Originally created 11/11/05

Turnover ratio has Jackets all abuzz



ATLANTA - Mathematicians and their "money ball" statistical formulas are the rage in sports such as baseball and basketball.

Football success is often measured by a simpler equation: Turnover margin.

Georgia Tech ranks fifth nationally in the category, forcing nearly twice as many turnovers as it's committed. The team's 23 takeaways vs. 12 giveaways is a big reason why it's 6-2 heading into Saturday's game against Virginia, coach Chan Gailey said.

"In my opinion, the turnover ratio has a lot to do with, and is directly related to, success," Gailey said. "We all know what turnovers can do to hurt you, but they can do a great deal to help you as well."

The Yellow Jackets are a good case study. They've forced more turnovers than they've committed in six games this season and are a perfect 6-0.

Without the turnover advantage, they're 0-2.

GRANT's return: Rashaun Grant earned praise from his coach in his debut as Georgia Tech's kickoff returner last week against Wake Forest. Grant replaced Chris Woods on the kick team and made two returns of 31 yards each.

His average is an 11-yard improvement on Woods.

"We all know that it's not all about the returner, because other guys have to do their jobs well," Gailey said. "That being said, he made good cuts, he made things happen and he made a guy miss here and there."

TECH-BITS: Georgia Tech returned to the national rankings this week. The Yellow Jackets are No. 24 in the Associated Press, the USA Today coaches and Harris Interactive polls. They're No. 23 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings. ... Historically, a ranked Georgia Tech team has not fared well against Virginia. The Cavaliers have beaten the Jackets the past three times they've come to Charlottesville, Va., with a ranking.

Reach Adam Van Brimmer at (404) 589-8424 or adam.vanbrimmer@morris.com.