This week's Guest Blogger is furrer4heisman from the SBNation blog GobblerCountry. Our blogs go way back before our respective SBNation moves as we traded banter back and forth on blogspot when we were TheLegacyx4. f4h actually lives in Oklahoma and is too cheap to drive to Atlanta to come watch the biggest game of the season for the ACC thus far. Poor f4h. As usual, he also sent us questions and you can click here to see our responses.
1. Lately it seems like it is the defensive tackles of the opponent who have proven to thwart the running of our offense. Break down your tackles.
GC: They're getting better. We've battled some injuries and have very little depth at the position, so it's been a struggle early. The two starters are junior John Graves and senior Cordarrow "Taco" Thompson. Graves is probably our best defensive tackle, but I never thought he was big enough to play the position. He was moved to defensive end prior to the season help with depth there, but after a couple of other options emerged he was moved back to tackle.
Ironically, the reason I thought Graves was ill-suited to play the position is why I think he'll have some success against Georgia Tech. He's taller, lighter and more agile than a lot of defensive tackles, which will help when trying to get around the cut blocks the Yellow Jackets throw at you. Looking at him, you'd think he was an end. But he's been able to get the job done this year.
Taco is coming along. The tackles weren't able to get a good "push" early in the year, but that really doesn't matter against GT because they're blocking schemes aren't traditional.
2a. Has Foster described any type of defensive game prep for our offense?
GC: Not Foster, but defensive line coach Charley Wiles did. We have freshman safety Antone Exum, who is redshirting, at scout team quarterback. He was one of those do-it-all players in high school, playing quarterback, playing in the secondary and returning kicks. To help simulate the speed of Georgia Tech's offense, the ball starts in Exum's hands and instead of having a snap, the coaches just wave a towel that signals the play has started and Exum takes off. Our coaches want to give the defense as many reps simulating the GT offense as possible, so you don't want to waste time with botched snaps.
2b. Feeding off the previous question. From what we heard while getting our drink on in Tallahassee, VPI confused Shinskie by throwing zone defenses at the old freshman instead of man coverage. how will the hokie birds set up?
GC: Well, our base defense is a type of zone, so if he was confused it's because his coaches didn't properly prepare him for what he was going to see. But for this game, you pretty much have to throw your base defense out the window. Because the GT offense is so complex, the details are magnified. The defensive linemen have to have good footwork against the cut blocks (notice I DIDN'T say chop). Your linebackers have to know their assignment and stay with it. Your secondary can't miss tackles when the pitch goes to the outside.
If any of those things fails, GT is going to break a big play. Then you have to account for Bey-Bey Thomas and the passing game, which is improving by the week. Our defense has at times struggled defending deep balls, whether it's a missed assignment or getting beat when we do throw man coverage out there. Also at times we've struggled with missed tackles. Lately we've improved a lot on both, but if those old habits creep in while trying to deal with this complex offense we're going to give up some points.
It's going to be assignment football, but you can't just go out and say, 'OK, you've got the dive, you've got the QB and you've got the pitch. Ready? Break!' You have to read and react and do it quickly because everything happens so fast in this offense. I think you'll see us be aggressive. You'll see our defensive ends try to get down field quickly to force an early give from Nesbitt. Last year we tried to make Nesbitt beat us by taking away his friends. This year I think the goal will actually be to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible and then hope our speed and tackling don't fail. Because while Dwyer and Allen are the ones busting the big plays, Nesbitt is the one beating teams this year by making the right reads and by picking up key first downs himself. The earlier you get the ball away from Nesbitt, the more time you have to read and react. At least that's what I've seen when I've watched you guys this year.
Facing your offense is like facing a TAH-NOO-TAH defense. Either you're going to get them or they're going to get you.
3. What is your pregame ritual? Do you have a particular Queen album that you listen to? Do you prefer Zima or Strongbow or a good Mike's Hard Lemonade to wake you up in the morning? Hint: A little hokie bird told me you like to wax your legs before every game.
GC: Oh shit, you guys thought you were playing Virginia this week. Dude, you're playing Virginia TECH. Better alter your game plan.
4. The Hokies have only been to ATL for Thursday Night games since joining the ACC (average attendance 50,300 or 91.4% capacity). Do you see the #4 Hokies finally giving GT its first sellout of the season Saturday Night?
GC: I hope so. My only concern is Hokie fans staying home because they've already been to Atlanta once this season. I have faith that enough fans will make what I consider a short drive from Virginia to Atlanta to see a game that could decide the division. Our fans take a lot of pride in being a fan base that travels very well. We have to keep our rep and sell that game out.
5. Do you plan on getting into a drunken brawl with every GT fan within close proximity when Josh Nesbitt and Jon Dwyer combine for 6,000 yards rushing against the Hokies? Or do you prefer to shed your anger in tear form?
GC: I'm one of the few Hokie fans in Oklahoma. Amazingly, one of my good friends from high school is one of the few Yellow Jacket fans in Oklahoma. He's from Snellville originally and occasionally comments on the blog under the handle Sid Bream Speed. We have agreed to not watch the game together because it would result in fisticuffs regardless of outcome.
Post your responses to furrer4heisman in the comments!