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Tech's Defense: Forcing Turnovers Like it's 2005

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Remember when Tech's defense featured Gerris Wilkinson, Chris Reis, Dawan Landry, KaMichael Hall, Phillip Wheeler, Kenny Scott, Adamm Oliver, Eric Henderson, Joe Anoai, Gary Guyton, Darrell Robertson, Vance Walker, and Dennis Davis? That 2005 defense racked up 36 sacks and 21 interceptions. In retrospect, that list of talent is quite spectacular.

This was a nasty Defense!
This was a nasty Defense!
Christopher Gooley-USA TODAY Sports
So let's focus on the title of the piece. Tech is forcing about 2.25 turnovers per game. We are nabbing 1.42 picks per game and 0.83 fumbles recovered per game. This is the best turnovers grabbed per game since 2005. The difference between the two D's, however, is vast. Tenuta's defense featured a blitzing super aggressive defense that never relented picking up 36 sacks in 12 games. The 2014 D only has 18 sacks to date and has relied upon a bend but don't break scheme featuring a very opportunistic secondary.

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The 2014 defense is only the 43rd best scoring defense in the country but has the 17th best scoring offense backing it up. In contrast, 2005 didn't win anything of note with a 17th ranked defense supported by the 104th best scoring offense. If the opponent wasn't a hapless team from the Triangle, then Tech didn't do much in 2005 but holy crap the defense still made opposing offenses squirm.

Back to turnovers, Tech is 12th nationally in turnovers forced and 7th best in the nation in interceptions garnered. In the first 5 games, Tech never gave up more turnovers than its opponents and averaged +1 turnover margin per game. In the Duke and UNC debacles, Tech had a -1.5 turnover margin. After the two game skid, Tech has averaged +1.8 turnover margin per game. Tech only gets about 10 drives per game and through poor turnover margin, we really shot ourselves in the foot against Duke in particular.

FSU will be the 39th best rated passer in the nation (fourth best Tech has faced). FSU is ranked 124th in interceptions thrown at 19 interceptions thrown on the season. Florida State is 94th best in the nation in turnover margin at -0.33 per game. I think Tech should expect to force some turnovers from the mistake prone Seminoles.