- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ATLANTA | Georgia Tech’s talk of a simplified approach on defense is causing Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer to wonder what changes are coming this week.

For Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, almost any change on defense would be welcome.

The No. 19 Yellow Jackets have allowed a combined 75 points in their past two games but somehow have managed to win both.

Johnson said his defense will need better production against No. 4 Virginia Tech on Saturday night, prompting Beamer to call the Yellow Jackets “difficult to prepare for.”

Johnson also said the unit didn’t play as poorly as it seemed while giving up more than 400 yards in the first half of last week’s 49-44 win at Florida State.

Beamer said he’s not sure whether Georgia Tech’s defensive schemes he sees on game film will be what he sees at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

“I know they talked about maybe cutting back on their schemes a little bit, but they’re difficult to prepare for because you’re not sure where they’re going with this,” Beamer said. “The defense gives you a lot of looks. They change up from week to week, and they change up in their scheme. They have got some eight-man front principles, and then they can go back to the two-deep.”

But picking a defensive look isn’t as important as proper execution.

“I think it’s no secret we’ve got to play better,” he said. “When you watch the tape, in my mind when you play like that, everybody is accountable. The guys on the field are accountable. The coaches are accountable, but number one, I’m accountable because I’m the number one guy.”

Johnson said he wants his defense to play fast and with confidence. For an example, he points to Virginia Tech.

“What I want is to find something where our guys can play fast,” he said. “You watch Virginia Tech play defense, those jokers are playing fast now, and they’re playing physical. There’s not anybody standing around looking trying to figure out what’s going on, I can assure you of that. They know what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s where we need to get.”

Johnson said coaches must accept responsibility if the defensive players appear to be tentative.

Georgia Tech (5-1 3-1 ACC) has allowed 27 or more points in four of its six games. The Yellow Jackets rank ninth in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 26.5 points a game. Virginia Tech gives up an average of 17.7 points, second in the league.

Georgia Tech ranks 11th in the league in pass defense, eighth against the run and 10th in total yards allowed.

Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor said the Hokies are not expecting an easy day against Georgia Tech, even though the yards and points allowed at Florida State were startling.

“They did give up a lot of yardage, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to buckle down and play us tough,” Taylor said. “We just have to go out there and execute the plays that are called and work off that.”

Johnson said the Seminoles did “whatever they wanted” on offense. He also offered some halftime reassurance for his defensive players.

“It’s like I told the guys at halftime on defense… [that] ‘It’s usually never as good or bad as you think it is,’ ” he said. “It’s usually little things that make big things happen, and you’ve got to do little things right. You’ve got to get lined up right. You’ve got to get your eyes right.”

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