Post-Game Quotes

Nov. 15, 2014

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GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson

Opening Statement
“Wow. What a game. I was proud of our guys especially defensively. We haven’t had a game like that defensively in a while. Those kids work so hard, it was so pleasing to see them come out and play as well as we did defensively. Clemson is really good on defense. Take nothing away from them. They’ve got some guys and they’re really good, so we needed that kind of defensive effort from our team and we got it. I thought in the second half offensively, we made enough plays. We were able to stay on the field and run the clock and get enough points to win the game. We’re finished with our ACC schedule. There’s nothing else we can do. We can sit around I guess and see what happens to Duke.”

Pressuring the quarterback
“We got pressure and that was really good. When [Deshaun] Watson went out and got hurt, the other guys weren’t as mobile. We got good pressure with four today too, and that made it easier to play in the secondary and they made some huge plays.”

Handling Clemson’s Vic Beasley
“We just didn’t throw much, and we tried to max protect when we did throw. Mostly in the passing game, we tried to work DeAndre [Smelter] out there. He had a one-on-one out there wide, and we tried to work that some off of play action and some other stuff. Darren Waller made a nice play on a third down and made a nice catch. We had a hard time blocking them inside. We had to go almost the whole game just to turn it back on them, because we couldn’t cut them off. To their credit when we did break plays, they ran us down. Two of our fastest guys on the team broke plays in Broderick Snoddy and Justin [Thomas] and we couldn’t finish them. They’ve played very well defensively against most people they’ve played.”

Broderick Snoddy’s injury
“Broderick’s a great young man. This team is really close, and they really care about him. We all do. Hopefully he will be fine. They’re going to try and fix it tonight and hopefully he’ll be fine.”

Georgia Tech’s team chemistry
“We just keep playing. This team, I’ve said it every week, is pretty resilient and today was kind of a flip. Most of the year the offense has kind of carried the team and really today the defense carried the team. And nothing much bothers them whoever it is. We screwed up the kicking game there when we dropped a snap and missed a field goal, but it doesn’t bother them. They just keep playing. Fumble the ball? They just keep playing. I’m as proud of that as I am of them playing football.”

Chris Milton’s performance
“He played well, and he showed some speed. Maybe we need to pitch it to him. Either that or get offensive linemen to chase our guys. What a huge play after we fumbled the ball. Not just to get a turnover, but to score off of it was huge.”

Significance of Jamal Golden’s pick six
“I think it was important. Anytime you can score on defense it’s great. It looked like they were maybe about to go up 6-0. I don’t think our kids were in any kind of panic mode. The first half went by so quickly. I think we had the ball four times and we didn’t sustain anything. It was just over quickly. Neither team could have had many yards at halftime. It was just kind of a funny half.”

Clemson’s first-half defensive performance
“[They were] whooping our butt. We couldn’t cut them off inside. They were slanting out and we were getting give-reads and the backside guys were making plays. We just started turning back on them because we couldn’t cut them off. Then we turned back and we hit some plays. We probably should have run the option more than we did really.”

Justin Thomas’ career long rush and big plays
“It was a triple-option play, and we practice it all the time. They ran an easy stunt, what we call ‘easy’, and he read the stack. The guy came in and got too wide, and he turned it up and everybody else was running to the pitch. Anytime you can hit big plays, it’s great. But you’d like to finish them. You’d like to put those in the endzone when you get those explosion plays [such as] the long pitches and the quarterback runs. When they make you snap it again it gets harder and harder to get it in as you get down there in the redzone. That’s what our defense did a good job of. We missed a few tackles on that one drive when they kicked their second field goal, but we were able to get the guy down. If you can get the guy down, you always get a chance to play again. You’ve got a chance to either get a turnover or make them kick the ball.”

Clemson’s short passing game
“They didn’t get anything easy. We contested most of the throws. We were doing pretty good on third down. It was 3-of-13. So they couldn’t stay out there.”

Defensive success over the last few games
“It’s the guys working hard and the players working hard and practicing hard. We played pretty good in the last game in the second half, but it was really hard to gauge, because we only played 12 plays in the second half. We carried it forward today. Today was the best game we’ve played defensively bar none.”

Wins over Virginia Tech, Miami and Clemson
“It’s good to win. In the past seven years we’ve got the third most ACC wins of any team in the league. And I think we were four behind Florida State coming in. So we’ve won some games. Those are the marquee teams that have had some success. Really if you look it’s been Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech who, since I’ve been here, have won the most games. Now it’s changed a little bit over the last couple years. Anytime you can beat a ranked team it’s good, especially one that’s that good defensively. I’m proud of our guys. I’m proud of our players. They’re the ones who won the game, not me.”

CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY

Opening remarks
“First of all, let me credit Georgia Tech for the tremendous job they did in maximizing their opportunities, making some big plays at opportune times, creating turnovers. I can’t say enough about what a great win it was for them.

“The biggest thing for us is it caught up with us. We lost the turnover margin three weeks in a row now. It’s a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what it was today, and absolute disaster. With the score 28-6, they got two pick-sixes, and that’s 14 points. At 14-6, it’s a whole different ball game, different feel, different everything. You’re not going to beat Georgia Tech when they score on defense. It was just really poor execution on our part, and give them credit for that. But we make no excuses, period.

“We obviously had some tough injuries. I wish I could say why things happen. That’s life. That’s football, and we make no excuses. We’re responsible for how we play. Today, we nowhere near deserved to win the game. I congratulate Georgia Tech for what they got done.

“We’ve got a lot of opportunity left in the last two weeks. We’re very disappointed where we are. Nobody wanted to be 7-3 right now, but I know this, 8-3 is better than 7-4. We’ve got to get back to work and try to finish strong. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got two weeks left in our season, and we’ve got to pull this thing together, coach a little better, play a little better, and finish this thing on a high note. One of the things I know is, we’re going to be judged on how we finish.”

On DeShaun Watson’s injury
“[We don’t know] 100 percent. It’s his knee. We’ve got to go and get an MRI and try to get some confirmation. He just planted. It’s unbelievable. We’ve had a lot of misfortune this year, and I really loved the rhythm that we had, the momentum that we had. It’s a tough loss for us, but again, we don’t make any excuses.

“I really hate it for him. He’s had such great practices the last couple of weeks. He was so excited about playing. It was off to the races. He had a great start today … it’s just a shame. That’s life. But you’ve got to respond and make the best of it.”

On Cole Stoudt
“I have no idea. We’ve just got to go back to work. It was a very disappointing game. We’ve got to go back to work and figure it out.”

On decisions Stoudt made in the game
“Y’all saw the game. It’s not on Cole. Cole didn’t have his best day, We all have ownership in this day, period. You wish we could’ve executed better in certain spots, but we didn’t. Cole’s led us to four victories, but we didn’t get it done today. The bottom line is we can’t turn the football over. We were very simple in some things, but we just didn’t do the basics of our system. It caught us. It bit us in the rear, especially against a team like that. Again, two scores and another when we had field position. You’re not going to overcome that against many teams, and certainly not against a team like Georgia Tech.”

On playing from behind
“It’s very difficult. It’s an uphill battle. That’s a formula for them, to keep the ball, move the ball, and try to create some turnovers. They’ve gotten about 14 turnovers in their last three (actually four) games. They’re going to win when that happens. They executed very well and took advantage of their opportunities.”

GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS

Chris Milton, DB, Jr., #6

On his interception
“We were kind of in a zone concept, and it was a good read by Demond Smith.  He kind of threw the timing off with the receiver.  The quarterback was kind of expecting the receiver to be there, and he wasn’t.”

On team’s level of confidence in last month
“I think we’ve got a lot of confidence.  We know that we can go out there and win every single game we play.  We just go out there, and the coaches give us a great scheme to run.  We just have to go out there and execute.”

On the team’s defensive schemes after Watson left the game
“We still had the same game plan.  We just had to go out there and execute whatever Coach Johnson calls. That’s the biggest thing.”

On the vibe on the sidelines after Broderick Snoddy’s injury
“It’s always hard to see a brother go down like that.  He fought everyday with us.  We are all family.  If anybody gets hurt, we take it seriously.  I feel like if I had been hurt, they would have done the same thing for me.  We all just picked each other up and knew we had to get it done for him.”

D.J. White, DB, Jr., #28

Coming into the game, did you feel like the team could shut down Clemson’s offense?
“I was very confident in our defense and the scheme Coach Roof had for us coming in.  I felt like we were executing, and we’re very effective coming into today.  Now six points, that’s something I didn’t see coming.  But at the same time, our defense really stepped it up.”

On his interception
“We were in Cover 2.  Just got a smash combination by the offense.  I just tried to read the quarterback’s eyes and bait him a little bit.  As soon as I saw him cock his arm back, I just sank back on the throw.  And I just went up and got it.  I was just thankful to make the play.”

On his contribution to the defense
“Anytime you can make plays for your team you feel like you are doing something, like you are a part of the process.  That’s something that’s very special.  You see other guys making plays, like Jamal Golden and his pick-six, Chris Milton’s big play.  You get encouraged by that, and you want to jump in on the fun.  That’s something I really take a lot of effort and pride in.”

On the pressure from defensive line
“Those guys have gotten better as the season has gone on, too.  Coming into it everybody was saying, we’ve got so many first-year players on the front seven, how are we going to react?  Those guys have done nothing but respond positively and work their butts off.  And they have gotten better and have made plays for us.  When you get pressure like that up front, it makes your job easier in the secondary.”

DeAndre Smelter, WR, Sr., #15

On facing one-on-one coverage
“From looking at the film last year and this year, we saw they liked to play a lot of man coverage and were physical out on the perimeter.  We just had to take advantage of that today.”

On the defense’s play in the last months
“The defense is rolling right now.  They’ve been working hard all year.  It’s finally showing.  All the work they’ve been putting in is finally paying off so it’s a good thing.”

Justin Thomas, QB, So., #5

On the touchdown pass to DeAndre Smelter
“It was just a simple fade route.  We got a one on one matchup in man.  And DeAndre went up and made a good catch.”

On Clemson’s front four
“They were physical.  But they had speed also to go with it.  They could get off the line pretty quick.  I feel like that, for the most part, we did what we were supposed to do up front to get the yards that we needed.”

On team’s energy coming out of the locker room at halftime
“I feel like we were motivated the whole time.  There were just a few mess-ups here or there in the first half. In the second half, I feel like came out and executed and did the small things better.  We didn’t have as many negative plays as we did in the first half to hurt ourselves.”

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