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Geoff Collins Weekly Press Conference

VIDEO: Yellow Jackets' head coach recaps win over USF, looks ahead to The Citadel

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Georgia Tech Football Head Coach Geoff Collins Weekly Press Conference – 9.10.19

Opening Statement:

“Really exciting game last Saturday. I was proud of the way the guys played situational football. They played together much better, attention to detail and doing our job. We played really clean football, we only had two penalties in the game, so just proud of how they stayed in the moment and played at a high level.

“We had 27 guys play on offense and on defense. So, it just goes back to the ATL philosophy that we have. A bunch of guys playing, a bunch of guys earning reps, and they earned their right to play and did a really good job playing together as we rolled guys through.”

“I’ve got to give a shout-out Leah Thomas and Chandler and our nutrition program. What a great job they did hydrating our guys because it was a hot environment … we had a hydration plan that started Thursday morning and executed it really, really well. Having the right stuff packaged three times a day, prescribed times, all the way until kickoff. Our guys took pride in it and it paid off because we didn’t lose any guys to cramps or any heat-related situations. So, really proud of the way the guys took the process, applied the process, and it worked out for us.

“We played five walk-ons who played significant roles for us on Saturday. Djimon Brooks played the first [series] on defense and played a significant amount of time throughout the game. William Lay came in early at center when we lost Kenny Cooper and Mikey Minihan and played about 90 percent of the snaps at center and played at a really high level. Proud of him. Josh Blancato, again, a receiver doing a lot of really good things for us. True freshman Dylan Leonard playing tight end and doing some special things for us. And then Richie Stanzione, I don’t know if people noticed his role in the game but on kickoffs, kickoff return, punt return, he was the quarterback on two of those units and did a really nice job. So, everybody in our program contributing to the win.”

“Our ‘Juice Crew’ on the sidelines, I think they had a lot of fun. I think our players definitely fed off the energy. Hopefully the [fans] noticed their contribution. We had four guys who were ‘Juice Crew’ players of the week, Jerrod Abee, Olin Broadway, Josh Tukes and Connor Hansen was over there on the sidelines getting things turned up, especially on third down, “money down,” they were doing good.”

“ACC Linebacker of the Week, Charlie Thomas, really proud of his performance. And it goes beyond just what you see production-wise. How hard he played, the effort that he showed throughout the game, really proud of the way he approached last week in practice and then it paid off on Saturday.”

“[Other Georgia Tech players of the week include Jordan] Mason on offense, and not just because he was almost a 100-yard rusher, what he did in protection, what he did on the touchdown scoring run by Tobias [Oliver] getting the key block, those kinds of things matter too, other than him just being a great running back. Pressley Harvin at punter significantly impacted the game. Two punts over 55 yards, then he had four punts inside the 20, three punts inside the 15. And those things are unselfish plays. Really proud of him and his development. Developmental players of the week: Austin Smith, an offensive lineman, D’Quan Douse, a defensive lineman, and Derrik Allen on special teams, did a really nice job for us.”

“Great respect for The Citadel. Currently what they do, what they’re going through being at a service academy and their contribution to our great country once they leave and graduate from that fine institution. So just excited for the challenge on Saturday and great respect for them and all those young men do.”

On if he had an inkling coming out of preseason that Georgia Tech would be this successful with turnovers/takeaways:

“Well they come in waves, turnovers do. Coach [Andrew] Thacker and our defensive staff do a great job emphasizing that. They incentivize what we emphasize. And so the turnover board, the turnover graphics to post on social media, all of those things. We start every single meeting in the defensive meeting room talking about turnovers. Showing the plays we get turnovers every single practice. We left two on the table, too. There were two we should have had on Saturday and they just didn’t bounce our way. But that is one of the calling cards of our defense and the thing that stands out is the effort. Interceptions are going to happen. The coverage, or if they get a bad read, or we make a really good athletic play. The ones that I’m the most proud of are the caused fumbles, the effort plays to get to the ball and recover the ball, and I’m really proud of the way the defense is doing that, flying around.”

On whether there will be a schematic defensive change with having to play against The Citadel’s triple-option offense:

“Every single defense that we put in, regardless of who we’re playing, there is a dive/quarterback/pitch component in every single thing that we do. Because even though not everybody runs the option, you still have to be option-sound every single week. And so based in everything that we do schematically, we have those components in there. Coach [Andrew] Thacker and our defensive staff are very aggressive in defending it, so that’s what we do. But we’re a culture built on effort. There’s got to be an overlap in the defense, play assignment football, and that’s every single week. And it’s more focused when you’re playing somebody that runs the triple and runs it as well as they do.”

On if they would use cards this week with the offensive developmental team in practice:

“We do. The nice thing is, for 11 years we’ve run the triple here and so a lot of the developmental guys had been in the system, so there is some carryover from that. But yeah, we’ll use cards on these weeks, but it’s the familiarity with it that makes it a little bit easier so we can still practice really, really fast. Typically, in these kind of preparation weeks, everything slows down on a Tuesday and Wednesday just to get the developmental team lined up and ready to go. But it wasn’t that way today or Sunday because there is that familiarity and they kind of understand the motions and you don’t have to spend a lot of time with those little intricacies because obviously they are well-versed from running it so well for such a long time.”

On whether the goal-line stand against USF would be a catalyst for the defense/team going forward:

“It’s a confidence builder for everybody in the organization. We practice sudden change almost every single day at practice so that when the time comes, we know how to respond to it, and we just put the ball down and we play. Most offenses, when they get a turnover, some kind of shot play to really change the momentum of the game, they did that. We had a busted coverage, and they’ve got a really good tight end for South Florida, he made a really nice catch and took it down to the goal line. A lot of places would have collapsed, folded, not finished the play. Our guys, Jaquan Henderson [and] Tariq Carpenter, made unbelievable effort plays to get the guy down on the 6-inch line to give us a chance to put the ball down and play another play. Our sideline never panicked; [it] gave us another chance, another opportunity to play another play. Then we made it 2nd-and-6, then we made it 3rd-and-1, and then got the stop and got the caused fumble. But I think it’s a mindset that every single day, we engrain in our program. The guys buy into it, they take pride in it, they stay together, nobody panics. They just come together and find a way to get another stop. So, really proud of the mindset and the culture that exists with our guys, and we’re just going to continue to grow and continue to get better.”

On what the routine is for coaches on Monday since they are not practicing:

“Most of the gameplan stuff. Typically, the Sunday practice is not a long practice. It’s base runs versus our base coverage. Base concepts on offense versus their base looks. We do some good-on-good, 7-on-7, just for the speed of the game. We go fastball period for the speed of the game. And then the coaches have a full Monday to get ready and fully dive into the opponent. So it’s been a really good schedule for us for the last two years. We talk about how we do our weekly gameplan and our weekly prep, and the guys are getting a flow with it and understanding how we do things and it’s been really good for us.”

On whether the Above-The-Line defensive unit has handled the triple-option prep better due to familiarity:

“It’s night and day schematically, what we do on defense [compared to what Georgia Tech did prior to this season]. And I think it paid off out here on Saturday. We’re playing our defense, we’re really aggressive, so that part of it is what it is. I thought they handled it well. Every single day since the day we got here, every time we install a defense, every time we install a blitz, it is dive/quarterback/pitch, regardless of what we’re doing or who we’re going against every single day.”

On what makes ACC Linebacker of the Week Charlie Thomas a really good football player:

“He’s got really good speed, really good instincts. He’s developed into a really sound tackler. The goal line stand that we had on second down, they read a zone read, a divide zone read, we misfitted on the perimeter and they got bounced out and had a chance, but Charlie accelerated to the ball. Great effort. He wrapped and squeezed just like Coach Thacker stresses every single day in practice, got him down on the one-yard line with great technique. He’s got natural instincts, he’s got natural speed, he’s got length that we really value in this organization and he’s fun to be around and fun to coach.”

On whether he’s happy with the growth with the team from Game 1 to Game 2:

“Absolutely. And I think that’s every day. This is a monumental transition unlike any that has happened in a long time in college football. Every single day, our guys come to work with a great attitude, had a massive transition along the offensive line in-game on Saturday and guys, because they have position flexibility, they’ve been cross-trained across the line, understand concepts of what we do. Coach [Brent] Key was able to mix and match on the offensive line to produce yards, produce points, seal the win at the end of the game for us and move the ball, and those kinds of things. Every single day we’re a work in progress in every single phase of everything that we do. And just the moving parts of what each guy really excels at matters. I think the creativity and just staying at it with guys that have great attitudes and great work habits and playing together is really cool.”

VIDEO: Defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker (pre-The Citadel)

VIDEO: Offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude (pre-The Citadel)

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