The challenges are many for Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof and his unit. First, the Yellow Jackets will need to improve upon what he termed a “very inconsistent” performance against Wofford in the season opener.
Second, in playing Tulane, Tech will encounter a vastly different offense than the option variety that it faced all throughout the preseason and in the first game. Third, the Jackets may be without one or two key starters, safety Isaiah Johnson and defensive tackle Adam Gotsis.
What defensive line coach Mike Pelton said of his group would seem to hold true for the defense as a whole: “We’ve got work to do.”
Roof said Tech had 11 missed tackles in 60 plays against Wofford, in part because of poor technique and players going for big hits over sure takedowns.
“It’s just something that we’ve got to keep working on,” Roof said. “Missed tackles cost you games.”
Tulane threw 44 passes in 74 plays in its season-opening loss to Tulsa, a far cry from the heavy run orientation and option style that the Jackets saw from Wofford (47 rushes in 60 plays) and from their own offense in the preseason.
Said nose tackle Shawn Green, “I’m just ready to be able to try to really work a lot of (pass-rush) moves I’ve been working all summer and just going on with pass rush and seeing what a real different offense outside the option looks like.”
Gotsis and Johnson did not practice Tuesday. Johnson was taken out of Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Patrick Gamble would start for Gotsis, although Green was confident that Gotsis (undisclosed) would play. Johnson may be a different matter. Roof has different options, such as moving Demond Smith into Johnson’s safety spot and Domonique Noble into Smith’s nickel back role.
In the secondary, “I’m looking for somebody to step up and stand out, and it’s an ongoing thing,” Roof said. “Right now, nobody’s done that.”