Sept. 3, 2006
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Chan Gailey
On what the call was resulting in the personal foul deep in the Georgia Tech territory
They said that he went for the head.
On how the defense seemed to stun them early and then not as much later in the first half.
They executed well. They made the adjustment, I felt like, and had a couple of good drives. Our defense held in there and fought them and held a really good football team to 14 points, but we just couldn’t get them off the field there late. We couldn’t get that third down or keep them from coming off our goal line, little things like that. I thought that they (the defense) gave great effort.
On special teams
Our kickoff coverage was bad early, but I thought that the other phases of the special teams played fairly well. I thought that we were able to create some field position situations that were a little better, but that is one area that we can continue to improve in greatly.
On how he thought Reggie Ball played
I’m going to have to watch the film to get a real feel for it, but he did some good things in the ballgame. He ran the ball well, he made some very good decisions, some good throws at times. Protection broke down a couple of times when we had some critical downs, and that hurt us. Obviously he played much better in the first half than the second.
On if Notre Dame did something differently in the second half defensively.
They basically doubles Calvin (Johnson) every snap. They were trying to keep him from getting the ball, short or deep, and playing over top of him. Every time we tried to go deep with [the ball] it looked like we couldn’t quite hold [the defense] out of there long enough to get the ball down the field.
On what he told the team after the game
I told them that there are positives and negatives. The positive is that we went out there and proved that we could play with one of the best teams in America, which we did.. The negative is that we didn’t win. The objective is to have more points than the other team to win the game, and we didn’t do that, and it hurt. They wanted to win, they expected to win. I don’t have any words of comfort for them, there aren’t any. But we will learn from this and find ways to get better and go on to the next one. I told them two weeks ago and a week ago that after this ballgame there are 11 others and we have to go and win them too. And if we lose this one, there are 11 others, and we have to find a way to go win those as well. We’re not walking around with our heads down. We’re hurt. We’re disappointed. But I expect our guys to get ready to play next week, to find a way to go in next week, to find a way to win the next week, and find a way to win the next week, and go from here. You’re hurting now, but people hurt in life.
On if he thought the team was affected by the personal foul call
I thought that was a big call in the game, yes. They said he went for the helmet.
On what he saw on that play
I saw both guys in bounds and I saw a guy going to make a tackle. If you call helmet to helmut every time two helmets hit, you’ll call it every time. It’s the game of football. They hit our quarterback in the helmet late, and it was funny how that one wasn’t called.
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH CHARLIE WEIS
“They chased us out of a lot of runs early in the game with their blitz package. We have a lot of players where it’s a run-pass based off of what they do. What it forced us to do, late in the second quarter early into the third quarter, was call more call-it, run-it plays. You had to take a chance of getting a couple of plays blown up. But we were running the ball at such a low percentage, it was putting a lot of pressure on our offense.
“In the first half, we got into five third-and-longs. We converted the others, but four or five of them were third-and-10-plus. Anytime you put yourself in third-and-10-plus, you’re putting yourself behind the eight-ball.
[On going for the fourth-and-1 late in the game]
“What I did was go on three. We put in a long count, figuring they’re going to be all keyed up and ready to go. So either they jump offsides, or they pull back. We had a situation where out offensive line had control the game, and we only had half a yard to go. I wanted the players to know you have confidence in them to get a half a yard when the game is on the line.”
[Did Tech surprise you?]
“We expected this. We expected to play better on offense. They didn’t surprise me with what they did. They played well, which is what we expected them to do. You can look at the stats. We had around 400 yards, and we threw for around 250 and rushed for around 150. But the thing I liked on our balance was we had about 80 plays, and it was around 50-50 run-pass when it was all said and done. That’s kind of how I like to play it.
“You have to give credit to that Georgia Tech defense. They’re pretty good. They’re well-coached, and they played well. We didn’t have our best showing, but I’m happy with the outcome of this game.”
[On Brady Quinn misfiring on some passes in the first half]
“A couple of those plays in the first half, he was under duress. It’s a little different when you’re under duress and when you have time to step and throw. It’s a combination of play-calling, route-running, protection. After I’ve watched it by tomorrow afternoon, I’ll have a better idea of what the strengths and weaknesses were.”
[On Notre Dame’s defense tonight]
“Our much-maligned defense that everybody’s telling me about, that’s all I’ve heard this whole off-season. 617 yards. If I hear that again, I’m going to vomit. I’ve challenged the defense every day, every day. I thought the defensive staff and defensive players showed up tonight, and that’s the reason why we won the game.”
[On the QB draw at the end of the first half]
“That was the call. It was a run-pass check with me. If they’re bringing the house, he’s going to throw a pass. I said, `don’t make me look stupid, but if you get the look, you run the ball.’ He got the look that we were counting on, so he went with the play and got in.”
[On playing a tough team in a tough environment to begin the season]
“There are benefits. Chan and I talked about this before the game. The easiest way to coach is, after you’ve won the game, to constructively criticize. It’s a lot harder after you’ve lost a game because everyone is in the tank. So tomorrow, I’m going to be a constructive criticizing machine.”
GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS
#41 Phillip Wheeler – Linebacker
On personal foul penalty
“He was in bounds, I hit him. I didn’t put my head down or anything. I think the referee said it was an illegal hit but I didn’t lead with my head, I do not think it should have been a penalty.”
On shift of momentum after penalty
“It was third down and would have been fourth down. They may have kicked a field goal. They may have even missed it since they were missing all night. That was a big play in the game.”
On Tech’s defensive effort
“I think we did pretty well because they didn’t have a lot of rushing yards and just threw the ball up and their man got it.”
On going for it on 4th and 1 at end of game
“I was waiting for them to make a quick pass outside but they just went for a quarterback sneak and got it.”
#22 Tashard Choice – Running Back
On Coach Nix play calling
“Coach Nix understands the game and understands coach Gailey. He really understands the players. I think he did a good job.”
On Notre Dame defensive packages
“Everything they did on defense was the same that we practiced for. They just made the plays.”
On tonight’s game
“It was a great atmosphere and a great game.”
On offense in second half
“We didn’t keep our defense off the field.”
#2 Kenny Scott – Cornerback
On defensive effort
“Being close is not what we are shooting for. We came out and played a pretty good game defensively. We just didn’t execute well at the end of the second quarter and the first drive of the third quarter. We just didn’t get off the field at the times we thought we should.
On Philip Wheeler penalty
“It was one of those calls. It was third down and would have been fourth down. It would have been a really big play but they called the penalty.”