Another season is upon us, and therefore it’s time to embark on the whimsical journey of the weekly opponent Q&A. Sometimes we gain very little insight, but often our football brethren from across the country share a wealth of knowledge about their respective teams and what we may see when they roll the ball out there in the next few days.
The Cards first opponent is none other than the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech. Nothing screams football like a 1914 Model T Ford and a swarm of Yellow Jackets, but both would certainly surprise you if they crossed your path today. The element of surprise was what made Georgia Tech such a tough opponent for years running various forms of the triple option and looking to confuse your defense as much as possible. While some of the old play calls, their choice choice of vehicular transportation, and their swarming ability may confuse, one thing is for sure, Josh Brundage over at ‘From The Rumble Seat’ knows his Yellow Jacket football, and he’s agreed to share that knowledge with us today. Let’s get it.
You’ll have to excuse my tardiness to the party, my calendar has been a real ramblin’ wreck the last few months, but we need a Georgia Tech update. Similar to the Cards it appears as if you unplugged the football program, waited five minutes, and then plugged it back in and are now waiting for it to boot back up. New Coach, new QB, new field name….things, they are a changin’.
The program definitely needed a hard reset after Collins’ tenure. The longer he’s gone, the more comes out about how poor of a head coach he was… he burned through the recruiting budget every year on flying private, he made a big show of “competition being king” in practices but refused to bring in transfer help at QB so as not to spook “his guy,” and he made a twitter account dedicated to his shoes. Good riddance.
This season is the first year that I’ve been optimistic in the direction of the program in a while. Despite the GTAD being short on cash and making a budget hire with Key, he’s brought in talent from the portal and seems to have a cohesive vision for the program, unlike his predecessor. To our eyes, there was a dramatic change in on-field play after Collins was fired midseason last year, even in Week 1 of Key’s tenure.
Generally, I think most Tech fans are cautiously optimistic this season and are hoping for at least a 6-6 year with a bowl birth for the first time since 2018.
While Coach Key may not be “New-Still In The Plastic” it's fresh start for him running this program. What’s the quick and dirty version of the type of offensive and defensive philosophies GT will try this year under this staff? Any major overalls?
The short answer is, we’re going to see more of the same base 4-2-5 on defense. Key retained most of the defensive staff, including coordinator Andrew Thacker. We don’t know to what extent Collins was influencing / hamstring-ing the defense, but that unit performed admirably once Key was appointed the interim HC.
Our secondary should be one of the best in the ACC with the returning talent, including safeties LaMiles Brooks and Jaylon King.
On offense, Key poached Buster Faulkner from our rival out east to be our new OC. Stetson Bennett largely credited him for his development and their offensive success the last two years. Faulkner has never held a coordinator role, however, so we’re hoping the young savant can give Key’s offense an identity that they were immensely lacking under Collins.
Tech returns most of their OL, a slew of talent at WR, and we just learned this week that 4-star TAMU transfer Haynes King has earned the starting job for week 1 against the Cards.
… All of that to say that we don’t really know what the offense will look like come Labor Day weekend, but it can only be an improvement on the previous 4 years.
A casual Louisville football fan sits down with a bourbon on Friday night and flips on the game to check out the Cards in Week 1. Who are the guys on Georgia Tech they are going to walk away impressed with on both sides of the ball?
As an aside, earlier this year, my wife and I went to visit friends in Norway (flex) for their Independence Day equivalent, and they suggested we bring bourbon as a gift for the hosts that day as alcohol is incredibly expensive there. I’m a born and raised Georgian, so I knew I wanted to bring a proper southern bourbon to represent my culture to these lovely people who don’t really season their food. I settled on some of Kentucky’s finest small batch Jefferson’s Reserve I could find and toted that overseas. It was a HUGE hit at the party, as what was a roughly $80 bottle here would’ve been closer to $200 there. Our friends texted us a couple of months later and said that group still talks about how good that bourbon was, so shout out to Kentucky and your fine products.
Now, where were we.
On the offensive side of the ball, we’re all pretty excited and surprised that Haynes King won the starting job outright, especially against the other 2 QBs who played in the system last year and performed admirably, all things considered. King was TAMU’s starter who almost upset Alabama last year, but was plagued in his time under Fisher by injuries. He has a very, very high ceiling, so that combined with the new offensive coaching staff have us pretty fired up to maybe score some points again. Also on that side of the ball, Malik Rutherford and Leo Blackburn will probably be getting their names called a bunch at the WR position as they have been some of the QBs favorite targets during summer camp.
Quick tangent…..Josh Pastner. What was that all about? (Just in general, ya know)
Long, long story short is that years ago, he fired somebody from the program who gave impermissible benefits to the players and that person ended up falsely accusing Pastner of sexually assaulting his wife as a way to get revenge. The charges were fake, and that person recently went to jail for defamation / making false claims. None of this had anything to do with why Pastner was let go last year as head coach, but if you saw a confusing news story about this, that’s basically what happened.
Pastner was let go because he only made the NCAA tourney once in his seven years here and his teams were trending the wrong direction.
It feels like we’ve been counting down the days for ages (present company not excluded) and now it’s finally here, game week. As I noted above, I feel as if both fanbases view this as a reset, and things will really take off in a good direction coming out hot and picking up the early conference win. One of them will be wrong. Whats your best guess as to how this goes down in Atlanta?
The Yellow Jackets aren’t going through quite as hard of an overhaul as Louisville is, so I do think that’s an advantage in Week 1 where everyone has so many unknowns. I’m cautiously optimistic this year with Tech, and I think they get a win on opening weekend against the Cards to take the first step to a bowl birth… but hey, if I’m wrong, and I’ve been wrong online before, at least Mercedes Benz has affordable beer prices.
Big thanks again to Josh for his time. Feel free to give him a follow on the old ‘Twitter-X’ site right here and check out FTRS over there as well. Also, go check out my Q&A with FTRS as well. While the ghost of “opening game no shows” does haunt my dreams from time to time I like what the Cards are brining down to Atlanta tomorrow and I think they take a few stings from the jackets before ultimately getting it together and closing it out late. Cards 30-21