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COCHRAN: Problem with Tech not talent, but coaching of talent
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This has to be it, right? Seven years in a row has to be the breaking point, doesn’t it?

Tech’s 31-17 loss to Georgia on Saturday night, and eventual meaningless bowl bid, is all the proof Yellow Jackets fans should need.

They don’t have the right coach.

Chan Gailey may be good with X’s and O’s, but when it comes to building a strong program and maintaining that level, he’s lost.

One need not look any further than Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday night. Once again, Georgia players celebrated on the Yellow Jackets’ home field, dancing in the corners of the end zone with fans as Tech fans filed out.

The Yellow Jackets out-played the more talented Bulldogs for much of the night. Tech’s talent and energy eventually faded while Georgia’s carried them home to their seventh straight win over their in-state rival.

That notorious late-game slide is directly responsible for several of Tech’s losses in the Gailey era. It is the result of poor recruiting and poor player development.

And the blame for that falls squarely in Gailey’s lap.

Tech’s best talents in the past four years didn’t need development.

Guys like Calvin Johnson, Tashard Choice and Phillip Wheeler knew how to take what God gave them and run with it.

But players like Reggie Ball and James Johnson needed guidance. They needed to have their talent carved into that of a big-time college football player.

Gailey didn’t do that. It is clear, at this point, that he doesn’t know how to do that.

It would be a shame to see a great young talent like freshman Josh Nesbitt fall the way of Ball, Georgia’s favorite Tech quarterback.

On the other side of the field, Georgia coach Mark Richt is a perfect example of a coach who took a mediocre program and made it great. The gap between Richt and Gailey is as wide as Sanford Stadium.

A quick crunching of the numbers hammers that point home.

Richt came to Georgia in 2001 and Gailey to Tech in 2002. In the three years before their current coaches arrivals, both programs were good, but not great.

Georgia won 69 percent of its games between 1998 and 2000. Tech won 67 percent of its games between 1999 and 2001. Neither team had a recent conference title to brag about and neither had played in one of the four big bowls.

The difference between the Jackets and Bulldogs at that point was negligible. That difference is now a chasm.

Since Richt took over, Georgia has won 78 percent of its games. Since Gailey, Tech has slid to winning just 58 percent of its games.

Georgia has three division titles, two conference titles and two Sugar Bowl appearances. Tech has one division title and an impressive collection of third-tier bowl appearances.

The most damning number: 7-0.

Richt is 7-0 against Georgia Tech. Gailey is 0-6 against Richt.

Tech had hope in the 2007 renewal of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. The Jackets led the Bulldogs at two points and played impressive defense.

But Georgia’s talent was just too much of a mismatch. Gailey loaded his team with pellets. Richt brought bullets.

No Tech player would take the bait when asked about their coach and his future in Atlanta.

"That’s not up to me, or the players," safety Morgan Burnett said.

"Somebody else makes that decision," running back Tashard Choice said.

"I just play football."

Richt chose the path of least resistance, too.

"I don’t know why," Richt said when asked about his record against Tech. "Tech’s a very fine football team, very resilient. . … I can’t explain it."

Either he’s too nice to say it or he sees something in Gailey that others don’t.

This morning, all Tech fans are going to see is another loss to Georgia on its record and more talent wasted.

Gailey should be seeing a bullseye on his chest very soon.

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