Georgia Tech has plenty of questions to answer in fall camp, but a lot of the questions about this team are going to come on the defensive side of the ball.
Georgia Tech was one of the worst defenses in the entire country last season and there are going to be plenty of new starters to try to turn around things on that side of the ball. Head coach Geoff Collins has been said to be more involved in the defense this season and there are some new coaches that have come in to help turn things around.
Jason Semore was brought in to be the new linebackers coach, Travares Tillman is the new defensive backs coach, and David Turner is the new assistant head coach/run game coordinator.
Semore was at Valdosta State as the defensive coordinator last season, Tillman was the cornerback’s coach at Michigan State, and Turner was the defensive line coach at Florida.
New transfers have been brought in at every level but the linebacker spot. There are two new defensive linemen and five new transfers in the secondary. With so many guys leaving and as bad as the Yellow Jackets were on this side of the ball, there could be plenty of opportunities for freshmen to get playing time as well.
So what are the three biggest questions answering the defense entering fall camp? Let’s break it down below.
3. Can any player become a force in the interior?
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One of the reasons that Georgia Tech had a woeful run defense last season was because of a lack of an interior defensive line presence. T.K. Chimedza has flashed ability at times but has been unable to stay healthy during his time at Tech.
Look for guys like Zeek Biggers and Makius Scott to get opportunities as well this upcoming season to be a starter in the middle. Western Illinois transfer Daniel Carson is going to vie for playing time as well. I think it will likely be these four guys getting the most snaps, but a guy like freshman Horace Lockett is going to have an opportunity as well.
The bottom line is someone needs to be able to stop the run and create an interior pass rush. That would go a long way in helping fix this defense.
2. Can the secondary create turnovers and not give up big plays?
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Georgia Tech was near the bottom of the country in nearly every passing statistic last season, but the good news is there are going to be a lot of new faces in the back of the defense.
One number that needs to go up is the number of interceptions the team forced. The Yellow Jackets picked off only three passes last season, with one coming against FBS competition.
Cornerback Zamari Walton is back and is confident this will be a better unit in 2022. Guys like Jaylon King, Derrick Allen, and Myles Sims have experience but have not done a lot to make this defense better as of yet.
KJ Wallace, Eric Reed Jr, Kenny Bennett, Ahmari Harvey, and Khari Gee are the transfers that were brought in this offseason. Aside from Bennett, these guys are all light on experience, but they were ranked highly coming out of high school.
It is going to be hard for Georgia Tech to be worse in the secondary than they were last year, but how much improvement can be expected? That is a question the coaches will be working hard to figure out over the next few weeks.
1. Who is going to provide the pass rush off of the edge?
The Yellow Jackets had one of the worst pass rushes in the ACC and the country last season. The hope is that with a healthy Keion White and new assistant coach David Turner, who is a veteran defensive line coach, Georgia Tech will see an uptick in pass-rushing production.
White was an anticipated transfer from Old Dominion last season but missed the first eight games. He is a likely starter at edge and a breakout season could be coming.
Kyle Kennard, Kevin Harris, Noah Collins, Christian Burkhalter, and Sylvain Yondjouen are the other guys expected to contribute this year and the Yellow Jacket desperately needs some production from them.
Having a good pass rush is critical because it can help improve the secondary improve as well. Finding contributors as pass rushers is the most pressing question that the coaching staff must answer during the next few weeks in fall camp.
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