You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Georgia Tech defense facing a leadership ‘vacuum’


Georgia Tech brings back eight starters on defense, but defensive coordinator Ted Roof has concerns about replacing the three he lost — linebacker P.J. Davis, defensive tackle Patrick Gamble and defensive end Rod Rook-Chungong.

“Because that was a very, maybe underrated, under-noticed part of our defense last year with the leadership of Pat and P.J. and Rook and (linebacker) Chase Alford,” Roof said. “All those guys, that does leave a vacuum and it’s up to the guys coming back to be able to do that.”

With eight starters back, there’s plenty of candidates for players who can carry the banner with the passion and toughness that Davis, Gamble and Rook-Chungong exemplified. Linebacker Brant Mitchell, defensive KeShun Freeman and safety Corey Griffin are but three. The four other returning starters in the secondary — Lance and Lawrence Austin, Step Durham and A.J. Gray — are four more.

“There’s some guys that have played a lot of football,” Roof said. “A lot of guys are trying to step up, but it’s got to be a consistent step up. It can’t be seven days we’re up and we’re rolling and one day we’re not. There’s got to be some consistency with the leadership and that’s something we’re trying to develop.”

How Brant Mitchell plans to become more impactful for Georgia Tech

Safeties coach Andy McCollum said he is looking for a lead-by-example type.

“It’s easy to be a rah-rah guy when things are going good,” he said. “P.J. was a guy that, when things were going down — Pat Gamble was the same way — they’re guys that, when things are going tough, they’re going to rise up their play.”

Gamble, a captain, and other team members asserted their leadership towards the end of the season after the Jackets gave up 636 yards in a 48-20 loss at North Carolina on Nov. 5. The yaradge total was the second highest allowed in school history. Gamble sought more from himself and his teammates, and the defense’s play picked up in the final four games, all wins for the Jackets.

That’s something that I’ll always remember those guys for ,” Roof said earlier in the spring.

Mitchell acknowledged the void left by Davis.

“It’s hard,” he said. “It takes the whole team. It takes everybody coming together and playing as one. It’s not 11 on 1, it takes all 11 guys. I think that’s a big thing with us. I think we have really good chemistry and I think that started last year in the offseason. We tried to get close as a team and stuff, and I think if we come together, we can fill all the spots that need to be filled.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Ender goes 5-for-5, Dansby glad he didn’t take bet
Ender goes 5-for-5, Dansby glad he didn’t take bet

Ender Inciarte had a feeling when he got to SunTrust Park on Monday. He’d never had five hits in his major league career, but the Braves center fielder had a feeling. So he proposed a bet with Braves rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson, whose glorious hair – his “flow” – has become renowned. “When we were warming up...
Inciarte gets 5 hits, ‘Big City’ homers for Braves in win
Inciarte gets 5 hits, ‘Big City’ homers for Braves in win

The Braves are going to miss Freddie Freeman for the next two or three months, but at least they got a big dude with serious power to pick up some of the slack while Freeman is out. Matt “Big City” Adams gave the Braves and their fans a glimpse of what he can do with a mammoth two-run homer Monday night in his second game with the Braves...
Garcia almost ready to come off DL, whither Rio Ruiz?
Garcia almost ready to come off DL, whither Rio Ruiz?

Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday, and manager Brian Snitker thinks he’ll be ready to play that day. Snitker also indicated the Braves could decide to keep rookie third baseman Rio Ruiz and have them share duties at the position. Ruiz hit a big two-run homer off Nationals ace Max Scherzer in Saturday&rsquo...
The Adams trade — another example of the Braves’ holding action
The Adams trade — another example of the Braves’ holding action

When Sean Rodriguez, the utility man slotted for heavy duty at second base, was injured in a winter car crash, the Braves’ solution wasn’t to dip into their top-rated farm system but to work a pennies-on-the-dollar trade for Brandon Phillips, who’s 35. When franchise cornerstone Freddie Freeman was lost for 10 weeks to a broken wrist...
Teheran works on slider, next start moved to Wednesday
Teheran works on slider, next start moved to Wednesday

With the severe disparity in his home and road splits continuing to grown, Julio Teheran took his between-starts bullpen session to the SunTrust Park mound Sunday and focused on sharpening the slider that’s not been nearly as effective for him this season. The Braves’ two-time All-Star pitcher threw under the watchful eye of pitching coach...
More Stories