Sept. 5, 2009
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson
“It’s much better to start 1-0 than 0-1 for sure. It was a little more ragged than I would have liked. I don’t know if we were very consistent really in any facet that I would have hoped to have been. I give credit to Jacksonville State; they played hard, hung in there. In hindsight, scoring on the first play of the game might not have been as good as you would think. The good thing is that we won the game, we have a lot to learn from this, but we will have to be 100 times better on Thursday night or we will get run out of our own stadium. Hopefully our guys will take the challenge, and will be ready to go.”
On Intensity levels
“We have had a little problem with a killer instinct and our intensity levels and playing hard. That is something that we have to work on.”
“Julian Burnett is going to be a good football player. It’s hard to evaluate until you watch the tape, but he caught my eye breaking up the wedge on kickoffs early on. He’s a solid guy, he can tackle, and he is a guy that plays with intensity. We need to transfuse him into some of the others.”
On the defensive line performance
“I thought the first group was ok. It is very had to tell until you watch the tape. When the thing happens at the end like it happens when you are trying to play a lot of people, it kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I’d like for them to put up more of a fight.”
On the receivers’ performance
“It was ok. We had a couple of drops, it was about like everything else.”
On the quarterbacks fumbling
“Maybe we should have knocked the crap out of them in fall camp; they wouldn’t have dropped it so much. We have to get it fixed. Some of it is because you are playing a lot of people, but that’s unacceptable. We have to do a better job coaching them on the mesh part of it, too.”
On special teams improvement
“Return game was a little better. We worked on it, and it looked a little better. Jerrard is a special guy back there returning punts. So if we can get in the way a little bit, give him a chance to get started I think he is going to be special returning punts. “
On Dwyer not playing in the second half
“There was nothing wrong with him, he could have played, and we just chose not to play him in the second half. We shouldn’t have to play him; he shouldn’t have had to come back into the game.”
On Marques Ivory’s performance at quarterback as a backup
“He did a good job. He turned the ball over once, but for a guy in his first start he did a good job managing the game.”
On the secondary’s performance
“They got their hands on some, we knocked some balls down, but we just need to come with some. We had two or three in our hands that we dropped. In conference games and other games, those are big plays, you need to make them. Historically you make your most improvement from the first game to the second game. I’m trying to raise the level of expectations of this football team. I could sit here and say that we had 500 yards and did this and that, but we didn’t play the way that I think we need to play if we want to get where we want to get to. I’m not going to let up. I’m not going to accept that effort that we had today.”
Jonathan Dwyer (21) – B-back:
Coach Johnson’s statement of needing to play with more intensity:
“Coach is right. They beat us in the second half, they scored more than we did. We need to go out there in the second half with the same enthusiasm and intensity as in the first half. That is what he was looking for and we didn’t. That is why he was disappointed.”
Comparing the intensity of this season’s opener to last year against Gardner Webb?
“I thought we were pretty excited about it. That is something we are going to have to get us to, fighting every time and play like every snap is the last. Don’t settle down and play the whole game like it is the last one.”
On his opening touchdown run:
“It was just a wide open play, plain and simple about that play is that it is designed to get the ball to the edge and they made good blocks, the A-backs made good blocks, Josh (Nesbitt) made a big read. Just give me the ball and let me make a play. That is what the offense is about making the big plays.
On what the team needs to do to raise the intensity level:
“We have no choice, we come out here with targets on our backs. We have to come Thursday night ready to play. We have to go out to practice and work hard. If we are not ready for the game, we are not meant to play the game. This is a big conference game if you are not excited for this game, you are in the wrong sport.”
Derrick Morgan (91) – Defensive End:
On Coach’s statement of being intense and did the hand shake at the beginning lighten the team’s intensity?
“I really didn’t know we were going to do the hand shake at the beginning, it kind of caught me off guard. I don’t think it hurt our intensity. We have been working for 4 or 5 weeks and we should know what we are doing. I don’t think it cut down the intensity.”
On how well the defense played:
“I think they did a real good job of stepping up and taking responsibility doing their assignments.”
On his pass break up:
“I saw the ball and saw it was a screen and my first reaction was to get my hands up.”
Demaryius Thomas (8) – Wide Receiver
On his 56 yard catch from Nesbitt:
“It was a good pass, I thought I was going to score. I didn’t know the corner behind me, but it was a good pass. The coach had told us to keep running deep and stretch the safety out.”
Morgan Burnett (1) – Safety
On what went well in the secondary during the game:
“The guys were playing their responsibilities well and knowing where the help was and understanding the defense a little more than last year.”
On a lot of dropped balls that could have been interceptions:
“That is another thing we need to work on. Probably coming in on Monday we are going to be on the ball machine, so we will need to work on that and catching the ball.”
Josh Nesbitt (9) – Quarterback
Thoughts on the first play from scrimmage when Dwyer ran it for a touchdown:
“As soon as I saw him, touchdown. That is all I could think of.”
On the bright spot of the team today and what needs to be improved upon:
“I feel I was more of a leader out there today. Kept guys into the game and kept them going. I was happy with that. (Improve on) Holding onto the ball and keep practicing and getting better at whatever I need.”
JACKSONVILLE STATE HEAD COACH JACK CROWE
“We gave up a lot of stuff, but I think we played hard. We had 22 guys on the field who hadn’t played before here, and I think there was a lot of uncertainty. Some things happened that we didn’t expect to happen. They have four premier players who are guys, that if they have room, are going to beat you by themselves.
“I was proud of Marques (Ivory). I was disappointed that we didn’t have any more of a running game than we had. But I think our receivers played well, and I think we need to get better in the kicking game. The biggest disappointment to me was the punt return. We maintained good field position early in the game, but as the game went on, field position got away from us. I have confidence in Patrick, and I think we’re going to do a lot better than what we did.
“They are a top 20 team. I don’t know of they’ll have that much yardage, but they’re going to have a lot of yardage on a lot of folks. They’re going to make a lot of plays on a lot of folks. We’ve got to to give some credit where credit is due, and there are some great athletes over there. Paul did a great job, as he always did.
“We schemed ourselves into a tough situation. Like the first play of the game. That was just a gimme. Our players didn’t have anything to do with that. It was a great call by Paul. He’s a really good football coach, I think they’ll do well.”
What do you mean by that (the first play of the game)?
“We brought a blitz, and the only we you can beat that is to pitch the ball into the boundary. My statement was, I don’t think there’s much of a chance of that. I called that one. We wasted time trying to get penetration. We didn’t get any penetration. We were better off if we just sat back with it. We felt like we could get isolated one-on-one a little too much if we didn’t come after them a little bit. It’s a little bit `damned if you do, damned if you don’t.'”
What did you see in the way Marques Ivory played?
“He’s supposed to be a coach on the field. His heart rate didn’t go up as much as mine did. He made his mistakes, but he came off the field and told you everything that was going on. He’s what he’s supposed to be. He’s got to get a lot better. He missed some open receivers. I’d like to see him about 220 (weight). I think he can be an outstanding runner if he chose to be. He’s a work in progress.”