BYU heads to Atlanta, Georgia to take on the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. Much has been made already of the offensive style of the Ramblin Wreck and whether or not BYU will be able to contain the high-power triple option attack they will see on Saturday.
Coaching Battle: Bronco Mendenhall vs. Paul Johnson
Mendenhall is in his 8th season in Provo with a 70+ win percentage while Johnson is in his 5th year with a 64% winning percentage and in his 15 seasons, he too is over 70%. When he took over he received ACC Coach of the Year honors his first two season while also winning the CBS Sports National Coach of the Year in 2009. In his four years, the team has been a top five rushing team nationally.
His triple option attack is relentless and even when they aren’t having success, they’ll keep bringing it. BYU will need to keep themselves focused and assignment-sound to have a chance of stopping this offense that averages 301 rushing yards per contest.
Bronco’s team is a top rushing defense but they have been torched two weeks in a row for huge yards on the ground. In his coaching career though, Bronco has typically had great success in stopping option offenses and I think 2012 will be no exception.
Advantage: Bronco Mendenhall
BYU Offense vs. Georgia Tech Defense
BYU’s offense is very vanilla and very predictable. They almost have a Madden or NCAA Football feel in that they find a few plays that they like and get comfortable with and then run them until they work. But in the past two games, discounting the turnovers by everyone’s favorite quarterback, the offense has had relative success in moving the ball. Finding the end zone has been a different element that hasn’t come together often enough and its time we see it.
On the other side of the ball though, this defense just isn’t really designed well enough to stop anyone and because of that, the defensive coordinator was fired two weeks ago. They miss tackles, blow assignments, and are generally underwhelming. Their base 3-4 defense is headlined by junior lineback Jeremiah Attaochu who is the only real pass rusher the team has. This season has turned into a lot of what BYU always plays defensively, get pressure on the passer and keep the plays in front of you, a la bend but don’t break.
Defensively, they really stepped up last week against Boston College, but BYU isn’t Boston College and I think the offense will find success a little more than they did last week.
Advantage: BYU Offense
BYU Defense vs. Georgia Tech Offense
BYU’s defense has something to prove. I think they are proud of what they’ve accomplished this season and the past two weeks cannot be sitting well with them. They will come out fired up and ready to lead this team.
Tech’s offense though is a running juggernaut and they are relentless. They run it even when it’s obvious they should pass and as such, ran more plays in the first half last week against BC than BC ended up running the entire game. The option is designed to beat on the defense and make them tired until they give up the big play. And the worst part is that even when you manage to stop them and force them into an obvious passing down, they still average over 18 yards per completion and over 10 per attempt. They only average about 15 pass attempts per game, but they average over 160 yards/game in the air.
The key to success against a triple option offense is containment, assignment football, and speedy outside linebackers that can make the edge before the play does. BYU does all of that very well this season and I look forward to watching Ziggy Ansah lumber after the play while the uber-talented linebacking foursome of Kyle Van Noy, Brandon Ogletree, Uona Kavienga, and Spencer Hadley do their business all over the field. The final key will lie in keeping the secondary sound in their schemes when they are called upon to make a play.
Advantage: BYU Defense
The game is likely going to be a bit sloppy to start out while each team figures out what the other is doing. Once things settle down, BYU will start to enforce just a bit of its will upon the Yellow Jackets. How they respond will be key. And will BYU be able to make the adjustments to fix what inevitably will likely not work well to begin with. In the end, BYU should prevail and give us a win over an ACC team that has been hard to come by in Bronco’s tenure.