The Georgia Tech offense may be an old school way of moving the football, but for Tar Heel fans nightmares of big runs and time consuming drives have been a tradition during the Paul Johnson era especially facing North Carolina. If the Tar Heels are going to be successful against Georgia tech on Saturday there are several keys to the game that must be accomplished for a Tar Heel victory.
Stopping the Dive and Being Successful on First Down
As frustrated as Tar Heel fans have been in many years of seeing their own offenses run fullback up the middle, this simple play in key in Georgia techs success running the option. Last year the Tar Heels looked as if they were knocked three and four yards off the ball every down and Georgia tech feasted on plays up the middle. By running the dive successfully it continually puts the Yellow Jackets in second and manageable situations. When you have as much trouble stopping the dive you start gambling more which opens the big plays out of the option read game where quarterback Tevin Washington is a master.
Playing Assignment Football
The option is fairly simple assignment football however executing the assignments is harder than it appears. Georgia Tech usually takes away your rush ends by leaving them un accounted for making them turn into more read and react players as we saw Quinton Coples made to do last season. The discipline it takes a defense to play their assignment is difficult especially when you’re giving up yardage on every play. Typically a big play is broken in the option because someone left their responsibility.
Trading three for six
When you play Georgia Tech you will give up yardage, but what you can trade the yardage for is field goals. If you can limit Tech to three points on good possessions you put yourself in a position to be successful. North Carolina must be efficient with its possessions and capitalize drives with Touchdowns instead of field goals. If you can get a ten to fourteen point lead on Georgia Tech they are forced to run plays with their offense that is out of their comfort zone.
Capitalize on the Pitch Mistakes
Georgia Tech is great at running the option, but like every team that runs an option there are opportunities when the pitch will be fumbled. This happens two to three times per game and North Carolina needs to recover at least one as well as securing the football when on offense.
Time of Possession
This is an area where Paul Johnson and Larry Fedora could not be any more different. As fast as Coach Fedora wants to play the offense must be efficient with each possession. There will be fewer throw away possessions as we have become accustomed to. If UNC runs more than 70 plays in this game then I predict a high score with a UNC victory, but if the UNC offense play call number is in he forties barring some explosive plays then it will probably be a long day watching the Wrambling Wreck from Georgia Tech.