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Beating Georgia means successful season for Tech

POSTED: November 23, 2007 5:03 a.m.
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech’s seventh win was only minutes old when linebacker Gary Guyton’s focus shifted to Georgia.

"This game is over," Guyton said after Georgia Tech’s 27-25 win over North Carolina. "Everybody is looking forward to that game, not just us but the whole state."

Tech’s season will be defined by Saturday’s home game against Georgia.

Georgia has won six straight games over Georgia Tech, including the last five with Chan Gailey as the Yellow Jackets’ coach.

Gailey has dealt with rumors about his job status since Tech’s loss to Virginia Tech on Nov. 1.

The question for Gailey on Sunday: Could the game against No. 6 Georgia determine his future at Tech?

"I’m coaching the best I can coach week in and week out," Gailey said. "That’s all I can do. I can’t worry about all that other stuff."

Gailey’s five-year, $5 million contract runs through 2010. He is 44-31 in six seasons at Tech.

Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich said during the loss to Virginia Tech that he may have to make a decision about Gailey after the season.

Radakovich declined comment about Gailey’s status last week.

Gailey was asked Sunday if he hopes Radakovich clarifies his status, if only to help deflect recruiting rumors.

"I can’t control that, either," Gailey said. "All I can control is what I do."

If Tech beats Georgia and wins a bowl game it would finish 9-4, better than last year’s 9-5 mark. Another nine-win season, complete with a victory over Georgia, likely would provide job security for Gailey.

Gailey acknowledged emotions will be a factor this week for him and his players.

"It’s the in-state rival," Gailey said. "It’s the biggest game. It obviously takes on a magnitude of its own. It is like all the rest of them in that it counts just the same, but in the minds and the hearts of the people involved it doesn’t count the same."

The last-minute victory over North Carolina enabled Georgia Tech (7-4) to extend its streak of finishing .500 or better in the ACC.

Last year Georgia Tech was 7-1 in league games and played in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. This year’s 4-4 ACC mark gives the Yellow Jackets 13 straight years at .500 or better in the league.

The streak is the longest in the ACC and a point of pride for Gailey and his players, especially the seniors. But beating Georgia in their final regular-season game would be the highlight for the seniors.

It’s also a big week for coaches involved.

Gailey said he’ll try to avoid showing too much emotion.

"I try not to. I’m human but I try not to," he said. "I think my responsibility is to try to keep a level of consistency and a level of concentration that allows me to do my job and not get too bent out of shape and let emotions run too far, but emotions are a part of it."

Gailey said he would "try to control" his emotions, but he said he has to be realistic.

"I think everybody knows what this game means and how big it is," he said. "I don’t try to hide that or try to mask that with the football team.

"I try to make sure that we maintain a level of concentration and execution on the practice field and make sure you don’t peak too quick, make sure you peak on game day."

Notes: Freshman Morgan Burnett, who had played as a safety, started ahead of Avery Roberson at cornerback against North Carolina. Gailey said there was "some good and some bad" in the game for Burnett, adding "there’s no substitute" for experience. Gailey didn’t commit to starting Burnett against Georgia. "We’ll see if we want to do that," Gailey said. ... Gailey said several players are "banged up" after the North Carolina game, but he said no injuries should keep players out this week.


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