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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How to Defend the Triple Option According to the Internet (and can UK do it)

Image result for triple option

Maybe it’s my old soul but I love the triple option offense and am very excited to see Kentucky take on Georgia Tech on New Years Eve.  I think it is such an interesting offense and requires as much skill and preparation as a high octane passing attack like those of Hal Mumme.  It doesn’t mean that it will score as many points as the Mumme offense, but that is not the point.  It’s meant to control the clock and get yardage 5 yards at a time rather than 20 yards at a time.  But if he you haven’t really watched a triple option attack like Georgia Tech or Navy any time, it will be a unique experience and as a football novice, I wondered what football experts believe to be the key to stopping a triple option attack and does UK have the strengths to do it.  So I did a search on “how to stop the triple option” and came upon several different articles.  Below are some of the tips on what coaches say are the keys:

  1. Fumbles and Recovery: When you rush the ball 60-70 times in a game, many of which require a pitch of some kind, it is almost a certainty that Georgia Tech will fumble the ball a few times.  Will Kentucky be able to recover those fumbles?  The Yellow Jackets have fumbled 21 times this season in 12 games, losing 11 of those.  Kentucky has recovered 8 fumbles this season, including one against a guy who just posed for the Heisman Trophy.  Will the Cats be able to take advantage of the turnover options that Ga Tech gives them?
  2. Blitzing is Bad: You see it time and again that attempting to blitz a triple option team is a bad idea because so often guys are in 1 on 1 situations and if a guy gets too far upfield or has bad positioning it leads to big plays, often touchdowns.
  3. Defensive Tackles Will Be Key: Mr. Pringle, Mr. Pringle, Mr. Pringle.  In a triple option attack, the quarterback almost always will first look to hand off to a fullback or running back for a blast up the middle.  If the defensive tackles get handled easily, the middle will open up and Ga Tech will kill UK 5-7 yards at a time.  If Pringle and Matt Elam play well and clog up that middle, forcing the QB to pull the ball out and look to other options, it could play more into UK’s strengths.  Take a look early if the Jackets give that first option the ball often for up the middle runs.  If they are, it tells you the DT’s are not handling the situation well and that’s not a good sign for UK.
  4. First Down Defense: Georgia Tech is not looking to hit you with 20-30 yards plays.  They might get a few but their goal is to beat you 5 yards at a time.  Where you get them uncomfortable is in 2nd and 3rd and long situations.  And you can only do that with a strong 1st down defense.  One article I read said if you let the Jackets get to 3rd and 2, you’re dead.  You won’t be able to stop them.  For the season, UK is giving up 5.8 yards per carry on 1st down.  If they don’t perform any better than that on December 31st, Georgia Tech will get into advantageous situations all game long.
  5. Tackling: It seems consistently coaches believe making the QB keep the ball, thus controlling the line of scrimmage and preventing the pitch to the running back, it will likely lead to a lot of 1 on 1 situations where a tackle will be needed.  While Kentucky has GREATLY improved in this area this season, they have traditionally been a poor tackling team going back to Bill Curry.  So can the UK linebackers and cornerbacks have a good tackling day?

So, judging by the keys to stopping this attack from coaches and football experts, does Kentucky have the pieces and strengths to have success against Georgia Tech?  Or do we have holes that the Jackets are going to be able to exploit?  Your thoughts…….

Article written by Bryan the Intern

16 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How to Defend the Triple Option According to the Internet (and can UK do it)



  1. ukjaybrat
    8:10 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

    assignment football.

    step 1: do your job
    step 2: trust your brothers to do theirs
    step 3: profit



    • ClutchCargo
      8:23 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

      The coaches have a few more weeks to drill this into the defense’s heads. Let’s hope it takes. If they can figure this out, it should be a great way to ring in the new year.



    • memphis wildcat
      9:31 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

      ^^^^This….discipline to do your job and trust your brothers to do theirs is the key. Agree 100%.



    • J-Dub421
      9:56 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

      Lol at the South Park reference as well. 🙂



  2. Sentient Third Eye
    8:32 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

    Last week, Matt was complaining on air that it would hurt UK to play Georgia Tech because now we had to waste our extra practices on defending a system that we won’t even see next year. That’s a horrible argument because they keys to stopping any option, including a triple option, are discipline and fundamentals, and those are important skills no matter who you play. A team can be undisciplined and be good, but they can never become a great team without it. Spending December having assignment discipline drilled into the team will have benefits long term, definitely.



    • ClutchCargo
      8:44 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

      Facts – and, apparently a basic understanding of football – are optional.



    • ukjaybrat
      8:49 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

      completely agree.
      I see where matt was coming from when he made that comment, i disagreed with it, but i at least understand where he was coming from. maybe there was something else the staff wanted to coach this month and now they can’t. but still, i agree having the fundamentals drilled into them for a month straight will do nothing but help long term.



  3. symphonist41169
    8:35 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

    Pringle won’t be able to play every down that the defense is on the field, so it’s time for Elam to step up and show why he was so hyped coming out of high school, which I have yet to see. If Ga. Tech’s O-line is able to stand him up whenever he’s is it will make for a long day.



  4. Cmart0907
    8:47 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

    Our run defense is horrible. Everyone knows that. I don’t seem them stopping it.



  5. secrick
    8:58 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

    We already won the bowl game in my opinion when we beat the cards . This game is just for fun and more fun so play hard and the triple option is not something new, coaches have seen it before. GO CATS



  6. FatSparxxx
    9:13 am December 7, 2016 Permalink

    you can defend this list better than you can the triple option https://gritfathers.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/power-rankings-top-5bottom-3-espn-females/



  7. WildcatRX7
    12:55 pm December 7, 2016 Permalink

    So, some of this is right, but not all of it (full disclosure, I am a GT grad but also a UK fan). Like any other defense, there are a lot of ways to attack the option. There is some truth to the mantra that all one needs to do is play “sound assignment football.” This tends to prevent the big play, but can also be risky. To have just “sound assignment football” work against the option, you need to be just as good at running the D as the offense is running the O (unlikely for UK given they almost never face it) or be able to get off blocks and consistently win 1-on-1 battles all day long. This can work, but usually has only stopped Georgia Tech when they have run up against defenses with a ton of pro talent. For evenly matched talent, where teams try to just play “sound assignment football,” Georgia Tech is happy to get their yards 3-7 at a time, string out long clock eating drives, and score lots of TDs.

    The best way to prevent the long, drawn out drives is to get Georgia Tech into negative yardage plays (which is rarely accomplished by just playing “assignment football.” Instead, the better defenses have actually be proactive, not reactive. They change alignments and gap assignments continuously and do blitz a good bit.

    The flip side is that leaves open big plays if Tech can diagnose the D and execute blocks. Although BTI says that Tech is happy to just get you 5 yards at a time and “are not looking to get 20-30 yard plays,” that is not true. Georgia Tech actually leads the nation in plays over 50 yards against other BCS opponents, with 16 such plays on the season. They also have 24 plays over 40 yards and 34 plays over 30 yards.

    So, the key to beating the option is to play sound assignment football (and to beat your blocks and win the 1-on-1 matchups, but to also pick your spots to be aggressive and force Georgia Tech into negative plays. Thos are the real drive killers for the option.