Jeremis threw down a dunk for the ages. I think Crit tossed an alley on a fast break. The poor Morehouse defender decided to take a charge... (Pause for dramatic effect). Jeremis caught and proceded to dunk while almost clearing the defender. On the streets, that's calling putting your _ _ _ _ _ (n word for testicles) on his forehead. It was NASTY!!! Even the Morehouse fans were cheering, oohing, and ahhing...Oh yeah, that young point guard, on a breakaway, "Rocked the Baby to Sleep" on a nice cradle dunk. Oh yeah, Crit also hit someone on the money with a behind-the-back pass for a nice dunk. Oh yeah again, Clinch threw down about 2-3 dunks as well. Can you say DEPTH?!!!!
- Backup PG Issues... Crit will have to stay out of foul trouble. We are still suspect at backup PG. Bell handles a good bit of those duties with West. We still looked shaky bringing the ball up the court. I will say you don't need a pure PG, but someone has to get the ball up the court. That's one thing that worries me.
- In a Zone... If I was facing GT, I would play zone defense 100% of the time. We still look suspect against zone defense. We need to work on this heavily. If we have another exhibition, I'd pay their coach to play zone all game long for practice. No one ever penetrates the zone. They just pass from side to side. Someone has to drive the zone and force it to collapse and then kick out. Passing around does nothing without something going inside.
- BJ is healthy again... At the summer event I spoke of earlier, BJ put on a show. I hear he was raining 3s from everywhere. He also put a thunderous dunk on Atlanta's very own Shareef Abdur-Raheem. Word has it he jumped from the dots below the foul line, leaning towards the rim and just gave 'Reef the business. There was a momentary pause in the basketball action after this. That's what Raheem gets for turning down GT. I keep my ear to the ground, so I'll try to share what I hear. :)
- APB for Falcon WRs... Is there a group of WRs who drop more passes than these guys? NO!!!! One more thing. It's funny how all the radio and TV guys have jumped off of Vick. He had 8 passes dropped that hit WRs in the hands. He had 1 fumble and 1 Int during the game. The 2nd INT was the last play of the game. it was funny watching the "talking heads" break down a play that didn't mean anything in the game yet miss all the dropped balls. I swear I could do their job. I'd take 1/10 of their pay (For the 1st year anyway)
- Reggie Bush vs Mario Williams... I said it before and I will say it again. Reggie Bush is not a NFL running back at this point. He still tries to cut everything outside. YOU CAN NOT DO THAT IN THE NFL... Mario on the other hand is quietly starting to find his groove. All that being said, Houston is stupid for not drafting Vince Young. You don't draft Vince because you have a QB. Yet you have benched that QB and started playing the backup? Now you see why some teams are in their positions.
- Break up the Hawks... The Hawks have a winning record. (Catch your breath yet?) The Hawks are leading their division (Do I need to call an ambulance now?) They still have some issues, but 2-1 is much better than 2-14 (last year's start). I still hate the coach. I still hate some of the draft picks (Marvin Williams over Paul. Childress over Igoudala) But Joe Johnson is the next star in the NBA. He can do it all and is so silky smooth. I wish we could put another shooter on the squad with him. He is a great player and displays all that's right about the NBA.
- WaCo's idea to fix the Braves...
#1. If we can't pony up the bucks to lock Andrew Jones up, trade him to the Yankees for A-Rod. A-Rod comes cheaper (Texas is paying a portion of his contract) and is locked up for 4 more years.
#2. Trade Marcus Giles ANYWHERE!!!! Slide Renteria here (if he doesn't mind moving).
#3. Sign someone with speed to leadoff and play CF.
#4. Find a real LF who doesn't need a platoon. PLATOONS SUCK!!!
#5. Buy a bullpen while the young kids grow up.
#6. Spend a few dollars and get 1-2 dependable veterans for the staff.
#7. Re-sign either Maddox or Glavine to be #4/5 starters. They deserve to retire as Braves.