Matt Hasselbeck & Pat McAfee Give Their Thoughts On Georgia Tech's Rebuild


Prior to tonight's game against NC State, SI's Jackets Maven caught up with ESPN analysts and former NFL players Matt Hasselbeck & Pat McAfee:

Matt Hasselbeck:

SI's Jackets Maven: As most people know at this point, Georgia Tech is well into their rebuilding process. They've gone through three different starting quarterbacks before finally deciding on James Graham. From a pure development prospective, what do you see in his progression as a former quarterback?

Matt Hasselbeck: Well he's a great athlete. He looks like the kind of guy that's been the best athlete on the field, probably starting when he was a little kid. He's got kind of a neat track background, I think he was the 110 meter hurdle champion and the 4x4 champ, so he's got great athleticism. It's interesting to see how long it takes them to convert to sort of this pro style passing attack. I think the hardest thing to do is just to teach your linemen how to learn pass protection and line stunts and kind of stuff. It's sort of hard to evaluate the quarterback fully until you figure out the pass protection first.

SI's Jackets Maven: If you were able to speak directly to James, what would be some advice you would give him?

Matt Hasselbeck: I would say: "listen you're already a natural passer." The way the ball comes out of your hand is excellent. You're already a great runner. I would focus on the things that you haven't had a chance to focus on. Which is just getting a lot of "at-bats" in terms of disciplined foot work approach with kind of the rhythm passes that they've had this year. And find Ahmarean Brown deep as much as possible.

SI's Jackets Maven: What is something that you think he needs to improve on moving forward?

Matt Hasselbeck: I think the biggest thing for me is not miss any opportunities. He's missed on some posts this year that would have really been huge. I think he's capable of hitting them, so if he does hit them he probably has 4 more touchdown passes this year. Which would be huge for a team that's trying to create some offense.

Pat McAfee

SI's Jackets Maven: What have you seen so far in the Georgia Tech rebuild?

Pat McAfee: Well Pressley Harvin is awesome. I think that's something that you can hang your hat on as a Georgia Tech fan. I also think what Geoff Collins is doing is gonna work. Now it's not a rebuild, I think it's a full transition more so than anything. Whenever you go from the triple option to a pro pass style, a lot of things are going to change. Both on the offensive side and defensive side of the ball. I think Coach Collins who's a Georgia native from Decatur over there, wants to restore some fun here at Georgia Tech, and restore some big names coming out of here. I think he's gonna do that. It all starts with recruiting though, that's why this offseason is gonna be big for them. Obviously you have two wins but they're a very positive squad. I'm pumped to see how they do here.

SI's Jackets Maven: The field goal kicking game has kind of struggled this year, what's something you say to both Brenton King and Wesley Wells?

Pat McAfee: I was watching them kick in warm ups, it was the first time I got a chance to see them in real life. It's always kind of nice to see the pop, see if the ball bounces off the foot and see how it comes out. I think the guys have great legs, so whenever that happens, it's always in between the ears. Whenever you're a college kid, you got a lot going on. You got school, you got this, you got that. So there can be a lot of distractions and whenever you need to be laser-focused in that can be difficult. That's not just here at Georgia Tech by the way, that's college kickers in general. I think the boys will be able to figure it out in the offseason, or not. It's one of those things that you just kind of have to go through. I hope they have big nights tonight. That can be good for confidence, both of them. That's the kicking game in a nutshell: it's all between the ears.

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