Focusing On The Utes

Dec. 17, 2011

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Finals week is over, and football season is nearly finished for Georgia Tech as well as the Yellow Jackets will practice just two more times in Atlanta before departing for El Paso, Texas, for the Sun Bowl.

When the Jackets go to work Monday and Tuesday, they will be more specific in their work than last week. Head coach Paul Johnson gave practice repetitions to quite a few young players recently, but the Tech (8-4) will bear down on Utah from here on out.

There figures to be little surprise in what the Utes (7-5) will try. Their goal will be to feed tailback John White IV in the Jackets’ faces.

He carries the ball 24 times a game, or thereabouts, and the cat-quick 5-foot-8, 186-pound junior is 11th in the nation in rushing, with an average of 117 yards per outing. Not bad for a new guy. White set a slew of school records at L.A. Harbor College, a junior college, before joining the Utes last spring.

The Utes really like to run the ball. They’re down for 440 carries for the season, and White’s 1,404 rushing yards represent 85 percent of Utah’s 1,645. So the Jackets aren’t likely to be fooled by all that other commotion in the backfield.

“Their foundation is two-back offense, or at least two backs in the game . . . which is similar to Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia, Miami ,” said Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh. “They run the ball with power. Off of that, as is often the case with teams that style, a lot of play-action . . . with vertical routes.”

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