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GA Tech loses program game changer opportunity in loss to Tenn

6 Sep

Tech misses… Kevin C Cox/Getty Images

It was there for the taking. On center stage at the Chick Fil A Kickoff at Mercedes Benz Stadium, everything went the way Tech dreamed it could go.

Lose your best RB, (a preseason All ACC pick) because of disciplinary issues? No problem. His replacement KirVonte Benson rushes for 124  yards and a TD. Lose the best QB you have had since Hall of Famer Joe Hamilton to graduation and the NFL? No problem his replacement TaQuan Marshall accounts for over 350 of  offense by himself.  It was a game Tech dominated for most of the time. But in the end the Yellow Jackets found themselves stunned as Tenn came back from a 14 pt deficit in the 4th quarter to tie the game and win in 2 OT 42-41.

This was a game that could have gone a long way in changing the narrative of college football in GA and even nationwide. All the talk would have been on how exciting Tech new playmakers Marshall and Benson were. Paul Johnson’s offense which is often mocked being called boring and archaic, would be lauded as exciting and entertaining. Recruits in the talent rich Southeast and elsewhere would begin to put Ga Tech on it’s short list of schools to attend.

Instead Tech fans were left with a bitter defeat and thoughts of what could have been. The good news for Jacket fans is:

  • It’s the 1st game of the season
  • Tenn is a non conference opponent
  • Benson and Marshall appear to be breakout stars

It will once again take great coaching and team leadership to rebound from this brutal loss. But like last year when it looked the season was not going to end well Tech fans must remember the season has just begun and it’s still all in front of you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#YellowJackets QB play and speed key for a #CFAKickoff win

4 Sep

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Georgia Tech finds themselves on their biggest stage since the 2014 Orange Bowl. In that game they also were up against a ranked SEC opponent. The Jackets were led by mercurial quarterback Justin Thomas. Thomas had one his best games a Tech uniform. He garnered MVP as he accounted for 4 TDs en route to a 49-34 Tech win.

This year there was no clear starter at QB even though Matthew Jordan was Thomas backup last year.  But after Jordan was injured the best option is last years 3rd stringer TaQuan Marshall, at 5’10 185 he is built and runs more like the elusive Thomas. Jordan at 6’2 and over 200 lbs was the better straight ahead runner, but look for Marshall to get some explosive plays before the night is done.

The other spot where Jackets have speed lurking is at running back.  As noted in the GT Football website local product  B-Back KirVonte Benson has outstanding speed. Qua Searcy at the A-back spot is always a threat on the jet sweep and dangerous as a receiver as well.

The Vols defense gave up over 200 yards per game rushing in 2016. Tech has averaged almost 260 yards and 5.5 per carry. If the Jackets can do that tonight thet ay have their 4th straight win over an SEC opponent. And we know how much Coach Paul Johnson would like that.

First game at #MBStadium – The Virtual reality tour

27 Aug

When you first walk into the stadium from the front landing with the massive Falcon sculpture you are overwhelmed by the visuals. Halo board, lower field electronic scoreboards, and colors so vivid and bright  it all seems surreal.

It’s as if you’re a character in the movie #Tron, or have donned a set of VR glasses. Being inside the stadium is like you have been dropped inside a giant video game.

Everything has taken to a new level. Fans enjoyed a Field Level Club area that allowed them to walk from inside a stylish restaurant/lounge, to a porch right behind the team bench on the field.

As for the game itself, the Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals 24-14. Matt Ryan was was not as sharp as 1st 2 games. Julio played a little as did Takk McKinley.

The Falcons  performance will raise some questions about the team, especially since they have not won a game this preseason. But that is for another story. Mercedes Benz stadium was the story tonight. There is more work remaining before it is totally finished. But early reviews from the fans are 5 star rated for excitement and entertainment.

#Falcons final 2 practices at Flowery Branch before 1st game at MB Stadium

23 Aug

Dan Quinn Falcons Head Coach

The Falcons are back to the norm except for one change. Their Friday walk through will be at their brand new home – Mercedes Benz Stadium.

This season is unique as the Falcons are defending NFC for only the 2nd time AND heading into a brand new stadium that is a technological marvel.

How important is it to have this walk through on Saturday and 2 home games at the new stadium before playing regular season game there?

It will also give coaches the opportunity to evaluate players under pressure of not only making the team, but the excitement of a new stadium and a real regular season feel

Coach Dan Quinn in his daily press conference gave the media some key points to consider:

  • Linebackers look good. Rookie Due Riley’s initial impact may be biggest on special teams. Quinn loves the way he flies around.
  • De’Vondre Campbell has looked good at the Sam LB spot
  • DE Jack Crawford has quickness unusual for a man that size.
  • Coach Bryant Young has the ability to coach the D-Line with a hands on approach befitting a recently retired player

Running back, lineman, and defensive backs are areas that still have the most competition remaining in terms of the 53 man roster. Coach Quinn still deciding whether to have coordinators and ass’t coaches calling plays form on the field or in the press box.

Click Here for the VIDEO of the press conference.

Is @AtlantaFalcons Matt Ryan a future Hall of Famer?

22 Aug

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Is Matt Ryan QB of the Atlanta Falcons a future Hall of Fame player? Many people both in and out of Atlanta are either #SMH or #ROTFL after reading this statement. But is it that far fetched? One Super Bowl winning season would make him a candidate at the very least. Here’s why.

  1. Impact on the teams you played on. Did you make them better and/or were an invaluable part of your teams overall success.-  For Ryan the answer is an overwhelming yes. When Matt Ryan arrived in Atlanta as the #3 overall pick in 2007 the franchise was in disarray after the Mike Vick situations. He stepped in as the starter won and led the Falcons to the playoffs. He then became the first Falcons QB to lead Atlanta to back to back winning seasons. He also has been durable missing only 2 games thus far
  2. Post season appearances -He has led Atlanta to the postseason 5 of his 1st 9 years, including 4 times in 5 years from 2008-2012. In his 2 NFC Championship games he has thrown for almost 400 yards in each one (392 in ’12, 396 in ’17)
  3. Personal awards –  Pro Bowl 4X, All Pro – 1X, NFL MVP – 1X,  2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year
  4. Overall Stats and Performance rank vs his peers – Top 5 among active QBs in Avg yards per game, Avg, Comp % per year. He is in the Top 10 in virtually every other measurable passing statistic among active players

A franchise changing career, league MVP, Super Bowl winner, and ranked  among the best statistically at his position during his playing days. Sounds like a pretty worthy resume…if the Super Bowl ring is won.

@MBStadium – #Falcons and #ATLUTD new home a Temple of Sports Entertainment

17 Aug

From the outside it looms proudly over the Westside landscape. A menacing 50 ft high Falcon (the largest steel sculpture in the Unite States) greets you at the main entrance. At night the huge Mercedes Benz logo illuminates the sky like a beacon. It lets all who approach know that they are in the conundrum of Sports in the South and possibly the US.

The inside is so surreal it’s as if you are walking into a giant video game. From veteran sportscasters to rookie reporters fresh on the job, all the media was amazed by what we saw. It’s going to be the talk of the town, and the Sports world for years to come.

Click on the video above for a little peek.

#DwightHoward trade signals beginning of #Hawks2020

21 Jun

 

Atlanta has traded C Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets just 2 days before the 2017 NBA Draft. Click HERE for the ESPN story.  This means the Hawks are going to launch #Hawks2020 The goal – build a team that can realistically compete for an NBA title by 2020. The Hawks are looking to create a sustainable winner that creates real fan allegiance. They want to develop this a way like ATLUTD soccer and the Falcons.

Have a style of play that is both easy to watch and players easy to root for. The Hawks plan to control their brand from top to bottom.

They are using cutting edge fan engagement to keep fans connected and excited about the team. Great social media, in-game promotions and personalized VIP experience via the Hardwood Club draws upscale millennials and a diverse group of fans to buy in as they move into the future.    Atlanta also looks maximize control of all aspects of player training, development, and health. There is a  90,000 sq ft combined practice and sports science facility in partnership with Emory Healthcare. Soon there will be a brand new D league facility built in College Park less than 20 miles south of Atlanta.

Eventually there will be development of The Gulch area near Philips Arena into a work, live, play development similar to the area around the Battery adjacent to the Braves SunTrust Park.

The Hawks even offer special ticket packages to new Moms with Grady hospital. Pretty soon it might be engineering Hawks fans from birth, and players from High School to the NBA in the Hawks mold.

A kind of Sports genetic engineering. Hmm Atlanta Hawks the first GMO NBA franchise..

Are the Atlanta Falcons turning into Linebacker U ?

12 May

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The Atlanta Falcons drafted another LB in this years draft. This comes after drafting Vic Beasley in 2015, DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones the 4th and 2nd rounds in 2016.

Former LSU LB joins Duke Riley is picked 75th overall in the 3rd round.  He is the prototype Q guy. Speed, quickness and a sure tackler. Coach Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff are seeking to add depth to a defense that came on late in the season, but withered under a relentless Patriot offensive attack in the final part of Super 51.

If Riley can give you 75% of what his former LSU teammate Deion Jones did last year the Falcons will have one the steals of the draft.  We got a chance to see a glimpse of him in the rookie camp.

#Falcons pick of #TakkaristMcKinley – hubris or just following their hunches?

28 Apr

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Photo from USA Today on BruinsNation.com

The  2017 NFL draft ‘needs list’ for the Falcons wasn’t too much different from 2015 or 2016. Get a good edge rusher, and shore up the offensive line with players who could play right away. In 2015 the pick was fairly obvious. Pundits and fans alike thought Vic Beasley the standout DE from Clemson had shown the speed and quickness to be a good NFL pass rusher.  Even though he was a bit undersized at only 235 pounds, Atlanta drafted him 6th overall.  He has become one of the NFL’s  best pass rushers , leading the league last year in sacks.

In 2016 however the Falcons started with picks that did not seem to address their needs at all.  1st round pick Keanu Neal was a SAFETY, not an edge rusher. 2nd round pick Deion Jones was fast but was a middle linebacker, and like Vic Beasley a little undersized.  Reaves turned out to be a ‘thumper’ who patrolled the Falcons back-end. and dished out punishment to opposing players at will. Deion was a tackling machine and rookie of the year finalist. Another slam dunk for the Falcons.

So here we are in 2017 and again Atlanta surprises us by picking outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley from UCLA.  McKinley appears to be another ‘DQ’ (Dan Quinn) guy. The All Pac 12 DE/OLB is described by NFL.com as “Relentless worker bee on the field” “…and is always charging towards the ball” However on the other side he is considered to be “raw” and a “little stiff in the lower body” He also is coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.  He was slotted by some to be a 2nd round pick. Why did the Falcons traded a 3rd round and 7th rounder to move from 25th to 31st pick to get him. In a draft which is supposed to be one of the deepest in history it seems they could have stayed put and still got him. 1st round picks should be impact players on your team right away. The fact the Falcons selected a raw, injured, player with big potential, means  Falcons leadership is convinced they have the coaching system and team culture that allows them to get the most from the players they bring on board.

The rest of the Falcons draft has yet to unfold. But if McKinley plays the way last year’s draft group did, the Falcons could back in the Super Bowl again and got another rising star in Takkarist McKinley press conference bad language notwithstanding.

By Jonathan Simmons

#AtlHawks blow last minute lead, lose to #Pacers at home

6 Mar

The #AtlHawks looked like they were on their way to a hard fought victory over the Indiana Pacers. They had a 96-90 lead with less the 2 minutes to go, a 96-94 lead AND the ball with about 30 seconds. But it was all for nought as the Pacers Glenn Robinson III hit a 3 pointer with 0.6 seconds left to give them a stunning 97-96 victory over the Hawks.

This game marked the return of former Hawks PG Jeff Teaugue  for the first time since he had been traded to the Pacers for a second round pick after the 2016 season.

Atlanta took an early 30-19 lead, then Indiana’s All Star G Paul George took over. George scored 24 of his game high 34 in the 1st half to help the Pacers take the lead before Atlanta came back to tie the game at 50 to end the 1st half.

The Hawks continued to have problems with George until they placed Paul Millsap on him in 3rd quarter. He did not score after that. By that time however they had forged a 7 point lead going to the 4th quarter.

The Hawks defense, and the offensive punch by Tim Hardaway, Jr (THJ) finally allowed Atlanta to overtake the Pacers and take a 6 point lead in the clising minutes. That’s when things went horribly wrong.

Paul Millsap has been the Hawks best offensive player all year and over the last 2 months Tim Hardaway Jr has been right behind him. Last night was no different. Millsap had 24 to lead all Hawks, and THJ scored 10 of his 23 in the final period. But when the Hawks looked to seal the win late, both men came up short. AMillsap missed shot, then turnover on consecutive possesion allowed the Pacers to cut the lead to 96-94. Then an ill advised 3 pt attempt by Hardaway set the stage for Robinson’s game winner. (Click here to see video)

This has been a recurring theme for this team. An inability to get consistent clutch baskets/plays from their best players. Until this changes the Atlanta Hawks and their fans will continue to deal with more frustrating losses.

 

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