Kentucky will play Georgia Tech in the Taxslayer Bowl on New Year’s Eve in Jacksonville. A Florida bowl game acts as a reward for players and fans alike.
For coaches, the most significant bowl perk is an additional 15 practices which can be used for player development. UK will not be so fortunate. Georgia Tech and its unique flex-bone offense will force Mark Stoops to utilize a large portion of allotted practice time to prepare for an inimitable and challenging offense.
This post is the beginning of a multi-part series that will hopefully aid in your understanding of what Kentucky will be facing on December 31st.
Let’s dig in:
First, Coach Paul Johnson’s identifies backfield players by assigning a letter.
A Back: Slot or wing type offensive players lined up in the backfield just outside the offensive tackle. These players are interchangeable and frequently go in motion to set up misdirection or alter formational strength. A-Backs combine inside receiver pass catching ability with running back traits.
-UK reference point would be Sihiem King or Ryan Timmons.
B Back: Feature, or traditional running back.
–UK reference point: Boom Williams, Benny Snell, or JoJo Kemp.
Below is an introductory video of head coach Paul Johnson from 2008 that further explains formations and alignments.
Tech’s offensive line is smaller in nature and relies on speed and cleverness more so than girth and might. These traits come in handy as Johnson’s OL aligns in 3 foot splits to widen its triple read focus (normal splits are 2 ft). Widened OL splits exploit blocking angles as well as it forces defenders to pre-snap align further away from the ball carrier’s intended path. Expect to see a bevy of aggravating, legal cut blocks and pulling guards.
Tale of the Tape
- 53 Tackle Jahaziel Lee: 6’2, 267-pounds
- 75 Guard Parker Braun: 6’3, 280
- 58 C Freddie Burden: 6’4, 299
- 70 Guard Will Bryan: 6’4, 281
- 50 Tackle Andrew Marshall: 6’4, 282
Average size: 6’3, 282-pounds. Center Freddie Burden is an All-ACC performer.
-Obvious Georgia Tech intent is to run the football as illustrated in 2016 statistical results: 560 carries, 3089 yards, 5.52 yards per carry, 257 yards per game.
-The Flex-bone presents the threat of four vertical receivers (2-A backs and 2 WR’s) by structure/alignment alone. This prevents opposing defenses from loading the run box to stop the run.
-Paul Johnson calls offensive plays from the sidelines by giving direction to receivers who then run onto the field to inform the quarterback. Tech then huddles prior to execution. This method is not commonly used across the college football landscape. No fancy play cards with funky pictures or flailing hand/arm signals for the Rambling Wreck.
-The option is a key component of the Georgia Tech offense but is not executed as often as you’d expect. Tech’s option attack comes in a variety of forms: speed option, counter option, mid-line option, trap option, and more. We’ll dive into each of these in upcoming posts.
Much more to follow.