MTSU rocks the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

There isn’t much that can be said about yesterday’s inexcusable 49 to 28 loss to the Blue Raiders from Murfreesboro, Tennessee other than it was not only bad, but just flat out an embarrassing defeat.  However, the first item on the team meeting agenda today should entail the passing out of 85 copies of; “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” by David Maraniss, then making every player read that book before leaving the football facility tonight.  That should constitute their Sunday meeting and study hall for the rest of the day without any interruptions from cell phones or the internet.

It is one thing to lose a football game to a better team, quite another to allow yourselves to let a tough loss from a week earlier linger and impact your performance beyond that defeat.  Apparently the Yellow Jackets either still thought about that OT loss to the Hurricanes for more than the acceptable 24 hours, or they came out expecting to beat a team solely because they are GT.  Frankly neither option is appropriate and the result is now the fan base is turning on the team and the coaching staff.

Right now at this moment there are two teams playing major NCAA football that had a ton of adversity hit them both in the pre-season, as well as when the actual games started; Arkansas and Penn State.  At the moment Arkansas is in a tailspin that it’s doubtful they will be able to recover from in 2012, while Penn State has gone the other direction and decided to play some decent football and show everyone they can win games regardless of all of the non-football related events.

What will the Yellow Jackets do with the rest of their football season?  They have the same choice as those two teams at the moment.  Either they start playing with some desire and urgency next weekend at Clemson, or their season will fall apart like the IPO of Facebook stock.  Perhaps they are still annoyed that CPJ restricted them from using Twitter during the football season and this was their way of rebelling by playing poorly yesterday.  No matter what the reason, it is now time for a gut check to see how tough this team is going forward.

The latest theory circling the NCAA is that Georgia Tech just doesn’t have the athletes to win these games.  Well that is baseless as just a close look at the number of stars recruits clearly establishes that MTSU should have never been able to defeat the Yellow Jackets.  This team can play football with any opponent on their schedule when they decided to play with some passion and energy.  Yesterday for some reason they chose to play uninspired and lackluster football, and now everyone is offering as their primary solution that either CPJ resign, or at the very least he fire the DC forthwith.

Neither of those two options is going to happen as quite frankly they are not the cause of this maddening situation.  The players themselves were in position to make those tackles and failed to do so.  That is not a scheme problem that is an effort problem!  When a team allows an opponent to run up the gut 60 yards for a TD, then later in the game a short pass also into the middle of the field to go 75 yards for another TD, that’s on the players pure and simple.  Just like the two (2) unforced fumbles by the offense and special teams early in the contest that take away two scoring opportunities from ever occurring. That’s accountability from the players on the field to never have that happen, not the coaching staff!

Near the end of the game when the Yellow Jackets still had a chance to win this contest, there was a DE for the Blue Raiders (#40) who showed the type of intensity, guts, and desire to compete by helping his team win no matter what it took.  On three straight plays he blew by the OT and either got a sack on Tevin Washington or hit him forcing a bad throw.  He just refused to be blocked as he understood the internal drive necessary to help his team win by taking it upon himself to enable all of his teammates to do their jobs by him doing his better.  That is inspiring football, and it quickly becomes contagious in a positive manner as it spreads through a football team.

Until this Yellow Jackets team starts to play every down with that type of internal drive and nastiness, they will be hard pressed to win another game this season.  This offense works and the defense works too as evidenced by the results of the players this season once they put forth the energy and effort to execute it on the field.  The hangover from the fourth quarter and OT in the Miami game either gets jettisoned this coming week, or the players better get used to the media and fan torching for the next several months.

Given what I watched on the field Saturday, I have no doubt that MTSU could win the rest of the games on the Yellow Jackets schedule if they suited up the remainder of the season.  So the challenge is for this GT squad to start playing with the heart shown by the Blue Raiders #40 on every play beginning this week at Clemson.  If they don’t, then the season will be headed down the rabbit hole right beside the University of Arkansas.

  • Wayne Jenkins

    If MTSU can do it, maybe it’s time to go ahead and lock in the rematch of the “Game of The Century” on Friday night, 10/7/2016. Cumberland alumni are smelling blood and recent editions of Bulldog football have been rightly respectable. For that matter, so has their baseball team (even without assistance from the Nashville Sounds LOL). Should I be making travel plans for that night? Fox CFB, this would make one heck of a storyline.

  • JasperJacket

    Looking forward to it. My thoughts are that Johnson should go get Giff Smith back from Buffalo. He would bring in understanding of the Johnson way of doing things, experienced recruiting (He brought in the bulk of Gailey’s now NFL caliber players) and after 3 years NFL experience a strong knowledge of defensive strategies to stop high profile offenses that exsist these days. On top of that he would be accepting a promotion and a much higher salary which would foster the developement of the appropriate level of sense of urgency that is needed to perform in the DC role at GT right now. In my mind a great move for all. A win/win if you will.

  • JasperJacket

    Mike:
    Curious to know what your thoughts are on the firing of Al Groh?

    • Scott

      Im not Mike but the move was the right and only one that PJ could make. His butt was starting to get really really hot! This is a temporary fix I think, but one that should give the defense new life and a pulse! I am anxious to see if the defense is lined up in the right spots and there is little confusion in the secondary.

      • GT Nuke

        Yeah, speaking of that: Mike, where are you. Sure, the news is mostly bad. But we need to hash it out to help us get over it. The loss to Clemson and the firing of Al Groh – I would like to hear your analysis. What about the interem defensive coaching set up? maybe there could be something positive out of the shake up. I’m looking forward to your great insight here.
        Go JACKETS! THWG!

        • Mike

          Hi GT Nuke,
          An article will be out tomorrow encompassing all of the items you listed. We will find out shortly if this is a good move or not.

    • Mike

      Hi Jasper Jacket,
      I’ll be posting an article tomorrow. Lots to digest after the Clemson game with this sudden dismissal and what will happen going forward. Stay tuned.

  • GT Nuke

    Its not scheme, Mike. I agree with you on that. I have seen these players accomplish amazing things this year, usually for about 1 or 2 quarters in a game, and then, well, you know…..
    Is it a lack of leadership? You have blogged on this subject and i have commented back that leadership is very important. Is it a lack of heart or pride? I cannot say. PJ had the advantage of not really needing to invest a lot of effort in motivating his team at Navy, those guys know it takes a fervent team effort to accomplish great things. Perhaps PJ just cannot reach these kids hearts. he’s a great X’s and O’s guy, but he cannot get them to WANT to win. There is no pride, no heart, no desire in this team. They seem to just be phoning it in.
    I don’t know what else to say. I’m getting tired of mediocrity.

    • Mike

      Hi GT Nuke,
      Very good points regarding the type of athlete at the Naval Academy who are always motivated 24/7. Maybe the players today are more interested in what their uniforms are going to look like as opposed to how are you going to play! It is troubling to believe that the only leader on this team was Julian Burnett who can no longer play. Maybe they should retire his jersey instead of letting anyone else wear it as the effort associated with that number might have left with Mr. Burnett.
      All I’m left to conclude is they either lack the desire to win, or cannot find any other player to look up to as a leader like Julian Burnett. It better change this Saturday!

  • JasperJacket

    Mike:
    Not a lot to be said a bout last Saturday that has not already been said but here goes;
    The bottom line is that the players that are at GT these days are Paul Johnson’s recruits. They are the guys that he has staked his tenure at GT on and they are his responsiility to lead. The coaches that are there are the same. The program is in a shambles and either he get’s it on track or he moves on. He makes > 2M per year to coach these guys and put a competetive team on the field EVERY Saturday not just every so often. As you know I have been not too enamoured with the play of the defensive players at GT nor the scheme that they run since I began blogging with you. I do not believe that GT has the talent to run the 3-4 and with the current staff (not just Groh) on the D side of the ledger there I do not believe it will have in the forseeable future. I have been saying for 5 years now that the spread option is not the issue. Stanford, ND, TCU, and others have proven that recruiting defensive stalwarts is the key to top 25 teams success. Until CPJ figures that out and rectifies the situation we have at GT we will repeat the poor performance we are currently seeing year in and year out. If he doesn not see that then he himself needs to find another job, he is the head coach and the key leader of this team not the O co-ordinator. Only after CMR in Athens figured that out did UGA launch itself to level they are at. Time will tell if CPJ is capable of doing the same.

    • Mike

      Hi Jasper Jacket,
      These are his players and they should have that internal component to want to succeed on the field as no player wants to go out and lose games. Every player who laces up the cleats at the division I level has talent otherwise they would not be playing football in college. A the moment it appears that the only players who had the heart and desire to get it done are no longer on this team; Julian Burnett and Sean Bedford.
      Frankly you need some angry folks to play this game in the trenches especially on the defensive side. 4/3 or 3/4 it makes no difference if you don’t have kids who want to play with some nastiness. Perhaps computer science majors and engineers are not as nasty as they used to be a decade ago. However, effort has been missing the past few weeks and it better show up on Saturday in a big way.

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