4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GEORGIA TECH DEFENSE
– It would be nice if the Yellow Jackets had a slew of nasty veterans on defense to pick up the slack while the offense continues to figure out what it’s doing. Instead, seven starters are gone and the top three tacklers and seven of the last 11 from last year have to be replaced off a decent, but inconsistent defense.
– How are things going to change right away under the new coaching staff? Pressure, pressure, pressure. The Yellow Jackets didn’t to much of anything to get into the backfield, and hitting the quarterback was nothing more than a distant rumor. That’s about to change, but it’ll take August camp to find the guys up front to handle the work.
– There’s size in the interior, with 295-pound Brentavious Glanton, among others, but where are the pass rushers? Out of the 17 sacks generated last year, the guys who produced 13 of them are done.
Sophomore Charlie Thomas is a safety-sized linebacker who’ll get a shot to make things happen in the backfield. Former Florida Gator Antonneous Clayton has all the talent to rock right away, but he won’t be eligible for next year. Overall, consider the end situation a work in progress.
– The linebacker situation is a bit thin, too. The Yellow Jackets didn’t use a whole lot of thumpers in the old regime, preferring for defensive back-sized flyers who could get around the ball. David Curry is back after coming up with 47 tackles on the inside, and Quez Jackson is a promising option after seeing a little time as a freshman.
– Expect a fierce competition for jobs in the secondary with leading tacklers Malik Rivera and Jalen Johnson done. Junior Tariq Carpenter is a huge 6-2, 225-pound strong safety who can bring the pop, and sophomore CB Tre Swilling is set, but it’ll take some help from players like Michigan transfer Myles Sims to rise up and take over.