Back-to-back triple options ‘probably not ideal’ preparation for SEC Championship

ATHENS – You’ll get no wishy-washy answers from Georgia’s defensive players when asked how they feel about playing Georgia Southern and its vaunted triple-option attack this Saturday. Cornerback Sanders Commings probably summarized their sentiments most succinctly.

“It sucks, to be honest,” said the senior from Augusta.

Now add in the fact that the Bulldogs will be facing this exact scheme for two consecutive weeks. The Eagles run the same “spread option” system that Georgia Tech has perfected under coach Paul Johnson. Jeff Monken, Georgia Southern’s head the last three years, worked for Johnson at Georgia Southern, Navy and Georgia Tech going back to 1997.

So the good news is facing the Eagles in Game 11 should prepare Georgia well for facing the Yellow Jackets in Game 12. But the bad news is while the Bulldogs will be deeply mired in the intricacies of reading and reacting to the “counter trey” for the next two weeks, they’ll do so knowing they’ll face nothing of the sort in the SEC Championship game.

Georgia (9-1, 7-1 SEC) clinched the SEC’s Eastern Division title this past Saturday and is expected to face No. 4 Alabama and its pro-style attack in the conference championship on Dec. 1 in the Georgia Dome.

“We’ve just got to worry about that when the time comes,” coach Mark Richt said at his weekly news conference Tuesday. “We can’t do anything other than defend who we are going to play. So that’s what we’re doing. When that’s through, we’ll have to change gears again, certainly. . . . Some of the schemes and responsibilities will be vastly different, there’s no doubt about that. But if we don’t focus on this we’ll get embarrassed badly.”

Said defensive coordinator Todd Grantham: “It’s probably not the best scenario, but it’s the hand we’re dealt and we’re going to play it. And we’ll be fine. It just so happens we’ve got to face this style of offense two weeks in a row.”

For the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs, it’s not so much the fear of playing the option as it is the dread. For one, the Eagles are going to pile up yards no matter who they play. They rolled up 302 yards rushing and scored 21 points in a loss against eventual national champion Alabama in Tuscaloosa last year. They come into the Georgia game averaging 401 yards rushing and scored 69 points in a win over Howard. Secondly, a key component for the offense is the cut block. Linemen at Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech are taught to dive at defenders knees and get them on the ground by any means possible. It’s especially tough on big defensive linemen, who are used to more of a hand-to-hand-combat style of play.

Senior noseguard John Jenkins went as far to say he thinks “it’s cheating.”

“They just chop your knees and they grab your leg and roll up on you and hold your leg. That’s no fun,” said the 6-foot-3, 358-pound lineman. “I can’t knock what they do. They do it legally. But it shouldn’t be legal.”

The ethics of it aside, both Southern and Tech cut block well. And therefore Georgia is doing everything it can to get ready for it. For starters, the Bulldogs held a rare full-contact practice on a Monday, a day normally reserved for a light, walk-through workout in sweatsuits. Instead, Georgia coaches had the defense lining up in drills turf practice fields taking on cut block after cut block. The Bulldogs were in full pads as usual on Tuesday and Richt said they may break from routine and do it Wednesday and Thursday as well.

“You have to be able to defend that block and stay on your feet,” senior linebacker Christian Robinson said. “(Monday) it was wet and rainy and we were all getting cut for the first time. We needed that just to see how rough it can be if you’re not ready to defend it.”

The Bulldogs did a decent job the last time they saw it. The Jackets gained 355 yards, including 243 yards rushing on 53 carries, and Georgia won 31-17.

They would like to do better this go-around, and the timing of these last two games is no accidet. It had to fit into the Eagles’ schedule, too, but Georgia liked the idea of getting an FCS preview of the spread option before facing their FBS archrivals.

“It just ended up working out that’s where it got placed,” Richt said. “But if you’re going to play that type of offense twice in a season, it’s probably better to do it back-to-back than in Game 4 and Game 9. . . . It’s probably not a bad thing, but we’ll see how the results end up.”

Last year, Georgia lost defensive end DeAngelo Tyson for the rest of the season to an ankle injury due to a cut block against Georgia Tech. Jenkins, who projects as an NFL first-round draft pick after this season, was reminded of that watching tape this week.

“At the high school level, that’s one thing; at the college level, that’s people’s livelihood, and it’s a different way to look at it when you’re toying with people’s livelihoods,” Jenkins said.I’ve read stories about people getting cut the wrong way and they no longer can play football. They’re using football to feed their family, so it’s kind strange and different.

125 comments Add your comment

ugab

November 13th, 2012
8:21 pm

It is dangerous!! 2 weeks of Uga players getting chopped blocked is not good for the SEC Championship. Maybe we can get some backups in against GS.

jp

November 13th, 2012
8:22 pm

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Max Sizemore

November 13th, 2012
8:35 pm

If UGA gets a decent lead in the second half, I’ll bet Grantham plays some reserves this week.

Tom

November 13th, 2012
8:37 pm

First, and I think playing GSouthern and GT back to back will help us TCOB against GT. The D can get ready for Bama. It will be the same thinh they have faced all year, pro style offense.

Vampire Bill

November 13th, 2012
8:44 pm

Practice hard for GS, then taper down during GT looking towards bama

dawgfan

November 13th, 2012
8:51 pm

The hit on Tyson was dirty and cowardly. Look for more of the same out of the nerd herd in a couple of weeks, especially since we’re playing in the SECCG again. They always try to knock a couple of our guys out.

But what else would you expect from the Georgia Tech YELLOW Jackets. Cowardice is their thing. They left the SEC because it was too hard. There isn’t a bigger joke in all of college football than Georgia Tech.

come on

November 13th, 2012
8:51 pm

just so all you uga fans and fanboy chip stop whining about cut blocks here is a youtube video of yalls game against UT this year i saw 5 cut blocks on running plays even the first highlight look at number 64 cut the guy down. so you are just showing your ignorance by being upset about something everyone does. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0Kgl3sg_lc

joe jenkins

November 13th, 2012
9:03 pm

It really won’t hurt us in our prep for bama….the question marks for bama lay with the offense….will chris b….will he be healthy….also we have
1. mitchell
2.king
3. conley
who is going to be that forth WR that steps up.
jsw
mcgowan
wooten
bradberry- somebody better step up soon because time is running out….i just don’t trust both TE’s right now…they are dropping to many passes……..oh yea i lok forward to pounding tech again

Vince

November 13th, 2012
9:48 pm

Derek should not be fired. He is a good son and a great coach. GooooDerek.

MadDog

November 13th, 2012
9:55 pm

Funny thing… Alabama last year never brought up the “cut block” thing. They just played the game.

dawgie

November 13th, 2012
9:58 pm

Cut blocks cause no more leg injuries than other blocks. Prove me otherwise. All college and pro teams use cut blocks. Man up and play football. Stop the whine.

Buckbaloweme

November 13th, 2012
10:02 pm

dawgfan is the stupidest thing on earth. your a loser. your a moron. your a pathetic piece of crap. your a idiot. oh yea, your a dawg fan

ONLOOKER

November 13th, 2012
10:03 pm

Cut blocking is not only legal but effective. Ask what PJ asked at the ACC meeting show him a list of all the players that were injured because of cutting. It is difficult to defend it is annoying but LEGAL. Figure out how to play it, you don’t have to like it but you do have to deal with it.

P-Cola Dog

November 13th, 2012
10:08 pm

Funny thing Saban brought up the hurry up offense. Other folks just play the game

MadDog

November 13th, 2012
10:12 pm

Can’t believe some Ga players are saying this stuff. Really comes across as a reason if they don’t perform up to standards. They will win the game but I look at these couple of players differently. It’s always a good game and good for the state. Ga South looks forward to it and comes in to win, not lay down. Think that’s what true Ga fans and alumni/students want and expect.

kral

November 13th, 2012
10:22 pm

are you playing against it maddog,,no..should they public with there comment..no…but if somehow you get a penalty called..heck whose to say

Fair n Balanced

November 13th, 2012
10:27 pm

Injuries could be crucial to how we finish vs Bama. But I believe we can man up and play some old time, old man football and kick some butt!

MadDog

November 13th, 2012
10:45 pm

I know that not 1 FCS or FBS team complained about the offense worrying about injury. No injuries that I can remember outside the normal. Last game GA lost a lineman from a knee injury by running down a RB, not cut blocking. No more gimmicky than double reverses or QB sneak, etc…

MadDog

November 13th, 2012
10:47 pm

Ga South plays more games than GA when in playoffs, 63 v 63 opposed to 85 v 85. Its all relative. Good football. Ga will be fine.

Buzz 2011

November 13th, 2012
10:48 pm

I am afraid Georgia outhern will not help the Dawgs at all.
The Dogs better hunker down for an offensive juggernaut the type
they haven’t see from the high octane ( ha) SEC group.
It won’t be a Missy State or old Kentucky homecoming..

Buzz 2011

November 13th, 2012
10:54 pm

@DAWGFAN//// See you at the game.. You sound a little ” nervous” like a
lot of the Dog nation..Know what dawgfan, you should be…

collegeballfan

November 13th, 2012
11:23 pm

The SEC championship game is not important for UGA. UGA fans have said for decades that the most important game they play is the GT game. So the important game to get ready for is GT.

DrJ

November 13th, 2012
11:52 pm

High school or college…this offense requires illegal procedures and chop blocking to get proper angles and be effective…surprised it’s not called more

GT TN

November 14th, 2012
12:01 am

@ DR J..that is a new one..where do you get illegal procedure from

kingdaddy

November 14th, 2012
12:35 am

You guys have really suffered this year. Hope you roll over the Dukies and get bowl eligible. We’ll see you two Saturdays from now…

chuck

November 14th, 2012
12:52 am

Should we ban tackling below the waist too? Should that be illegal? Give me a break.

HYDRO-DAWG

November 14th, 2012
1:42 am

WE’LL SMOKE BOTH THESE TWO POSER SCHOOLS!!

LeftCoastDawg

November 14th, 2012
3:16 am

Yeah, it’s hard to prepare for the SEC Championship Game when you’re warming up against 2 high school teams (offenses).

Help

November 14th, 2012
5:36 am

We have bigger fish to fry. I think I heard that quote from someone. Lol.

Ellijay

November 14th, 2012
5:39 am

Pau Johnson’s high school offense is lacking the players to execute.

Buckeye

November 14th, 2012
6:35 am

GA Southern and W. Carolina in Nov in the SEC! SEC!

Real men don't hit women

November 14th, 2012
6:42 am

Or, as senior cornerback Sanders Commings so eloquently put it: “It sucks, to be honest.”

Isn’t that what Commings’s girlfriend said when he beat her to a pulp?

reality

November 14th, 2012
6:48 am

Bunch of whiners…you lose 2 of your next 3…

Ramad Ashad

November 14th, 2012
6:54 am

High school offenses are hard to prepare for because you don’t face them that often.

Ramad Ashad

November 14th, 2012
6:57 am

Buckeye: I think your boys are 0 and 15 against the SEC in Bowl games. I don’t count the year you had to vacate and were caught cheating.

Tomás Broun

November 14th, 2012
7:00 am

Does Richt want cheese with his whine? :-)

Wrecker

November 14th, 2012
7:04 am

Affects his “livelihood”? Granted, he will be in the NFL, but most of his compadres will not. Is Georgia paying players now. These comments show some of the problems with Georgia’s vaunted recruits: They are thinking too much about the next level and not enough about the games in front of them. If you start thinking too much about injuries, instead of playing full out, you will get injured.

Coach

November 14th, 2012
7:22 am

I have always thought the chop block should be declared illegal. But seeing as that has not happen one of the best tactics against it is to repeatedly smash the back of the blocker’s head and shoulders with a forearm chop with as much force as possible.

JB

November 14th, 2012
7:30 am

Any Frat flag football team can score 40 on Tech. I hope Richt test to see if the scoreboard at Sanford can go to three digits.

JB

November 14th, 2012
7:32 am

Piney Woods….See AU & BAMA for win at any cost. You need to worry about TECH and not us. You’re on probation and fighting to be bowl eligible. Have a good day.

Dawgriquez

November 14th, 2012
7:36 am

Wrecker, there is only one college team in Georgia that is on probation and it is Tech.

Terry Chance

November 14th, 2012
7:37 am

Some idiot stated that the SEC championship was not important. Fact, if the Bulldogs beat the Crimson Tide, they have as good of a chance in playing in the National Championship as Bama has if two of the ones above Bama loses. And, i’m a Bama fan. Roll Tide and go Dawgs, should be one heck of a game.

Mark

November 14th, 2012
7:40 am

just take care of business…Go Dawgs.

MA English 75

November 14th, 2012
7:40 am

So, Piney Woods Pete, why don’t you tell us how you really feel? Let me note, however, that as a UGA grad (3 times), I agree with nothing that you say. UGA is not a “laughing stock,” by any means.

JB

November 14th, 2012
7:47 am

Wonder if i drove down to Auburn this weekend I could buy a ticket for the Auburn/ Alabama A&M game? LOL….. I bet they won’t draw 20,000.

dawgfarts

November 14th, 2012
7:49 am

If anything, Ga Southern has a better chance of winning than Ga Tech. I expect Ga Southern to pile up points against UGA. Will be a fun game to watch and one that UGA better not overlook.

JB

November 14th, 2012
7:51 am

Piney woods is all Tech. There is no one in a SEC school that would write that much and with that much misinformation and hate but a Techie. Never have understood the hate. Little brother syndrome and 10 of 11 I guess. Why on Gods green earth they think that place ( an urban hell hole) is the garden spot of the world and life ain’t worth living if you didn’t go to school there is beyond me.

joe jenkins

November 14th, 2012
8:08 am

why didn’t richt richt redshirt jhc…..jhc is tall enough and fast enough to play WR…..i hope auburn is still feeling the pain of us stomping them into the ground

Neutral

November 14th, 2012
8:29 am

@whiney woods Pete
I need answers to several questions since I admire CMR and need to know iif his program is really the laughing stock:
-Is GT still on probation?
-What did the ACC do withGT’s championship that they lost for cheating?
-Any recent coaches convicted of obstruction of an NCAA investigation?
-Whatever happened to the GT coach accused of sexual assault?
-Have they convicted the former basketball player accused of murder?
-Does GT still have the lowest grad rate in the ACC?
WOW……..SO MANY QUESTIONS AND SO LITTLE TIME!!!!