Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tech-nically speaking, it wasn’t much of a showing

  • 7:06 pm Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Sub Tim Byerly led a rather inspired rally, you'd have to say. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

These short takes off Georgia Tech-Duke are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. Tech lost 31-25.

1. Justin Thomas has had some splendid days in his first season as Tech’s quarterback, but this wasn’t one. He ran the ball quite well — 119 yards on 19 rushes — and he kept plays going longer than they should have. Trouble was, his improvisations masked the inherent problem Tech was having: Its running game wasn’t overwhelming Duke, which entered the game ranked last among ACC teams in rushing defense. The Jackets were moving — they [More]

Live from Georgia Tech: Will the Jackets deck Duke?

  • 11:38 am Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
It was cloudy early at BDS/HGF, but it's clearing. (M. Bradley)

The only good team Georgia Tech beat last season was Duke, and that game carried an asterisk: Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Boone didn’t play. The Jackets won 38-14 in Durham behind Durham’s own Vad Lee, who won’t play quarterback for Tech today, seeing as how he transferred to James Madison over the winter.

Tech is 5-0; Duke is 4-1. This is a big game regarding the ACC Coastal, a division that has been flipped on its head. Georgia Tech and Virginia — which were picked to finish fifth and last, respectively, in the seven-team division by the ACC media — are [More]

Will Tech win the Coastal? Will UGA take the East?

  • 11:49 am Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"Good luck in your title game, Paul." "You, too, Mark." (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Georgia Tech is tied with Pittsburgh and Virginia atop the ACC Coastal Division, and that’s a surprise. Those teams were picked to finish fifth, sixth and seventh in the division by the assembled conference media in July.

Georgia trails Missouri by a half-game in the SEC East, but the bigger consideration is that South Carolina, which beat the Bulldogs on Sept. 13 after being picked at SEC Media Days to win the division, already has two conference losses.

Both Tech and Georgia are in pretty good shape. The Jackets haven’t lost and won a big game at Virginia Tech on Sept. 20. [More]

For Georgia Tech, Justin Thomas was just in time

  • 5:56 pm Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A triumphant Justin Thomas greets his constituency. (AP photo by Matt Gentry of the Roanoke Times)

Blacksburg, Va. – These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game column, which can be found here. Georgia Tech won 27-24, in case you haven’t heard.

1. The bigger the moment, the better Justin Thomas is. Eight days after engineering the drive that rescued the Jackets against Georgia Southern, Thomas presided over a tying surge and then a winning one in the final 5:21 in a stadium where Georgia Tech hadn’t won since 2006. Until those final two possessions, the Jackets’ quarterback had completed 3 of 11 passes. He completed 4 of 7 thereafter. [More]

Live from Blacksburg: A tough trek for Georgia Tech

  • 10:17 am Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Lane Stadium, 9:55 a.m. (M. Bradley)

Blacksburg, Va. – Not for nothing is Virginia Tech known as every ACC program’s least favorite destination. Logistics are never easy, there being no great way to get here. As evidence, we offer Georgia Tech’s latest trek.

The Yellow Jackets boarded their plane in Atlanta before noon Friday. They expected to land in Roanoke, which is 40 miles up the interstate. They landed instead in North Carolina. Two landing passes at the Roanoke airport proved unavailing due to fog.

So the plane flew to Greensboro, which is a 2 1/2-hour drive from here. (I know because I made that haul on a [More]

Was Bobo so wrong for not giving the ball to Gurley?

  • 7:16 am Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"What the heck did we just do?" (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

If a good decision yields a bad result, can it have been a good decision? Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, made what seemed a terrible choice — terrible in hindsight, we emphasize — by opting not to let Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback, run on first-and-goal from the South Carolina 4 with the Bulldogs trailing by a field goal. (Perhaps you’ve heard a bit about this.)

Georgia’s failure to score on that series — Marshall Morgan pushed what would have been the tying field goal wide right — has led to much criticism, some of it from this sector. [More]

Your Heisman Trophy frontrunner? UGA’s Gurley

  • 4:28 pm Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Todd Gurley ascendant. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

According to Jimmy Shapiro of Props PR, Georgia’s Todd Gurley is now the Heisman Trophy betting favorite, at least according to Bovada. Perhaps this should be taken with a pound of salt, seeing as how Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill, who has played two collegiate games, ranks third, one spot ahead of Florida State’s Jameis Winston, who already has a Heisman.

From Kenny Bradley, manager of Bovada’s sports book:

An influx of money on (last week’s) second favorite Todd Gurley has catapulted him to the top of list all alone now at 5-1. While we are more likely to move off money and [More]

Florida’s Muschamp knows what he’s doing, OK?

  • 8:30 am Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"Mark, if you ever need any tips on discipline, I'm available." (Bob Andres/AJC)

Florida planned to suspend three players — receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive linemen Darious Cummings and Jay-nard Bostwick — for its season opener against Idaho last Saturday. The Idaho game lasted one play. After a weather delay, the Gators returned the opening kickoff. Then came another weather delay, which became a postponement and ultimately a cancellation.

Florida coach Will Muschamp announced this week that the three suspended Gators would be available for this week’s game against Eastern Michigan, their penance apparently having been served by sitting out an opening kickoff. Asked about this odd decision on Wednesday’s SEC teleconference, Muschamp — [More]

About Tech: The good, the bad and the Wofford

  • 5:29 pm Saturday, August 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Justin Thomas had a nice starting debut -- as a passer. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

These short takes are presented as an adjunct to the Georgia Tech-Wofford game column, which can be found on myajc.com. (Tech won 38-19 but had to score the final two touchdowns to do it.)

1. Tech threw the ball better than Tech usually throws the ball, but that’s not entirely a positive. Making his first start at quarterback, Justin Thomas completed 11 of 15 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is the Jackets needed to throw the ball to win. They couldn’t make Paul Johnson’s option work the way he wants it [More]

Live from Tech: Will Jackets waffle versus Wofford?

  • 11:42 am Saturday, August 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Historic Bobby Dodd Stadium. Did I mention it's hot? (M. Bradley)

To answer the question posed above: No.

With the exception of Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech tends to beat teams from lesser divisions/conferences like a rug. Remember last year’s opener, the 70-0 demolition of Elon? Remember 59-3 over Presbyterian in 2012? Remember 63-21 over Western Carolina in 2011?

(You might also remember the 10-7 victory over Gardner-Webb in 2008, but that was on a day when Joshua Nesbitt didn’t play.)

It would be a major shock if Tech doesn’t look good today. These games are made for the bigger program to look good. Indeed, the season’s first three weeks — the Jackets play Tulane [More]