-- Georgia Tech defeated Clemson late last month to move within one victory of qualifying for a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season under Coach Chan Gailey. But when Gailey took questions from callers during his weekly radio show a few days later, listeners might have thought the Yellow Jackets had lost the game.
"Coach, your offense stinks. When are you going to hire an offensive coordinator?" one caller asked.
"Coach, our special teams are awful," another caller said. "When are you going to hire a special teams coach?"
Such is life for Gailey, the former Dallas Cowboys coach who was fired by Jerry Jones after leading the Cowboys to consecutive playoff appearances in his only seasons. Although Gailey has led the No. 24 Yellow Jackets to three victories in a row and a 6-2 record against one of college football's more challenging schedules -- they qualified for a bowl for the ninth consecutive season with last week's 30-17 win over Wake Forest -- he again finds himself being criticized as Georgia Tech prepares for Saturday's game at Virginia.
"If I worried about all that kind of stuff, I couldn't be in this business," Gailey said. "This is like being in most any other profession: You're not going to please everybody. My objective is to do what's right by the program and what's right for these young men. Other than that, I don't have a responsibility."
Gailey, 53, led the Yellow Jackets to seven victories in each of the previous three seasons, which nearly matches Virginia's success during the past five seasons under Coach Al Groh. But while Groh was rewarded with a new six-year contract that will pay him $1.7 million annually, Gailey isn't sure how secure his future is at Georgia Tech. Gailey's contract, which pays him about $1 million per season, expires after next season.
Asked whether Georgia Tech Athletic Director Dave Braine was satisfied with the team's results this season, Gailey said, "You'll have to ask him."
Before the season, Braine, the former Virginia Tech athletic director, said he wanted to see improvement from last season, when the Yellow Jackets finished 7-5 overall, 4-4 in the ACC for the third season in a row, and beat Syracuse, 51-14, in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.
Georgia Tech opened this season by upsetting defending Southeastern Conference champion Auburn on the road and then won home games against North Carolina and Connecticut, beating the Huskies without quarterback Reggie Ball, who was hospitalized because of viral meningitis. But then the Yellow Jackets were blown out at Virginia Tech, 51-7, on national TV, and they lost to North Carolina State, 17-14, in their next game when wide receiver Calvin Johnson dropped what would have been a touchdown in the closing seconds.
Still, Gailey's results have been received tepidly.
"Georgia Tech is riding a period of consistency that is unmatched in its history," said Wes Durham, longtime radio announcer for the Yellow Jackets. "But fans start wondering why they can't go 10-1 or 9-2. While winning six games and going to a bowl game every year is nice, Tech people sometimes want more."
After playing at Virginia, where they haven't won since 1990, the Yellow Jackets play at No. 4 Miami on Nov. 19 and host No. 9 Georgia the following week. Under Gailey, the Yellow Jackets have lost all three games against Georgia.
Gailey is well-liked among Tech administrators and they appreciate his hard work -- he was back at work less than two weeks after suffering a heart attack in March. And there are signs that Braine might retire before next summer, so his successor could be left with the task of deciding Gailey's future.
"There are no utopia jobs on this earth," Gailey said. "There's nobody out there that can say, 'I've got the ideal job and there are no problems.' If your self worth is based on what other people think of you, you're in trouble. My self worth is not based on them. My self worth is based on my faith, how I treat others, what I'm doing right for this program and these kids and this coaching staff. Other than that, I understand you're not going to please everybody."
Cavaliers Notes: Groh acknowledged during Wednesday's ACC teleconference that the athletic department is looking into possible violations of team rules by football players. He declined to identify the players in question or what rules had possibly been violated.
"Well, there are some internal issues that we're doing a little investigation on," Groh said. "When we've culminated that process and finalized what that means, I'll make a determination on some people's status."