March 30, 2013
By Matt Winkeljohn
Jeremiah Attaochu is in a different spot now, and he’s not entirely sure of everything at “rush end,” but Georgia Tech’s former outside linebacker sure sounds like he’s comfortable with the transition.
After Saturday’s practice, the fourth of the spring and first in full pads, Attaochu said he believes his position change will benefit him and the Yellow Jackets. He had 10 sacks last season, tying for seventh-most in program history even though he missed a game, and his new position places even more of a premium on rushing the passer.
“I’m still an edge defender like in the 3-4. It’s not really much different. It’s more explosion off the ball,” he said. “I like that. It gives me one assignment to help the team for one year.
“I’m still going to use my speed to rush the passer, but now I’m going to add things to my game like using my hands, using positioning on the tackle, using my hips more. Last year it was more just using my speed.”
The 6-foot-3 senior-to-be hasn’t really changed his body type for the move to the trenches, but he’s going to be using different skills while mixing it up more with the big fellas.
As the Jackets transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 base defense under new coordinator Ted Roof, business was a big ragged in practice, although that was probably just as much a function of it being early in the spring as the scheme change.
“We saw some good things, mistakes that we’ve got to clean up,” Roof said. “We’ve got to be more consistent, a lot more consistent from angles of pursuit to finishing tackles, finishing plays. We’ve got a lot of work to do in that area, but that’s something that we can correct.”
Attaochu said change is coming fairly easy to him.
“They said my weight is fine, 242, 245, but I personally want to add strength and explosion. If weight comes with it, that’s great,” Attaochu said. “The front four is pretty simplified. As far as the other positions go, I can’t speak for them. For me, it’s a little easier [playing end vs. linebacker].”
Roof has watched plenty of tape of Tech’s games last year to get a sense for personnel. The Jackets have watched tapes of Roof’s previous defenses to get an idea what he’ll be looking for next fall – or sooner, really.
“We watched the defense Coach Roof ran at Penn State and Auburn to get a few pointers on things we’re supposed to do, things we’re not supposed to do. That definitely helps,” said the Science, Technology and Culture major.
“I have the liberty to stand up [or play from a three-point stance]; whatever’s comfortable. Right now, I want to master a three-point stance because I’ve done a lot of standing up. I did it in high school.”