Postgame Quotes

Nov. 11, 2017

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GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson

Opening statement:

“I was proud of our guys. I think they showed a lot of grit and determination. We got up and then when we threw the pick-six and got down, it would’ve been easy to hang our head. And we hit a play to get the lead back and [were] able to hold on this time. It’s a great win and it gets us to win No. 5. Next week, we go on to Duke and we know that’ll be a tough game with a lot riding on the line for us.”

On what was running through his mind when Virginia Tech’s Eric Kumah made a 26-yard reception on third-and-14 during VT’s third-quarter touchdown drive that cut Georgia Tech’s lead to 21-16:
“I was thinking we were cursed when they got that deep ball. I thought it was going to be a pick and we were going to get the ball at the 40. And then, low and behold, off two of our guys, they caught it again. And then we hit the big play action to Ricky [Jeune] and we get down there and make the two-point conversion, but then had two guys who went motion at the same time. Then we jump offsides. With six minutes to go, I’m thinking the odds of getting two from the 30-yard line are whatever so at least we’ll go up six and the chance that if they score they could have a bad snap or block a kick. Or, if they got it down there in one play or kicked a field goal and cut it to three, at least you were there.”

On the growing rivalry between the two programs:

“I think it’s always a spirited game when we play [Virginia Tech]. I think it’s turned into a pretty big rivalry. Most of the time that I’ve been here, for the most part, whoever has won this game has won the [ACC Coastal] division. Not the case this year, but it’s been pretty good. And they’ve all been pretty close too – hard-fought, tough games. I think both programs have a lot of respect for each other, I know we have a lot of respect for them and what they do. And I would assume it’s the same the other way.”

On Georgia Tech’s lack of sustained drives:

“We had a lot of trouble blocking their inside guys today. They’re really good. I think those two big tackles, I was talking with [Virginia Tech defensive coordinator] Bud [Foster] before the game, and I was telling him I thought they were playing really well and they’ve been playing really well inside. And they do. Those two defensive tackles, they’re 320 [pounds], they’re good players. And they’re quick, too, besides being big. But we’ll watch the tape. I know we didn’t have as many missed assignments and things as we’ve had. We started out that way again, I think we had two on the first three plays. But we kind of settled down and didn’t have as many missed assignments.”

On Georgia Tech’s defense:

“I thought the defense played well, especially early on. We hit one little span in the third quarter where they ran the ball on us pretty well. But all in all, I think the defense did a nice job.”

On what he told TaQuon Marshall after he missed Ricky Jeune on the first play of the game:

“I told TaQuon to lead the receiver and throw it on time. I think the very first play, he just missed him. He barely overthrew it and when you do that, sometimes it gives you pause to do that again. You want to throw it to him. But, he made, what, two completions and they were both for touchdowns and it ended up being 140 yards? So we’ll live with that. That’s a pretty good average.”

GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS

Ricky Jeune, WR, r-Sr.

On getting a second shot at the long pass play:

“On the first one, I kind of slowed down a little bit and then on the fourth-[quarter] play, I made sure to do the opposite, all-out sprinting. I almost fell, actually, I caught it and almost fell. I caught my balance so that was good.”

Brad Stewart, WR, Jr.

On head coach Paul Johnson continuing to call the long pass play after the first two miscues:

“He does a good job of trusting us as well. He’ll get on us, like on the first two plays that we didn’t make, but he trusts us to go back to us and that’s what you need in your coaches and players.”

On what scoring his first-career touchdown felt like:

“I don’t know if you could tell by the expression on my face but there’s not a word for it. I told a couple people, ‘I haven’t scored since [2014]. So I forgot how to celebrate to be honest. It felt great. There’ really no way to describe it, just being in that moment. Just seeing all the fans and players getting hype for me because they know how bad I wanted it.”


TaQuon Marshall, QB, Jr.

On connecting on the long passes in the second half after missing the first two:

“It felt great. I mean, I have confidence in my arm at all times but it’s very frustrating to me when I overthrow someone or miss a pass that probably should be completed. Having two completions for two touchdowns is great. Especially getting Brad [Stewart] his first touchdown. We talked about it all preseason and talked about this season like, ‘Hey, I’m going to make sure I get you one this year.’”

On how the execution was today:

“Of course, we had some drives where we made some mistakes and things of that sort, but I thought Coach Johnson had a great game plan. He made some great play calls and the guys up front executed and playmakers made plays.”

On whether there’s a statement to be made finishing out a close game for the win:

“We were just trying to prove a point. I mean, we hear all the time, ‘You guys can’t finish.’ This week we really tried to put an emphasis on it like ‘Hey, this is our time to show everyone that we actually can finish,’ and you see what happens when we do finish.”


Brant Mitchell, LB, Jr.

On returning to action after missing most of the last three games due to injury:

“I’m just happy to be back. Being out for a little while teaches you not to take things for granted. I’m happy to get back out there with my guys and happy to steal a win today.”

VIRGINIA TECH HEAD COACH JUSTIN FUENTE

Opening statement:

“It is a tough locker-room in there right now. It is a quiet locker-room. Our guys played hard, but we did not play well enough to win the football game. There are plenty of reasons for that and they go all the way around. Ultimately, we came up a little short even though we had our chances. The way we played both gave us chances to win the game and also caused us to be in the situation we were in. It is disappointing and I feel for our guys. They are sitting here seven and three and feel awful, but they did recover from last week. I do not want to hear anything about them not recovering because they played their tail off. We did not always play great or smart, but they were emotionally ready to play.”

On the decision to pass on third-and-one and fourth-and-one on the final drive of the game:

“We had the best matchup that we could possibly get. We had press coverage with our best guys. Everything we did offensively was a struggle, and we had a couple opportunities to go win the game. We did not come through on them, but that was the deal. Those were our chances. Making first downs and driving the football were difficult and has been. I felt like we had an opportunity with as good of a look as we were going to get to go win the game.”

On the decision to go for it on fourth down deep in Georgia Tech territory:
“It was close enough to kick a field goal. Joey [Slye] was trying to kickoff but really could not because he has been battling a little bit of a hamstring injury. The injury was probably the least amount of the reason for going. It was fourth-and-short and the game was 7-3 and we do not know how many times we are going to get down there. It was fourth-and-two and we felt like that was our best chance. We had a good call, but did not execute well on it and did not get the first down.”

On the decision on going for a two-point conversion attempt so early in the game:

“We are trying to stay on the number. In my history, I have not done that but I felt like in that moment that those points were precious. We were trying to get back on pace, because I did not feel that we were going to have that many opportunities to score. That is the way we are built right now. Regardless of the time in the game, getting back on the number is how I feel with this squad. I have coached in the past where we were made up differently and I never chased a number early because I felt that there would be a number of opportunities. With this squad, right now I do not feel that way and have not felt that way all year. Who we are and where we are at, I do not see us having multiple opportunities down there.”

On wrinkles they wanted to present on offense with changing quarterbacks:
“Josh [Jackson] was a little beat up after last week’s game (a 28-10 loss to Miami) and is a true competitor. We felt that if there was a handful of times that AJ [Bush] could carry the ball knowing that AJ can still run the offense would be the best thing to do.”

On pulling quarterback Josh Jackson in the third quarter after the long completion:

“No, Josh jumped out. I don’t know if he was a little rattled but I am not sure. I looked up and Josh was standing next to me and AJ was in. He had taken a hit the play before, but it wasn’t me pulling him out to reprimand him.”

On giving up a long touchdown on third-and-18:

“It is disappointing. You can understand when it is an early down deal. When it is second down and you are a half a step off of your guy in the wrong place, but to give it up on third down was tough. I think our defense is the strength of our team and they have played admirably. We have not given up many of those. We have been in the right place, but we were caught in poor leverage and they made us pay.”

On what it would take to trust the team to get more opportunities to score:

“I do not think we are going to be like that. We have played ten games and we are not going to run up and down the field on anybody. We have not done it yet, and we are not going to. We are going to have to play great defense, be really good on special teams, and be opportunistic offensively. I am not saying I do not trust them; I love those kids. They have worked their tails off for this program, but our makeup for us to have a chance to win games is going to have to work that way. I do not think it is changing. This is who we are and where we are at. We need our best players to play really well and we need to take care of the ball.”

On the fumbled punt recovered by Georgia Tech:

“I was surprised. They said they recovered it. They reviewed it. On the field, I thought we recovered the ball. Obviously, we did not.”

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