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Georgia Tech notebook: Duke's warm-up doesn't help much

POSTED: October 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ATLANTA - Duke's warm-up game for Georgia Tech's spread option attack wasn't much help after all.
Paul Johnson coached six years at Navy before he was hired by Georgia Tech. Navy still runs the option offense installed by Johnson, and Duke first-year coach David Cutcliffe had a preview of the scheme when his Blue Devils beat Navy 41-31 on Sept. 13.

Duke defensive end Greg Akinbiyi said the Yellow Jackets were more difficult to stop in Georgia Tech's 27-0 win on Saturday.

"(Johnson) invented this offense," said Akinbiyi.

Added Duke linebacker Michael Tauiliili: "It did (help), but (Georgia Tech) ran a little different scheme. They have better running backs."

The struggles for Duke's defense only grew through the game. Georgia Tech led only 3-0 at halftime before scoring seven points in the third quarter and 17 in the final quarter.

Georgia Tech had 159 yards rushing by Jonathan Dwyer and 230 yards receiving by Demaryius Thomas.
"There were a few daggers we should have avoided," Tauiliili said.

"We didn't expect what they were doing with the fullback (Dwyer). We missed him a couple of times coming over the top."

Motivation
There were some postgame references by Georgia Tech players about motivation from alleged comments from Duke's coaches and players, even though no one outside the team seemed to know anything about the quotes.

Georgia Tech defensive tackle Vance Walker said someone on the Duke team questioned the Yellow Jackets' run defense.

"We came out with that in our hearts," Walker said after Georgia Tech held Duke to 35 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Thomas said he heard criticism of Georgia Tech's receivers.

"I guess I got tired of (Duke's) coaches saying we didn't have a good receiver," Thomas said. "So I had to show them we did have one."

Thomas gave no details on the comment.

Catching on
Former Georgia Tech receiver Dez White attended the game and was on the field as an honorary captain for the pregame coin toss.

Thomas said he watched White from the sideline and allowed himself to dream a little.

"I was like ‘I want to break his record today,"' Thomas said.

The record is White's school record of 243 yards receiving against Virginia in 1998.

Thomas had no idea how close he'd come to the mark. The sophomore caught nine passes for 230 yards.

Thomas, a sophomore, said he was not surprised to see a receiver enjoy such a big game in coach Paul Johnson's spread option offense. Even as other receivers expressed concern about how they would fit in the scheme when Johnson was hired from Navy, Thomas said his research showed there is room for a passing game in the spread option.

"Before we started the season I watched a lot of film on Navy, and a couple of their receivers had games with big yards," Thomas said.

Life of Riley
Eron Riley led Duke with five catches, but he had only 20 yards receiving as Georgia Tech was successful in its goal to prevent a big play.

"We knew they had a very good defense," Riley said. "We knew we'd have to be quicker and block better. ... We just didn't do it today."

Riley's longest reception was for 12 yards.

It was the third time this season Riley had five or more catches in a game.

Streaks and stats
Georgia Tech has won five consecutive games in its series with Duke. It also has won 13 of the last 14 in the series. ... Jaybo Shaw's 88-yard touchdown pass to Thomas was the third-longest in school history. Brandon Shaw completed a 96-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Rogers against Central Florida in 1996, and Ted Peeples threw a 90-yard touchdown pass to Drew Hill against Duke in 1978. ... The 132 yards by Duke was the third-best effort by Tech's defense against an ACC opponent. Tech held Maryland to 82 yards in 1998 and held North Carolina to 129 yards in 1985.



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