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Georgia Tech Weekly Press Conference

Oct. 24, 2006

HEAD COACH Chan Gailey

What do you tell your players about on-the-field behavior and how to react if somebody says something or takes a swing at them?

“We talk to them individually if we ever have issues. We’ve been fortunate not to have very many issues. We address it early on. Honestly, I’ve not made a big deal about it, because we’ve had things, in general, pretty stable.”

When you’re playing a team that’s two weeks removed from an incident, do you address it again?

“I said something about it last week before the Clemson game. I don’t think I have to talk about it again. I don’t think it’ll be an issue, because they’ve addressed it again as well. I think we’ll have a very clean game.”

You have a 24-hour rule after wins, and losses as well. Do you have to take any extra steps after a loss like the one at Clemson to get players to move on and shut it out?

“You always learn from wins and losses, and you have to. You have to learn from what you did. Even when you win, you didn’t do some things right that you have to talk about. Even when you lose, there are things you did right that you have to talk about. So, you try and learn from it, and you have to move on. You can’t sit around and say `woe is us,’ or feel sorry for yourself. You have to go on. This team, through the years, has been able to handle that fairly well. It would be a lot easier to get over if you weren’t playing such a tough team the next week. You’ve got another tough game this week, so you better get over it in a hurry and get ready.”

How is Miami different on offense this year from most years in their general philosophy?

“They’re not using the tight ends as much as they have. They still use the tight and and throw to him, and they’ve got some good tight ends, but they’ve been a tight-end-oriented team. They were searching for the right back. They may have found him in James. They seem to have settled on the freshman, so their running game is starting to come around and be more consistent.

“Other than that, they look very similar, to be honest. They stay in basic formations; they don’t get exotic. They’ll get in the shotgun some, but they’re not drastically different than they have been.”

What has made their defense so successful?

“They have a bunch of great athletes. Their two safeties are really good players. They play the run well and get involved in the running game. Everybody on their defense can run, defensive linemen, defensive tackles, linebackers. That’s just the way they play the game. They play very fast on defense. Their one of the top teams in the country in rushing defense, and you can see why. They’re very difficult to run the football on.”

Is there a transition from Clemson’s defense to Miami’s in terms of helping Patrick Nix and what you are trying to do on offense?

“No. They’re different styles of defense. Miami has been very successful defensively. I don’t see them trying to copy anything. They’ve played us well the last two years. I don’t see them changing a lot, and there’s not a lot of carry-over from last week.”

After such a decisive loss, do you try and pare back what you’re trying to do?

“You have to evaluate where you are in each area after a loss like that, or even after a victory. Sometimes that (cutting back) is what you need to do. As we look at this last ball game, I don’t think that was the case. We just didn’t execute. They played really well, and we didn’t. Unfortunately, that happens.”

Was your team’s confidence, perhaps, too high going into that game?

“I don’t think the confidence was too high. But your confidence takes a blow when you prepare and don’t win a ball game. If you lose, then you lose a little bit of that confidence, and you have to go regain it. But you do that through preparation and work and execution, and then going out and getting that opportunity to do it again. The thing about football is that you have to live with the results of a game for an entire week before you get an opportunity to do something about it. In baseball, basketball, hockey, they wait about two days and they can go do something about it. They don’t have to think about that last one for a while. But we have to make sure we don’t dwell on it. You learn from it, drop it and get ready for the next one. That’s where we are.”

Do you talk to your players about how much bigger this (Miami) game is in the grander scheme?

“They understand this is a division game, and it’s bigger because you get a win, and you also give that other team in your division a loss. That’s what you’re trying to do to get to the championship game. This one is a big one because it’s a division game. It’s bigger in the scheme of getting to Jacksonville than last week’s game was.”

“We have been able to get them to understand that every conference game is important, and every division game takes on double importance. I think they have grasped that concept and understand why. Now, I don’t have to go in every week and preach about what’s at stake.”

Does it help players get over this loss to know what if you beat Miami, they’re where they want to be in terms of the division race?

“There is truth in that. Getting back to the confidence question, though, you might be a little more confident this week if you’re playing Bugtussle U. You’re not, you’re playing Miami. So there’s a sense of urgency in your preparation.”

Is there more emphasis this week on what you might do to get Calvin Johnson the ball given what Clemson was able to do against him last week?

“I went back and evaluated what we were trying to do in the ball game. There were several ways we were trying to get Calvin involved in the game. You get a tipped pass here, a breakdown in protection there, and a ball just off his fingertips one time. To me, we just didn’t execute. We’ve got to get back to execution. Clemson did a great job; I’m not trying to take anything away from them. But it was more about us than it was about them.”

Has the incident with Miami a couple weeks ago overshadowed a program that is 58-11 under Larry Coker?

“I think we’ve gotten into a thought process that Miami’s about this and not about winning football games. When you look at the film, they’re about winning football games. They may not be blowing people out 48-0, but they’re winning football games. They’ve got a very talented football team walking in here. That gets lost in all the junk sometimes.”

Are they as talented with all the guys they lost to the NFL?

“It’s amazing, because we keep saying that every year. They’ll probably lose a bunch to the NFL again this year, won’t they? They don’t ever rebuild down there, they re-tool.”

48 Michael Matthews, TE

How good is Miami’s defense? – “They’re fast flowing. In the experiences I’ve had with Miami, they’ve been strong, quick. You’ve got to get on them, stay on them. You’ve got to cover the basics, the fundamentals and you can never drag your feet. They’ve always been a good defense, very fast, very fast.”

On ACC Coastal Division race – “I think the mindset of the team is to keep working hard. We’ve always been a team that has prided ourselves on working hard. What’s happened in the past is the past. We’re 5-and-2 so let’s build from that and keep working hard.”

Is this a bigger game now that you’ve lost to Miami? – “We all know that this is a big game. We all know that Miami is on our side of the conference and it’s important to win this one because it affects us greater as far as the divisional win as opposed to a conference win.”

What do you remember from last year’s Miami game – “The win, just winning. I think mostly that we kept fighting, we kept pushing. When the opportunity was there, when we needed a first down we got the first down. When we needed to score, we got the score. I remember just the perseverance throughout the game.”

After the Miami/FIU scandal, do you think both teams have to watch themselves more this week? – “I don’t think we do. I don’t think we do at all, but on their part, like they said, they want to put it in the past. As for our part, I think we’re a class program. Coach Gailey prides himself on that. I think that’s the way he recruits. He prides himself on having a class program, and we’re going to continue to live up to that.”

What does Coach Gailey tell you guys about on-the-field behavior? – “He tells us to be responsible. He tells us that we’re going to treat you like men, so act like it. He says that we wouldn’t be here if we were certain type of people. He told us we are here for a reason. We know we are a class program and we will act and play like it.”

What did you think when you saw that (Miami/FIU fight) on TV? – “I thought it was a movie. It was something that you never want to see. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Are they (Miami) a team that talks a lot a trash on the field, more than other teams? – “I don’t think it’s anymore than usual, nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t think they are anything out of the norm. We treat each game the same. If we played the game and treated each game or opponent differently, then we wouldn’t be expecting our performance to be the same, and that’s wrong. You’ve got to perform the same way every time and play as hard as you can.”

On feelings on Miami joining the ACC – “It was good. I was happy about it because that gives us a championship game that potentially you can have. It made the conference better, so I look at it as a plus and another opportunity to play a good program.”

Are they (Miami) a program you watched growing up? – “I’m from Ohio so I didn’t get many Miami games. I was more of a Midwest guy, Big Ten. I watched a lot of that kind of football.”

On feelings about loss to Clemson – “In some games, things happen and what happened on Saturday is in the past. We can’t dwell on it now. Sometimes you don’t perform to your best and we’ll just come out next time and give it our best. That happens throughout the week. You’ve just got to prepare and play each game as best we can.”

On bouncing back from losses in the past and this week – “You can’t dwell on the past. You can’t dwell on the things that are out of your control now. You have to deal with the present and move on to the next game. This week it happens to be Miami.”

On playing a Miami team without their typical strength and swagger – “When the expectation is out there and the importance of it is in your face, you have to deal with it. You understand it and you know what you have to do. This week for us, it’s to win.”

60 Kevin Tuminello, C

What happened to the pass protection vs. Clemson? – “We were trying some things out. They did some different things. I think our protection was good most of the game. But we tried some different things and we’re continuing to develop our offense.”

On preparation for Miami – “Every different game has new game plan and we just have to go out and do the best we can.”

Was there a point in the game where it became obvious, that the pass protection game plan wasn’t working? – “Throughout the course of the game, some things go your way and sometimes they don’t. As the game progresses you just keep playing your best, because you never know what can happen. In that game, we thought we were in it the whole time. It just didn’t go our way I guess.”

On Miami’s defense – “They’re very gifted athletes. They’re big guys. They’re athletic and they fly to the ball, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us.

On Miami’s linebacker corps – “They’re real athletic. They’re very fast. They’re a typical Miami defense so we have to stick to our fundamentals and come ready to play.”

What are your memories from last year’s game vs. Miami? – “This team (Miami) reminds me a lot of the team they had last year. They have big, fast guys with great ability. We have to execute. Nothing really sticks out in my memory though. It was a great win in an old stadium like theirs where a lot has happened. It was just a great win for our team.”

On rebounding from last week’s loss and getting back on the field – “Each week of the football season you want to play to your best every game and go out and execute every week. But when you lose a game, you just want to get out there and improve on where you had faults in the other game and continue to improve as week’s progress.”

Is it better to lose to Clemson, like last week, than Miami? – “You try not to lose any of them, obviously. You try to win ever ACC game. Clemson is a rivalry game. Every game in the ACC is a big game and you never know which one is going to the pivotal game of your season. You have to go and play each game like it’s the biggest game of the year.”

41 Philip Wheeler, LB

Do you as ACC players, realize that some conference games are more important than others, in that they might impact the division race? – “I am aware of that, but our coaches always tell us that the next game is the most important game, no matter who we’re facing. So since Miami is the next game then it is the most important. We feel the same way the coaches do about it and we’re very excited to redeem ourselves and win against Miami. Maybe even clench an ACC divisional title.”

What are your memories of this meeting last year? – “Last year, I was just very excited. The emotion was just taking over my body. I was jumping around after the game. We had a lot of support after the game. Not much support before the game, because a lot of people didn’t think we could do it but after the game those people were giving us pats on the back.”

On differences in this Miami team, and last year’s team – “It looks like they’re passing a little bit more, from what I’ve seen. Maybe it’s because how they’re running, and I’m not sure how well they’ve done with that so far.”

On Miami player’s comments stating they were a better team than Georgia Tech last year – “I don’t really pay attention to things like that. All I can say that we’re going to come out game day and play our hardest, no matter who we play.”

After a loss, like the one to Clemson, are you more excited to play again? – “I didn’t even want to leave Clemson that night. I wanted to play again right after. I felt that we didn’t do too well, but we just have to wait another week and get better. We need to get better. We just have to wait.”

Was Clemson that much better, did they have a scheme you weren’t expecting, or were you guys not quite up enough emotionally? – “I think maybe they wanted it a little more than us at that time. On certain plays I saw us missing tackles, a couple of us were tired. I don’t think they did anything different.”

Have you seen or played against two backs like James Davis and C.J. Spiller before Saturday’s game? – “Maybe the two backs at Auburn a couple of years ago, with Cadillac (Williams) and Ronnie Brown, but I haven’t played against running backs much better than those two.”

On giving up so many rushing yards to Clemson – “It brings you down, but we’re just going to stay focused as a team. We have to stay up for this game and we can’t lose our confidence.”

Are the things that went wrong in the game against Clemson, things that can go wrong again? – “I think we can fix everything that we did wrong. There was a lot of it to do with tackling and wrapping up the ball carriers. I think we can fix a lot of things. Anything can happen but I don’t think we’ll let some of those other mistakes happen again.”

On feelings coming off this loss – “I think individually, a lot of us are down on the inside, but as a team I think we’re focused and ready to get on to the next game and prove that we’re not a bad football team.”


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