KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee will take the field in less than three weeks with an intriguing offensive opponent.
Georgia Tech runs a triple-option attack which uses misdirection and fakes to spring big running plays. The offense also has its linemen use cut blocks against the defense.
How to stop the offense might be easier said than done. Tennessee must plug up the running lanes in the middle of the line of scrimmage.
Tennessee defensive tackle Kendal Vickers said after practice Tuesday the defense has begun preparing for the different looks from Georgia Tech. The complexities of the offense can be hard to master, though.
“Georgia Tech creates a lot of problems, especially for the D-line,” Vickers said. “They got so many plays, and they’ve seen everything. They know more about what they do than we do.”
Vickers and fellow DT Kahlil McKenzie will have the onus of stopping the run on Sept. 4 when the Vols face the Yellow Jackets.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Vickers totaled 38 tackles in 13 games last season. McKenzie tallied 12 tackles in six games.
Vickers said the defensive line has worked on defending the triple option some throughout fall camp.
“The D-line has to worry about them cutting a lot,” Vickers said. “They go side to side a lot. As long as we can control that, stay in our gaps and run to the ball, I think we can make a lot of plays.”
Georgia Tech will let the defensive ends run free as the tackles move into the second level and block linebackers. Then the cut blocks come in on the defensive tackles. Georgia Tech wants to wear down the DTs and limit their mobility in the play.
“Every D-lineman hates to be cut-blocked; they’re lying if they say otherwise,” Vickers said. “It’s a fun challenge to get ready for and gets us better.”
Tennessee will prepare for Georgia Tech’s offense more each week as the season opener in Atlanta approaches.
The play of Vickers and McKenzie in the middle will remain the key.