Georgia Tech Weekly Football Press Conference

HEAD COACH Chan Gailey

On what it would mean to beat Georgia
“You always want to beat your in-state rival. You always finish the season with this game and it’s a big ballgame. If you can’t get ready for this one, there is something wrong with your heart.”

On what Tech has to do to beat Georgia
“It’s going to depend on execution and who can execute what they do best and avoid what they do worst. Most of these kind of games come down to a turnover, sack or missed assignment here or there. It usually comes down to three or four plays.”

On the season being a disappointment if Tech loses this game
“You always want to win. You want to win every one of them. We already have two dampers on the season. You always want to win, especially a big game.”

On this rivalry
“It is right at the top, because it’s here this week. It’s right there at the top, there is none bigger.”

On the last five seasons
“It doesn’t matter. If that was the case, then we couldn’t have beaten Virginia Tech or Virginia this year. Every year is different, it’s different for Georgia and it’s different for Tech. That’s why you play the game every year, to find out whose better that day.”

On UGA’s Matthew Stafford
“Well he handled himself very well when they played Auburn the other week. He started off a little rough, but continues to get better. I think he’s become a better quarterback during the course of the season. Most everybody has been through it (ups and downs) when you play a young quarterback, we did it four years ago. Everybody has kind of struggled through those situations.”

On preparing for Stafford and Joe Tereshinski to play QB for UGA
“Yes, but I don’t think their play calling will change. You better be prepared to stop (Kregg) Lumpkin and the running game, that’s what you better be prepared to do.”

On UGA being able to stop Calvin Johnson over the last two seasons
“They have doubled him quite a bit and we’ve missed some throws to him that we thought we were going to have. It’s a combination of a lot of things.”

On Kregg Lumpkin (UGA tailback)
“He is a very good back. It’s obvious from statistics, but it’s obvious from watching him play as well. Sometimes statistics lie, but they don’t lie this time. This guy is a really good back, (Danny) Ware is a really good back and (Brannan) Southerland leads the team in scoring, so that’s another weapon you have to deal with. They have a lot of weapons and they use them and spread it around. They’re a physical football team, you better be able to match-up to how physical they are, and that will be the number one key to start the game.”

On Reggie Ball getting redemption in this series
“I think he is extremely competitive. Everything you just said has a part of it, it’s in there somewhere. I talked about this team before, Buctussell U. If we were playing Buctussell U, he would want to go out there and dominate. That is the way he is. Those other things have a factor in what he wants to do, what he believes and what he’d like to do, sure, but to me he wants to go and have a great game this week, get ready and have a great game the next week and play as good as he can play. I don’t think he thinks about legacy, I’m not sure that 21-year-olds give a lot of thought to legacy. Legacy is something that comes 15 or 20 years down the road. They want to win.”

On the Duke win building confidence for this weekend
“Every game is big and you come out of the game with confidence, or no confidence. I think our guys did come out of the game with confidence, just like the Georgia guys came out of the Auburn game with confidence. We came out believing we are who we thought we were and we have to go prove it again this week. Last week we played the way we thought we could.”

On what this game provides since there are no conference implications
“You get to brag for a year, that’s one thing. The objective every year is to win the conference, go the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) and have a chance to play for the championship. To say that the Georgia game isn’t part of the goal every year would be a lie, but at the same time you don’t take it out of context of the whole season either. You understand how big of a game it is, but there are two more after this one.”

On the senior class not having a win in this series having an effect
“I don’t think so. Each year is different. I don’t think that’s something that runs through a team’s mind, because if it did, then you could never break a streak. That would be extra motivation, and if you need extra motivation in a game like this, something is wrong.”

On the Georgia defense and especially Tony Taylor
“He’s one of the leading linebackers (in interceptions) in America. He’s a great athlete. If you are an offensive coach, I don’t know which one you hate to see the most, him blitz or drop back in coverage, he’s good at both of them. They have very instinctive football players. They seem to find the ball and get around the ball. They do a good job playing defense this year, and every year for that matter.”

On hearing from Tech fans more this week
“Maybe a little bit. I can’t say that my mailbox is overrun this week, more than other weeks. I don’t want anybody to read that there’s apathy on people’s part though, by any stretch of the imagination.”

On loosening up this year
“It makes me nervous (on player’s stating that he has loosened up). When you don’t spend all that time in the meeting room, or on one field at practice, it does leave time to go to the training room when guys are in there and swing by the locker room from time to time. When they’re in meetings and guys are on a break, you’re out there seeing them. There has been more of that and that’s probably why they’re saying that. My role has changed more than anything else.”

On missing the play calling
“Not really. I won’t say that I will never do it again, but at the same time you have choice to dislike your role, or embrace your role? I choose to embrace it on this football team.”

On sending an unselfish message
“You hope they learn something about life in this game of football. That’s one of the major reasons we coach. If they can get that understanding in life that it’s not all about me, and there is a bunch of give and take, just wait till they get married, there’s a ton of give and take.”

On the special teams
“That’s going to be a big part of the ballgame. You can’t allow big plays in the kicking game, because those plays dramatically change the scoring or field position, and normally a change of field position changes scoring. The kicking game will be a big part of this one this week.”

On expecting this from Durant Brooks
“We knew it, because we were on the field with this guy. The thing that I think has been very good is our coverage unit. Coach (Charles) Kelly has done a wonderful job teaching the scheme and getting people in the right spots to go cover, because you can have a great average, but you don’t end up being the number one net team in America without all of it coming together.”

“It’s been a big part of our success this year, because we’ve been able to change field position and keep people backed up. If you can do that, then you end up making a team go 80 yards or more against our defense, and that’s a tall issue for most teams.”

Georgia Tech Player Quotes

96 Joe Anoai, DT

How important is this game against Georgia?
“This is a game that everyone in this program is taking very serious. It’s a monster that we haven’t conquered. They’ve dominated us the past five years and we’ve played them tight the last couple of years. As everyone knows, you don’t go out there to play your opponent tight. You go out there to get a W.”

What would it mean to win this game against Georgia?
“On a personal note it would be a very big win for all of us because we’ve never been there, we’ve never beat this team before. When it comes down to it in the big picture, the big stuff is going to happen in the next couple of weeks. It is a game we are taking very serious and it is as important as any other game we’ve played or are going to play.”

What do you have to do to beat Georgia?
“I think late in the season, a lot of teams lose their physicality. We just have to come out there and hit them, plane and simple.”

If you don’t beat Georgia, will that put a damper on the season?
“You could say that but if you don’t win and then bounce back the next week and win big in Jacksonville, everybody is happy again. So for what we’ve done this season, we’re going into their place with a lot on the line. Right now we’re not even thinking about losing.”

How big was the win over Duke, in terms of momentum?
“It was good. It was almost a good run through to loosen up our legs and get us ready for Georgia. We got everything back on track and got our rhythm back. I thought we played with great chemistry. We played good as a whole and hopefully we can keep that going this week.”

On facing a freshman QB in Matt Stafford:
“He was a highly rated quarterback coming out of high school. He has a lot of great tools. I think it will be an experience factor for him. I don’t think he has faced too many defenses that stunt and blitz as much as we do so hopefully we can confuse him a little bit early and get a couple of hits on him, maybe rattle him. Hopefully we can get him to throw us a couple balls. Other than that, the kid can run. He has a strong arm. I heard he has one of the strongest arms that program has ever seen. They run the ball well, so it is going to be a very tough contest.”

How much does not beating Georgia in five years, weigh on you as a player?
“This is a whole new ball team and their team is totally different as well. You can compare and contrast what we do as a program and how we’ve won and lost in the past, but when it comes down to it, it’s still Xs and Os. We feel like we have a lot better match-ups this year.”

“I get nervous during Georgia week. It’s going to be very physical game. A lot of mouths are going to be talking. A lot of things go on in a game like this that a lot of people don’t see. You have to prepare yourself to push it to the limit and give it your all, especially when you’re as late in the season as we are now. If you don’t go into a ballgame like this willing to do whatever it takes to win, then you’re not going to get it, you’re not going to win.”

On pressure on Coach Chan Gailey coming into the season, and changes he’s made in coaching approach:
“I think Coach Gailey is getting younger. He’s kind of swinging more towards the cool side. He’s always been great to talk to about the serious things in life because he’s so wise and has been through so much. Now, it’s cool, because you can joke with him too, and he’ll come right back at you. I think he has really loosened up. He’s around all his own kids; we were all recruited by him. I think he feels more comfortable with his new contract and more at home with everything that’s going on. I think this is great time for Georgia Tech and this team and I think he (Gailey) is the right match for this school and this team. I think his characteristics, his integrity and character, are everything that this school needs.”

“Coach Gailey is a winner. You can look at his stats and see that. He’s been with top organizations in football and he was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He must be doing something right and knows how to get it done. I think it was a point of getting us to believe, getting us to be comfortable and getting us to know what it takes to manage a ball game and finish with wins. I think with him at the helm, there are no limits to what this program can do.”

On slight margin of victory in Georgia game over past few years:
“Yeah, I’m hoping we break that wide open and blow them out. I look at every game like that. I hope for a blowout but I’m ready to play four quarters. It can be 14-to-7 as long as we have 14(points).”

22 Tashard Choice, RB

What did it mean to you not to have to carry the ball 30 times last week?
“It was pretty cool, but I actually wanted to play. I wanted to play a little more in the second half, but it was cool to see Rashaun Grant and Jamal Evans get a chance to run the ball and look at some other players play. It was great to watch them because the work really hard and I’m glad they got the chance the play. It was really cool.”

On having 18 carries in the first half:
“I knew that the 18th carry was pretty much my last drive. I slipped on my last drive and I was upset when I found out that was my last carry. I knew it was 18 carries and I knew I wasn’t going to play much in that game. I was hoping the team would do well so everyone would have a chance to get some rest.”

What would it mean to beat Georgia this week?
“First of all it would be another victory and one of our main goals is just to win every game. There is a lot surrounding the Georgia game but we want to go out and win every game. I do think that a win would be good for morale carrying over to the ACC Championship and having our spirits up. Going into the championship game with five wins in a row, would be big.”

What are the atmosphere and the build up like leading up to this rivalry game?
“I compare this game to the Red River Shootout (Oklahoma vs. Texas) and I think in that game it was always Texas trying to upset Oklahoma. It was like their Super Bowl. This game here (Georgia Tech vs. Georgia) back and forth. We had a streak and now they’re on a little bit of a streak. They both have the emotions, support and morale of the whole school. For the football team, this would be a huge win because it’s a great way to go out and finish the regular season.”

What will it take to beat Georgia?
“I think we have to go out and keep our composure and not turn the ball over. We just have to play our game and continue to play football. We’ve played in hostile territory so that won’t be a factor for us. We have to continue to play our game and not hurt ourselves. We have to stay in the game and make plays. We have to practice hard this week and stick to our game.”

On Reggie Ball’s emotions leading up to this game vs. Georgia?
“I think we have to help him (Reggie Ball) calm down and not put too much pressure on him in the game. As long as we have the ground game working, good clean passes, and (Ball’s) able to run and pass, I think we’ll be ok. I think he always keeps us in every game. He is helping us all practice harder and be better prepared for this game.”

What does Reggie Ball bring to this team?
“I think (Reggie Ball) brings toughness to this team. He is one of the toughest players I’ve ever played with. He plays hard so when you have a teammate that plays with everything they have and puts it all on the line that makes the players around him better. He’ll run a DB or a linebacker over quick and that fires up his teammates. If you jump off sides or commit a dumb penalty, he’ll get in your face and let you know it’s not acceptable.”

On being ranked in the top five in rushing in the conference:
“It was important to me to have a good season and be a player that my teammates can count on. I have to credit my offensive line, Mike Cox and our receivers because those guys work their tail off for me. They do a lot of things behind the scenes that help me. They all worked really hard. My offensive line works so hard, it’s amazing. In practice they’ll be bleeding and sweating. It’s just amazing how hard they work.”

On Coach Gailey’s change in coaching style:
“This year he understands the player better. Now that he’s not calling plays he’s able to observer everything and get to know the players better on a more personal level. I think him loosening up and the players knowing they can come talk to him, let’s the team know that he’s our leader. We’ll do whatever he says and follow anything he tells us to do.”

89 James Johnson, WR

How big would a win over Georgia be?
“Well it would be real big because of the losing streak that dates a few years back and a win would also help us with our title run going into bowl season.”

What do you have to do to beat Georgia?
“Well we have to practice for one thing. We have to practice hard and prepare like it’s any other big game. We have to be careful not to look ahead to the ACC Championship.”

Do you think you can get it done this week?
“I think so. I believe we can get it done. It’s just clean old fashioned hate on both sides. We’ll be playing hard. (Georgia) will be playing hard. You all will have a good game to watch.”

Will it put a damper on the season to lose to Georgia?
“I think it would put a big damper on the season to lose, especially for some of the seniors who have never beaten them. But we don’t think about that. We are going to play like we are going to win.”

When did you learn about the rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech?
“Early. Freshman year coming in I didn’t know anything about the rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech. In training camp, every time I did something wrong I’d hear `Remember, you hate Georgia’. Every time. I’d get hit really hard and get up then hear `You hate Georgia’. So I guess the whole idea grows on you early. Then when you play a game you really know about the rivalry.”

Where you surprised to know that Georgia is favored in this game?
“Really? Well I didn’t know that, but I’m surprised now. I just watch film and I try not to read the papers. We’re going to go in there ready to play no matter who’s behind us or in front of us. We don’t really care about all that.”

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