Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins leaves the field after Citadel won 27-24 in overtime at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Weekend Reflections: Collins’ blame, Fried’s fade. Injuries for Gators, ‘Bama and Brees.

Some things I saw over the weekend . . . .

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins said he should be blamed for his team’s loss to The Citadel. Was he under the impression we’d blame someone else? Collins passionately defended his players from the criticism that he imagined they would get. 

I doubt anyone is blaming Tech’s unpaid players for the program’s second-ever loss to an FCS opponent. It’s on Collins when, according to two of his players, the Yellow Jackets overlooked The Citadel. The same goes for Tech’s three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during the second quarter. 

How could the rebuilding Jackets think they can take any opponent lightly? Why would they still be talking trash after it became clear that The Citadel meant business? After a loss like that, clever Collins gimmicks like “S.W.A.G.” and “Juice Crew” don’t seem so fun. 

Collins has a handful of themes that he repeats. “Family over everything” is one of them. That means the Jackets stay together when things go bad. We’ll see if they can do that after this humbling defeat. 

If they don’t, Collins won’t have to bother telling everyone whom to blame. 

Max Fried faded

Hours after I included Fried among my four choices to start for the Braves in the postseason the Phillies touched him for five runs over five innings. Fried’s results were even worse against the Nats on Sunday. That makes three shaky outings in the last five for Fried. 

Now manager Brian Snitker may have to decide between Fried and Mike Foltynewicz as October starter. That didn’t seem likely back when Foltynewicz was down in Triple-A and Fried was effective through mid-August. Respect to “Folty” for coming back and making a case for a major role in the postseason. 

The good thing for the Braves is their postseason pitching options are much better compared to last year. And Snitker likely will have a chance to line up his rotation the way he wants over the coming days. The Braves clinched a postseason berth on Saturday and their magic number to win the NL East is four. 

Injuries thinned Florida, ‘Bama

One SEC injury over the weekend has a bearing on Georgia’s season and another might.

Florida quarterback Felipe Franks suffered a season-ending ankle injury during a victory at Kentucky. Kyle Trask replaced Franks with Florida down 21-10 and led three touchdown drives. Trask scored the go-ahead TD with 4:11 left and was 9 of 13 passing for 126 yards. 

The Gators might be OK with Trask at QB but their offensive line still looks shaky. That’s something that Georgia might be able to exploit with its aggressive defensive style

Alabama defensive lineman LaBryan Ray left the game at South Carolina with what al.com reports is a “possibly season-ending injury.” The Crimson Tide were already down two linebackers after fall camp. Matt Zenitz of al.com notes that ‘Bama could have four freshmen starting in its front seven. 

It’s Alabama, so those freshmen are talented. But should the Bulldogs meet the Crimson Tide this season they can test that depth with their power running game. 

 Drew Brees banged his hand

Saints quarterback Drew Brees hurt the thumb on his throwing hand against the Rams. Give the Saints credit for having the best contingency plan possible if Brees is out for long. Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t that good in relief at Los Angeles, but the Saints might be able to survive with him as the starter for a bit. 

Brigewater was a decent starter for Minnesota. That was four years ago, before Bridgewater mangled his knee. But the Saints have a competent backup in a league where there aren’t even enough competent starting QBs for every team. 

The Saints signed Bridgewater to a one-year deal worth $7.25 million guaranteed. Bridgewater’s salary ranks 25th among all quarterbacks and highest among backups (veteran Dolphins starter Ryan Fitzpatrick makes less). That’s a lot to money for a player who may never take meaningful snaps, but it’s a wise investment for a team with a 40-year old starting at quarterback. 

My Weekend Predictions were good

My picks against the spread were 7-4-2, improving my season record to 22-14-2, but it could have gone the other way. Clemson (-27½) was down 10 points in the fourth quarter at Syracuse before rallying for a lucky cover. Florida’s comeback gave me a lucky push. The Colts covered on a TD with 4:38 to go. 

My Saints pick was finished once Brees left the game. My underdog bias bit me when Arkansas State and the Dolphins failed to compete. And my Eagles pick slipped through Nelson Agholor’s fingers.

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About the Author

Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010. 
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