Defending the triple option isn’t rocket science.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory, here’s what I referred to a couple of years ago as “timeless advice“:

1. Stop the Dive. It’s meant to get 3.0 ypc, once they get more than that, you’re dead. They don’t have as great a FB as Dwyer, but if you let them beat you inside it sets up the entire perimeter game and Midline.

2. Hammer that QB every time he touches the football.

3. Knock the QB’s facemask off every time he touches the football. Make him eat dirt.

4. Flatten the QB on every snap.

5. Rip the QB’s head off on every snap.

I don’t give a shit if you get a late hit or unsportsmanlike penalty, you make that QB regret he stepped on the field.

The QB makes it all work. If he drops back to pass, hit him. If he keeps, hit him. If he pitches the ball, hit his ass anyway. Make him hesitate.

You do that, you beat the option.

It really is that simple.  If you execute, that is.  And therein lies the rub.

I will tell you, weirdly enough, even after that less than stellar showing against ULL’s rushing attack, I feel good about Georgia’s chances handling Tech’s inside running game.  Partly that’s because the defense showed up the week before and handled Auburn’s, but also because Trent Thompson will be starting.

A former five-star competitor, Thompson started the first four contests of the year for the Bulldogs, a fact that won’t strike anyone as unusual considering he was one of the team’s top returning defenders this fall.

But if you don’t practice like you should, there are consequences to paid, lessons Thompson said he now fully understands after not starting for six straight games before returning to the opening lineup last week against Louisiana-Lafayette.

“I had to work harder,” Thompson conceded after Saturday’s game. “I had to do a better job.”

And he has.

Thompson – fourth on the team with 45 tackles – appears to be back on track.

After making five tackles in a backup role against Auburn, Thompson was rewarded with last week’s start and responded by being in on six tackles, and was a huge reason Georgia was able to stifle the Tigers’ running game.

“I think Trenton has worked really hard. We thought he played and practiced well the Auburn week. We actually started him in the second half of Auburn. He played well in that game, and then he practiced well last week, and got to start last week,” Smart said. “Just so you know, every week in our group, in our units, there’s competition at certain positions and they know they have got to go out and earn that. I think Trenton has really responded well to the adversity he’s had and he’s had some games that he’s really played well. And he’s got to continue to develop his technique, I would say, but he is an explosive, athletic defensive tackle, which is hard to find.”

Thompson promised there won’t be any more slip-ups as far as he is concerned.

“I’m just going to keep going forward and doing what Coach (Tracy) Rocker wants me to do,” he said. “I’m not looking back.”

Thompson is a defensive tackle who has started less than half of his team’s games this season and still finds himself fourth in tackles, not to mention he’s second on the team with six tackles-for-loss, and has two sacks.  When he’s focused, he’s a dominant player.

And this week, his position coach wants him to stuff the dive play and pound the hell out of the quarterback.  I don’t think Trent will let Tracy Rocker down.

Now, if the outside linebackers can maintain leverage and control the perimeter…



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

27 responses to “Defending the triple option isn’t rocket science.

  1. I love our tackles against the dive. Thompson and Atkins have become space eaters in the middle. I’m worried about bringing the next guys off the bench. I love Roquan and Natrez (if healthy) running down the line with the QB and to the pitch. They don’t have to worry as much this week about the short crossing routes. The question is whether our guys are going to set the edge consistently. I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more 3-4 fronts rather than the 4-2-5. I hope Tucker moves Baker out in the 3-4 and has Mo Smith play the corner for his ability to support the run.


    • Parrish is underrated in run support. Does a good job and tackles well.


    • Derek

      4-3 will be the base defense this week. In my view this isn’t the week for “leverage” or “setting the edge.” You want to string the qb and the pitch back out to the sideline. That’s “spill” technique. (You do have to worry about leverage on the back side of the play in the event of misdirection, but not so much play side.)

      You want this offense going east/west until it runs out of room. You can’t allow anything North and south.

      You also can’t play so-called “assignment” defense. Once the dive is killed, it’s everybody’s job to force the qb to pitch and then everybody’s job to kill the pitch man. As much as you want to beat the qb to a pulp it’s better for the player who forced the pitch to then turn his focus to the pitchman. The more players you have in flat with the a-back the less chance he has of finding anywhere to go.

      If you kill the dive and then everybody scrapes down the line so that there are no lanes to turn up, you end up getting the pitch man on the sideline and he has nowhere to go. Conceptually it’s like a “zone” defense for the run. Flood the zone with defenders.

      You don’t get impatient and chase. You don’t worry about moving vertically. Everything is along the LOS. You set up an impenetrable wall of defenders and the option dies. The hard part of this is that it requires the abandonment of every instinct a defender has.


      • Uglydawg

        I agree, except I still want to see the bug QB squashed ugly and often.


      • When I say “set the edge,” what I mean is don’t get caught or blocked inside. You’re right. Everyone on the defense outside the tackles (dive responsibility) has a responsibility to keep the option moving toward the sideline where you take advantage of the “12th defender.” When a player moves toward the line of scrimmage, you better get the QB or pitch man on the ground as soon as possible.

        Making tech’s offense one-dimensional isn’t about taking away the run … it’s about taking away the dive and the QB keeper. I’ll take my chances if we force the ball to go backwards all day before it goes forward.


        • BMan

          Agree totally. While the dive has to be stopped, I think it’s crucial to force the center of the line back a step into the QB’s space. That will clog the dive, get the QB out of rhythm for a keeper, and also disrupt the spacing and timing of the pitch option.


          • Derek

            While you can take some chances with stunting, if you consistently force the A gap, they’ll just run the dive wider. That’s what they did to us in 2014. We were stopping the A gap dive and they just ran it a little wider because our edge guys weren’t as physical. Jordan and Floyd were great in space, not so great when you run right at them.

            The tackles need to play two-gap. Take the guard, hold him up and be position to make a play on the dive whether they run it off the ass of the center or of the guard. Our edge guys may not be all world qb sackers, but they aren’t little guys either.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      “…Thompson and Atkins have become space eaters in the middle.”

      Agree. Add Rochester to that list. He’s coming along very nicely too. Rocker’s doing a good job developing those young defensive linemen. I for one wouldn’t mind at all if Rocker coached both the defensive AND offensive lines. Make Pittman his assistant or something to that effect.


  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Benching a star player because they don’t practice hard? What a concept.


    • Derek

      That only works if you can recruit. If you can’t recruit, you punish the star and play a stiff. That’s why most teams can’t simply bench an entitled, lazy player.

      If you keep bringing in studs you can force competition and the winner is always a player. Even if he’s not the most talented, he’s not a liability.

      This is a big part of the success of “the process.”


  3. Macallanlover

    I hope we study every single frame of the Clemson/GT game, Venables designed a plan that shit the Tech offense down in a way I had never seen before. If we have the talent to play that plan, let’s roll.

    Seems the best success we have had was when we DLs that could be disruptive in the middle. A big pile up in the middle is great but getting a push forward not only blows up the dive but drives the QB and pitchman deeper resulting in yardage lost and turnovers. We have played the run pretty well but not gotten great penetration, waiting on the play to come to you can give them the 3-4 yards they need to sustain drives reducing the number of scoring opportunities you get. Bring the heat up the gut and play disciplined contain on the perimeter. Now….if our offense can just get it going early and get them behind and out of their rhythm.


    • Borodawg

      shit, shut………what’s the difference?


    • Olddawg55

      Good analysis, Mac…and you’re right. We should at least get the film from Clemson and see how our proposed defense is compatible. Discipline and playing your role is the way to defeat the triple option…if you chase or commit too early you’re going to get stung. With all the defensive analysts/coaches on the staff, I’m sure they’re well ahead of us. So, Dawgs, GATA and wreck Tech!!!!.


  4. AlphaDawg

    I would add score 1st to that list. Fishfry’s offense is not built to play from behind.


  5. Irwin R. Fletcher

    Now, if the outside linebackers can maintain leverage and control the perimeter…

    That’s what worries me after the game this weekend. LoCarter had zero tackles…I just worry he doesn’t want to be physical enough for this game. We may see more Chuks.


  6. CB

    Maybe Trent wasn’t “starting” but, given the d-line rotation, was he actually seeing less snaps? I doubt it. Seems like the coaches wanted to get more out of him, but realistically his only punishment was simply losing the privilege of seeing his face on the video board during pregame when they announced the starters. I could be wrong, but I doubt arguably the best d tackle in the conference (perhaps country) legitimately saw less snaps than he would have otherwise. Either way, I’m glad it has lit a fire under him. Athletes out of Albany have a reputation for being entitled. I know a coach who refuses to take kids from there.


  7. paul

    You are absolutely, 100% correct. When I played high school ball in the early seventies the triple option was all the rage. Successful defense required that you knock the snot out of the quarterback on every single play. Every play. Yet few teams seem to do so now. It’s perfectly legal, the quarterback is indeed a ball carrier on every play. You can knock hell out of him every time and not draw a flag. And when your teammates are getting cut blocked, why wouldn’t you?


  8. Uglydawg

    I’m pretty sure the Senator will address the other side of the LOS later in the week, but I wonder how our offense matches up with the nerdefense.
    I’m proud to say that I haven’t watched GaVoTec this year so I have no idea what to expect. Are they strong against the run? the pass? With Georgia’s weakest link being the O line, can we protect Eason? I ask because this has normally been a game where GT’s offensive scheme worked against them because Georgia could score pretty easily. Is this going to be a situation where neither team has a good chance to play “come from behind? I feel like the team is coming around and will score a lot of points against the geeks, but I don’t know how good their D is.


  9. Can anyone here say why Thomas missed the game a couple weeks ago? Was it an ankle or what?


  10. NCDawg

    I L.O.V.E. steps 2-5. I played DE in a 4-3 defense back in the day when most teams ran the triple option or veer offense. DE’s responsibility on every play was the QB. Don’t worry about anything except the QB. If you hit them hard, they start pitching sooner and sooner. I love hitting QB’s. Thinking about it still makes me smile.