ATLANTA – Expectations haven’t changed for Kyle Travis and the Georgia Tech football team.
The Yellow Jackets’ junior linebacker and former South Forsyth standout isn’t concerned following a 17-10 home loss to Virginia Tech on Thursday. In fact, he thinks the loss provided Georgia Tech (3-1, 0-1) with added motivation.
"[The loss] definitely hurt," said Travis, "but you just have to grow from it. The expectations can only get higher now. We have to bounce back to contend for the ACC and win this Saturday."
That matchup includes a tough road game against No.14-ranked Miami. However, the 4-0 Hurricanes may be without starting quarterback Stephen Morris after spraining his ankle in a 49-21 win over South Florida. Morris threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the second quarter.
But regardless of who Miami plays at quarterback, Travis thinks the defense will be prepared.
"We’ve got to pick up the intensity during practice," he said. "I think sometimes when we knew we were 3-0 it was kind of tough to [practice hard]. We were kind of just practicing, but [Monday] we had a real good practice and have picked it up. When you lose something, you got to keep picking it up and keep grinding."
First-year defensive coordinator Ted Roof has bolstered the defense and simplified the playbook, something Travis said has made most of the difference. Roof also brought with him the 4-3 defense, a change from the 3-4 under former coordinator Al Groh.
Although the Yellow Jackets are known for their run-heavy offense, their defense continues to lead the way. They are ranked No. 9 in the nation in total defense with 275.5 yards allowed per game and have only given up 12.8 points per game, good enough for No. 8 in points allowed.
"We’re just playing now," Travis said. "Before, we had so much stuff [to worry about], in that we had to think a lot before each play, but I think now the scheme is simplified a little bit and we’re just playing now.
"It’s a huge difference. When you have to think about a lot of stuff and you think about who you’ve got and stuff like that, it’s always tough; you can’t go out there and play with what God gave you."
Travis isn’t just limited to defense, as he also plays on special teams.
"People don’t realize how big a part special teams is to the game," he said. "It’s hard for people to see it because when you’re watching the game you don’t really care about that. But when you get down to the schematics and where the hidden yards are, they come from special teams."
Travis said he doesn’t mind where the coaching staff puts him as long he’s able to help the team win.
"I’ve been on them all," Travis said. "So, it’s just wherever coach puts me I’m just doing everything I can to help the team out, whether that’s defense or special teams or just doing what I can do make the team better."