October 13, 2009

Smith and the defensive reboot

While Saturday night's win against Florida State on the road was a huge victory for Georgia Tech, the defensive coaching staff is looking to fix the problems that led to 400 yards and 35 points in the first half. Defensive line coach Giff Smith started the season shorthanded and has lost several players for various amounts of time since the season began. Jacketsonline caught up with Coach Smith to see where the defense stands heading into one of the biggest games in recent Georgia Tech history against top ranked Virginia Tech.

When you went back and look at the game on film yesterday, how did it look?

"The first half was a total debacle in every phase, but you do try to find some of the positives and go off of that. The biggest thing is that our kids did was to not ever quit. They kept grinding and found a way to get a couple of stops here or there in the second half. However, it happened it does not really matter because we got the stops. We had a real good meeting today, I think some of the stuff we are going to do will allow our kids to play fast, and the biggest thing is we need to maintain some confidence and go out there and have some success to build on. We have to play better than we played Saturday as a defense."

Do you think the defense looked better with a three-man front?

"I think there was a little less confusion and we were able to cut it loose. There is stuff we can do out of a three or four-man front that we need to be successful at and just go with a base out of one thing. Coach Wommack and Coach Johnson have been in there with us and I think we will have a nice package. I think our kids will believe in it and I think we will be able to go out there and play fast. If we do that, we have a chance to be successful."

How did Izaan Cross do in his first career start?

"There are some things that Izaan did well. He also did some thing you do not want him to do. The pleasing part of it was that even when he did something you did not want him to do; he knew that he screwed it up. That is the first phase of understanding what you are doing and then you can correct it. When you do not have a clue when you do something, wrong that becomes an issue. He is still going to go with the ones and I truly expect him to get better each week."

How important will it be to get Anthony Egbuniwe back in the rotation once he is healthy?

"Anthony was doing a good job for us, but my biggest thing with Anthony is that I want him to get back healthy. That was a tough situation after the Mississippi State game and I just want him back healthy. Anthony not only does some good things as a player, but he is also a good leader and brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy out there. As quick as we can get him back we will be pleased to have him."

What are your thoughts on the matchup against the Virginia Tech offensive line?

"I think they are a quality offensive line. I think they are physical and they play nasty. I have a lot of respect for them and the challenge is there. We have to rise to the challenge. In my opinion they will be the best offensive line we play this year."

Does it play into your hands a little the defensive line struggles because you will not have three or four guys up the field creating gaps for Tyrod Taylor to run through?

"(Laughs) I would much rather sack Taylor for seven yards, but we are going to play our game and he is a great athlete who does a lot of terrific things out there. We are obviously going to be aware of him in rush lanes because he hurt us with his feet last year too. The challenge is there, but nowadays most quarterbacks can run pretty well, so there is always that fear of him scrambling and moving the chains with his feet. The challenge will be to win our battles and be gap sound. If we do that then we got a chance."

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