Ramblin' Racket. Check out our answers here.
1) After trolling message boards last year, GT fans seemed to be largely convinced they'd beat us easily. Acknowledging that the teams are in different situations this year, how does the average Tech fan feel about the matchup on the 29th?
I've heard from two camps: One is despondent following the loss at UVa and is like "Dude we're f'ed. We're not beating another decent team." The other thinks the Jackets will come out really fired up following the Virginia game, pissed off that they lost a totally winnable game, and stick it to the Tigers like whoa. Personally, I kind of expect this game to be a lot like the GT/Clemson games of the late 90's; a relative shootout that ends wicked (Did he just go South Boston on us?) close. Probably by won/lost three points.
2) The loss of Reggie Ball? Addition by subtraction? How is the team affected by having a more stable QB running the show?
A friend of mine said something I never expected to hear: he missed Reggie. I was like WTF, but he made a valid point. Taylor doesn't tend to make a play when things break down. For all his volatility, Reggie Ball had a talent for making plays when things didn't go as planned. Another positive of Reggie was his vocal leadership. Taylor doesn't seem to be that to the same level, but Tashard Choice has picked up that role very well.
Taylor Bennett has not dazzled this year after the Gator Bowl, but has played solid, mistake-free ball. He's throwing over .500 (barely; .504), but very importantly he hasn't thrown any "real" INTs. (There was one against Virginia, in which Taylor slapped down a tipped ball, which is what he was supposed to do, but it ricocheted off of a lineman's helmet and was grabbed by a Cavalier player and run in for a score.) So overall, I don't know if Taylor Bennet puts Tech in a better position to win ballgames than Reggie Ball did, but he's predictable and doesn't make bonehead plays. He's kind of our Will Proctor.
3) We know the starting oline and dline are very good, but how deep is each unit? And yeah, we just asked "How deep is each unit"
Oh so deep, as all the ladies will tell you. (All twelve ladies, knowing GT. ZING on us!) On offensive line, eight of our top ten players from 2006 return. On defensive line, seven of the top eight come back. Michael Johnson is a defensive end who didn't start last year, yet nearly all the students know his name because he's such a badass. (He also has like the longest neck I've ever seen on a football player. Seriously, if you're watching GT and like "who's that dude with the huge neck?" I've got five bucks that says it's #93.)
4) You had a good linebacking corps last year, how are they doing this year?
The only linebacker not returning is KaMichael Hall, who led the team in tackles last year. Philip Wheeler still looks like the Predator, with his dreads and visor, and still likes to break Notre Dame quarterbacks. Overall, I don't particularly like the performance of the linebackers so far. There's been a lot of weak arm-tackling from both LBs and DBs the past couple weeks, and our zone blitzes have a lot of holes that a talented QB ( i.e. Matt Ryan) can use to make GT look silly. I know that the linebacking corps is talented, and I believe they've just been underperforming. It will be bad news for Cullen Harper if their blitz starts clicking effectively this weekend.
5) What seems to be Tarshard's weakness? Stengths? What does he bring to the table? Can he change a game?
Based on the BC and Virginia games, it seems Tashard may be injury-prone. (He injured a hammie against BC and saw limited play up in Charlottesville.) Other than that, weaknesses may include a tendency not to make the moves necessary to break past those last one or two guys to get to the open field. This is something Choice worked on a lot during the offseason, though, and he's already broken several long runs this season, which was not his specialty in 2006.
As mentioned earlier, Deuce (as they call him) has taken on a very vocal leadership role, which the offense needed. His main strength, though, comes in his ability and willingness to run the ball all... day... long. Tashard will take as many snaps as the coaches allow, trying to wear down the D-line and set up the pass. Choice doesn't come in and change a game the way big-time "playmaking" backs might, but by letting defenses know we're never afraid to run Choice opens up the whole offensive gameplan.
6) You guys need more hot women at GT. We need more Varsity grub. What is the exchange rate in fried peach pies for one hot co-ed? Onion rings? What other abundant GT commodity would you trade for our women.
As all of you taters know, the exchange rate from hotties to head of cattle in South Carolina is three hotties to one heifer or two hotties to one steer. In Atlanta, though, we value chicks more than bovines, so taking interstate exchange rates into account, two full Varsity catering vans (including chili dogs, onion rings, peach pies, and Coke) are equivalent to one hot college co-ed.
Other abundant GT resources include "dot com machines" (computers) on which Clemson kids can play the Internet and lose at Number Munchers again. Also we've got pollution from off of the interstate and hobos on North Ave. Those last two come totally free!