September 12, 2009

Jackets to roll D-line for Canes

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets practiced in Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday morning in their first preparation for next Thursday's showdown with the Miami Hurricanes on the road. Aside from a few big plays the Jackets defense did a good job of stopping Clemson's offense, so head coach Paul Johnson is focused on improving the offensive production this week while getting rid of those big plays that kept the Tigers in the game Thursday.

Georgia Tech did not convert a third down until the fourth quarter and that is something the coaching staff is working on this week.

"I don't think we can do anything different and we have been pretty good on third downs. You have to give the other side credit every once in a while. We had 420 yards so it was not like we did not move the ball. There were some third down plays that we did not do a good job on."

Coach Johnson hinted at a few offensive tweaks this week, but he thinks that overall the offense played well against a good ACC defense.

"There are going to be some personnel changes, but not wholesale changes," Johnson said. "We have issues and what team does not when you play the second game of the year, but this not the NFL and we can't swap guys."

On the other side of the ball, Georgia Tech's much maligned defensive line played well Thursday night and the Jackets' defensive line coach is looking for more improvement this week.

"I think we improved in some areas," defensive line coach Giff Smith said. "I thought our run blitz was pretty good, but we are still trying to develop better pass rushers. We did a good job in our rush lanes and Derrick Morgan got some sacks, but need to improve our overall pass rush."

The defensive line rotation could be quite active this week according to Smith.

"I am going to roll the guys a lot more this week and there is not any difference between the ones and the twos inside," Smith said. "I am going to roll them every three plays to keep them fresh. We made some strides and improved from game one. That progression needs to continue and we cannot take a step back."

Smith was pleased with the play of Ben Anderson and some of the defensive tackles who made plays when the opportunity presented itself on Thursday.

"They guys played within themselves and when there was a play to make, they made it," he said. "Ben took on a lot of double teams and maintained his gap pretty well. They blew a blocking scheme down on the goal line and he took the opportunity to make a big play and made it. That was a big play for us.

Anthony Egbuniwe will again split time with Robert Hall and take a large amount of snaps at both defensive end positions.

"Anthony would have played more in the first game, but he was nicked up a bit and he is able to give us a little pass rush," Smith said. "He has worked really hard to get himself into a position to get some snaps. As long as he performs at the level he did Thursday night, his level of snaps will continue to improve and we need that to happen. We need to be able to play more guys."

Osahon Tongo who has not seen much action this season will get a look this week in practice as a third-down pass rusher to help give Morgan some support on the opposite side.

"Tongo can give us some reps and I am going to give him the opportunity to see if he can be a third down guy," Smith said. "We might change up some stuff, but I don't think anybody will be moving positions to give us any pass rush. Tongo plays defensive end, so he is used to it and we will see what he can give us."



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