Johnson has film on Venables’ defense vs. the triple option
Brent Venables has developed the reputation as being the guy who has figured out how to stop Paul Johnson’s triple-option rushing attack at Georgia Tech.
Once again, the Yellow Jackets head into Saturday’s game against second-ranked Clemson leading the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 392.7 yards per game. They also average 7.1 yards per carry.
“They’ve been better than most anybody in the country at running it for a long time,” Clemson’s defensive coordinator said Monday at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. “Coach (Paul) Johnson has had incredible success. They’ve got a very difficult system to defend.”
Yet, especially in the last three years, Venables’ Clemson defenses have shut it down. In 2015, the Tigers held Johnson’s triple-option to an all-time low, regardless of where he has coached, of 71 yards on 42 carries.
In 2016, the Yellow Jackets did not fair much better, rushing for just 95 yards on 38 carries at Bobby Dodd Stadium. And though last year they did improve, they still had their second worst outing of the season at Death Valley, rushing for just 198 yards on 43 carries … 109 yards below their season average.
“I think it is execution,” Venables said. “I think our players have done a good job of understanding the plan and executing. It’s not like we are not playing disciplined football.”
Clemson (3-0) has been very disciplined against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are averaging just 123.0 rushing yards per game the last three years and just 2.95 yards per carry. They have only managed two rushing touchdowns in the three games.
“Are we faster than what they might see,” Venables asked. “Maybe! But if the fast guy is not going to the right place and he is not squeezing and closing, and he is not playing the dive when he is supposed to, and I can do down the list of all the responsibilities that everyone has on any particular play. If they are not doing the little things right, then they will expose you.
“It is not like you are overcoming a bunch of mistakes because you have superior athletes. They make a lot of teams with superior athletes look like fools and they have for a long time. So, again, it is about being very detailed and precise, physical, violent, disruptive and all of those things and you have to be able to do it for four quarters.”
Though the Yellow Jackets head into Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. kick with a 1-2 overall record, no one has been able to stop their rushing attack. Georgia Tech ran for 419 and 320 yards respectively in losses at South Florida and at Pitt.
The Yellow Jackets also rushed for 439 yards in a win against Alcorn State in the season-opener.
“They went up and down the field in all three games this year and we’re going to need a great effort,” Venables said.
Georgia Tech will represent the third option team the Tigers have faced this season. Clemson held Furman’s triple-option attack to 117 yards in Week 1 and then held Georgia Southern to 80 yards last week.
But Venables’ warns, stopping Georgia Tech will be a little more difficult than Furman and Georgia Southern.
“It’s a little bit different than some of the option that we have seen,” he said. “We’ve gotten some work from it, but Coach Johnson obviously now has a couple of games worth of film to really study what we are doing. But, we had to line up and stop Furman and Georgia Southern so to a certain degree you had to reveal yourself to him. So, it will be a little bit different for them to have that video to study.”