Georgia Tech DT Desmond Branch trying to make it on the inside


Georgia Tech defensive tackle Desmond Branch is getting used to life on the inside. Branch came to Tech in January 2016 as a junior-college signee expected to play defensive end.

As the season progressed, though, he was moved to tackle. The difference?

“The toughness,” he said. “You hear of the toughness. Like Pat (Gamble) would tell me, ‘Oh, that inside’s no joke, Desmond.’ But I was like, All right, OK, Pat. But then I got in there and I said, ‘Wow, you really have to have your head on straight and just be aggressive.’”

Branch is one of a handful of possibilities to give Tech depth in the interior, where defensive coordinator Ted Roof lost Gamble and Francis Kallon to graduation. It’s the least experienced position group on the defense. Kyle Cerge-Henderson, Brentavious Glanton and Brandon Adams also hope to be a part of the rotation.

“The defensive line, we’re trying to get our production up across the board and increase our depth,” Branch said. “We’re really trying to get the pass rush going. I know pass rush was a little bit low last year, and we’re just trying to step that up because we know that we’re better than what we put out there, so we’re going to be working hard in the offseason and just build more depth at every single position.”

Tech was 114th last season in sacks per game at 1.39 per game. Branch played in nine games with five tackles. He was credited with two quarterback hurries as well as one pass defensed and one pass breakup.

Explaining Tech’s change in teaching the defense this spring

Playing at tackle as opposed to end, Branch said, requires playing a more selfless attitude.

“You really have to man up and know if you’re taking on a double team, you have to take on a double team for the defense,” he said. “It’s not about you. You might not get the glory taking on that double team, but the linebacker might get the tackle. You have to be OK with that. That’s what I think the difference is.”

As the “3-technique” defensive tackle, Branch is in more of a playmaking role. The 3-technique tackle lines up on the guard’s outside shoulder, which limits his exposure to double teams. Gamble and Adam Gotsis have played there previously with success. Bringing more quickness from the end position, Branch has the potential to cause problems from his new spot.

5 things to know from the Tech secondary in spring practice

“I definitely pride myself on my pass rush,” Branch said. “And Pat G. has told me that he sees stuff in my pass rush, so I’m definitely going to continue that pass rush at 3-technique.”

Branch, the younger brother of New England Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch, said he is at 272 pounds and trying to get up to 285, or at least 280 by the time the season starts.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

D’Marcus Simonds has big plans for his time at Georgia State  
D’Marcus Simonds has big plans for his time at Georgia State  

School had been snowed out for yet another day, but not practice. It’s the season, and the heat is always on in the gym.  Inside Georgia State’s third-floor court, the Panthers’ star guard was easy to pick out from among the sweaty swirl of teammates. He was the only one who could carry off those warm-up pants, the color open...
What you need to know to enjoy Sunday’s NFL playoffs 
What you need to know to enjoy Sunday’s NFL playoffs 

What: The NFC and AFC Championship Games Why: The winners go to the Super Bowl Jaguars (10-6) at Patriots (13-3), 3:05 p.m. Vikings (13-3) at Eagles (13-3), 6:40 P.M. Jaguars-Patriots, CBS Vikings-Eagles, Fox After this: The Super Bowl is two weeks later, Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota.  -- Patriots QB Tom Brady suffered...
Fayetteville’s Christian Coleman sets world record in 60-meter dash
Fayetteville’s Christian Coleman sets world record in 60-meter dash

Christian Coleman headed back to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday, not overly impressed with himself, but thankful to have set the world record in the 60 meters.  “I didn’t really feel like it was one of my best races,” Coleman said after running a world record time of 6.37 seconds in the 60-meter dash at...
Analysis: Duke big men toy with Pittsburgh in easy win
Analysis: Duke big men toy with Pittsburgh in easy win

Wendell Carter Jr. scored in the paint. Marvin Bagley III countered by showing he could drive coast-to-coast for a layup. It appeared at times Saturday as if Duke’s star freshmen were engaged in a friendly contest of trying to outdo each other. While fifth-ranked Duke toyed with lowly Pittsburgh, Carter and Bagley found ways of having fun...
Mike Vrabel named Tennessee Titans head coach
Mike Vrabel named Tennessee Titans head coach

More Stories