Antonio Simmons confident of success against Miami

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya (15) can’t get this pass off as Georgia Tech defensive lineman Antonio Simmons (93) brings him down in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Miami won 35-21 over the Yellow Jackets. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech defensive end Antonio Simmons had a fairly effective game against Miami last year. The senior had three quarterback hurries and a tackle for loss against the Hurricanes in Tech’s 35-21 loss at Bobby Dodd Stadium. He is hopeful for more of the same against the Hurricanes Saturday.

“Same (offensive) line from last year,” Simmons said. “They’re not the best line we’ve played all year. They’re probably just the same as Pitt and North Carolina. They’re OK.”

Simmons added that the Hurricanes have many good skill players, such as quarterback Malik Rosier. However, “(if) we do our job up front, we’ll win the game,” he said.

The Miami offensive line, at least in personnel, is actually considerably different from last season. The group has one returning starter. However, it might be similar in that the Hurricanes are allowing two sacks per game, close to their average last year (1.9).

The Tech defense had an uneven performance against Miami. The Yellow Jackets had by far their best performance of the season on third down – the Hurricanes were 1-for-7. However, Miami hammered Tech with big plays, amassing 355 yards in just 46 plays. The 7.72 yards-per-play average was the second highest recorded against the Jackets last season.

Through four games, Simmons has three sacks, which leads the team, and three hurries, which is tied for the team lead with linebacker Brant Mitchell and defensive end Anree Saint-Amour. He has high hopes for the season.

“I’ve got confidence going in any game,” Simmons said. “I feel like I got a lot better this year than I was last year and it’s the same o-line, so I think I’m going to have success Saturday. So, just got to execute my job, mix up my pass rush moves and I’ll be fine.”

A disruptive performance by Simmons would undoubtedly help Tech. The more that Simmons, Saint-Amour and KeShun Freeman can pressure Rosier off the edge, the less defensive coordinator Ted Roof will have to rely on blitz help, freeing up extra defenders to track wide receiver Braxton Berrios (18 catches, 15.7 yards per catch, five touchdowns) and tight end Christopher Herndon (13 catches, 10.3 yards per catch).

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