Georgia Tech has a lot to rebuild on with Geoff Collins taking over a program that never recruited quite as well as they should have. I’d imagine that fans maybe expected things to be better on defense, however. Collins is a former Defensive Coordinator who is known as an ace recruiter. His defense hasn’t shown that as of yet and it’s a little surprising. While Tech has been able to lure top offensive talent in the first few classes, the defensive side of the ball is reliant on veteran players from the previous regime and transfers.
Georgia Tech doesn’t do a depth chart for some gimmicky reason that doesn’t make sense to me. So it’s a little tough to know what Defensive Linemen we will see most often on Friday. They run a 4-2-5 scheme and they will also use a three man line at times. The line hasn’t been able to make many havoc plays and I think they might be having the same issue we’ve seen with UofL as it comes to rebuilding the line. There aren’t a lot of play makers here but they do work with a rotation to keep these guys fresh.
David Curry leads the defense from his Middle Linebacker spot. He has been around for a good while and he is about as steady as it gets as a Linebacker. Curry isn’t a big time athlete but he is a really strong tackler and plays with solid instincts. If Louisville wants to run the football well, they have to get hands on him and stop him from racking up a bunch of tackles. Quez Jackson starts at the other spot and while Curry plays more downhill, Jackson has made more tackles as a second level defender.
The Georgia Tech secondary is full of jumbo athletes who have made a good amount of plays in run support and as pass rushers. Charlie Thomas and Kaleb Oliver are listed as Nickelbacks on the “Above The Line” depth chart thing Tech does and both are essentially Linebackers who play Defensive Back. Oliver is 6-4/220 and Syracuse went after him every time he was in man coverage. Thomas is 6-2/210 and he has made a few plays in the backfield so far this year. He also has been a little bit of a liability in coverage. These guys will be key when it comes to stopping UofL’s outside zone runs but they also have to cover Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Braden Smith in the slot.
Georgia Tech has jumbo Cornerbacks as well and they got beat pretty badly by Syracuse and UCF receivers in those games. Zamari Walton seemed to be the guy getting beaten the most but Miles Sims gave up a go route against Syracuse where he was beaten by about five yards. These guys will make a play on a jump ball but they just don’t do a good job of turning and running with receivers. Tech plays some press man coverage and asks these guys to play on an island. Louisville should take advantage.
I like Tech’s Safeties but they have their limitations as well. They don’t cover a ton of ground and that doesn’t match well with corners who get beat easily. Juanyeh Thomas and Tariq Carpenter are both very big Safeties who are solid tacklers. Neither run all that well or cover space very well. I tend to think that teams will work hard to stop the run against Louisville so these Safeties could play a big role in run support. I just have questions about how they will factor into the passing defense.