Q&A with Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu

With six sacks in the past three games, Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu now has 27 career sacks, four short of the Tech record held by Greg Gathers. He has flourished this season despite playing in a new scheme for a new defensive coordinator, Ted Roof, and moving from outside linebacker to end. Attaochu spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday about his season, the draft and finite math.

Q: Coach Roof just said that you’re trusting your first move more and not going to the counter (move). Can you explain what that means and how it works?

A: Just trusting it. To be honest with you, it’s just the week of preparation, preparing and knowing the guy you’re playing against. I’m quick. I’m fast. I want to beat the tackle and get the sack, and if I don’t, I’ll go to another move, but it’s just about staying with it, because most times, your move is not going to work.

One or two times (a game), it works and then you get pressure, you cause a turnover, you do something that helps the team out. So, basically, continuous application of the move, being patient with it. … Sometimes, you’re not going to get there, even if the move is good. Just learning that kind of helped me just be patient.

Q: How many moves do you have?

A: I would say three or four.

Q: The production you’ve had in the last three games must be satisfying to see your work paying off in a direct way.

A: It’s satisfying, but I already knew what type of player I was going ino the season. There are other factors, too. You (media) guys look at numbers. There’s other things that go into it. Just being consistent and coming to work every day and knowing that the numbers and everything else would come with it.

It’s a sport. Some games, you’re going to do everything right and not get a sack. Some games, you’re going to do everything wrong and get four sacks.

Q: Do you feel more like a defensive end or a linebacker now?

A: I feel like both. I still do both. No team plays (only) one front these days, so sometimes I stand up and drop (into pass coverage), sometimes I’ll put my hand down and slant and do all those things. I just feel like both. I feel like I’m a better player because of it. Like, I understand the power in using my hands more. If you watch film, you can kind of see that, just the fast, violent hands. That’s made my game so much better.

Q: Looking back at the time you’ve had with coach Roof, it’s required a lot of change. You have a new position coach. When you think about what’s happened, do you feel like, it’s gone quickly and well, or it’s been harder than you thought, or something else?

A: Quickly and very well. Coach Roof just makes it fun, just because he’s played here and he understands that it shouldn’t be something that guys feel like it’s a burden or a job. It should be something that you come in and do as fun, and Saturday’s your payoff. Just making it fun, not making us take it too seriously, not making us look at it as a business. It still has to be a game for us.

Q: How well do you keep draft stuff out of your thinking?

A: Pretty well. Sometimes it gets distracting because everybody else wants to tell you about it. That’s one thing I don’t like. I just don’t like people coming to tell me about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, life goes on, but it’s just a little capsule of my life. It’s a great opportunity, but I’m just going to be the same person.

Q: If someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, I saw you’re going to get drafted in Round 5,” what do you say?

A: I really don’t care. I might not even watch the draft. If (I get drafted), I’m just going to go into it just like I came to college, just go in there and go in and work hard.

Q: Who on the offensive scout team has impressed you?

A: I’d say (running back) Donovan (Wilson). He’s made me work some days. And Chris Griffin, the offensive tackle. He’s going to be a great player for us.

Q: How tough is finite math?

A: It’s pretty tough. It’s not too bad. It’s good because I have Isaiah Johnson (in the same class). Isaiah’s pretty smart. He’s my roommate, so he tutors me sometimes. It’s always been good to have him in the room because he’ll be studying, and I’ll come by and study with him and he’ll teach me.

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