Georgia Tech, UNC offensive styles differ greatly

North Carolina is high octane, Georgia Tech is slow and steady

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerSeptember 20, 2013 

ATLANTA -- It would be difficult to find two opponents more different that Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

Georgia Tech runs the spread option and prefers to take its time and run as much time off the clock as possible. The ideal scoring drive takes eight minutes and requires 16 plays.

North Carolina uses an offense scheme that appears infused by Red Bull. The Tar Heels want to play fast. They want to run as many plays as possible and get them fired off as fast as possible.

In essence today's ACC contest is a gridiron version of the tortoise vs. the hare.

"It's great if you're making first downs and staying on the field," Tech coach Paul Johnson said of the hurry-up style. "It's not so great if you're not."

Last year Georgia Tech won a frenetically paced game 68-50, the highest-scoring game in ACC history. More of the same could be anticipated; Tech (2-0) has scored 106 points in two games and North Carolina (1-1) scored 40 last week against Middle Tennessee State.

"I don't ever try to figure out how the game is going to go," Johnson said. "It could go 6-3 and that would be fine if we had six. They're very good offensively and I don't know that you're going to be able to hold them down like that."

North Carolina is led by senior quarterback Bryn Renner, who had two touchdown passes last week and is two shy of the school record of 58. Running backs Romar Morris, A.J. Blue and Khris Francis are all averaging more than four yards per carry.

North Carolina ran 79 yards in the season opener against South Carolina and fired off 77 plays a week ago against MTSU. Tech ran 76 plays against Duke and kept the ball for 38:32, giving the Blue Devils little time to get much momentum.

"I don't think it's so much time of possession," Johnson said. "You're not zeroed in on that. You're zeroed in on third downs. You try to stay on the field and try to stop them on third down. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you go, if you're not making first downs, you're not going to be out there.

"Now when they get that thing humming and they're in rhythm and they're making first downs, they can wear you out. Just like our offense can too when we're converting first downs and holding the ball for eight minutes. It's the same deal. If you asked the kids would you rather play no-huddle or be out there for eight minutes … I don't know what answer you would get, so both are effective if you can stay on the field and do it correctly."

North Carolina had a bye week to get ready for Tech's offense. Johnson always refutes the theory that an extra week gives the opponent an advantage.

"We're going to have to take care of the football. That's No. 1," Fedora said. "We cannot allow them to have extra possessions, so we have to take care of the football. We have to finish drives off because we know going into this game we're going to have fewer possessions, that's just the way it works against them with this style. If we keep moving the chains, eventually you run out of white lines and good things will happen."

Tech has won the last three meetings and seven of the last eight. The Yellow Jackets lead the series 27-18-3.

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