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Know The Coach

Feb. 26, 2008

The sixth and final in a series of interviews with the new members of the Georgia Tech football coaching staff. This week’s Q&A is with Todd Spencer, co-offensive line coach. The questions were asked by the Voice of the Yellow Jackets, Wes Durham:

Click “Video” to watch Wes Durham’s interview with Todd Spencer.

Q: Our fans understand that with the new triple option offense there will be many changes. One thing that will certainly change should be offensive line play.
A: Yes, I think so. I think these guys are going to get use to putting some weight on their hands. Coming off the football and gaining ground and playing fast and probably a different scheme than they are use to, not that it wasn’t a great scheme, it’s just different. It’s a fast-paced deal, a little bit old school, its probably going to be a little bit of a transition for them.

Q: You were at the Naval Academy a long time…
A: Yes sir, 11 years.

Q: You saw a lot of good football and a lot of building block football. Is that really the thing fans have to keep in mind, or coaches have to keep in mind when you come in to implement this is, you are essentially building blocks of your football program?
A: Yes, that is correct. Right now we are just trying to lay a foundation and we are looking forward to it. Coach Johnson has a great offensive system. I have been fortunate to be involved with him for six years. I’ve coached option football for 18 years now. It is going to be a transition, it is going to be a fast pace and we are looking forward to working with these kids.

Q: Todd, one of the most interesting things when I looked at your resume, it is offensive line from the get-go. This is kind of what you have done your entire career.
A: Right, I started out coaching offensive line and option backs in West Texas in 1982 and that is pretty much what I have done. My deal is coaching option football and offensive line and that’s kind of what I’ve done the last 18 years at Oregon State and the Naval Academy.

Q: Tell me about putting option football into play in today’s college football, because in the 1970s and 1980s it was very much commonplace. Why don’t we see it more?
A: Probably nine or 10 teams that we play are in the shotgun stance and their weight is back. We talk about option football. We’re a different deal and it’s a little bit old-school. It’s about toughness. I really don’t know why people have gotten away from it. I know Emory Bellard ran it at Texas A&M and when I first went to Texas, Coach Akers and Coach Royal ran it. A lot of people right now, they have shotgun stances and have gotten away from the wishbone line schemes. I am not sure why exactly.

Q: Schematically, when we see an Oregon, an Illinois, a West Virginia — and those are very popular formations in today’s college football — are we seeing option football but in a different set?
A: I really think so. Coach Johnson took us — and we were with Coach Rodriguez — to West Virginia last spring and they were doing option principles and reading the five techniques and doing some things. But they were doing it out of the shotgun. Our deal is similar in a sense, but to answer your question, I think that West Virginia and Florida and Coach Meyer when he was at Utah, they are doing option concepts, just in different formations and not under center.

It’s an exciting time for you and an exciting time for Georgia Tech.

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