MIAMI GARDENS Fla. — Stephen Morris has noticed some changes in Miami’s defense over the past few days. There’s more focus, more diligence in film study, extra effort being put in on the practice field.
In other words, it’s Georgia Tech week.
No scheme in the Atlantic Coast Conference gets the attention of opponents quite like the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense, one that Miami has handled in each of the past four years. The 14th-ranked Hurricanes (4-0) will try today for their fifth consecutive win in the series, when they play host to Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-1 ACC).
“You can feel it in the building. All eyes are on the defensive players, and rightly so, because they have a huge challenge,” said Morris, Miami’s starting quarterback. “It’s not like we’re facing an average defense, either. This defense is very well-coached and highly ranked, so overall, obviously we know that we’re facing a great team and a challenge. It’ll be a good fight.”
Through the first month of the season, there haven’t been too many defenses statistically outperforming these two clubs.
Georgia Tech headed into the weekend No. 9 nationally in yards allowed (275.5 per game), one spot ahead of Miami (283.5) on that list.
“They’ve always had great athletes,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said of the Hurricanes. “Duke Johnson may be the best running back in the country. If he’s not, you could count on one hand the guys that are at his level. The quarterback has played well. They always have fast receivers and a huge offensive line. So they’ve got a pretty good combination of guys. Clearly, this will be the best offense that we’ve played.”
Miami is concerned about Georgia Tech’s offense as well. That scheme gives just about everyone trouble, and even though Georgia Tech’s point and yardage total has dropped in each of the past three games, the Hurricanes say the Yellow Jackets – who are coming off a loss to Virginia Tech – still present problems.
“It’s a great challenge in all three phases,” Miami coach Al Golden said.