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T-Day Game Will Close Spring

April 17, 2011

When you’re a head coach, and a bunch of journo-knuckleheads ask after a scrimmage against yourselves how things went, there’s no way to feel good about what you saw or say.

If the offense was crisp and effective, the then there’s not much chance that the defense was good.

If the defense stones the offense, well, obviously – especially when you spend more of your time working with the offense – there is an imbalance that won’t make the boss happy.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson was asked after Saturday’s scrimmage about the appearance of the defense playing well, and he proceeded to immediately point out that the first two times the first-team offense had the ball, the Yellow Jacket O put together long drives.

True, but they didn’t score both times. And it’s less debatable that as the scrimmage wore on, the defense carried the day.

More to my point, I thought the first defense looked better than the first offense Saturday, and while I’m no expert, I am neutral on the matter.

It’s not like there was a big difference, and this is not based on statistics or science. I just thought the D looked pretty good for the most part.

It looked like the tackling was improved. That’s work in itself. You can’t just talk about tackling and do it well. At times last season, the Jackets were particularly poor at this, and it hurt. As with many parts of Tech’s re-engineering of itself between last season and this, some of it is between the ears.

“Repetition is a huge part of it, but it is a mindset,” said senior defensive end Jason Peters. “When you go in tackling you have to be smart about it. You have to know that you can bring anyone down at any time. If you think someone is a huge back you won’t tackle him.

“You’ll always over-think, or over-compensate. If you go in with the right technique, you will have a better chance of making the tackle.”

It’s not like Tech’s mental makeover is just going to happen because there’s a little chatter about it. There will be police work involved. It will take self-monitoring, peer-to-peer pressure, and of course coaches will be involved.

Guys like Peters will have a big role. Leaders have to lead, not just yell, or figure that their work ethic and attention to detail will wear off on everybody.

“It would be guys like (seniors) Logan Walls, Steven Sylvester, Rashaad Reid . . . it’s our last chance,” Peters said. “I think one of the great things coming up about this season, and [chaplain Derrick Moore] talks about it, is that everyone is starting to develop a sense. We want to show that this isn’t something that one person has to do; it’s something we have to take upon ourselves . . . all of us.”

The spring or T-Day Game is set for Saturday at noon. Admission is free.

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