Musing on Yellow Jacket football

I don’t normally pay attention to football, pro or college, but my daughter’s at Georgia Tech. So…

Georgia Tech loves the option. Actually, Paul Johnson loves the option, and since he got the team to the Orange Bowl in just two years what he loves is loved by Georgia Tech fans.

The problem with the option is the problem with all trick plays. There is so much that can go wrong, and if your opponents are prepared there is so much they can do to help make things go wrong, that it tends to be a loser in the long run.

A major problem with it (in my eyes) is that most young quarterbacks have egos a bit larger than the state of Alaska. Even if that’s an exaggeration there’s this tiny belief that they are the only player on the field they can fully trust. As a result the quarterbacks in option games tend to be the rushing leader for the team. [edited to add] At the same time the rest of the offensive team doesn’t get developed or used. And THAT is where the problem lies; even more than normal, if you shut down the quarterback you shut down the offense.

This problem is known, and good coaches work on it. But in the end the only person who decides is the quarterback.

Georgia Tech’s quarterback is good. The problem is that he thinks he’s better. Last year he wasn’t nationally noted. This year, he thought he was a potential Heisman winner. He could see his name in the national sports press during the summer. He had not only his own ego but everyone around saying He Is Good.

And it shows. He’s keeping the ball even more than last year. He’s not really working on the throwing. (Oh, yeah, it could be the receivers. But Every Single Receiver, Almost All the Time? ummm. By the way, when they did an option back pass, the pass was caught. hmmm.)

Now a lot of pundits are focusing on Georgia Tech’s defense, and I admit there are problems there as well. But even when that gets pulled together the offense isn’t quite going to do what it expects. It’s using a trick play, and the guy in the pivot isn’t as good as he needs to be.

It’s a darn good thing that neither my daughter nor I really care about football.

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One thought on “Musing on Yellow Jacket football

  1. And as a comment… I know there are a lot of tactics to shut down the option. There’s a strategy as well. You designate one player each side and give them a simple order: tackle the quarterback first. Do it even if he pitches the ball to someone else at the last second. (Yes, edge close to that penalty.)

    Two things. First, it stops the major advantage of the trick; the hesitation of the defender. Second, and more important, is the strategic advantage for the game as a whole.

    The more they run it, the more beating the quarterback gets. By the last quarter the quarterback is a lot more tired than just about every player on the field, and it shows in timing and precision and every other aspect.

    And it’s likely this aspect will never be modeled into an online game.

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