Izaan Cross enters his third year feeling he has a better grasp of Coach Groh’s defense. “During the spring, the plays that were thrown at us came to me a lot easier.” Cross feels it’s time for he and his teammates to go out and play and not worry about having to think before each play.
Another advantage for Cross will being able to play along side Logan Walls and Jason Peters for the second straight season. “We all know each other very well and we know what to expect from each other.”
Being able to react rather than think should be a plus for the front 3 as they head into the 2010 season. “Last year I had a lot of trouble with my run and pass reads.” Cross feels he’ll be a step quicker and will be able to do a better job of reacting to the pass.
Last season the pass rush was the biggest disappointment for the Georgia Tech defense. Going into the 2011 season the defense has set up some goals to get to the passer more. “The game changes when you sack the quarterback so that’s one of our objectives for the season.”
The 2011 Tech defense will have better depth than it has the past few seasons. T. J. Barnes and Emannuel Dieke have the most experience among the backups. “Dieke is developing and working hard everyday in the workouts.” The Jackets will also have players like Euclid Cummings, Anthony Williams, Chris Crenshaw, Jimmie Kitchen, Denzel McCoy, and Shawn Green competeing for backup jobs.
The depth will allow the starters to go hard every play knowing they’ll be able to take a breather when needed. “We can’t take off any plays.” Cross and his fellow starters are looking to help the backups learn their roles.
Like some of his other teammates Izaan also sees a change in attitude with this year’s team. “We’re doing all the small things to be a better team. I don’t think we did that last year.”
Cross and his teammates are looking to make a name for themselves similar to what the 2009 team did. “We’re a completely different team now from what we were then.” All that Izaan and his teammates know is that they were 6-7 and they’re looking to change that.
With the veteran group up front, Cross hopes that the defense can play a bigger role in contributing to the team’s success. “We have the potential to be the best defense since I’ve been here.”