Tech using 4-3 in spring to build depth

Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof is having his defense play in a 4-3 alignment during spring practice not for reasons of strategy but experience. With his defense heavy at linebacker, playing the 4-3 instead of the nickel defense enables him to give more turns to his 11 linebackers. In a nickel, only two linebackers would be on the field.

“We’ve got more bodies there, and I want to get those guys reps on tape, and see how it goes,” Roof said Monday following the team’s fifth session of spring practice.

It is particularly important given how inexperienced most of the group is. P.J. Davis is a two-year starter and has 237 total tackles in three seasons. Brant Mitchell started three games as a first-year freshman last season, making 36 tackles.

After that, Victor Alexander, Chase Alford, Tre Jackson and Terrell Lewis have played mostly special-teams roles, and Alexander and Jackson are both rising sophomores. Of the 11, Davis is a rising senior, Alford and Lewis are juniors and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. The least experienced of the group is early-enrollee Emanuel Bridges.

“They all have their good moments and they all have things that we wish we’d do better,” Roof said. “The thing that you stress with those guys is one bad play can’t make a bad day. You’ve got to put the bad play behind you because everybody’s going to make mistakes and then move forward and press on and then have the ability to take coaching.”