Grantham Getting Used to Option

ATHENS - In his only previous trips to Sanford Stadium as Georgia Tech coach, Paul Johnson's offense put up the second and third biggest rushing outputs by a visiting team in history.

The Yellow Jackets amassed 409 yards in a 45-42 win in 2008 and 411 in a 42-34 loss in 2010.

Advantage Georgia Tech? Maybe not.

Georgia's defense under third-year coordinator Todd Grantham has handled the triple-option offense better the last two times it has gone up against it, holding the Yellow Jackets to 243 rushing yards last year in Atlanta and limiting the FCS's top rushing team, Georgia Southern, to 302 last Saturday on a day Georgia allowed 318 total yards in a 45-14 Bulldogs victory.

"Any time you do something, continuity is good," Grantham said. "I think the more you see things, the better you're at it."

Georgia Tech is third in the nation in rushing at 324.9 yards per game.

"It's the same style of offense so we have the insight on what kind of offense Tech will run so we should be prepared for it," nose guard John Jenkins said.

The Bulldogs didn't have to start from scratch even though Georgia Southern used some formations that Georgia Tech hasn't used.

"There's some carryover," Grantham said. "We tweaked a few things here and there."

Georgia didn't put on the full pads on Monday like it had the week before, but planned to the rest of the week.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said recent performances by his defense against the triple option don't guarantee anything Saturday.

"I don't want to make any predictions," Richt said. "They are just so explosive that I just don't know how we are going to handle it. We're going to have to find out."

Johnson said playing Georgia Southern last week will help Georgia "to some degree," but he said "it's not a big secret," what's coming because both sides know what the other will bring.

"They played their base defense, which is what they've done against us the last two years," he said. "They didn't do anything a whole lot differently. We've played each other enough now that I don't think they'll be a big guessing game as to what we're doing and what they're doing. It'll come down to execution and maybe having the right thing on at the right time."

Boston College coach Frank Spaziani called Johnson "the Naismith of that offense, if you will. He invented it. He knows it better than most people know their defense."

Georgia's defense can find room to improve, linebacker Christian Robinson said. Georgia Southern drove the ball inside the Bulldogs' 35-yard line on its first four possessions in the game.

"We didn't get off the field," Robinson said. "We got lucky down there in the red zone going into half. They got that (chop-block) penalty that kind of shot themselves in the foot, but I think what we have to work on is tackling. We missed a lot of tackles, I missed a lot of tackles. We have to work on holding the gap."

Sharing the hatred on Tech

Georgia strength and conditioning director Joe Tereshinski has conveyed to the team this week his feelings for Georgia Tech.

"He just hates Tech with his all might and blood and everything.," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "He loves Georgia. I don't know anyone who loves Georgia more than Coach T, that's for sure."

Tereshinski was a starting center on the 1975 Cotton Bowl team and the 1976 SEC champion team and has been a part of the Bulldogs' athletic program and football staff since.

Richt said Tereshinski "is passionate about this game, so he wants to put his two cents in, which is great." Since classes are out this week, the 20-hour rule isn't in effect, allowing more time for daily talk about the rivalry.

"We have an opponent coming here that probably hates us more than any other opponent," linebacker Christian Robinson said. "It's probably mutual."

Jones a Butkus finalist

Another day, another award has named Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones a finalist.

This time it's the Butkus Award for the nation's top linebackers.

The other finalists are Oregon's Dion Jordan, LSU's Kevin Minter, Alabama's C.J. Mosley and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o.

Te'o is considered a top Heisman Trophy candidate while Jones gets scant mention.

"He's one of the best, if not the best linebackers in the country," Grantham said of Jones. "All you've got to do is look at his stats and what he's done and he's done it in big games. …We wouldn't be where we are right now without him. He's greatly impacted our team with his performance. That's kind of the mark of a great player."

This and that

Tailback Keith Marshall practiced in a non-contact jersey Tuesday with what Georgia listed as a right shoulder contusion.

Among the 21 players to be honored on senior day Saturday are Reuben Faloughi, Dustin Royston and Luis Capella, who came to Georgia as walk-ons and have eligibility remaining.

Georgia Tech leading rusher Orwin Smith missed practice Tuesday, but Johnson said he expected him to play Saturday.

Dawg Post Top Stories