Tech’s defensive lapses have company

As you’ve likely noticed, Georgia Tech isn’t the only team giving up more yardage than in previous seasons, though the Yellow Jackets have been a little more aggressive about it than most teams.

I looked up total offense numbers for teams ranked 1st, 30th, 60th and 90th for the past few seasons. The increase is considerable. (This season’s numbers, obviously, are partial.) (Sorry the columns are kind of funky. I know how some of you like neatly aligned columns.)

2012                       2011       2010       2009       2006

1. 659                  599         531         563         559

30. 463                  432         423         417         376

60. 410                  387         381         384         345

90. 366                  348         334         334         312

There’s a lot of factors, obviously. But two stick out. The spread has taken over the game, which has made offenses more dynamic and efficient in getting ball-carriers in space. This is related, I think, to tackling being poor. Defensive players are going to miss more tackles one-on-one in the open field than they would inside the tackle box.

Second, more teams are playing more quickly. The following is the number of times offenses have run 90 plays or more in a game. Bear in mind the 2012 season is around the halfway point. The other years are complete-season numbers.

2012 – 46

2011 – 58

2010 – 45

2009 – 26

2008 – 20

Clemson ran a season-high 93 against the Yellow Jackets Saturday, the product of the Tigers’ high tempo and Tech’s inability to stop Clemson on third down. Tech is giving up 431 yards per game this season, which, if it holds, will be 71 yards more than last season and the highest average in school history. Miami ran 84 in its win over the Jackets.

I’m going to guess this defense will also end up having been on the field for the most plays in school history. (The Tech media guide, as comprehensive as it is, does not keep track of that statistic.) The total defense record, if you want to call it that, is held by the 1997 team at 420 yards. That was George O’Leary’s third team, which went 7-5.

Mind you, all this is not to say that Tech’s defensive problems are all the result of more plays and spread offenses. Just found it interesting.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

28 comments Add your comment


October 8th, 2012
2:28 pm

still hurts….


October 8th, 2012
2:35 pm

this misery enjoys no company…….groh must go NOW!

just a note...

October 8th, 2012
2:39 pm

Brent Venables had this to say after the game….

“I’m so glad that game is done,” Venables said after the Tigers’ 47-31 survival of Georgia Tech. “What a pain in the butt. I felt like I played every down today. It’s a tough offense to defend and creates a lot of stress in different ways.

Defense is the thorn…

Ken Sugiura

October 8th, 2012
2:46 pm


October 8th, 2012
2:46 pm

Buck Belue just stated that AL GROH has just now been FIRED from GA TECH. Can anyone else verify?


October 8th, 2012
2:47 pm

1,720 yards and 85 first downs. That’s what Tech’s defense has allowed the last three games. Miami certainly wasn’t a spread team and MTSU had just as much success running as anything else.
Opponents are 31 of 46 in third-down conversions the last three weeks and in that same span, they are 13 of 21 on third downs of 7 yards or more.
You want to get off the field? Make a stop.


October 8th, 2012
2:49 pm

Need to abandon the 3-4 immediately and go to a 4-3 scheme. This will help put pressure on the QB and give us a better chance to stuff the run. Send the strong safety on blitzes occasionally to disrupt the passing game. Send Groh back to retirement, his stuff just doesn’t work with the talent we have. UGA has much more talent and depth than we do and we saw what SC did to that 3-4. Just don’t think it can be run effectively in the college ranks.


October 8th, 2012
2:52 pm

USMC DAWG…..Confirmed. Read it on the GT Official Athletic page.


October 8th, 2012
2:58 pm

Al Groh just fired by Paul Johnson


October 8th, 2012
2:59 pm

I nominate this guy for Tech’s Defensive coordinator…

old dog

October 8th, 2012
3:02 pm

Y’all’s defense and our o-line (against good teams)……..a toss-up as to who is the sorriest!


October 8th, 2012
3:02 pm

ignition-’Bama runs the 3-4! they have the personnel…


October 8th, 2012
3:06 pm

Talking about a “lapse”… Tech’s four losses, they have been outscored 64 to 20 since the start of the fourth quarter! That is one stat that is totally unacceptable!


October 8th, 2012
3:07 pm

HOLY CRAP, being on fired on columbus day, thats the pits.


October 8th, 2012
4:06 pm

ken, good analysis, mabye yards per play would be helpful data…..

Fish stinks from the head-so when did groh become the “head “: of this pathetic team?

GT Alum

October 8th, 2012
4:46 pm

Part of this is also inflated by the fact that teams play more easy games to begin the season. Now that we’re in conference play, those numbers will likely fall.

Dacusville Bill

October 8th, 2012
11:03 pm

Should have promoted Groh to head coach and fired Pitiful Paul–


October 9th, 2012
5:49 am

alex stinks from the head.

Old Gold

October 9th, 2012
7:58 am

GT Alum, not defending Groh or Tech, but you’re dead wrong if you think those numbers stop climbing this year. There’s a definite trend to quicken the pace – not only run the spread in various forms, but much more no-huddle. Nick Saban was quoted a week ago as being concerned about this from the standpoint of safety for the athletes – this faster pace limits the ability of the defense to substitute (offense too, for that matter). Not sure if he’s correct (or if that was his true motive), but it’s a fact that he’s spoken out about it and is proof that it’s not just something that’s happening because weak teams are overly influencing statistics. Finally, note that the stats in the second chart were season-long numbers except for this season, and the trend line is clear. No doubt this year’s total will continue the upward curve.

Bill Lewis

October 9th, 2012
8:26 am

CPJ if you are reading this, I am available for hire for your DC position. My hips are healed up and I can PUMP up the troops…please grant me an interview.

Dave Wommack

October 9th, 2012
8:28 am

CPJ, How you like me now? I’m hungry like the “Wolf”!

Dave Braine(less)

October 9th, 2012
8:29 am

See, I told you Tech couldn’t win 9-10 games a year. If I was the AD I would’ve either hired Boom MF’er or Chris Hatcher and GT’s scoreboard lights would be supporting GE for decades!

Dede Westbrooks

October 9th, 2012
8:31 am

Coach, can I put my name in the hat? I would go HAM on opposing offenses! Hit me up on Facebook!

Woody Dantzler

October 9th, 2012
8:32 am

I just scored again on the Tech Defense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ted Roof

October 9th, 2012
8:33 am

Please contact the GT HR staff and see if my file states if I am in the “Re-Hire” status.

Jim 70

October 9th, 2012
9:04 am

I remember years ago when tech was consistently ahead at the half and lost in the second half. Initially I thought it was half time coaching, but it was actually lack of depth – our first team defense was good, but the second teamers did not hold up their end.

Maybe the same?


October 9th, 2012
2:55 pm

@ Jim 70. Nope, not the same. Our starters start the game off crappy and end the game even slower.

Voice Of Reason

October 11th, 2012
12:17 am

Ken, good point: “The spread has taken over the game, which has made offenses more dynamic and efficient in getting ball-carriers in space. This is related, I think, to tackling being poor.” Several years ago Sports Illustrated ran an article about the decline of High School football after Title IX with more talent turning to soccer and lacrosse. Do you think that, the increase in open field play, and rules that reduced practice time have resulted in a lack of good fundamentals? I see more and more poor tackling now in college, and even in the NFL. Are players tackling high, instead of wrapping up the thighs, because they are going after the ball all the time, or is it just they have not been ingrained with good technique?