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October 1, 2011The Georgia Tech defense under coordinator Al Groh is one of the few in college football that utilizes a 3-4 base alignment. However, redshirt junior offensive guard Zach Allen is more concerned with how he and his teammates take care of their assignments than what the defense is doing on the other side of the ball.
"Georgia Tech has the 3-4 defense that a lot of NFL teams use," he said. "It's not really a challenge, we re going to execute our offense, go out there and have fun."
NC State has already seen extensive 3-4 alignments from two of their early-season opponents, Wake Forest and Liberty. It's good that the front line protectors has played against the odd-man front before, but the 6-foot-3, 322-pound guard contends that all 3-4 defenses are different; something that is especially true of a defense under Groh, a mastermind known to change his unit from week to week.
"It helps in a sense but, at the same time, every team plays their defense different than the other teams," Allen said. "We can expect some of the same things but the style of play from each individual player changes."
Allen, a second-year starter, went against Groh's defense last year in a 45-28 Wolfpack victory, but could experience several different looks this weekend. Georgia Tech successfully utilized what they call their "radar" front - a defense that features no players in a three-point stance - against North Carolina last weekend and the result was seven sacks against a team that entered the game with just one sack allowed in its first three games.
Many fans might expect the contest with the Yellow Jackets to be of great importance for the Tifton, Ga. native. However, the veteran of 28 games said that it's most important to focus on the week's upcoming game, regardless of opponent; although the proud Georgian - Allen sports a tattoo of the state on his arm - added, "it's always important to represent where you're from.
"It's a real big game but, at the same time, you have to keep your composure. You have to know that it's the biggest game of the year, not because it's Georgia Tech, but because it's the next game we play."
Allen, who appeared in 11 games as a redshirt freshman at both guard and tackle, has settled in and started the last 17 games in a row at right guard for the Pack. He said that he and his teammates have already moved on from a dreadful performance against Cincinnati on ESPN and are fully focused on Saturday's tilt with their ACC rivals.
"That's the way it has to be," Allen explained. "If you get riled up too much on one game then after that game is over, you can still be stuck on it and you won't be performing to your full [potential] in the next game. You have to take it one game at a time and focus on who you are playing this week, that's always the biggest game."