Nov. 27, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
Paul Johnson issued no surprise statements Tuesday, when the Georgia Tech football coach said that the Yellow Jackets are going to do what they do against Florida State Saturday in the ACC Championship Game.
Likewise, he expects the No. 12 Seminoles to stick to their defensive basics, and why not? FSU is ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense, allowing an average of 249.4 yards per game, and the ‘Noles are No. 4 against the run (85.1).
“I think they’ll stay within their base alignment, but we don’t know for sure. I wouldn’t imagine that in three days they’ll get too far away from what they do defensively,” Johnson said. “They’ve had so much success . . . I don’t think they’ll make a lot of wholesale changes.
“We’re going to run the ball; that’s what we do . . . we’re not going to change in one week because you play a team that’s good against the run.”
Indeed, the Jackets are No. 3 running the football (323.2 ypg), something that hardly suffered last Saturday at Georgia. The problems there were more about finishing drives, and defense.
The Jackets’ greater issue might be frame of mind.
Johnson wasn’t pleased with Tech’s approach against the Bulldogs, suggesting Monday that they did not compete at the requisite level. The Georgia game, “got away,” from the Jackets fast, and they didn’t do much to steal it back.
“It’s been a grind year,” the Tech coach said. “I think we expended a lot of energy getting back to where we got at the end [winning four straight ACC games after a 1-3 first half in conference action].”
Georgia had a couple tactical edges that the Seminoles will lack.
The Bulldogs not only have faced the somewhat unique Tech offense for five years running, but also the week before playing the Jackets as they played host to Georgia Southern. The Eagles run a similar style.
FSU, conversely, has not faced this offense since 2008-’09, when the Jackets beat the ‘Noles in back-to-back years.
Still, Johnson’s concerned more with his players and what they do and do not.
“We have to show up and play with great energy and effort,” he said. “We have to execute and clearly we’re going to have to win some points offensively; you have to every game to win. Defensively what you’re trying to do is get a few stops and maybe some turnovers.
“We have to get into our kind of game; a grind game, with not a lot of possessions, and the stops become premium. If you get four or five stops it’s a big deal. But that’s how you play every game; I don’t think you approach this one any differently.”