September 8, 2009

Jackets looking for fire on D

Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Dave Wommack has been furiously working since the conclusion of Saturday's game against Jacksonville State preparing the Yellow Jacket defense for Clemson Thursday night. Wommack and the rest of the staff are looking for the fire that was missing from the players in the second half of their season opener.

Jacksonville State gave the Jackets varied looks offensively on Saturday, but Wommack expects a much more varied approach from Clemson on Thursday night that could feature different formations on every down.

"They are going to run multiple sets and their freshman quarterback Kyle Parker got a taste of things on Saturday," Wommack said. "I will not be surprised to see them run some wildcat formations with C.J. Spiller either."

Containing Spiller and wide receiver Jacoby Ford are the two main things Wommack is focused on this week.

"Spiller is like any great back, you have to stop him before he gets a step on you otherwise it will be a long day because he will be gone," he said. "Ford is also a tough matchup and a great athlete on the outside."

After looking back at his defense's performance against the Gamecocks last week, Wommack says the defensive line needs to play tougher.

"Jacksonville State chop blocked our guys on every play and kept them on the ground way too much," he said. "I was disappointed by that, but we did not really give up any long runs other than the one run in the second half."

Overall looking back at Saturday, Wommack says starting linebackers Brad Jefferson and Sedric Griffin had outstanding games as did true freshman Julian Burnett.

"I thought the linebackers were much more active than anytime last year," Wommack said. "Jefferson and Griffin were very active and involved in making a lot of plays. Last year our safeties led our team in tackles and we have to keep the linebackers going this year so that does not happen again. I think we have a good group with Sedric, Brad and Julian."

The wolf or husky position will be a key in containing players like Spiller and Ford on Thursday night. Wommack was pleased with Dominique Reese's performance last week and he will once again start there with Rashaad Reid and Mario Edwards backing him up.

"We played three or four guys at the wolf position last week and I feel like it is progressing," Wommack said. "I feel like I have a guy, Dominique that I can leave in the game most of the time which is what we were looking for."

The Jackets had four chances at takeaways on Saturday where balls bounced off defenders hands. Wommack says it was good that players were in a position to make they play, but they did not finish it by getting the interception.

"We were steady on Saturday and there was not as much production as I would have liked and the overall intensity in the second half was not good. I was disappointed that we had our foot on the other team's throat and we didn't finish it," Wommack said. "We had four chances to get turnovers and we only got a forced fumble. We had two or three balls land in guys' hands. That area needs to improve and we need to finish plays. A play here or a play there will make the difference in a close game and we can't afford to miss those chances in a conference game."

Head coach Paul Johnson is making a point to his staff and players to pick up the intensity on Thursday and Wommack said after the five weeks of camp Jacksonville State ended up being a preseason game instead of the first game of the year.

"We needed a preseason game and now we are going to be ready to play on Thursday," he said.

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