Potentially revealing game for Tech defense

Missed assignments are down. Points and missed tackles, at least two games out of three, have been fewer. Energy is up.
The Georgia Tech defense looks like a different unit since the dismissal of defensive coordinator Al Groh. How much it actually has improved, though, could well be revealed over the course of three hours Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“Most certainly, North Carolina’s offense is going to be a test,” outside linebackers coach Joe Speed said. “We’re going to see if we can’t limit their yards on the ground, limit their yards in the air and see what we can do.”
Changes made by interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly have been received well. The tackling has improved, as well as the angles players have taken to make them. With a simplified scheme, players are making fewer mistakes. In practice, more time and emphasis is placed on tackling.
“Something I like better that we do is, if we mess up a play (in practice), we stop and explain everything and make sure everything is perfect before we ever move on,” outside linebacker Brandon Watts said. “We make sure everybody is in the right spot and in the right gaps before we ever move on to another play.”
Inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy said the biggest difference he sees is the speed at which the defense plays.
“Tempo-wise, everybody’s giving a whole lot more effort, I guess because it doesn’t require a lot of thinking for the defense,” he said. “Guys are really flying to the ball and it’s allowing a lot of guys to make plays.”
UNC coach Larry Fedora has seen something similar.
“They’re not doing as much as they were doing early,” he said. “Now you’re seeing the athleticism in their kids come out. They’re playing faster and playing harder because they know what to do.”
It worked against a team whose quarterback was a converted linebacker, as was the case last Saturday in Tech’s win over Maryland. Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner, though, is actually a quarterback.
The Tar Heels’ numbers – No. 16 in FBS in total offense and scoring offense – are augmented by their high-tempo offense that enables them to run more plays and possessions. That said, it can be safely assumed that they’re a vastly different lot, at any pace, than what Kelly has seen to date.
Boston College, BYU and Maryland rank 90th, 79th and 119th, respectively, in FBS. The Cougars, albeit with considerable field-position help, roughed up Tech for 41 points and 411 yards.
Tech’s primary priority will be limiting running back Giovani Bernard, whose average of 132.9 rushing yards per game is fifth in the country. Shifty and explosive, Bernard has run for 15 or more yards 16 times.
“We’ve said it every week,” Kelly said. “You’ve got to be able to stop the run to be able to have a chance.”
Against Tech, Boston College ran for 32 rushing yards, BYU for 183 and Maryland for 144 in the three games that Kelly has served as coordinator. Down to their fifth-string quarterback, the Terrapins averaged a very tolerable 3.3 yards per carry against the Jackets.
Tech will also need to either provide better pass coverage or find some way to pressure Renner, an accurate passer with a wealth of capable targets. His offensive line has permitted one sack for every 46.9 pass attempts, far and away the best ratio in the ACC.
North Carolina’s hurry-up style is something else that has given Tech problems, and the Tar Heels have had an extra week to prepare for the Jackets. Tech, which has had trouble rushing the passer, defending accurate quarterbacks and keeping pace with fast-tempo teams, had best be ready.
“When you’re playing people that are good, you really want to go out and see how you measure up against them,” Watts said.
Wish granted.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

35 comments Add your comment

Biff Pocoroba

November 9th, 2012
10:55 pm

I hope Tech has spent a lot of time on kicking practice this week too. Since UNC had two weeks to prepare with a good defense, they probably win 37-17.

Jacket TIme

November 9th, 2012
10:57 pm

A good offense will make a good defense in this one. We need to put lots of pts on the board.

Jacket TIme

November 9th, 2012
10:58 pm

Jeez Biff ur quite the negative nancy aren’t u?

Jacket TIme

November 9th, 2012
11:01 pm

3 first posts for 3 articles in a row regarding 2 different sports and they are all downer comments just depressing man.

Biff Pocoroba

November 9th, 2012
11:17 pm

DRad left our men’s sports programs at their all time worst. He had consecutive top 10 baseball teams flopping in the first round of the regionals, the football team missing a bowl for the first time in years and the basketball team coming off their worst season in years. The volleyball coach that he fired is doing great at Marquette and his friend that he hired from LSU is struggling and Tech can’t make the tournament anymore and had its first losing season in 20 years last year. DRad should have been run off a long time ago but he stayed around just long enough to drag Tech down to worse than they were when he got there. I never thought that women’s basketball would be our only hope.

Reformed Toady

November 9th, 2012
11:21 pm

Bif, there’s always an easy way out. It’s up to you. One round, place barrel in mouth, pull the trigger.


November 9th, 2012
11:25 pm

looks like we will be pressed hard tomorrow. hope we respond. accurate passer, excellent runner, and fast tempo; everything we have trouble with…..


November 9th, 2012
11:28 pm

sounds like Biff has a point….

1 4 GT

November 9th, 2012
11:33 pm

I always thought it took a pretty tough guy to be a MLB catcher there Biff. Guess I was wrong. I don’t see any fight in your words of unwisdom.

1 4 GT

November 9th, 2012
11:34 pm

Ah! Biff has a cohort! Another negative nellie!


November 10th, 2012
1:16 am

UNC is the second “solid” team Kelly has faces, the first didn’t turn out so good!!!


November 10th, 2012
8:01 am

Ken, we have already REVEALED enough on defense. Now we just need to COVER folks across the middle and tackle somebody.


November 10th, 2012
8:02 am

It’s not Kelly’s fault, he’s been a big improvement. I shudder to think what BYU would have done against Groh’s Lay Down Sally dee…

We have to slow them down some and hold the ball on offense. They’re a good team, no question. Hopefully, we’ll compete!

Go Jackets THWG!

Hayseed Dixie

November 10th, 2012
10:01 am

“Something I like better that we do is, if we mess up a play (in practice), we stop and explain everything and make sure everything is perfect before we ever move on”

Man, that’s kinda terrifying they weren’t doing that before. I don’t have a clue as to Groh’s teaching methods, but if you’re gonna put kids in a position to succeed/fail you *have* to prepare them.

I’m just kind of dumbfounded by this quote.

Delbert D.

November 10th, 2012
10:30 am

Number crunching time.

I took the NCAA numbers for the top 50 teams in total offense to date (4 ACC teams are in the top 50 in total offense.) For those 50 teams, I calculated the TDs per play. Here are some rankings for TD/play for ACC teams in that bunch. Oregon ranks No. 4 in total offense and No.1 in TDs per pay; for comparison; Baylor ranks No. 1 in total offense, No.13 in TDs/play.

Rank TDs/ Play
#4 — 0.082 — FSU
#14–0.071 — Ga. Tech
#17–0.068 — Clemson
#22–0.065 — UNC

Here are the NCAA.com rankings by total offense based on yards/game:
Rank Total Offense
#7 — FSU
#9 — Clemson
#16 — UNC
#34 — Ga.Tech

empy seats

November 10th, 2012
10:40 am

Reformed tody – is that you pj?

Teddy Roosevelt

November 10th, 2012
11:03 am

You can’t coach speed. His response: Yes I can.

Jacket TIme

November 10th, 2012
11:05 am

Yeah I don’t think our D can stop this UNC offense we need to pull an Big/PAC 12 type game and win 60-55 Oregon style.


November 10th, 2012
11:47 am

Gonna be a good game! I’m ready!

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
11:52 am

ESPN Gameday pretty good today.
A&M fans all have a Johnny Manzell story that ESPN adds a few to including one by a dog, cartoon captioned of course.
A few jokes on the Navy’s barracks were Ok too.
FSU lost to S Alabama.
They’ll be dropping as we will be rising.
Be months before we might crack the top 25 but as I’ve said 5 times today, I was impressed.
So DRAD’s plan for basketball might be a big success Bif.
The coach some thought was not enough of a big name for us might be just what we need.

DS CE'91

November 10th, 2012
11:54 am

OK Let’s do this…….. LEEEEROOOOOY…….JENKINS!!!!!!!!

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
11:57 am

Please impress me too Charles Kelly.
We need a pass rush.
If we don’t have it, u need to blitz less than Tenuta but more than Groh.
And it’s time the special team coach showed us something too.
Something should have been changed on our kick off coverage vs BYU.
If I knew what, I should have his job.
Don’t stay stuck on stupid anyway.

5150 UOAD

November 10th, 2012
11:58 am

Well I think we can win……I hope we DO WIN……and that will make next weekend SPECIAL…………..I hope to see all the tailgaters nest weekend……

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
11:59 am

I think both FSU and Virginia basketball teams were upset.
Or did Virginia pull it a win?

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:00 pm

out instead of it.
proof-read dummy. (beat u to it)

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:01 pm

How r u doing today 5150?

5150 UOAD

November 10th, 2012
12:07 pm

Pretty good…..with the COLD snap my back is not happy but it happens every this time of year. The Sciatica starts cause my body has to adjust to the COLD.

Will this be our LIVE BLOG for the Game today?

I don’t see Bradley of Schultz running one yet.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:09 pm

Defer or take the ball?
On the road, it might not be bad to quiet their fans.
Assuming u can do it.
I’ll leave that to CPJ since he makes the big money.
You know, if Bobby Dodd was still alive, it would probably give him a heart attack to see what guys get paid today.
Did I read this morning that neither he or Coach Aleck had a contract?
Well every failed play back then did not bring out Fire the assistant, head coach, AD and everybody but the janitor folks.
Though someone did send Dodd losing game programs his “first” year that he definitely mentioned in Dodd’s Luck.
Wonder who it was.
Must not ever have apologized either.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:10 pm

5150 UOAD

November 10th, 2012
12:11 pm

I like the DEFER……..Stop them early and if gets TECH in the GAME.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:12 pm

I don’t mind Biff’s negativity as much as some because he can be funny on occasion.
And the running feud between him and Toady is good for laughs too.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:15 pm

I’m fine with that.
Provided they don’t run it out to the 50 or worse.
We can’t have another game of BYU coverage with no adjustments.
We need Tony Z back with Golden instead of Orwin.
Save Orwin for the offense.
Give Tony more time on the field.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:20 pm

There is a live blog I see at the top right.
Thought we could stay here.
but we would miss all the fighting.
Toady and Biff feud is a funny one so far.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
12:21 pm

So let’s join the group.
See u over there.


November 11th, 2012
12:29 am

Jacket time-you called the game score right didn’t you? What a scoring bonaza! Go Jackets!