Nov. 8, 2011
ATLANTA – Brian Gregory met with the media Tuesday before Tech’s practice, three days before his debut as the Yellow Jackets head coach against Florida A&M, 8 p.m. Friday at the Arena at Gwinnett. Here are his remarks.
On the closed scrimmages
“The two closed scrimmages that we had were against teams that had good athletic ability, played extremely hard, so it was good for us to kind of measure those characteristics of our team. I thought we made progress. No doubt about it we’ve done a good job defensively and done a good job on the glass. Obviously some of those segments of the scrimmages have some points in it where you see some of our problems may surface. Consistent ability to put the ball in the basket and find guys that can score points, but for the most part being able to play against someone else has helped us. I always like at least one exhibition game so the guys get the full feel of the game. Uniforms on, crowd in the stands, going through the tunnel, all those things, but with the situation with our facilities, we just couldn’t do that.”
On the defense in the scrimmages
“We are getting better defensively. I think there’s a greater consciousness in terms of being there to help out your teammate, and we want to play defense where five guys are covering the ball, five guys are working together, and five guys are rebounding the ball as well. I think there’s been a greater emphasis on that and the guys have responded pretty well to.”
On the excitement of the players as the season opener draws near
“I think we’ll start ramping up starting today. We had yesterday off, and this is game week now starting off. Guys are always excited at this time, and we need to make sure we have our objectives clear that we want to accomplish and some of the progress mile markers that we want to meet come Friday night.”
On playing in Charleston, South Carolina next week
“Those tournaments have obviously become not only very important but very popular. To play that number of games in a shorter period against the type of opponent that you play always gives you a good early season barometer of where you are. One of the negatives with those tournaments is you start condensing so many games in a short period. We play six games prior to Thanksgiving. That’s a lot of games. We’ll have a pretty good feel for where we’re at and where we want to get to and the steps we need to take.”
On the challenge of a thinner roster having to play six games before Thanksgiving
“No question about it. It’s a concern because what you want to do after games is maybe get back on the practice floor and work on the things that you’ve seen and need to get better on and continue on the things you’re doing well. Obviously in terms of shared numbers with those games, there’s less practice time and with that practice time with a little thinner roster you can’t do as much. That’s a negative but we’re aware of that going in so we have to do a good job of managing that challenge.”
On opening offense with one inside player and four perimeter players
“Definitely. You want to make sure you have the core space and spread to allow for dribble penetration to allow screening action to allow open opportunities but also to be able to see the post. One of our biggest concerns offensively, as I mentioned, is the ability to kind of score points. Where are those points going to come from? With that being said, the reason we scrutinize that area is you have to do a good job of creating some easy baskets in transition. Scoring in the post and offensive rebounds. Regardless of what you’re doing offensively, if you can get some points in those three areas that definitely helps your offensive efficiency. “
Has anyone stepped in the scorer’s role?
“Again I think the concern in the ability to score baskets is on the consistency basis. Brandon Reed had some stretches where he was able to put the ball in the basket, Jason Morris was able to score inside some and Daniel [Miller]. Mfon [Udofia] has been probably the most consistent in those two scrimmages, but that’s the challenge is the consistency. Right now we are consistently inconsistent when it comes to that. “
Is there an area of play you want to see come together?
“We have to defend. We have to guard the dribble and have to be there to help guard the dribble. Five guys again are guarding the ball and immediately we have to be a tremendous rebounding team. We can’t do a great job defensively on the first shot and give up easy second or third shots. Every time it’s the second shot, teams shoot fifteen percent higher than the first shot and then another 15 on the third shot. We have to do a good job controlling the defensive glass. If we do those two things those obviously act as a precursor to get out and run and trying to get some easy baskets in transition. Many times the best time to score in the post is in transition, and many times the best offensive rebounding is before the defense is set in transition. The pace that you want to play at does not always end up I a quick shot, it has to end up in a high percentage shot. “
On having any nerves for the first game
“No, excitement. Being able to step on the court, and I always say what an honor it is to be the head coach at Georgia Tech, something I take very seriously and with a great understanding of the tradition of this program and the men that have not only put on uniforms but have worn ties on the sideline as well. Just to be part of that is something that for me is awesome, it really is. But at the same time when the ball’s tipped up, I have one job and that’s to try and help our guys be as successful as they can and play the best that they can during that forty minute stretch. “
On practicing at the Arena at Gwinnett Center last Wednesday
“We had an hour and a half shoot around and offensive review to get to know the Arena at Gwinnett and that was good. On a few of the games there we’ll be able to get a half an hour of shooting in on gameday. Just being able to get in there and we’ve had a few players play in that state tournament game out there as well so it wasn’t their first time.”