Preparing for intimidating Georgia Tech option attack puts pressure on Tennessee defense
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia Tech’s famed triple option is coming for Tennessee’s rebuilt defense, and the Vols will soon have their backs to the wall.
Coach Butch Jones has done about as much as possible to prepare for an offensive scheme that has chewed up and spit out one SEC defense after another of late.
The Yellow Jackets have won five of their last six matchups against SEC teams entering the 8 p.m. Sept. 4 game vs. Tennessee in Atlanta. In the process, Georgia Tech has produced the following rushing numbers:
2014: 399 yards rushing vs. Georgia
2014: 452 yards rushing vs. Mississippi State
2015: 194 yards rushing vs. Georgia
2016: 289 yards rushing vs. Vanderbilt
2016: 226 yards rushing vs. Georgia
2016: 266 yards rushing vs. Kentucky
“Our scout teams have done a very good job of emulating and running their plays and it’s something they have worked on for a long period of time,” Jones said Monday, “but more so than that, it’s the speed of the game, [and] it’s quick decisions by the quarterback, the speed of the backs, the velocity of the up-front blocking.
“To me, that’s the most challenging thing, is just the overall speed of the game and the technique and fundamentals with which they play, because they are very good at what they do.”
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson recently explained that the Yellow Jackets are so much more than just a triple option team.
“We had more big plays over 40 yards than 90 percent of the teams in the country,” Johnson said on The Paul Finebaum Show, “so it’s not the old 3 yards and a cloud of dust, like a [lot of] people would lead you to believe.”
Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said Jones has developed a good plan to get the Vols as prepared as possible.
But the Georgia Tech offense is formidable.
“It’s the best offensive line they have had since they’ve been there,” Shoop said. “We know the many issues they create and the challenge ahead.”
The defensive line looks to prove its worth after a strong offseason and preseason camp.
Part of the challenge has been the sheer amount of time Tennessee has put in preparing for the Yellow Jackets’ unique offense.
“We’ll have 15 periods of base defense, and then three periods on Georgia Tech,” Shoop said.
Jones, whose strengths are planning and attention to detail, said it has forced the staff to ask a lot from the defensive players.
“You have to make sure you balance your time, and that your base defense is in and that you can execute your base defense,” Jones said. “Then, you graduate on to a scheme for Georgia Tech, and obviously they have run that offense for so long, they know where to attack.
“So, it’s a balancing attack for our players, and it’s also the fundamentals and details of the [Georgia Tech] blocking scheme and how you play the blocking scheme.”
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) August 22, 2017