Johnson Can Win At Georgia Tech

Triple-option offense will produce results in ACC

April 2, 2008

By Trev Alberts

Special to


Trev Alberts is a football analyst for CBS College Sports and

You've got college football questions and CSTV football analyst Trev Alberts has answers and opinions. Each week Alberts will be answering questions and queries on the world of college football. So if you've got a question for Trev? Just ask him.


Paul Johnson is going to use his triple-option offense, but can it really work in the ACC? - Jason, Atlanta


The question du jour down in Atlanta. I remember back when Paul Johnson was down at Georgia Southern, winning all those games and there was talk that he couldn't win with that type of an offense at the elite level. And then he goes to the Naval Academy that is, to me, the most difficult place in the world to run that type of offense. There are difficult time requirements and academic requirements for the student-athletes and, let's face it, they're not as physically gifted. Yet, Paul Johnson won at Navy against high quality schools.


So there's no question in my mind that they offense can work. Not only that, think about the fact that Georgia Tech student-athletes are similar to Navy players in that they have stringent academic requirements. I think it's a natural and perfect fit. It also makes sense because it'll be an offense that not everyone runs.


Wake Forest has had some success running a physical offense, doing some of the same things Johnson will do, but on a different level. There's a lot of difference ways to win and Georgia Tech's offense is one you don't often see. Teams will need extra time to prepare for it. I'm excited to see what happens and I think Paul Johnson will prove that he can win in the ACC with that kind of offense.


What is the more replaceable position, wide receiver or running back? - Patrick L., Texas


It depends on who you're replacing. Are you replacing Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma or Calvin Johnson at Georgia Tech? If you throw out the superstars at each place, I think I would probably start with the wide receiver position. You can have three and four receiver sets, but if you have one bell cow back there and you know you can get three or four yards every down, that's a huge advantage. A running back is much more of a threat because of all the different things he can do. Pass catching, blocking, picking up the blitz. I think having a competent running back is more important than a competent wide receiver.


What rules change would you like to see made for next season that hasn't been talked about? - Kate, Ohio


The one thing you can say about the NCAA rules committee is that their heads are not stuck in the sand. We've seen in the past where they've made the adjustments to the game, most notably with the play clock the past few years and with coaches being allowed to retain a challenge if they successfully challenge a call. I liked moving the kickoff back five yards last year. But if these don't work, as they've showed before, they'll change it.


The NCAA has been much more proactive in the last few years. A lot of the positive rules changes have come in the aftermath of seeing how successful instant replay has been. They were initially resistant to installing instant replay when the idea was tossed around and you have to give them credit for showing the courage to change the game for the better. They've also been better about being open to coaches' concerns.


On the surface, I'd say they're doing an outstanding job trying new things. If you ask me, and I know I'm saying this from a defensive player's perspective, but as time goes on too much focus is being placed on benefiting the offense. We all know why people come to a game - high scoring offenses - but I've seen a lot games that were 7-3 that were some of the best football games. As a defensive player, it's getting harder and harder to play the game. We get carried away with defending the quarterback. He's still a football player. Same with a receiver going over the middle. He's a football player. It just seems like most every rule is placed in favor of the offense to give them the best opportunity possible to score the ball. I worry about getting to the point where it's always a 50-35 final.


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