It's a flexbone! It's a spread option! It's a triple scheme with a threat of four verticals! It ate the dingo that ate your baby and was forged in the fires of Mordor! Two things are for sure about Paul Johnon's Georgia Tech offense: all the misdirection makes it virtually unstoppable, and Miami must face it tonight on national television.
We choose "flexbone" because it's 1) most accurate, and 2) has "bone" in it, which is awesome. This not your father's midwestern triple option -- that was run from the wishbone, and brought blockers to the point of attack to promote a power running game, so this version can't be defended in ways the triple option has been before (see: Georgia, last season, who failed using Dave Wannstedt's concepts that allowed Miami to murder Nebraska's option in the late '80s). Johnson's triple option is run more from the spread, which stretches out the defense to create running lanes -- giant, gaping running lanes that threaten to ensure Miami never wins the Coastal Division as long as they both shall live.
In other words: it is evil, and must be destroyed.
The Hurricanes have as good a chance as any tonight at Land Shark Stadium as they open up home play on ESPN. The defense that looked a bit porous against Florida State has had 10 days of rest thanks to a nicely-timed bye week, while Tech will be playing its third game in 13 days. New defensive coordinator John Lovett was part of last year's North Carolina staff that manged to limit Tech to 7 points. And Miami, with its strong front seven, has been game-planning for tonight ever since they were humiliated 41-23 by the Yellow Jackets on the road in November.
"We looked at Georgia Tech tape in the spring, watched them in the summer time," defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said. "It's one of those offenses you can't do anything to simulate it. Every look or illustration has to be perfect as to how you are going to defend it. You have to spend your time on it."
The key to stopping Tech's offense is limiting Jonathan Dwyer, its half-rhino, half-man back that helped gorge Miami for 472 yards on the ground last year. Clemson managed that last week and forced a nail-biter from Tech it ought to have won. But it isn't as easy as just "play assignment football," either. Tech's blocking schemes make it hard for the defensive line to stay upright, and all the misdirection can be confusing for ends. They have to stay home, mind their gaps, and try to force things inside so they aren't sucked in only to have the pitch go behind them. And the secondary? Well, tackling would be nice this time around.
If that doesn't go well, it'll be up to Mark Whipple's Jacory Harris Show to simply score more points than the other guys...or string some invisible wire across the field whenever Dwyer breaks free.
Janie Campbell recommends these smart pieces for more on the triple option and is pretty sure Paul Johnson is Gargamel in people clothes. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.