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Post-Game Quotes

Oct. 11, 2014

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GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson

Opening Statement
“I think you have to give Duke credit. Their kids played hard and they made plays that they had to [in order] to win the game. I was disappointed in the way we played. We are not good enough to lose the turnover battle three to nothing to anybody and win the game. Couple that with penalties, especially in the first half, that kept drives alive for them. And in the red zone where they scored touchdowns and we scored field goals. And there’s the game. Hopefully you can learn from it and move on. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed.”

Inattention to detail
“I don’t want to take anything away from Duke; their guys played hard. We just didn’t make enough plays. If you can’t lineup onsides on punt team, you give them a first down. We had a couple of play action balls deep that we dropped. The one there at the end that we underthrew on the 10, and we had both guys open – the post and the wheel I think. You’ve got to make those plays. That’s the difference between winning and losing the game.”

Defensive effort
“We’ve been pretty good not missing our turn on offense and keeping the pressure on the other side. Sooner or later that’s what’s going to happen. You’re not going to score every time. But we got beat today offensively too. We didn’t play well enough on offense to win the game either. In the red zone or turning the ball over. We fumbled the ball on a damn straight handoff. It was just a handoff, it wasn’t even an option.”

Corey Griffin’s targeting penalty
“I didn’t see it. It looked like to me that he [Corey Griffin] hit the guy in the chest. I didn’t see it on tape so I don’t have any idea. That was a killer on second and 28 or something. We let them convert on their two drives on second-and-28 and third-and-22.”

Postgame message to the team
“We are not good enough to turn the ball over and have penalties and let people out there. We’ve got to play clean games. That’s the way we’ve got to play. We can’t roll our helmet out there and beat anybody. It’s not going to happen. This game didn’t go a whole lot different than the other games we’ve played except we had three turnovers and they had none. And we weren’t scoring touchdowns when we got the ball every possession.”

Justin Thomas injury
“I think he turned his ankle right before halftime. I asked him twice if he could go and he wanted to play. He looked like to me that he was okay. On the first play of the second half he took off down the sideline and ran the ball pretty good. But I could tell it was bothering him. That’s why I took him out there in the fourth quarter.”

Tim Byerly’s fourth quarter performance
“I thought he came in and played well. He didn’t surprise me. I expected him to play that way. That’s the way he practiced in the spring and fall. We just haven’t had a chance to get him in the games many times because they’ve all been don’t-miss-your-turn games. You don’t want to break up the flow. I though he did some good things. He showed some strength and made some big plays.”

Justin Thomas’ fourth quarter interception
“He [Justin Thomas] said he was trying to throw it out of bounds. We just had that discussion on our sidelines about throwing it out of bounds. He really didn’t have anywhere to throw the ball. He was trying to hold on, hold on and buy a play. And they got him off the back side and they probably hit him as he was throwing it. I think he was trying to throw it out of bounds, that’s what he said.”

DUKE HEAD COACH DAVID CUTCLIFFE

Opening remarks
“I’m really proud of our team and our stsff over the open date. I thought we utilized our time well. I thought our team was well-prepared in all three phases. today. We came out and played 60 minutes for the most part. We had some issues there late. Sometimes when we get in that situation where you transition from an option-type situation to a two-minute drill-type defense, we have found in the past that it can be a struggle at times. We’ll learn from that, and we’ll be better.

“Creating turnovers was huge.  Our offense, staying on the field … we knew running the football was going to be a big part of it. We had to at least match their ability to run the football. We were a physical football team today, which we knew would be our best chance to win the ball game.

“Hats off to Georgia Tech. There was no quit in them. You saw them surge back. I knew they would It’s been their history. So I couldn’t be more proud of our group. Now we have to re-group, and I hope we get a few people back when we go play it home. It’s going to be our only game at home in a seven-week span, so we better take advantage of it.”

The secret to stopping the option
“Well, we still didn’t stop it, you know. But I think great effort and the way we managed ourselves out there. We got good play from the interior. We got good play from our linebackers. Our ends did the things they needed to do, and the ability of our safeties and our corners to make some plays. We consistently were in the right places.

“We’ve played against it a lot. We not only play Georgia Tech every year, we’ve played Navy often, we’ve played Army. We’ve seen a lot of option offenses. No matter how many times you see them, it’s still difficult. Hopefully we’re getting a little bit better at what we’re doing. I think Georgia Tech runs it better than anybody in the country.”

On having space to run up the middle in the second half
“First of all, we were winning the battle of the line of scrimmage. We blocked well. Hats off to our offensive front. Coach Latina and Coach Montgomery called a good game. I thought our adjustments were really good at halftime, anticipating what we thought we might see from them. Sometimes you’re able to do that, and sometimes you’re not.  And then Anthony (Boone) managed the game very well. He played really well.”

On not knowing which running back will carry the heavy load.
“We didn’t have Shaquille Powell today. He possibly could have gone, but I love the mentaility that Coach Boyette has been able to develop amongst those young men. They like being fresh in the second half. They don’t mind sharing. We don’t have to have a guy that runs for 245 yards. Maybe at times it’s going to happen. That’s how they practice.  They share that workload in practice, and that makes us better. The offensive lineman have developed a respect for those guys.”

On ending losing streak vs. Tech
“It felt good, no question. I can only speak for the games we’ve had with them, and we haven’t been successful at all for the most part. That always enters into it. You say you don;t think about it, but you do if you’re honest. It’s a difficult challenge, and the reason it’s difficult to beat them is that they don’t beat themselves. They do what they do very well. Today we were able to create three turnovers, which was significant. in the ball game.”


GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS

Zach Laskey, BB, Sr., #37

On Duke’s defense limiting the running attack
“The mike linebacker was playing the B-back all day.  We tried to get some big plays in the second half that Duke was just ready for.  They played us well and played solid football.”

On difference in team’s energy level coming out of halftime
“Yeah, you could tell.  We came out flat in the second half.  When you’re playing a team like Duke, you can’t come out and not capitalize in the red-zone. You can’t spot them any turnovers and penalties.  The three turnovers in the second half were atrocious.”

On offense bogging down in Duke territory
“A variety of things happened.  We had some penalties and some negative yard plays.  Anytime you get into the red zone, you can’t afford to put yourself at 2nd and 11.  You have to stay on track at 2nd and 7 or 2nd and 6.”

On Justin Thomas’ play in the second half
“Today, he made a few mistakes.  That’s football.  It’s part of the game.  It’s going to happen and everybody is going to make mistakes.  He’s always a calm guy.  He was still calm out there in the second half.”

Tim Byerly, QB, Jr., #18

On coming into the game late
“I think Coach said Justin might have been a little bit banged up. The play calling was just like I had expected.  A few times we just had to put in the hands of Darren Waller or DeAndre Smelter and let them go up and make a play.  Darren certainly did so.

On impact of the 77 minute weather delay
“Duke had to go through the same thing we did, so I don’t think there’s an excuse for that.  We hung in there like it was an extended halftime.  Coaches were coming up there and talking to us and making any adjustments that were needed.  But by no means is that an excuse.”

Quayshawn Nealy, LB, Sr., #54

On inability to limit Duke’s running game
“We didn’t keep our gap responsibilities.  Our guys were peeking in the wrong gaps and they were finding open gaps.  Their guys were able to make plays. We were peeking in the wrong gaps and they busted some big runs on us.”

On team’s energy level coming out of halftime
“Those guys just wanted it more than us.  We knew what was at stake and they knew what was at stake.  They went out there and played their butts off and we’re able to come out with the win.  I give credit where it’s due.  They came out and fought hard.  We just have to learn from our mistakes and move on. “

On his responsibilities as captain after the loss
“Every week is a big game.  My role is just going to be to encourage guys to keep their heads up.  We’re still great in the standings and in a good position right now.  We just have to work on the little things so we can make the big things happen.”

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