Georgia Tech looking for pass rush

The next move belongs to Al Groh.

Two Saturdays ago, the Georgia Tech defense harassed Virginia quarterbacks Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims, accumulating 16 pressures, by the Tech defensive coordinator’s count and two sacks. Saturday, Groh and his defense were plundered.

The Yellow Jackets gave up 609 yards in the 42-36 overtime loss. It was the most yards that Tech had given up since 1997 and the most that a Groh-coached team had surrendered in his nine years as Virginia’s head coach followed by two-plus seasons at Tech.

Wednesday, Groh didn’t address the game at length, saying that he was done talking about Miami. It was the first opportunity for news media to speak with Groh, as he is not made available following games and defensive coaches and players speak on Wednesdays.

“I haven’t thought about that in a few days, so I’m ready to move on,” he said.

What Groh did address was that Tech’s pass rush was negated by Miami’s protection scheme, in which the Hurricanes often used as many as seven players on passes to block for quarterback Stephen Morris.

“Unless you rush eight, they’ve got more than you’ve got,” he said. “The numbers game comes into effect that way. Usually where those seven-man protections get beat is if you have some awesome individual pass rushers who can win the one-on-ones.”

Without such pass rushers on the roster, perhaps with the exception of outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, Tech can expect to see plenty more of such strategies in games to come, starting with Tech’s game Saturday against Middle Tennessee State. Future opponents may not be able to duplicate the success of the Hurricanes, who have a young but talented lineup. However, many games may not require 42 points or 609 yards of total offense, either.

“We’ve got some interesting stuff to deal with on the third-down package, and it’s shaken some guys free (in pass rush), so that causes other teams to say, ‘We’re not going to deal with this stuff,’” said Groh in explaining opponents’ opting for a “maximum protection” scheme.

Groh may have to continue to dig for more interesting stuff. Tech has six sacks in four games with a rate of one sack per 26.3 pass attempts. Even before failing to register a sack despite Miami’s 52 pass attempts, the rate was 17.7 passes per sack. Duke, which ranks third in the ACC in sacks, has managed one sack per 11 pass attempts.

Should the lack of pressure continue, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins would appear to be a strong candidate to run wild through the Tech secondary Oct. 6. Attaochu, who led the team last year with six sacks, has one-half of a sack thus far. Through the first three games, Attaochu did have the most quarterback pressures of anyone on the team “by far,” Groh said.

Both Groh and coach Paul Johnson have acknowledged the obvious fact that it was a poor game all-around for the defense. The percentage of times that defensive players executed their assignment “went way down,” Groh said.

Groh was asked if, at the end of the season, the Miami game would be looked at as an outlier.

Replied Groh, “I think that, when you evaluate things on a whole body of work, I think what you might look back on at the end of the season is that Miami’s got a pretty good team.”

Time will tell to what degree Saturday’s game was an aberration or the trigger of a landslide. Could the game have merely been the confluence of a hot quarterback, poor pass rush, an injury-depleted defense and poor tackling – a forgettable game that bears no similarity to the defense that Tech ultimately becomes?

It would have to be a pretty big confluence.

In case you missed it…

Trials challenging Louis Young

Lee, Snoddy angling for playing time

Tech rebounding after Miami loss

Paul Johnson, fount of hope?

Johnson calls loss ‘my fault’

The meaning of Tech giving up 609 yards

After Miami loss, Tech tries to regroup

Mark Bradley: Johnson’s approach hurting Tech

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

218 comments Add your comment

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
10:43 pm

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 26th, 2012
10:56 pm

Good job 14. Now go read the article!

gt40pinhd

September 26th, 2012
10:58 pm

al groh epitomizes the art of brevity. didn’t talk much, didn’t say much.

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:00 pm

I don’t like the coach responsible for the defensive unit being so close mouthed on the Miami game. What’s the matter? Is he afraid of the tough questions that “might” be asked? Or the answers that honest answers would require? I for one, would like very much to hear the Q & A about the Miami game with AG….I believe I might be thru calling him coach. GT has lost 3 of her last 5 games in OT. Games that should have never went into OT. Yes, it’s true the offense has some failure in those games as well. But, the fact remains, the defense could not generate a stop in those 3 games. All 5 games truthfully should have been marked up in the win column for GT. Defense is AG’s area of supposed expertise.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:01 pm

CAG is actually quite eloquent when he speaks…when I’ve heard him interviewed.

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:02 pm

I’ll have you that I did read the article first. Thank you very much. LOL

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:03 pm

1 4…I suggest you flush it.

The defense was doing well overall until Miami came in and whipped us in all facets.

TVFan

September 26th, 2012
11:04 pm

I wonder if the staff would look at moving some players around. The current defensive line is not getting the job done. I don’t think they played well against Presbyterian College. Tech’s assistant coaches are going to have to start winning some recruiting battles for defensive linemen.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 26th, 2012
11:04 pm

Even if they stopped our extra rushers with max protection, that doesn’t say a lot for our cover guys. I thought they were better than that. Guess we need more of a body of work before we can judge things, but that doesn’t mean you can toss out this performance. It happened and it was a total stinker.

George Stein

September 26th, 2012
11:09 pm

Sorry, but when you have to wait three years for the defense to be fully implemented, the expectation is that we don’t have to put up with days like this past Saturday. Not good enough, Coach Groh.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:12 pm

GS…

We should be expecting more out of our playmakers like Rod Sweeting and Jeremiah Attaochu. If I see Sweeting bite on another double-move in an obvious 3rd and long situation I’m going to vomit.

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:13 pm

I am curious as to why FLJ suggests I flush it. I agree that the overall defensive play, up until the Miami game, was fairly good, but the fact remains that they could get get a stop in the Sun Bowl or @ VT. As a matter of fact, all that was really needed was one, ONE, 4th play at VT. The offensive failure was not quite as big in the Sun Bowl or the Miami game.

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:14 pm

left out “not” between could & get

GT Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:15 pm

Two words fix all of this: Vad Lee.

And yes, he will help the defense immensely, vs. TW.

George Stein

September 26th, 2012
11:15 pm

I think if you have players that do that and you can’t coach them out of it, then either don’t play them or have them play a zone. Continuing to expect him not to do it after this much time is foolish, FLJ.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:16 pm

1 4…because all its going to do is make you madder.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:16 pm

And here’s Joe to raise the room’s IQ…

GT Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:17 pm

1 4: to take one of your arguments: if 36 points should be enough to win against miami, then the defense giving up only 17 in regulation should be enough to win at VT.

Team will not win a meaningful game with TW at QB.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:18 pm

GS…it’s one play but it’s a trend with him on big plays. When guys can’t tackle though I wonder if that’s coaching or if it’s mental.

George Stein

September 26th, 2012
11:20 pm

The tackling has been terrible for some time. Interestingly, I don’t think the VT defense is great at anything but that, and they do it exceptionally well.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:21 pm

That VT defense was terrific at not letting themselves be blocked…and they ate up our inexperience on the outside.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:23 pm

The way I see it CAG’s current campaign is far above his 2 previous or Wommack’s 2 years. It could easily turn around and be one of those abberation type games.

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:29 pm

Ah Joe. The undeclared Georgie troll. Your schtick has gotten very old very fast.

George Stein

September 26th, 2012
11:29 pm

I hope you’re right, FLJ, and I admire your optimism. I wish I shared it.

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:29 pm

FLJ….I’m over mad.

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:35 pm

GS…we act like we were expecting to beat VPI in Blacksburg. Criticizing coaches for not winning a game you didn’t expect to win us pretty disingenuous. My opinion of course.

Supersize loves Obama

September 26th, 2012
11:36 pm

Not good enough. Tired of excuses. Lets bring in a high energy coach like Jon Gruden and make it happen.

GT Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:42 pm

1 4: I’m a UGA troll? help me understand why a UGA troll would want vad lee to play…or want to keep CPJ and CAG?

Ken Sugiura

September 26th, 2012
11:42 pm

Supersize loves Obama – 1. no politics. 2. choose a handle that isn’t, presumably, attempting to ridicule another commenter. thanks.

Supersize loves Obama

September 26th, 2012
11:46 pm

Ken-why do you care? No one asked your opinion.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 26th, 2012
11:47 pm

@ Ken……the old name thief was active all this afternoon on your “fount of hope” blog

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:48 pm

Insult the blog author and moderator…how intelligent

Supersize that order, mutt

September 26th, 2012
11:48 pm

Well, that was classy, wasn’t it? Ken happens to run this blog, bubba.

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:49 pm

He’s right George. It could happen. But, in all honesty, I don’t expect it. The defense can play pretty good overall, but there is no real playmaker up front. Sneezy is a good OLB. Hunt-Days will grow, I believe, into a really good ILB. He’s just good now….on his way to being a beast though, IMO. Don’t know if y’all saw my post earlier today about Barnes. Think about this. The next time this 6′7″ 350 lb behemoth collapses the pocket will be the first time. He has 1 (one) career sack & this is his senior year. Izzan Cross has 3 sacks in his career & this is his senior year. A man of TJ’s size & supposed strength should demand 2 blockers every down he is in & in truth, he should be in for every defensive snap. No motivation!! Something caught the coaches eyes about these two, but they play with no fire. GT Joe keeps harping on replacing Tevin. I say put Gotsis & Kallon in & sic’em on the ball & let them make plays. Jacket Detective brought up D Morgan saving Nesbitt in the WF game in ‘09. Nesbitt failed to make a 4th down conversion. D Morgan sack on subsequent WF possession took them out of FG range, allowing GT to get to the ACCCG game. D playmakers are just as necessary as O playmakers. I’ll take a good, stout defense with a good offense every day & twice on Sunday. Rather have both sides be really good & stout though!! LOL

FL Jacket

September 26th, 2012
11:50 pm

Joe…only a UGA troll would try to make such rash moves sound logical

1 4 GT

September 26th, 2012
11:56 pm

Supersize loves Obama

September 27th, 2012
12:02 am

Sorry Ken. I overreacted. I am a Ga Tech graduate but I cant stand bubba. THWG.

FL Jacket

September 27th, 2012
12:07 am

Dude you hit submit.

Cut your losses and leave.

1 4 GT

September 27th, 2012
12:07 am

Ken is way more kind & tolerant than me. This clown would never be back if I were Ken.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 27th, 2012
12:13 am

@ 1 4 GT and FLJ…..I agree.

FL Jacket

September 27th, 2012
12:14 am

Well 1 4…Ken does cover GT football

ZING!

Supersize that order, mutt

September 27th, 2012
12:14 am

@ 1 4 GT……I contacted my friend here, and the time we set is ok with him. We should be there by 9AM Saturday

Supersize that order, mutt

September 27th, 2012
12:15 am

BTW, Obama…..Ken respectfully asked you to change your name. He obviously carries more weight than I do, but I would respectfully ask you to do the same. I find it highly offensive.

1 4 GT

September 27th, 2012
12:17 am

OK SS!! Sounds good! See y’all about 9:00 AM. Don’t forget to call be about 7:00 AM. Home number….706………..

Supersize that order, mutt

September 27th, 2012
12:18 am

@ 1 4 GT……will do

1 4 GT

September 27th, 2012
12:19 am

Zing away FLJ!! I can take it!!! LOL

FL Jacket

September 27th, 2012
12:20 am

SS…

Promise me if Romney wins you change your handle to “Supersize that order Obama” for just the day after the election!

Supersize that order, mutt

September 27th, 2012
12:21 am

LOL @ FLJ…..Are you serious?

FL Jacket

September 27th, 2012
12:22 am

Yes. I have a sense of humor too.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 27th, 2012
12:25 am

@ FLJ…..I know you do. You have also shown tolerance towards me regarding some of the things I have said, either here or in emails. BTW, did you open the one I sent you (and others) today? Although political in nature, it was strictly non-partisan and I thought it was funny as hell. In case you didn’t open it, it’s an old Johnny Carson routine from the old Tonight Show.