Georgia Tech head coach Gailey

Sept. 5, 2006

(on Samford being a trap game this week) “I think that’s a fair term. The emotional aspect of the game will be a big part of the game this week.”

(on coming off a close loss to Notre Dame being something to build on) “If you won, you still have to win this one, if you lost you still have to win this one. You have to go out and try to win no matter what. If you beat Notre Dame and lose to Samford, that’s not real good. Whether you lost big or lose close to Notre Dame, you need to find a way to go win the next one. You should improve from your first loss to your next game. I think we realize that we don’t need to take anything for granted.”

(what was your attitude going into a game like this when you coached at Samford?) “It was a great challenge and a great opportunity. You got excited about it. It was a giant game. Last year Samford played Baylor at their place, and they played them petty well. We’re going to have to go play. We can’t go out there and think that because we played fairly well last week then all of a sudden we’ll just show up and play well. You can’t do that. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

(on this game being a good test for the secondary) “Yes it is. That’s very good for us. We will be challenged this week with a lot of different things than we saw last week. It will really challenge our guys mentally to do the fundamentals correctly. They can take advantage of you with all the receivers that they get out.”

(on what it is like with working with offensive coordinator Patrick Nix on a weekly basis) “I don’t go into the offensive meetings, but I talk to Patrick off to the side and give him some of my thoughts. Then he can carry that into the offensive meeting and incorporate that however he sees fit. I think I still am trying to not go in there. If you go in there, then you start to get involved. I know myself, I can’t do that. I can’t walk in there and not be involved. If you know that is a problem then you need to stay away from those situations.”

(what do you discuss with Patrick?) “Much more big picture stuff. A little bit a personnel, but much more big picture stuff.”

(how different was it on the sidelines on Saturday night not calling plays?) “It was really different, it really was. But it was not boring. There was a lot going on. There were a lot of things that I was paying attention to. You really have to pay attention to see if you want to challenge. You have to pay attention to every play. That’s one thing that takes a lot of time.”

(on coaching staffs improving from game one to game two) “I think so. I think we as coaches have a much better idea. From game one to game two, coaches seem to get much better. I think players get better from the first loss to the next game.”

(on Pat Clark in his first game at cornerback) “Not bad. He missed a couple of tackles and he’s got to work on that. But he has quick feet and he has very good instincts. He’s got some toughness to him. That was his first game that he has ever played at defensive back, and he went out there against a very good football team with two great receivers. It was a big challenge for him, and I thought that he stood the challenge very well. But he can get better.”

(what were your expectations when you moved him in the spring from WR to DB?) “I don’t think that I had any preconceived ideas about where he would be. I knew that he had ability and I knew that he had the mindset to do it. If you put too high expectations on a guy and he doesn’t make it, then you get disappointed. If you put too low expectations on him, then you don’t challenge him to go as high as he can go. I tend to not put expectations on them. Let them go be the best that they can be and evaluate from there and try to improve on what he needs work on. You don’t ever want to take away from a guy’s natural ability to leap faster than you thought. Maybe he’ll get it in the third game a lot better than he has it today. I’m not going to say that he’s arrived today because he played fairly well. He can get better. There’s no question that he can get better, and I think he will.”

(were you surprised that he was able to go out and earn the start in the first game of the year?) “I think that was at the high end of where I thought he could be. But now he’s raised the bar, which is good.”

(what is the biggest improvement that you are looking for?) “We’re going to make some real emphasis this week on special teams. We’ve got to get some people solidified on who’s in there and what they’ve got to do in order for us to be successful, especially in kickoff coverage. We’ve got to get better there. If we don’t get better there, it is going to cost us some games down the road.”

(is that changing personnel or changing strategies?) “We’ve got to get better at going down the field, getting in our lanes, avoiding the blockers and making the tackle. That’s as simple as you can make it. There are only a certain number of lanes down the field. We have 10 guys covering, and everybody has to do their job. We’re going to look at every phase of what we were doing last week and see what we need to do to improve this week.”

(on LB’s Philip Wheeler and KaMichael Hall, and how they can improve) “If you look at some of the assignments that they have, when they broke a run or completed a pass, we had some assignment miscues. We had some communication miscues that allowed them to make some critical plays at times. We can get better. Until they have no yards and no points, we’re not perfect.”

(on Wheeler’s move to MLB from OLB) “If you are a guy who can make plays, you are going to make plays whether you are inside, outside, at safety or on the defensive line. You are going to make plays. The one thing that I give [defensive coordinator] Jon Tenuta a great deal of credit for is putting guys in position to do the best they can do. He is very good at that. What we try to do is allow Philip and KaMichael, or anyone who is a big playmaker, to put them in a position, whether it is making sure they can run lateral to the ball or letting them blitz, and both of them do that very well. The difference between last year and this year is alignment. That’s it. There’s not going to be any difference in the play.”

(on looking at Samford on tape, they played two quarterbacks and a number of different backs and receivers, and does that concern you or do you focus on your team?) “This game is much more about us, and making sure that we do our assignments, get emotionally right, go play with passion and all those things. Are there some unusual things that we are going to have to do scheme-wise against this team because what they do? Yes we are. They are going to make you do everything just right, which is good. You want that kind of team that makes you do it just right or you will fail. Everybody has to be in the right place doing the right assignment. That’s the challenge for us to do it right this week.”

(what is it about Samford that makes you want to schedule this game?) “The first thing that you want to do is try to schedule somebody with an offense and a defense that you think you will be seeing somewhere down the road so you can help yourself. I don’t want to sign anybody that runs the wishbone. We don’t ever see it, it’s hard to get ready for it in an week’s time. It doesn’t make any sense to sign that kind of game.”

(on a lot of players playing the whole game against Notre Dame, and does that say something about the team’s depth?) “We’re not where we need to be depth wise. Michael Johnson being out hurt us a little bit. We missed a guy on the rotation on the defensive line. But at some other positions, we just don’t have a lot of people ready to play. I think the offensive line is going to have some more people as time goes on and we get some people well. That’s going to be a key for us.”

(is there a team in the ACC that has a similar offense to Samford?) “What they do is they throw it and they make you be sound in every one of your pass coverages. It’s more of that than it is the exact same offense. Four wides and five wides, I can’t think of anybody who is in four and five wides all the time. But they make you be sound in your pass defense.”

(on WR Calvin Johnson being double teamed, and what do you do?) “That’s a double edged sword. If you tell a quarterback to throw into double coverage, then you better not get mad when he throws an interception. You preach to your quarterbacks about don’t throw interceptions and take what the defense gives you. You find yourself caught in some instances about what do you tell the quarterback. You don’t want to teach him bad habits, but at the same time we know that we have a unique player in Calvin Johnson. We threw it in there a couple of times when he was doubled the other night. You have to pick and choose when you are going to do that. You have to be smart about when you are going to do that.”

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