To prepare for Clemson, two scout-team offenses better than one

To prepare for No. 5 Clemson, Georgia Tech adopted its standard procedure Monday for acclimating the defense for up-tempo offenses.

Coaches used two scout-team offenses instead of one, having one scout team run a play against the defense and then having the other quickly hustle in to take the next snap.

“They’ll go faster than Clemson can go,” coach Paul Johnson said.

The Yellow Jacket face the Tigers Thursday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

“It gives us a good look, kind of throwing things at you really fast and everything,” defensive end KeShun Freeman said. “It’s good. It helps us out a lot as a whole.”

Clemson has averaged 82 offensive plays per game through three games, 23rd in the country. Tech is 116th at 62 snaps per game. Last season, Clemson averaged 2.7 plays per minute of possession. Tech’s rate was 2.1 plays per minute.

Like just about everyone in the Tigers’ path last year, Tech was not particularly adept at handling the Clemson offense. The Tigers won 43-24, averaging 7.3 yards per play and converting 10 of 16 third downs. The yards-per-play average was the second highest for the Tigers offense and the highest for Tech’s defense.

“When the plays are coming at you really fast, I guess as an offense, their goal is to kind of get us off track, try to get us confused, get us out of place, but we as a defense, we have to make sure we just keep looking to the sideline to get the play and we get in our spots and we go ahead and play the play,” Freeman said.

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said the pace puts pressure on defensive players to quickly process the formation Clemson is aligned in, remember the assignment for the called play and recall down-and-distance tendencies and other game-plan elements. To help in the time crunch, Roof has streamlined his play calls over his tenure, often limiting the terminology and hand signals down to one word or signal. Still, it limits what Roof can call from the sideline.

“You don’t call everything you have, because you don’t want the calls where there’s a lot of checks involved, because you don’t have time to make those checks, because you can’t recognize and you can’t process,” he said.

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