We looked at Georgia Tech’s offense heading into Monday’s spring training.
Today, we look at the defense.
The Yellow Jackets had some defensive issues last season. To the untrained eye (my eye), it seemed that they had to overcommit to have success against either the run or the pass. Subsequently, they would leave themselves open to the other.
Some of that can be chalked up to players competing in a new system. For some of them, it was their third in four years. Some of it can be chalked up to the defense being somewhat complicated, as most defenses are when they are new.
The team also would find its groove on defense, the offense would score, and then the defense would give up a game-winning drive. I have no idea the reason for that.
Nevertheless, the team had just 17 sacks, allowed almost 170 rushing yards a game and 200 yards passing a game. Opposing QBs hit 60.5 percent of their passes and backs averaged 4.5 yards per carry.
However, the team started to play better after the break.
This year’s team seems like it will feature more athletic linebackers than last year’s, and the secondary, while inexperienced because it’s breaking in four new starters, will also be very fast.
Here are some players I’m looking forward to hearing about from the coaches:
DEs Emmanuel Dieke and Anthony Williams. Dieke played in mostly pass-rush situations last season. Williams red-shirted. Both seem like they might be stand up defensive ends in third-and-long situations.
OLB Jeremiah Attaochu. He had three sacks last season, second-most on the team. His size and speed give him the potential to be a force on the edge.
ILB Julian Burnett. Burnett will be the defense’s new leader now that Brad Jefferson has left. Though he didn’t crack the starting lineup until midway through the season, he led the team in tackles.
ILB Quayshawn Nealy. He redshirted last season and may challenge for a starting spot at inside linebacker beside Burnett. If he does, I wonder if that will push Brandon Watts to the outside to challenge Steven Sylvester.
NT Shawn Green. Logan Walls and T.J. Barnes will be pushed by Green in the middle of the defense.
DBs. Louis Young, Ryan Ayers, Jemea Thomas and Rod Sweeting. This young quartet is fast. Both of last year’s starters are gone. Competition here will be interesting.
S Isaiah Johnson and Fred Holton. Again, both of last year’s starters are gone. Johnson impressed last year as the nickelback. Holton impressed on special teams.
Who are you most interested in reading about?
– Doug Roberson, AJC