Improvement expected from experienced defensive line

The fifth in a series of position group breakdowns of the 2011 Georgia Tech football team:

An impressive performer in the spring, defensive tackle Jason Peters hopes to keep his coach's mood light this fall.

An impressive performer in the spring, defensive tackle Jason Peters hopes to keep his coach's mood light this fall.

Projected starters: DE Jason Peters (Sr., 6-4, 271), DT Logan Walls (Sr., 6-2, 295), DE Izaan Cross (6-4, 292).

Others to watch: Ends Christopher Crenshaw, Emmanuel Dieke and Euclid Cummings and tackle T.J. Barnes should get extensive playing time, and possibly end Anthony Williams, as well. Barnes played considerably last year behind Walls. Dieke and Cummings played smaller backup roles.

Key losses: The line lost two backups, end Robert Hall and tackle Ben Anderson, who combined for 14 tackles.

Key fact: The line returns all three starters and is the only position group with two returning senior starters, Peters and Walls. Both are team-leader types with a combined 40 starts and 66 games played. Given the offseason talk about a renewed sense of purpose and the development of the defense in its second season with defensive coordinator Al Groh, it would stand to reason some of the biggest difference in form should come from a group with a heavy veteran presence.

Key fact II: Georgia Tech’s forced turnover total has declined the past two years, from 29 in 2008 to 26 in 2009, and then 21 last fall. Responsibility for reversing that trend will start with the defensive line – to free up linebackers to force fumbles on rushes or to generate pass rush to cause hurried passes that lead to interceptions. With plenty of young players in the back eight – all four secondary members will be first-time starters – the threesome up front will have to produce.

Key question: How much will the line improve? To hear players and coaches tell it, it should be significant, given how much more second-nature Groh’s scheme has become. That said, there is plenty of room for improvement. The Tech defense finished in the bottom half of the ACC in scoring, total defense, rushing, passing efficiency, interceptions, sacks and forced turnovers.

Key developments: Word could come soon on the availability of redshirt freshmen Shawn Green and Denzel McCoy. Green broke a bone in his leg in spring practice and McCoy had a medical condition that prevented him from participating in contact drills in the spring. The incoming freshman class includes only one defensive lineman, end Jimmie Kitchen.

UPDATE, 6:15 p.m.: Tech won’t have an update on the status of Green and McCoy until fall practice begins in August.

Outlook: Promising. One notable development from the spring is that Groh plans to give his backups plenty of snaps, which should in turn keep the starters fresher and more productive. Peters, who was among the most impressive players in the spring, may at last deliver on the potential he showed as a top high school prospect.

Your turn: What do you think?

PAST POSITION BREAKDOWNS

July 7 – Offensive line

July 8 – Wide receivers

July 10 – Running backs

July 11 – Quarterbacks

89 comments Add your comment

TechRedNeck

July 13th, 2011
6:15 am

Anything on the defensive side of the ball would be an improvement. There is not much expected from Tech this season, so mabey they can go out and surprise some people. “Including me”.

WR_jacket

July 13th, 2011
7:07 am

Pressure, Pressure, Pressure!
It’s all about getting pressure on the QB by both DL and LBs. We will need to get improvement in this area in order to cover or lack of experience in the secondary, especially in the first three games do the backside defense can gain some confedence. But there is no way but up for this defense.

GO YELLOW JACKETS!!

NorthsideJacket

July 13th, 2011
7:59 am

If the LBs are making plays, you will know that the DL is doing it’s job well even thought they may not put up big ‘numbers’. Can’t wait for TML!

Tokyo jacket

July 13th, 2011
8:00 am

Peters and Morgan were neck and neck coming out of high school as to which one was better. Hopefully he anchors a defensive resurgence on the Flats.

78 DAWG

July 13th, 2011
8:01 am

We never offerred him a scholarship!
We didn’t want him!
If we’d wanted him he’d be a DAWG!
He couldn’t hack the competition at UGA that’s why he’s going to AL (or FL, or…….)
We’re gonna beat Florida this year!
Murray’s gonna win at least 2 Heismans!
Sorry wrong story.

AtWork

July 13th, 2011
8:09 am

Do you think he is dreaming? @78…they are so funny when they dream.

Dynamicbigboy

July 13th, 2011
8:11 am

The bumblebees have no nose tackle. For this defense to work you have to have a large man who will require a double team, we learned this in Athens last year. Secondly the linebackers that the bumblebees have are just not suited for this defense either. It will be a long year over at the High School stadium on North Avenue.

Sarge1

July 13th, 2011
8:19 am

Dynamicbigboy: Crawl back under the front porch steps with your mother.

reebok

July 13th, 2011
8:20 am

Tech is going to be better this year on both sides of the ball…whether that translates to 7-5 or 10-2 is the question…we do have a pretty favorable schedule.

Bronsart

July 13th, 2011
8:26 am

I’ve never understood how anyone – even an alumnus – could support and take pride in UGA’s football team. When you look at their history for the past forty years, how can anyone ignore Jan Kemp and the “remedial studies” scam, the Jim Harrick fiasco, the DUIs in the athletic office, the DUIs and other arrests of players, the #1 party school tag (i.e., the most drunk students), the suspensions and outright dismissals, the Fulmer Cup, and on and on?

As disgraceful and humiliating as it is, I don’t see many alums and fans demanding an end to this sordid activity. It sets UGA apart as the kind of school most people abhor, and it’s become an embarrassment to the whole state of Georgia.

Will it never end? Apparently not while Mark Richt is at UGA. Richt is perhaps the biggest hypocrite in the United States. But even with all the cheating and lawlessness that he ignores, he still can’t win the SEC.

Go, Yellow Jackets!

DawginLex

July 13th, 2011
8:26 am

Question for you folks.

S&C program at Tech.

Any concerns that this is an area that needs improvement? Your D-line has been pushed around the past few years. I have seen the facility at Tech and I thought it was better than ours(it was 1997 when I saw it).

Is the issue the players being recruited or is it the S&C program or is it both?

Your first group looks good from a DE standpoint but nose guard appears to be lacking.

Just wondering. Lord knows we have complained about our S&C program and finally something got done. Remains to be seen if it will work.

DawginLex

July 13th, 2011
8:28 am

Bronsart

At least we all know which team you support as you post the same inane drivel under multiple screen names.

I will work tirelessly to get your IP address banned and do both fan bases a HUGE favor.

Big Ol Stinger

July 13th, 2011
8:41 am

I for one hope your successful DawginLex.

Your about the only dawg whose comments I’ll even read. I wish both fan bases could do what their moms taught them. If you’ve got nothing nice to say – don’t say anything at all.

George P. Burdell

July 13th, 2011
8:59 am

DawginLex,

it is nice to have a reasonable fan on here and I agree that you are one of the few that actually make it possible to have a meaningful discussion.

As far as S&C goes, I don’t think that is the issue. I think it has more to do with the fact that we recognize in recruiting it is tough for us to put enough bigger men on the line year in and year out. Under our old 4-3, it was more about speed and getting into the backfield to disrupt. Virtually all of our linemen were recruited to play in that system and I think it will take a while to stock up with more of the 3-4 players. I also think we will tend to have a little smaller D-line even compare to other 3-4 defenses because we are using a two-gap system rather than a one-gap. In the two gap, speed is even more important to be able to cover both gaps.

wes

July 13th, 2011
9:09 am

Tech has changed their strength and conditioning program this offseason.

They are using a system called “CLIMB”. Derrick Moore is in charge and apparently they are seeing significant improvements from years past….BUT….I’ll believe it when I see it!

Go Jackets!!

DawginLex

July 13th, 2011
9:11 am

Thanks. I agree on the lack of size being an issue. We didn’t have a true nose tackle on campus last year.

Tech’s defense should be better just like ours should in 2011.

" Hot " seat

July 13th, 2011
9:28 am

If Al Groh’s defensive “scheme” does not work this year,

Groh may need to “go”.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
9:33 am

Fact III: Our inside linebackers are beastly.

Fact IV: Our Nose Tackle did actually command a double team about 60% of the time last season.

I expect improvement by building on that foundation.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
9:38 am

Yes, we did change S&C as the coach (was it Sewak, Schiano, or Bohannon?) was hired off by a lesser school to do position coaching I believe. I know nothing about the new system, but the players claim they’re putting in extra workouts versus the past and using resistance suits while running stadium’ etc. We just so happen to have a sidewalk construction project that detours pedestrians through the South endzone of the stadium right now, and you can see certain players in there doing extra work all the time. What’s comforting is the number of receivers I’ve seen in there working against DB’s.

Go Jackets!

JM

July 13th, 2011
9:43 am

I look forward to seeing the defense create some problems for the opponents this season. The line needs to be tough and get a good rush, but the secondary must also needs to cover well and break up more passes than the past few years.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
9:47 am

Bronsart, what evidence do you have to suggest EITHER of the state schools has done any serious cheating (let’s say compared to a UNC, Oregon, tOSU, or USC) in the last ten years?! If you find it a character issue to root for one versus the other then root away, but if you’re all about Tech then wouldn’t it be enough for you to just discuss GT football? It’s one of the best parts of my year when I get to stand and scream my head off in Bobby Dodd Stadium, and I couldn’t care less what happens with anyone else’s team. I’m not saying I don’t have my opinions about why Tech is the best team in the world to be a fan of, but that’s just it…I didn’t become a fan here by hating someone else’s team…I became a fan because I love Tech the most!

Go Jackets!

404

July 13th, 2011
10:00 am

@dawginlex

This is a GT blog. If you dont like it, then FO.

gt2012

July 13th, 2011
10:06 am

Sciano went to Buffalo as the S&C Coach before last season. Last I’d heard, Neal Peduzzi was head man at Tech now.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
10:07 am

404, did you read his posts? He’s discussing our football team. That is allowed. Or is Bronsart your other handle?

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
10:10 am

Peduzzi! Thanks gt2012. I couldn’t remember his name for the life of me. Ok, well I’ve heard he’s got the guys working really hard (not that they weren’t before…I have no idea how Sciano did, but his dudes seemed pretty prepared for the NFL when they went). And these resistance suits sounded new to me. Was it Fred Holton that mentioned working in those? They sound pretty rough, but I gotta admit I have respect for it.

oconee jacket

July 13th, 2011
10:13 am

ken

please ban DAWGINLEX.

he’s obvioulsy an idiot ugag fan, but now comes onto the Tech blog
wanting to ban Tech fans from your Tech blog.

please ban this dumb-azz !!

404

July 13th, 2011
10:18 am

PCJacket: You asked, so here it is.

I agree 100% with what Bronart posted.

How a Georgia fan can support or tolerate the patently unethical means by
which Georgia has always run their program for years is simply beyond me.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
10:20 am

Ok. I’m just not sure that has anything to do with YOU or the GT football we’re all here to discuss.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
10:24 am

By the way, it is very annoying when someone actively uses multiple handles. I’ve watched you use three just now. Who cares what Georgia does? We’re here for Tech. What can you contribute to the discussion of the 2011 GT defensive line or defense in general? If you have some news or an opinion about that then by all means let’s talk. Otherwise, don’t tell someone to order a Frosted Orange if you’re not contributing yourself.

SoCal_GT_Fan

July 13th, 2011
10:33 am

Can’t wait to see how this D-line meshes. A lot of our young DE’s were pretty highly rated (McCoy, Cross, Green, and Williams I believe were rated 4 stars by at least one of the respectable recruiting publications). Sounds like medical issues will delay Green and McCoy’s growth as players and they may not contribute much this year but I am excited to see how the other young guys contribute.
It all starts with the trenches so Peters, Walls, and Cross are CRITICAL if we are to have any success on the defensive side. I am a little concerned that our NT is on the smaller side. Usually you want a big honking blob right smack in the middle who would occupy at least one guard and the center….. Walls would be smaller than most of the guards and even centers in the ACC…. I wonder why JC Lanier didn’t work out at DT?

Delbert D.

July 13th, 2011
10:35 am

Nose Tackle should not be a problem. Walls has the experience and the smarts (grad student, repeat ACC Academic Honor roll.) Barnes played a lot last year; big guy at 6-7 330+ lbs.

Jacket Man

July 13th, 2011
10:39 am

The Jacket Defense will be much improved this coming season. While the DB’s are young, they’re athletic and have some game experience. LB’s will dominate, including up the middle. Daniel Drummond looks to fill a starting inside backer role and will certainly make his mark there.

Outside linebackers will be tremendous, including edge rushing, allowing “pinching” of defensive linemen on many plays, based on field conditions and game strategies.

The defense will be much improved…take that to the bank.

GTVegas

July 13th, 2011
10:41 am

First – Last time I checked, the subject of this Blog was GT Football and, specifically, the defensive line. How does UGA even fit into that topic unless you are comparing the two lines? Keep it on topic, if that’s possible for the unclaimed few. I certainly do not want to claim you for a GT fan, let alone alumnus.

As for the defense under Groh, he still has some time in my book. He started his job without all the required tools. Give him time to recruit and sign those tools. All I ask for is year to year improvement and that is what I expect.

The perfect season for me would be to enter the weekend after Thanksgiving with both teams undefeated. Top that off with a close, fair game with GT winning. My wife would change the last sentence a bit, but what does she know, she went to UGA.

juvenal

July 13th, 2011
10:47 am

hey, Lex, how’s it going-ignore the folks that don’t realize, at a minimum, the success of a blog is measured by the # of posts-always glad to see your objective, outside point of view-can’t have a debate if it’s only one side(now WhiNEr is a different story)……

Hayseed Dixie

July 13th, 2011
10:51 am

I remember someone on these boards positing that Groh’s D would not give up the big play as often and would result in Tech getting two extra stops a game over 2009.

Honestly, with CPJ’s time-of-possession thing, that’s *still* all Tech really needs.

ATL Sports Fan

July 13th, 2011
10:55 am

I think what Bronsart copy and pastes over and over again is quite entertaining and I’m a UGA alum. I just do not understand where he gets his matieral. Harrick was a basketball coach, not sure what that has to do with football. Jan Kemp passed away a while back, let her RIP. The DUI’s he speaks of in the athletic office. Hmm I can think of one and he is not there anymore. Then the arrests, well can speak of any this year can you? If he has information he can give about how Mark Richt has cheated I would be all ears!!

I like when Tech does well, it makes the game in November mean something.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
10:56 am

Hayseed, I sure wish that had come true in 2010, but if it can happen in 2011 I’d be happy. Mostly because I think the wins would come easier. But with the O-line seemingly in question (I don’t think it’ll be bad, but lots of fans think it will be), it would be best to have the best D we can get. Stops are great for a clock-control team like us! Just feeds the monster!

Go Jackets!

CoolBreeze

July 13th, 2011
11:03 am

Hey, man….ANYbody will love & support their alma mater, no matter what. Would you expect less ? So, yeah, UGa has had some recent issues. We GT guys are not immune, and will have some. That won’t stop me from being a rabid fan. DawginLex, thanks for your usual clearheaded contribution.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 13th, 2011
11:16 am

Man I can’t wait for Fall! It’d be great to see some ILB’s get some TFL’s and sacks…is it possible that it could even feel like the John Tenuta/Phillip Wheeler days? I mean if we get a D-line that frees up the LB’s? Ah I’m gettin’ all hyped just thinking about the margin of victory we could roll up if the D gets more stops and the O holds onto the ball!

Go Jackets! I’m ready to tailgate already….

DawginLex

July 13th, 2011
11:27 am

Looks like I struck a nerve with 404 and Oconee County Jacket

All I am guilty of on this blog is trying to contribute to the conversation at hand.

I thought that’s what blogs were about.

I get annoyed when folks take shots at UGA based on lies, generalizations and stereotypes.

If you don’t like me calling folks out, then I suggest you skip over my comments or go blog somewhere else.

Dawginit.

July 13th, 2011
11:37 am

Hey Tech fans, whatever happened to Toby Holiday (sp)? He was a beast in high school and I remember being upset that you guys signed him.

Old Blind Dawg

July 13th, 2011
11:40 am

GT & UGA both sucked on the defensive side of the ball last year. That being said both teams have nowhere to go but up (optimistically assuming neither will be worse).

Both teams struggled implementing a new system. Neither team had the personnel needed and both teams seemed to get manhandled at times.

UGA has addressed the S&C side of the equation and I guess GT has done the same with the new “CLIMB” (can anyone explain the “Climb”). UGA lacked a true NT and hopefully they have filled that hole. GT had the same issues but I have no knowledge on what they have done to address that shortfall.

All we can do now is wait and hope (not to be confused with “Hope and Change”.

Good luck to you techies. I hope both teams play well and the November head bashing is a slugfest.

Dawginit.

July 13th, 2011
11:45 am

DawginLex, if I’m not mistaken, Tech just hired an excellent S&C guy. He should be able to help them like Coach T has this year. I would expect huge weight gains since Tech’s O is not based off power football.

Oxymoron?

July 13th, 2011
11:49 am

The first post by TechRedneck. He must be a dog fan as there is no such thing as a Tech Redneck. uga has the market on that! Git er dun in yo doublewide. bubba!

Jorg'e O'leary

July 13th, 2011
11:49 am

@78 Dawg must be on crack. From a bowl loss to a C USA team to beating the Gators. Hey dude, the Gators recruit a Dream Team every year. Your one dream recruiting class is meaningless with the coaching you have. You haven’t done crap since Van Gorder left. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

oconee jacket

July 13th, 2011
12:01 pm

dawginlex and pcjacket:

Just go back and read what Bronart posted at 8:26AM.

Jan Kemp
Jim Herrick
DUI Arrests (Damon Evans and many players)
40+ players arrests in past 3 years (Fulmer Cup champs)
#1 Party School ranking
Richt telling Jim Rome on ESPN that “No, there is not a discipline issue here at UGA.”

So, Dawginlex prefers to post this:

“I get annoyed when folks take shots at UGA based on lies, generalizations and stereotypes.”

Which of the above FACTS are “lies and generalizations” ?

All those “lies and generalizations” are in fact accurate and true.

If UGA gets “stereotyped” its because its UGA earned it and deserves it.

Then, when dawginlex(a UGA fan) posts on a GT blog that he doesnt like GT fans telling
the truth about his cesspool program, he adds this pathetic and immature post:

“I will work tirelessly to get your IP address banned and do both
fan bases a HUGE favor.”

As a reminder to all, this is the same dawginlex poster that wrote
numerous posts claiming to be “a family man with children”
and yet posts vulgar comments about blowup dolls.

So, dawginlex, you can now STFU.

Dawginit.

July 13th, 2011
12:17 pm

oconee jacket

Every program has black eyes but why is posting this stuff relevant to Tech’s Dline? And no, I haven’t read the entire thread:)

Academic fraud = GT

July 13th, 2011
12:17 pm

GT probation 2005 and 2006 academic fraud , flunk gate , Reuben Houston, GT mens basket basketball lose 2 scholarships for not meeting APR requirements pretty recent stuff.

Academic fraud = GT

July 13th, 2011
12:19 pm

The tech dline will be bad again, same players that have been getting it handed to them for 2 seasons,
still using gailey recruits.

Paul in RDU

July 13th, 2011
12:25 pm

The good news on GT’s DL – they have a number of returning starters
The bad news on GT’s DL – these returning starters were pushed all over the field by Miami and Clemson.
I am hoping for improvement in 2011.