Technical Tidbits EXTRA: The Groh Conference

This isn't your average Technical Tidbits, folks. This here's a special edition, one that's less on links and more on content. But I called it the tidbits anyways because there's a lot of TIDBITS of the press conference in this story. Confusing? Yes. Less interesting? Hopefully not.

The first thing I want to touch on is why this happened in the first place. Johnson said that obviously the defense "needed to go in a different direction" because he "wasn't seeing improvement." That, I hope, we all figured out by now. But CPJ gave us a little insight in to why this happened. To Joey and I, it sounded like a communication issue. "Al's very smart. The problem was is what was in Al's head just wasn't trancending on the field" said Coach Johnson earlier. To me, that sounds like a 70 year old man not being able to stay in touch with 20 year old kids, or, like most tech professors, not being able to effectively explain something he was a top expert in. Communication issues can KILL a team of any kind, that's what happened here.

My next point of interest is how CPJ intends to handle to coaching situation moving forward. He made it sound like it was going to be coordinator by committee, with PJ saying that he will be more involved in defense, Coach McCollum coaching ILBs, Coach Walkosky will coach line, and Coach Speed coaching OLBs. He also says that there will be a lot of simplification. Haven't we heard that before? All this simplification seems to make sense after all if the problem was the players being unable to understand Groh's philosophy. But it also provides an interesting insight into Coach Johnson's attitude about defense. "To me, playing defense is playing defense. If you line up in 3-technique, and the guy blocks down, then you pinch." Its very segmented, technical, and process-oriented to him. I think he might think its a little TOO simple, to be quite honest. Last time we tried to keep simplifying (under coach Wommack), players were joking on twitter about running 4 plays the whole game. That's not the kind of defense I want to see run. But CPJ also said that defense is about physical consistency and speed. Flying to the ball, hitting hard, that sort of things. "We're going to spend more time in practice on [tackling]" he said. I'm glad he's committed to that.

All in all, I think a lot of this end of the season period is going to be about two things: getting the defense fired up like they were at the very beginning of the season, and getting ready to play Georgia. Let's hope they do those two things successfully.

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