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Georgia Tech hopes to continue winning momentum in TaxSlayer Bowl

TaxSlayer Bowl official Rick Catlett with coaches Mark Stoops and Paul Johnson in Jacksonville Thursday. (John Showalter Photo)

TaxSlayer Bowl official Rick Catlett with coaches Mark Stoops and Paul Johnson in Jacksonville Thursday. (John Showalter Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Midway of the season the team was 3-3 and nothing spectacular seemed ready to happen.

Sound familiar? However, it was Georgia Tech that was “just kind of mediocre” at that point, according to Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson during a bowl luncheon in Jacksonville Thursday. His team plays Kentucky Dec. 31 in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville.

“We got fortunate and got hot a little bit and started playing a little bit better and really finished up the season on a positive note, so hopefully we can carry that momentum into Jacksonville. We certainly will need to do that against a very fine Kentucky team that also finished strong,” Johnson said.

Georgia Tech went 5-1 to finish the season and beat Georgia and Virginia Tech. Kentucky went 7-3 the final 10 games and ended the season with a win over Louisville.

Now the Cats get their chance to stop Tech’s triple option offense that has put up big numbers annually for Johnson because opposing defenses have little experience going against it.

“We don’t ourselves see it being all that different. We’re basically an option football team offensively. We try and run forms of the option and we change things up every once in a while. It’s just something we’ve been doing a long time and something where we know what we want to do,” Johnson said.

“We have an idea of what we want to do offensively. Defensively, we played a little better during the back half of the year and got some turnovers and stops. Early on, we really struggled on defense getting off the field. It is unique in what we do, but there are only a few teams left in college football that don’t embrace some form of the option or the zone read and certainly Kentucky does a lot of that out of their Wildcat stuff. Probably not as big of a difference as people would make it out to be.”

Like Kentucky, Georgia Tech has Florida players on its roster and fans from the area.

“We probably have about seven to eight kids on our team that have ties with Florida and when we finish today, I’ve got a couple of in-home visits before we go back tonight. So, this is an area that we like to recruit,” Johnson said Thursday.

“There is a lot of good football out here. We are excited to be here. We’ve got a pretty good fan base in the north Florida area, Amelia (Island), Ponte Vedra Beach area, so we will have a good turnout.”

 

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