Jacket's Defensive Line Transitioning to 3-4

Coach Andy McCollum came to Georgia Tech with the task of converting the defensive line from a four man front to a three man front in Coach Al Groh's 3-4 defense. The spring practices gave him a chance to take a look at the personnel and now Coach McCollum is preparing them for the season opener.

With the start of preseason practice at Georgia Tech, McCollum has noticed the progress the line has made since the spring. "It's still a work in progress but there's a lot more understanding and the kids did a good job over the summer," said Coach McCollum. " It's a daily process and they have to come in here every day and study because everything is new." Coach McCollum is looking for them to find a way to get better every day.

While the depth chart may not be in the forefront right now, the daily practices will take care of who will end up on the two deep. It's something the staff discusses every day."We have a lot of competition going on in a lot of areas and we have to build a lot of depth. The players will have to earn the his trust. "If you're going to make a lot of mental errors, you're not going to play."

Two players that missed the spring that Coach McCollum will count on this season are Ben Anderson and Robert Hall. "I don't have to worry about them because they play with a lot of attitude and intensity and they've played in games." Coach McCollum wants physically and mentally tough guys and he feels Anderson and Hall are both in that category. "You like to have those type of guys with you."

We may see a four or five man rotation along the defensive line this season. "I hope we can build enough depth that you can spell those guys with different packages and different schemes but the only ones that are going to play are the ones we trust as a staff." Coach McCollum and staff are looking for players that know what they're doing when they go out there.

When evaluating the line, Coach McCollum is looking for the same thing whether its practice or a scrimmage. "We want to see that their pads are in the right place, their hands are in the right place, they're playing hard, and getting off blocks."

One of the players that is making the most of the transition is sophomore Izaan Cross. "We're moving pretty fast because you have to if you want to get where you want to be." Cross has noticed how intense the competition has been at the end position. "All the young players have looked good," said Cross. "TooTall (Emmanuel Dieke), JC (Lanier), and Euclid (Cummings)have looked good."

Cross also addressed the possibility of using a rotation. "D line is a position where you can't play the whole game," said Cross. "I go as hard as I can and if I need a blow I need a blow." Cross feels they should all get some playing time.

Izaan feels the defensive squad is a little further along this year even with the change in defense and coaches. "Coach Groh has done a good job of coaching every position up since he's been here."


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