10 Things I Learned Against GT

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Looking for the silver lining in this week’s loss to Georgia Tech? You will have to look pretty hard. There were some positives – Jeffrey Fitzgerald , for example – but they were overwhelmingly outweighed by the minuses. We will examine both in the 10 Things I Learned Against Georgia Tech.

UVa’s defense may have more problems as the opponent’s team speed increases.

1. Fast enough? One of my big concerns going into the GT game was about the team speed of the defense, particularly the LB corps. I worried about whether the defense was fast enough to shut down ACC offenses the same way it handled Wyoming and Western Michigan. That concern remains.

Think back to Reggie Ball’s first TD run. Simply put, the defense was not able to pursue down the line fast enough for anyone to beat Ball to the corner. And someone should have. The blitz from the defensive back did not get near Ball, but it did force Ball to stay deep in the backfield for several extra steps. Given that angle and the fact that there was no misdirection in the play, you have to expect a LB to make it down the line fast enough to get to Ball, particularly when Tech did only a mediocre job of sealing the left side of the line.

2. The anatomy of a play. Obviously, the play that likely broke the back of the Hoos was Calvin Johnson’s bomb to end the first half. How the play came to be is interesting.

Obviously, there is a lot of focus on Jamaal Jackson ‘s less than stellar effort in coverage, and that is fair. Jackson was far too flat-footed in his technique, making him susceptible to just about any move (and Johnson did not have to throw much of one at him – just a slight lean left that got Jackson turned the wrong way, and that was all she wrote). But to be frank, I am not sure why Jackson was in on the play in the first place. Jackson is miscast as a two-deep safety, and does his best work coming