Post-Game Notes: Georgia Tech vs. Miami

Nov. 20, 2008

Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson

Opening Statement
“Wow. That was fun! Obviously, I’m proud of our team. They bounced back. We were disappointed with the way we played in our last game and we can back and played much better tonight. I thought that the guys were really focused and did a great job on defense, especially early. Then the offense kind of caught their rhythm and really played well. I’m really proud of Josh Nesbitt. He probably wasn’t 100 percent, but tonight he grew a lot as a quarterback. It wasn’t just physical ability. He was really dialed in. He got us going in the right direction and it got everyone involved. So, it was good to see. So, exciting win and I’m really proud of our football team and glad our seniors could go out in their last home game that way. I think it’s fitting for them, they’ve done a great job for us.”

On The Three Rushes for over 90 Yards
“It just kind of happens sometimes. I thought Josh did a good job of running the offense and we saw it tonight like we ought to see it every week. We executed a lot better. When you do that, you have a chance to make some big plays.”

On How it Feels to be Leading in the Coastal Division of the ACC
“Well, we’ve done all we can do tonight. It’s like I told our guys, when we wake up in the morning, we’ll be in first place, because we finished our games. We’re 5-3 and the best anybody else can do is 5-3. Who knows how it’s going to work out with all the tie-breakers and with everything involved. But I know this. At the end of the year, we’ll at least be co-champs, tri-champs, quad-champs, we’ll be something. Nobody’s going to have a better record. We might lose the tie-breaker, but we’ll have a piece of the championship in our division.”

On the Play of the Offensive Line
“I think that they came off the ball and you never know until you watch the tape but, I think we played fast. We maybe played the offense a little faster and come off the ball. I don’t think we had very many missed assignments. We’ll see it when we watch the film but I know we didn’t have any remotely close to the last game.”

On the Play of the Defense
“I thought the defense played very well, especially early on. I thought Michael Johnson’s interception return was a huge play and especially in the first half, we didn’t give up any big plays. And when you don’t give up the big plays, in enables you to play defense. You know, it’s just like on offense or anywhere else. There is still a lot to work on. I looked out there and still saw a lot of guys’ eyes where they weren’t supposed to be and looking in the backfield and some of that so we have got a lot to correct before next week. But, all in all, I thought they played hard and they were flying around.”

Georgia Tech Player Quotes

#21 RB Jonathan Dwyer

On the team’s being ACC Coastal Division Champions and ready to play against Miami
“I think we’ve earned it. I think we’ve proved we are and we came for this game ready to play. You could just see it in everybody’s eyes in the bus ride to the stadium. This game meant a lot for us and program. We wanted to make history.”

On watching how things play out in divisional games on Saturday
“We want some of those teams to lose on Saturday, but right now I’m going to enjoy the moment of being on top. I’m going to take it easy and see what happens on Saturday.”

On the team’s offensive production against Miami
“It just shows no matter what type of offense you run, especially ours that is run dominant, if you come ready to play, a lot of things can happen. A lot of big plays are going to happen if you fire off the ball and that’s what the offensive line did today.”

On the offensive unit’s mindset going into the Georgia game
“We’re going to use it as motivation. Keep it going and don’t fall off. Having a big game offensively and defensively, you want to have it keep going week after week.”

On getting out to an early lead on Miami
“We wanted to get the jump on them early. We wanted to continue what we started in the first half in the second half.”

On his 58-yard touchdown run
“Miami has comeback a couple of times this season and it gave us a little cushion. It was a great play and the offensive line did a great job and Demaryius Thomas got a key block on the perimeter and I made a guy miss.”

On QB Josh Nesbitt’s performance on a bad ankle
“I think it shows how much heart and what a team player he is. He’s going to go out there and do what he can for the team. This was a big game and we really need him to be there for us.”

#95 DT Darryl Richard

On winning his last home game as a senior
“Good question. It’s a bang. We score 41 points and hold the opponent to 23. We definitely thanked a lot of the players for sending us out this way. Some guys in the past haven’t had this opportunity. This is really big. Coach (Johnson) said after the game that we have no less than a share of the Coastal Division championship when everybody pretty much laughed at us as we were killing ourselves in the offseason.”

On the defense’s play against Miami
“I think it all sprung off on this guy’s (DE Michael Johnson’s) takes the ball out of the air and takes it to the house. That was a big momentum shift. You could see how the younger guys definitely feed off that. We had an understanding going into the game how Miami likes to attack teams and had an idea of how they wanted to attack us.”

On facing Georgia in the season finale next week
“It’s our No. 1 goal on our team is to beat those guys in Athens. I’m liking how we’re peaking right now at the end. They’ve had a week of to stew and think about how we’re going to attack them, but we did some different things against Miami that they won’t be able to pick up on.”

On Coach Johnson for ACC Coach of the Year
“I think you guys (the media) get to vote on it. But if you want an endorsement from me, you got it. How many people thought he would get it done? Not only are we bowl eligible, now we really have a chance to play in the championship game by a guy that came in and changed the offense from a pro style to an option spread. If you can show me a better candidate, I’d like to see him.”

#95 DE Derrick Morgan

On playing on national television on Thursday night
“The whole atmosphere of playing on Thursday night with everyone amped up for the game was great. We had a long time to prepare for the game especially with a bad taste in our mouth after the loss to North Carolina, so people were going to get it done for this game.”

On Coach Johnson challenging the team to play better
“Coach Johnson always says good teams don’t lose two games in a row. So we have that mentality to never lose two games in a row. We took that attitude into practice.”

On what needs to happen for Georgia Tech to play in the ACC Championship Game
“There’s a whole bunch of things that have to happen for us to get to Tampa, but we did all we could do tonight. God willing we’ll end up there.”

Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon

Opening statement
“This was a tough loss tonight against a good football team. Coach Johnson did a great job with his team, preparing them for what we had to get done defensively. Offensively, I’ve got to give them a hand for their effort. They came out offensively and were able to run the ball with the fullback and get the option game going. Defensively, I thought they did a good job getting us off the field on third down. We couldn’t convert on third down. We moved the ball a little bit, but our third-down conversions were bad. That was a big part of the game. And we had some drops by our receivers when we were in position to move the chains.”

Why were they so effective running the ball?
“That’s option football. It’s assignment football, and when you don’t play assignment football, bad things can happen.”

It looked like they got your flow going the other way sometimes, and they went back the other way.
“Guys weren’t playing assignments. We had a guy on the fullback all the time. Early in the game, we were stopping the fullback. Like anything, when you have some success, guys start taking chances because they think they’re not going to run that play. All week long, we preached to them that you have to stay assignment football. Big plays come from assignment football when guys don’t do their jobs. When big busts happen, big plays come on the option.”

Is that more challenging for a younger defense?
“It is, it’s hard, because they have success early. You stop them, stop them early, then all of a sudden, they want to go make a play. Instead of everyone staying with their responsibilities, that’s what happens, freelancing a little bit, and that’s what got us.”

Turnovers were big for you in the first half. What did you say to them at halftime?
“I told them we’ve been in this situation before as a football team. We’re going to have to come out in the second half and play sound. We needed a three-and-out. We needed to create some field position for the offense. We weren’t able to do that.

“The one turnover when Jacory threw the interception was big. The one Robert threw was big. (Michael Johnson) made a tremendous play. Turnovers are always going to get you.”

You got into the top 25, everybody says Miami is coming back…
“I don’t think about that top 25. I never thought about it. I think we need to get better next week on this football team.”

Is this just another example about how crazy this ACC can be?
“Yes, it is. That’s why I made the statement earlier in the season that in this conference, you never know who’s going to win. Each week somebody may knock somebody off. Somebody may gain ground, lose ground. Every week you have to show up. This week, we didn’t do a good job of showing up.”

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