Ted Roof’s defense has been better this year than it has ever been. Obviously, the Jackets are only four games into the season, but after nearly shutting out North Carolina and going five straight quarters of ACC play without being scored on, it’s clear that they are a step ahead of any other defensive unit since Roof took the job in 2013.
So, what made the difference? Junior linebacker Victor Alexander says that Roof has just made things simple. “Coach Roof lately has been making it very simple for us as a defense. It’s not as intense as it has been in the past. This year, I feel like it’s just flat out, you go out there and you play ball.”
The Tech defense has always been liable to give up a few big plays in the past, especially on third down. This year, Tech fans are finally seeing some positive change. The Yellow Jacket defense has been lights out on third down, and is allowing their opponents to convert just 21% of their chances.
“We’ve kind of made him more confident in us as a defense this year about how we play and execute his calls. So, with that, he’s made it simpler for us just by calling two or three plays because he knows we’re going to make a play,” said Alexander.
Senior safety Corey Griffin thinks that the improvement can be seen in the pass defense. “I would say this year we’re more involved in the pass than previous years. I know last year we were more involved in the run, and transitioning our game this year more towards the passes is definitely a transition. To see that we’re capable of making those plays is very encouraging.”
The greatly improved defense has earned top 25 rankings in many statistics, and is a huge reason for the team’s early success. Although they know that they’re playing at a high level, they still aren’t satisfied.
“We all feel that we can play a lot better. A lot of people say ‘oh yeah we did good, y’all did good, but at the end of the day we still make those mistakes that only we know. Not really too much of the crowd knows where the mistakes happens, but we know, so we know what we have to improve on. Seeing that we haven’t played to our highest potential yet is pretty encouraging.”
The Jackets will have a pair of road trips in October that will test the improved defense against Miami and Clemson.