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Mullen incorporated option lessons from Ga. Tech


Danny P Smith



Georgia Tech doesn''t have a monopoly on the option offense. 


There are times when Mississippi State uses the scheme in its spread offense. 


When the play is called, quarterbacks Tyson Lee or Chris Relf can fake a handoff to a fullback, come down the line, and pitch it to a tailback or run it themselves. 


The Bulldogs have run the option with success this season, and coach Dan Mullen can thank Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson for giving him the idea. 


When Johnson was coaching at Navy, Mullen visited with him to learn about how to run the offense. Certain aspects of the option Mullen implemented with the spread offense were introduced to him when he was quarterback coach for Urban Meyer at the University of Utah. 


"We called out to (Johnson) while we were developing some of our option football," Mullen said. "A lot of ours was to see what kind of options we could run from the shotgun. (Johnson) said, ''I have no idea what you can do from the shotgun, but this is how it''s done.''" 


MSU and No. 25 Georgia Tech likely will trade option looks at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (Comcast) when they meet in Starkville. 


Johnson said he spent quite a bit of time going over the option with Meyer and Mullen and tried to answer their questions. 


Mullen said Johnson shared the landmarks, the tracks, and the placement of the option he needed from under center. 


"He was helpful with that stuff," Mullen said. "We took his information and tried to incorporate it into our offense." 


The Bulldogs have emphasized the option in practice and could use it more in games. 


Senior running back Arnil Stallworth ran it some at Daphne (Ala.) High School, but it was something he had to get used to and likes. 


MSU ran the option on occasionally in coach Sylvester Croom''s West Coast offense, but senior tailback Anthony Dixon said it''s different in the spread. 


"We take different steps and angles, but it''s all the same," Dixon said. "If you practice running hard and keeping your pad-level low, those things will come into play." 


n Georgia Tech''s option offense is similar to what Mullen''s Utah teams faced against Air Force in the 2003-04 seasons, with the only difference being that Georgia Tech''s "athletes running it were a little bit better than they have at the service academies."... Mullen said redshirt freshman offensive guard Tobias Smith, of Columbus, has a "really good" chance to play against Georgia Tech. ... There will be no significant changes in the secondary even though MSU''s pass defense is ranked 112th in the country. "We''ll keep rolling the guys through like we have all season," Mullen said.



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