November 17, 2009

Anderson's big step forward

The Yellow Jackets have been struggling to find a pass rush from somebody not wearing number 91 all season long, but on Saturday, they finally got it. Defensive Tackle Ben Anderson stepped up big and had a break out performance with five total tackles including three for a loss of 24 yards and two sacks. All three were career highs in a game for Anderson and his performance was good enough to reward him as the ACC's Defensive Lineman of the Week.

Anderson commented on his performance by saying, "Opportunities came up and I took advantage of them. After my first sack, I just turned it up. Over the past few games this season, I have gotten to the quarterback just as he was getting rid of the ball. I remember at Virginia that happened multiple times and to finally get some sacks under my belt really feels good."

It didn't look like Tech came to play early against Duke as the Blue Devils marched 73 yards straight down the field on nine plays for an early 7-0 lead. Things did not get any better after that as Tech fumbled a punt and gave Duke a short field with only 14 yards to go for a two-touchdown lead. The defense made a big stand, however, inside the red zone as they have done at critical times this year. Duke was unable to advance past the line of scrimmage after three plays. The Blue Devils settled for a field goal, which would be the last points that they would score for the remainder of the game.

Anderson gave his input on the slow start by replying, "At the beginning of the game after the first drive or the first half, we just get it together and settle down and play like we are capable of. We were definitely really wanting this one and I think sometimes in the first series or first half we try to do a little bit too much. Everybody just needed to settle down and do their job."

Tech was in dire need of somebody to step up, take some pressure off Derrick Morgan, who sees constant double teams, and sometimes even triple teams. Leading up to the game, Morgan had 11.5 sacks on the season and the next closest player had 1.5 sacks. As a result of his outstanding game, Anderson is now second on the team in sacks and the entire starting defensive line has now gotten to the quarterback at least once this year.

According to Anderson, "It feels like we have all been under the radar and it was good to showcase our talent."

Anderson attributes a lot of his success to the cohesiveness of the defensive line. After overcoming injuries, Anderson, Morgan, Logan Walls, and Anthony Egbuniwe have now started four consecutive games together. "We really have a good feel for each other which we need when we run twists and other stunts like that," said Anderson. "I know a lot of Logan's tendencies just like he knows mine. He has been doing a real good job out there and we have been working off each other. We also run twists with the ends and I know what Egbuniwe does. He sells it up field and cuts inside and I know when he does it. We're all playing in sync and it works well for us."

The Jackets have really bought in to Coach Johnson's philosophy of winning one game at a time so that the next game becomes even bigger. Anderson showed just how much the players have truly grasped onto the one game at a time concept by saying, "Every game is the biggest game. This game was the biggest of our season in order to win the Coastal Division and now next week is the biggest against Georgia."

As a result, they have now positioned themselves to achieve two of their top priorities over the course of the next two games: beating UGA and winning the ACC Championship.

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