A reason for Tech fans to be worried

Yesterday, we gave you a reason to be optimistic.

Today, we give you a reason to worry.

Many of you touched on it in your comments: the defense.

Specifically that it hasn’t shown much improvement from last season. A look:

Category 2010 2009
Points per game 26.2 24.8
Average per rush 4.6 4.9
Average per game 169.7 151.6
Rushing TDs allowed 24 17
Average per pass 7.3 7.3
Average per game 209 208.6
Passing TDs allowed 14 23
Average per play 5.8 6.1
Average per game 378.7 360.3
Interceptions 6 12
3rd down conv. % 40 41
Sacks 15 25
Red zone-scores % 78 83
Red zone-TD % 61 53

Factor in that three starters in the secondary will be gone, as well as two linebackers, and it will be interesting to see who next year’s starters will be and if there will be improvement.

The transition in the secondary may be smooth because true freshman Isaiah Johnson played a lot this season at safety, where Mario Edwards has used up his eligibility. Jemea Thomas will be back from his redshirt year, as well. At the corners, Rod Sweeting and Louis Young should be able to step in, and there are a slew of other veterans including Michael Peterson and the versatile Rashaad Reid.

Who will take Brad Jefferson’s place at inside linebacker? He leads the team in tackles and is the defense’s leader as well. Kyle Jackson started the season beside him, but was slotted to the bench early never to be seen again. True freshman Quayshawn Nealy could step in to tandem with Julian Burnett. So could Brandon Watts, who also started a few games. Frankly, I think Watts’ athleticism better suits him for an outside linebacker spot, but that’s just my opinion.

Defensive coordinator Al Groh said it would likely take two years for the players to reach a point where instincts would kick in.

What do you think? Will the defense be better next season?

256 comments Add your comment

No Love

December 3rd, 2010
5:10 am

I think CPJ will get rid of Groh after the season. CPJ does not suffer any fools!

DiamondJim

December 3rd, 2010
5:10 am

Al Groh needs to get the defense going next year!

GoldJacket

December 3rd, 2010
5:12 am

I think the defense will continue to improve under Al Groh. It’ll be good to get some new guys on the field a little more though. Addition by subtraction with some of the graduating seniors… like OLB. There are certain players I will not miss watching chase RBs down the field. I really liked Attaochu’s play this year. I’m looking forward to next season, and with a few less dropped passes, I think they’ll be fine on offense too

Alan

December 3rd, 2010
5:55 am

The past two years have been rough for sure. The defense is going to determine how far this team can go. I am encouraged that we showed improvement without our two best players Derrick Morgan and Morgan Burnett. The scheme is better, but there isn’t much talent on that side of the ball. I look for Andy McCollum and Al Groh to start bringing in an upgrade, but its going to take a while. The good news is, with our offense, the defense can be average and we’ll be successful.

Fire Paul Johnson

December 3rd, 2010
5:59 am

Continue to improve? We regressed in nearly every defensive category this year!

We’re already hearing the usual Kool-Aid slurper refrains of “addition by subtraction,” “give them another year in the system,” and “we’ll be better because we couldn’t possibly be worse.” Of course all the slurpers said we couldn’t possibly be worse THIS year, and we ended up being worse in nearly every category!

Why is it so hard for PJ to hire a competent DC? Should have held on to Tenuta, but I guess top 30 defenses just aren’t PJ’s “style.” For that matter, why do we continue to play so poorly on special teams as well?

lewisbuzzard

December 3rd, 2010
6:02 am

If Tech’s defense doesn’t get turned around next year they should start shopping again for a good agressive young assistant. Tenuta wouldn’t be a bad option if available. We were much more agressive when he was here.

mwh6767

December 3rd, 2010
6:09 am

Fire PJ, NO HE COULDN’T hold on to Tenuta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good god people don’t you guys pay attention to anything. Tenuta wanted the HC job and made it clear to Tech it was that or he was gone. CPJ had nothing, read it again nothing to do with Tenuta leaving! You guys are so quick to place any and every bit of blame at his feet. The defense sucks I agree but give the man some credit it sucked in 08 and 09 and he made a change. Will it be the right one, who knows gonna take a couple years to find out. But I feel much better knowing that if it doesn’t improve in a couple of years he will make a change to try to improve it. Do agree that a Special Teams coordinator is needed.

Fire Paul Johnson

December 3rd, 2010
6:19 am

mwh6767,

Do you have a source for our assertion about Tenuta? From what I remember, PJ made no attempt to reach out to Tenuta, and could not have cared less where Tenuta went.

http://blogs.newsobserver.com/accnow/pack-hires-tenuta-to-coach-linebackers

“After Gailey was fired following the 2007 season, Tenuta took over as interim coach for the Humanitarian Bowl as Georgia Tech lost 40-28 to Fresno State. He was not retained by Paul Johnson, who took over for Gailey, and went to Notre Dame.”

Buzz me

December 3rd, 2010
6:22 am

Time for Groh to go and for CPJ to get a solid D coordinator in here. Try Naby…their D is better than ours and they don’t have big overpowering guys. Say goodbye to special teams coach and find someone else. Realize that a kicking game is needed…a placekicker (may I suggest Amon Lakip the nations #1 HS kicker, right up the road at Chattahoochie HS.. He constantly kicks it in the endd zone and has range from 53 yards. Oh yea he also punts) We could have kicked about 20 more FG and won some games if we had a kicker and if we had a punter with some hang time it would compensate for special teams.

juvenal

December 3rd, 2010
6:28 am

again, problem is 3-4, a system difficult to find personnel at college level

bob horner

December 3rd, 2010
6:37 am

How could we possibly convince an alumni to be our d-coach and possible heir to the throne? That’s correct, Ted Roof is the man. He is doing a fine job at his present position and would be a great man for the job.

dtanner

December 3rd, 2010
7:16 am

the problem is very simple,lack of talent,not coaching

Fire Paul Johnson is an Idiot

December 3rd, 2010
7:19 am

We need to give Groh another season. It’s ok to take 1 step back if you can take 2 forward. If he fails next season then I’m sure CPJ will let him go. Tenuta was not retained because he is not a team guy. He was the source of alot of division among Gailey’s coaching staff while he was here. I heard this directly from someone in the athletic dept when CPJ was hired.

Ric Flair

December 3rd, 2010
7:20 am

You need to include the time of possession stat. It seems like the D was on the field more this season. I don’t think our offense has dominated the time of possession as much as in the past.

Willie Coyote

December 3rd, 2010
7:20 am

Personnell usage will be key next year. I thought Jefferson was better suited to play a Joey Porter type role in the 3-4. Pass Rush specialist who lines up all over the field to create blocking mismatches. Guys as tall as him with his size seem better suited attacking the line of scrimmage as opposed to getting clogged up in the middle.

If he goes to the next level, that’s probably the role he’ll play.

J. C. Lanier? A guy who came in over 320 lbs who worked to get in shape and down to 290; at 6′2″ you can’t tell me we couldn’t find a few snaps for him this past season.

Old Gold Britches

December 3rd, 2010
7:33 am

Y’all quit holding back. Tell us how you really feel! Then get a life. We will be OK. GO JACKETS!!!!!!

Crazy Robert

December 3rd, 2010
7:35 am

One thing that gets on my nerves is when the defense makes a good play and the players involved run around as if they just saved the world. No class there. They act as if they have never made a good play before. Wish the coaching staff could make them understand that all they are doing is using energy they will probably need in the 4th quarter. Plus they look really stupid two plays later when they blow a n easy play.

Hal

December 3rd, 2010
7:47 am

We need a few mean studs that want to play on the line and at linebacker. We need to go out and get the them. We have no pass rush and we cant stop the run. If there are any mean take no prisioners defensive recruits out there who want to start next playing foot ball as freshman Tech is the place.

AS

December 3rd, 2010
7:53 am

Defense was awful this year as you can see by this. Would have been better though if the opponent had to go the length of the field rather than 50 yards from cpj going for it on 4ht down way too many times. That cost us at least 2 games and definitely the Ga and KU games. Take the points early on. Stupid. We’re also a lot smaller these days. I fear that is because of the system. Going to either have to get a lot faster or try and get bigger players on the line.

Roger

December 3rd, 2010
7:58 am

mw is wrong. cpj was bringing in “his guys”. he had no desire to keep anyone from chan’s time. and that’s what usually happens. had nothing to do with tenuta. why else is he taking LESS money at nc state. idiot.

reebok

December 3rd, 2010
8:00 am

i love our cpoaches and i love the schemes, but we’ve got to recruit better…we don’t have the 2 or 3 guys on each side of the ball that can make plays and turn games around.

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
8:01 am

Funny how people romanticize past coaches after they leave…

Gailey was a wizard recruiter and Tenuta was a defensive genius.

Now, Tenuta did have a mostly good career as DC, but let me remind you of something. Tenuta was very much a one-trick pony. He blitzed early and often. If the blitz didn’t work, then he…blitzed some more. If it still didn’t work, then…he kept on blitzing.

Some of you calling for Tenuta are probably the same ones who lambaste Johnson for being too stubborn but Tenuta was the epitome of stubbornness.

Anyone remember the game against Boston College in 2007? Matt Ryan had 435 yards passing as Tenuta sent blitzers ON EVERY DOWN. It became very clear early on that this strategy did not work against BC’s very good O-line and a smart QB such as Ryan, yet Tenuta DID NOT GET IT. Tenuta had no other ideas, and Ryan shredded Tech’s very talented defense all day long.

How did Tenuta fare in South Bend?

I don’t want to bad-mouth Tenuta, but Groh is better. Give the players some time, and give him some time with them and to keep bringing his guys in here. We are getting interest from talent levels we have not gotten in quite some time since Groh has been here on defense.

Groh knows what he is doing. The 3-4 is not built overnight.

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
8:03 am

To Tenuta’s credit, it may have been that game that convinced Thomas Dimitroff to select Matt Ryan with the 3rd pick in the 2008 draft.

NovaJacket

December 3rd, 2010
8:06 am

The playmakers are young or redshirted. We will be better next year. An average D with CPJ’s offense is tough enough, but in two years the defense will be good, and that is pretty scary…

Eastside Jacket

December 3rd, 2010
8:11 am

When you lose people off a bad defense that’s a GOOD thing, not a bad one. We’ll be better next year. We can’t be worse. Can we ??????

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

December 3rd, 2010
8:15 am

I’m looking forward to seeing more of Izaan Cross for the next two seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing somewhere on Sunday once he finishes his career at Tech. As for those who want to see changes in the coaching staff, I submit that a coaching merry-go-round is NOT what we want. If we go chasing after the latest, greatest, “hot” coach every year (suggestions above include Naby and Roof), or if we try to turn back the hands of time (Tenuta), all we’ll have are a lot of frustrated athletes who were recruited to play in one system and then asked to play in another. CAG has been here less than ONE season. Contrary to “No Love’s” opinion, it would be foolish for CPJ to “get rid of Groh” at the end of the season. Let’s strive for stability and continuous improvement.

GTPhenom

December 3rd, 2010
8:16 am

Fire Paul Johnson, please leave GT’s blogs and don’t come back on them. You really are pathetic, and believe me, I’m not posting this just based on your comments on this blog. Every time you seem to open your mouth, something ignorant comes out of your mouth. Why don’t you figure it out. You do realize that we just, in one year, switched from a 43 defense to a 34 defense, correct? Big difference if you can’t realize. See, your the type of fan who seems to think that a program is just going to be bang bang revitalized. The defense will improve with more specialized personell in the game. Also, We have little to worry about on the offensive end. Come back to me with this question at the end of next season, and I will give you a straight answer. At that point, it will be time to find out how things are honestly progressing. If things get worse next year, then we need to consider changing something. For now, we just wait and see. (Something Fire PJ seems to not understand. How old are you again?)

BehindEnemyLines

December 3rd, 2010
8:17 am

Oh yes Eastside, it can still get even worse. And there’s every reason to believe it will, with no real sign of competent coaching nor adequate recruiting, how on Earth can it possibly improve?

Reality

December 3rd, 2010
8:25 am

Any installation of a new scheme takes at least a year to gell. Even the CPJ offense took a year to really get going.

Groh will get another year to improve. If the defense doesn’t by then, something will be done. But remember that even the TYPE of player (ie: recruiting) cannot change over the course of one year!

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
8:29 am

Cross, Barnes, Walls, Peters, Burnett, Watts, Attaochu, Sweeting, Young, Tarrant, and Johnson all return.

Lanier returns from injury, and we hopefully get to see what he is capable of. Shawn Green and Denzel McCoy will be RS Freshmen and both were highly touted last year.

I am excited to see what these guys can do next year and in the years to come.

VRTECH FAN

December 3rd, 2010
8:31 am

Our team will get better next year. Look at at Texas this year, they get more 4-5 star players than we do and they did not become bowl eligible. Now Mack Brown is not a bad coach as evidence by the national championship his team won with Vince Young. It was just a bad year for them, so that is why I’m really optimistic about the Jackets next year. We can turn some heads I believe. Go Jackets!

Fire Paul Johnson

December 3rd, 2010
8:32 am

UGA transitioned to the 3-4 this season, and improved from 38th nationally to 30th in total defense, and from 64th to 49th in scoring defense. They didn’t seem to need any excuses about needing “a year to gel”.

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
8:35 am

Good for UGA. Go celebrate with them.

lew rogers

December 3rd, 2010
8:35 am

techs biggest woory will be uga new engineering school and offering all types of engineering degreesw.

Fire Paul Johnson

December 3rd, 2010
8:36 am

Another common tactic of a slurper looking to defend his coach above the interests of the school: “Look at that team over there who’s struggling! At least we aren’t them!”

AMS Jacket

December 3rd, 2010
8:39 am

The defense will get better. Al Groh coached defense extremely successfully at the highest level. CPJ knows what it takes and will give Groh the time to get it done.

The offense will also execute better next year and take some of the pressure off of the defense. That’s the way we were so good overall last year…all the opposing coaches knew they had make something of every possession.

The hardest part about Groh’s job will be that he always has to practice against a “B” team and then raise the level on game day because Tech’s offense is so different from what most teams play. I honestly think this is part of the reason Tech’s defense will never be top 10…even with the right athletes…but we can be better than we are today, that’s for sure.

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
8:40 am

A common tactic of a hater trying to defame a certain coach: “Look at this team! They didn’t do quite as poorly under similar circumstances, although we are comparing apples and oranges.”

How much money did you waste on your silly blogspot?

How many fake emails have you come up with to serve as “followers” thus far?

You are a joke.

Freezekalo72

December 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

I think our Defense will be fine. We will get some help from some redshirt players, ie J.C. Lanier but also Jeamea Thomas.

Thomas was suppose to replace Morgan Burnett. He played on special teams and few snaps in blwout games in 2009, but he was reshirted this year because of Mario Edwards being here for this last year.

But I think with Isaiah Johnson, Jarrard Tarrent, Jeamea Thomas & Sweeting in the back field, I think we will be fine.

I am not so worried about out backfield as I am our D-Line. We got 0% pressure this season.

I have faitn in our 3-4 scheme as long as we land some big time OLB & LB prospects.

Freeze

Coloradojacket

December 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

While the defense had it’s bad moments, frankly they got better as the season went on. Just look at the Georgia game. Yes we gave up the points in the first half, but in the second they only got one offensive touch down. The last one was a gimme. What we need to find are some stout Defensive lineman because all we are missing is a pass rush.

Reality

December 3rd, 2010
8:44 am

As a Tech fan, I tire of uga idiots coming here to pretend to be Tech fans wanting to fire CPJ or Paul Hewitt. It is so transparent and serves no purpose at all except to waste space.

Don’t uga fans have enough to worry about in Athens?

Butts Wagner

December 3rd, 2010
8:44 am

You need to include the time of possession stat. It seems like the D was on the field more this season. I don’t think our offense has dominated the time of possession as much as in the past.

I looked it up, and it was surprisingly close, less than a 2 minute/gm difference. But I think we need to go game by game and see that against some opponents, like maybe Clemson or Wake or Uva this year, TOP was way worse than last year. Although against Uga this year, we did a great job holding the ball, which was one of the keys to not getting blown out by a superior opponent.

But yeah, the defense is essentially the same as last year, except no Morgan & Morgan, and there were no replacements for those guys. Hopefully the defense can start affecting games the way the offense can next year.

Reality Check

December 3rd, 2010
8:46 am

How many tough spots was the defense put in by PJ’s refusal to punt and getting stuffed on 4th down? Offense helps defense and vice versa.
Or does PJ go for it more often knowing that he will have to keep the ball because the other team will score regardless of having to go 90 yards or 40-50?

Cecil34

December 3rd, 2010
8:48 am

The defensive issues come down to personnel – this is the fact of the matter.

It doesn’t matter if the DC is Groh, or Tom Landry.

The fact is, until Johnson recruits some studs for the defensive side of the ball, Tech is in for some long afternoons and heartbreak (such as what happened up the road last weekend – a game that should have been won easily).

To run a 3/4 defense, you have to have VERY athletic men at the linebacker positions and a hoss at nose tackle.

They also need a mean, hard-nosed safety also.

It certainly appeared to me that AJ Green was roaming the secondary at will. This won’t get it done.

Somebody has to step up and lay him out to create some fear of coming in the middle. I saw none of that.

Mark my words…..

This is what is needed and what must be recruited.

Chuck Allison

December 3rd, 2010
8:50 am

Firing Paul Hewitt is 3 years overdue right now. How can we expect action on the football front if Rakadovich won’t do his duty in the basketball area?

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
8:51 am

Cecil34,
PLEASE tell me which players in college football this year were capable of covering AJ Green. The guy is a top 10 draft pick next April.

Paul in RDU

December 3rd, 2010
8:51 am

To really compare the performance of GT’s defense in 2010 with the performance in 2009 you need to take into account 2 factors.
The statistics for 2009 are for 14 games, while those for 2010 are for 12
In 2009 GT’s time of possession was 33:06 per game while in 2010 the time of possession was 33:40. Meaning that GT’s defense was on the field for 7% more time in 2010.

Taking that into account, it looks like points and yards given up were about the same (per minute).
There are big drop offs in sacks and interceptions – showing results of the loss of Morgan and Burnett and the lack of playmakers on defense.

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
8:53 am

Let the basketball team wither for all I care. If Hewitt wants to keep embarrassing himself, I say fine. I’d rather not cripple the AD on buying out his contract. We will stop paying for Gailey’s buyout at the end of this year and can spend money to hire more football assistants. Football brings in more money and is of more interest to the general fanbase.

GTZ09

December 3rd, 2010
9:02 am

All of the defensive line is returning next year which is promising. The guys in the trenches never get the respect they deserve, but they are the ones that open up holes for our linebackers to make plays. Having the entire defensive line returning with a year of experience under their belt will be the key to improving the defense next year. Not to mention the depth of the defensive line will be better with players like McCoy and Green coming off red shirt years.

Go Jackets

Fire Paul Johnson

December 3rd, 2010
9:04 am

Rambleon84,

Not a hater. Just giving the slurpers a dose of REALITY. Of course they all said I was a hater when I told people before the season this was a 7 win team! I’ll bet many of you smart folks defaming me are the ones who were making absurd predictions like a 10+ win season and another division title.

How is it comparing apples and oranges? UGA has actually managed to improve its defensive statistics from last year, proving that you don’t necessarily need time to “gel” in order to make improvements. And our stats were worse than theirs to begin with. Yes, by all means give The Chessmaster another year. Surely he will whip this bunch of Sun Belt All-Stars into the Pittsburgh Steelers. And remember the boost in recruiting all the slurpers foretold after we obtained the services of Old Man River? I guess winning a Super Bowl ring 20 years ago as a linebackers coach isn’t as impressive to recruits as we thought?

RambleOn84

December 3rd, 2010
9:07 am

Exactly, GTZ…and 2012 looks even better. In 2012, we will lose Peters, Walls, and Tarrant, which will hurt. But outside of that, EVERYONE from this current defense will be here. McCoy and Green will be in their third (RS SO) year, and the offensive line should be well-settled, with Uzzi and Smith in their senior year. The next couple of years will define Paul Johnson’s career at Tech. No excuses. I expect big things, and I know he does too.

As always, GO JACKETS!