first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments It’s never an easy task preparing for a triple-option offense. The style is a staple for only a few schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision.An option-based spread offense as fine-tuned as the one deployed by Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson — one that has rushed for 378.2 yards per game this season — presents an extremely daunting task.‘Sometimes it takes a couple series to get used to the speed you’re seeing it at,’ Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said during Wednesday’s Atlantic Coast Conference teleconference. ‘You cannot demonstrate that speed and that execution with your scout team during the week.’The Terrapins are the next team to try and contain one of the most potent and unique offenses in all of college football this weekend. Georgia Tech’s (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) triple-option offense has presented all kinds of problems for its opponents at this juncture of the season. Through five games this season the undefeated No. 13 Yellow Jackets have averaged the most rushing yards per game in the nation.It’s an offense that has succeeded everywhere that Johnson has coached. As a head coach at Navy, Johnson’s team led the league in rushing for three straight seasons from 2005-07. Though many critics questioned whether the triple option would succeed in a Bowl Championship Series conference like the ACC, the Yellow Jackets have been in the top five in the nation running the ball in each of Johnson’s first three seasons.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJohnson believes this year’s Georgia Tech team has been the most efficient.‘They’re doing a good job blocking downfield, and we’ve been efficient in the throwing game,’ Johnson said during the teleconference. ‘The nature of what we do kind of spreads you out, and if you make a mistake or miss a tackle, there’s a tendency to have a big play.’North Carolina State struggled to prevent those big plays last week. The Yellow Jackets produced 13 plays that went more than 10 yards, including two touchdowns. In all, the Yellow Jackets have averaged a superb 8.84 yards per play this season.Georgia Tech’s offense presents a distinct test for defenses because the ball often ends up in the hands of multiple offensive playmakers. The nature of Johnson’s triple option is that he utilizes a quarterback, a fullback and two slot running backs. Any one of them can carry the football. Eight players have more than 15 carries for the Yellow Jackets this season.The running back tails the quarterback on a bootleg and the quarterback has the ability to pitch the ball backward. The confusion this style of offense presents often leads to largely positive plays.‘You can’t get frustrated,’ Edsall said. ‘You have to find a way to try and get them off-schedule because they get 3 or 4 yards a pop, and 3 or 4 yards on a drive is going to get you a first down. You’ve got to be patient, you’ve got to understand that they might break a play for 10 or 12 at times.’And this season, the Yellow Jackets have added an extra element to their game that has raised concern for many coaches. Despite throwing the football just 59 times altogether, they are averaging 208.8 yards per game through the air. Starting quarterback Tevin Washington has thrown 10 touchdown passes to one interception.The passing game kept North Carolina State honest on defense last game and allowed Georgia Tech to rush for 296 yards in a 45-35 win.‘It scared the heck out of us,’ Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien said during the teleconference. ‘We held them to 4-of-13 (sic) throwing the ball, but all four plays were big plays.’On the first drive of the game against North Carolina State, the Yellow Jackets were faced with fourth-and-10 on their own 48-yard line. Johnson sent out the punting unit. But just when O’Brien thought he had contained the option offense for a drive, Johnson had another trick up his sleeve.The long snapper sent the ball to defensive back Jemea Thomas, who sped up field off the right tackle and took the ball down to the Wolfpack’s 25-yard line. Four plays later, Georgia Tech took the lead.Johnson’s unique scheme has led the Yellow Jackets to their first 5-0 season since 1990. Maryland will look to contain a team who runs the option around 40 times each day, Johnson said, and the task at hand remains an intimidating one. No one has stopped it yet.‘The toughest thing that you have in preparing for Georgia Tech is you can get the look at it in practice,’ Edsall said. ‘You don’t get the look in terms of the speed or precision of how they run it because that’s all they do. That’s the thing that’s a concern when you go in to play them.’[email protected]center_img Published on October 5, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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