Georgia Tech Hits Virginia Tech With the Unexpected

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Tobias Oliver and Georgia Tech hit the Hokies with an unexpected game plan on Thursday night. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

“The best defense against this offense is good players.” – Paul Johnson on his scheme, 2009

“[Virginia Tech has] some young guys on defense and we played well. They got the good Georgia Tech. This year, it’s been good Georgia Tech, bad Georgia Tech. They got good Georgia Tech.” – Paul Johnson post-game, 2018

I focused on the defense for this game since that’s where the complete meltdown happened. With some extra practice time and new starter Tobias Oliver under center, GT coach Paul Johnson decided to hit the Hokies with a change-up. Last year, a single tricky unbalanced formation helped him win the game. This year, he made an in-your-face style decision that was evident from the beginning, and one that caught the Hokies completely flat-footed.

I charted every GT offensive snap from their first all the way through their opening TD drive of the third quarter, but the game’s direction was evident on the first set of downs. On the opening snap, Paul Johnson had his team come out in their standard Flexbone formation. On the next play (and ten of the eleven that followed it) he moved to what they call a “Double Flex” formation. Double Flex would be their main formation for all the series I watched. It is their standard Flexbone,