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Hurricanes prep for Georgia Tech's Triple Option

"60 minutes of assignment football." That's what coach Randy Shannon said the challenge will be for his defense this week as it prepares to face one of the nation's top rushing teams in chilly Atlanta Thursday night. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have won three straight games against the 23rd-ranked Canes -- all by close margins. But the team Miami will face this time around won't be anything like the Georgia Tech teams UM has faced lately.

First-year coach Paul Johnson, who built Georgia Southern into a national champion and Paul_johnsonNavy into a winner before making the move to Atlanta with his Triple Option Attack, has created another rushing machine at Georgia Tech. And opponents just can't seem can't to get a handle on it. U remember the days when Miami used to eat option-based rushing teams for dinner. Nebraska and Oklahoma tried it for years in big matchups with the Canes with little success. But Canes fans shouldn't get confused. This attack isn't exactly the same as the Wishbone according to Shannon, who described it during his Monday press conference as more of the rushing offense Arkansas used to run with former Steelers running back Barry Foster in the early 1990s.

Jonathan_dwyerMiami has tried to mimic the offense this week with the scout team. Walk-on Devon Hill, a former star quarterback in New Jersey, and sophomore Damien Berry are playing the role of Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt (6-1, 214) and fullback Jonathan Dwyer (6-0, 228). But even Shannon admitted it's not going to be easy to replicate what Georgia Tech does on Thursday in practice this week and could take the Canes some time to adjust in-game.

"There's no science to it," Shannon said. "If guys are doing their job and playing assignment football you'll be successful. Every now and then someone's going to get cut, be on the ground. So you have to have other guys chasing to over-compensate. You have to have everybody chasing the football. If you don't, you're going to have a tough time."

One advantage the Canes have though is that this isn't all brand new to them. UM has been preparing for it the past few weeks. Defensive line coach Clint Hurtt told me his defense first began seeing it during UM's recent bye week. Although most guys were seeing it for the first time in their careers that week, Sean Spence and Marcus Forston said they've at least played against it, when they played Lake Brantley in the Class 6A state championship game for Miami Northwestern two years ago.

Josh_nesbittThe problem is Georgia Tech is probably the best football team in the country at running the triple option. Dwyer, who bullies the ball up the middle, leads the ACC in rushing with 1,056 yards and has eight touchdowns this season. He's averaging 6.6 yards a carry. Josh Nesbitt is the team's second leading rusher with six touchdowns and 62.2 yards rushing a game. That's just six yards fewer a game than Graig Cooper. Shannon said there is no way his team is going to hold Georgia Tech to fewer than 100 yards rushing this week.

There's a key, though, to stopping it. Shannon said to be successful, Miami will have to get off the field on third down (something its done well in its last five games) and create turnovers. Fumbles have been a problem for Georgia Tech. In the games they've lost (28-7 to North Carolina, 24-17 to Virginia and 20-17 to Virginia) the Yellow Jackets coughed the ball up at least twice in those games. Shannon said he's made sure the focus for Miami in practice this week has been on tackling high. "The quarterback is going to carry the ball high in the option," Shannon said. "So every time we tackle them this week it's up high, grabbing the arms. That's where most of the turnovers are coming. When you have an opportunity to get on the football, you have to."

> While it's still unknown if freshman Travis Benjamin will be available to play this week, there's no doubt teams have figured out a way to neutralize The Blur and Miami's return game. Since the North Carolina game, Miami has a combined 76 yards on 14 punt returns. In the UNC and Texas A&M games alone, Benjamin had 108 yards on five returns. Shannon said teams are now getting more hangtime on the ball on punts and kicking it shorter to avoid returns. Miami finally adjusted last week against Virginia Tech, going with two guys back on most returns.

"Whichever way you go at least we have an opportunity to return the football," Shannon said. "When we put two guys back they kicked out of bounds. We have to come up with something to get the ball in those guys' hands."

Bill_young> Defensive coordinator Bill Young is 62-years old, but he isn't out of touch with the latest hip hop. Last week as Miami was preparing to play Virginia Tech, Young was asked by linebackers coach Micheal Barrow during a team meeting what his favorite song was. "Coach Young busted out, I Put On For My City," freshman defensive tackle Forston said with a chuckle Monday. "The whole room went crazy. It got us pumped up. When everybody is in the meeting room, quiet, he always says something to take our mind off it. He always has something funny to say. You never know which Coach Young will be out on the football field."

> Freshman defensive end Marcus Robinson earned Defensive Line Player of the Week honors in the ACC this week for his three sack, seven tackle performance. Kicker Matt Bosher was selected Special Teams Player of the Week. It's a bit of a surprise for Bosher that's he's only been selected once for the award.

> POST PRACTICE UPDATE... Just wanted to share with you it looks like a go for left tackle Jason Fox, who saw his 22-game starting streak snapped against Virginia Tech. Fox said he expects to play against Georgia Tech with a brace on his heavily taped right ankle. "The last couple of days I've been running around and it feels pretty good," Fox said. Receiver Travis Benjamin supposedly practiced "a lot more" than he did Sunday according to Shannon. UM's official injury report will be released Tuesday morning.


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Nice work Navarro!


Manny...BTW the AOL Fan House UM basketball blog feature will be posted tomorrow at 4 PM. I sent U the link via email to review.


Brad...U gotta be quick if U wanna be FIRST!!!

It's funny how U Canes think your back just by beating some sub par teams....I wish you could play my longhorns to see where U really measure up. Ya can't make this stuff up.


Put Shields in as punt/kick return.....He's fearless......

Canes will sign Durand Scott on Wed.
PG John Wall may follow.
Also, Paradise Jam begins Thursday. Canes have the talent to win this tournament even with UCONN and Wisconsin standing in their way.
CANES BBALL on the rise.

The key for the LB's against the triple option is reading the guards... where the guards go the football follows, most the time...

We are all getting excited for the game up here Thursday night. It will be chilly though. Three straight weeks that UM freshmen have received ACC honors. Impressive. Go Canes

Atlanta...where's the tailgate gonna be???

Longhorns? How about beat a team in the top 25 or maybe even top 10 before you shoot your mouth of like Miami fans do.

It will just make their crash that much better.

The Coker excuse last year.
The Young excuse this year.
NEXT YEAR??????????? What will the excuse be???

Next year's excuse will be


The year after it will be



Rohit, most of us realize we are not yet "back" to where we want to be, but we are enjoying the journey and enjoying watching these young kids grow and rebuild this program. If you begrudge us enjoying the journey and taking pride in these young kids bouncing back from last year's debacle... well, I guess it's just a 'Canes thing that you wouldn't understand, so you can just go fornicate yourself.

Or better yet, why don't you schedule us for 2010? Then we'll see who's what and explain to you what being "back" really means to Us.

Hurricanes don't form in an instant, they build and they grow and you can see them coming. The college football nation is beginning to take notice, the weather service is keeping a close eye on south Florida and these baby Canes. This has the POTENTIAL to be a big one!

MH, I love what Shields has done over the past month, but BH did a pretty darn nice job returning punts last week, don't you think?

With JJ gettin healthy, maybe time to put Coop back on kick returns? 2 and 83 back on kick returns would be cool.

#1 point of unsolicited advice for Nix: put JJ in near the goal line!

#2 point: stop trying to run Coop out of the shotgun on obvious running downs. Love the draws and screens on passing downs, but you're not fooling anyone on 2nd and 2, unless you're willing to actually let the qb call his own number with the option once in a while.

But, I think we are seeing Nix grow right along with these young players. Not that he's gotten better necessarily, but that the execution and timing of his plays has gotten better. The players are doing a better job running the plays and when that happens the flow of the offense gets going and he is able to get the D off guard. I agree it would be nice to see the O score more points, but you can see flashes of it here and there.

Trust in Randy and this staff. Along with these So Fla kids, they are going to show us something special in the next couple of years.

Go U! The 4th Quarter is about to begin, so put up those 4 fingers and dominate like you know how!

Ha Preston Parker... you blogging live from jail buddy? Seminoles will be sanctioned eventually; your entire program is out of control. Go throw a chair at someone...

As for the Horns, no doubt we would get rolled if we played them today. But, as g8trh8tr put it, we are rebuilding, and with all our freshmen earning ACC honors week in and week out, there is no doubt we will be ready to play anyone in a year or two.

Our NW Bulls dominated your precious HS program once and they will eventually dominate your precious college program! Just give it a yr or two...


Ill be representing dirty at Bobby Dodd on Thursday, Ill be in a bright Orange Hoodie with a Canes Beanie getting LOOSE in sec 204!

This Thursday November 20th the Palm Beach 'Canes Club is


Networking Mixer and Game Watch v. Georgia Tech
at Bar Louie in City Place (1 Mile west of 95 on Okeechobee Rd. Exit 70)




Check out www.561canes.com for more details!

Great work as usual Manny. I see the FSWhoosers are out in full force as their squad CRASHES AND BURNS IN THE DUST. LOL!!

I was actually hopin your boys could pull it together for UF but dam, you cough up the game to GT then flat out COLLAPSE against BC of all teams.

Once again FSU will be left in the DUST. Maybe the Old Man can pull something out of his hat for UF. Anything's possible right?? lol

i cant wait to go see this game...im just a little worried about the canes stopping the run game after georgia tech ran all over florida state

Hey y'all -
'92 grad been in the ATL since - the tailgate is at the GT baseball field - there are a lot of 'Canes round here!!!!! Let's green or orange up the GT game!!!

Yeah, Georgia Tech has a good running game, but it's not like they're undefeated! Miami beat or could have easily beaten Virginia, Virginia Tech, and FSU- the 3 teams GTech already lost to.

Bottom line: Yes, the Canes have to figure out in practice this week how to defend this D. But other teams with less talent than UM have already done so with success this year.. and we're gonna do the same on Thurs night.

(by the way- Manny- you wrote Virginia up top 2x. I think you provide GREAT info on this blog, but you almost always have typos. Sorry- not trying to pick on ya- maybe it's that I'm a lawyer... Just run a spell-check 1x and proof-read 1x)


Fellas: what exactly is the story with J. James?

Four weeks ago, we were told he was 90-95%. But he only is getting a few touches a game. I guess he's still hurting, right?

Weeks ago I suggested on this blog that if JJ isn't going to be 100% the rest of the year, and he's not going to get 17-20 carries a game, then he should have been REDSHIRTED.

I feel that the way he's been used thus far- he's neither getting many carries nor is he retaining his eligibility. We don't seem to be gaining the advantage of either.

No question that he can be a stud when he's totally healthy!

What do you all think? Has this been bugging you a bit, too?

BTW --- it is really COLD up here!!! Thursday high of 59 low of 30! Layer up in all the orange and green y'all can get your hands on!!! Go CANES!!

We'll be in Section 123, Row 1, Seats 17,18 (right behind the 'Canes bench) - We got some Canes over here!!!! -Reagan and Peter

I predict that Jacory Harris is going to be the primary QB for the G-Tech game. No doubt that Marve will start, but it seems to me they rotate weekly which QB will get the most touches. It's now Jacory's turn.

I completely understand why Randy Shabbos has to play both of them weekly, but is there anybody out there who HONESTLY thinks that the Canes are a better offensive team with Marve at the helm?

To me it's a no-brainer!

The offense runs smoother overall, with more points scored, with Harris. Notice that our highest point totals (discounting defensive scores) this season have come with Jacory at the helm..

Forget arm strength, which QB is .1 seconds faster in the 40, etc. Bla bla bla..

Who cares!! The bottom line is we score more points with Jacory. And isn't that the name of the game??

Again- is there anybody out there who HONESTLY thinks that the Canes are a better offensive team with Marve at the helm?


Pregame party at STATS in Atl. Go Canes! I can't wait for Thursday!!!

I can't believe the FS-LuuUsers had the nerve to come on here tonight, jail, brawls, cheating, etc. Getting worked Sat night, half empty stadium... That's a sad once dominate now an afterthought program.. What a shame...

It's a CANES thing and you will never understand...

NCAA sanctions will be the final nail in the coffin..

Did you guys realize the winner of the ACC could have 4 losses.

That is the defintion of MEDIOCRITY!!!

the sorry sooners are on the schedule next year in Miami...CANES are going to beat them down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like the way Oklahoma took the Canes to SCHOOL just a little over a year ago?

You better hope Sam Bradford goes pro because he is going to be one of the best NFL QBs ever. Bradford has talent and showed it as a freshman unlike the two clowns you have at QB. You gotta play them both because they are so inconsistent. That isnt NFL talent.

Why not try winning your conference before you open your mouths? You havent done ANYTHING since you joined the ACC. NOTHING.

As a graduate of Texas Tech...To TXLongHorn...STFU!

Next time you come to Lubbock, bring your "A" game. Oh, that's right, you did.

TT vs UM - NC game in 2010!

Go Canes!!!!!!!

Sorry, believe the heffers from Austin want no part of UM since the Cotton Bowl!

Hey Boomer, if you'd have surrounded either Marve or Harris with that talent last year, OU would have played in the NC...but did you?
Look, I understand inferiority complexes well, but yours is missplaced. Try the Boise State blog.

Hey 404, me thinks FSU tanked that game...they saw a Dec 6th rematch with the Canes and wanted no part of it!

FYI, Eye on The crew, I'll be on WQAM (560 AM) tonight at 9:30 and with The Dos Amigos at 10:30 on 790theticket (790 AM) to talk Canes football. I know, it's a shameless plug.

Why the HELL is Damien Berry a scout team running back?!?!

Let me emphatically reitirate my last post...why the HELL is Damien Berry a SCOUT TEAM RUNNING BACK!!!???!!!???!!!???!!!???

F$U it's hammertime!


Did you guys realize the winner of the ACC could have 4 losses.

That is the defintion of MEDIOCRITY!!!

Posted by: TXLongHorn | November 17, 2008 at 07:41 PM

ACC is 3-0 vs the 12. Last year we beat A&M handily- you lost to them. Last time the'Canes played Texas (UT was #3), they pounded them in the Cotton Bowl. I mean POUNDED THEM. Most fun I ever had at a bowl game.

Sooo.....you can go away now Tex.

Man, they know we're gonna be good. Real good.

yo redneck tx, kick rocks

TXLongHorn and BoomerSooner = canesrule

Ur not fooling anyone loser....

dont u gayturds have to gameplan for The Citadel.

Why not try winning your conference before you open your mouths? You havent done ANYTHING since you joined the ACC. NOTHING.

Posted by: BoomerSooner | November 17, 2008 at 08:39 PM

And what exactly has OU done since the 'Canes won the National Championship??
(That's a serious question)
And let's not talk history between Miami and OU. I'll pull up all the quotes of Switzer crying how (as long as he's around) he'll never, ever schedule us again.

Good stuff, Frustrated.

nobody is talking about tech's d line but they are well stout. good job fox'll be back cause we're going to need another inspired effort from his unit.

tech gets beat when opposing d lines get in their backfield and muck things up ... i think the canes can do that thurs night. hopefully the big game from bailey, robinson and co last week becomes a trend against a tech o line that isn't stacked with optimum trip-option linemen yet.

go canes!

Can't freakn wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You're the man Manny!!! Thanks! GO CANES!!!!!

For those of you coming to Atlanta...

The big pre-game tailgate will be at Stats, a sports bar near the CNN Center...starts at 3pm...it's $13.99 per person, food will be provided. The Atlanta and North Carolina UM clubs are sponsoring...go the website provided for more info and sign up to get in. Welcome to Atlanta y'all!

Go Canes!
AtlantaCane (since '95)

The website for the above comment to get info for the pre-GT game party is www.canesoverhere.com or click on (Posted by:) "The Original AtlantaCane" in the message immediately above.

NoleForLife and all the FSU fans are getting sour because your out of it. Choked again. Ponder all the sudden don't look as smart as everybody said he was. Somebody should have told him he was throwing to the wrong team. Just think, 2 hands on the ball! You had G-Tech beat and your boy choked. We don't have any excuses because we're still in this. As far as Longhorn boy goes, who was your favorite team last year? Fairweather fan in the house............
GO CANES..........

You horns are still sore, jeez get a life.It was 17 years ago. biggest beatdown ever in the Cotton bowl.You where probably as overated then as now. and played a team you didnt belong on the same field with.
Two winnable games ahead of us and then a game for a BCS spot. Wouldnt be surprised if Miami was in a better bowl game than da Horns!

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