ACC Football Kickoff

July 25, 2005

Day two of the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff at Hot Springs, Va. Read comments from Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey as he met with the media.

How do you feel?

“I feel good. I’ve lost a lot weight and I understand that I need to do a better job of controlling my diet, but it hasn’t changed my outlook. The biggest thing has been changing my diet. (What’s the biggest difference?) No ice cream . . . well, maybe a little. I’m back to playing raquetball.

How do you get your team to play more consistently? “Football teams have different maturity levels, different amounts of depth. I think we’re not developed to the point as a program yet that we can weather all the storms at the same level of play. But I think we have an excellent senior class. We have a quite a few guys starting who have played well for us. And we have some guys who have played well at times and not so well at other times, but they have played.

With all the new quarterbacks in the league, how much of an advantage is it to have a returning starter?

“It’s an advantage if he plays well and plays consistently. It’s not an advantage if he doesn’t play. He’s proven he can play very well at times, but he’s also proven that he can play poorly at times.

“The thing that we have this year that I don’t think we’ve had the last two years, is a guy sitting behind him with a lot of upside who we think can go in there in play.

“I think the quarterback position always has a lot to with the success of your team just because of the nature of the position. I don’t know what the exact percentage is, but obviously there’s a strong relationship there.

Does the structure of the new ACC (division, championship game) change your approach?

“I think you go into the season just like the Braves do or the Falcons do – you try to go win your division. Then you can take the next step. All the ACC games are important, but your division games are doubly important. In our conference, as strong as it is, if you win your division and play in the championship game, you are more than likely going to have a chance to play for the national championship.

What is the one key to your season?

“I think there are two: consistency at the quarterback position and development of the offensive line.

Can you defense still be good despite the players you’ve lost?

“I think this can be a dominant group. It would have been easier, because we’d have more depth and more athletes on the field, but I still have a lot of confidence in our defense.

Move of Mansfield Wrotto back to defense?

“If you can take a person from one position to another without hurting the area where he came from, then you do it. If you weaken the area where he came from, then you shouldn’t do it. When we had more healthy bodies on the d-line, I didn’t feel as bad about moving him. But that changed.

Instant Replay?

“I like the way we’re doing it. I was not in favor of the coaches’ challenge when I was in the NFL. There should be a guy in that booth who is as competent at his job as the referee is at his and as the back judge is at his. If we have that competency in the replay official in the booth, then I shouldn’t have to throw a flag (to challenge). We should expect that guy to be as good at his job as the referee is at his.

Impact of expansion on recruiting

“I think we’re getting more interest and more guys willing to take a look at us. We’re pretty wide spread anyway because of who we are. We feel like we have to search further and work harder to get the guys who can do the work academically and play championship football.”

What do you think about the makeup of the divisions?

I think they did the best job they possibly could to be as fair as possible, based on the information we have right now. I truly believe that 10 years from now, the landscape will totally different. It’s going to go back and forth because we’ve got 12 good programs.

How does Calvin Johnson compare to any other receivers you’ve coached?

Never had anybody like him. Anywhere. That big and that fast with that hand-eye coordination. He is going to gain knowledge in reading coverages, and he is going to become a better route runner. The great thing about him is that he doesn’t think he’s arrived – he will continue to work hard.

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