Georgia Tech’s defensive linemen combined for 0 tackles in last week’s 30-20 win against Duke. Only Logan Walls was credited with an assist (2).
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tech coach Paul Johnson said that because of the 3-4 scheme the three linemen are rarely going to have a lot of tackles. He didn’t seem dissatisfied with the play of Izaan Cross, Jason Peters, Walls, T.J. Barnes, Robert Hall and Ben Anderson, saying, “I don’t know that they played particularly bad or particularly well.”
But he did say, “they could have more than one assist.”
He said the lack of stats is a reflection of the scheme, which asks the linemen to take on as many blockers as possible so that the linebackers are free to make plays, and the players not sometimes not beating the man in front of them.
Georgia also runs the 3-4 defense. Two of its consistent starters on the defensive line, end Demarcus Dobbs and nose tackle DeAngelo Tyson, have combined for 13 tackles and 26 assists this season. Compare that to ends Cross and Peters, who have 37 tackles and 35 assists.
Johnson also said noted that many of those guys are subbed out on third down in passing situations, which limits their chances.
Defensive coordinator Al Groh said there were 25 plays in which the line had a chance to make a tackle (68 total plays minus the 43 passing plays). Of those, middle linebackers Julian Burnett and Brad Jefferson combined for 20 tackles, which is a sign that the line was doing what it’s supposed to do.
“I don’t care who tackles them, as long as they tackle them,” Groh said.