There have been other players moving to new positions in the Groh defense. Cross feels that the moves have led to the defense playing better as a unit. "I feel we lost some good players but overall it will lead to good team effort rather than individual effort," said Cross. "Everybody collectively will have to work together better." Last season the team may have relied on Derrick Morgan to make plays. "We can't do that this year."
The defense played this spring without two of last season's starter. Robert Hall and Ben Anderson both missed the spring while they recovered from surgery. Their return should make the defense even stronger than what they showed in the spring. "It's going to give us more depth," said Cross. "We know how they can play because they've been starters previously."
Cross was recruited to Tech as a defensive end and the new defense may put him in the ideal position to take advantage of his talent. "Obviously I was a lot lighter when I came here (laughter)," said Cross. "I like being in the four technique and I move out to the five a little bit and I came to the reality that this is where I belong."
Logan Walls is another defensive lineman who remains at the same position but is adapting to a new technique than he played in the old defense. Walls approached the change in defenses as a new audition just as he did last season. "I could tell a big improvement from the first practice to now," said Walls. "The communication as far as the whole defense goes has improved so much."
Technique wise Walls had to learn some new things as the nose tackle. The main thing that Logan had to work on was his footwork and using his hands. "They were teaching me to meet and defeat the blocks faster." The coaches were also working with Logan on how to use his hands. "I think that's really helped out."
The improvement in the communication among the defensive players should lead to an improvement in the defense this coming season. "It should make a huge difference," said Logan. "I'm really excited about how well we're communicating right now."
One of the players playing along side Walls that had gotten a lot of notice is Jason Peters. Logan is one of those that have noticed his play. "He's been playing with great effort all the time, said Walls. "He's always finishing the plays.
The defensive changes also involved three new coaches. The defense hasn't missed a beat in spite of these changes. "The transition has been really smooth." Tech fans will not only see a new approach to defense this season with the installation of the 3-4 but they it looks to be one that will be playing better as a unit and communicating better. This should lead to improvement over last season's performance.