You don’t “solve” the triple option. You just try to beat it to a bloody pulp.

Today’s must read over at Shakin the Southland is about defending Georgia Tech’s triple option.  Skipping past the Kevin Steele rips, there are a couple of great passages.

First, this:

So then why did GT lose to a Kansas team that lost to a 1-AA squad? Why did they lose to Iowa or Miami and not us?

Because their OL got the hell beat out of them and they couldnt block worth a damn against them. That was the overriding factor in controlling Paul Johnson’s triple option in each of these games. I watched part of the Kansas game yesterday, and their OL play was atrocious. I vividly remember watching the Iowa game, and the DEs for Iowa were planting Nesbitt on his ass nearly every play and their DL as a whole completely overran Georgia Tech up front. That is why they couldn’t take over the clock and grind them into dust. The second factor, and similarly important, is that teams like Iowa or LSU jumped well ahead of Georgia Tech, and it took them out of their gameplan early.

Football is always going to be about blocking and tackling. If your Front whips them, you will stop them. If GT plays really well up front, they’re going to get yards. If they have good backs + that blocking, they’re going to get wins, so stop this BS that keeps getting posted on message boards about “GT will be stopped because people will figure out how to stop the option.” Thats nonsense. GT will be stopped through recruiting of their linemen and backs, or their defensive players, long before somebody “solves” the option. The option has been around since the beginning of football and its always going to be here. Florida runs an option-based system, Oregon is heavy on the option, and both run a version of a spread Midline attack and Veer that GT runs constantly and the basic differences are just the formation and who is doing the blocking.


So how do you slow down the option? You must make a choice as a coordinator whether to make them run inside or outside.

In my opinion, step 1: Stop the FB Dive. – Everything is set up from the dive play, midline and the veer option. We did that pretty well in both games. The actual dive play did not generate that many yards for GT. Later on, when the defense was clearly worn out, it did begin to pick up, but we did not do terribly against a “true” dive play. Not all of Dwyer’s carries are on actual dive plays however.

Step 2: Hammer that damn QB on every single play. If he’s not on his ass you need to sit your player’s on their’s, on the bench. We did not do that.

In other words, it’s all about penetration, baby.

Read the whole thing.



Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Strategery And Mechanics

32 responses to “You don’t “solve” the triple option. You just try to beat it to a bloody pulp.

  1. Go Dawgs!

    Isn’t everything about penetration?


    • Big Bad Bruce

      Everything worth doing is…


    • Macallanlover

      Right on, certainly no argument from me! As to how this applies to UGA football, it is how we stuffed them last year. I knew, and bet heavily, that we would beat them last year. Why so confident? Atkins and Owens with a guided missle tackler named Curran at MLB.

      Although I agree with Dante about hitting the QB every play, the ultimate key is stopping the FB A dive. We created a traffic jam in the middle, had penetration at the tackle, and forced that point option a couple of yards deeper. Pretty easy from that point against a team that cannot pass effectively. The option offenses that survived the longest were at Alabama, Texas, and OU because they did the best job of passing off the wishbone.


      • Biggus Rickus

        Nebraska would like a word. Otherwise, I totally agree. Nesbitt was a poor passer when he had a good receiver to fall back on. Without that he’s attrocious.


  2. Dante

    IMHO, hitting the QB is the best thing you can do to undermine the option. In the option, the QB could reasonably have the ball at any given time. Hit him. Hit him. Hit him. It’s ok to give up a few yards and let your backup tackle the RB if you get a lick on the QB in exchange. I keep seeing defenders acting like they’re caught in a pickle when the QB gets to the pitch decision. F that. Sell out on the QB hit.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I heard Paul Johnson on a radio show last night address this very issue. He said that in the Tech-UVa game a tackler blasted the Tech QB just as the pitch was made and the runner scored a TD. Johnson was bragging about how he would trade a hard tackle of his QB for a TD any day (ha, ha, ha). Sounded kinda like whistling past the graveyard to me when he said it.


  3. Biggus Rickus

    Speaking of beating things to a bloody pulp, I saw a post on Dr. Saturday’s blog about JoePa’s idea to curb helmet-to-helmet contact. Get rid of the facemask, which will theoretically stop guys from leading with their heads. I don’t think it’ll ever happen, but it’s an interesting idea.

    /sorry for the threadjack
    //doubly sorry for the horrible segue


  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    I’m reading up on how to stop Randall Cobb, everybody with a cup of brains knows Paul’s offense can’t be stopped anyway.


  5. diving duck

    Did you watch all the clips from the game he posted? Clemson’s mlb #20 was just about terrible. He backed up his lack of athleticism with a lack of intensity. Is he still playing?


  6. 69Dawg

    Tackle everybody, that stops the option. I have always wondered why the guys taking the pitch guys just don’t tackle them as soon as they get their wheather they have the ball or not. Is it considered Defensive holding? Tackle all the backs, one of them will have the ball.


    • Todd

      69, that is what I thought. Take the pitch man, and you can hammer the qb every play.


    • AmpedDawg

      I think that technically holding on defense is primarily only an issue in pass plays. If a defender drills an offensive player on a running/option play, there is no penalty. The problem, of course, is that if the defender plays aggressive and is unable to render his assignment useless to the play, it may very well be a big play. In addition, if the person with responsibility on the QB misses and all the people responsible for pitch people are laying on the ground or standing over the carcass of some running back, the QB may be striding effortlessly towards the end zone. Georgia did a pretty good job last year against Tech, Iowa did a great job against Tech. You can decide that you are going to primarily stop it inside or outside and then go with it. I personally like the inside stop as the primary responsibility against Tech, but that is because the dive play last year was someone who could bust runs for big gains if you weren’t protecting the middle.

      I’m pretty worried this year. We don’t have the men up front that we had last year. I hope that I’m pleasantly surprised.


  7. Benjamin

    Doesnt all this apply to any offense? UF has success against UGA by stuffing the run and hitting the QB. Bama has success against UF by stopping the run and hitting the QB. Scar. has success against Bama by stuffing the run and hitting the QB. I could go on but I wont.


  8. HA!

    Well it’s a wonder you guys aren’t head coaches somewhere! By god you internet mouth breathers have just figured out the option! You should pass along your brilliant plans to the coordinators making millions while you pick cheetos outta your teeth from the couch! Congrats guys. So let me see if I got this… Take the pitch man…no take the dive….no tackle everybody…no crowd the middle… Ok we should really think about passing this along to some coaches who are in need of figuring this thing out. Glad you guys have been working so diligently on this cause the real coaches sure as hell haven’t. Great work!


  9. Dabo

    Hey fellas…Dabo here.

    Thanks for the heads up on how YOU would stop the option. I really appreciate your input. Honestly I’m surprised none of you are real coaches. Tech’s put up some major yards on us Tigers the past few years but that’s all going to change now! Who said the internet wasn’t good for learning. Hell, I’ve been trying to figure out this option thing for a while and I think I just have thanks to you! I think the best advice I’ve gotten here is from “69Dawg” who writes “tackle everybody, that stops the option”. I guess there’s no real need to practice then. I’ll just put that up on the blackboard and we should kill’em!

    Thanks Fellas!
    Yabo “Dabo” Do


  10. shane#1

    The article was right in Tech’s case. Stop the dive play and stop Tech. I should add stop the Dive play with your front four and beat Tech. Come to think of it, what system does work when the O linemen are getting beat? You could say, whip their O line and beat Bama, or UF, or UGA or,…….. anybody.