Georgia Tech vs. LSU
When: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 31
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
TV: ESPN (Charter channel 32)
Web site: www.ramblinwreck.com
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson may add a few wrinkles to his spread option before the Yellow Jackets meet Louisiana State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Johnson plans to use the time leading up to the Dec. 31 game at the Georgia Dome to work on some run-and-shoot passing plays that have been a hidden part of his offense.
“We don’t have our whole system in yet,” Johnson said Monday at the Chick-fil-A coaches luncheon. “We’ll use the extra practices to work on some of our run-and-shoot stuff.
“There are a lot of the areas of the offense that we are still not very adept at,” he added. “We’ve got to improve in the passing game. We’ve got some work to do in all areas there and this will give us that opportunity.”
With No. 14 Georgia Tech (9-3) coming off a 45-42 victory over rival Georgia, that isn’t good news for LSU (7-5). Despite having to make a complete adjustments, Georgia Tech flourished under the offense that Johnson brought with him from Navy.
“This is a real challenge for us,” LSU coach Les Miles said of facing the spread option. “We are
going to have to play very well. You can’t take a play off against them.”
A year after winning the national championship, LSU lost three of its last four games in the regular season and gave up 120 points in the process. The Tigers are seeking redemption against Georgia Tech.
“This is an opportunity to end the season with a win,” Miles said. “They are going to hand someone a trophy with champion on it after the game and we want it.”
In addition to stopping Georgia Tech’s spread option, LSU must be able to do the job offensively against a Yellow Jackets defense that should be back to full strength after several late-season injuries.
“We need to get consistent play at quarterback,” said Miles, who indicated that true freshman Jordan Jefferson would likely start against Georgia Tech.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl, which is sold out for the 12th consecutive year, annually matches the ACC against the SEC. Georgia Tech is 2-0 against the SEC this year, beating Mississippi State and Georgia.
“We’re proud of the ACC,” Johnson said. “We don’t feel like we have to take a back seat to anyone.”
With freshmen starting at both tackles spots because of injuries — including Gainesville High graduate Nick Claytor — Johnson has concerns about his offensive line going against LSU’s rugged defensive front.
“Hopefully they won’t get us for child abuse putting our freshmen out there against those guys,” Johnson joked.
Georgia Tech is rewarding Johnson, who was rumored to be a candidate for the Auburn job, with a contract extension for his banner first season and the deal could be announced soon.
“I think its about done,” the coach said of the extension. “I'm not interested in being anywhere else but here.”