“I feel like the only way is up with this new defense,” Oliver said. “It’s really fast, really aggressive. I feel like the only thing we can do is get better.”
Part of the reason so many younger players were on the field was that Woody rotated backups into the game frequently. Another is that the defensive players recruited in the past couple classes appear stocked with playmakers.
“We’ve got a lot of freshmen playing,” linebacker Brant Mitchell said. “They came in and they performed just like we expect them to. We put just as much emphasis on our second, third string as do our first.”
Tech played no fewer than nine defensive players who were part of Tech’s 2018 signing class – cornerbacks Jaylon King and Walton, linebackers Jordan Domineck, Justice Dingle, Charlie Thomas and Quez Jackson, safety Juanyeh Thomas and linemen T.K. Chimedza and Quon Griffin. Given coach Paul Johnson’s comments on his strategy regarding playing freshmen, who now can play up to four games and still redshirt, it’s likely that group will be expected to contribute all season.
Woody intends to play backups in a rotation. The strategy has at least two benefits. One, it keeps players fresh and able to play faster. Two, it’s giving more players experience.
“It’s very important because of how fast we’re running, how much we have to chase the ball,” Curry said. “You can’t expect a d-lineman to run from the left hash all the way to the sideline, then stay in the game if they get first down after first down. You’ve got to have guys ready to go so we like to rotate a lot.”
Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Nate Woody was born Dec. 30, 1960 in Burlington, N.C., and graduated from T.L. Hanna High in Anderson, S.C. T.L. Hanna was the setting for the motion picture "Radio" that starred Cuba Gooding Jr. Nate Woody played at Wofford and later was defensive coordinator there (2000-12) and at Appalachian State (2013-17). App State defenses ranked in the top 30 in the FBS in each of Woody's final four seasons as coordinator. Woody played two seasons at defensive back and two at lin