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Post-Game Quotes

Nov. 19, 2016

Recap |  Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2 

GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson

 

Opening statement:

“Like I told our team in the locker room, you need to be happy when you win, it’s hard to win a football game, and I thought Virginia came in and played well. I was disappointed in the way we played. Clearly, as coaches, we need to do a better job getting ready to play; we could not get off the field on defense, and on offense we were abysmal on third down. Too many negative plays, we missed too many opportunities from the first series onward, where we pitched to the guy blocking, to the dropped passes on the obvious touchdowns, to snapping the ball on one when the count was on two. All those things we can play a lot better than that, and we’ll have to if we want a chance next week.”

 

On turnovers:

“The turnovers helped us seal the game in the second half. They overthrew some balls and turned it over and Harrison [Butker] was able to get a field goal out of it. It’s the second time in the last three games that we’ve had a completely stupid penalty on the backside of the toss play inside the 10-yard line: it’s unbelievable.”

 

On lack of possessions

“We couldn’t get them off the field. There were several times since the opening possession that every time they needed to flip the field, they’d flip the field. We were abysmal on third down, and we never really got anything going running-wise, except for big plays. I don’t know if we’ve played this bad all year up front, and really our A-backs failed to make big blocks, so that was a deadly combination.”

 

On third quarter possessions

“I was tired of watching it, and once again, the way that they lined up coupled with the way we had should have resulted in a gimme play, and we couldn’t execute. I think the guy we double teamed made our back bounce, so sometimes you’ve got to do that. Maybe it woke everybody up. But the defense did a great job on that series. They’ve struggled all year with their field goal kicker. He’s been inconsistent all year.”

 

On special teams performance

“We flipped the field a couple times but they flipped it right back on us. They did a good job holding onto the ball; I’m sure that was their plan.”

 

On his thoughts/reactions to the game

“Probably, I’m just kind of that way. I’m just disappointed in the way we played. I thought we turned a corner, we’d been playing better offensively and we got all of our guys back today. Maybe we need to play the other guys. I was disappointed with the execution, and  defensively while we did a decent job not giving up points, they missed a couple field goals and we were better on third downs and in the second half, but just the time of possession, and I don’t know how many possessions we had in the game: we had four in the first half, and a few more in the second half, maybe five or six.”

 

On Freddie Burden’s status

“No. We’ve got to let the other guy play some, he was pretty good last week so we’re just trying to let him play.”

 

On weather conditions impacting the game

“It’s hard to throw the ball when you don’t have it. The very first play of the game should have been HUGE. And we pitched it to our blocker and not our runner. Luckily we got it back. Then we missed the read on second down. So we were three and out, and I think it was about seven or eight minutes until we got it back.”

 

On PJ Davis’ performance

“Good for him, happy for our seniors to be able to go out winning the game. That’s what I said in the locker room. And again, any time you win, you have to be happy. It’s hard to win. But we made enough plays, enough turnovers, a couple overthrows, picked them off and the last return for the touchdown sealed the game.”

 

On Justin Thomas’ performance

“I don’t think he got a lot of help, and you know, he hadn’t played last week. When you play every week, you develop a groove, and we never got into a rhythm today; we only had big plays. So there was really never a groove today. I kept trying to find something we could hang our hat on, like running the ball, and we never really could. It was like popcorn: if we blocked the guys inside, the A-backs would whiff on the linebackers and safeties, and vice versa, so it was like a mixed bag.”

 

VIRGINIA HEAD COACH BRONCO MENDENHALL

 

Opening Statement

 

“I was impressed with our team’s preparation, fight and spirit for a lot of the game today. They put a lot of work in this week, especially on the defensive side, put in extra time to give them a chance to win this game. We had similar issues at times as the game went on with ball security and turnovers, another turnover for a touchdown. Really, I think, the majority of the points that had the game separate came off turnovers. So we haven’t cracked the code yet on getting our decision-making and execution to match the situation to help us move through those pivotal and pressure-filled moments of the game. We’re playing a lot of those up to a point.

 

“I was really impressed with how we moved the football and the consistency with which we moved the football for a long time, as I was with us playing very, very well against option football. There were three big plays, but the consistency how the defense played around those still was very strong and gave us a chance to win the game. We played effectively on third down also, and that controls the number of plays and time of possession that Georgia Tech can have, and that was by design.”

 

On not getting points after stopping Georgia Tech on fourth down

 

“For a team to take that risk, there was a sense of desperation on their side, trying to separate. I don’t want to speak for their coach, but they viewed that as a sign that that was a huge play, and they weren’t able to convert with a team that runs the ball very, very well. To have the ball on the 29 and not have points, certainly (was a missed opportunity). To win close games against good teams, those things have to happen.”

 

On your kicking game concerns with the windy conditions

 

“We had an early forecast all the way starting Tuesday about how the winds might be. We have a plan for it, and we executed the plan in terms of the decisions we made, and the outcome was not what we hoped, maybe in two critical situations … the field goal we just talked about and then the kickoff that went out of bounds at the end, even though we played good defense and they didn’t score. Those two things stood out for me.”

 

On the performance of Matt Johns at QB

 

“It was strong for a long time. We looked composed. We looked experienced. We looked like we were making good decisions. We moved the ball methodically. We weren’t taking things that weren’t there and trying to force. But some of those things did show up later, and he did the best he could. A lot of that reflects the supporting cast also, but the quarterback is the easiest to view. He played well for a long, long time today. Assessment is something we’ll do as a staff, and then we’ll look at what we think is best for our team, best for those individuals and best for our program.”

 

On the statistical disparity in Virginia’s favor (first downs, total yards, time of possession)

 

“One of my passions is defending the option, and the kids did a really nice job. There were a few assignment mistakes, but they did a nice job giving us a chance to have the ball longer, get out of third downs and give our offense opportunities to score enough points to win.”

 

GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS

 

Lance Austin, DEFENSIVE BACK, JR

 

On interception return for a touchdown:
“It is always good to score on defense.  Unlike Corey [Griffin], I have a little shiftiness, so it feels good to get back into the end zone.”

 

On Virginia’s running back Taquan Mizzell’s ability: 

“He is a great athlete, and we saw that last year too.  He is tough and can do it all.  Preparing for guys like that is always going to be difficult.  I feel like mostly we contained him a little bit, but he is a great athlete.”

 

Marcus Marshall, B-BACK, SO:

 

On confidence level as season progresses:

“It definitely feels good to get some things going.  In the game, especially as a running back, once you get some positive plays, it helps you with your confidence and helps you play better.  I think it helps me play better.”

 

On effort given during 20-yard rush in second quarter:
“I think that play hit outside of where it was supposed to, and I knew once I ran out there, I was basically on my own.  I tried to make as many guys miss as possible.  I wish I had kept my feet.”

 

Justin Thomas, QUARTERBACK, RS-SR

 

On playing last game at Bobby Dodd Stadium:
“I tried to approach it as any other game.  I did not want to come in thinking about this being the last one.  I wanted to make sure I executed.  It was fun, a great last one, and we went out with a win.  We have a lot of great memories in this stadium and did a lot of good things throughout our careers.  It was a great moment. 

 

On moving onto next week:

“I will think about next week on Monday when we come in to watch film.  I will relax and enjoy today and tomorrow, but Monday it will be like any other week getting back to business.”

 

 

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