• Virginia Tech's Defensive Game Plan Against Paul Johnson

    When Georgia Tech's offense lines up against Virginia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium, what can you expect from VT's defense? A good indication is to look at what the Hokies did last season against the Jackets.

    Some thoughts:

    * They come out in "4-3" look that's more often than not a de facto 5 man front; one of the outside linebackers will usually crowd the line of scrimmage, the other will play in a standard position, and the middle linebacker will line up way deep.

    * They generally keep two safeties high. The cornerbacks are soft on 1st and 2nd downs but appear to be in a loose man coverage.

    * Foster (VT's defensive coordinator) likes to get more creative on third down. That could have hurt them if we had blocked better, as their alignment sometimes isn't balanced and we get numbers on them on the play side quickly.

    * The defensive tackles are playing the motion man - not as wildly as UNC's (who would essentially sprint outside if an A-Back was coming in motion to their side), but enough that they can clog up lanes on the triple option. We countered this by running traps.

    * They are good at shedding blocks in the secondary. There's no getting around this - good athletes have a greater ability to get off of blocks (or at least the potential to) and their athletes are pretty good. They're well coached in it.

    * On the option, the Ends like to stay relatively square, make contact with the offensive tackle, squeeze slightly, and then pop back out. They want to show that they're taking BB but they rarely fully commit. If we can make our blocks on the DTs, we should have room to run on the dive portion of the triple.

    * That being said, that's just the tendency. They mix it up - sometimes the Ends will knife right at the BB. This means the QB can't go in predicting anything.

    * Early, they stayed 2-high against Trips and tried to have the linebackers take the A-Backs in a man-coverage after showing zone. Later, they seem to adjust and send a safety down to cover the wide A-back.

    * Their linebackers, corners, and safeties really key hard on Rocket action. Playaction should be golden on this.

    * #58 is pretty smart and gets to the ball well, but I think he might be too keyed in on AB motion - traps away from motion could be nice, as could "twirl" motion, where the AB stops when the ball is snapped and goes back the other way.

    * #92 is quick and pursues hard down the line. We have to work extra hard to cut him off.

    * #98 is strong and also pursues hard down the line.

    * They killed us on the pass rush, but I can't tell if they were that good or if it was *just* that we were that bad up front (and we were bad).

    * Their corners ran step-for-step with all of our WRs. This year we're in better hands but it's still going to be a challenge to get those guys deep in the drop back game.


    Overall: They're quick, they get off of blocks, and the adjust to formations pretty well. The secondary is athletic and involved in run support. Last year we played a poor game offensively against them - Tevin, for instance, uncharacteristically missed several option reads and mishandled the ball a few times; Uzzi got beat sometimes; etc - before turning it on on the last drive.

    I think we'll probably be in for a grinding game offensively; VT's just that intent on preventing big runs. We'll see zone dive, some triple, some traps, probably some short rocket runs...and hopefully some playaction that goes long. I don't think we match up great in the dropback game. I think the ABs should be able to shake free on PA though.

    Us last year:

    * We were bad up front every which way in the run game; Beno, Uzzi, and Kidney (!) all played below average games. Finch did okay. Mason did okay. Some of that was due to the aforementioned strength and quickness of VaTech's D-Line but I really think we could have gotten a lot more out of the O-Line.

    * Really bad on the perimeter.

    * We tried to force the Rocket on them. It was generally good for 4 or 5 and I guess CPJ thought it was better to try to grind out with these gains than keep cycling through the playbook.

    * Tevin was a different man on that last drive. Calm, collected, quick, accurate. Not sure what came over him.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Notes on Virginia Tech's 2012 Defense v. GaTech started by stylee View original post
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. stylee's Avatar
      stylee -
      You can view the page at http://gtsportstalk.com/content.php?...t-Paul-Johnson
    1. InsideLB's Avatar
      InsideLB -
      In the past against both Nesbitt and Washington VT has committed to stopping the dive and taking away the pitch. They want the QB to run it so they can hit him and hopefully reduce his efficacy as the game goes on. Also Foster knows that the pitch is the most likely place we'll put the ball on the ground, particularly if they are taking it away and the QB makes a bad read and pitches it with a defender coming into the pitchman's grill.

      If VT stays true to form they are going to let Vad keep the ball and hit him a lot. Against Nesbitt their strategy didn't work because Nesbitt was a guy who'd run stronger the longer the game went. Really Nesbitt should have beaten VT 3x instead of 1x (in PJ's first season they gave VT a bogus helmet to helmet on Michael Johnson that gave the game away, in Nesbitt's last game we were kicking their ass before Nesbitt got hurt).

      So. If you are playing a team that's making your QB run the ball it might make sense to bring in Justin Thomas and give him some called double options where the FB is not a read, or some speed option, and try to hit a long play. Particularly if Vad struggles.
    1. PatrickinGa's Avatar
      PatrickinGa -
      We are playing a tough game on short rest, AFTER a game against NC where Vad was gassed even in the 3rd qtr. Wonder if he is recovered enough to play all four quarters of as tough a game as I expect this one to be, offensively speaking.

      Would be nice to have another good option QB healthy and waiting in the wings.
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Quote Originally Posted by InsideLB View Post
      In the past against both Nesbitt and Washington VT has committed to stopping the dive and taking away the pitch. They want the QB to run it so they can hit him and hopefully reduce his efficacy as the game goes on. Also Foster knows that the pitch is the most likely place we'll put the ball on the ground, particularly if they are taking it away and the QB makes a bad read and pitches it with a defender coming into the pitchman's grill.

      If VT stays true to form they are going to let Vad keep the ball and hit him a lot. Against Nesbitt their strategy didn't work because Nesbitt was a guy who'd run stronger the longer the game went. Really Nesbitt should have beaten VT 3x instead of 1x (in PJ's first season they gave VT a bogus helmet to helmet on Michael Johnson that gave the game away, in Nesbitt's last game we were kicking their ass before Nesbitt got hurt).

      So. If you are playing a team that's making your QB run the ball it might make sense to bring in Justin Thomas and give him some called double options where the FB is not a read, or some speed option, and try to hit a long play. Particularly if Vad struggles.
      After the beating Vad took against UNC, I'm concerned if VT decides to punish him in this game.
    1. yellojello's Avatar
      yellojello -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      After the beating Vad took against UNC, I'm concerned if VT decides to punish him in this game.
      I love Vad. But he really needs to protect himself better. TW was good at not getting hammered. VL needs to improve in that department. No reason to take unnecessary hits.
    1. Boomergump's Avatar
      Boomergump -
      Quote Originally Posted by PatrickinGa View Post
      We are playing a tough game on short rest, AFTER a game against NC where Vad was gassed even in the 3rd qtr. Wonder if he is recovered enough to play all four quarters of as tough a game as I expect this one to be, offensively speaking.

      Would be nice to have another good option QB healthy and waiting in the wings.
      What is he, 20 years old? He can handle it. Kids recover fast.
    1. Boomergump's Avatar
      Boomergump -
      Quote Originally Posted by yellojello View Post
      I love Vad. But he really needs to protect himself better. TW was good at not getting hammered. VL needs to improve in that department. No reason to take unnecessary hits.
      That play where he got rammed in the chest, knocking his wind out in the process....... I hope it taught him a lesson. He is lucky he didn't get a broken sternum. I don't mind him running physical, but he needs to anticipate contact there and get his pads down to deliver / absorb contact.
    1. RamblinWreck92's Avatar
      RamblinWreck92 -
      honestly, if lowly Marshall can nearly beat the Chokies, we shouldn't have any problems. These kids are 18-21 years old and it's early so it's not like they're going to be exhausted from playing last Saturday.

      VaTech sux. Time to take care of bidness!