A year later and it’s the same answer to the same question.
What are your opinions on preparing and playing against Georgia Tech’s cut blocking up front?
Georgia’s defensive players have held the same view on Georgia Tech’s offense over the years. This isn’t a style of offense they prefer to play. But since it’s a team the Bulldogs are forced to play every year, they know any kind of personal preference is thrown out the window this week.
“I’m not a fan of cut blocking, especially when they come at your legs,” outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter said. “There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s their brand of football. You just have to protect yourself and play football.”
Earlier this season Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi said on his radio show that Georgia Tech employed a “dangerous” blocking style. Narduzzi claimed that the Yellow Jackets chop more than cut – meaning that one player blocks an opponent high while another hits him below the waist. This kind of block is illegal in football.
A cut block is a legal block from one offensive player below the waist of a defender. Narduzzi alleged Georgia Tech got away with chop blocking on many occasions prior to his team’s 35-17 loss to the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart downplayed how dangerous Georgia Tech’s blocking style is, however.
“There's danger in all of football, isn't there?” Smart said. “So you got to do a good job of executing, playing the blocks. And we're allowed to cut them, too.”
Most plays against all of Georgia’s other opponents featured blocks above the waist. Sure, some teams will cut on specific plays. But the Bulldogs haven’t had to worry about offensive linemen diving toward their waists or potentially their knees.
Georgia Tech offers a big change in this area. Most of the Yellow Jackets’ blocks between the tackles will be below the waist, which offers a tremendous challenge for Georgia.
“A lot of teams, that’s not a focus for their offensive scheme,” Carter said. “But that’s a focus for Tech. That’s what they do. You just have to prepare for it. You gotta know it’s coming. It’s going to happen. You’re going to get cut blocked. You just have to play off it and know what to do.”
Safety J.R. Reed said the last time he played against a triple-option team was in high school, which only occurred maybe once a season. But the biggest difference Reed noted was that those high school option opponents still blocked above the waist instead of Georgia Tech’s preferred style.
“These guys are totally different than what I saw in high school,” Reed said. “They cut a lot more. In high school, they were all about hiding the ball and hitting you up high.”
So here Georgia is again – another meeting with Georgia Tech, which means another game of fighting off blocks below the waist. The Bulldogs have not only been working on it all week, but all season, devoting one period of practice per week to Georgia Tech.
Georgia defensive tackle John Atkins, reiterating what past players have said before the Georgia Tech game, said this style of offense isn’t a whole lot of fun to play against.
“It’s not, but you gotta do it though,” Atkins said.