Izaan Cross Q&A

Greetings-

Hope everyone was safe in the nutty weather we had Monday. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually heard a weather alarm go off before. That was just before I got in the car to speak with coaches and players. The good thing was there wasn’t much traffic and the rain actually wasn’t too bad.

I spoke with defensive end Izaan Cross, partly for a story I’m planning on writing about defensive tackle Logan Walls and partly to get his read on how he thought the line did. He was helpful on both accounts.

Q: How do you feel like the line did?

A: We did good. Our first three, there’s definitely areas that we can improve on. We would have liked to have gotten to the quarterback more, but I feel like we played the run very well, defeating bocks and it was a decent debut for us this year.

Two cents: A pretty honest answer. I think most players at any level tend to focus on the positive – which is understandable – and will bring up areas of weakness or that need improvement only if you ask specifically.

Q: Was the game a confidence booster?

A: It could be used as a confidence booster. We were excited to play another team. We came out on fire and that was good for us.

Two cents: Not a very good question, but it’s noteworthy that he mentioned coming out strong as an accomplished goal. Coach Paul Johnson had mentioned prior to the game that he wanted to see excitement and effort out of the team, I imagine partly because it would be easy to sleepwalk through Western Carolina and also because those were two areas that sometimes lacked last year.

Q: About the pass rush, what could you have done better or was anything lacking?

A: Not necessarily lacking, it’s just that we didn’t get 30 sacks, so we didn’t have a phenomenal game of getting to the quarterback. I guess you can always say that we can improve. I guess we could condense the pocket more, just push the tackles back, create less of a gap. I’d like for us to get off the field on third down a little bit better than we did on Thursday.

Two cents: Hopefully you read it this way, but the 30-sack comment was hyperbole. I don’t think he would be unhappy with, say, a 20-sack game. But, again, a fairly candid assessment that went beyond, “We just need to execute better.”

The third-down numbers weren’t great. Western Carolina was 8 of 18 and 5 for 12 in the first half. I imagine one series that got a good look from coaches was Western Carolina’s drive for its second touchdown, in which quarterback Brandon Pechloff converted third downs of seven, four and six yards with pass completions against the first unit.

Q: What have coached told you about Middle Tennessee State so far?

A: I watched the Purdue game. We played them last year. They kind of do the same things they did last year. If we just focus on what we need to do in our game plan, I feel like we’ll be O.K.

Two cents: MTSU has new coordinators on both sides, but apparently they use the same stuff, to use a football term. (that was a joke) (but it kind of is a football term)

Q: Did you get together with teammates on Saturday?

A: Me and Logan and another one of our d-linemen watched it today. We saw a couple things, but Coach (Al) Groh gave us the game plan, and that’s what we practiced on today.

Two cents: It says something that players are doing video work on their own. It’s not like it’s completely unusual, but it speaks well of Cross, Walls and this third mystery player.

Q: What is Logan doing better this year?

A: Logan, he’s been a leader for us. Since this transition into the 3-4, he’s been consistent every game. He just works hard every day, day in day out. He gives great effort,  something that we see. It gets pointed out every day on the film so we learn. He’s been our leader on the front for us. He’s the guy in the middle. He’s the nose guard.

He’s the one that’s going to get double-teamed and triplet-teamed more than any of us. Somebody that can sit there and somebody that can take that on throughout a game on a daily basis earns some respect.

Two cents: My favorite part of this answer was what he said about Walls’ effort getting pointed out every day. It almost makes it sound like Walls is the star pupil in that regard. Coaches do love talking about effort.

Q: This is a random question, but some fans were saying they had a hard time seeing the jersey numbers. Did anyone you know tell you that?

A: Someone that had come to the game told me that it was hard to see the jersey numbers because it was light. I had somebody else tell me that as well. It’s not something I’m worried about.

Two cents: For the record, I don’t think he is uncaring about the matter, just that it’s not exactly his balliwick.

Q: What do you think about the road uniforms with the blue numbers?

A: I thought the uniforms this year look nice. It’s definitely a changeup I would actually like another jersey color, but that’s beyond my power. For what we’re working with I think it’s a good changeup.

Two cents: Interesting. Might make for a story at some point. I’m curious what you think about the tradition of home whites.

Q: Did you see Georgia play Boise State?

A: I did watch them play.

Two cents: Lips buttoning…

Q: What was your takeaway?

A: That Boise State’s pretty good. That was my takeaway. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Two cents: Lips buttoned.

Johnson has his weekly news conference at 11:30. I’ll try to get up a few bullet points after he speaks, and then another post-practice blog around 8:30.

Some extra reading: Murfreesboro Daily News Journal story about quarterback Logan Kilgore.

And birthday greetings to the inimitable Matt Winkeljohn, my former AJC colleague and the distinctive voice of Sting Daily, which you can (and should, if you haven’t) sign up for here. Matt and Jon Cooper do a great job of bringing plenty of Tech coverage.

Thanks for reading. Please follow on Facebook and Twitter!

By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat

29 comments Add your comment

Coach

September 6th, 2011
9:08 am

Cross is doing a good job. I look for great things out of this gourp.

duece coupe

September 6th, 2011
9:11 am

Be ready for the first road game and remember bleeding Kansas.

BigTimeTechFan

September 6th, 2011
9:16 am

Good stuuf Ken.
Cross played nice game, hope they do the same this week.
Also did you see Tech transfer Cooper Taylor had a monster game against Duke, won his Conf Defensive player of the week.

Save the 30 sack week for Va Tech or Clemson.

BigTimeTechFan

September 6th, 2011
9:17 am

not sure what stuuf means

GT

September 6th, 2011
9:29 am

Need much improvment on defense this year… We will see if Tech has made the needed improment over the off season…. MTSU will show us moe than what western did… the were thing I did not like in the western game..

GT GRAD

September 6th, 2011
9:33 am

Go GT!

1-0 and I am ready for some more GT football.

GTJason

September 6th, 2011
9:46 am

#1 in passing efficiency! Would love to see another Stephen Hill track meet…

CoolBreeze

September 6th, 2011
9:51 am

Maryland had a scary short passing game, and Miami did, too. Hmmm. But, MTSU is the challenge this week. Just keep choppin’ away, and the tree will fall. Loved our passing; I’ve been aching for that. Even if it cools off a little, it’ll make the ground game work better.

Ken Sugiura

September 6th, 2011
9:56 am

BTTF – i didn’t see that. link here.
http://www.richmondspiders.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=26800&ATCLID=205266747
“Stuff” is scheme and philosophy, pretty much.

4th and Long Gone

September 6th, 2011
10:09 am

Thanks for your good work Ken. It is appreciated. Also, I am a big fan of your “restrictions” on the blog. I read the UGA blog after they lost and I hated all the troll comments by the Tech fans. It is nice just to read football comments. Keep up the great work!

mtraininjax

September 6th, 2011
10:09 am

Cross and Logan will have done a great job when they each have 10 sacks and multiple plays where they stop the back behind the line of scrimmage. For them to have a great season, they have to be a force that the Offensive Line uses double-teams on and frees up a LB to penetrate and or allows them to make big plays behind the line of scrimmage. For them to be successful, we need freakish numbers.

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 6th, 2011
10:11 am

CoolBreeze, I saw the same thing. That Western drive that Ken mentioned our coaches might be taking a look at was quite Maryland/Miami-esque if you ask me. Dink, dunk, short, mid, short, mid, TD. Before some adjustment it appeared our linebackers needed to pay more attention to the short passing game, and I’m of the opinion MTSU can show us what that’s all about more than Western, and the ACC teams more than the Blue Raiders. For what it’s worth, if we can also pass then I’m sure we can win some shootouts, but it would feel even better being confident we can defend a scalpel-like short-passing game.

Go Jackets! Crack The Skillet!

ramblingbuzz

September 6th, 2011
10:42 am

Re: the home whites – do not like. Too used to the traditional gold pants, white jerseys uses at home. Not a fan of all white at home or on the road.

macrotech

September 6th, 2011
10:49 am

When Groh brought one of the safeties up to address those dump passes in the middle, it effectively killed that option. Of course, it’s a chess match out there…can’t do that EVERY time because a good team will burn you deep eventually! I thought our linebackers made the right reads for the most part…those passes exposed them a little. As CPJ says, “Most adjustments take place between game 1 and game 2″….we’ll know if these things were adjusted Saturday! GO TECH!!!

Ken…did you REALLY use the word, ” balliwick”?! ;)

Supersize that order, mutt

September 6th, 2011
10:51 am

If you guys are unaware of it, Capital One is sponsoring their annual mascot competition, and Buzz is among the competitors. Last week Buzz beat Michigan State’s “Sparty” and actually had the highest number of votes of any of the mascots competing. This week Buzz is up against “Hairy Dawg” and the last time I looked was leading by about 39,000 votes to about 3,000 votes (would love to beat them that bad on the field). But check out the link and support Buzz …..

http://www.capitalonebowl.com/schedule

DawginLex

September 6th, 2011
10:52 am

Got any coaches available?

hal

September 6th, 2011
11:05 am

Can you imagine Alabama or LSU coming out on the field in a uniform like Maryland or UGA did this weekend? I don’t think so. GT is a “tweener” they don’t know which way to go. But if we ever come out looking like a swarm of bees ala’ John Beluchi with little antenna on the helmets I will pass out in my seat.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 6th, 2011
11:08 am

LOL @ hal

Maryland has about 20 different uniforms or combinations of uniforms this year, and believe it or not, what they wore last night is not the ugliest.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 6th, 2011
11:09 am

Georgia’s uniforms looked like power ranger pajamas, and Maryland’s made them look like power ranger jockeys.

Rduck

September 6th, 2011
11:16 am

Tough way to start the year there Lex. I was really suprised to see your defense get handled so easily and the O line not able to put up any type of rushing attack on Boise’s D line. Had to be very disappointing to you as well. Richt, Bobo and Grantham had better start making some adjustments quick.
Tech looked good against a very outmanned team Thurs. The D line stopped the run well, but there wasn’t much in way of QB pressure to speak of. Better teams will eat that up. Hopefully we were playing a really vanilla defensive strategy. Should get a better guide as to how good this team can be this weekend against MTSU.

Rduck

September 6th, 2011
11:19 am

However, the DB’s were lighting people up! That’s the best hitting secondary I’ve seen on the Flats in a long time…

DawginLex

September 6th, 2011
11:41 am

Losing Ogletree killed us
OC and DC not on same page
One played hurry up
The other wanted ball control after we stopped them the 1st 3 drives
1 toss sweep for a Td-never run it again?
Takes a half to figure out Murray does best in play action?

My guess is we lose Saturday, Richt gets labeled as lame duck and finishes the year while a replacement is being sought.

Saban

September 6th, 2011
11:57 am

Good interview. Tech will have a good year.

Georgia will have more new daddies as the year wears on.

DawginLex

September 6th, 2011
11:59 am

Saban

quit pretending to be from bama

We all know you are a Tech fan

Get some new material

Even the TROLLS are complaining

steverino

September 6th, 2011
12:01 pm

mtraininjax…10 sacks each OR pull double teams from the O-line. You’re not gonna get both. If your 3 down consisted of Reggie White, Warren Sapp and Bruce Smith, you wouldn’t get both.

Keep up the good work, Izaan, and GO Jackets!!

Born2Buzz

September 6th, 2011
12:01 pm

I’ve been a big critic of Logan Walls but he played well last Thurs, against inferior competition, but still, he had more tackles in that game than he might have had all last year.
Gotta get more pressure on the QB or we’re going to be in for long days against Maryland and Miami. It’s gotta be done with scheme and not just personnel.

The uniforms issue is silly. Yes, the gold numbers were a little hard to see in person, but they looked great on TV. Just switch the away jerseys (with the navy numbers) with the home jerseys and all will be fine. And our tradition is to wear white jerseys at home. Don’t change that.
NCAA allows us to do this with the away team’s OK, but NCAA rules have away jerseys as white. So we get to wear white home and away. Yea.
Don’t try something stupid like the doggies did, with something totally different that looked like crap.

Each week the competition gets, to use a CPJ term, ratcheted up. MTSU will be a lot tougher than WC, Kansas will be tougher than MTSU, and UNC will be tougher than Kansas. Just keep working on the areas that were problems and all will be OK.

GT Anchorage

September 6th, 2011
12:11 pm

DawginLex, there are some great coaches out there. Also, from an inside source (my wife’s father… they both went to uga), Richt has both of his houses on the market. Not sure if he is already anticipating the axe or looking for a new house, but the timing is not good.

Spelling Police

September 6th, 2011
8:05 pm

awbuzz

September 7th, 2011
8:50 pm

Thanks Ken – Like the 2 cents sections