One thing the offensive line will need to work on is relying on technique instead of just their strength and overall athleticism. "When they get into these games against great players, they have to learn how to rely on technique. If they rely on technique then they're going to be fine. That's what the veterans do."
Freshman tackle Eddie Keele is one Crowton specifically pointed out. Practicing the two-minute offense before a "home crowd" of "Legacy Club" members in LaVell Edwards Stadium, the Cougars All-American candidate Brady Poppinga sacked quarterback Matt Berry three consecutive times, beating Keele each time.
"Eddie kept trying to physical Brady (Poppinga) and you can't do that; Brady is just too good," Crowton said. "He needs to learn to just drop back and use proper technique. He has proper technique down good; he just needs to learn to rely on that.
Crowton's next comment was particularly revealing, reminiscent of a parent deliberately allowing their child to make correctable mistakes and paying the consequences to learn from the experience. In this instance, Keele will have a trio of three consecutives Berry sacks as a grim reminder and motivation to do it right.
"That's why I kept running the same play on that drill; it was especially for Eddie Keele so he could see and learn what he was doing against Poppinga and where he needs to improve. He has the athleticism and the ability; he just needs to learn to rely on his technique more."
To the Yellow Jacket, Trojan and Lobos coaches who may read these "revelations," you should also know that Crowton already has plans to counter the weaknesses he has exposed.
"If I was going against our defense, I'd definitely double Poppinga on just about every down. You can't block him one-on-one, so I'd probably assign a fullback to double him. I'd probably have to do that with opposite defensive end CJ Ah You as well. He's shown extremely well rushing the quarterback. He just needs work on defending against the run. I'd hate to defend against both of them at the edges."
Crowton noted the biggest challenge the Cougars face is going against Georgia Tech's strong and veteran offensive line. "Their offense has a very experienced line. I read somewhere that their offensive line was supposed to be the best in the ACC. They also have a receiver that is extremely talented. Curry, No. 5, is someone that didn't play last year, but he's back and he's healthy. (BYU strength) Coach (Jay) Omer knows him real well and speaks very highly of that young man."
Crowton said he will watch film of today's practice tonight and tomorrow morning before making his final personnel and scheme decisions for the Georgia Tech match-up.
"What we're going to do now is go through and make our personnel groups. Defensively, we're going to decide whether we need three, four, five or even six down linemen. We're going to see what we're going to do in run and pass situations. Everything will be discussed in detail."
Among the biggest adjustments preparing for Georgia Tech is learning how to block and play against a four-man defensive front as opposed to the three-man front the offense has seen throughout fall practices.
"Matt (Berry) has seen a four-man front and so has Scott Jackson and some of the other offensive linemen. Hopefully, they can help some of those who haven't. It will benefit (back up quarterback) John Beck seeing Berry go against the four-man front, so hopefully he can watch how Berry does it and go from there."
Crowton looks for Georgia Tech to pound it up the middle a lot. "They're going to have a bigger fullback, so we think they may try to pound it a little more than we did and they're probably going to try and be real physical," he continued.
"Upfront, it's going to be real physical and we want to come out of that game all right because the next week we'll play another real physical team in USC. So we're going to have two physical games, back to back. Actually, three because New Mexico is right after that," he added.
FALL PRACTICE NOTES:
* The team ran skeleton drills followed by red zone drills and concluded with a 2-minute offense drill.
* After enjoying some success against the defense in Monday's scrimmage, the offense struggled today in the two-minute drill because of the tremendous pressure the first team defense applied against Berry on practically every down. The most success was seen by Beck against the second team defense. He was able to move the offense to within Matt Payne field goal range – he split the uprights on a booming 54-yarder. Payne was named earlier this week to the Sports Illustrated Preseason All-America First Team.
* Offensive lineman Scott Young played exclusively with the first unit at left guard, replacing Quinn Christensen, who did not participate today in practice. Crowton will make the decision on whether to redshirt Young in the next few days after reviewing film footage and discussing the options with coaches.
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