By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s not hard for Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot to explain why defending Georgia Tech’s triple option — something UK will have to do in the TaxSlayer Bowl Dec. 31 in Jacksonville — is not easy even though the last time he faced Tech was in 2012 when he was the Florida State linebacker coach.
“We knew that defending this offense was going to be difficult because you never see it. The players never get a chance to practice against it. I do remember that we had to be very disciplined in our assignments. We had to be very technique sound in our practices and our players had to play with tremendous effort because it’s a very tough offense to defend,” Eliot said.
“Those are some of the things we have to make sure we do to prepare for Georgia Tech in this bowl game as well.”
Kentucky had to have the same kind of discipline in its final regular season game when it faced Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
“I think that anytime a team has an option in their run game, to hand it off, to pitch it or the quarterback to run it, and you have to defend that, I think it’s gonna help you when you play a double slot option team. So the fact that we had to defend that in the last game of the year, I think will help our kids and that discipline on responsibility and executing your responsibility against those type of plays,” Eliot said. “So I think that’ll help us, and we can learn from the things we did good and bad in that game, and hopefully we can apply it into this next game.
“Anytime you can confuse the quarterback, you got a chance to slow him down. I think there’s different things that we do every week and can continue to do in that philosophy and changing up what we do to try and confuse the quarterback.”
Eliot said Tech has added “wrinkles” to its offense since 2012 but still uses many of the same plays that are just as difficult to defend. They would be just as hard for UK’s scout team offense to learn.
“It’s going to be very important for us to be able to execute the look that Georgia Tech is giving us and for us to be able to get the scout team to play and be able to run the plays as close to as possible as Georgia Tech does,” Eliot said.