Tennessee’s opponent to start the 2017 season isn’t a typical season-opening opponent. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are a difficult team to prepare for because of their unique offense: the triple-option.
Very few teams in major college football still run the triple-option offense in today’s game. Navy, Air Force, and Georgia Tech are three of the schools who are famous for running that offense now, and those teams are tricky to prepare for if you’re not used to facing that type of offense. And the Vols haven’t faced an option offense like that since they played Air Force back in 2006.
Though the challenge may be difficult, Tennessee’s second-year defensive coordinator is more than happy to embrace the task at hand.
“It’s a challenge, it’s fun,” Bob Shoop said on preparing for Georgia Tech’s offense on Thursday. “Being a defensive coordinator in college football is arguably one of the toughest jobs in all of sports because of the variety of offenses that you have to face with minimal time to prepare for them. I like the fact that it’s the opening game. It gives you a little more time to prepare for them.”
Not only are the Vols implementing their own concepts of their basic defense and normal defense for the entire season during fall camp, but they’re also having to work on understanding an offensive style they won’t face again this season.
But according to Shoop, the Vols have been working on understanding the triple-option way before fall camp started.
“We’ve spent time in the winter, spring, summer, and in camp preparing for Georgia Tech,” Shoop stated.
Shoop also said that he likes that the Vols are playing the Yellow Jackets to begin the season rather than in the middle of the year because it allowed him and his players that type of flexibility when it came to dissecting the offense.
“The triple option is challenging to prepare for in just a traditional, weekly schedule,” Shoop added. “So playing those guys in the opening game, if you’re going to play them, you’d like to play them in the opening game. I think that gives us a little more time to prepare. Guys are focused and locked in, and I think they’re looking forward to that.”
Tennessee’s season opener against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on September 4th has officially sold out. That means over 75,000 people at the stadium and millions more at home will watch that Monday and see if Shoop’s defense is up to the task of stopping Georgia Tech’s option offense.
Shoop thinks preparing for this unique offense is a fun challenge, but Vol fans have seen firsthand how not fun that offense can be thanks to the scare Air Force gave Tennessee in 2006. Vol fans hope that Shoop’s defense is much more effective at stopping the Yellow Jackets than the 2006 Vols’ defense was at stopping the Falcons.