One of the benefits of getting to play in a bowl game is receiving some swag. While there’s a monetary limit on the amount of gifts a player can receive, there’s no limit to the imagination of the gift.
That’s the case at the TaxSlayer Bowl, where players will receive a bobblehead of themselves.
“I just hope they get it right,” laughed defensive tackle Pat Gamble. “I don’t want to get a bobblehead without no beard. I hope they put my beard on right … a good smile. It’s a good gift to give. It’s something I can keep forever. I can tell my kids that daddy had his own bobblehead.”
While this will be Gamble’s final game in a Georgia Tech uniform — as his bobblehead will attest — it isn’t likely to be his final football game. The Carrollton native has elevated his stock in the NFL draft with a solid season and could be a late-round draft pick or catch on as a free agent.
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“He’s been a rock-solid foundation for us up front,” Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. “All those guys respect him and I admire him for how far he’s come, his improvement and the fact he’s played a lot of games where he’s not even 100 percent — and a lot of people don’t realize that.
“He’s a guy everyone respects in this program, a guy that I’ll miss coaching.”
The respect was shown when Gamble was voted as one of the team’s three permanent captains. He’s earned that show of respect by his play on the field. In 12 games, Gamble has 47 tackles, 8.5 of them for loss, with 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He had a career-best 11 tackles in the season-ending win over Georgia.
“I’ve got to get into prep mode for the NFL and give myself a chance to play at the next level,” Gamble said. “I’m excited to be able to have a chance to do that. It’s always been a lifelong dream. If I can continue to play football and make money doing it, a game I’ve been playing my whole life, it’s something anybody would want.”
Gamble has good size (6-foot-5, 277 pounds) and is also versatile enough to play defensive end, which he’s done at times for Georgia Tech. He talks and exchanges text message with former teammate Adam Gotsis, who is a rookie with the Denver Broncos.
Gamble will be remembered for being a guy who continued to improve from the moment he stepped on campus.
He was redshirted but named the defensive scout team’s player of the year in 2012 and was good enough to play in eight games in 2013 and in all 14 in 2014. By 2015 he was entrenched as a starter and blocked the field goal attempt that led to Georgia Tech’s stunning win over Florida State.
Kickoff against Kentucky is at 11 a.m. on Saturday, on ESPN.
Georgia Tech broadcast news
With the football team playing in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Saturday and the basketball team opening the ACC schedule at home against North Carolina, the radio broadcast crews have been forced to adjust.
The team for the football game will have Andy Demetra and analyst Sean Bedford, with Wiley Ballard working the sidelines. For the basketball game, veteran Randy Waters — who typically does sideline reports for the football games — will do the play-by-play and former Yellow Jacket Jon Babul will be the analyst.