TGW: Back To Basics

Sept. 17, 2014

By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word

Not so fresh off of an alarming string of developments last Saturday in Bobby Dodd Stadium that Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof said Tuesday left him, “embarrassed [and] disappointed,” the Yellow Jackets have gone back to basics in preparation for Saturday’s ACC opener at Virginia Tech.

Georgia Southern last Saturday ran or passed 10 times for 20 or more yards against the Jackets. Eight came after halftime as the Eagles rallied from a 35-10 deficit to a 38-35 lead. 

Nobody, Roof included, recognized that Tech defense in the second half.

So in practice, “yes, we did go back to fundamentals,” he explained. “We go back to finishing plays, straining for the entire down, doing your job . . . all of the things that go into playing winning football, which we did a lot of in the first half and very little of in the second half.”

The Jackets (3-0) struggled defensively (and offensively) in many ways in the second half against GSU before winning 42-38 on a last-minute touchdown.

A similarly disjointed effort in Blacksburg, Va., would likely spell misery.

Virginia Tech (2-1) went into a funk of its own last Saturday while losing at home to East Carolina, and figures to be attentive against Georgia Tech. 

Georgia Tech defenders are concerned as much about themselves as the Hokies.

“Communication is going to be key; it’s going to be loud up there,” said senior linebacker Quayshawn Nealy. “The stadium is going to be rocking. I remember the last time I went up there . . . you couldn’t hear anything but the fans. 

“Honestly, we’ve scouted ourselves these past two days, just going back to the basics, getting lined up, fundamentals, playing physical and playing fast.”

Nealy went on to note that Virginia Tech is running an up-tempo offense, and the Jackets don’t mind that the Hokies no longer have super-sized quarterback Logan Thomas at the helm. 

Transfer Michael Brewer is calling signals.

“Logan Thomas was a tremendous athlete, and he probably through the years hurt us as much running as he did throwing,” said Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson. “He was a big, physical guy. Brewer is more of a typical, pro-style quarterback . . . they won’t have a lot of designed runs for him.”

Roof is less concerned about whom the Jackets play, and more about how his defenders play. In his words, “We’ve got to have extreme attention to detail and play with fanatical effort.”

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