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Cross knows defense 'has some work to do'
Georgia Tech’s running back Anthony Allen (18,) dives over teammate Izaan Cross (94), a former Flowery Branch High standout, for extra yards Saturday during the Yellow Jackets annual spring football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta. - photo by By Rich Addicks
ATLANTA — Everything with concern to Georgia Tech’s defense is still a work in progress, as far as defensive end Izaan Cross can see.

Playing in a new 3-4 scheme and under first-year defensive coordinator Al Groh, is going to leave some wrinkles that need to be ironed out says Cross, a former standout at Flowery Branch High.

“I feel like we’ve still got some work to do,” said Cross, a possible starter at defensive end for the Yellow Jackets, “we’re not going to be ready to play tomorrow. But after a good summer, I think we’re going to be ready.”

Despite the cautious optimism, Cross turned in one of the best outings defensively for the Yellow Jackets in their spring T-Day scrimmage Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. He finished the game with four solo tackles in the game, which was shortened a half due to inclement weather.

Cross’ output was second only to linebacker Anthony Barnes, who had five tackles.

Cross made an impact in the game from the beginning with a tackle of B-back Anthony Allen
on the second play of the game. In fact, Cross made three solo stops during the game on Allen, who had 91 rushing yards on the day.

However, after the game was finished, Cross could rattle off several instances when the defense was exposed: wide receiver
Stephen Hill had two long catches, Allen broke off a 40-yard run on the game’s first drive and quarterback Tevin Washington had three touchdown rushes.

Defensive end Robert Hall and tackle Ben Anderson were held out of T-Day with injury.

“If I had to give the defense a grade (Saturday), I would say a C+ or B-,” Cross said. “We had some busted plays.

“Stephen made some really good catches.”

Cross doesn’t see a huge learning curve going into a 3-4 scheme, after playing in 13 games last season in a 4-3. The biggest difference is that he’ll see more one-one-one action against the offensive guards, and less time having to shed tight ends.

“I like the 3-4,” Cross said. “It’s not as big of a transition as I thought it would be.”

Cross knows he will be counted on this season to keep from having any kind of drop off with former defensive end Derrick
Morgan, a first-round draft pick this week, now moving on to the NFL.

“Everyone is going to have to work harder this season,” Cross said. “We’re just going to have to continue to watch film in the offseason and just keep getting better.”
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