Sept. 23, 2016
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson
“Very disappointed with our performance, it comes back to me; I’ll take credit for some of it. Offensively the first half was embarrassing, that’s ridiculous. They’ve got a good defensive football team, they’ve got some good players but it didn’t seem like we could get in their way. You couldn’t run back, we’re trying to run the option outside, release the tackles, they couldn’t touch the linebackers, they’re just dodging them. We kept getting behind and we couldn’t pass protect enough to throw the ball. We were pretty decent, at least in the first half, with the special teams. We were able to keep them way down in that end some so they ended up with a lot of yards. The touchdown right before half was disappointing because we backed them up a little bit and we just made a mistake.”
“I thought the second half was a little better, we were able to hold the ball a little bit more. We never could get anything really going on offense and the defense played much better in the second half. We got them off the field. I saw some things that were encouraging by the defense and the offense to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement, just really frustrated with that right now.”
On the first half offense:
“What was going through my head is let’s try to get in at halftime and see if we can adjust. There wasn’t a whole lot of adjusting to do; you’ve got to block guys. When you’re playing a good team and as athletic as they were, on really both sides of the ball, they’re really good on the perimeter on offense and defensively inside with the front seven, you can’t make mistakes. You can’t play behind the chains. I thought maybe we could gain a little momentum when we got them stopped there, I tried to throw the little halfback pass we put in, I think the kid was open but he shouldn’t have come back in, he should have stayed outside and then you throw the ball outside. But that’s kind of the way the whole thing went.”
On seeing any surprises from Clemson:
“They’ve been a big 4-3 team, 6-1, they played mostly 3-4 but they’ve done that. It wasn’t… we practiced it. There wasn’t anything we didn’t practice. I think just the speed, quickness, size. Those big guys inside can really move.”
On moving forward:
“You’ve got to keep getting better. Like I told our team, it’s not a division game, which is a good thing. We’re going to see the same kind of athletes next week when Miami (Fla.) comes in here. So we’ve got to be able to play better. We’ve got to have a little pride and throw our bodies around, get in front of some people and play better.”
CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY
“This is a place we hadn’t won at very much, so mission accomplished. We’re happy to get out of here with a W, it’s been a long time. I love the fight of our guys. I love the preparation. Tim Bourret told me before we came in here that Clemson has come in here undefeated many times since 1903, but it’s the first time they’ve left undefeated. Hats off to Georgia Tech, but our guys were locked in. They played very well.
“The first half, outside of just a couple of miscues, was just a dominant performance. I think they had 22 yards at the half on 21 plays. Offensively we ran 56 plays and had 300-some yards, and it was just a thing of beauty. The second half was weird. That was a weird second half, and that’s what happens sometime when you play this group. We only had seven (offensive) plays in the third quarter, only two possessions. We messed up the first third down, our tackle went the wrong way on a simple play. We come back the second time and got the perfect call on third down. He had the first down and went backwards, so he lost the first down. That’s the only two possessions we had in the third quarter, so give them some credit. I think they had a 90-yard drive.
“We pinned them back, I thought the field possession was awesome all night. I was really proud of our punt team and the field possession they created, same thing with our kickoff coverage.
“In the fourth quarter, we got it done just enough. We were able to get the field goal. I think we had 27 first downs. We didn’t punch it in on a couple of the opportunities that we had. But when you can control the ball like that with that amount of first downs against this type of team, then you’re making hay, because they’re not really built to run a two-minute offense.
“The interception was huge, a great play by Van. But again, 124 total yards, 95 yards rushing, just a dominant performance (by the defense), especially from our guys up front. That’s where it all starts. I can’t tell you how proud I am of those guys.
“Offensive, DeShaun had 300-plus yards, a couple of miscues on some easy plays we’ve got to clean up.
“We came here to be 4-0, and that’s what we got done. We didn’t win the division tonight, but we got off to a good start. We’ve got four wins, two of them on the road at tough places. That says a little bit about the toughness of our guys, I love that.”
GEORGIA TECH PLAYER QUOTES
Justin Thomas, SR, QB
On what Clemson did to contain Georgia Tech on offense:
“It wasn’t anything that we didn’t see the first three weeks. We’ve just got to come out and execute a little better and get prepared for the next opponent.”
On how he feels about a 3-1 season:
“We can’t harp on it. We’ve still got our whole division that we still have to play that we haven’t started on yet. Everything that we’ve got to look forward to at the end of the season is still right here in front of us.”
Dedrick Mills, FR, B-Back
On missing runs in the first half:
“They were blocking pretty good in the first half but we came out and did a lot better in the second half and got a couple good runs and found the little creases and carried the ball down the field.”
Freddie Burden, SR, C
On Clemson’s movement before the snap causing problems:
“It shouldn’t have. We’ve got to do a better job of getting to the line and getting set. They haven’t done anything we haven’t seen before so we just didn’t execute.”
On how they got sparked during the second half:
“We just kind of challenged the halftime, not to quit, not to give up, something you never want to do. We kind of took it personal, played a little bit better but not as good as we should.”