Welcome to your newest installment of "Joey's flight got delayed, so naturally he started drinking and then wrote an article." Let's see how this goes. Nothing will be edited out due to anything I think better of later -- you have my word.
Happy 4th of July, Tech fans! As we celebrate our nation's Independence, let's take a moment to discuss the most American sport that our nation has to offer -- football.
The theme of this year's installment of NCAA Football is "Keep It Real", off of the basis that they redesigned the entire gameplay engine to more properly reflect true physics, running styles, and hit impacts. Today, we're going to discuss "Keeping It Real" in relation to Georgia Tech football and its portrayal within the game.
The part of this game that sticks out to me the most in relation to Georgia Tech is the ratings of our team. Our team is overall rated at an 86 (maybe a bit low, but I'd call it fair), with the offensive unit being rated as an 83 and the defensive unit being rated at an 88. I don't have the actual ratings from last year's game, but as an avid player of last year's game I can ensure that this is at least the second straight year that our defense has been rated higher than our offense.
I wonder though, does this really make sense? Last year our offense was in the top 25% of the country in output, particularly in the scope of points per game and rushing yards. Meanwhile, our defense was our Achilles' heel, performing poorly and often failing to come up with the one stop we needed to keep momentum or even win the game. How can one really justify rating our defense higher than our offense?
What this really boils down to, as I see it, is raw talent, with coaching out the window. On offense, there are well-documented talent concerns at wide receiver along with a few other spots (depending on who you ask). I look at every position on our defense, and my only concern talent-wise is who will be starting next to Adam Gotsis at defensive tackle. The lineup of Dieke/Crenshaw/Williams, Gotsis, Attaochu, Watts, Hunt-Days, Nealy, Young, Thomas, Holton, and Johnson is pretty confidence-instilling to me. We know what each and every one of those guys is capable of when they're given the opportunity to play. Of those 10, I don't see any of them as a liability in any way. However, when put into a complicated system under Groh, issues were presented early and often.
Under Charles Kelly, the defense was simplified into one that allowed the guys to go out there and "just play" -- and the defensive output grew majorly. This year, Ted Roof's system should prove similar to what those players played in last year -- simple, aggressive, and capitalizing on players' talent and instincts rather than coaches' scheming abilities.
To me, it makes sense that our defense is rated higher than our offense, in terms of talent on each side of the ball in relation to other teams. In terms of talent, I'd imagine that we have a top-30 defense, where our offense is able to create more success than their talent levels would typically yield based on coaching, scheme, and discipline. Again, I think that we have a good team this fall, and I'm optimistic about what both units will be able to do. I truly believe that this could be a special season for Georgia Tech. However, even given last year's results, it makes sense to me how our defense would be rated higher than our offense, and I think that EA Sports did a solid job of "Keeping It Real" when rating our team this year.
What do you think, Tech fans? How does our defense stack up to our offense in relation to talent and output?