Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Georgia Tech's defensive problems: Is it players or coaching?


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- It's no revelation to declare that Georgia Tech's defense is horrible. That was reaffirmed Saturday when North Carolina pounded the Jackets for 636 yards in offense in a 48-20 smothering at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.

For my column on the game, click here.

North Carolina's yardage total was the second highest of all-time for a Tech opponent. It's behind only Notre Dame's 667 yards in 1977. The Irish won 69-14 behind a quarterback named Joe Montana.

So congratulations, North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky: You're that close to football immortality and the Hall of Fame.

But back to Tech's miserable performance: Is it the players, the coaching or both?

Tech often gets hammered for perceptions it can't recruit defensive players, particularly up front. But Ted Roof, as the defensive coordinator, should be overseeing a unit that has more success than one that allows yardage totals like 636, 559 (Duke) and 407 (Pittsburgh).

Asked if his team had a defensive philosophy, coach Paul Johnson said, "Yeah, I’m sure we’re trying to get a stop. We got them in some third-and-longs. First half alone it was third-and-9, third-and-7, third-and-7, third-and-9, third-and-12. We tried to blitz. We tried to play zone. They found ways to get first downs against all of it."

Do the problems extend beyond talent?

"I don’t know," Johnson said. "I think you have to look at what you’re trying to do and make sure your guys can do what you’re asking them to do."

Whatever they're doing, it's not working.

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FULL COLUMN:  Georgia Tech's defense is a trainwreck, and that's on Johnson

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.