Al Groh on Georgia Tech defense

Greetings-

Have some Al Groh elocutions and a few links for you. I’m going to be taking a break for the next few days, more or less, so I won’t be posting notes on the blog this evening or Thursday. I’ll have something up short this afternoon. Onward…

1. On the Virginia-Virginia Tech rivalry:

“To give an analogy to the fans around here using Georgia and Georgia Tech’s rivalry, it’s as if suddenly we were both in the same conference. The tradition of the rivalry would be heightened just that much more because of the impact that it would have on conference standing, championships, postseason play and whatnot. That rivalry was always good, a very good one, but then when Virginia Tech came in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the game was at the end of the year and had the potential to have great implications on each team’s seasons in more ways than it ever did before.”

I obviously wasn’t around for it when Tech was in the SEC, but it’s hard to imagine how much more intense the Georgia-Tech rivalry would be if both schools were in the same conference.

2. Groh said that Virginia Tech is more multiple in its personnel packages than Clemson, primarily because the versatility of Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen allowed the Tigers to do a lot of different things without substituting. Note about Allen, by the way. His turf toe was hurting pretty badly Saturday and is going to keep him out of practice this week. He’ll make a difference, should both teams make the ACC title game.

3. Groh called a lot of blitzes, particularly late in the game, depending on the secondary to hold up on the back end in man coverage.

“They did a real nice job and they did allow us to try to be pretty aggressive given the circumstances and do some of the things that we would have liked to have done. We felt those players could execute those things. A lot of times, it’s not just about us having confidence on the sidelines. You want to call something that the player himself has confidence in executing.”

Secondary coach Charles Kelly deserve a good bit of credit for developing the defensive backs, which have become an obvious strength and will have four of the top five plus Fred Holton (out for the year with a torn Achilles) back next season.

4. On Jemea Thomas:

“He certainly was a real big-play performer the other night. Those are the kind of guys we look to get into the game. Based on how he’s evolved at that spot (and) plays that he made, we’ll certainly be looking to expand his role.”

Thomas merits it, obviously. It’ll be interesting to see what that will look like. I wouldn’t say any of the starting four defensive backs – cornerbacks Rod Sweeting and Louis Young and safeties Isaiah Johnson and Rashaad Reid – have played their way out of the lineup. Maybe they’d rotate more. Thomas can play both safety and corner, so perhaps that’s an option.

5. On the defense’s progress:

“It’s been a pretty good process. We were able to, the last two games probably, sustain performance more but in some of those earlier games, there was evidence of it that they could see. North Carolina, I think, we’d given up one touchdown in the first half, N.C. State, the same way, Maryland a field goal and whatnot. There’ve been a lot of the games where the start was fairly positive so there were a lot of plays within the game to show them this is what it can be just with more consistency. Just have to feel that maybe the process of the season as they’ve gotten more and more looks at things, they’ve gotten the consistency to sustain them through the game.”

It’s interesting; everything Groh said was true and fits into the narrative of the defense’s progress, but I imagine few of you would have been willing to accept him saying something like, “We’re getting better; we played good defense for a half against North Carolina. We just need to be more consistent” (and that probably includes me) it, particularly after the Virginia game or if the Maryland game had turned out differently. And, also, if Virginia Tech lights up the defense for 35 points and 450 yards, I imagine the “Tech can’t play 3-4 defense” and “Same old defense” sentiments will return.

To that end…

6. Groh on what Thomas does well:

“He’s got good instincts. He’s a very competitive player. He’s got a nice burst. His plays the other night, they clearly had a big impact on the game, but probably the next three games will provide a better answer to your question than anything that I say. I don’t expect this to be the case, but we get into the terminology of the famous ‘One-game wonder.’ Nice story for the time being, but the future is now. The past is done.”

Groh is not a man easily satisfied. For the record, the last part of his comment might come off sounding callous, but that wasn’t the case, just his matter-of-fact way of speaking. I imagine he was more than elated about Thomas’ play, but has a longer-term view. Just Groh being Groh, as one might say.

That’s it. A reminder to all of you posting that you’re not the only ones reading your comments. Please be mindful of more impressionable and sensitive eyes. I think I speak for most when I say that the redneck/nerd (or worse) debate really gets tiresome to wade through. I’d prefer to not have to step in.

Links

Three Sting Daily reports, one from Matt Winkeljohn discoursing on Tevin Washington and two from Jon Cooper, one on the Tech offense switching its read key in the Clemson game from the playside defensive end to nose guard Brandon Thompson (a beast of a player) and another on former punter Rodney Williams, an inductee to the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. Ceremonies are Nov. 9.

A blog post from the Washington Post about Virginia Tech’s outlook following the win over Duke.

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315 comments Add your comment

big stinger man

November 2nd, 2011
9:08 am

juvenal

November 2nd, 2011
9:12 am

& salutations…….

Burdell

November 2nd, 2011
9:13 am

Great stuff, Ken! Keep up the good work…enjoy a little time off with the family.

VRTECHFAN

November 2nd, 2011
9:13 am

VRTECHFAN

November 2nd, 2011
9:13 am

VT F___KS SHEEP

November 2nd, 2011
9:19 am

Isaiah Johsnon is true No. 1 and the true Isaiah.

Isaiah Crowell is the false No. 1 and the drug induced Isaiah and won’t have the character to make it.

collegeballfan

November 2nd, 2011
9:20 am

Like the OL, the DL is a couple of years away.

Ultimate Domination

November 2nd, 2011
9:20 am

We love you Al Groh! Keep up the great work!!!!!!

juvenal

November 2nd, 2011
9:20 am

the mention was too kind, but what we really appreciate your bring up the concerns of the faithful-DL,special teams, QB inconsistentcy & back-up, as it seems the coaches have really addressed these weaknesses….after all, it is hard to appreciate something without having a little basic understanding of it, &, if we are not paid to run it, we pay to help it run…(still, nothing about the DL-did #90 start, haven’t looked back at the replay yet?)

Jamea Thomas

November 2nd, 2011
9:23 am

Kid has the best hands on the team. Wonder if CPJ would ever have him catching long bomb passes on offense. (you know, the one’s that Hill has a hard time catching…)

JD

November 2nd, 2011
9:26 am

First but not the last.

JD

November 2nd, 2011
9:29 am

Thomas was a force on special teams last year, always in on the tackle. We should have a very confident secondary next year with Holton back too.

td404

November 2nd, 2011
9:47 am

And before you argue it can’t possibly be a uga fan, why on God’s green earth would any tech fan try to contact a 4 or 5 star recruit to try and get him to NOT come to tech. Sick sick sick site and whoever took the time to put that together and contact the recruits via social media (in addition to current and former players) IS truly a sociopath —-> just a step above feces and common criminals. Those individuals will be featured on 60 minutes someday for a horrific crime probably if they are already stalking 18-22 year olds.

carolinajacket

November 2nd, 2011
9:51 am

BUZZ

November 2nd, 2011
9:52 am

The defense hasn’t really been the problem… Getting the 2 starting linebackers back from injury also helps, especially J.A!! He’s a player.

juvenal

November 2nd, 2011
9:55 am

coaches probably do have bigger(conference) fish to fry, but probably in the ATL have little contact with RANK & file dawg fans-hardly ever have unpleasant experiences with actual alumni from uga, my 2 best friends, one went there, the other his son did……

RTR

November 2nd, 2011
9:55 am

Hey c3033 you forgot the team with most NC’s of all time in your missive as well as more recent. Only a matter of time before we pick another one up this year!!! Roll Tide Roll!!

cj jacket

November 2nd, 2011
9:56 am

oh wow. after seeing that site, i will pull for uga to lose every sporting event they will ever play again until the end of time. im telling everyone i know the kind of sick fans that went to and pull for uga. certainly don’t want my kids going to an institution that fosters sociopaths like that.

GT Dude

November 2nd, 2011
10:04 am

Thomas should start, he is a true head hunter and when he tackles an opponent they go down in their tracks, NO YARDS AFTER CONTACT
we should rename him NO YAK Thomas!
Stay Thirsty my Friends

carolinajacket

November 2nd, 2011
10:06 am

If the D keeps getting better we will be hard to handle for the rest of the year.

Reggie Ball

November 2nd, 2011
10:15 am

But what about when we play teams outside of region 5-AAAAA. Those actual college teams we have to play might be tuff on us! I like your thoughts though Carolina. We mite be high shcool state champs in football this year!!

c3033

November 2nd, 2011
10:18 am

Sorry for the seeming diss RTR, it was not intentional, I just did not consider UofA a “rival” for UGA given the rarity of recent games with each other. On a side note, you guys RECRUIT very well AND WIN NC’s with some amazing regularity (unlike some posers we all know). Best of luck to your team this weekend.

DesignerJacket

November 2nd, 2011
10:24 am

Reggie Ball last played for Tech in 2006. FIVE years ago. And by then, no Tech fans liked him. Why try to make fun of us now for what an old coach did back then? I thought history was something the rest of CFB hated for GT fans to do. Which is it – history or the present time? Because right now we’re 7-2 on a bye week preparing for the #12 team in the land after thoroughly drubbing the #5 team on both sides of the ball. Whoever you root for…are they any big deal compared to #5 and #12? Hmmm…yeah maybe go spew it somewhere else. Maybe New Mexico State will listen.

Sean Jones

November 2nd, 2011
10:24 am

Who be the ones declare us national champs? that be us!! Right on….how many we win total 150? Beat everybody like those Cumberland punks!!

GTJason

November 2nd, 2011
10:25 am

Run defense will be key next week against Wilson. We need to force long 3rd downs and passes…

RTR

November 2nd, 2011
10:30 am

No worries c3033….going to be a tough game. Win this one and the path is clear to the NC game as the East is down this year and we will beat Awbarn like a rented mule!! Roll Tide Roll!!

RTR

November 2nd, 2011
10:32 am

We have a game you may have heard of DesignerJacket. Time to give another Tiger a beat down…this one is ranked at #1 until Sunday.

DesignerJacket

November 2nd, 2011
10:39 am

Ok my post didn’t get through the filter, RTR, but I was trying to clarify that I was responding the Reggie Ball poster. What a ridiculous thing to try and make fun of Tech with five years after the fact…we FIRED the coach who kept Reggie Ball in the game! Fired him. Anyway, Bama is dominant for sure, but Georgie is most definitely not impressing anyone wearing Old Gold this year.

RT in NC

November 2nd, 2011
10:41 am

The 3-4 defense, like the option, is great to watch as long as the coaches are FEARLESS. No team, college or pro, has enough shut down defensive backs to defend against a good QB/receiver combo for more than 4 or 5 seconds. You have to blitz. No rush = no defense. No risk = no reward.

Keep on blitzing Al !!!!!

The Bamboo Shaft

November 2nd, 2011
11:02 am

I’m just happy to see that the “process” is back. :) Great article as always, Ken.

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 2nd, 2011
11:03 am

Tech’s defense has given up, in each of the past three games, a net of 17 points and 16 before that. They’ll hold both VT and Duke to that or less and probably UGA, too.

juvenal

November 2nd, 2011
11:08 am

1 big dif-by & large, i think we respect, & even like, Clemsonfolks………..the folks who have come on in the last 30 years……

Ben

November 2nd, 2011
11:11 am

From what I’ve read, when Tech was in the SEC, Auburn was considered as big a rival as UGA.

Spyro

November 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

@Ben: I wish we would start playing Auburn again. Those games a few years ago were extremely entertaining, even with Reggie Ball.

Just the Facts

November 2nd, 2011
11:20 am

Perhaps 5 years ago for Reggie Ball, but one only needs to go back 2 years to get a perspective of a typical UGA fan.

UGA Eases Tailgating Restrictions (as reported by AJC)

The breaking point came on Sept. 12, 2009, when workers collected from North Campus about 70 tons of garbage and mounds of tents, grills, coolers and chairs. That day, fans were witnessed urinating on public buildings and defecating outdoors.

cj jacket

November 2nd, 2011
11:24 am

I imagine the typical UGA fan from east ga is the kind of person that would take a dump on their kitchen floor and leave it there for about a week.

juvenal

November 2nd, 2011
11:31 am

redundant posts boring no matter which side posts them……..

Police Blotter

November 2nd, 2011
11:32 am

The only thing they have to clean up around the North Avenue Trade Institute are the corpses from the crime infested neighborhoods.

Police Blotter

November 2nd, 2011
11:35 am

I am sure there is no underage drinking that occurs at the insects games or other tomfoolery…..and if they did actually do something illegal you could not ascertain whether it was a nerd in their Dragon Con outfit or one of the locals from the projects.

Police Blotter

November 2nd, 2011
11:39 am

I imagine a student at the trade school (not in the MGT for dummies track) would be the kind of person not used to indoor plumbing and from somewhere far far away.

juvenal

November 2nd, 2011
11:42 am

case in point-3 posts following mine…….try to contribute something new &/or funny, myself…….

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 2nd, 2011
11:44 am

Watching CPJ and CDS meet on the field after the game reminded me why I am a fan of the ACC. Both coaches showed a lot of class and respect. I also think that it is great that CPJ and CAG can put their egos aside and coach together to develop what is becoming a very good GT team.

juvenal

November 2nd, 2011
11:49 am

far far away-like the place Christ was from?

GT FAN IN PA

November 2nd, 2011
11:51 am

I see the D only getting better- It was also nice to hear last week Jones stepping up and addressing the team- of course the trolls have to come out- go ahead say it- “well you nerds are on our blog doing it” somebody call the wambulance before they even start!

wrecked

November 2nd, 2011
12:00 pm

This tech team is closer to being the tech team that lost to Virginia and Miami than the one that beat a very poor defensive team like Clemson.It was the tech offense ability to keep Clemson off the field that won the game will not happen against bigger , faster more physical defenses.

cj jacket

November 2nd, 2011
12:04 pm

wrecked go take a dump on your kitchen floor like the rest of the dawg fans. UVA and Tech both have defenses ranked in the top 40. Let’s look at some of the defensive stats for the teams you’ve played (New Mexico State??? LOL if you don’t beat them by 60 with their 107th ranked defense)

14 GT

November 2nd, 2011
12:06 pm

collegeballfan….You truly think GT’s OL & DL are 2 years away….You must not be seeing what I see… with no senior starters on OL and only 4 starters on Defense….just watch them NEXT year….it looks like # 90 Barnes has learned his size and talent won’t suffice against equal linemen on other teams based on how he played against Clemson….I can see much improvement in the lines play and they will be even better with another off season of conditioning and coaching….next year holds much promise for both the team and us fans….GOOOOO JACKETS THWG

14 GT

November 2nd, 2011
12:15 pm

Auburn was close to as big a rival as UGA. When Auburn came to Atlanta and went to the VARSITY afterwards and yelled War Eagle, was an almost riot between GT & Auburn students.

wrecked

November 2nd, 2011
12:19 pm

CJ jacket , tech didn’t all of a sudden get an infusion of talent .LOL at the Yellow jacket program as a whole..

14 GT

November 2nd, 2011
12:21 pm

wrecked….WHY don’t you worry about your poor “underachieving” UGAG MUTTS????????