As you probably know, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson installed a great offense known as the Flexbone. It's a little wishbone, a little spread, and a little run and shoot. And Johnson runs it very well.
After last year's 31-28 loss, I wrote this:
31 Points, 0 Turnovers, & 321 yards on 39 Plays.
8.2 yards per play. Up until GT's QB left the game, that's what they had done. 8.2 yards per play. I don't need to say anything more. 8.2 yards per play. Mickey's unit was ill-prepared. 8.2 yards per play. They played like garbage. 8.2 yards per play.
Some people are going to say that the Noles finally started to make adjustments. 8.2 yards per play. That is pure B.S. 8.2 yards per play. Do not buy that for a second. 8.2 yards per play. The Seminole defense didn't adjust to anything, rather Georgia Tech's QB rolled his own ankle. 8.2 yards per play. That is pathetic.
In a game that the defense was being counted on to carry the day, they were non-existent. Bad assignment football, strange formations with the 2 DT's, and poor angles meant 8.2 yards per play. In the back of every knowledgeable FSU fan's mind, we knew there was a chance that the defense could lay an egg against a team of this design. I dismissed that, telling myself that was silly, that Mickey wouldn't prepare these guys in a way that would allow such egg-laying, and that playing a running QB for the 3rd consecutive week would increase our familiarity. I was so very very wrong.
Perhaps this handy chart will help you understand just how much Florida State didn't stop Tech's offense:
FULL SCREEN VERSION
It was one of the worst performances that FSU's defense has had in a long time. Don't fool yourself. FSU never stopped them. GTech's QB rolled his own ankle and then their offense sputtered. The game should have been a blowout.
Inside, you'll find why Tech's offense owned FSU
I've talked to a few guys who run this offense and they all agree: it's not just about playing assignment football, and you cannot play man-coverage. So FSU is screwed Saturday because they will either to play man-coverage, which is dumb, or try to play zone coverage, which they don't do well.
Start here http://www.sundaymorningqb.com/2008/4/2/12521/45441 It's a nice summary of the outside veer, inside veer, and midline option. Nice diagrams and videos.
Here's some chat from a few GTech fans. http://www.stingtalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=212407 Probably worth a read.
This one may be my favorite: http://clempsonfootball.blogspot.com/2009/06/gt-defensing-flexbone-basics.html He does a nice job showing the variation between the plays and explains the why in terms of when Johnson will call for each play.
This one is excellent as well: http://thebirddog.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/other-peoples-rivalries-and-the-futility-of-defending-against-the-wishbone/ Shows how Tech destroyed the Georgia Bulldogs last year and some clips of Johnson when he was at Navy.
And this one, gets hyper specific with a ton of video showing the variations: http://bluegraysky.blogspot.com/2007_11_01_archive.html#3764758266899916666
Can you make it through them all? If you can, awesome, but there's more:
Here's how Johnson switches up his blocking schemes mid-quarter, with great success http://bluegraysky.blogspot.com/2007_11_01_archive.html#3764758266899916666 (why you can't just play assignment football, which is undoubtedly what FSU will try to do and they will get torched.)
Finally, Tech's offense struggled a bit early in the season http://smartfootball.com/option/whats-wrong-with-georgia-techs-run-game-is-anything Chris goes over why. I'd add that they faced some amazing defensive tackle tandems. Florida State doesn't have a single defensive lineman who would start for Miami, North Carolina, or Clemson. I'm not sure Chris accounts for that, he's not much of an NFL draft nerd.
Hope you enjoy.