What the ACC thinks of Georgia Tech

What do other teams in the ACC think about Georgia Tech?

The matter was brought to several players from Coastal Division schools at last week’s ACC Kickoff in three questions: What do they think of when they think of Tech, what do they remember from last year’s game and what Tech players stuck out to them.

First, what they think of when they think of Tech.

Virginia linebacker Chris Peace

“Option. Just eye control. (The offense) is all over the place.”

> On defending it:

“It’s hard to practice. I remember that week in practice and the year before, we were full pads the whole week just because you want to steal as many reps as possible with a team like that. Because I mentioned earlier, eye control is a big thing with them. You take the wrong guy, mess up on one assignment, that can mess up the whole defense, and they can go for 80 yards just like that.”

Virginia running back Olamide Zaccheaus

“Their defense is always really good, and you know they’re going to come after the quarterback and they’re going to be confident with their DBs and they’re going to man them up sometimes, especially on the outsides. They’re a really good defense.”

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones

“The triple option. (Laughs) I think Georgia Tech’s always solid. I think they’re very consistent on defense. I think as a unit, they play team football very well. I think that’s kind of been their M.O., is team football, and when you play Georgia Tech, you’re going to have fewer possessions because of how well they run the ball and their style of offense. The game plan’s a little different when you’re playing a against a team that’s going to shorten the amount of possessions, and you’ve got to factor that into your plan and how you’re going to approach them.”

Duke linebacker Joe Giles-Harris

“The triple option. You think about, ‘Geez, I’ve got to stay on my feet this week. That’s the biggest thing – getting cut and whatnot.”

> On how different the offense is from others:

“Way different. A lot more physical. It’s a lot faster, it’s a lot more confusing. You’ve got to get yourself into a system of playing a triple-option football team. It’s not like playing a regular team. So it definitely takes some thinking and takes some settling down and getting into it.”

> On having an open date this season before playing Tech:

“It’s beautiful. I love it. One, it lets you heal up and get ready for it. And two, it gives you another week to prepare for that. You only become good playing that defense with reps and with time. So the more time we have before, it’s great. We go into this camp and we’ve got a whole summer for Army (Duke’s opponent in the season opener, which runs an offense similar to Tech’s), and that’s exciting. We’re ready to go.”

North Carolina defensive tackle Aaron Crawford

“Cut block.”

> His thoughts on cut blocking:

“Not a fan. We prepare for Georgia Tech real early just because it’s so different from every other offense we play. No great feelings towards it, to be honest with you.”

Miami safety Jaquan Johnson

“You know, you have to defend the chop block. Georgia Tech is an unorthodox team. Very difficult to play against if you don’t practice and you don’t prepare well for them. If they find one thing weak in your defense, they’re going to keep attacking it over and over and over again. The most difficult thing about Georgia Tech is you don’t know what you’re going to get from them.”

Pittsburgh offensive tackle Alex Bookser

“Short game. Every time we get the ball, we’ve got to score. Be ready for a grind, and make plans for after the game (because of the relative brevity of the games). No, really, the biggest thing is, anytime we get the ball, we have to score because we might only get it six or seven times. Especially the last few times we’ve played them, it’s come down to one or two possessions, and it’s huge. Biggest sense of urgency of any game you play.”

Pittsburgh linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu

“The option.”

> On why everyone says that:

“It’s a very unique offense. When you look at the ACC, when you look at college football in general, it’s a very unique offense. And it’s something you have to prepare differently for probably than you’re used to preparing for any other team.”

> Thoughts on the offense:

“I kind of like that game for a certain reason, in that it’s nitty-gritty football. It’s basic football. Like, it’ll bring you back to grass-roots football. It’s going to get dirty, its going to be physical whatever it is, and it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be football. There also is a mental aspect to it. You can’t just ‘See ball, get ball’ – you have to play your assignments. It’s assignment-based football. So, that offense, playing the game can be fun and also frustrating.”

Virginia Tech defensive tackle Ricky Walker

“Georgia Tech, those guys are tough, believe it or not. Definitely the most physical game of the year upfront, definitely. That game is a little different. I think we take it personal. Those guys beat us the last two years. And coach (Paul) Johnson does a great job of just finding new plays and new schemes. Hat’s off to him. He finds a way to have an excellent quarterback on that offense. From (Justin) Thomas to (TaQuon) Marshall, it wasn’t much separation when Marshall came in. Shifty guy, he’s quick. Other than that, Georgia Tech is all-around just a great program.”

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