I’m worried as heck about Georgia Tech, Wake Forest’s opponent this Saturday in football.
There are several reasons for this angst.
The first – and most emotionally disconcerting – is about the team’s coach, Brent Key. When he was introduced as the team’s new head coach last December, he said some things that seemed a bit off-key and therefore unsettling. Listen to this guy.
“We will be the most disruptive team every week we play a football game. We want other teams to hate playing us. Our goal is to dominate our opponent. We will work 365 days a year to dominate. The feeling of dominating your opponent is like no other. We want players who hate losing. Every time you lose, you die a little bit inside. There’s a little part of you that rots away.”
Seriously, this is what the guy said. With the president and athletic director of the school sitting next to him and a room full of reporters. These were public statements for everyone to process and evaluate.
Coach hates losing
Clearly, he hates losing and has no intention of losing this Saturday against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. He doesn’t want to rot inside. This should concern all Wake Forest fans.
Then there’s the Georgia Tech quarterback. His name is Haynes King. What worries me about him are the accolades he won on his previous school’s football team, Texas A&M:
- Offensive Attitude Award
- Toughness Award
- Top Conditioned Athlete Award
- Sophomore Academic Award
- Under Armour All-American in High School
- Threw two touchdown passes against Alabama last season
Already earned his degree from Texas A&M with a major in business management. Showed he has the discipline to study, to finish a college degree. That’s not simple; it takes serious perseverance.
This year in his first season for Georgia Tech he’s thrown nine touchdown passes and only one interception. Wake Forest can’t count on picking this guy off to help win the game. He’s also completed 66 percent of his passes for 910 yards in three games.
This guy strikes me as determined, tough, smart, and talented with the intangibles of being an extremely dedicated and hard-working football player.
Wake’s going to be up against a formidable and ferocious foe on Saturday.
More to be worried as heck about
There’s more to worry about. Georgia Tech has beaten Wake Forest 23 out of the 31 times the two universities have competed in football. More salient is that Georgia Tech has beaten Wake Forest the last three times they’ve played. History is not on Wake’s side.
Oh and one more thing. Georgia Tech has a freshman wide receiver who is a definite threat to beat the Wake Forest secondary for an over-the-secondary touchdown play or two. His name is Eric Singleton. Through three games he’s caught 3 TD passes. He’s got 10 receptions for 200 yards.
Then there’s this. Georgia Tech has two running backs, Jamal Haynes and Trey Cooley, both of whom are averaging six yards per carry. That’s a lot. This leads to a plethora of first downs.
Plus Georgia Tech doesn’t make many mistakes. They’ve only been penalized five times for 65 yards in three games whereas Wake has been penalized 13 times for 140 yards. This noticeable contrast could be a key reason why Georgia Tech wins if Wake continues to get penalized at this deleterious pace.
Reasons to be less worried
There are only a few reasons to be a little less worried about this Saturday’s game. One is that Georgia Tech isn’t stout defending the run. It’s given up 722 yards on the ground in three games including 6 yards per carry and 8 touchdowns. Last week Ole Miss churned up 299 rushing yards. And Wake’s running attack has picked up momentum the past two weeks powered by Justice Ellison, Demond Claiborne, and Tate Carney.
The Georgia Tech kicking game is another liability. They’ve only converted three of seven field goals whereas Wake has made eight of nine. So if the game comes down to a field goal, Wake should have the edge.
And Georgia Tech has lost two of its first three games. The two losses are to Ole Miss and Louisville. These bad losing vibes may have shaken their confidence. More likely, however, is they will be extra motivated to reverse the trajectory of their season starting with a whipping of Wake Forest.
This Saturday’s game has that ominous feel heading into it. Something about the passionate and unwavering way their coach talks about hating to lose – and having the guts to say this no matter who is listening – tells me this guy is serious about winning almost to the point of being over the line.
He feels disgusted when he loses. He says he works 365 days a year to build Georgia Tech into a winning program. You believe him when he says this.
If Wake Forest is going to win Saturday, they’re going to have to overcome the tenacity and determination of this coach, the work ethic, smarts, and talent of the quarterback, and the ghosts of football games past when Georgia Tech usually prevails over Wake Forest.
Feeling like a sad Saturday
This feels like a sad Saturday in Winston-Salem. This feels like an undefeated season about to flame out. This feels like a day for Georgia Tech to feel so repulsed by losing that they’re going to will themselves to victory.
But I hope I’m wrong. I don’t want to feel the disgust of losing.
I don’t want to rot inside.