aubiefifty

scouting report: Georgia Southern

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aubiefifty    508

Auburn opponent early scouting report: Georgia Southern

Posted on July 17, 2017 at 7:25 AM

We're taking an early look at Auburn's opponents for the 2017 regular season. This 12-part series will feature analysis and occasional insight from beat reporters who cover the 12 teams Auburn will play this year.

Georgia Southern

Game date & time: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Sept. 2 game time TBA

2015 record: (5-7, 4-4 Sun Belt)

Coach: Tyson Summers, second year

Betting line: Auburn by 35

Returning starters: 6 offense, 5 defense, 3 specialists

Most important returning players: RB Wesley Fields, RB L.A. Ramsby, WR Myles Campbell, DB Joshua Moon

Most critical departures: QB Kevin Ellison, RB Matt Breida, QB Favian Upshaw, WR BJ Johnson III, LB Ironhead Gallon, LB Ukeme Eligwe, K Younghoe Koo

Auburn story lines:

  • Debut of Jarrett Stidham
    Though he technically has to win the starting job, the widely accepted reality is Jarrett Stidham is going to be Auburn's starting quarterback and for good reason. Stidham has a vastly superior skill set to Sean White and showed his arm strength on A-Day. How much Stidham stretches the field in the opening game will be an early indicator of what Auburn's offense is capable of this fall.
  • Differences with new offensive coordinator
    Speaking of the offense, Chip Lindsey takes over as play-caller and should provide a boost to a passing game that ranked last in the SEC last season. However, don't expect Auburn to abandon its identity as a power running team when Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson are in the backfield.
  • Does a top wide receiver emerge?
    It would be a lot to ask from the receiving corps in the season opener for one player to immediately emerge as the go-to guy but with Lindsey calling plays and Stidham throwing the ball it's possible. Realistically, it'll take time for a leader of the group to emerge but even getting a clearer idea of defined roles would be a big step in the first game. If Auburn is able to pull away quickly, any diagnosis of the receivers will become harder as the offense sh**s to killing the clock.
  • New starters on defense
    There will be no way to assess pass rush against a triple-option offense so determining whether Jeff Holland, Paul James III, Nick Coe, Derrick Brown, Andrew Williams and others are able to make up for the losses of Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams will have to wait. But those are only two of the holes that have to be filled. The secondary lost Josh Holsey and Rudy Ford and while Javaris Davis or Jamel Dean and Jeremiah Dinson or Daniel Thomas are capable replacements at the respective spots, this will be a game about run support. Auburn could be in a true 4-3 or even 4-4 more than it is in Nickel.
  • Run stopping
    Auburn ranked 27th in run defense last season but ended with a dud. Nobody is going to compare Wesley Fields and L.A. Ramsby to Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine but fact is the Sooners ran all over the Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. Even amid a year in which GSU got away from its roots, the Eagles still ranked 29th in rushing. Georgia Tech ranked 9th and that's the offensive coordinator in charge now so containing the run will be the key defensively.

Georgia Southern story lines:

  • Return of the triple option
    Bryan Cook taking over as offensive coordinator is expected to bring Georgia Southern back to its roots. Cook will have to bring back the triple option with a new quarterback and without GSU's lead back from a year ago. Expect Ramsby, who led the Eagles with eight touchdowns last season, to be the focal point offensively.
  • New quarterback
    Starter and leading rusher Kevin Ellison is gone, as is Favian Upshaw so GSU will be turning to either sophomore Seth Shuman, who was 34 for 72 for 357 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions with 39 rushing yards, or junior college transfer Kado Brown, who accounted for 2,184 yards of offense and 17 touchdowns at Moorpark C.C. It appears Brown, a two-star recruit who previously redshirt at Army, could have the bigger arm of the two.
  • Developing pass rush
    With Auburn expected to air it out more than in the past, GSU needs to be able to put pressure on Stidham but that could be a very tall order. The Eagles, who lose two starters off the defensive line, ranked 124th in sacks last year and lose their top defensive back.
  • Former Auburn support staffer Chad Lunsford
    Eagles H-Backs and Slot receivers coach and special teams coordinator Chad Lunsford was a spent four years at Auburn as director of scouting and later as director of player personnel.
  • Legal distraction
    Georgia Southern's co-offensive coordinators last season, David Dean and Rance Gillespie, who were fired after a 5-7 season filed separate lawsuits against the school's athletic association, head coach Tyson Summers and athletic director Tom Kleinlein among others. How GSU's leaders handle the legal distraction won't have an impact on the outcome of this game, but it could longer-term ramifications.

An Auburn win would mean:

The Tigers did as they were expected. This game isn't about the outcome, that's a sure thing, it's more about appearances. How does Stidham look? How does the new offense compare? How do the new starters on defense look? It's all about delivering as promised and having nothing but wonderful things to think about and work on when heading into Clemson a week later.

An Auburn loss would mean:

The greatest win in Georgia Southern history and one of the worst losses in Auburn history. That's simply not happening though. Auburn is 25-0 all-time against Sun Belt teams and this will be another victory.

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gravejd    210

Would love to see a romp the first weekend in Sept but not counting on it. Triple options teams can be tricky but it helps that we have all spring to prepare for it. Should be a fun game for the defense to get warmed up with. Play your assignments and we'll be good. Also, didn't they just beat FL a couple years ago? I don't think beating AU would automatically be considered the greatest win in their history

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gr82be    724

If Auburn is able to pull away quickly, any diagnosis of the receivers will become harder as the offense sh**s to killing the clock.  Shifts? :dunno:

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aubiefifty    508
Just now, gr82be said:

If Auburn is able to pull away quickly, any diagnosis of the receivers will become harder as the offense sh**s to killing the clock.  Shifts? :dunno:

maybe they pull our big dog rb's and the young receivers get more reps for the upcoming schedule? or maybe they show little other than vanilla to hold a few things for clemson...

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gr82be    724
3 minutes ago, aubiefifty said:

maybe they pull our big dog rb's and the young receivers get more reps for the upcoming schedule? or maybe they show little other than vanilla to hold a few things for clemson...

I want them to play 60 minutes and none of the clock killing garbage. 

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lkeel75    451
2 hours ago, gravejd said:

Would love to see a romp the first weekend in Sept but not counting on it. Triple options teams can be tricky but it helps that we have all spring to prepare for it. Should be a fun game for the defense to get warmed up with. Play your assignments and we'll be good. Also, didn't they just beat FL a couple years ago? I don't think beating AU would automatically be considered the greatest win in their history

Yes they did beat FL in 2013, but FL was not a top 5-10 ranked team at that point.  So it would be bigger to knock off AU in this case.

The triple option is such a tough game.  I am also glad they are going to have a lot more time to review the tapes and watch how things move.  You have to be very disciplined if you want to slow them down.  Hopefully them having a new QB & RB1 will be helpful as well.

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Barnacle    1,093

Questions for @bigbird; @corchjay and other coaches:

When I first saw that Georgia Southern runs the triple option, I thought it might be a bad thing, in the sense that it will be completely different than the offensive principles that Clemson will employ the following week. 

Then, I thought it might not be such a bad thing, in the sense that the triple-option requires a lot of discipline and focus, regardless of the opponent. In other words, our defense won't be able to half-ass it against that offense (not that I would expect that). 

Thoughts on seeing the triple option before Clemson?

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corchjay    1,682
12 minutes ago, Barnacle said:

Questions for @bigbird; @corchjay and other coaches:

When I first saw that Georgia Southern runs the triple option, I thought it might be a bad thing, in the sense that it will be completely different than the offensive principles that Clemson will employ the following week. 

Then, I thought it might not be such a bad thing, in the sense that the triple-option requires a lot of discipline and focus, regardless of the opponent. In other words, our defense won't be able to half-ass it against that offense (not that I would expect that). 

Thoughts on seeing the triple option before Clemson?

For me I do offense but know most of the principles of a true option game...

The biggest things you worry about first is time to prepare for such a different attack.  Check we have that with it being the first game.

Then you worry about cut blocks on your defensive lineman's legs.  One wrong check at the line of scrimmage and you could easily have 2 OL blocking low on a DT.

Then you have to worry if they are successful moving the ball on you and you only getting about 6-7 possessions in a game.  If thats the case you better be putting points up. 

Luckily knowing how to stop the triple option has been figured out many moons ago and we should be more talented at every position on the field.  With that said we could probably give up 300 yards rushing and still have a great day defensively.  

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bigbird    5,910

For me, when we play a triple option team, we focus mainly on what we do rather than what they do. In prep, we really focus on maintaining assignments from our base D; Dive, QB, and Pitch. The triple O is built to exploit mistakes.When facing a Triple O team it is really important to focus on team D rather than stressing individual positions. You have to be able to trust your Tackles, LB, and Safeties to maintain their leverage and responsibilities. 

I think it will help to play them before Clemson because it will help "force" sound assignments and quick eyes.

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Barnacle    1,093
12 minutes ago, bigbird said:

I think it will help to play them before Clemson because it will help "force" sound assignments and quick eyes.

That's what I was hoping. 

13 minutes ago, corchjay said:

Luckily knowing how to stop the triple option has been figured out many moons ago and we should be more talented at every position on the field.  With that said we could probably give up 300 yards rushing and still have a great day defensively.  

I'd rather we not, but I understand your point. 

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WFE12    709
3 hours ago, gr82be said:

I want them to play 60 minutes and none of the clock killing garbage. 

Definitely going to do the latter. All they did last season.

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WFE12    709

The run defense looked great in the spring game although it was that. Have no problem believing the linebackers step up and help contain. Am I right to believe that there will likely be more outside runs than inside runs?

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bigbird    5,910
22 minutes ago, WFE12 said:

The run defense looked great in the spring game although it was that. Have no problem believing the linebackers step up and help contain. Am I right to believe that there will likely be more outside runs than inside runs?

It depends on what their reads keys do and who they are optioning.  For example, with a very basic view, if the line blocks down and the DT slides to close the gap, then the QB will pull it. If the DT stays, he will give and run the dive.

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WarEagle1983    656
3 hours ago, gr82be said:

I want them to play 60 minutes and none of the clock killing garbage. 

Even with Chip mostly calling the show...i'm concerned that's one thing Gus will hold on to. And that's relaxing with a 14 - 21 point lead with teams. I hope not but just a feeling

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Tiger    1,644

We are going to need our offense to be on point early because GSU will not let us have as many possessions as we want and if we can score ~14 in the first quarter it will put a ton of pressure on them because they will not want to deviate from running the ball.

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DAG    2,541

Ugh triple option football....need some discipline ends 

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ValleyTiger    550
3 hours ago, corchjay said:

For me I do offense but know most of the principles of a true option game...

The biggest things you worry about first is time to prepare for such a different attack.  Check we have that with it being the first game.

Then you worry about cut blocks on your defensive lineman's legs.  One wrong check at the line of scrimmage and you could easily have 2 OL blocking low on a DT.

Then you have to worry if they are successful moving the ball on you and you only getting about 6-7 possessions in a game.  If thats the case you better be putting points up. 

Luckily knowing how to stop the triple option has been figured out many moons ago and we should be more talented at every position on the field.  With that said we could probably give up 300 yards rushing and still have a great day defensively.  

Immediately came to mind as well. I'm sure Garner will have them as ready as possible for the legal blocks.

Damn, I hate cut blocking whether it be the run or pass game.

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3 hours ago, bigbird said:

For me, when we play a triple option team, we focus mainly on what we do rather than what they do. In prep, we really focus on maintaining assignments from our base D; Dive, QB, and Pitch. The triple O is built to exploit mistakes.When facing a Triple O team it is really important to focus on team D rather than stressing individual positions. You have to be able to trust your Tackles, LB, and Safeties to maintain their leverage and responsibilities. 

I think it will help to play them before Clemson because it will help "force" sound assignments and quick eyes.

Exactly what I was thinking (except you said it much better)

I think playing them game 1 will help build team D (playing together as one unit, trusting each other, sticking to assignments, etc.)

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CleCoTiger    465

I gotta say that I hate having to play a team that runs the triple option if that team runs it well.  I know that the triple option is out of favor, but for teams with lesser talent that style of offense can be a great equalizer.  Assignment football and all that, but man, all that running side to side and trying to figure out where the ball is can wear on even a good defense.

Dunno if anyone else recalls old games like bammer vs. Army in the 1988 Sun Bowl or our AU Tigers vs. Army in the 1996 Independence Bowl, but based on sheer talent differential neither of those games should have been close.  Were they close? You're dang tootin' they were.  In '88, bammer escaped 29-28 after scoring 9 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. In 1996, our AU Tigers were seemingly well in control up until the 4th quarter, leading 32-7 after 3.  Army's wishbone attack reeled off 22 points in the 4th and at the end I was sweating the outcome. Our AU Tigers won 32-29.

 

Edited by CleCoTiger
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WFE12    709

Lol Funny seeing little Nicky getting upset about the offense. Glad that Steele, Garner, and Malzahn all have plenty experience coaching against triple option.

Auburn prepares for unique challenge against Georgia Southern triple-option

By: James Crepea

Rodney Garner and Kevin Steele have seen it before, but none of Auburn's defensive players have faced a triple-option offense at the college level.

The veteran defensive coaches face a unique challenge in preparing Auburn's defense for a season opener with Georgia Southern, which is expected to return to its roots with a triple-option attack under former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Cook.

"Obviously, it's got to be assignment-type football," said Garner, who faced Georgia Tech each year when he coached at Georgia. "Obviously, it's going to be critical that we're playing sound fundamental football and that we're doing a really good job of being disciplined in our gaps, with our eyes. Making sure that everybody's doing their job and not getting overzealous, not wanting to make a play and get out of a gap and 'I'm going to make this play and I'm going to get out of my gap and I'm going to give up a big play.'

"That's what that offense is built on, for guys to get undisciplined and to start crashing when they do stuff and then they abort fundamentals and abort responsibility and start giving up big plays."

Auburn has already begun planning for how it'll go about preparing for the Eagles, who will have a new quarterback in addition to the coordinator change.

"Any time you're facing a triple option team, especially that's good at it and well coached, you've got to start working on (it) earlier," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "Kevin has got a good plan. He has been in the ACC with Georgia Tech before so he's somewhat familiar with that, but we have started thinking that way and need to. ...

"I think that's important that you have a long period of time because you're talking about (in-season it would be) three days to get ready to get ready for something, especially if they're talented and well coached, that's a challenge. It's probably a blessing that we have them there. 

Steele's experience playing Georgia Tech's triple-option is from his days at Clemson, but even that was last in Oct. 2011.

Malzahn said the last time he faced a triple-option team dates back to his days as a high school coach at Shiloh Christian (Arkansas).

Ole Miss defeated Georgia Southern last season and while the Eagles employed more of a shotgun-based option last season, they still had 59 carries for 267 yards against the Rebels.

"It's very unusual," Ole Miss defensive lineman Breeland Speaks said. "Guys got to be focused, especially on a triple-option type teams. That was very different, but at the end of the day we got the job done."

Auburn is a five-touchdown favorite in the opener so it's not as though Georgia Southern is expected to be a monumental challenge, but overlooking the Eagles would be a mistake too. Just ask Nick Saban, who had a famous rant two years ago when recounting Alabama's ineffectiveness against GSU in 2011 when the Eagles rushed for 302 yards on 39 carries.

"Your players get very little experience at playing against it. They have very little understanding," Saban said. "And it's so different in terms of what you see week in and week out that you cannot prepare for it in a single week, nor can you get the kind of scout team look that you need to get to prepare for the speed of that kind of offense and the way those people execute it. ...

"This option offense is really, really one that is different and creates a lot of coaching and understanding. And, to be honest with you, we had to bring people in when we played that game to try to teach us the offense so we could teach our players, you know, how to play against it. And obviously, the way we played against it was not very good. So, if we ever play against it again, we're going to have to do more research."

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops faced Georgia Tech's triple-option as defensive coordinator at Florida State in the 2012 ACC Championship.

"It was difficult then. It was difficult for us," Stoops said. "It's very hard to simulate that for your scout team. And as you can see through the numerous injuries we had throughout the game, it's very difficult for our D line to be totally prepared for how quickly and how efficient they are at what they do."

Auburn believes that the fact it's got more time to prepare will be of assistance compared to an in-season adjustment. This could be a bit of a misnomer as well as Ohio State struggled mightily in season openers against Navy in 2009 and 2014.

Garner said they've been receiving conflicting accounts of exactly what type of offense Georgia Southern will run but they expect some variation of the triple-option.

"When I was at (Georgia) playing (Georgia) Tech every year at the end, we always had to take a week of fall camp and just work on that because it's so foreign," Garner said. "At least we are playing them the first week, so we will have to spend a lot of time in a team setting and make sure that we get all our fits and we get our guys eyes cleaned up and they're seeing things the right way.

"It's going to present a big challenge from a responsibility standpoint. But there's still some of the unknowns because we got different reports out of what they're doing, so we got to be prepared for a couple of different things."
 

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corchjay    1,682

@bigbird @augolf1716 

What defense would yall go with to stop this team?

Bear 50 front

base 4-3

multiple 3-4 and 4-3 front

4-4-3, man with 1 free safety

 

I think I would go with the Bear front with the MLB's pressing the line.  DL dropping some, LBs dropping some.  Only issue is it requires everyone to be on the same page.  However if I just want to get out of it with a win something like 37-17 then I go base 4-3 and play straight tackle football.  If you want to try to really shut this team down and make a statement then probably using the Bear front with some of each of the others mixed in is probably the best to try to beat this team like 60-10.   

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bigbird    5,910

For me, Knowing the hierarchy of the triple option(1.dive 2. QB keep 3. Pitch), I would run it out if our base 4-3 D, but would walk down one of the safeties to give a 4-4-3 look.  My Tackles would align in a 2i or 3 depending on strength and squeeze to take the dive. The ILB would play dive. The DE would align in 5s and crash to take the QB.  I would sink the OLB and walked down safety to 3x3 and task them with the QB as well.  We would man up the corners and have a single high MOF safety responsible for pitch. That would give a balanced look with two for dive(DT and ILB), two for QB(DE and OLB/S), and 1 for pitch(middle safety) on both sides.  We would declare strength to the 3 man surface in the MOF and towards field when on the hash.

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AuburnNTexas    817
On 7/17/2017 at 0:38 PM, WarEagle1983 said:

Even with Chip mostly calling the show...i'm concerned that's one thing Gus will hold on to. And that's relaxing with a 14 - 21 point lead with teams. I hope not but just a feeling

I hope we don't relax still play normal offense and defense but that we sub multiple players to get needed PT and to build depth. One fear I always have when playing Triple Option teams is leg injuries to D-Lineman as they do a lot of cut blocking both legal and illegal(one high one low).

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lkeel75    451

I am not bird or golf...  I think our strength is going to play out of the base 4-3 and bring safety down if we are getting beaten to much on the outside.

 

50 minutes ago, bigbird said:

For me, Knowing the hierarchy of the triple option(1.dive 2. QB keep 3. Pitch), I would run it out if our base 4-3 D, but would walk down one of the safeties to give a 4-4-3 look.  My Tackles would align in a 2i or 3 depending on strength and squeeze to take the dive. The ILB would play dive. The DE would align in 5s and crash to take the QB.  I would sink the OLB and walked down safety to 3x3 and task them with the QB as well.  We would man up the corners and have a single high MOF safety responsible for pitch. That would give a balanced look with two for dive(DT and ILB), two for QB(DE and OLB/S), and 1 for pitch(middle safety) on both sides.  We would declare strength to the 3 man surface in the MOF and towards field when on the hash.

Or yeah what he said...  haha

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