The reports of the TO's death have been grossly exaggerated

Randy Carson

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
687
There are a lot of folks on this forum who understand the technical aspects of football better than I do. But I'm not convinced that defensive coordinators finally "cracked the code" on the TO. If that were possible, then eventually, they will do the same to shut down these five wide receiver "air raid" offenses, too. Offenses innovate. Defenses adjust.

The NFL has designed its rules to maximize scoring. Apparently, the Packers over the Bears 7-3 in a driving snow storm makes for bad television ratings. But I digress.

I just know what I like when I see it. I prefer watching MY team control the ball. I like:
  • watching 85-yard drives that take 8 minutes off the clock
  • knowing that on any given play, a simple a pitch or QB dive off tackle could break for 20 yards or more
  • having to watch an instant replay three times just to see who got the ball and when (imagine being on the D against that at speed)
  • seeing the defensive backs creeping in to add run support only to give up a TD when we throw the long 'tater over the top
  • leading the nation in offensive yardage
  • leading the nation in time of possession
  • being consistently in the Top 25 even if it's the second tier
  • going to a bowl game every year (even if it's some garbage game)
I think the REAL issue with the TO was that fans (and forum members) like the rush of adrenaline when a team scores 56 points on 23 plays from scrimmage and about 8 minutes of possession time. (And don't get me wrong...this is a beautiful thing, also.) But a lightning fast score means you spend the majority of the rest of the game watching other team's offense. Since I'm less interested in the defensive side of the ball, I want MY offense on the field as long as possible.

And that's the best defense I can think of.
 

VRTechFan

Georgia Tech Fan
Messages
83
There are a lot of folks on this forum who understand the technical aspects of football better than I do. But I'm not convinced that defensive coordinators finally "cracked the code" on the TO. If that were possible, then eventually, they will do the same to shut down these five wide receiver "air raid" offenses, too. Offenses innovate. Defenses adjust.

The NFL has designed its rules to maximize scoring. Apparently, the Packers over the Bears 7-3 in a driving snow storm makes for bad television ratings. But I digress.

I just know what I like when I see it. I prefer watching MY team control the ball. I like:
  • watching 85-yard drives that take 8 minutes off the clock
  • knowing that on any given play, a simple a pitch or QB dive off tackle could break for 20 yards or more
  • having to watch an instant replay three times just to see who got the ball and when (imagine being on the D against that at speed)
  • seeing the defensive backs creeping in to add run support only to give up a TD when we throw the long 'tater over the top
  • leading the nation in offensive yardage
  • leading the nation in time of possession
  • being consistently in the Top 25 even if it's the second tier
  • going to a bowl game every year (even if it's some garbage game)
I think the REAL issue with the TO was that fans (and forum members) like the rush of adrenaline when a team scores 56 points on 23 plays from scrimmage and about 8 minutes of possession time. (And don't get me wrong...this is a beautiful thing, also.) But a lightning fast score means you spend the majority of the rest of the game watching other team's offense. Since I'm less interested in the defensive side of the ball, I want MY offense on the field as long as possible.

And that's the best defense I can think of.
I wholeheartedly agree with you. Everyone wanted us to throw the ball more and this is what we got in return. I enjoyed watching the TO. People would say that we wouldn't get the top recruits if we kept the TO. I say screw them if they don't want to come to Tech. We will find players that want to come to Tech to play football. Our team has gotten soft and there isn't any toughness at all. At least the CPJ teams played as if they had a chip on our shoulder. It's rather embarrassing watching Tech play for the past 3 years. This nightmare needs to end soon.
 

BleedGoldNWhite21

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,104
The rule changes were a bigger part of CPJ retiring than I think some realize. I want to win, whether it’s running the TO or passing the ball 70 times. I’m open to running a TO type offense again, but I don’t know if there are any great candidates that fit that description right now. People forget that CPJ was already seen as a HOFer in coaching circles when he came here. I don’t believe someone like Monken is a much better option than some of the other coaches around. Just because I am a CPJ guy doesn’t mean I think GT HAS to run the TO to be successful, which is a mindset a few posters have seemed to adopt.
 

VRTechFan

Georgia Tech Fan
Messages
83
the REAL issue was that kids weren't flocking to GT to play the TO, dismal defenses (PJ churned thru DCs), and shrinking attendances. We'd become nationally irrelevant after 2014 and were viewed as having a gimmicky offense.

Bringing the TO back wouldn't fix any of those. And no, the current regime isn't the answer.
That gimmicky offense was feared by everyone, hence teams adding extra practice times and requesting a week off prior to playing us. Absolutely no team respects or fears playing us now. The shrinking attendances was a shame and should solely fall on us fans. We didn't realize we had someone good when we had it. I wonder what our attendance looks like now compared to CPJ's last year? I bet it's lower.
 

jgtengineer

Helluva Engineer
Messages
2,427
the REAL issue was that kids weren't flocking to GT to play the TO, dismal defenses (PJ churned thru DCs), and shrinking attendances. We'd become nationally irrelevant after 2014 and were viewed as having a gimmicky offense.

Bringing the TO back wouldn't fix any of those. And no, the current regime isn't the answer.

We shouldn't have been in 2016 the fact that that team wasn't ranked was silly. It was a slap back for the injury fest 2015 season where the media had us highly ranked.

If we convert a 2 point in 2017 and win one or two other one score games. We are doing fine there. 2018 was a few one score games away from a 9+ win season. Truth is Ratliffe's injury derailed our post JT QB plan pretty hard (as did Mathew Jordan's injury and Christian Campbell's shoulder injury that made it where he couldn't throw well anymore, campbell's shoulder injury probably cost us his brother's commitment) If we have any other Available QB than Marshall in 2017 who knows how it goes. You get nationally relevant by winning big OOC games.

As for gimmicky offense. Any offense is a gimmick thats the point of the scheme. Hell even BC's throwback run it down their throats out of singleback is a gimmick now.
There is an offensive trend of Spread RPO that most everyone is running. Then you have the Air Raid schools, the Option schools and the Spread Read schools. A few run and shoot schools exist. And Chadwells Spread Option RPO. All we need is somehtign the rest of the ACC isn't running to give us a preparation advantage. We haven't traditionally recruited the types of arms necessary for an Air Raid. We also can't seem to recruit an RPO guy. So where does that leave us?
 

rodandanga

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
203
This is an article from 2012, on the death of true option teams.


There is a quote from Holtz that I think is even more true now.

"I think it's one word: recruiting," says Lou Holtz,..."Once alumni started treating recruiting like it was a season in itself, it became very difficult to run the option. All of a sudden, [if you were an option team,] you couldn't get the dominant quarterback, because you weren't going to throw the football and get him ready for the NFL. You couldn't get the dominant left tackle, because you weren't going to teach him to pass-block. You couldn't get the dominant running back, because he wasn't going to be featured enough. Now, you can still win with the option even if you don't get those people, but if you're not getting those top recruits, the alumni start to think you're losing and you're not exciting enough."

I think the change in the perimeter blocking rules won't help much either.
 

Randy Carson

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
687
I wholeheartedly agree with you. Everyone wanted us to throw the ball more and this is what we got in return. I enjoyed watching the TO. People would say that we wouldn't get the top recruits if we kept the TO. I say screw them if they don't want to come to Tech. We will find players that want to come to Tech to play football. Our team has gotten soft and there isn't any toughness at all. At least the CPJ teams played as if they had a chip on our shoulder. It's rather embarrassing watching Tech play for the past 3 years. This nightmare needs to end soon.
AND get a damn good education. Remember that?

"Now, you can still win with the option even if you don't get those people, but if you're not getting those top recruits, the alumni start to think you're losing and you're not exciting enough."

I have the feeling that a lot of Tech alumni were simply tired of going to cocktail parties and getting ribbed about our "high school" offense (which beat Georgia on more than one occasion).

How's the conversation at those parties working out for you now?
 
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lv20gt

Helluva Engineer
Messages
5,108
I think the REAL issue with the TO was that fans (and forum members) like the rush of adrenaline when a team scores 56 points on 23 plays from scrimmage and about 8 minutes of possession time.

The real problem is that the offense lost the edge that it gave us when we first hired Johnson. Part of it was rule changes. Part of it was coaches getting more comfortable defending it. Part of it was the different landscape of college football in 2018 compared to 2008. Much more innovative offenses overall and more that utilized the mobile QBs that once weren't valued as highly. And part of it was Johnson at some point went away from innovating and just relied too much on what he had already developed.

Regardless of the reason the last 4 years we won 24 games under Johnson. Only twice did that come when the other team scored 30 or more. Once was against Louisville in 2018 and the other in 2016 against Duke. And that's not a good thing when you are so heavily focused on offense. If we had a defense that was great and so we just didn't give up 30 points often that'd be different. But we did 19 times over that stretch and went 2-17 in those games.

In contrast in the first 4 years we won 7 such games out of 15 (not including the Utah game which was exactly 30 in OT so under 30 in regulation). So we went from having a roughly even chance at winning if the other team scored 30+ to having about a 10% chance. That is just not good for a program where the offense is the entire identity and it also didn't keep down the scoring the way people pretend it did.

It was still a "good" offense. But not one that was worth the tradeoffs that came with it. In 2008. Yes. But in 2018. No.
 

Randy Carson

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
687
And one other point...

Anyone here remember Kick, Csonka, and Mercury Morris? They went 16-0, remember?

And how many Super Bowls did the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins win with John Riggins and the hogs (and three different QB's)? I won't even bother to mention Payton, Campbell, Sayers, Dickerson, Simpson...you get the idea. None of those guys played in the last decade.

Rules have been changed to encourage the passing game so that fans can get excited. Got it.
 

ibeattetris

Helluva Engineer
Messages
3,202
The real problem is that the offense lost the edge that it gave us when we first hired Johnson. Part of it was rule changes. Part of it was coaches getting more comfortable defending it. Part of it was the different landscape of college football in 2018 compared to 2008. Much more innovative offenses overall and more that utilized the mobile QBs that once weren't valued as highly. And part of it was Johnson at some point went away from innovating and just relied too much on what he had already developed.

Regardless of the reason the last 4 years we won 24 games under Johnson. Only twice did that come when the other team scored 30 or more. Once was against Louisville in 2018 and the other in 2016 against Duke. And that's not a good thing when you are so heavily focused on offense. If we had a defense that was great and so we just didn't give up 30 points often that'd be different. But we did 19 times over that stretch and went 2-17 in those games.

In contrast in the first 4 years we won 7 such games out of 15 (not including the Utah game which was exactly 30 in OT so under 30 in regulation). So we went from having a roughly even chance at winning if the other team scored 30+ to having about a 10% chance. That is just not good for a program where the offense is the entire identity and it also didn't keep down the scoring the way people pretend it did.

It was still a "good" offense. But not one that was worth the tradeoffs that came with it. In 2008. Yes. But in 2018. No.
We didn’t have a qb in 2017 and 2018, that’s really the only thing keeping us back. Even then here are the last four years since you explicitly called those out.
Offense Fei rank
2015 - 78 (the most injury laden team I’ve seen)
2016 - 29
2017 - 23
2018 - 19

FPI offense efficiencies
2015 - 76
2016 - 21
2017 - 23
2018 - 23

So if anything, GT’s offense was at worst steady top 25, or improving (according to FEI) CPJ’s final four years, not getting worse.

It’s ridiculous how many times this needs to be said, but the offense was not the problem. CPJ fielded almost zero competent defenses. We lost games because we had no defense.

I don’t care what offense we bring to Tech in the future, but I really hope posters learn basic logic and reasoning skills so that they can at least whine about things that make sense (like for example having the 96th worst defense in 2018). Of course our top 25 offense didn’t win a ton of games when it was dragging behind a a bottom 30 defense.
 

stylee

Ramblin' Wreck
Featured Member
Messages
661
We didn’t have a qb in 2017 and 2018, that’s really the only thing keeping us back. Even then here are the last four years since you explicitly called those out.
Offense Fei rank
2015 - 78 (the most injury laden team I’ve seen)
2016 - 29
2017 - 23
2018 - 19

FPI offense efficiencies
2015 - 76
2016 - 21
2017 - 23
2018 - 23

So if anything, GT’s offense was at worst steady top 25, or improving (according to FEI) CPJ’s final four years, not getting worse.

It’s ridiculous how many times this needs to be said, but the offense was not the problem. CPJ fielded almost zero competent defenses. We lost games because we had no defense.

I don’t care what offense we bring to Tech in the future, but I really hope posters learn basic logic and reasoning skills so that they can at least whine about things that make sense (like for example having the 96th worst defense in 2018). Of course our top 25 offense didn’t win a ton of games when it was dragging behind a a bottom 30 defense.


Great post.

I watched parts of the Louisville 2018 game the other night, after some mentioned it here as the last game they really enjoyed. What struck me is that the offense featured Jalen Camp, Jordan Mason, and Nate Cottrell, amongst others. Those guys, allegedly part of a low point in recruiting, have played active NFL minutes. Do they count as good recruits who flocked to the TO? CPJ recruited a guy who became the highest paid tight end in league history - was that an example of a good recruit coming to play in the TO? Waller, Stephen Hill, Deandre Smelter, Jalen Camp; are we *sure* that any more conventional/pro-style/spread coach will bring in the same proportionate level of receiving talent as the dinky high-school dadgum wishbone? Has CGC? Have more talented kids at the skill positions come and stayed under Collins than under Johnson's gimmicky, not-nationally-relevant program?

I've lurked for years. I have little to add substantively and would only echo everyone else's frustrations. But I do ask anyone who is willing to think about it: if Monken could come in and deliver the same ceiling and floor as Johnson, would he be a bad choice? That ceiling was 2009 or 2014, that floor was the three wins in 2015 (incidentally, his successor's ceiling has proved to be his floor). If so, would it be a bad choice because of perception/aesthetics, or because we want a higher ceiling and floor than that?

Let's say we brought in Monken and he ran the same plays, but did so from a pistol set - would that be appreciably different?
 
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