Oct. 16, 2010
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson
“It’s win number 5, and I think that anytime that you can win in college football you have to be excited. I was really pleased with the defense getting some turnovers. We had talked about it and came up with half a dozen turnovers today, so if you do that, you are going to have the chance to win most of the games. We were kind of our own worst enemy there in the first half. We missed several scoring opportunities, we had several passes that maybe we could have scored on if we had executed a little better and caught the ball. In the third quarter I thought we came out and pretty much established dominance there in the third quarter and took the game over, which is kind of the way we would have liked to have played the whole game. Still have a lot to work on, but I think we are getting better and we are going to have to because we are starting to hit the meat of the schedule coming up. Like I said, it is hard to win and anytime you win a game, you’ve got to be happy.”
On why Tech threw the ball so much
“They were selling out to play the run. They had the free safety up there tight, and he was flying up there on motion. The thing we have to do is be able to get those things, because against really good teams, you don’t get to do it over and over and over again until you catch it. You might get one shot, and then they will adjust. I don’t know many shots we had, we must have had three or four shots for touchdown passes that we dropped or didn’t take advantage of.”
On the play of Tech linebacker Julian Burnett
“He is a good football player. He isn’t the prototype in height and weight and all that, but when he gets out there somebody forgot to tell him that because he flies around, he makes plays, and he is a good player.”
On the sack and forced fumble by Dominique Reese
“Out of the dime package he came off the edge. He did a nice job, he came hard, and it was a big play knocking the ball loose.”
On consistent, inspired play from the team
“I think I saw glimpses of it. We still at times, in my mind, especially in the second quarter, looked a little lethargic. I challenged them at halftime to play with a little more urgency. I think we are getting better, but sometimes it is hard to tell.”
On team being set up to play the next three games (@Clemson, @ Virginia Tech, vs. Miami)
“I’m worried about Clemson. We’ve been fortunate; we’ve gotten them the last three times we played. I’m sure they are going to be welcoming us with open arms in Death Valley. We have to get ready to play our best game of the year.”
On kicker Scott Blair’s kickoffs and field goal
“Scott kicked the ball well on kickoffs. I don’t know what happened on that first field goal. It looked like maybe they bobbled the snap or something, but it looked like he kind of stopped. I’m not sure what happened.”
On defense playing better and knocking teams back on their heels
“I don’t know, I think maybe they are getting used to what they are doing and getting some confidence in what they are doing. We had one really bad series today after we went up 14-0 I think, and we let them come back down and drive the ball and score. But other than that, we played really good on defense for most of the game.”
On backup quarterbacks Tevin Washington and David Sims getting playing time “It’s good to see them get in the game and play a little bit. They are playing with backups at the positions too, so sometimes it is hard to evaluate them. I was happy for David [Sims] to get into the end zone. He works hard, so does Tevin, and it is good to get them in the game, because they both work hard in practice just like all those guys. Anytime you can go deep and put in a lot of guys — I know sometimes as coaches they get frustrated with them — but that is the only way that they are going to learn. You have to go out there and play, and that is the best way to do it rather than throwing them out there when you have to.”
MTSU COACH RICK STOCKSTILL
“First let me congratulate Coach Johnson and Georgia Tech. They played an outstanding game. They deserved to win. They played better than us, played smarter than us. They deserved to win, so I congratulate them.
“Obviously we can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to win a game. It’s embarrassing. It’s disgusting. It’s sickening to my stomach to sit there and see that many turnovers in a game.
“In the first half I thought we played pretty well, but the three turnovers in the first half, I thought, were critical. The first interception; they go down and score off of that. The next two; we’re driving down, and could’ve, should’ve, theoretically could have scored three times there. But because of the turnovers, we only scored once. I think it would’ve been a different ballgame at that point.
“In the second half, we did a nice job of coming out and stopping them on their first drive. We get a nice run to get it to midfield, and they called a holding penalty on us. We got backed up there and had to punt it out. After that, it seemed like we lost a lot of momentum, and then we turned it over three more times. One time Phillip Tanner fumbled and put it on the ground. The other time, D.D. Kyles went the wrong way on pass protection, Dwight got hit from behind on a pass, and they knocked it out. Then at the end of the game, Dwight threw another interception.
“I thought we competed well. I thought we played well in the kicking game. At times, defensively, we did a nice job. We gave up some big plays in the running game, and they were close on getting some big plays in the passing game. Fortunately for us, they just missed them. But it was a very frustrating game just because of the turnovers.”
On getting three straight stops early in the game and having a chance to take the lead
“It was frustrating to me, because we were moving the ball and we turned it over. I liked what we were doing offensively. We were moving it down there, then we turn it over. That’s the frustrating part. When we were down on the 15 and Dwight throws an interception, he’s got Blissard for a touchdown over the top. He looked like he just tried to aim it, and underthrew it a little bit.
“Again, it was about us; self-inflicted wounds. It wasn’t like they were great hits, knocking the ball out, or phenomenal interceptions. We made it easy for them, and that’s not taking anything away from Georgia Tech. They did an outstanding job. You can’t beat anybody turning it over six times, let alone a team like Georgia Tech.”
GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS AND ASSISTANT COACHES
Defensive Coordinator Al Groh opening statement That was a real good win for our team particularly because we had to grind it out for a long time, stay focused and keep trying to improve our performance. We emphasize a lot to just do our job at the highest level possible and quite a few guys had a really good performance in terms of doing their job today.
Coach Groh on Jerrard Tarrant
He gave evidence about being a playmaker today. He has a really good sense of the ball and that is one of the reasons that, in the spring, we chose to move him from corner to safety where everything is in front of him, whereas at corner things aren’t quite as much in front of you. From what we had seen earlier in his career he has a good sense of the ball and we wanted to get him back deep to see things. He really went after the ball aggressively today and did a good job.
Coach Groh on Julian Burnett and the defense
He is coming on strong now. A lot of the players here, seven games in, quite a few months, practices, meetings and repetitions on the things that we are doing and like anything in life, whether it is learning how to spell, ride a bike or play a defense, the more repetitions you get the better at it you get. This is the third week in a row that we have seen progress with the defense and if we can sustain our progress this will be an important part of the year to do it.
Coach Groh on the defensive progress
I don’t want to put any limits on [the defense]. We prepare for the game, we try to play the game the best that we can, we grade the game, we make the corrections, we make the reinforcements, we go back and prepare again, we grind away and we try and get better. That is part of our identity on defense and we have five more weeks to do that. It is pretty clear, in order to accommodate that level of competition what the progress has to be.
Assistant Coach Charles Kelly on the pressure of the defensive line
Today we had a couple of calls. It looked like, to me, that [the defensive backs] were trying to be aggressive on it. The interceptions that they got they had some good breaks on, but a lot of that you have to give credit to the guys up front for keeping pushing. You don’t have to sack the quarterback every time, but you have to affect him and they definitely affected and I think the defensive backs will tell you the same thing.
Coach Kelly on corner blitzes
The defensive backs like the corner blitzes. Coach Groh has been dialing those up a little bit. They like that. Coach emphasizes working technique with it to and Mario Butler has had a couple pressures the last two weeks with that.
Joshua Nesbitt on what Dwight Dasher had to say about him earlier this week
It was very motivating. I think the defense took it personally. Everybody kept coming up to me and telling me that they have my back and that they were going to handle it for me and they went out there and did their thing.
Nesbitt on the second half offense
We just went out and started executing the offense in the second half. It is frustrating with the drops but you have to keep going and keep pushing. Sometimes when you have so many drops you try to place the ball perfectly and you mess yourself up not placing the ball right. You just have to go out and keep playing.
Dominique Reese on the defense today
It was big. Dasher had given us momentum coming into the game. He was talking about how he was better than Nesbitt. So we took that to heart on defense. We don’t do a lot of talking in the press, we just let our pads do the talking. Once he came out and said he was better than Nesbitt, that’s when we wanted to go out and make it his worst day. He felt like it was going to be a homecoming, but this is our house.
Reese on what Dwight Dasher had to say about Joshua Nesbitt
Coach Groh read it to us in meetings, I think Thursday, maybe Wednesday, right before practice. Everybody was mad. We were ready to play then. How can he say he’s better than Nesbitt? We like the confidence, but that just meant we had to come out and play harder.
Reese on the corner blitzes
Anytime I can get back there and hit the quarterback when he’s not looking, that’s fun. We just want to put pressure on him. Even if I don’t get there, I want to make him hurry up and throw the ball when he didn’t want to so the DBs can make a play on the ball.”
Reese on the changes made at halftime
We weren’t fitting our assignments. They were doing hurry up and they caught us out of place a couple times. We went back and talked about and what we needed to do to fit back up like we were supposed to.
Anthony Allen on Dwight Dasher
Most definitely. Whenever somebody on the other team gives you some motivation, talking about the leader of your team, talking about a guy that everyone on the team looks up to and follows, you definitely go out there and play your hardest. To prove a point, that we do have a better quarterback.
Allen on his touchdown run
We knew that they were crashing everybody inside, so we wanted to get the ball to the outside. It was a matter of getting the linebacker that was flowing blocked. Nesbitt pitched it and he got blocked. It was a clear lane, wasn’t really anybody there to make miss. It was good blocking out there by the A-backs and the receivers too.
Roddy Jones on the upcoming game against Clemson
It’s a big game. This is probably the team in the ACC we’re most familiar with at this point, having played them twice last year. We play them every year so we what to expect from them. They’re big, strong and fast, and they’re going to play hard. It’s at home and we’ve kind of had their number the last three times so they’re going to be upset. We’ve got to get ready to come out and play our best game of the year.
Jones on taking advantage of the perimeter
Definitely. And that’s something we’ve done all year and we’ve done a pretty decent job of it, taking advantage of the chances we get on the perimeter. We had some chances in play action that we didn’t complete on, but if we do hit on those, the score gets a lot bigger a lot quicker. We’ll go back and correct that. Embry catches all those balls everyday in practice. I know I had a drop, Correy Earles did too, so we’ll get those corrected and it was just uncharacteristic for us.
Scott Blair on the kickoff coverage
The 10 guys this year [on kickoff coverage] have been doing a really good job. If I mishit it they still pin them around the 20 the majority of the time.
Blair on playing well
I can feel if I am doing well. I don’t really keep track of numbers, but I can feel if I am having a good day, week, month, etc.
Blair on his goals this season
I am having a good year, it is better than last year. My whole goal, up until today, was to be 110 percent, if anything messed up on a field goal it would still go in. My new goal is to beat nine-in-a-row and we will see how that goes throughout the rest of the season.
Julian Burnett on the defensive improvements
Anytime you are in a new system you are iffy about what you are doing. Now that we are getting the hang of it, we know exactly what we need to do and it is clicking. You are able to move the line a lot more, get a lot more disguises and play the game.
Burnett on not giving up
You just can’t give up. At first I did hang my head a little bit, but I found something in the lord and he just kept me pushing. I just kept going and now I am in the position that I am in.
Burnett on his playmaking the last three games
It is just playing the game. Just playing assignment football. You have to be a playmaker every now and then and I try to do what I can for the team, but it is more of sitting on the play where I need to be and having the play come to me.