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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…….