ATLANTA-- There is a void in the middle of Georgia Tech's defense that defensive coordinator Ted Roof is looking to fill both on the field and in the locker room as the Jackets replace veteran leaders P.J. Davis and Pat Gamble. Roof talked about adjusting to losing two of the anchors of his defense and spring practice kicks into week two.
"As much as anything there is a void in leadership, those two were outstanding leaders and not just those two but our entire senior class," he said. "When we were going through that rough patch (the blowout loss to UNC last year), those two guys stepped up and helped shove us through there. That is something I'll always remember those guys for."
Replacing the Gamble in the starting lineup for now is junior Desmond Branch who made the transition mid-season to defensive tackle from strongside end. The linebacker position falls mainly to Victor Alexander who was Davis' understudy for the last two years.
"It really dawned on me after I talked to P.J. when he said it is your time now and it is your year. I am not there anymore and there is no more waiting on me to show you this or that so it is time to step up," Alexander said. "That meant a lot to me coming from him who is like a big brother to me and he took me by the hand and showed me the ropes."
The competition could get even more interesting for the weakside linebacker spot in the fall when signee Bruce Jordan-Swilling arrives on campus, but Alexander has an opportunity to assert himself as the guy this spring.