Sept. 21, 2013
Georgia Tech 28, North Carolina 20
September 21, 2013 – Bobby Dodd Stadium
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson
“I’m really proud of our team especially in the second half. We didn’t start out too well and you have to give North Carolina credit because they came out and played really hard on both sides of the ball. They did a good job of getting the lead, but I thought the momentum changed when we were able to take that last drive right before half and go down and score. That cut it to one score and we knew that we were getting the ball first. And once we got the lead we found a renewed energy and we played a lot better defensively and offensively for that matter.”
On the offense’s slow start
“That first series we missed a couple of guys that were open or we didn’t make the play. And like I said, there weren’t a lot of possessions and in a game like that you have to maximize it. And we still struggle running the option. We’re not very good at it to be quite honest with you. We’ve got to get a lot better at it than where we are right now, but we made enough plays to win.”
Did you take advantage of opportunities to sway the momentum?
“At times. We got a couple breaks as well. The holding call on the long touchdown pass was huge. Once we got the ball back before the last drive, I thought we could have taken control of the game there and scored. But we ended up in a third and long and I wanted to get the first down, but I also wanted to get the ball back in the center of the field because the field goal was going to put the game out of reach. And Vad made a great play to pick up the first down after getting a nice block from David [Sims] and the rest of the guys set the edge. So we didn’t have to do that.”
On the defensive performance in the 2nd half
“We did a better job of keeping them off the board. And they worked in tandem as the offense did a nice job of holding on to the ball. And as for Renner, the defensive staff made some good adjustments at halftime and in the second half. I also thought Jeremiah [Attaochu] turned it up a notch in the second half. He was really applying some pressure off the edge and got a couple of holding calls.
Did the weather give you an advantage?
“I don’t think anyone has an advantage when it rains like that. If you had a power running team, they might have a power advantage. But they [North Carolina} throw the ball around a lot and we handle the ball a lot. So it was tough for both offenses to do what they like to do. I know it was tough throwing the ball.
On Dominique Noble and Demond Smith’s perfomance
“They stepped up and played big. They played pretty much the whole game after losing both of our other safeties early. We also lost Quayshawn [Nealy] in the first series. So we had a couple of true freshmen out there banging and the moment wasn’t too big for them. They stepped up and played. And that’s why we recruited them.
Did you consider kicking a field goal before going for it on 4th down trailing 13-0?
“No. If we can’t gain half a yard, then were probably not going to win. And the way that game was looking at that time, field goals weren’t to do any good.”
NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH LARRY FEDORA
“We have a lot of opportunities to finish the game off and didn’t get it done. We’ve got to back tomorrow, evaluate the film, look at it, make the corrections, and we’ve got to get better.”
On the team’s offensive struggles in the second half
“Some of it was shooting ourselves in the foot. We didn’t make every catch that we needed to make. We didn’t make every throw we needed to make, and we didn’t make every block that we needed to make. They got better pressure on the quarterback, and that was really disappointing.”
Did the touchdown callback affect the team?
“You hope not, because that’s just part of the game. That’s adversity. We talk about (overcoming) adversity all the time. You just have to put it behind you and move on. If it is affecting us mentally, then we’re doing a poor job dealing with the adversity.”
On holding the ball only eight of the final 35 minutes
“We were poor on our side (on third down conversions), too many third-and-outs. They did a nice job of moving the chains on their side. When you get them in a situation like that, that’s what they’re best at, getting three yards, four yards, and moving the chains. You’ve got to give them credit there. I thought our defensive played extremely hard throughout the game. Late in the game, we started missing some tackles, and that hurt us.”
Were the missed tackles part of being worn down or …?
“That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer. I know this, I thought our staff put them in position to make plays. I thought guys were there. It’s not like we didn’t have answers to what they were doing. I thought we had guys where they were supposed to be, and then you just have to make the tackle.”
Would you have liked to have been up more than six points after the first quarter?
“Well, yeah, you like to have been, but we weren’t. You can’t worry about it, you either are or you aren’t. So you have to get the energy level back going where it needed to be in the second half like it was in the first half, and just keep playing. I didn’t feel like we had that.”
Did the weather play into your offensive scheme?
“It wasn’t like we made a call or changed a call because of the weather. We pride ourselves in doing what we’re going to do no matter what the weather. You can’t control it. We didn’t change anything. I thought we took care of the ball pretty well.”
On the philosophy of trying the two-point conversion after the first touchdown?
“If it’s there, take it. If it’s not, don’t. Line back up and kick it. It was there, and we didn’t execute. The guy was open.”
GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS
Vad Lee R-SO QB #2
On North Carolina’s competition
“Coming into this game we knew we would be tested because Carolina had a lot of motivational forces coming into this game and they are a great team as well, so I’m glad we got tested. We have a big game coming up against Virginia Tech so hopefully we can learn from this, move forward, and play better.”
LOUIS YOUNG SR CB #8
On defensive adjustments at halftime
“I think we just got a lot more aggressive instead of waiting to give a punch to them. There were a couple of balls in the air early that I thought we could have made plays on and I think in the second half we dug deep, leaned on each other, and got aggressive in the pass game.”
On the play of the secondary substitutes
“Once they got comfortable, I just told them that they belong out here. They had their confidence built up. I think Dominique (Noble) came up and made a big play on #85 (Eric Ebron) and then he made another big play in the run game. Demond (Smith) was coming downhill hitting. Once you get your juices following you get comfortable out there. That energy just flowed through the whole defense and it was contagious really.”
Jeremiah Attaochu SR DE #45
On UNC’s 2 point conversion attempt
“They put up a lot of points on us, and we did the same to them. They ran the two-point conversion on us in last year’s game and they got it. So this year they came right back and ran it. One point or two point, they can take that risk.”
David Sims R-SR BB #20
On the offense in the second half
“We just got in our groove. Coach started calling some plays to get us going on the inside and we took advantage of it.”
On the first touchdown of the day
“On that one I really didn’t know. When they said it was a touchdown I was thankful but I probably should have ran through the guy but I was thinking trying to get over the top because I figured they were going to go low. That was something I should have done differently though.”
Robert Godhigh R-SR AB #25
On running out the clock in the 4th quarter
“We like that. We like having those long drives getting the defense tired and letting our defense rest on the sidelines.”