Yeah, I'm nauseas. I sat in section CL-3, Row 1, right behind the defensive side of the Syracuse bench. Bobby Dodd Stadium is old, and puts the fans right on the field. So I don't exaggerate when I say I was in the defensive huddle.
Here's what went down...
Before kickoff I met Floyd Little and got a great picture with him.
Except for some drunks behind me, the GT fans were GREAT. Very gracious and welcoming. They were disappointed by Syracuse's showing and hoped for better games in the future. A few fans said they strongly dislike Paul Johnson and his chop-blocking ways. They agree it's dirty (more on that later).
I got to say hi to some of the players... Cam Lynch in particular was really nice.
At halftime, Dr. Gross came over to me and my father and apologized for the score! I told him we support the team no matter what, and these things happen. He went upstairs and wasn't seen on the (soggy, soggy) field again.
Dr. Gross also told me that John Raymon broke his leg and is done.
I met Macky MacPherson's mother. She came down to the sideline when Macky got injured. I briefly got to talk to Drew Allen and Macky to see if he was OK.
The defense was pissed at itself, but moreso at the scheme. Jeremi Wilkes and Durell Eskridge commiserated with me about the 3-4 defense in the 4th quarter, and didn't understand why the coaches didn't switch back.
Robert Welsh was visibly upset throughout the game and hanging his head a lot. There was a lot of arguing on the sideline when the defense got off the field. Lots of finger-pointing.
Brisley Estime is FAST. REALLY FAST. They put him in on offense and never went to him. Let the dude play specials teams. Did I say he's FAST?
Terrel Hunt looked lost. Even when his receivers got open, he couldn't hit them. No swagger, no confidence. Happy feet the second he went back to pass. Drew Allen had the presence of a big, veteran leader. He played better than Hunt, but penalties and dropped passes killed his drives. I saw much more confidence from Drew both from his body language and in his eyes.
While we got steamrolled, I blame this one on the coaches. They had the wrong scheme in on offense and defense (BAD SCHEME ON DEFENSE). They didn't adjust. I mean, even on the sideline, the coaches weren't drawing up or coaching adjustments. Just "play hard." And they did play hard. But 300 pound offensive lineman versus 210 pound (back up) linebackers isn't going to win the game.
It was a great experience. Like I said, most of the fans were great. And, as someone who hasn't seen a live game in 9 years, it was really special to sit practically on the bench. I have a new-found respect for the players and really felt for them. Had I watched the game on TV, I'd be disheartened and not looking forward to the next game. But being so close to the guys, I'm going to root harder for them, and encourage others to do the same.
Time to move on to next week.