Nov. 20, 2010
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson
“Glad to finally get a win, it has been a while coming, and it didn’t look good for a while there. There is still a lot of stuff to clean up, we still made some mistakes, but I was proud of the guys. They made some plays. We had a couple of guys step up big and make some plays and it was the difference. We had a chance to really bury them early on and we couldn’t get out of our own way. It was almost déjà vu of the way the season was. We would get down to their side of the field, we would get penalties, we would fumble the ball; we would do whatever to stop us. Then they dropped the kick and we tried to pick the thing up knowing you can’t advance a muffed kick. I guess I know, but I’m not sure they do, so I didn’t do a very good job getting that across to them. I was proud of the way they fought through some adversity in the second half because it kind of ebbed and flowed. We had some momentum and then they had a big touchdown pass, and then we got some momentum back on the play to Stephen [Hill]. It was great to see him make a play there on the ball and finish the thing off. With everything said and done, we won the game and like I tell them, 30 is more than 20. We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on before next Saturday. I told those guys to enjoy tonight and we will start to get ready to play next Saturday.”
On Stephen Hill’s 79-yard touchdown reception
“It was a nice play. They were playing, most of the time when we got in trips on third down, they had been playing cover-2, and actually they were pressing the guy. We drew it up on the bench for him; it was either an A-back or [Hill]. They actually played man-to-man and pressed him. Tevin did a good job throwing the ball inbounds where he could have a chance to make a play. He is a big, tall receiver. That’s the things we had hoped we would have this year. He made the play for us.”
On fourth down conversion by Tevin Washington
“They weren’t lined up the way that they needed to be for us to run the play. It was just kind of chaos, and [Tevin] got the first down, but it wasn’t our fault. They all just kind of shot down inside and bounced outside. I’m not sure we blocked a couple of them.”
On how Mario Butler’s tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a sweep set up the interception
“It was a big play. It was a good call by Al [Groh]. We brought the corner on run support and brought him hard inside. He guessed right on the sweep and I think that probably dictated the pass because they thought he was firing and they were going to throw it. We changed up a little bit there in the second half in the cover-2 and the way we were dropping the receivers. It was great to see him finish it, not only catch it, but to finish it. It was a big play, no question.”
On why Anthony Allen got so many carries today
“They were running everyone to the perimeter, and really that is what they did against Navy, what they did against option teams. They were running the inside linebackers hard outside to the perimeter, so they only had four guys inside. I told our guys all week we were going to hammer the guy, I mean that’s what you have to do, I don’t care if you are making yards or not, if they’ve got everybody on the perimeter, we’ve got five to block four, they’ve got to get it done, and he has to hammer it in there. For the most part we did pretty good, but we didn’t break any real long ones after the first couple and when you do that, you can’t make mistakes. You can’t make motion penalties and you can’t get behind the marker. Our third downs were atrocious in the first half. I think we were a little bit better in the second half. We couldn’t stay on the field; we came up six inches short. I was going for it on fourth down on my own thirty, and again, we do it nine million times, the wrong A-back goes in motion. It’s stuff like that just drives you nuts, just lack of concentration.”
On talk on getting revenge over Georgia
“There hasn’t been any talk. They haven’t been mentioned all year. Now it is time to play them, and now we will talk about Georgia.”
On if he is going to play the spoiler card with the team, and play up chances of breaking Georgia’s bowl streak
“I’m going to play up the `let’s get ready to go play and try to get better’ card, that’s what we need to do. We’ve got a lot to work on ourselves, and we are trying to play for a winning season.”
On becoming bowl-eligible
“I think that is one of the goals you start every season with. It helps the program because it gives you an extra 10-12 practices. It’s always a positive. We didn’t accomplish a lot of the goals we set as a team, but we’ve still got the chance to play another game. At least these guys know that they’ve got two games left.
On Duke wide receiver tandem Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon
“I think David [Cutcliffe] does a nice job, Duke does a nice job offensively moving around. They hit some big plays. They are going to get some passing. We had a couple of coverage mistakes when they got some big chunks, and then other times they just got open. Those guys are good receivers. It’s like I say every week, the other schools have 85 guys on scholarships too.”
On when Scott Blair found out he was going to be punting, and how he did
“Probably on Tuesday, when Chandler Anderson hurt himself in practice and Sean Poole slipped on the curb getting a slurpee at 7-Eleven and had knee surgery, all in the same day so we lost both punters. That is just kind of the way this year has gone. It’s like our offensive guards, our freshmen offensive guards. They just need one helmet, because one of them is down, and then we will get him back and then the other one will go down. I don’t think we have had a game where both of those guys started and finished. It’s just been one of those years. I didn’t worry about Scott being the punter. He has punted in games, and he is a senior. He has made some big kicks for us, so it wasn’t a big deal.”
DUKE HEAD COACH DAVID CUTCLIFFE
“It was a pretty tough pill to swallow. I’m really proud of our team for where we’ve come to at this point from where we were in the early part of this season. There is not comparison in the two.
“I’m extremely disappointed to have the game turn as quickly as it did on the interception, but that’s not the story. We’ve got a lot of people playing a lot of snaps. We’re asking a lot of a lot of players, and they’re giving us a lot. And I think we’ve hit a phase. It’s not the same old story as it was at the first of the year. It’s not what we’ve been at Duke at all. It’s that next step. We’re right on that doorstep, and we’re not gonna back away from it.
“It’s a tribute to our seniors, who have continued to fight. People have asked me that all week long, about the loss of bowl eligibility. It’s just not what we do. We have senior day at home next week, and we will come out and play as good as we can possibly play. That’s the bottom line.
“Again, I’m proud, frustrated, hurt. But I’m proud of a group of young men who have fought to get to this point. This is a good team with, right now, a bad record.”
On the improvement of the Duke defense in its third game against an option offense
“We spent a lot of off-season time, and it’s ongoing, with Georgia Tech in our division in our league. We have to play them every year. We’ve gotten to play Navy and Army the last two years. We have a good system. Our players understand it. They’ve done a nice job of executing it. What we need is more numbers to deal with it. It’s very difficult. We’re asking a lot of our defensive front. As we grow out depth, that’s going to help us even more.
“You just hate what happened to Ross Cockrell. You spend the whole day isolated, and they throw a jump ball up to a guy that’s bigger. [Ross is] going to make those plays more and more in the future. It’s just part of it.
“We have a well-prepared football team. Our staff had our team prepared to play in all three phases.”
On holding Tech to 136 yards in the first half, but much more in the second half
“We got tired. They really didn’t stop us offensively. When we got stopped, we stopped ourselves. I like what we do. We knew that Allen was a big part of what they were going to do. We’re a little undersized. They did what the should of done. I told Paul Johnson after the game – good job of using your system. We also got lots of licks on him, too, but it wears on you after a while.”
On the team’s response after falling behind 23-13
“You realize that so many conference games are won in the fourth quarter. After we let one slip through our fingers, we’re going down there maybe to take a significant lead, have momentum on our side and get ahead of an option team, which is what you want to do. After that, our sideline was excellent. Our coaches and players kept their poise. The more you’re on this team, the more you like this team. They do those kinds of things that you would expect a good football team to do. Now we have to get to that next level that finishes games.