North Carolina will take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this weekend in the Heel’s third game of the season. UNC’s ACC Coastal foe is 2-0 on the season, after drubbing Elon 70 to nothing for their first win and beating up on Duke 38-14 on the road. Because of the lackluster competition from GT’s first two opponents, Tech actually ranks first overall in the country with seven points against. The Yellow Jackets also rank well in points for and rushing yards, putting up 356 yards on the ground and averaging 54 points per game, good for third in the nation in each category.
At the very least, the Tar Heel defense should be able to lower those crazy percentages. The rushing stats are also inflated due to Tech’s dreaded triple option offense, which features a hard nosed running attack. This system usually covers up the athletic talents of an individual, for example, you could put nearly any running back in the triple option and they would probably all average around the same number of yards and touches. However, this season the Yellow Jackets get to add an extra element at quarterback with Vad Lee, a 6-1, 213 pound sophomore. Lee can sling it, throwing four touchdown passes against the Blue Devils last weekend. Lets not get ahead of ourselves here- Lee isn’t going to average four TD passes a game in this system. But it is worth noting that GT has lots of offensive weapons, including young talents at wide receiver, that go beyond the typically triple offense personnel. With that in mind, lets look at the offensive scouting report for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Name to know- Vad Lee
Stat to tell your friends- Vad Lee played at Hillside High School, only a handful of miles away from UNC in Durham.
Vad Lee is a dynamic quarterback for Georgia Tech, and can do a lot more than just running the option for the Yellow Jackets. Lee was a four star recruit according to ESPN coming from high school, the 16th best athlete in the nation. To illustrate just how athletic Vad Lee is, he has the most passing and rushing yards on his team through the first two games. On the ground, Lee has racked up 125 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry with two touchdowns. Through the air, Lee has faired just as well, throwing for 315 yards and 6 scores, with a passing rating of 219.2. This creates lots of problems for UNC, because the typical defense of the option attack has to be adjusted for Lee’s atheism and arm. Lee is just as capable as the Yellow Jacket’s stable of A-Backs and B-Backs running the football, so UNC has to contain him when he breaks for the perimeter on an option play. Also, the Heels always have to be prepared for a passing play with Lee running the show. Even though GT runs the ball a major majority of the time, the Tar Heel DBs can’t fall asleep. UNC’s defense has to keep in mind that Lee is a good passer as well, and stick with wide receivers on every play, not letting them get behind the defense and into the endzone.
A-Backs and B-Backs
Names to know- David Sims, Robert Godhigh
Stat to tell your friends- Through two games, 14 GT players have rushed the ball more than once. (UNC has 4 players with more than one carry.)
The meat of the triple option scheming and personnel comes in the backfield. If you are unfamilar with the terminology, the A-Back is basically a running back who can run the ball on the option or leak out to the flat for a pass. The B-Back is more of a fullback or a power running back. B-Backs often run the inside dive part of the triple option, which is a simple run right up the middle. The meat of GT’s offense comes from this action, and thus the starting B-Back David Sims has the second most carries on the team, for 112 yards. Sims is a redshirt senior, and knows the Yellow Jacket’s system as well as anyone after many years in the program. A-Back Robert Godhigh also is a redshirt senior, and he is averaging 14.8 yards per carry so far. GT has lots of options beyond these two seniors, so look for lots of rotation pieces of the triple option to get carries. Also, because of the strength of the system, any of these players could take off for a TD run.
Names to know- DeAndre Smelter, Michael Summers
Stat to tell your friends- This season, GT has seven rushing touchdowns and six passing touchdowns, despite more than 80% of their plays being runs.
The stat above illustrates the explosive part of GT’s offense, and that they can get in the end zone in more ways than one. Tech even through a new wrinkle in their offense against Duke, putting Vad Lee in the shotgun with a triangle of runners behind him. The shotgun sets and all the TD passes show that Tech can throw the ball, and they have some good athletes catching the ball too. DeAndre Smelter is an interesting story, because for a long time he played baseball until an arm injury derailed his career. Smelter was even drafted in the 14th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, but now finds himself catching passes from Lee on the football field. Smelther and Michael Summers, a redshirt freshman wide out, have combined for 126 yards and two touchdowns so far. One other note is that many of the A-Backs and B-Backs are also featured in the passing game, with Robert Godhigh catching a team high 83 yards so far.