“It wasn’t all the defensive line,” said head coach Frank Beamer. “I think it’s a team defense and I think there was some miss fitting as far as getting their gaps under control and some communication problems in the secondary, but it wasn’t just the defensive line.”
Part of the unit’s problems may have been the transition from preparing for Georgia Tech to the more traditional offenses of Austin Peay and Pittsburgh. While the Yellow Jackets’ option offense required a very special game plan, the last two games required the line to return to their normal gap assignments.
“Georgia Tech was more slipping blocks, and we weren’t attacking as much, so we had to come back to our regular technique against Austin Peay and Pittsburgh, where we were attacking more and running our feet,” Maddy said.
The line has yet to get much pressure on quarterbacks as well, but this too may be a result of the run-heavy offenses the team has faced early on.
“I think we’ve got people that can get pressure on the quarterback,” Beamer said. “The kind of offense you’re playing affects that a little bit. When you’ve got a running game and play action off the running game, you’ve got to honor the play action, so I think it’s a little bit the offense.”
The upcoming game against Bowling Green presents a big challenge, and defensive leaders like Maddy will have to step up to ensure that the team gets back on track.
“I want eight, nine, ten leaders; I want guys that lead by example,” Wiles said. “I want you to be within your personality, be who you are, but you’ve got to deserve victory.”
The Falcons’ offense has shown some flashes of brilliance early in the season, so the next game should be a real test for the defense.
“They’ve got an experienced quarterback, completing 60 percent of his passes and they had Florida in the third quarter tied up,” Beamer said. “They’ve got good players and they coach them up, and they’re for real.”
With a full week to both distance themselves and learn from the Pittsburgh loss, Maddy believes the team can come out and play like it did against Georgia Tech and earn another win.
“We’re practicing really hard with great communication,” Maddy said. “We’ve had some great practices, and we’ll see how it turns out in the Bowling Green game.”