ATLANTA — During his weekly news conference Tuesday morning, Miami head coach Randy Shannon said there were some aspects of Georgia Tech’s offense that concerned him.
Specifically, he said he was worried about the Yellow Jackets’ penchant for chop blocks.
“It’s a major concern because chop blocks are part of what they do,” Shannon said, according to a transcript released Tuesday evening by the ACC. “It’s always the backside of (a play), not the front side. We are going to work on it in practice. I don’t know if the officials will see it. They probably will not see it, but it’s part of what we have to work on.
“We have to work on it and tell our guys that we can’t depend on officiating to help us. If the guy gets you, you have to get up off the ground and keep running. The difficult part of it is that you can lose somebody due to it, and you don’t want that to happen.”
It should be noted, chop blocks are deemed illegal by the ACC and NCAA, and occur when two offensive players engage a defender and one goes high to block him, while the other goes low. It is a practice Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has in the past said his staff does not condone, nor teaches.
Johnson, having spoken to media Tuesday morning during his own news conference, was unavailable Tuesday evening.
Instead of promoting chop blocks, the Yellow Jackets do practice cut-block and crack-back block techniques, in which single slot backs or offensive linemen dive at defenders’ legs to take those players out. Those plays, as long as executed parallel to a defender where he could conceivably see it coming, are legal.
Georgia Tech has committed just two chop blocks all season. Last season, Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer complained post-Georgia Tech’s win over the Hokies that the Yellow Jackets slipped the chops in on his team.
A Miami spokesman told reporters in Atlanta he didn't think Shannon was trying to imply the Yellow Jackets specifically taught illegal techniques.
That said, it is possible Shannon misspoke.
In an earlier part of the transcript, he said that he will practice with his team this week the art of getting “cut” in order to simulate the game conditions.
“People say why do you do that, well, that’s what happens and we want to get the guys’ bodies used to it and bending at the knees and getting off blocks,” Shannon said. “That’s the only way you can prepare for it.”
Shannon is expected to speak on Wednesday morning’s ACC coaches’ teleconference.