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Opponent Preview: Georgia Tech

Can the Tar Heels stop the triple option?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech comes to Carolina looking to rebound after losing to Duke at home, in a game where starting quarterback Justin Thomas left the game for injury. Backup QB Tim Byerly and had two running touchdowns to make the game close. This game carries a lot of uncertainty for the Yellow Jackets who will try to right the ship against Carolina.

The offense for Georgia Tech is the triple option, something Carolina has a long history of being very bad at defending. Georgia Tech has ridden the triple option to 294.7 yards per contest, the 8th highest number in FBS. The Yellow Jackets average 5.7 yards per carry. Carolina has a middling rushing defense, allowing 4.3 yards per carry and 191 yards per game. In the passing game, the Yellow Jackets use play action to set up deep down the field passes. This is something to look out for if Byerly is the quarterback, he averaged 12.5 yards per attempt against Duke. To stop the triple option the defensive line needs to get around the offensive line of Georgia Tech, the linebackers need to hold the edge and corners need to get around blocks. This is where the hybrid schemes that Fedora runs needs to come through for the Heels. The ram and bandit positions should bring the versatility necessary to combat the triple option in an ideal setting. However, the Heels have always been weak against Georgia Tech's offense and the defense so far this season has not yet shown they can step up to carry a win.

The Georgia Tech defense has not been particularly impressive this year, allowing 25 points per game. The Yellow Jackets allow an average of 388 yards per game, 200.7 yards per game in the air and 187.7 yards on the ground. One caveat is Paul Johnson's team gives up 6.31 yards per play which is actually worse than what Carolina gives on average.Can the Tar Heels stop the triple option? Georgia Tech also allows more than 60% of passes to be completed against its defense, Marquise Williams will be the best quarterback that the Yellow Jackets have faced all year and the Yellow Jackets have shown a tendency for close games so far this year, playing in 3 one score games already this year.

Onto the assignments:

Give Marquise Williams freedom:

Marquise Williams submitted one of the best games a UNC quarterback has had in recent memory. For the first time this season he got to play every series and he delivered for Carolina. In the past few weeks he has run the read option effectively and the he has shown improvements as a passer and a runner as the season has gone on. Against Georgia Tech Fedora should continue to give Williams this freedom. He should also keep Mitch Trubisky on the bench again, Fedora has not yet ruled out the possibility of playing Trubisky more this season even after Williams' performance against the Fighting Irish last weekend.

Force Georgia Tech off the field on 3rd Down:

As a run heavy offense, Georgia Tech can absorb the game clock on long scoring drives that will not give UNC the time to counter with their own offense. It is critical to get the Yellow Jacket offense off the field on 3rd down to both save the defense from itself and to give the offense enough time to get into a groove to score against the Yellow Jackets.

Score early:

Along with getting into a groove on offense, it is important that UNC score early. Getting ahead will force Georgia Tech to throw the ball, something that this offense, particularly this offensive line, is not built to do. If the Heels can carry a two touchdown lead into halftime or a single touchdown lead into the fourth quarter this game could be the Heels' third win of the season.