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.