Georgia Tech Head Coach Chan Gailey
On WR Greg Smith:
“He did some good things. I like the way that he caught the ball, but the most impressive thing was the block on the last touchdown by Jamaal Evans. He had that guy backed up in the end zone about 25 yards. That was good.”
On this game being good momentum:
“Sure it is. You always like to win a game like this going into the next ball game.”
On backup QB Taylor Bennett:
“I thought he executed he well. I was very impressed with the way that Taylor ran the offense. He threw the ball, had some nice touch passes, through the ball in there pretty hard a couple of times. It was the most extended action that he has had in over a year since Connecticut last year. There’s no substitute for what he got out there today. You can’t simulate the crowd, the speed on defense, all that stuff in a practice-type situation. I thought overall he handled himself very well out there today. He’s practiced well the last three weeks, and that was a continuation of the way that he has practiced.”
On the importance of playing well after last week’s game:
“I think if you get in a rut of not doing something for a few games, it’s a cause for concern. But I think one, time, what did we learn? Did we get smarter from that and learn to come out and play the way that we needed to play? I thought they did.”
On the next two games possibly making a great season:
“You’re just trying to win the next one. Whoever is on the schedule, wherever it is, you’re just trying to go win the next one. These guys, however the schedule falls, they want to win the next one.”
On T A.J. Smith playing TE today:
“That was out of necessity today. With Mike Cox out, Michael Matthews out, and Wayne Riles out, it really put a burden on the tight end position. We threw A.J. in there in practice on Wednesday and he picked it up pretty well and did some good things out there. David Brown played some tight end today, we had to do the same thing with him. It was a makeshift situation out there today, and I thought out guys handled it well.”
On WR Calvin Johnson failing to make the catch on a long play in the second quarter:
“That’s not fair to Calvin. We’ve come to expect that, and that’s not fair to him. You’ve come to expect the outstanding from him to be normal. And it’s almost not fair to him.”
On the good play of the offensive line and RB Tashard Choice:
“You can’t have one without the other. If Tashard doesn’t see it, they can block as good as they can block, it doesn’t matter. If they don’t block, it doesn’t matter what Tashard sees there because there’s not going to be any yards there. It’s a combination of everyone being in sync and working together. And we made them get out of their base defense after that first drive. They had to go to a four man front instead of a three man front. “
On QB Reggie Ball looking healthy today:
“I thought he felt good out there today. He took a shot on the sideline and got back up with no ill effects.”
Duke Head Coach Ted Roof
(About Calvin Johnson’s Play) They protected Reggie. He threw some balls that only one person could catch. Calvin certainly made a couple of great plays. He just went up and got them, like I said, where only one person could catch it. I would have liked to see us get more pressure, that’s certainly an element where we have to find a way get better this week, along with some other things.
(About the 80 yard drive – 1st quarter): After the first play from scrimmage we come out and get a pick, have a scoring opportunity and then come free on a route, but when we dropped it, we missed an opportunity there, and then we missed a field goal, which we had a chance to gain some momentum there after getting a take away on the very first play. We didn’t finish the drive and they came back, blocked well, ran well, and took it down the field.
(About Choice and momentum) He’s a good player, good back. We had a guy that was getting ready to score a touchdown, and again, a missed opportunity and we’ve got to find a way to make those plays. There’s no excuse and that certainly wasn’t the reason we lost the ball game. Have to give GT credit and turnovers; we can’t turn the ball over on our end of the field. We’ve got one more week, our team has played together thus far, and I’m sure that’s going to happen this week. We’ll put everything we have, get ready to play UNC, and we’re down to one opportunity. We’ve got to put everything we have into this opportunity.
(About the kicking change) Moving forward, I don’t know what we’re going to do. We wanted to give Randy a chance. I thought we made the first one, but I guess we missed by a foot; that’s what the officials told me. I thought the kick got up, and got out of there, he just pushed it a little bit. I thought we’d just give Randy an opportunity. We’ll see what we’re going to do moving forward.
(About the play of the Duke corners) We did some good things, and they made some plays too, and that happens in most every games. Things that we’ve got to do, is when we get our hands on the ball, is make sure the other guys don’t catch it. We’ve got to finish the play with the ball in our possession. A couple of things were disappointing, but a couple of things I thought we did real well.
(About momentum) Football is a game of momentum. We gained it early, and then lost it, and in the first half, we never re-gained it. We scored at the end of the half, which gave us some life going into halftime, but too many big plays and too many turnovers.
(About playing GT – Alma matter) There’s familiarity with this school and with all the people associated with it. There are so many guys that either played here or coached here. You always want to play good. They’ve certainly done a good job here and have a very opportunistic football team.
(About next week against UNC) We’re disappointed right now, obviously didn’t get it done. We’ve got one opportunity left and have to devote everything we have and get ready to play UNC. This is it; there are no more after this.
GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS
21 Calvin Johnson, WR
On win today:
“A victory is always great, man. It puts us one step closer to where we need to be.”
And where to you all need to be?
“Basically we’re just trying to win out and taking it one game at a time. We don’t want to look ahead to the ACC Championship. Right now we’re just focusing on Georgia.”
On margin of victory today after last week’s 7-point effort:
“We knew that we could put up that many points. We should be able to do it all the time. We showed that we could do it today. The points don’t matter though; we just go out there and do what we know how to do and try to get a win, week in and week out.”
Do you think guys will be working harder next week in preparation for Georgia?
“Definitely. You just don’t know. We’ll be playing full speed. We talked about it after this game. All our focus is going to Georgia. In practice, work outs, everything is going to be at full speed.”
What will it mean to beat Georgia?
“It’s huge. It hasn’t been done by these seniors. It will be very big for them but will be huge for everybody.”
How hard is it to get up for a team like Duke?
“When you come out here expecting to win every week, it’s not hard at all. We expect to win and that’s what we come out here to do so we have to prepare like we want to win, no matter who we’re playing.”
On outstanding play-making ability:
“I expect it out of myself. I expect to make those kinds of plays in the game. This is my third year here and I should be making great plays.”
1 Reggie Ball, QB
How does it feel to put up all those points after last week’s 7-0 win? “I guess it’s a good feeling. It’s always good to get a win. We just executed a lot better than we did last week.”
On Calvin Johnson’s play-making abilities:
“After that touchdown he bobbled a few times I told a couple people on the sidelines `I think this guy might be pretty good’. I was very impressed with the one he bobbled then caught on the right side of the end zone.”
Will you put in more time this week leading up to Georgia since you’ve never beaten them?
“No, man. Whatever happened in the past happened in the past. We’re just focusing on Saturday. We’re going to do what we do and we’re going to go 110 percent like we do every week, but it is a big rivalry game. There’s going to be a lot more emotion on game day, but not much is going to change around here.”
On Taylor Bennett’s performance:
“I thought he did really well. I was proud of him.”
22 Tashard Choice, RB
On today’s win:
“I thought it was a great win. Offense did a great job. Special teams did very well. Everyone did a great job today. “
You broke off a couple of big runs early then cooled off in the second quarter, any reason for that?
“No, no. I slipped a couple of times. We did good running the ball. When we start running the ball, they (Duke) starts coming up and that’s why we were able to make some long passes and get one on one coverage, so it all worked hand-in-hand.”
On offensive execution after last week’s 7-0 win at UNC:
“It was big time. It was a good confidence builder to get everybody on one page, because the next three games are going to be probably the biggest for Georgia Tech. So today’s win was big in establishing ourselves.”
On preparations for Georgia:
“It’s cool. We understand what’s at stake. We are ready for Georgia. All our attention now is going towards Georgia. We have to get ready for them and go out there and try to win this next game.”
What would it mean to beat Georgia?
“It would be big time for the seniors to finish the regular season on that note. It would be a big win.”
How would assess the overall performance today?
“It was good. At times we made some penalties we shouldn’t have made and we didn’t complete some passes and we turned the ball over so it wasn’t a perfect game. We have to come out and continue to execute. All in all, I thought it was a good performance.”
96 Joe Anoai, DT
What would a win over Georgia mean?
“I think it would be monumental if we went out there and got a win. (Samford Stadium) is a very hostile stadium. They have great fans that support them. They have a great team. This is a very serious week for us. We’re not looking at the ACC Championship right now. Right now, the biggest game of the year is Georgia at Georgia, so we’re going to go in there and give them all we’ve got.”
“A win over them would pretty much top it off as far as the regular season goes. Beating them is something that we haven’t done. It’s that beast that we haven’t conquered, especially going on the road and doing that would be a really good feeling.”
“Beating Georgia would be icing on the cake. To go into their house and beat them would be a great feeling.”
On today’s performance:
“We had a couple of turnovers. I think we can still get better and we can build off the mistakes we made today. We showed good rhythm. We showed a well-oiled machine. If we can tweak a few things and keep the effort as high as we can, we’re going to be fine.”
On playing your last game at Georgia Tech:
“I started thinking about it a little bit more after I was done playing. I was sitting on the sidelines looking up in the stands and thinking to myself that it’s a very unique feeling to be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket because our fans are a class act. We don’t have fans like most other state schools. They support us. They care about us and they don’t down us when things go wrong. They really support us. It was good to go out like this for them.”
13 Taylor Bennett, QB
On playing today:
“It was the longest I played all year and I felt very good out there.”
How does this playing time help you for next season?
“The more experience, the more reps you can get, the better off you are. Whether I played this year or not, I was still going to go into the spring full-steam ahead and try and compete for the starting job.”
On taking hits in this game:
“Yeah, I definitely got shook up a few times but I’m ok. We got the win so that’s all that matters.”
On scoring in first drive:
“It always feels good to throw a touchdown. Being able to come out and score like that is always a plus. It gets you going and gets the gears grinding.”