Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has plenty of options to go to in his bag of tricks.


Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele estimated close to 12 triple-option plays that have become standard components of the Georgia Tech offense. And some of those can have as many as nine different blocking schemes.

"He's got enough in his arsenal that he just kind of keeps playing around until he finds something."

"He's got enough in his arsenal that he just kind of keeps playing around until he finds something," Steele said. "When he finds something, then he just keeps wearing you out with it."

And opposing defenses haven't thrown many different looks their way.

"Basically, they see about two or three different schemes a year. Everybody's got their little nuances that they try to trick them on," Steele said. "The base stuff that people play against them -- you turn on the film, our film from last year, which is in the cut-ups -- you watch the Maryland film, you watch the North Carolina film, you watch the Miami film, they're almost identically lined up.

On Saturday, the Tigers' third-year coach expects to see something that hasn't shown up on film.

"He's going to have some wrinkle, usually it's a formation with some variation of the play, how they block it -- that's every game," he said.

Through eight games this season, the Yellow Jackets are first in the country with a third-down conversion percentage of .586, fifth nationally in rushing with 321.1 yards per game and sixth in pass efficiency with a 175.2 rating.

Georgia Tech also has eight one-play touchdown drives, up from last year's total of zero.

Twenty-two of the Yellow Jackets' touchdowns have been scored on drives that lasted less than three minutes. Of those drives, 10 lasted less than a minute.

Stephen Hill leads all Georgia Tech pass catchers with 18 receptions for 561 yards and four touchdowns.
"We've got to be solid up front," Steele said. "We've got to dominate the line of scrimmage. There's no doubt about that. Then, in the secondary, those guys have option responsibility, too."

Just as it is any other week, Clemson defenders must be sound in playing their assignment.

"The one difference is, in a split second, the ball can be in the dive back's belly, the quarterback's hands or the pitch man, so it can be three places pretty quick," Steele said. "If you take your eye off it one second, lose leverage on your assignment, they've got a plus gain."

To read more from Tuesday's interview with Steele, visit the CUTigers.com premium message board The Valley:


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