Regardless of the fact that Georgia plays Georgia Tech every season and practices defending the triple option throughout the year, accurately simulating can be a fool’s errand.
In his fourth season facing Tech, Bulldogs defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter said mimicking the triple option in practice never truly reflects the offense in a live game.
“I think yesterday, we did a gauntlet in the weight room, just something that they created for fun just to simulate a cut block, but I just don’t think this game can be simulated,” Ledbetter said Monday. “These guys just come out, and it is what it is, so you just have to go play.”
Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC) can never be sure which Tech team they’ll face at the end of November, but they can always be certain the Yellow Jackets will bring their best game, especially in Sanford Stadium, where the teams meet Saturday (Noon, SEC Network; News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB).
In 2016, Georgia’s second consecutive loss to Tech inside Sanford Stadium, the Bulldogs allowed 226 yards and four touchdowns on the ground along with 164 passing yards in Tech’s 28-27 win.
Last season, the script flipped at Bobby Dodd Stadium, as Tech (7-4, 5-3 ACC) was limited to 188 rushing yards, 38 passing yards and one touchdown in Georgia’s 38-7 win.
“I honestly think it’s different every time you play them,” Ledbetter said. “There are just so many options to what they do. You never know what’s actually going to happen, so you just have to be ready for everything. I think getting our young guys comfortable in those situations and just making sure everybody is helping each other out and staying off the ground is the most important thing to do in this game and just being alive and being able to run to that ball.”
Because one week is hardly enough time to adequately prepare for every possible play the triple-option offense can execute, Georgia coach Kirby Smart said, like last season, the Bulldogs practiced the option a few days each week of the season and most aggressively during preseason camp.
However, no matter the amount of practice the Bulldogs allot to their in-state rival, Smart said he still would still rather his team face an offense similar to the ones they play all season than a triple-option team at the end of the regular season.
“My whole thing in scheduling is I want to play as many good football teams as we can, and it's never really been about the offense,” Smart said. “It's been about the home-and-home, and it's been about opportunity to play big games. I mean, that's important to us in our future. It's not really necessarily what offense they run. But given the opportunity, I would rather play a style offense that we will play more often in our league.”
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