Georgia Tech defense trying to prepare for Central Florida’s tempo

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins said Tuesday that he hopes a renewed sense of urgency will help his defense deal with the tempo of Central Florida’s offense Saturday much better than it dealt with Ole Miss’ offense in last week’s loss.

The Rebels used 81 plays to gain 547 yards of offense against the Yellow Jackets in a 42-0 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium last Saturday.

“Tempo will be a factor offensively, and, obviously, Saturday against Ole Miss, we do not handle that very well,” Collins said. “And so, obviously, UCF will see that on tape. We’ve got to make the corrections; we’ve taken the necessary steps in preparation to handle those things better.”

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After the game Saturday, Tech cornerback Myles Sims said dealing with the fast pace is about being stronger mentally.

The Jackets (1-2) spent part of Tuesday focusing on how to get lined up with the calls, look at the sideline to get the play call, get back to the line of scrimmage and go. The team had issues dealing with all of those elements against Ole Miss. Collins said the Rebels’ big plays were helped by his players not having their feet set, seeing their keys, playing with the wrong leverage, fitting the wrong gaps, etc.

“And then with the tempo, all of those issues get compounded,” he said. “And we can’t allow that to happen.”

UCF (2-1), which features one of the best rushing attacks in FBS, isn’t an opponent that will lead to quick fixes.

The Knights, led by quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, rank fourth in rushing yards (273 per game) and are tied for sixth in FBS in total offense (532.3 yards per game) and tied for 45th in scoring offense (36.7 points per game). They have scored 13 of the 19 times they have reached the opponents’ 20-yard line.

“They’ve got speed all over the field,” Collins said.

Conversely, Tech is tied for 104th of the 131 FBS teams in scoring defense (33.33 points per game) and ranks 106th in rushing defense (184.7 yards per game). Opponents have scored all 13 times they’ve passed Tech’s 20-yard line, including 10 touchdowns.

The Knights have run 56 more plays than previous opponents South Carolina State, Louisville and Florida Atlantic. They average 81 plays per game and about 2.6 plays per minute of possession time.

So, yes, Tech will need to better deal with the Knights’ tempo than it did against the Rebels.

“I thought we had a good plan,” Collins said. “You know, and then it’s frustrating when the plan doesn’t work out well. And that’s on the coaches and myself, and we will continue to work to put our guys in the best position so they can have success.”