• Georgia Tech Defensive Analysis - Virginia Tech

    Watching Georgia Tech's 17-10 loss to Virginia Tech, it appeared that the Jackets defense played well. But was that really the case?

    I just finished watching every Georgia Tech defensive series again with the action slowed down. On the surface, the results are pretty good; 17 points given up and a total of 270 yards are both respectable numbers. Beneath the surface, there remains some serious reasons for concern. I don't consider VT a very good offensive football team and I think the film reinforced that opinion. Logan Thomas had a good day, compared to his recent games, and VT appeared to have a good plan for how to attack our weaknesses. However, they are short of talent at many positions, without any real play makers to count on. Their offensive line is not even near the top shelf of the league and probably commensurate for a program like Duke has been historically. Despite these issues, they were a real battle for us and we had a difficult time getting them stopped.

    The root cause of our issues remains the defensive line. You may point to the fact that we got two sacks. While that is true, they were not products of any one player whipping the guy in front of them. Cummings was unblocked on his sack, on a play that had to be a bust for the OL. A puny RB tried to pick him up after he got a full head of steam towards Thomas, but was unable.

    The other sack came on a blitz where Watts was left untouched until a RB tried to pick him up, too. I don't think a single player on our line has bull rush capabilities. We approach the OL pass blockers without leverage and without aggression, drive or moves.

    Gotsis probably tries harder than the others. He has a motor and is usually first off the line, but realistically, on most teams, he is still trying to work his way up the depth chart. Attaochu has a motor and speed but lacks the ability to bull rush. He can beat you with speed and some tenacity, but you will never see him push an OT into the backfield. Dieke probably effects the game less than any DE I can remember. Offenses just assign a lone OT to him and then forget about him. Logan Thomas threw a lot of quick passes that didn't give us a big chance to get to him, but there were plays to be made in the pass rush that we just can't seem to be able to make without bringing a lot of help.

    Thank goodness we have good athletes at LB. They spend a lot of time chasing plays down. The biggest problem I saw them having last game was a preoccupation with Thomas. They got beat into space by crossing receivers, TEs and RBs repeatedly beat our linebackers because they were all watching Logan Thomas, waiting for him to take off. Thomas creates problems in this way, but I think we helped him a bit too. Our kids bite really hard on play action consistently, maybe because they have to, but it is going to bite us. They are best when chasing plays. We have a lot of speed here.

    Sometimes we hit guys like LT too high and then give up the extra 4 yards because of it. We got burned early on their first drive off play action where they faked a stretch hand-off to the right side and threw back across the grain. It was kind of comical to watch the crossing receiver pass through ALL 3 LBs without one of them paying him any mind. There was literally nobody left on that side of the field. You know they had seen this type of thing from us on film and they were just licking their chops to use the play.

    Most of the action at the second level was out of the screen, but it appeared that we did a good job in coverage. There wasn't a lot of room to go with the ball on the deeper routes. We totally lost the flats a few times and left them unaccounted for, but when our guys manned up with their receivers, they weren't getting space.

    In summary, I give our guys credit for a pretty good result. We are trying to play to our strengths, but I fear there are too many holes out there for us to consistently shut teams down. The record for the year so far is well ahead of last in terms of points and yards. Personally, I have put out of my head any hopes of being a dominating group. It looks like we are more cohesive and less prone to lapses, but we still going to have to score, and sometimes score big if we want to win.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Film Room - GT on Defense vs VT started by Boomergump View original post
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. mack's Avatar
      mack -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boomergump View Post
      I just finished watching the every defensive series again with the action slowed down. On the surface, the results are pretty good. 17 points given up and a total of 270 yards are both respectable numbers. Beneath the surface, there remains some serious reasons for concern. I don't consider VT a very good offensive football team and I think the film reinforced that opinion. Logan Thomas had a good day, compared to his recent games, and VT appeared to have a good plan for how to attack our weaknesses. However, they are short of talent at many positions, without any real play makers to count on. Their offensive line is not even near the top shelf of the league and probably commensurate for a program like Duke has been historically. Despite these issues, they were a real battle for us and we had a difficult time getting them stopped.

      The root cause of our issues remains the defensive line. You may point to the fact that we got two sacks. While that is true, they were not products of any one player whipping the guy in front of them. Cummings was unblocked on his on a play that had to be a bust for the OL. A puny RB tried to pick him up after he got a full head of steam towards Thomas, but was unable. The other sack came on a blitz where Watts was left untouched until a RB tried to pick him up too. I don't think a single player on our line has bull rush capabilities. We approach the OL pass blockers without leverage and without aggression, drive or moves. Gotsis probably tries harder than the others. He has a motor and is usually first off the line but realistically, on most teams, he is still trying to work his way up the depth chart. Attaochu has a motor and speed but lacks the ability to bull rush. He can beat you with speed and some tenacity but you will never see him push an OT into the backfield. Dieke probably effects the game less than any DE I can remember. Offenses just assign a lone OT to him and then forget about him. LT threw a lot of quick passes that didn't give us a big chance to get to him, but there were plays to be made in the pass rush that we just can't seem to be able to make without bringing a lot of help.

      Thank goodness we have good athletes at LB. They spend a lot of time chasing plays down. The biggest problem I saw them having last game was a preoccupation with Thomas. They got beat into space by crossing receivers, TEs and RBs repeatedly because they were all watching LT waiting for him to take off. LT creates problems in this way, but I think we helped him a bit too. Our kids bite really hard on play action consistently, maybe because they have to, but it is going to bite us. They are best when chasing plays. We have a lot of speed here. Sometimes we hit guys like LT too high and then give up the extra 4 yards because of it. We got burned early on their first drive off play action where they faked a stretch handoff to the right side and threw back across the grain. It was kind of comical to watch the crossing receiver pass through ALL 3 LBs without one of them paying him any mind. There was literally nobody left on that side of the field. You know they had seen this type of thing from us on film and they were just licking their chops to use the play.

      Most of the action at the second level was out of the screen, but it appeared that we did a good job in coverage. There wasn't a lot of room to go with the ball on the deeper routes. We totally lost the flats a few times and left them unaccounted for, but when our guys manned up with their receivers, they weren't getting space.

      In summary, I give our guys credit for a pretty good result. We are trying to play to our strengths, but I fear there are to many holes out there for us to consistently shut teams down. The record for the year so far is well ahead of last in terms of points and yards. Personally, I have put out of my head any hopes of being a dominating group. It looks like we are more cohesive and less prone to lapses, but we still going to have to score, and sometimes score big if we want to win.
      From what I saw I was pleased with the attitude of the defense since they did not quit but questioned the drag passes VT used in the first quarter.Those are hard passes to stop unless the reciver is held up at LOS but more important to me was the ....PASS RUSH or lack of it.Not saying we didnt try but very little pressure on Logan all night and as a result he got into a early funk and completed what nine in a row.I agree when I coached a zone with inside LBS we knocked hell out of anybody crossing but like you said we just went with the flow.I think though the biggest problem we have is size of our lineman on the d line.Runnig a four three means some big hosses in the middle and looks like we are outweighed by each team we play.

      Good thing is for once after five yrs I can see other teams punt and that is a improvment.Of course I enjoyed the unis we wore but think we need more hosses to fill them up.We did well but again look at VT and their offense.I cant remember anybody but Logan running the football and he was hard to stop.We should get better and .........I think we are better than last yr.Handle Miami and we have a spark !
    1. mack's Avatar
      mack -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      Very informative and interesting. Thank you for the analysis. I guess the sobering realization has to hit home. We are not among the best teams in the country. We are not the best team in our conference or our division. So, statistically, we are vastly better on defense than a year ago, but still can't get it done? That was the off season mantra, myself included--improved defense will yield an improved won/loss. This week's games will be interesting. A win at Miami and a VPI loss to UNC (yes, possible) and it re-sets everything. Lose to Miami, and VPI wins, and we are toast. Paul Johnson cannot have this team come out flat in Miami. That will be what I look for---does the team come to play with intensity on both sides of the ball. If not, a lot of questions will be immediately answered.
      We can whip Miami but we must get them early.We have the ability to score on them and I think as erratic as they are on offense we can beat them...........if we get off to a good start.
    1. Ga Tech Navy Nuke's Avatar
      Ga Tech Navy Nuke -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      Very informative and interesting. Thank you for the analysis. I guess the sobering realization has to hit home. We are not among the best teams in the country. We are not the best team in our conference or our division. So, statistically, we are vastly better on defense than a year ago, but still can't get it done? That was the off season mantra, myself included--improved defense will yield an improved won/loss. This week's games will be interesting. A win at Miami and a VPI loss to UNC (yes, possible) and it re-sets everything. Lose to Miami, and VPI wins, and we are toast. Paul Johnson cannot have this team come out flat in Miami. That will be what I look for---does the team come to play with intensity on both sides of the ball. If not, a lot of questions will be immediately answered.
      Thanks Boomer massively for the breakdown. I agree with the idea that we are playing hard and the schemes are working to maximize the talent. But is the DL talent just isn't there or is the technique poor and indicative of poor coaching? ( I think / hope talent.)

      Yukon, I went back over the last ten 5 years and looked at all the D1 teams and how much improvement / decline was seen by teams. If we improve to our power ranking to about 15th by season end, that will be very good compared to most teams (better than 90% of the teams) over the last five years. It takes time to get better. We don't have elite talent and there's no hiding that when the elite teams attack weaknesses and don't let up till the game is over.
    1. Jeagt's Avatar
      Jeagt -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      Paul Johnson cannot have this team come out flat in Miami. That will be what I look for---does the team come to play with intensity on both sides of the ball. If not, a lot of questions will be immediately answered.
      This is pretty reasonable and will go a long way in telling us what the rest of the season will be like.
    1. alagold's Avatar
      alagold -
      Very good analysis. 19-25 is a high completion % for vt but we did stop run game--it wasn't the def that was the problem
      the DEF is playing almost exactly like I thought--6 Srs usually know what to do,just a question of being able to do it

      the scary part of vt def--their DEF 7 according to Pil steele hi school ratings were actually much lower than our OFF team
    1. awbuzz's Avatar
      awbuzz -
      drag patterns are a pain to cover, but man they rode that horse a lot of times against us.

      Bring on the 'canes and let's whip them Saturday.
    1. Boomergump's Avatar
      Boomergump -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      Very informative and interesting. Thank you for the analysis. I guess the sobering realization has to hit home. We are not among the best teams in the country. We are not the best team in our conference or our division. So, statistically, we are vastly better on defense than a year ago, but still can't get it done? That was the off season mantra, myself included--improved defense will yield an improved won/loss. This week's games will be interesting. A win at Miami and a VPI loss to UNC (yes, possible) and it re-sets everything. Lose to Miami, and VPI wins, and we are toast. Paul Johnson cannot have this team come out flat in Miami. That will be what I look for---does the team come to play with intensity on both sides of the ball. If not, a lot of questions will be immediately answered.
      Well, to say we can't get it done, I'm not sure if you mean the defense or the team as a whole? If you mean the defense, I would respond that we got it done Thursday. In fact, we have played well enough on defense to have won every game so far. That certainly is better than last year. The rest is just supposition on my part. Hopefully we will remain just as effective against the rest of our schedule. I just don't think we will, but what do I know?

      I am not worried about coming out flat against Miami. We certainly weren't flat against VT. Not in my opinion. If anything, I think we were too jacked up and tight. We played tight and we looked tight. Mistakes like that usually happen when there is a lot of adrenaline and also a certain level of panic. More than anything I want CPJ to really get the kids prepared so they can settle down a little and play focused, poised, and confident. We don't need them to feel like they have to push over a house to get a first down. We are talented and physical up front and we have kids who know how to run the plays behind them. If they just play hard, but within themselves, they will be fine.