Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Guest Blogger: Ramblin Racket

I have a pretty good feel for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. But my perspective is a little skewed, so I've asked Jeff from Ramblin Racket to give us an informed look at Georgia Tech. Here are my questions and his answers regaring Saturday's matchup.

1. Everyone took notice of GT blitzing the hell out of Notre Dame. It is really no surprise since that has been Tenuta's MO for years. Instead of going against a first-time starter, against BC they'll be taking on a vet who has seen every blitz in the book. How does Tenuta usually adjust the attack when facing a more experienced QB?

Ramblin Racket: Mostly the same. All you need to look at is GT/Notre Dame from last year to see that you may have a senior--even a Heisman candidate--QB, but the Yellow Jackets will be blitzing early and often.

Matt Ryan will definitely handle himself better than Jones/Sharpley/Clausen did for Notre Dame, and the Eagles look to have one of the ACC's top O-lines. Despite that, though, I would be surprised not to see a sack or two.

2. Tashard Choice has looked very impressive so far. How much of it is his and the Oline's overall improvement vs taking on Samford and Notre Dame?

Ramblin Racket: I think it's misleading to even talk about "his and the Oline's overall improvement," because they've been doing the same stuff since halfway through last season. The Samford game was Choice's NINTH straight 100-plus-yard game, which includes Tech's lame losses to Georgia and Wake last year.

Not a lot of people have noticed Deuce (as they've called him since he wore #2 in high school) because he's not a flashy back. He'll get you five yards reliably, but he hasn't been that shifty or explosive for the big play. However, that's something Choice worked on in the offseason and he's already getting more long runs.

So, part of Tashard's performance was certainly playing a very young ND team and a plain bad Samford team. But also it's indicative of maturity. In recent years, Tech has tended to play down to the level of its opponents. (See: GT 7 - UNC 0 last year) But with Tashard as a (very) vocal leader, the Jackets are at the point where they want to constantly prove their worth, and they're sick of not getting respect nationally. If it were up to Choice, he'd carry 40 times a game, just to prove he can.

3. I live in Atlanta, so I know the mixed reaction among Tech fans to Gailey. (For BC fans there's the feeling his ceiling is 8ish wins and he can't beat Georgia.) Where do you stand on Chan? Do you think this is the year that he can finally win the ACC?

Ramblin Racket: I've never had a problem with Chan, and I've been trying to "give him time" because his recruiting has improved every year since he came to GT. Also, I try not to be too impetuous by calling for a coach's firing if he gets you to a bowl every year... that said, if he loses to Georgia again he may very well be gone. I think Reggie Ball was used as a scapegoat enough the past several years to take some heat off of Chan, but with the team we have this year, there should be no excuses for underperformance.

I do think this is GT's best chance in a while (despite having Calvin Johnson last year) for a championship. The biggest hurdles on Tech's schedule are this weekend against BC, then Clemson, Georgia, and maaaybe VPI if Tyrod Taylor can make a big splash replacing Sean Glennon at QB. All four of those games will be at Bobby Dodd Stadium, so if Tech doesn't at least go to Jacksonville, I think the team hasn't reached its potential.

4. What's your prediction for the game?

Ramblin Racket: It looks to me like BC and Tech match up pretty well, except for at quarterback. Matt Ryan scares me, I won't lie. Unless Tashard Choice has another big day, Tech will be in trouble if Taylor Bennett can't emulate his Gator Bowl performance.

I've got a feeling crowd noise could be a factor for the Eagles. Although small, Bobby Dodd Stadium has been getting louder in the past few years, and an 8PM kickoff means the students (if not everyone) have been drinking all day and are pretty rowdy.

My straight-up prediction... I think Matt Ryan will get sacked three times but will also put up three passing TDs. The Eagles won't be able to establish the run effectively. Tech will be somewhat opposite, with Tashard Choice getting two touchdowns from the "wildcat" direct-snap formation Tech has been utilizing. One non-QB (either a WR or FB Mike Cox) will throw a touchdown pass on a BS trick play, and Taylor will throw for one.

No field goals will be scored.

GT 28 - BC 21

For more on Geogia Tech, check out Ramblin Racket.


Brian said...

I can't imagine Matt Ryan throwing for 3 TDs and Callendar/Whitworth not punching one in for the day. I think Ryan has a big day and BC wins by 4, 21-17.

This has shaped up to be a GREAT matchup and one of the most important games of the year for both squads. Looking forward to it.

Go Eagles!

Eagle in Brighton said...

It will be tight, but I think BC's run defense will control the GT running attack (though potent) marginally better than the GT secondary can limit Matt Ryan.

This game really is huge, not only in terms of ACC ramifications, but national perception of this years BC squad.

Prediction: 27-24 Eagles.