Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Georgia Tech 17 - Virginia Tech 14!!!

Phew, I am so relieved we won. I couldn't have been the only one screaming at the t.v. when Paul Johnson called a play to the end zone on 2nd and 10, then waited 20 seconds to call a timeout after 3rd down. And then that horrible, horrible play that somehow someway got a first down. BUT, we scored, and thankfully we  wo-- What?!? We LOST???

Such are the emotions of many Rambling Wrecks each fall. On the bright side, we'll still get a bowl game even if we lose again.

This is absolutely not a knee-jerk reaction to the game, rather an idea that this game strongly validates. Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not jumping off the bandwagon or abandoning the Yellow Jackets, I'm just not sure if this is what's best. Every season we dominate our out of conference schedule, struggle through conference play and then lay a post-season egg. I don't think the triple option offense is sustainable outside of a single-game framework.

I consider myself much more knowledgeable when it comes to professional football as opposed to college, so I won't go into a ton of detail on the triple option other than to say that it seems to have some inherent flaws not found in more traditional offenses. To begin with, teams that have more time to prepare for the triple option tend to succeed in defending against it. Georgia Tech is 0-4 in bowl games since employing the new offense. Additionally, the defense get's less time prepare against traditional offenses, of which they play 100% of their games against, than that of other teams. I could be wrong here, but much of the offense is based on misdirection and deception. A defense that doesn't fall victim to those tricks stands a strong chance of completely shutting down the triple option. I've heard it asked which side of the ball should prevail assuming each side executes perfectly and I'm not sure of the answer in most cases, but with the triple-option surely the defense would win.

When it comes to the execution of the offense during games, there are additional problems. A team that runs the ball on 80% of its plays will suffer from a lack of rhythm on any pass play. To make matters worse, defenders in the secondary are likely to maintain fresh legs throughout the game enabling them to defend better than they would otherwise when the offense passes so infrequently. I believe this was one of the problems Tevin Washington encountered during the 2011 season. He had a strong start to the season with a couple of good touchdown passes or other deep passes, but as the season wore on he passed fewer times and less efficiently. The inability to depend on the pass creates problems for the offense when a play is run for negative yardage. The triple option is most effective when it can count on roughly three yards per play and an occasional poorly defended play resulting in big yards or even a touchdown. If however the 1st down play leads to 2nd and 11, the triple option is at a much greater disadvantage than traditional offenses that can rely on the pass to get them out of tough spots.

As for the game tonight, I think the Yellow Jackets showed more determination in utilizing the passing game and to some effect. The offense overall was inconsistent, but made the big plays when it needed to. I'd argue that they could have done it better by sticking with what was working in the 4th quarter rather than shifting to attempted 30 yard pass plays, but I'm not the coach. The biggest problems were the 2nd half defense, some inconsistent play calling, and one very terrible decision. Blitzing on 4th and 4 with 13 seconds left and the offense needing to gain at the absolute minimum 20 yards for any hope of a field goal cannot possibly be the correct call, especially when leaving corners and safeties stranded on tired legs. But the straw that broke the camel's back was the interception throw in overtime.

What can you do at this point but for a 40 point win next week against Presbyterian? Go Jackets!

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