It will come as a surprise to nobody that the pass rush wasn’t exactly exemplary last year. In this piece we look at the breakdown of the Jackets pass rush and the effect it had on the outcomes of games.
Getting after the quarterback is one of the most basic tenants of any good defensive coordinator’s philosophy. The more pressure you can get on the quarter back the quicker he needs the ball out of his hands, which cuts slow developing routes out of the playbook and forces sets with less receivers. In their first year under DC Andrew Thacker the Yellow Jackets (3-9) had a grand total of 17 sacks.
That breaks down to just 1.42 sacks/game, with only three players on the roster having two or more sacks. Linebackers David Curry and Charlie Thomas had two sacks each, while defensive lineman Ja’Quon Griffin led the team with two and a half sacks. The 17 sacks were split evenly between the linebacker corps and the D Line with eight and a half sacks a piece.
Out of the 17 sacks, seven of them came in the team’s three wins. Four sacks against South Florida, three against Miami and zero against North Carolina State. In the games they won, the Yellow Jackets averaged 2.33 sacks/game.
In the nine games that Tech went down though they averaged only 1.11 sacks/game. Zero sacks in a blowout loss to Clemson, and a single sack against the Citadel, Temple, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Georgia. Tech actually went 2-2 in games where they recorded two or more sacks (losses against Virginia and Duke), on average getting more than twice the amount of sacks in wins and losses.
There is some good news in all this, only one player who recorded a sack won’t be on the roster next season, defensive lineman Bretavious Glanton. In their second season under Thacker, the defense will be looking to step up the pass rush, with 25+ sacks a minimum requirement for the Yellow Jackets to get to .500.