Georgia Tech's football team plays a lot of tug of war in the offseason.
The "cardinal sin" of the exercise, coach Geoff Collins explained, is when the players lose their grip on the rope.
He likened the third quarter against the No. 4 Bulldogs on Saturday to that rope slipping out of their hands.
After heading into halftime down just 17-7 to Georgia, Georgia Tech was unable to take advantage of three fumbles lost by the Bulldogs and multiple miscues on special teams.
"The level of attrition does catch up to you," Collins said after the game. "Our guys kept battling but it got away from us there in the third quarter, and you can’t let that happen against the No. 4 team in the country. But it did, and the whole thing this year has been completely learning experiences."
The SEC Championship-bound Bulldogs outscored the Yellow Jackets 35-0 in the second half.
"They’re really good. I thought we had some good momentum going into halftime, 17-7, thought we had a chance to get a little chip shot to make it a one-score game. Obviously that didn’t happen and we’ve still got to rally and find ways to get stops and move the ball."
But in his first year at the helm, Geoff Collins said there was more progress than the final record of 3-9 suggests.
"Time to reflect will be tomorrow, but this has been one of the most historic undertakings of the transformation of a college football program that has happened in 40 years," he said. "The people that get it and the people that understand what we’re going through, what we inherited, the situation, completely get it. [They] see the progress that we’ve made every single week all season. The ones that don’t want to get it, they’re not going to get it no matter how many times there’s things written and things said about what we’ve gone through. But I know the future is bright and all the things that we’ve learned together cumulatively in the first year are going to set us up for unbelievable success."
"Coach has just taught us that no matter what situation, to just go as hard as you can and attack at everything," said redshirt junior linebacker David Curry. "No matter the circumstances, your up by 60, down by 60, to just keep on attacking and I think that the team, myself included, has really worked on that and we have gotten a lot better at that. No matter the circumstances we’ve came to fight every single snap."
The Georgia Tech senior class numbered just eight, and Collins said the hardest part is saying goodbye to seniors at the end of the season.
"I tell people this all the time, I wish I could play college football forever," said redshirt senior tight end Tyler Davis. "There is nothing quite like it, the alumni, the students, the bands, the fight songs, I just get emotional thinking about it. There is nothing like college football. I wouldn’t trade my journey of the last year for anything. I’m just truly thankful that I got to live out this dream here."
Collins also credited the senior class with helping establish a solid foundation for the young program moving forward.
"We are really young on both sides of the ball," said redshirt freshman defensive back Jaylon King. "Transitioning defense as well as offense and just the amount of effort and passion this team has even with all the adversity that we face I feel very confident from the fight that this team faced that we will go into next season with a better mindset and more outcomes that result in wins."