Posted: 10:00 am Monday, March 17th, 2014

Plenty of holes, opportunity on Tech defensive line 

By Ken Sugiura

Candor is never in short supply with Georgia Tech defensive line coach Mike Pelton. In regards to the group that he’ll be working with when spring practice starts next Monday, he didn’t sugarcoat.

“I don’t want to sell them short, but you know what?” Pelton asked. “There’s a lot of guys that haven’t done anything in that group.”

Beyond Adam Gotsis, a returning starter at nose tackle, and fellow tackle Shawn Green, who has earned snaps when not injured, it’s hard to argue. Returning scholarship defensive linemen Chaz Cheeks, Darius Commissiong, Patrick Gamble, Francis Kallon, Jimmie Kitchen, Nick Menocal, Kevin Robbins, Roderick Rook-Chungong and Tyler Stargel have either played few meaningful snaps on the line or none at all.

Early enrollee KeShun Freeman and Travin Henry, who has switched from wide receiver, will also be with Pelton this spring, both at end.

Pelton will have to train up a group that needs to somehow replace the productive play of Jeremiah Attaochu, Euclid Cummings and Emmanuel Dieke, who started a combined 77 games for Tech and were rarely taken off the field last year.

“That’s the good thing about college football,” Pelton said. “A star is born every year. A new star is born every year. It’s an opportunity for these guys. I think some of them are hungry, because I can look at them and see the way they’ve changed their body from the season’s end till now, looking at numbers in the weight room. You kind of wonder what’s going to happen, but at the same time, it excites me because there has to be a new crew that comes along and takes us where we’ve got to go.”

I’ll save more for a story I’m writing today for Tuesday’s paper and myajc, but I’ll have more on the blog the rest of the week as we head into spring practice.

23 comments
Woofer
Woofer

There have always been holes in Tech's defensive line.

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

Days of "The Black Watch" are gone, and best remembered fondly, but realistically as past.  Current group of kids can be groomed into productive players and will find/form/be recognized for their own identity and place in time.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Depth on the DLine has been an issue for us as long as I can remember. Well before Johnson.

One positive thing about the triple option is it SHOULD minimize the problem, because of long sustained offensive drives--- which we struggled to do against better teams last year.

Still, when you play against uptempo offenses like Clemson, you've got to have depth.

UGA exploited that in the 2nd half (combined with our not sustaining drives).

The only thing you can take away from last season, is in the coaches minds there was a significant drop off in talent between our 1st string DL and the one that will be the "first string" this year, as they rarely substituted.

Dawgonnit
Dawgonnit

Ted Roof,...........Bring back the Black Watch Defense of  1985 that was ranked 4th in the Nation that had Roof, Pike Parker, Swilling, Pounds, Anderson, White, Spencer, Travis the the rest of them...If not mistake two or three of those guys were converted FB's, RB's and TE types.  The problem with Tech though reaching into the top tier is the offensive passing game....If we can hit 60% and stretch the field and come from behind we will be hard to beat.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

I'll be quite impressed if we manage to win 7 games this year, even with the marsh mellow schedule.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

I'm sure Whitehead will probably get plenty of snaps as will Kallon, Gamble, and Stargel.  Kitchen may get a few too.  I see Freeman getting redshirted barring mass exodus due to injuries, Henry at his current weight will probably at LB more than DE, and I don't see Cheeks, Commisiong, Menocal, Robbins, and RRC getting many snap if any.  Just my 2 cents.

gt-40
gt-40

Happy birthday wee Bobby Jones.........

ToddE
ToddE

Seriously, Henry is moving from WR to DE?  Can't remember ever hearing that about a player before in my life.  Has he grown a ton since getting to college?

Caius
Caius

Ken,

What are the chances of Gamble moving to DT to replace Akins who has left the team?

 

GGee
GGee

Like when we had Michael Johnson, Derrick Morgan, Vance Walker and the boys? Thats about the only time I remember DL being a strength

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@MikeBanning @Birmingham__Jacket  

If you have read the recent articles about Johnson's success graduating players, it's pretty clear his #1 responsibility was to avoid another flunk-gate, and make sure his players could by successful in the classroom.  Hopefully recruiting will improve with Peterson's allowing him more special admits.

juvenal
juvenal

Kallon in particular might have played more.......

GTBob
GTBob

@Birmingham__Jacket  Like my previous deleted for no reason post said, Henry was a DE in high school. He has bulked up to around 230 already and will be giving DE a shot this spring. He could also end up at OLB or a hybrid of the two. It's unusual but he wasn't the typical WR recruit either.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Agree. 300 lb monsters aren't effective if they can't move their feet and get off blocks.

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

@MikeBanning @RambleOn84  

Maybe, maybe not...I'm an optimist.


I think the second year in the 4-3 will be a better year...we'll miss Attaochu, but to me no one else on the defense is irreplaceable.  I think our D-line could be very solid.

gt1995
gt1995

@forexbomb @GTBob  


The reason that Gotsis, or any of the other DL got run over in the second half was due to lack of depth. The way they dominated in the first shows you don't need to be 300+ to be effective. they way they got manhandled in the second half shows they were simply worn out. In order to have a good DL you need 6-8 players getting meaningful snaps. that depth is built