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Georgia Tech Players Press Conference

Sept. 5, 2006

Rashaun Grant, RB

On preventing a let down this week

“This week we are playing Samford and we call that a `trap’ game, when you get a team like Notre Dame and all the hype and then you play a team where there is not as much hype. You have to refocus. There is a process you go through each week to prepare for a game and that process should never change.”

On it being difficult to prepare for Samford

“Mentally a lot of players, some of the ones that have not been here and didn’t experience Duke a couple of years ago, but the older guys know what we have to do.”

On using the Notre Dame game as motivation for this game

“The players see that game and watched film and know what we are capable of doing and how powerful we can be on both sides of the ball.”

On how the offense performed in game one

“It’s hard to rate. We did a lot of good things and we did a lot of things that we have to improve on. There were a lot of good things and stuff that we can build on.”

On the good things the offense did

“Being able to move the ball up and down the field in certain times of the game. We ran the ball well and we passed the ball well.”

On having a new offensive coordinator

“It’s a different offense, but Coach [Patrick] Nix has always been here to push us when Coach [Chan] Gailey was calling the plays.”

On if there were any plays called that would have been called differently last season

“I can’t really say. You get into the game you don’t recall from the past, you are so in to what is going on now you can’t think of anything else.”

On Samford’s defense

“I don’t know much about their defense this year, but we played them in the past and you can expect them to come out and play hard. Especially when you have a school like Samford that has the opportunity to come out and face a team like Georgia Tech, they will play with a lot of emotion.”

Pat Clark, CB

On his first game at corner back

“It was pretty fun. It was definitely a learning experience, but any time you have a team like Notre Dame coming in, you always look forward to that game. It was fun but was also a learning experience.”

On the biggest challenge

“The physical attributes of the game as far as tackling, taking on blocks and doing things defensively that is required of a defensive back. That was definitely the most challenging part. I expected it, but once it hits you right in the face you are surprised but you just have to take it and move with it.”

On not playing offense

“Sometimes I miss playing offense, but playing for Coach [Jon] Tenuta is always a fun experience. We’re aggressive on that side of the ball and anytime you get a chance to stop what many people call the best offense in the nation, it’s always fun.”

On being comfortable at new position

“Not necessarily. During the spring was a big learning time for me, so when fall rolled around I just had to put everything together, going off on my knowledge and instincts. I played defense in high school and now it is just a matter of playing fast, smart and doing the things that will allow me to be most successful as a defensive player.”

On when he was named the starter

“The first day we started preparing for Notre Dame was the day I was notified that I was going to be a starter as a defensive back. I was kind of surprised, being that this is my first season coming off a position change and many people go through a season of learning the position and getting familiar with the other side of the ball. I worked hard at it and I just did what I had to do to earn a starting berth.”

On facing Notre Dame’s Rhema McKnight for most of the game

“It was a learning experience. In practice we play with what most say is one of the best wide receivers in the nation in Calvin Johnson. He is one of the bigger and more physical receivers in the nation, so I was sort of used to going up against that. McKnight was a big receiver, he was strong and fast so against big receivers like that you have to use body position and technique to allow yourself to be successful.”

On allowing the big play in the second half

“I could have been more aware of where the ball was. As a defensive back you try and put yourself in a position to make a play, and I could have had better technique and more awareness of where the ball was to try and make a better play on it. That was a great play by him and I give him all the credit for that.”

On watching film on the Notre Dame game

“I just couldn’t believe I was out there against the No. 2 team in the nation. It wasn’t really a shock, but to be out there against the second-ranked team, a Heisman trophy candidate, one of the best receivers in the nation, I was proud.”

On his teammates helping him

“They help me tremendously. We had two other new starters playing at the safety positions [Djay Jones, Jamal Lewis], but they have been in the system as defensive players the last two years so they knew the system. They try and help me as far as knowledge of the defense and it’s been tremendous. I thank them everyday. They help me when I am out on the field and when I am not on the field on learning the system and being where I am supposed to be.”

On his knowledge of the defense right now

“Eighty-five to 90 percent more knowledgeable of the defense and what is going on out there. When I first got over there it was like wow, I have to learn all this stuff and quickly. I had a good spring and summer and I am more comfortable out there and much more relaxed.”

On changing positions

“When I was first told that I was going to move over to defense, I just wanted to do whatever I had to do to get on the field. Either playing nickel back or outside corner, I just wanted to do the things I needed to do to help the defense. As time went on I learned both positions and I just wanted to play where I was needed the most at. It doesn’t matter if I’m inside or outside, they are both challenging positions, it’s all the same to me.”

On things Tech needs to do over the next two weeks to get ready for ACC play

“Basically just the fundamentals, tackling, taking on blocks, learning the scheme and being comfortable as a whole defense. One player can’t do it by himself, so you have to be cohesive as a unit. We have to make sure that we have everything we need to do is under control so we can get ready for a tough ACC schedule.”

On Samford’s offensive attack

“They like to run three or four multiple wide receiver sets and they will come out and try and attack us. We are expecting that from every team we play, considering everyone thinks we have a weak secondary, but that’s not going to do anything but get us better and prepare us for the teams down the road in the ACC.”

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