Every Monday throughout this season, Georgia has ended practice with one final period.
Players, on Monday, described it as the “Tech period.”
To wrap up Monday practices the week of every other opponent, the Bulldogs have practiced how to stop the triple-option, which is what archrival Georgia Tech runs on offense. While it is not the most difficult offense to defend, per se, it does become difficult for teams in the modern era to defend because it is unique from the majority of college football teams across the nation. Georgia Tech, Navy, Army and Air Force are the only FBS teams to run the triple-option from under center.
It’s not a fun offense for defenses to prepare for either. The Yellow Jackets implement a lot of cut blocking to spring their running backs. Not one other team on Georgia’s schedule cut blocked as much as Georgia Tech will when the two teams meet Saturday.
But in preparation, to at least develop some sort of muscle memory to what Georgia Tech will try to do, Georgia has prepared one day a week to prepare for it – even when it wasn’t the most fun thing to do.
“At the end of practice we’ll have the Tech period,” nose tackle John Atkins said. “It’s like, ‘Get this over with.’ ”
Last season, some players recalled doing some Georgia Tech prep work at times, but not nearly to the level Georgia has this year. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter could only recall preparing for Georgia Tech during the bye week and the week of the game.
With Georgia losing 28-27 to Georgia Tech last season, it was clearly a focus for head coach Kirby Smart to keep his players familiar with the Yellow Jackets’ offense. Since it’s not something the Bulldogs see any other week of the year, it’s as if they are getting a one-week refresher course to stay fresh on it.
“We’ve been working on it almost once a week for a long time,” Carter said. “It just helps build confidence for not only the younger players, because they haven’t seen it before, but for the older players, because we stay up on it. It’s hard because sometimes you get rusty since you only play it once a year. Seeing it once a week, you stay on top of it.”
Georgia Tech is among the nation’s most efficient running teams as it ranks fourth in average rushing yards per game with 319.3.
Combine the ability to execute the offense well with most opponents’ unfamiliarity, and it is easy to see why the Yellow Jackets have been able to use this scheme to their advantage. Smart noted that high school players aren’t seeing the triple option much anymore, given that most teams are running the spread.
Therefore, it is imperative for Georgia to stay on top of how to defend an offense it won’t otherwise face throughout the year.
“It’s almost like a dinosaur, people don't do it anymore, so people don't know how to defend it,” Smart said. “So it's challenging. The kids on your defense didn't come from high school programs that had to play against it, where, back in the day, they might have done that more often.”