Wes Durham talks Tech
by Jeff Dantzler
Wes Durham, voice of the Yellow Jackets and Atlanta Falcons, is an excellent
broadcaster and has one hectic and awfully fun schedule. He gives us his
thoughts on Saturday’s game and a couple of other interesting topics. As always,
this is great stuff from Wes.
What has been the key to Tech’s turnaround the last few weeks?
More than anything else, “confidence” has been the biggest key. After the overtime
loss to Miami, this team didn’t play very strong from a mental standpoint.
I think after the BYU game, they resolved themselves to getting a post-season
bid, to extend the streak, and have played the way that many thought they
would most of this season.
What do the Yellow Jackets need to do to beat Georgia?
I think there are several things that will have to happen, the most important is
arguably, play a clean game. Turnovers and penalties can hurt, but particularly
against a team as strong on defense and explosive on offense as Georgia. Secondly,
I think Tech will need to extend drives. 3 & Out puts them behind the
curve in a game where they need to “hold serve”. It will be difficult for them to
come back if they get 2-scores down to a team like Georgia.
Have you liked the two quarterback approach the Jackets have used
with Washington and Lee?
I don’t think it works for everybody, but it has worked here, because both kids
understand that winning is more important than who is playing. Tevin Washington
has the type of personality to let a redshirt freshman come in and take
snaps. A stronger personality might see it as a threat, but Tevin has always been
a guy about the team, and therefore, even as a senior, in his final games of football
ever, understands how this needs to work.Vad has learned a lot from playing
more snaps, and after the win at Carolina, was able to break down a lot of
tape with the coaches and fully immerse himself into pro/con plays during a
game. It was a huge deal from him to come back after a pick-6 to open the
4th quarter, and drive Tech back down the field with a game-clinching drive.
What is your take on the Bulldogs?
Very talented team, who has had the kind of season I thought they would,
with the exception of the South Carolina game. It’s not that they lost, but the
margin that surprised me. I thought Coach Richt handled the trip to Missouri
and the game with Florida perfectly in there set up. Defensively, I’m looking forward
to seeing Jarvis Jones, because I think he’s a tremendous talent on the
national level. I’m also intrigued with Malcolm Mitchell, because all he does is
make plays. Guys like that don’t show up on every team. The things being said
by both coaches and players in November show me that they (Georgia) have
been well prepared all season long to be a contender at the end, which is
In your very busy football season, is the travel the most difficult part?
Often times it can be, but outside of a day-trip to the West Coast for the San
Diego game, this fall has gone very smooth. I did have 3-games in 3-different
cities in 3-days a couple weeks ago, but that’s what November is all
about in many ways. Most people get ready for Thanksgiving, I’m getting
ready to travel.
Do you agree that the Falcons have the goods to make a deep run
I think they have the tools in all areas…but the timing for this team might
be the biggest reason for optimism. They have a balance of young guys and
veterans on the roster. The arrival of the new coordinators has been perfect,
and we are in the 5th year of the Dimitroff-Smith-Ryan administration, which
exudes some confidence on all fronts. But in the NFL, you still have to be able
to have things go your way…hopefully that will be the case in a month or so.
What do you think about the rampant conference expansion?
I’m not surprised anymore. I thought it would take almost 2-full years to
complete, and I think we are there. The Pac-12 has re-branded itself nicely.
I think Larry Scott, their commissioner, has done a great job. The movement
of the Big-12 and decline of the Big East has been interesting to watch. The
ACC did the right things in securing Pitt and Syracuse, along with the nonfootball
deal at Notre Dame. The SEC continues to be the biggest player in
college football. I think Mike Slive has done an incredible job of adding
schools and creating more a solid footprint for the conference. Look at the
other BCS conferences to compare. The goal was to stay relevant for the new
world of college football in 2014 and most conferences did that…some didn’t.
Do you another shake-up in the ACC coming anytime soon?
Not soon … but eventually I think there will be a “jumping off” or “jumping
on” point for Notre Dame. If the Irish don’t get the TV deal they think they
should, who knows, they could tell the ACC they are ready to be a football
member as well. If that happens, I think they (Notre Dame) get the honor
of trying to recruit the 16th school. But with the success they have had this
fall in football, there is no need to become an ACC member…yet.