The Anatomy of a Sack

or: “I’m in ur base, sackin ur qbs”

[Editor’s note: I started writing this back in August. Some of it may make less sense now. Micheal Johnson only has one sack this year, however, I believe he is still effective – in the Boston College game he drew at least 4 holding calls by himself.]

Last season, Tech was ahead by 4 with just over a minute left when a missed tackle allowed Maryland to get all the way to the 9-yard-line. Their first two plays ineffective, Maryland calls a timeout to regroup. With 41 seconds left, the ball is snapped. No more than 3 seconds later, Micheal Johnson has soundly beaten the Maryland left tackle and his pulling Sam Hollenbach to the ground. You can watch it here.

After some confusion on the initial call, Maryland is penalized for an illegal forward pass (the ref said intentional grounding, but looking it up it appears when time is involved it is technically an illegal forward pass – either way, they got the penalty right (5 yards from the spot and loss of down)). At any rate, Maryland now has a 4th and goal from the 19 yard line and 35 seconds left.
Not that it mattered – both of Maryland’s tackles got owned as Johnson and Darrell Robertson agreed to have a meeting with Hollenbach. Within another 3 seconds the game was over, as you can see here.

Today on asimsports, we’ll put our Ron Jaworski hat on as we break down why, more than anything else, Tech fans are very confident about the defensive line this year.

So let’s start with 3rd down.

There’s the snap. The left tackle, #70, is already backpedaling.

This is almost 30 frames later. There’s roughly 30 frames per second of
footage. If this is a running play, this is a decent hole on the left side of
the line. #70 has stepped to the latterly to the left, attempting to block
Micheal Johnson out of the pocket. Johnson, however, has other plans.

This is well less than a second later. Johnson has begun his spin move.

This is 17 frames after the last image. Johnson has completed his spin move.
The only way #70 can stop him now is to commit a blatant hold. The running back,
#33, does not see this occur and begins to run his delay route. This is a big
break for Tech.

Whoops. 21 frames later, #33 is now out of the play. Note compared to the
first image, the line has been moved back 3 yards. The quarterback’s 3-step
drop has him drop back 6 yards. Let’s see how fast Johnson closes the remaing
4 yards (Hollenbach has yet to finish his drop).

If you said 56 frames, or about 2 seconds, you were correct! Notice #70 is
on the ground. He fell down around frame 135 trying to turn himself around.

4th down

So here’s the snap. Note the formation – 2 WR on the left, 2 backs, a TE
on the right side of the line (so there’s no one to the right of the TE).

This is 1 one frame later. At the bottom of the screen, you see Darrell
Robertson #90. Notice he is already out of his crouch and that the TE hasn’t

This is nearly a second after the snap. The tight end is already beat as
the QB is dropped out of the back of the pocket. Both the running backs are
going out on routes. Note there are four terps blocking the two defensive tackles.

22 frames later. Poor #70. Micheal Johnson has completely faked him out. #70
was preparing to block for Johnson coming through the hole, instead Micheal
Johnson just decided to run around him. Sam Hollenbach is dropping back way too
far. The line of scrimmage was the 19, and he’s going to go back another 4 yards,
which doesn’t help his line at all.

This where the tight end and #70 are completely beat. There is now no way
for them to block Johnson and Robertson legally.

The QB realizes his fate and tries to step up into the pocket.

Instead, he forms the middle of a defensive end sandwhich.

Ball game.

And there you have it folks.