Georgia Tech passes infrequently, but Pitt must still be wary
Pitt defensive coordinator Matt House knows Georgia Tech loves to beat opponents with the running game.
But House and his defense must keep their eyes open Saturday night for Georgia Tech's passing game.
Pitt's ability to stop Georgia Tech's sporadic passing attack could decide Saturday's 7 p.m. ACC matchup in Atlanta.
“When they do throw the ball, they are messing with your eyes and they are going for the home run,'' House said. “It may not be like a conventional offense where they are throwing it 25 times a game, but when they do throw the ball, a lot of the times, they are pushing it vertically down the field.”Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee has completed only 45.2 percent of his passes, about 15 percent below a top-rated NCAA quarterback.
Georgia Tech makes up for Lee's inaccuracy by rushing for 315.6 yards per game, a number that's good for first in the ACC and third in the NCAA.
Lee has 921 yards passing on only 47 completions (19.6 per catch).
In Georgia Tech's past two victories, the Yellow Jackets totaled 91 points while defeating Syracuse and Virginia. Lee completed just 6 of 8 pass attempts.
“Don't be fooled by the numbers,” House said. “Of those eight passes, probably six of them were shots (deep throws).”
Indeed, those six completions totaled 163 yards.
That's one of the areas where Georgia Tech's triple-option offense differs from the same scheme Navy used to defeat Pitt, 24-21, last week.
The advantage is that Pitt's defense practiced against the same offensive formations two weeks in a row.
“It's the same tree,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said.
The disadvantage is that Georgia Tech saw how Pitt defended the triple-option.
The big difference is that Georgia Tech brings more athleticism to the field.
“They are real explosive,” House said. “Their fullbacks (David Sims and Zach Laskey) are better athletes than the ones we faced last week. They are guys who can take runs and take them the distance.”
Sims (6-0, 225 pounds) is the team's leading rusher with 516 yards. Meanwhile, Laskey, who lived in Pittsburgh until age 7, is another big back (6-1, 214), with 6.5 yards per carry.
Four runners, including Lee, have gained at least 350 yards.
“(The fullback) is the guy who can split your defense the quickest, because he is closest to the line of scrimmage,'' House said. “Navy didn't test you with the fullback like Georgia Tech will.”
While he acknowledged the similarities between the teams, Chryst was reluctant to compare one against the other.
“To compare (Georgia Tech) to someone you just lost to would be wrong,” he said. “One quarterback (Navy's Keenan Reynolds) just beat us. We have a lot of respect for the other one.”
Notes: Middle linebacker Shane Gordon (collarbone) and left guard Cory King (back) have been practicing, but Chryst didn't guarantee that they will play. “We will see how they feel,” he said. “(Practicing) was good.” ... When Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof held the same position at Minnesota in 2008, he matched schemes with Chryst, who was at Wisconsin. With a team that finished only 7-6, Wisconsin won, 35-32.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.