Originally created 08/27/99

Football notes: Jackets thinking big time



National championship aspirations have returned with vigor at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets surprised some with their 10-2 mark in 1998, and some question if they can maintain their success.

Senior running back Phillip Rogers is proud to be a member of the squad that changed the nation's perception of Tech.

"You want to be at the base of a new tradition," Rogers said. "We want to get back to the national level and get national attention again. We did slip for three or four years. For us to slip this year, they'd say it was a fluke."

Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary would like to see college football adopt a system similar to its basketball counterpart in terms of eligibility. The Yellow Jackets coach is a proponent of allowing undrafted underclassmen to return to school if they've refrained from hiring an agent.

College basketball players declare for the draft then pull their name from consideration a week prior to the draft. O'Leary is in favor of an NFL-sponsored evaluation process in which underclassmen could be given an accurate assessment of their potential.

CLEMSON:

Tommy Bowden wouldn't compare his offense to the run-and-shoot despite similarities such as the no-huddle and multiple-receiver sets. The first-year Clemson coach won't even hold it up to Kentucky's Hal Mumme's pass-dominated attack.

"Kentucky throws it 55 times a game, we throw it 29 times," Bowden said. "I don't have any preconceived notions that we'll come in here and shock the world offensively. What we run has been a very productive offense."

Tulane's was the only Division I program to average more than 300 passing yards and 200 rushing yards last season. Bowden's philosophy is one based on balance but often it's big-play capabilities overshadow the respectable ground game.

Inheriting a program with notoriously impatient fans had Bowden re-evaluating his decision to leave Tulane. Clemson fans ran off Ken Hatfield despite an eight-win season.

"At most places, a winning season gets you a pay raise," Bowden said. "Here, it gets you unemployed. I don't no why I left that other place."

VANDERBILT:

Coach Woody Widenhofer suspended starting defensive tackle Ryan Aulds indefinitely for violating team rules. Widenhofer said he would not comment on what Aulds did.

The 6-foot-3, 252-pound junior started every game over the past two seasons and was expected to help key Vanderbilt's defense with a switch to the 3-4 this season.