Defending Tech

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Defending Tech

Clemson has a two-game winning streak against Georgia Tech, and at times Clemson defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Def. Coordinator / Linebackers
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has looked as good as anyone in trying to stop Paul Johnson and his unorthodox offense.

The Tigers won last year 55-31.   Clemson jumped out to a 20-0 lead and the Tigers held Tech scoreless until the six minute mark in the second quarter.  Venables held Tech to 248 rushing yards, which was 51 yards less than their average a season ago.  In the contest the Yellow Jackets threw the ball 26 times.  Who would have thought that Clemson would have thrown the ball only four more times than the Jackets?

The previous season the Tigers beat Georgia Tech 47-31.  In this one Tech rushed for 339 yards and had 483 total yards, but Clemson erased a 31-30 deficit by scoring the game's final 17 points in the final 12 minutes of the contest.

Tech scored 31, 13, 39 and 30 in the previous four meetings, beating Clemson in three of those four contests.

In looking at the last six games between the two schools, the key has been for the offense to out-play Tech.  In the Clemson wins, the Tigers have scored 55, 47 and 27.  In the losses they have scored 17, 34 and 27.

This year is the best Tech offense since their ACC title team of 2009.  Defending the Tech offense is always difficult for several reasons.

Multiple Options

Many fans think that defending Georgia Tech is simple.  They run the option and if you stop the option then you stop Georgia Tech.  However, it is not as simple as it seems.  Tech runs several different options and they utilize several different blocking schemes in each one.  Johnson is a master at making adjustments during a game.  When you stop one option and one blocking scheme, he adjusts and gives you a different blocking scheme.


Speaking of blocking, Tech utilizes several types of techniques that drive defenses crazy.  By now, most know that they cut block you at the point of attack.  It is so difficult to keep the Tech offensive players away from your lower body.  These cut blocks are more than aggravating to the defensive player.  Tech does a great job on the second level getting your linebackers blocked too.  They release lineman to the second level and crack down on your linebackers with wide receivers.  Opposing linebackers have to be aware of blockers coming at them from different angles on different plays.


Tech is not balanced in traditional terms.  In other words, they are not balanced in terms of the pass versus the run.  But they keep you honest by being balanced in their running game.  They will show you some midline option, some freeze option, some lead option, some veer, some misdirection, some jet sweeps and some play action.  They motion with their A-backs but can go against the motion with misdirection.  Tech keeps you honest on defense despite not throwing the ball often.

Big Plays

There is a misconception about the Georgia Tech offense.  Some believe this is a grind it out attack.  While they can chew up the clock, the real threat in this offense is the big play.  Tech is usually very high the rankings of plays over 20 yards.

Play Action

Speaking of big plays, Georgia Tech loves to hit you on a big play in the passing game.  Play action passing helps the running game because it keeps the safeties honest, but the running game is what really helps the play action game.  The Jackets love to hit you with a big play in the passing game when you least expect it.

Four Downs

Finally, one of the marks of Johnson and his offense is he loves to go for it on fourth down.  Traditionally Tech goes for it on fourth down as often as any team on Clemson's schedule.  This forces the defense to play well on first down.  If Tech is successful on first down, it will be more successful on third and fourth downs.  Getting off of the field is tougher when you have to defend this offense an extra down.

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