Nov. 7, 2009
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson
That was a heckuva of a ballgame. You have to give Wake Forest a ton of credit. Their kids showed up and really played hard. We didn’t play as well I would’ve liked to; I think you have to give [Wake Forest] some credit for that. We missed some chances early in the game and I think we got kind of rattled. We killed ourselves with penalties. To the kids’ credit, they found a way to win it in the end and 30 is more that 27. I’m proud of them. Now we have the biggest game of the year next week. We have to come back and correct the mistakes and come back and play a good Duke team.”
On if there was any hesitation on fourth and one call in overtime:
“No. I play to win. The kids work hard and put in a lot of time and effort. If we can’t make an inch there, we don’t deserve to win the game. Shoot, the ball’s on the three yard line, give the kids a chance to win the game.”
On performance of the defense in the second half:
“We got some stops on third down. We forced [Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner] to make some throws and we didn’t lay off. At halftime, I challenged our guys to play. You can’t play football scared; you can’t back off guys 30 yards. I think the second half we started to play.”
On Derrick Morgan’s Performance:
“He was really working hard. He just kept working and playing. He made some tackles a couple of time crawling on the ground. He did a great job in the second half.”
On Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner’s play:
“He’s a good player. The guy is very seasoned; he knows where he has to go. In the second half we tried to disguise some things, but he’s a pretty sharp cookie. He knows where he wants to go with the ball.”
On Mario Edwards’ performance:
“Mario played a good game. Mario made some tackles and did some good things. He was back there on some pass plays. It’s good to see him play well.”
On struggles in the first half:
“I think the way the game started; we had some plays that we missed in the passing game. After we missed them, I think we were trying to be too perfect. We dropped some balls and did some uncharacteristic things.”
WAKE FOREST HEAD COACH JIM GROBE
On the frustration level of being so close in so many games and coming up short
“I think there was a time with our football program when there would be moral victories in losses. And there certainly aren’t any moral victories right now. The guys are really down. I think we’re a pretty good football team. We’re playing a pretty good schedule, and I think we’re playing really good football right now. We’ve improved, and we’re a pretty good team right now. We’re just playing some really good teams.
“I’m proud of our players. You can look at a lot of things where we missed opportunities. But our kids played really hard tonight. We had a chance, but we just didn’t get it done.”
On the play of QB Riley Skinner
“I think it hurt him to miss (practice) time. He missed the first part of the week. He got no work Monday and no work Tuesday. He got to practice Wednesday. I don’t care how veteran you are or how talented you are, you need to practice. I think it hurt us a little bit on some of the touch throws and a couple of the deep balls he threw that he typically puts right on the numbers. He was just a little but off.
“But again, he’s our guy. He gives us a chance to win. It was probably courageous for him to be back in there again in just a week. On the one hand, I think losing practice time hurt him. But on the other hand, I was impressed with his commitment to the team, being out there trying to help us win a game.”
On Wake’s defensive performance
“One of the things I thought hurt our defense was our offense. I thought we were very ineffective in the third and fourth quarters offensively until right at the end of the game. You can’t keep putting the defense back out on the field against a talented wishbone offense like that. We just kept going back to the well too many times on defense.
“What I’m really disappointed in was the one-play drive to start the third quarter. That was devastating. They ran the fullback trap, and he got it in for a score. That’s what you really don’t want to do. You want to make them earn what they get so that you can get them in a mistake here and there. That one-play drive really hurt us. Then being inept there for about a quarter and a half offensively just kept putting our guys back out there. By the middle of the fourth quarter, the offense woke up, but the defense had played so many snaps, we were just worn out.
“I was really proud of the effort of our defense, but it wasn’t good enough against that offense. I thought if we had had a little bit more help from our offense, our defense would have played a little bit.”
GEORGIA TECH QUARTERBACK Josh Nesbitt
What were your thoughts during that last timeout and huddle?
“I just told coach that without a doubt I could get the first down. I knew I could get it and told the guys that we could win.
When you got to the line what did you see from Wake Forest?
“Our offensive line did a good job of creating space and I saw that the linebackers weren’t in the “A” gap and took that opening. It was there so we got the first down and scored on the next play.”
What is it like playing for Coach Johnson?
“Coach is the type of person you want to play for. He keeps fighting until the end and that makes the whole team fight to the end. He motivates you to never letdown and keep fighting.”
Seemed like the penalties really hurt the team throughout the game can you touch on that?
“We missed a couple of chances to put this game away because of the penalties and those have to be corrected when we play Duke next week. We beat ourselves today but thank god we got another chance at the end to come up with another victory.”
What did you tell yourself towards the end of the game?
“Big-time players make big-time plays. Things didn’t always go our way throughout the game however I had to remain focused and fight through it all.”
What are your thoughts on all of the other teams in the BCS losing, does the team pay any attention to it?
“It does the team no good to think about the BCS and who lost today. When you start to do that you beat yourself and then no one is talking about the BCS. We aren’t over looking anyone at this point, all we have to do is take care of business every week and play 10 times harder.”
GEORGIA TECH RUNNING BACK Jonathan Dwyer
It wasn’t how you thought the game would play out but what are your thoughts on the overtime victory?
“I’m glad we won the game and are still in the hunt. If we played better on offense we might not have had to take it to overtime but we kept fighting and came out with another victory.”
What was said in the huddle in overtime?
“We all just said this is what we play division-one football. All the practices, waking-up at 5:30 a.m. and extra conditioning we do pays off with a victory like today. Our goal is to get to Tampa and we have to keep fighting to reach our goal.”
What are you thoughts on Coach Johnson after a game like this?
“Coach is confident, he knew we were going to win the game and believed in us the whole time. As a player you like that he trusts us with and it makes the team work harder on the field to make sure we come away with a victory.”
Looking ahead to Duke what do you think needs to happen?
“Penalties hurt us today and thankfully it didn’t cost us the game. We have to work hard this week and fix those mistakes.
What does it mean to have back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons?
“I didn’t really know how many yards I had coming into this game. I just try and play my game every week. I know my opportunities will come and I just have to play well so Coach (Johnson) trusts me. I just try to do what I can to help the team out and win each week.”
How strong was the defense?
“Our defense motivated us today. They played well all game and got good push at the line. They pushed us to play better and when they made that stop in overtime it made us want to reward them and get that touchdown.”