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Georgia Tech Football: Little Big Plays - Georgia Southern

A great weekend for the offense, but the defense was again a problem

NCAA Football: Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Feels good to be back in the win column! These studies were starting to get painful and demoralizing. This week, there was a lot to like on the offensive side of the ball, despite a slew of injuries. The defense was.....the defense again, and you won’t get through this article without reading a rant about Ted Roof. There were a lot of eye-opening things that stood out on tape this week. Some good, some bad.

This column has deviated a bit from its original intention. It has become a bit of a “complain about Ted Roof” article instead of an analysis on the flow of the game. Well, ol’ Teddy made me mad again this week, so maybe we’ll get back to basics next game.

The Good

Q1 8:35 1st and 10 - Just a great play by AJ Gray. He defeats his block and blows up his man. He needs to be allowed to play closer to the line of scrimmage more. He’s a monster.

Q3 13:57 2nd and 12 - Gray sniffs out a flat route and destroys it. “Let’s play him 20 yards off the ball” - Ted Roof, probably.

Q4 10:11 2nd and Goal - This is what Brandon Adams is capable of. Play him. Should help with the gap integrity issues we had during this game.

Q4 6:15 2nd and 10 - The play breaks down, but Parker Braun makes a great cut block, and Jahaziel Lee sticks with his man just enough on the backside to let JT be JT.

The Bad

Q1 10:06 3rd and 11 - The defense switches to 3-2-6 personnel for the long 3rd down. Ted Roof calls a 3 deep zone, with the 3 deep men starting 15 yards off the ball and backpedaling about 7 yards immediately after the snap. When the QB unsurprisingly scrambles away from the 3 man rush, the DBs are unable to come up in support. It’s unnecessary to be this conservative on defense.

Q1 9:39 1st and 10 - Antonio Simmons and AJ Gray both go for the RB on the zone read. This is an option concept. An option concept.......

Q1 6:27 2nd and 10 - Southern runs a screen off a 6 man blitz. It’s a good play call, but this is a good example of how discombobulated our blitzes are. Alford runs into the back of Kallon. This happens way too frequently. The defensive staff needs to do a better job of coaching blitz coordination, or Roof needs to draw up better packages. Both, really.

Q1 4:10 4th and Goal - Absolutely garbage gap integrity. This is by design, which makes it even worse. As you can see, the DL pinches inward to close off the interior. This includes Chase Alford. KeShun Freeman goes upfield to seal off the edge. This leaves nobody off-tackle. Brant Mitchell is standing behind the interior, but with the inward pinch his presence there isn’t necessary. He’s needed off-tackle...where the play goes. This has been a repeated issue, and teams are starting to figure it out. Miami, Pitt, and now Georgia Southern have all had success attacking off-tackle. Expect teams to keep hitting it.

Q3 13:27 2nd and 12 - We regularly do this double A-gap blitz, but it leaves nobody to guard off-tackle. By design, the DTs are supposed to slant out to that area, drawing the OL with them in order to give the LBs a free lane to the passer. On Victor Alexander’s near-sack, this would have worked had he made the tackle. It often ends up like this, where it gets destroyed by a screen or outside run. Freeman also didn’t even try to set that edge.

Q3 10:12 3rd and 5 - Nobody blocks the MLB on speed option. Tech had the right numbers on the edge for this play, but JT hesitates to pitch and Clinton Lynch is indecisive about who to block, leading to a busted play.

Little Big Player of the Game - OG Shamire Devine

Corey Griffin had a great game, but as he was the team’s official defensive player of the game, I decided to give this week’s honor to Shamire Devine. It was far from a perfect game for the big guy, but he managed to get consistent movement on Georgia Southerns very, very big defensive tackles. He didn’t let guys get under him this game. His pulls and scoops also look improved. Devine has had his share of struggles during his time at Tech, but he’s by far the best option we have at guard currently, and is vital to this team’s hopes for the rest of the season.

Other Notes

  • I was pleased with the play of Jahaziel Lee this game. I expected Lee to be more of a project, but he was serviceable. Didn’t always know where to go and occasionally whiffed, but he’s athletic. Gets to the second level with ease. He’s also was better at pass blocking than I expected. He’ll need to add some beef this off-season.
  • Warning - Ted Roof Rant: I saw a lot of people griping about that fact that Ted Roof doesn’t bring enough pressure. Well, that’s not really the issue. Roof actually brought pressure this game. There were more than a couple times where he brought 6 guys. On Corey Griffin’s sack, he brought 7! It’s insane that he even needed to do that, but it proves a point: A lack of blitzing isn’t the issue. It goes deeper than that. Georgia Tech needs a fundamental change in its defensive philosophy. Coverage technique, blitz technique, gap control, they’re all bad. We’ve seen this for years. Guys in coverage sitting in a zone, eyes in the backfield, not breaking on the men in their zone until the ball is thrown. We’ve seen guys knock each other over on the blitz. We’ve seen massive holes open up off-tackle for weeks. These are the issues that plague the 3rd down defense. Then there’s the lack of safety involvement in most 3rd down situations, too. And don’t get me started on personnel management. It’s just not as simple as “bring more pressure.” I wish it was.
  • Play Brandon Adams more. The defense is getting back in the rut of over-playing it’s starting DTs again, and it showed late in this game. Also, Kallon and Glanton should not be in the game at the same time.
  • Not too many complaints for the offense considering the injury issues they are dealing with. Southern was giving up a lot of dive looks on the option, and we took them. They were clearly afraid of our speed on the edge.