Sept. 17, 2011
By Jon Cooper
When a game plan works to perfection as Georgia Tech’s did in Saturday’s 66-24 victory over Kansas, it’s usually because coaches find something to show their team on film that the opponent does, offensively or defensively, that they can exploit.
Defensive coordinator Al Groh did just that Friday night for his unit, but with a twist. The film Groh chose to show was of the Yellow Jacket defense in last year’s game at Kansas. The idea was to show them what NOT to do by showing them what they did.
“He categorized all the bad plays we had against Kansas last year,” recalled senior outside linebacker Steven Sylvester, who was second on the team with eight tackles (four solo), and a tackle for loss. “He just kind of put the remote down and walked out of the room when the film was done.
“We saw that as a challenge,” Sylvester continued. “We felt like we had been called out. We had read in the paper all week how excited they were, how that was the most fun they had ever had on the football field. In the back of your mind, as a football player, it hurts. We felt called out. So we came out and tried to make a statement today.”
“Once we watched the film, and to see the mistakes and how there wasn’t any hustle or any physicality, we saw that as a challenge,” added sophomore OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, who had four tackles (three solo). “Everything we did wrong on that film we wanted to correct today.”
The Yellow Jackets didn’t have everything corrected in the first half, as Kansas had a pair long ball-control drives (11 plays, 72 yards and 13 plays, 71 yards), then drove 65 yards in 35 seconds to get a field goal to close to within 24-17 at the half. But the physicality and intensity was there.
In the third quarter, after again being challenged by Groh and by head coach Paul Johnson, the defense again responded forcing three punts and taking the ball away once on downs. Quarterback Jordan Webb completed only two of six passes for a total of seven yards during the quarter. The defense allowed the offense an opportunity to gain some breathing room, then blow the game open.
“It was just being more sound on our assignments,” said Sylvester. “We came out [in the first half], kind of freestyling and doing our own thing. The type of defense we play, it’s made for us to do a specific job. So if one person comes out there and doesn’t do his job the defense has the potential to break down everywhere. Everybody just came out there and focused on what they had to do.”
Groh has a much more palatable film to show his defense for next Friday night.