Post-game Quotes (Game 11)

Nov. 25, 2017

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GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson

Opening statement:
“Clearly disappointed in the way we performed. I think we got beat just about every way you can get beat. They certainly outplayed us, outcoached us. Whatever you want to say. It was frustrating. It wasn’t much fun out there.”

On Georgia’s effective run game:
“They’ve got good backs and we missed a ton of tackles. There were times when we were in position to make plays and we didn’t make them. You have to give them credit, they’ve got good backs and we didn’t tackle. On the flip-side, there were plenty of plays on offense where we needed one block or had guys there to get a block and we couldn’t get a block. Same thing.”

On what the staff will focus on in the off-season:
“I think like any season, when you finish you have to take a long hard look at everything. You have to go back and look at everything, no question. Especially when you have a disappointing season like this. This season we had a chance – woulda, shoulda, coulda, you can’t play that game – but we had a chance to have a much better year than it turned out.”

On what he told the team at the half:
“We talked about at halftime that it was important to try to get some momentum back. To the defense’s credit, they went out there and got a three-and-out and then we followed it up with – this game was a microcosm of the last game. I don’t know how many plays we ran in the third quarter, maybe eight, and I was trying to see the time-of-possession here, yeah. We were up eight minutes in the second half and wound up losing the time-of-possession.”

On his message to the team after the game:
“The message to the team was just disappointed and we’ve got to better. I’ve got to help them more and we’ve got to play better. Bottom line.”

KeShun Freeman, DE, SR

On the rivalry between the two teams:
“This is always an exciting game for us. Everybody talks about this game – fans, coaches. Now that we’re finally here on game day, we were very excited about it… You know I watched the game growing up so many times and I played in it four times and won it twice. I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”

On playing his last game for Georgia Tech:
“I reflected on a lot of the times. I thought about a lot of times when I played as a freshman, sophomore and junior. To play here my last time, each quarter I was like, ‘dang, the last few quarters, the last few quarters.’ I put it all on the line today and worked really hard and, like I said, we just keep going from here.”

Corey Griffin, DB, R-SR

On trying to stop UGA’s run game: “They have five great running backs and what makes them so good is the run after the first contact. They’re able to break tackles and that’s what makes them go. I salute those guys and wish them luck next week.”

On finishing up his career:
“It didn’t really hit me until I got back to the locker room. Saying goodbyes and telling those guys to keep working. I know probably when I get back home and it all settles down, I’m probably going to break down. All good things come to an end. I just want to thank all the relationships and all the coaches who gave me a chance.”

TaQuon Marshall, QB, JR

On UGA’s defense:
“They were flying around as you could see. Their hands are really long and we were trying to get around them and get things going to the perimeter. We just didn’t really execute as well as we would’ve liked to in the second half.”

Nathan Cottrell, AB, R-SO

On trying to run against UGA’s defense:
“They’re coming down hard and low so it’s hard to get leverage on them. Once we realized what they were doing, we were really just trying to block them out because they were just trying to force it. We were able to get it around them a few times but they’re a good defense. It’s hard to get it around them when they’re flying everywhere.”

GEORGIA HEAD COACH KIRBY SMART

Opening Statement: “I’ll open up with thanking a couple of people. Obviously, our fan base turned out today. They’ve continually done that across all our games. The support they provide us, the support they provide our team and our players, is really unmatched. We’ve gone into some hostile territory this year, and they’ve been there for us. So, I’m proud of them and what they’ve done. We certainly need their support next week.

“The next thing I want to do is thank these seniors. I can’t say enough about the way they handled this week. It would have been easy to say, they’re Georgia Tech, they’re 5-5. But they’re also 5-0 at home. They also run a very difficult offense to prepare for. And they took the challenge head on. And the offensive players embraced helping the defensive players, and the special teams helped chip in. It’s a challenge to prepare for them. Our kids really played hard today. They were in a physical, tough battle. We’ve got a lot of areas we need to improve on, but I feel like we’re getting better as a team. We’ve got a great challenge ahead of us next week regardless of who it is.”

On how it feels to keep Georgia Tech under 200 yards rushing:
“Proud as hell. I’m going to be honest with you. It is hard to keep them from rushing for 200 yards. I’m not taking any of that credit. You give that credit to Mel Tucker, Glenn Schumann, Tray Scott, Kevin Scherrer and those kids out there who’ve been getting whacked in the knee all week. They embraced it. They looked at it like it was little league football on Saturday down at the park over in Tucker, down in Montezuma, just go play tackle football on Saturday when nobody’s watching. Just go out there and knock the hell out of each other. And they loved it. And they did a great job of doing it. They embraced the challenge, and I’m proud of them.”

On what you can take out of this game into the SEC Championship:
“Absolutely nothing. Defensively, absolutely nothing. There’s not one call today that we’ll call next week, regardless of who it is. So the preparations are polar opposites. We’ve got kids who went a week without hearing any call that they’ll hear this week. But we got to practice a lot of tackling, we got to practice a lot of cutting. We’ve got some tough kids who really bought into the idea of playing (against) a tough offense.”

On when you decided to start putting in extra preparation on Mondays (for Tech) and how much did it pay off:
“About 365 days ago today, when we didn’t do a good job closing it out. We didn’t prepare the right way, and I just felt like we could have done a better job. If anything, I was very critical of myself for last year’s game, and that’s one of the things we didn’t want to feel. We didn’t play perfectly today. They’ll have answers for what we did, and we’ve got to continue to grow when it comes to playing (against) this offense. Paul’s really good at what he does. He understands that.”

On Jake Fromm’s performance:
“I thought he did a good job managing the game, understanding what they were trying to do to him. He made good decisions. We showed confidence in him in the two-minute before the half, give him a chance to go down there and score. You’re not going to get many possessions against these guys. You better use the ones you get.”

On Roquan Smith’s performance:
“He’s a tackling machine. What I feel like was what I saw all week in practice. He got sideline to sideline, relentless, athletic, tough, competitive, leads, talks when people need talking to, quiet when he needs to be quiet. He’s got impeccable character, and he buys into what we believe.”

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