The defensive line was a massive disappointment
We will get to the problems in the Red Raiders secondary in a moment. But defending the pass begins with the pass rush and on Saturday, Tech got almost no pressure on HBU quarterback Bailey Zappe and that’s troublesome.
On 49 Zappe passing attempts, there were only three sacks and eight pressures. That was despite the fact that Tech knew that the Huskies had no ground game to keep Patterson’s defense honest.
Part of that equation was the fact that the HBU scheme was designed to get rid of the football as quickly as possible. Also, Zappe is excellent when on the move allowing his OC, Zach Kittley, to roll him out of the pocket and away from pressure.
Still, this was an FCS opponent and Tech should have been able to assert its will along the line of scrimmage. Perhaps the sack total couldn’t be expected to be any higher but all night long, the Red Raiders should have been in Zappe’s face and they simply weren’t.
It looked as if the Tech defensive line wore down under the stress of the HBU tempo offense. That was evident by the fact that the final sack of the night came on the first drive of the second half.
What’s more, a closer look at the QB pressures reveals that only three came from the defensive line with Eli Howard, Philip Blidi, and Nick McCann the only players along the line given credit for hurrying the passer. That’s the opposite of productive depth.
We were led to believe all offseason that this team had far more depth along the defensive front and that would in turn help the pass rush by allowing the starters to stay fresh. That line of reasoning proved to be a load of malarkey in week one and that’s one reason why Red Raider fans fear that nothing has changed with this program’s defense.
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