Tech puts O’Leary situation behind them

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 27, 2001

Sports Editor

Coming into the 2001 college football season it seemed as if everyone expected Georgia Tech to be the team that would knock Florida State off of its ACC perch.

However, as the season went on, it was clear that, not only were the Seminoles suffering through a year of disenchantment, but the Yellow Jackets were as well.

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Although quarterback George Godsey passed for a conference-leading 3,085 yards and Joe Burns rushed for 1,420, Georgia Tech’s offense never exhibited the efficiency established by former offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen. Friedgen took his show to Maryland during the spring and led the Terps to a 10-1 record and an ACC title in his first season as head coach.

The "Rambling Wreck", meanwhile, stumbled to a 7-5 (4-4 ACC) record and even lost to FSU in Tallahassee on Dec. 1.

As if things weren’t disappointing enough, then came the departure of head coach George O’Leary for the head coaching job at Notre Dame. Five days after accepting the job, it was found out that O’Leary, who had spent seven seasons at Georgia Tech, had lied on his resume.

Yellow Jackets’ assistant coach Mac McWhorter was hired as interim head coach following O’Leary’s departure.

"Coach McWhorter has done an excellent job of letting the players know the task at hand and that is the Seattle Bowl against Stanford," said Godsey. "He is reemphasizing that there are things that we can’t control in our life. We’re not going to be the ones choosing the head coach and I think that he is focusing on what we can do to beat Stanford."

Georgia Tech travels to Washington tonight to play in the first-ever Seattle Bowl against No. 11 Stanford. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. on ESPN.

The Cardinal (9-2, 6-2 Pac-10) are looking to finish out their first 10-win season since 1992 behind the efficient passing of quarterback Randy Fasini. Fasini sat out four games due to injury, but still managed to throw for 1,479 yards.

His main target is 6-foot-7, 245 pound wide receiver Teyo Johnson, (38 receptions, 565 yards). Johnson’s height creates problems in an opponent’s secondary since most defensive backs average around 6-foot and shorter. Just a freshman, Johnson’s caught seven touchdowns this season.

Unlike O’Leary, though, McWhorter won’t have Burns to turn to when the Yellow Jackets need a gain on the ground. Burns was ruled academically ineligible for the Seattle Bowl. More then ever Godsey will need wide out Kelly Campbell (56 receptions, 708 yards), and three other Georgia Tech receivers who’ve caught 40-plus catches this season, to step up.

This will be Tech’s fifth straight bowl appearance, its longest since 1951-56. The two teams last met in the 1991 Aloha Bowl with the Yellow Jackets winning 18-17 over the Cardinal.