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    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Johnson Creating A Lot Of Buzz In ACC

    Paul Johnson was a highly-successful coach at the U.S. Naval Academy for six seasons before he was was named head football coach at Georgia Tech on December 7, 2007. Johnson is the 12th head coach in Yellow Jacket football history.

    Johnson coached six years at Navy and in 2007 his Midshipmen won a fifth straight Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, earned a postseason bowl bid for the fifth consecutive year and beat Notre Dame for the first time since 1963. In six seasons at Navy, Johnson compiled a record of 45-29. He recently completed his 11th season as a college head coach, compiling a career record of 107-39.

    In his first season at Georgia Tech, Johnson has surprised a lot of people and is a contender in the ACC. His critics said that his triple option offense could not work in the ACC but so far he has proven his critics wrong.

    Will Dawgs Bite Gators Again?

    This week I am looking at the BCS top 25 teams and selecting from them. Here are my picks:

    versus Texas Tech- Two undefeated teams and the Longhorns go up against high powered offense of Texas Tech. I am betting on Mack Brown.

    Oklahoma versus Nebraska- This is a nostalgic pick. The Huskers won't be able to keep up with the Sooners.

    Georgia versus Florida- World's largest cocktail party pits the classy Mark Richt and his Dawgs against a cocky Urban Meyer and his Gators. I am rooting for the Dawgs.

    FSU-Clemson Game Time Not Yet Decided

    The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that ESPN/ABC has declared a six-day option holding the Clemson at Florida State game on November 8. The decision on game times and networks will be decided no later than 12 noon this Sunday, Nov. 2.

    My Buys And Sells For FSU-Georgia Tech Game

    Georgia Tech Mascot- The buzz at the stadium on Saturday will not be about Buzz the Tech mascot. This is yet another costumed mascot that should be in a Disney movie instead of on the sidelines. I am selling.

    Noles will have at least one sack against Georgia Tech- Defense needs to get to QB and make some plays. I am buying.

    Noles will hold Georgia Tech to less than 100 yards- Tech lives by the run. Noles will have to do a super job at stopping the triple option. I am selling.

    Antone Smith will have 100 yards or more rushing
    - Will Antone even play? Hopefully he will. Not sure he will hit the 100 yard mark given Tech's great defensive front four. I am selling.

    FSU will have 50 yards or less in penalties- Ok, this is a joke, isn't it? Not going to happen. I am selling.

    Greg Carr gets a TD- Mr. Clutch Greg Carr needs to make some big plays to take the crowd out of the game. I am buying.

    FSU gets at least one interception- This is a statement game. Carter and Rolle need to make some key plays. I am buying.

    Georgia Tech gets at least one interception- Ponder needs to be accurate and make great reads. Tech has the nation's interception leader. I am buying.

    Gano gets at least one field goal in the game- Gano may be a key factor in the game. I say he gets at least one on the day. I am buying.

    Richt Inspires

    I must confess that I have always hoped that former FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt would come back to be the head coach for the Noles. With his great record at Georgia, that is unlikely ever to happen. However, he is a class act in every way. Hope this story about Richt and his family inspires you as it did me.

    Can The Devils Give Wake A Trick?

    While North Carolina, NC State, Maryland and Virginia Tech each have bye weeks, here are my ACC games to watch:

    Miami versus Virginia - Virginia is the comeback kid. Can the Canes take them down a notch?

    Duke versus Wake Forest- Normally not a game to watch but David Cutcliffe has his Blue Devils respectable and Wake seems to be heading south.

    Clemson versus Boston College - Clemson is looking for anything to get back to being respectable. The Eagles will look to ensure they don't.

    Could Noles Be Without Another Receiver On Saturday?

    Could the Noles be without another wide receiver on Saturday? According to The Florida Times-Union, Preston Parker was held out of FSU's final two practices this week after sustaining a deep thigh bruise on Tuesday. Parker says that he should be ok but that remains to be seen.


    Florida State rover Myron Rolle is one of twenty collegiate defensive players to earn a spot on the Lott Trophy quarterfinalist list. Rolle is having his best season at Florida State and is in the running to win the first major award by an FSU defensive player since Jamal Reynolds won the Lombardi Trophy in 2000. Rolle is second on the team in tackles with 38 and he leads the team in pass break-ups with five.

    In what is not a huge surprise, sophomore offensive lineman Evan Bellamy who was sidelined before the season with a blood clot in his leg said on Wednesday according to The Miami Herald that he doesn't expect to return this season. FSU's coaches had hoped he might return by the end of the season,

    How recently has it been that FSU has faced a triple option or wishbone type offense? Bobby Bowden was asked that question on Wednesday and he indicated that the last time he saw an option-type offense run against his team was when the Noles regularly played Auburn coached by Pat Dye in the 1980s.

    Bowden Perfect Against Yellow Jackets

    1. Saturday’s game marks the first meeting between the Jackets and Seminoles since 2003 and the first meeting in Atlanta since 2002.

    2. Florida State leads the all-time series, 12-7-1 and has won the last 12 meetings.

    3. Georgia Tech has never defeated FSU in an ACC game.

    4. Georgia Tech is 7-6-1 all-time vs. Florida State in Atlanta. After starting 0-7-1 versus the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, FSU has won the last six meetings played at Georgia Tech.

    5. Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson has never previously coached against Florida State.

    6. Bobby Bowden is 12-0 all time against Georgia Tech.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Buzz Off

    Buzz is the mascot of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Buzz gets Tech fans cheering at nearly all the Institute's intercollegiate sporting events. Although Buzz's origins are rather ambiguous, it is known that Buzz showed up at a game sometime in the early 1980s as an unofficial cheerleader, and was soon adopted by the GT cheerleading squad.

    Today Buzz is a member of the cheerleading squad, and attends all Football Games, all Home basketball games for the Men's & Women's Team, several Volleyball & Baseball games, as well as pep rallies and appearances throughout Georgia.

    Noles Wrap Up Preparations For Yellow Jackets

    FSU Sports Information Excerpts:

    The triple option is not easy to prepare for but ready or not the Seminoles have their plan in place. Thursday was the final chance for the Seminole defense to work against Paul Johnson’s vaunted ground attack and the team spent 15 periods in shorts working on the final plans to not only face the Yellow Jacket offense but one of the nation’s best defenses as well. FSU will leave Friday to head for Atlanta and a stadium no current Seminole has ever played while wearing the Garnet & Gold.

    QB Christian Ponder:

    On how practice has been this week:

    “Everyone’s been focused and motivated and came out and worked hard all week. I think it was one of our better weeks at practice. I think we’re prepared. I think over the next couple of days everyone’s going to prepare and watch film and get ready. I think we’ll be ready.”

    On Georgia Tech’s front four:

    “They’re quick. They rush the pass really well. They do a good job of applying pressure and everything. We’ll have to good up front as well and we’ll have to control the line of scrimmage.”

    LB Derek Nicholson:

    On how practice went for the defense:

    “It went well. We were trying to get everything done, doing our defenses and trying to get all of our assignments with the defense we play.”

    Aggie Medicine

    You have to love YouTube. Here is an antidote to Texas A&M's bad season.

    Surrency Suspended For Georgia Tech Game

    For the second week in a row, Florida State has suspended a wide receiver. Junior wide receiver Corey Surrency has been suspended for Florida State's game on Saturday at Georgia Tech for a violation of team rules according to published reports who cite Bobby Bowden.

    Head To Head Matchup: Quarterbacks

    The strength of the triple option for Georgia Tech is that the offense has three ways to beat a defense every play. The quarterback can hand off quickly to the fullback, take off running or pitch to one of two halfbacks. With that offense you have to have a special kind of quarterback to implement it.

    Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has put his trust in 6-1/214 pound sophomore Josh Nesbitt. There has been some rumblings regarding whether to start backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw. This is partly because Nesbitt looked rusty at Clemson (because it was his first game back from injury after missing almost four), and he turned the ball over three times against Virginia. Of Georgia Tech's 17 turnovers this season, Nesbitt has accounted for five fumbles and three interceptions.

    However, Johnson remains convinced that Nesbitt is the one for the job. Says Johnson,"I watch practice every day and I play the guy that looks to be the best in practice."

    For the season, Nesbitt has thrown the ball for 463 yards and 2 TDs. His percentage completion is 46.7% and he has 3 interceptions. Nesbitt in the triple option does run a lot and he has rushed for 375 yards and 6 TDs. He is averaging 4 yards a carry and almost 63 yards a game.

    Backup QB Jaybo Shaw has thrown for 321 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions. He has completed over 65% of his passes and has also has rushed for 125 yards and 3 TDs.

    Georgia Tech's offensive line is only allowing 1.25 sacks a game which ranks #4 in the ACC. In addition the line has allowed Tech to be the leading rush offense also so Nesbitt has a solid offensive line in front of him when he employs the triple option.

    In the ACC, Georgia Tech is at the bottom in pass offense averaging 115 yards a game and having 5 TDs on the year. In scoring, Tech ranks #7 in the ACC averaging almost 24 points a game.

    Defensive matchup: Georgia Tech will face one of the best defenses in the nation and the ACC when the offense takes on the Seminoles. The Noles rank #1 in the ACC in total defense allowing 247 yards a game.

    In passing defense, they are ranked #2 allowing 167 yards a game and 8 TDs on the year. In scoring defense, the Noles are giving up 16.6 points a game. In sacks, the Noles rank #2 in the ACC with 22 sacks and average 3.14 sacks a game.

    Defensive end Everette Brown is #3 in the ACC with 6 sacks for the year. FSU also ranks #2 in tackles for a loss with 56 for the season. Two Noles are in the top 10 in the ACC in tackles for a loss. Defensive end Everette Brown has 11 tackles for a loss and linebacker Derek Nicholson has 9.

    In the secondary, FSU ranks #1 in passes defended with 37 passes broken up and 4 interceptions. The Nole secondary counts on Tony Carter and Myron Rolle to make the big plays.

    For the Noles, Christian Ponder will start his eighth game of the year. Ponder is looking more comfortable and is managing the game better than earlier in the season. For the season, Ponder has thrown for 1,119 yards and 9 TDs. He is completing almost 54% of his passes and thrown 6 interceptions. Ponder has also rushed for 278 yards and 0 TDs. He is averaging almost 40 yards a game carrying the ball. Backing up Ponder will either be Drew Weatherford or D'Vontrey Richardson.

    The Noles rank #6 in the ACC in pass offense passing for almost 197 yards a game and 11 TDs on the season. The offense has also given up 8 interceptions.FSU ranks #1 in the ACC in scoring offense averaging over 36 points a game. The Nole offensive line is only allowing 1.14 sacks a game and have given up only 8 sacks on the year that puts them at the top of the ACC.

    Defensive matchup
    : Ponder and the offensive line will be tested this week big time. Georgia Tech to say the least has a very talented defensive front four. Their stats are very impressive:

    DE Derrick Morgan has nine tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
    DT Vance Walker has 30 tackles and seven tackles for loss.
    DT Darryl Richard has 23 tackles and seven tackles for loss.
    DE Michael Johnson has 27 tackles, 10 for loss and four sacks.

    Ponder will be facing a pass defense ranked #3 in the ACC that is allowing 168 yards a game and given up 7 TDs on the season. The stat that jumps out is that of interceptions. The Yellow Jackets have 14 interceptions for the year which is the second highest in the ACC. In total defense, Georgia Tech is ranked #3 allowing 272 yards a game.

    Georgia Tech is ranked #3 in the ACC in sacks and have 21 sacks on the season and average 2.63 sacks a game. In tackles for a loss, Tech is #1 with 71 tackles for a loss. Defensive end Michael Johnson and defensive end Derrick Morgan rank #4 and # 5 in the ACC for tackles with a loss with 10 and 9 respectively.

    Defensive end Derrick Morgan is ranked #2 in the ACC with 6.5 sacks. Close behind him is defensive end Michael Johnson ranked #4 with 4 sacks. This will definitely be a huge test for the young and relatively inexperienced Seminole offensive line.

    Ponder when he passes had better be accurate in that he will have to face the number one ranked defensive back in the ACC in sophomore Morgan Burnett who leads the nation and the ACC in picks with 6.

    " It's almost been like a get out of jail free card for them...."

    "It's almost been like a get out of jail free card for them, when they have third and long or whatever they go deep and throw it up and let those guys go get it."
    Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson at his Tuesday press conference referring to FSU's big receivers Greg Carr and Corey Surrency

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    Noles Continue Practice For Jackets And Look To Stop B-Back

    FSU Sports Information Excerpts:

    The No. 16-ranked Florida State Seminoles (6-1, 3-1 ACC) practiced 21 periods in shells Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. ABC showdown with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-2, 3-2 ACC). The coaches continued to put in place the offensive gameplan while the offense worked against the scout team inside the redzone and the defense worked against the scout team offense working on stopping the triple option.

    Head Coach Bobby Bowden:

    Team's health, specifically Antone Smith:

    "Antone Smith is doing well. It seems like Justin Mincy is the only one who missed out."

    WR Bert Reed:

    On getting back on the field:

    "It feels really good, missing last weeks game and now I have a lot of emotions going through me right now. I am ready to get back on the field and contribute for my team which I didn't do last week and now I'm looking forward to hopefully winning another ballgame."

    LB Derek Nicholson:

    On the last time he played against the triple option:

    "It was my senior year against our rival high school. It's kind of the same thing that [Georgia Tech] does except the difference between high school and college is they can't chop you so the big thing with them is they can get you off your feet and if they get you off your feet they can run the ball."

    On stopping the fullback:

    "We have to stop the fullback. They have a statistic in this type of offense where if the fullback rushes for more than 100 yards they win every game, so we have to stop the fullback, he's the key to the offense. If we stop the fullback and contain the quarterback then you'll do a good job slowing their running game."

    " Picture a ball in his hand and go kill him."

    " Picture a ball in his hand and go kill him. And that's what we're going to do."
    FSU defensive tackle Budd Thacker regarding the fullback or B-back in the Georgia Tech triple option offense as quoted in The Orlando Sentinel

    Head To Head Matchup: Receivers

    Georgia Tech is best known for its triple-option offensive attack, but FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews knows that the Yellow Jackets have a talented receiver in sophomore Demaryius Thomas who ranks second in the ACC with 71.9 receiving yards per game. Says Andrews, "... he is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, and he runs as fast as any defensive back we've got."

    Georgia Tech however is at the bottom in the ACC in passing offense generating only 115 yards a game and 5 TDs through the air. The Yellow Jackets also have thrown 5 interceptions. It is true that Thomas ranks #2 in the ACC for receivers having caught 27 balls for 503 yards and 3 TDs this season. After Thomas, the most catches the other Tech receivers have is 5. A-back Roddy Jones has caught 4 balls for 126 yards and 1 TD.

    Defensive matchup: The test for the Noles will be not to have blown coverage and be able to matchup with the talented Thomas. The triple option could catch the secondary off guard and lead to an easy TD that the secondary has been beaten on all too often in games this year.

    The Nole pass defense is ranked #2 in the ACC allowing 167 yards a game and giving up 8 TDs through the air. The secondary has also had 4 picks on the season which is the second lowest in the ACC.

    The Noles rank #1 in the ACC in passes defended with 37 passes broken up and 41 passes defended. This is a secondary that is in need of some key plays from Tony Carter and Myron Rolle on Saturday. A pick or two would be a big boost and the secondary needs to play an almost flawless game.Blown coverages and easy TDs could spell trouble in front of a hostile crowd.

    For the Noles, the receiver that continues to perform in the clutch is Greg Carr. Last Saturday against Virginia Tech, Carr caught 3 passes for 100 yards one of which was for 48 yards. On the season, he has 19 catches for 312 yards and 2 TDs.

    Taiwan Easterling is becoming a go to guy also. He had a spectacular catch for a TD against Va. Tech and for the season has 20 catches for 232 yards and 1 TD. Bert Reed will be back this week and should add another target for Ponder. Reed for the season has 12 catches for 208 yards and 3 TDs. Could this be a break out game for Preston Parker this week? Maybe. Parker has been relatively quiet so far this season having caught 13 balls for 125 yards and 0 TDs. Corey Surrency is a big target but recently has had a hard time holding on to the ball.

    The Noles are ranked #6 in the ACC in pass offense generating almost 200 yards a game and 11 TDs. They have also thrown 8 interceptions.

    Defensive matchup: Georgia Tech ranks #3 in the ACC in pass defense allowing 168 yards a game and yielding 7 TDs through the air. They however have 14 interceptions which is the second highest in the ACC. Ponder will have to be careful in his reads and accuracy this Saturday in order to avoid some picks. Sophomore defensive back Morgan Burnett leads the nation and the ACC in interceptions with 6 which is 2 more than the entire number of interceptions for the Noles. Sophomore defensive back Dominique Reese is second on the team with 3 picks one of which was returned for a TD.

    Tech Tops In ACC In Rushing Offense

    Rankings based on 12 teams in ACC conference:

    Scoring Offense: FSU- #1 Ga. Tech- #7

    Scoring Defense: FSU- #3 Ga. Tech- #1

    Passing Offense: FSU- #6 Ga. Tech- #12

    Rushing Offense: FSU- #2 Ga. Tech- #1

    Third Down Conversions: FSU- #1 Ga. Tech- #6

    Red Zone Conversions: FSU- #2 Ga. Tech- #10

    Scoring Defense: FSU- #3 Ga. Tech- #1

    Rushing Defense: FSU- #1 Ga. Tech- #2

    Passing Defense:FSU- #2 Ga. Tech- #3

    Penalties: FSU- #12 Ga. Tech- #10

    Turnover margin: FSU- #11 Ga. Tech- #5

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Who Will Win ACC Atlantic?

    Lee Picks Another Loser

    My Turkey Of The Week award has to go to Lee Corso and his band of imbeciles of the gameday crew on ESPN. When is the last time that Corso had a correct pick? Even though Corso is a FSU alum, I have to question what has happened to him. He sits beside Kirk "The Homer" Herbstreit and nods his head in agreement like a bobblehead doll. I think he has lost it. This past week, old Lee picked Ohio State to defeat Penn State and was aided by a grinning Herbstreit and his kids. Does Kirk "The Homer" have no shame? Honorable mention goes to Pitt who lost to a mediocre Rutgers team 54-34.

    Head To Head Matchup: Running Backs

    Jonathan Dwyer is ranked number two in the ACC in rushing. Dwyer is known as the B-back in the Georgia Tech triple option offense. The B-back is the running back that lines up behind the quarterback, in the spot a fullback usually lines up in most offenses. Except, there's one big difference in this offense: "He's a primary ball carrier," said quarterbacks/B-backs coach Brian Bohannon.

    Dwyer has speed. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry as a freshman, with a long of 65 yards, while totaling 436 yards and nine touchdowns. A little taller than 6-feet and around 222 pounds, he's hefty, too.

    On the season, Dwyer has carried the ball 125 times and rushed for 754 yards and 5 TDs. He is averaging a little over 6 yards a carry and averaging almost 95 yards a game. The sophomore also has 113 receiving yards and 1 TD.

    A-backs are typically faster in Johnson's triple-option attack. Says Bohannon, "They are usually not quite as big as the B-back, but we'd like them to be. They're more of a slot receiver, a guy that catches the toss."

    The A-backs in the triple-option offense are freshman Roddy Jones who had a career-high 75 yards rushing against Virginia last Saturday. On the year, Jones has rushed for 252 yards and 2 TDs. He also has 126 receiving yards and 1 TD.The other A-back is sophomore Lucas Cox who is described as a terrific blocker. Cox has 102 yards rushing and 0 TD.

    The other main runner in this offense is QB Josh Nesbitt who is ranked number 9 in the ACC in rushing. He has rushed 94 times for 375 yards and 6 TDs.

    The Georgia Tech rushing offense is ranked #1 in the ACC averaging over 236 yards a game and producing 18 TDs. They are averaging almost 5 yards per rush.

    Defensive matchup: The backs will be facing a Nole defense that is ranked among the best in the nation and the ACC. The # 1 rushing offense in the ACC will be facing the #1 rushing defense in the ACC in the Noles.The Nole defense is only allowing 79.86 yards per game and have only allowed 3 TDs on the ground this year. The Noles have outstanding defensive end Everette Brown as well as a good linebacker group led by Derek Nicholson. This will be a classic matchup and battle on Saturday as to which group will be prevail.

    The Nole defense will be tested this week due to the fact that Tech employs the triple option play. The Nole defense is known for its aggressive type of play but against the triple option offense, the key is discipline. Defenders have to stick to their assignments, and not get too aggressive. All it takes is for a defender or two to go after the quarterback too hard, and suddenly the QB pitches to the halfback outside, and there’s only one guy between him and the end zone.

    For the Noles, Antone Smith is expected to play although he is banged up. Smith is currently ranked #4 in the ACC in rushing having rushed for 540 yards and 11 TDs. He is averaging almost 5 yards a carry. Against Virginia Tech, Smith had an average game before leaving with an injury. He rushed for 57 yards and had one 39 yard TD.

    As for Smith, hs says that he will play although that is uncertain. Says Smith," I’m feeling alright. I not my best – I’m not at 100 percent right now but I feel pretty good. My legs are fresh but my ribs are a little banged up. Other than that I feel pretty good. " Not exactly statements that sound overly convincing.

    If Smith cannot play, Preston Parker would be a likely candidate to take the place of Smith. Last year Parker started 5 games in the back field and rushed for 270 yards and 2 TDs. If not Parker, Jermaine Thomas could be the starter. He had a concussion in Va. Tech game but he seems fine now. Thomas has rushed for 213 yards and 2 TDs this year. A third possibility is that of Marcus Sims who came in after Smith and Thomas left the Va. Tech game with injuries.

    The Noles rushing offense is ranked #2 in the ACC averaging almost 194 yards a game and having 17 TDs on the ground for the season. They are averaging almost 5 yards a carry.

    Defensive matchup
    : The Nole running game will be facing the #2 rushing defense in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets are allowing 104 yards a game on the ground and only given up 5 TDs on the ground this year. The running backs will probably have their toughest challenge this year with this Jackets defense. Tech has two of their defensive linemen ranked in the top 5 in the ACC with tackles for a loss. Senior Michael Johnson is ranked #4 in tackles for a loss with 10 while sophomore Derrick Morgan is #5 with 9 tackles for a loss. The running game for the Noles will be tested big time and Smith not being 100% is not a good sign against a tough Tech defense.

    One of the keys will be how FSU's young offensive line will be able to handle the Tech defensive front four.

    Paul Johnson Discusses Triple Option

    Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson discusses the triple option in this clip.

    Noles To Face Triple Option On Saturday

    With the hiring of Navy coach Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech switched from a pro style offense to one where the triple option is its base play. Players had to buy into a culture shift, ignore preconceived notions and work through the growing pains.

    At Georgia Tech, the shift was especially significant even at the most basic level. Quarterbacks accustomed to the shotgun now had to take snaps from under center.

    Running backs became A backs or B backs. The B backs, the featured backs positioned behind the QB, had to adjust to lining up in a three-point stance, something most hadn't done since their Pee-Wee days.

    The A backs (a combination of a tailback and slot receiver) and the receivers learned that blocking was a primary responsibility.

    So what is the basic play under the triple option? The quarterback lines up under center. The B back is the team's featured running back who lines up behind the quarterback in the spot a fullback usually is in other offenses.

    The A back is a slot back, a combination of a tailback and slot receiver. The A backs line up in slot positions outside the tackles.

    When the ball is snapped, the QB has three options:

    1. After the ball is snapped, the QB puts the ball in the B back's belly, a connection called the "mesh" and reads the defense.

    2. If the defensive end takes the B back, the QB pulls the ball back and has the option of either keeping it himself.

    3. Or he can pitch it to an A back who is coming around in motion.

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    " It takes four days of repetition...."

    “It takes four days of repetition, of really changing your defensive plan.”
    Bobby Bowden speaking to media at his Sunday breakfast about preparing for Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense as quoted in The Orlando Sentinel

    Taiwan Gets One For His Brother

    * Couldn't ask for a better day for football as we had on Saturday.

    * ABC announcer Ron Franklin had a few goofs. He flubbed pronunciation of "Tallahassee" and referred to Va. Tech as Texas Tech.

    * Use of corner Macho Harris in Tech offense was a good move by Frank Beamer.

    * Ron Franklin did a nice job of giving kudos to Ponder and Myron Rolle for their academic achievements.

    * Nice side story involving Taiwan Easterling and his 16 year old brother who was at the game on Saturday. His brother who had been in a car accident and in a coma got to watch Easterling make his spectacular catch in the end zone for a TD in the third quarter.

    Secondary Continues To Give Up Big Plays

    * Given the history of FSU kickers, I am always hesitant to heap praise but Gano is the real deal. It's about time that we had such a reliable kicker.

    * Corey Surrency had another day to forget. Had no catches and could not hold on to one in the end zone that would have been a TD.

    * First quarter stats for FSU looked grim. Noles had only 18 yards.

    * FSU secondary continues to have blown coverages and get burned for easy TDs.

    * Greg Carr showed that he is the receiver in the clutch for the Noles.

    * Noles continue to commit stupid penalties. It looks as if it is a lost cause.

    * Preston Parker continues to not be a factor for the receivers. However. he may have a bigger role on Saturday if Antone Smith is not 100%.

    Noles Must Be Disciplined As They Begin Practice For Yellow Jackets

    FSU Sports Information Excerpts:

    After ascending to 16th in the AP and USA Today polls and 15th in the BCS standings, the Seminole football team took to the practice fields Monday afternoon. Florida State has won four straight games and got an early practice in on Monday due to the Golden Torch Gala. The awards banquet honors the teams and individuals with the highest grad point averages. FSU will get back to preparations for Georgia Tech on Tuesday.

    Head Coach Bobby Bowden:

    Is there a big difference between beat up and injured:

    “Yea, there is a big difference. I’m trying to think if anybody got hurt enough that can’t play. Antone (Smith) was riding a bicycle today. I think he’ll be okay. Bert (Reed) comes back this week. (Jermaine Thomas) seems to be okay. He’s was out there running today. I didn’t see any effects of it.

    What are some basic keys to slow the option offense down?

    “You have got to be disciplined. It’s assignment football. You have got him and you have got him and you better not forget it. If you do something spits out all the way. Whereas when we play a normal team you hit the blocker then you throw him down and go get the ball. With this thing you better get the dive and you’d better get the quarterback and you’d better get the pitch. When you get to doing that too good they will fake all of that and drop back and throw on you with one on one downfield. It’s seems like you slow it down, slow it down, slow it down and then all of a sudden bop! You’ve got to slow that thing down I know that.

    Tailback Antone Smith:

    On his health:

    “I’m feeling alright. I not my best – I’m not at 100 percent right now but I feel pretty good. My legs are fresh but my ribs are a little banged up. Other than that I feel pretty good. The elbow is feeling good it’s still swollen little bit but it’s more ribs that anything else. That’s back to the first play of the Colorado game. It got aggravated Saturday.

    Georgia Tech Safety Leads Nation In Picks

    Cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels (hamstring) and safety Dominique Reese (concussion-like symptoms) did not practice Monday and are considered day-to-day. Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said Word-Daniels “is more of a reach” to play against Florida State this weekend.


    Georgia Tech sophomore safety Morgan Burnett leads the nation with six interceptions after his first-quarter pick against Virginia. Burnett is closing in on the Tech record of nine, set by Jeff Ford in 1969 and tied by Willie Clay in 1991. He has intercepted one more pass this season than the entire team did last year.

    Brown And Gano Named ACC Players Of The Week

    Defensive end Everette Brown and place kicker/punter Graham Gano were named ACC players of the week. Brown earned the defensive lineman honor for his play against Virginia Tech as he became the first FSU player to record three sacks in a game since Alonzo Jackson in 2002. His four tackles for loss pushed Brown's career total to 36.5 moving him past Corey Simon (33) into sole possession of sixth place all-time at Florida State. Brown also set a single-game career-high with four tackles for loss against the Hokies.

    Gano was named ACC specialist for his three field goals in FSU's 30-20 win over Virgina Tech. Gano converted on attempts from 50, 46 and 29 yards, respectively. He broke the school record with his 13th consecutive field goal and extended his own school record with a 50-yard field goal in a four straight games. He now has twice as many 50-yard field goals this season as anyone else in the nation. He accounted for 12 of FSU's 30 points in addition to punting three times for 155 yards (51.7 average).

    Everette Brown Leads Defense With 3 Sacks Against Hokies

    There is still a lot of work to do but the Noles cleared another hurdle as they defeated Virginia Tech. Here are the grades which may be a tad generous:

    Offensive Line: The offensive line play was not great as they allowed four sacks. Not a lot of holes created for the running game which was under 100 yards. This is definitely a work in progress.
    Grade: D

    Running Game: The running game was average as Antone Smith rushed for 57 yards of which 39 yards was on one play for a TD.
    Grade: B-

    QB: Ponder completed 11-of-19 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown. He threw no interceptions and was aided by some great catches from Easterling and Carr.
    Grade: B-

    Offensive Coaching: The first half was anemic but the Noles managed to get some offense in second half.
    Grade: B-

    Receivers: Greg Carr had 3 catches for 100 yards and Easterling made two great catches. The rest of the receivers were silent.
    Grade: B-

    Defense and Defensive Coaching:The defense played with intensity led by Everette Brown with 3 sacks. Secondary is still a concern.
    Grade: B

    Penalties: The Noles had 8 penalties for 73 yards. So what else is new.
    Grade: D

    Special Teams: No major goof ups this week by special teams although kickoff coverage needs to improve. The Hokies averaged almost 31 yards on returns. Gano had a punting average of almost 52 yards on three punts and his field goal kicking was dead solid perfect as he had another 50 yarder for the fourth consecutive game.
    Grade: B+

    Gano Sets Consecutive Field Goal Record

    The Noles got a much needed win against Virginia Tech as they head toward a crucial game against Georgia Tech this Saturday. Here are my recipients for the game balls:

    Graham Gano set a school record on Saturday with his 13th consecutive field goal and also it was the fourth consecutive game in which he kicked a field goal of at least 50 yards – another FSU record. He was 3 for 3 in field-goal attempts and averaged 51.7 yards on three punts.

    Defensive end Everette Brown had a great game as he had 3 sacks and also had 5 tackles with 4 being for a loss.

    Greg Carr had three catches for 100 yards which included two impressive catches on long pass plays that led to a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    Gano Perfect Again

    First Downs: FSU- 13 Va. Tech- 15

    Net Yards Rushing: FSU- 89 Va. Tech-82

    Net Yards Passing: FSU- 158 Va. Tech-161

    Yards Penalized: FSU- 73 Va. Tech- 49

    Third Down Conversions
    : FSU- 29% Va. Tech- 9%

    Red Zone Percentage: FSU- 100% Va. Tech-75%

    Fumbles Lost: FSU- 0 Va. Tech- 2

    Interceptions Thrown: FSU- 0 Va. Tech- 0

    Field Goals: FSU-3-3 Va. Tech- 2-3

    Ponder To Easterling TD Puts Noles Ahead In Third Quarter

    With Virginia Tech leading the Noles 13-10 in the third quarter, Taiwan Easterling had a sensational catch in the end zone for a TD to put the Noles ahead 17-13. It was preceded by a great over the head 48 yard catch by Greg Carr at the Va. Tech 6 yard line.

    Noles Perfect In Red Zone Against Hokies

    Number of turnovers by FSU - 0

    Number of turnovers by Va. Tech - 2

    Penalty yards by FSU - 73

    Sacks by FSU - 6

    Number of Third Down Conversions for Va. Tech - 1/11

    Number of Third Down Conversions for FSU - 4/14

    Red Zone Scores by FSU - 3/3

    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    Noles Control Own Destiny As They Take Down Hokies

    The Noles control their own destiny and today they made one more step toward the top of the ACC as they defeated the Hokies 30-20. The offense by the Noles was anemic until the third quarter when Ponder connected with Taiwan Easterling for a TD. The game resembled a MASH unit as Tech lost two QBs and the Noles lost two running backs. The defense played with intensity led by defensive end Everette Brown. The question mark for next week will be who will be healed and ready to take on the Yellow Jackets next week.

    Will Noles Poke The Hokies?

    Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. (EST)

    Television: ABC

    Announcers: Ron Franklin (Play-by-Play),Ed Cunningham (Analyst) and Jack Arute (sideline).

    Site: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida

    Stadium Capacity: 82,300

    : Grass

    : Bobby Bowden (378-120-4 in 33rd year at FSU) and Frank Beamer (172-87-2 in twenty-second year as head coach at Va. Tech).

    All-Time Series: FSU leads the series with a record of 21-11-1.

    Stat that matters: The FSU defense is the only unit in America allowing opponents to convert on third down less than 22% of the time.

    Key Stat: Bobby Bowden is 15-1 versus Virginia Tech as a coach, including three wins while he was head coach at West Virginia.

    Last game against Virginia Tech: Florida State lost to Virginia Tech 40-21 at Blacksburg in 2007.

    Game Day Weather
    :Partly cloudy in the morning then becoming mostly sunny. Highs 74 to 77. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

    Does Rich Get Another "L" Added To His Resume?

    So what are the hot games to watch this weekend? Here are my picks:

    Alabama versus Tennesee- Will Tennessee fans be saying goodbye to Phil if he loses another game?

    LSU versus Georgia- Who will be out of the SEC race after this game?

    Texas Tech
    versus Kansas- Can Tech stay unbeaten?

    Michigan versus Michigan State- Will Rich get another "L" added to his resume?

    Penn State versus Ohio State- Will Joe Pa take down Tressel and his Buckeyes?

    Oklahoma St. versus Texas- Will Texas stay undefeated? Probably.

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    Frank Beamer Among Elite Coaches In ACC

    When you hear the name Frank Beamer, you think of "Beamer Ball" which is synonymous with tough defense and special teams play. Beamer spent six seasons as the head coach at Murray State, compiling a record of 42-23-2.

    In 1987, Beamer was hired as the head coach at Virginia Tech. Beamer took over a Hokies football program that was largely unsuccessful in its first century, reaching only six bowl games in that time span. Beamer has since built the Hokies into a perennially ranked team. In 19 years at the helm of VT, his overall record is 156-82-2. His teams have made 14 consecutive bowl appearances. During his tenure as coach, the program has evolved from independent status to a member of the Big East Conference to a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. His teams have won three Big East Championships and one ACC Championship.

    He won Big East Coach of the Year awards in 1995, 1996, and 1999. In 1999, he won consensus National Coach of the Year honors when he led Virginia Tech to an undefeated regular season and appearance in the National Championship game against Florida State. Beamer was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2004, his first year competing in the league. He repeated as ACC Coach of the Year in 2005 while leading his team to the ACC Coastal Division title and an appearance in the inaugural ACC Championship game

    During the 'Beamer Era' at Virginia Tech, putting points on the scoreboard has become a full team effort - offensive, defensive and special teams. Often when the team scores one or more non-offensive touchdowns, the style of play is described as "Beamer Ball." Since Beamer's first season in 1987, a player at every position on the defensive unit has scored at least one touchdown.

    Ponder Makes His Debut As Noles Fall To Hokies 40-21 In Blacksburg

    The Noles travelled to Blacksburg to play the Hokies on November 10, 2007 before a crowd of over 66,000. The game was played in mid 40 degree weather with the wind chill bringing it down to 40 degrees.

    FSU got on the board first with a Cismesia 41 yard field goal in the first quarter. However the Hokies on the next possession scored a TD on a 31 yard pass play from Tyrod Taylor. The extra point was missed and the Hokies led 6-3. With a little over two minutes left in the first quarter, the Noles added another field goal on a Cismesia 39 yarder to even the score 6-6 at the end of the first quarter.

    At the start of the second quarter, the Hokies scored quick on a Tyrod Taylor pass to make the score 13-6 in favor of the Hokies.Weatherford was later taken out of the game with a concussion and Ponder made his first debut at QB for the Noles. The Hokies scored another TD in the second quarter to lead the Noles 20-6 at the half.

    With the temperature getting cooler in the second half, the Noles scored first on a Cismesia 50 yarder to make the score 20-9 in favor of the Hokies. On the subsequent Hokie possession, Dekoda Watson intercepted a Tyrod Taylor pass and returned it 40 yards for a TD. The Noles trailed the Hokies 20-15 after a failed two pointer. The Noles scored another TD later in the third quarter on a Ponder to Fagg pass to lead the Hokies 21-20 after another Ponder two point pass play failed. At the end of the third the Noles led the Hokies 21-20 but that would be short lived.

    Tyrod Taylor at the beginning of the fourth would pass for a TD and convert a two pointer to lead the Noles 28-21. A later field goal by the Hokies would increase their lead to 31-21. A subsequent interception of Ponder led to a Hokie 25 yard return and Va. Tech led the Noles 38-21. A safety later would increase the score and the Hokies would win 40-21 in their first win over the Noles since 1975.

    My Buys And Sells For FSU-Virginia Tech Game

    Virginia Tech Mascot- This is one schizophrenic mascot. Not sure whether it's a chicken or turkey but do know that it is another Sesame Street knockoff costumed character. I am selling.

    Noles will have at least one sack against Virginia Tech- Defense needs to get to Tyrod Taylor and either sack him or hurry his throws. I am buying.

    Noles will hold Virginia Tech to less than 100 yards- Not sure this is going to happen since Taylor has most yards rushing on the team. I am selling.

    Antone Smith will have 100 yards or more rushing- Noles need to get the running game going against the Hokies. Smith needs a good game. I am buying.

    FSU will have 50 yards or less in penalties- Seeing is believing. Not convinced yet that they can get under the 50 yard mark. I am selling.

    Preston Parker gets a TD- With Reed out, now would be the time for Parker to show what he is capable of doing. I am buying.

    FSU gets at least one interception- Carter or Rolle needs to make a statement. I say someone gets a pick. I am buying.

    Gano gets at least one field goal in the game- Gano gets at least one on the day. I am buying.

    Announcers will bring up "Beamer Ball" at least once- You can count on it. We will hear it more than once. I am buying.

    Stopping Taylor Big Key For Noles

    * FSU defense has to contain Tyrod Taylor.

    * Keep the home crowd in the game.

    * Noles need to establish running game to take pressure off Ponder.

    * FSU receivers need to have a good day and make some key plays.

    * Defense needs to play with intensity for four quarters.

    * FSU secondary needs to take it up a notch and avoid blown coverages.

    * Ponder needs to manage the game and stay poised.

    * Offensive line has to do better job of run and pass blocking.

    * Special teams has to avoid mistakes and instead make some plays.

    * Avoid stupid penalties and turnovers.

    Opponents Not Having Success Against Noles On Third Down Conversions

    1. Virginia Tech is 5-12 against FSU at Doak Campbell Stadium with its last win coming in 1974. Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is 1-7 as a head coach in games against Florida State.

    2. Bobby Bowden is 15-1 versus Tech as a coach, including three wins while he was head coach at West Virginia.

    3. Prior to last year’s win, Virginia Tech’s last victory in the series came in 1975 when the Hokies posted a 13-10 win at Lane Stadium.

    4. The FSU defense is the only unit in America allowing opponents to convert on third down less than 22% of the time.

    5. This year’s meeting will mark FSU’s first home game against the Hokies since either school joined the Atlantic Coast Conference.The last time FSU played Virginia Tech at
    home was a 39-28 win during the 1990 season.

    6. FSU is 12-5 against Virginia Tech at home. FSU has outscored VT 25.3 to 18.4 in 17 games played in Tallahassee.

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Hokie Hokie Bye

    Can anyone be inspired by these memorable words?

    Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hi!
    Tech, Tech, VPI
    Sol-a-rex, Sol-a-rah
    Poly Tech Vir-gin-ia
    Ray rah VPI
    Team! Team! Team!

    Over a century ago, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University held a student contest to write a new cheer. A senior by the name of O.M. Stull wrote the “Hokie” yell, which can still be heard at home games in Blacksburg.

    Ok, so let's get this out on the table.What the heck is a Hokie? And, is that thing a bird, a turkey or what?

    The word “Hokie” was conjured up by Stull simply because he needed a word that would be an “attention-getter.” Up until then, VT athletic teams were known as the Gobblers and “Home of the Gobblers” was proudly posted on the outside of Lane Stadium until recently. However, after the school adopted the yell, Hokies became the permanent nickname.

    Though the costumed mascot is a depiction of a fictional bird that resembles a turkey, he has become a fixture on the VT sidelines. His performance on gamedays has made him a crowd favorite.

    Noles Taking One Game At A Time As They Wrap Up Practice For Hokies

    FSU Sports Information Excerpts:

    A lot has been made of the Seminole defense trying to stop Tyrod Taylor but the talk at practice Thursday centered around Virginia Tech’s stingy defense. Both head coach Bobby Bowden and starting quarterback Christian Ponder called Bud Foster’s Hokie defense the best they have faced so far this season. Ponder said he needs to take responsibility for the FSU offense this week and keep the ball out of the hands of Virginia Tech defenders when the two teams meet Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Tallahassee.

    Head Coach Bobby Bowden:

    On practice this week:

    “They had a good week. We have a good plan but it’s a matter of executing.”

    Is this the best defense Florida State has faced:

    “Yes. This team plays great defense. They always have.”

    Keys to be successful this weekend:

    “In a game like this that you have two good defensive teams, I think the key for both of us is not to turn the ball over. They scored twice last week with their defense.”

    On the stretch of schedule coming up:

    “We only take them one at a time. We have to start with this one.”

    " We didn't see great passion."

    " We didn't see great passion. We didn't see great enthusiasm, great intensity."
    Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews regarding the play of the defense against NC State as quoted in St. Pete Times

    Did Psycho Steve Go Nuts?

    For those of you who may have missed it, this is my clip of the week. This was a ref during last week's LSU-South Carolina game. The SEC cleared the ref of any intentional hit on South Carolina QB.

    Will Canes K.O. Wake?

    Here are my ACC picks for games to watch this week:

    Georgia Tech versus Virginia- Can the comeback kid Al Groh beat the Yellow Jackets?

    NC State
    versus Maryland- Is Maryland for real? Who knows.

    Miami versus Wake Forest- Will the Canes continue Wake's free fall?

    Hokies Lose Backup Safety For The Year

    Virginia Tech has lost its backup free safety Lorenzo Williams with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. This happened in last night's practice and he will miss the rest of the season. The injury adds to a thin Tech defensive backfield which has already lost starting rover Davon Morgan to a season-ending injury


    Coach Frank Beamer cannot be pleased with his kicking game. The Hokies rank 117th (out of 120 teams) in net punting and 112th in kickoff returns. They've had two punts blocked, one of which cost them the East Carolina game, and three punts returned for touchdowns - more than any team in America and more than any Tech team since the 1950s.In the loss to Boston College last Saturday, the Hokies had both a punt blocked and one returned for a score.