With a world financial crisis, drug war on the Mexican border and North Korea testing long-range missiles, now comes news of something really scary. Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson, undoubtedly while rubbing his hands together like a sicko villain in a James Bond movie, says “I feel like we have only scratched the surface on offense. We can get a whole lot better. We can get better at almost every area offensively in terms of execution. We can get better at our reads, our steps and fundamentals. We will get more of it in and understand our schemes better."
Johnson has also teased the press and tormented future opponents with the threat of spicing up his tricky triple option with some run-and-shoot. Isn't that akin to allowing the UFC champ into the ring with a machete, as if his hands and feet weren't lethal enough?
Pray for Mickey Andrews and other ACC D-Coordinators. As they try to figure ways to slow down the triple option Tech ran last year, Johnson will be at least two steps ahead this year.
Besides more trickeration, more horsepower. “The sky is the limit with this offense,” says ACC Player of the Year Johnathan Dwyer. The 6-foot, 230-pound Dwyer led the conference with 1,395 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore. He plays the B-Back in Tech's terminology, the guy who dives into the line.
The A-back position trails the play and is the pitch option (as seen here in Tech's win over Georgia). And unlike last year, the position is loaded. Besides speedsters Roddy Jones and Embry Peeples, there's veteran Lucas Cox (the guy who scores in the video linked above).
In the immortal words of a K-Tel infommercial: But wait, there's more. Get a load (and he's exactly that) of Anthony Allen (pictured at left), a 6 ft., 225 lb. transfer from Louisville. The kid ripped Middle Tennessee for a school record 275 yards in 2007. What's more, he's cross-training to play either A-back, to complement Dwyer, or B-back to give him a rest. By the way, Allen may be yet another Floridian who comes back to haunt FSU. He's a Tampa Jesuit grad.
Don't discount the third threat of the triple option offense. Tech's QB is just as likely to squirt through the line as he is to hand off or pitch. Especially with a healthy Josh Nesbitt at the helm. A year ago while learning the system he was the 8th leading ACC rusher. Think what numbers he can put up this season, now that he knows what he's doing.
Then there's the shock and awe of WR Demaryius Thomas (627 yards and 3 TDs last year). Just when a defense is fixated on stopping Dwyer's burst over center, Thomas catches DBs napping and hauls in a big gainer. Which, unless Johnson is putting out misinformation to further confuse the enemy, could happen a whole lot more in '09.
It may not be America's Favorite Home Video. But you can be sure it's the most watched by ACC coaches this winter. We're talking about the instant classic of LSU shutting down Tech in the Chick fil-a Bowl.
Tech's 2009 opponents can analyze that video til their eyeballs spin around like cherries, lemons and liberty bells on a slot machine. But unless, like LSU, they have three weeks to prepare -- instead of three days -- they might as well be trying to solve the secrets of the pyramids.
Naw. But Paul Johnson's ability to outmaneuver opposing defenses like Bobby Fischer moving pieces around a chess board may very well vault Tech into an ACC power position. And not just as a one-hit wonder, but until some defensive Einstein draws up the triple-option killer equation.
But unless it's this season, M.A. won't have another crack til 2013, the next time FSU tangles with Tech. And who doesn't think that by then Mickey will be directing his wrath at fish that wriggle off his hook. Hey, but there's always the the ACC Championship game -- and the three weeks he'll have to prepare for it.