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Post-Game Quotes - Georgia Tech 28, NC State 26


Opening Remarks

“I’m proud of the guys and the way they just continue to battle. The things that we asked them to do all week, accelerate the process. It was a five-day week, a short week. I felt their attention to detail and trusting in the plan, executing the plan at a high level was really, really good. It was the first time we had to go through a short week together and I thought they handled it really, really well. It’s back to the trust and care and the belief factor that these guys have shown all season, that helped us tonight.

“We asked them to start fast and strike first, they did that. And then we asked them to finish and that last drive, putting it together with five minutes left on the clock and not letting them have the ball back was really cool to see. The will of our offensive line, the will of our running backs, blocking on the perimeter from our tight ends was really, really cool.

“I’m just really proud of the guys, the way they finished and played together and it was really good to see. It was a great environment: eight o’clock, ESPN, under the lights, Boddy Dodd Stadium, downtown Atlanta, representing the 404. All the things that we’ve talked about in building the program so that we are playing more and more of these as we go. That is the goal, that’s what we’re building towards. The guys were excited and I think they really enjoyed being in that kind of environment on that kind of stage and performing the way that they did.”

On the running game and finding success on the ground:

“I think [offensive coordinator] Dave Patenaude and our entire offensive staff deserve a lot of credit for the plan that they put together on a short week against a unique defense that we have not seen a lot this year. The way they had our guys prepared and locked in, the small amount of cumulative reps that we had to be able to play and still be able to fit up the things and block the things and identify the different looks that they were giving us. Hats off to the coaching staff and hats off obviously to our players to learn it, apply it on a short week and then be able to go and execute it.”

On improvements heading into next week vs. Georgia:

“Every single week we’ve got to get better. So we’ll digest the film. We’ll go out recruiting tomorrow because that is the lifeblood of our football program, obviously no specifics but that is what we will do. Saturday we’ll get a head start on the game film for our next opponent. It’s a really, really good football team. We’ll come in on Sunday and get ready for preparation, Thanksgiving week and play a team in-state.”

On how putting the team through tough situations in practice translated into the game tonight:

“It’s everything in our program. There’s a lot of talk, some good things written about [redshirt-senior, TE] Tyler Davis and his contribution to this culture and this program and what him and [redshirt-senior, OL] Jared Southers have meant to developing the culture, laying the groundwork, laying the foundation for all the future success that we’re going to have. It begins in the offseason with [head strength and condition] Coach [Lewis] Caralla. It’s the bonds that we form with the coaching staff across all positions, the relationships that we form with very member of our staff, with every player on our team, those kind of things. The resiliency shows up and the bonds that are formed because you don’t want to let somebody down that you care so much about. That is what we have in that locker room and it will just continue to get stronger and stronger as we move forward. The foundation that our eight seniors have laid for this program is really special. I’m so happy that their last night game at Bobby Dodd under the lights on ESPN was a win. They’ve worked for it, they’ve earned it and they’re going to mean a lot to this program from a long, long time.”


Opening Remarks

“I’m proud of the way our guys fought in the second half. We obviously didn’t do enough in the first half to make it an opportunity for our players to be in a much better situation. I thought the last two minutes of the first half really hurt us. We had a scoring drive, a three-and-out and getting the ball back with a chance to go score, and we fumble the punt. I know no one feels worse about that than Thayer (Thomas). To give them that field position before the half, and then they score, was tough. I thought … we were kicking a field goal, which we did and made it, and getting the ball back to start the third quarter, and we could get a little bit of a momentum swing there. So that was critical.

“I feel bad for our seniors. I love those kids, and for them not to have a bowl game … we were going to make this a special week for them, with the last week, senior day at Carter-Finley against our rival.

“But, there were some positives tonight. We ran the football well, and I thought our offensive line battled. Our tight ends and our backs ran hard. I thought [QB] Devin Leary showed a lot of guts and leadership. Tabari Hines did some good things catching the football. But we didn’t do a good enough job on their quarterback. His legs hurt us, and obviously a couple of the deep throws.”

On the team’s offensive improvement in the second half

“I think it started to click the drive before, at the end of the first half. We started getting into some run game and some tempo, which helped. I thought we just executed. We found where their blitzes were coming from and were able to pick them up better as the game went on. The O-line prevented the penetration we were having early. There were some things happening inside on our center that was busting up our inside and hurting us on our run game. We were able to take care of that with the adjustments that were made at the quarter.”

On not capitalizing on an early turnover, and the importance of the touchdown drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter

“It was great to get two takeaways. We should have had one on the first play of the game, forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff, but they recovered. It was big to get the ball back … almost had an interception, that was a weird play at the end with Malik.”

On the two-point conversion call

“It’s a spring-out. We’ve got a flat route with a corner route behind it. So if it’s man-to-man, we’re hoping to get a rub for the flat. If it’s zone you’ve got a high-low for the quarterback. And it carries on a hide route going on the opposite direction that he can throw back to if everything’s covered, which it was. They got pressure on him so he couldn’t get his feet set for the throwback. So it’s a typical rub route/high-low with the tight end hide route.”

On what your message was to the team at halftime, not one of your better first halves

“It was horrible. To be honest, they were calling each other out. I didn’t have to say a whole lot. And not in a negative way, just guys saying, ‘this ain’t us, what are we doing?’ Everything has been about executing and doing your job, and we didn’t. We need to play the best half of our life to win this game, you guys are capable of it. If we can go out and do that, we’re going to have the best celebration you’ve ever had after this thing. And we were close. We just didn’t get it done.”



On the first catch and getting into a rhythm:

“It’s just hard work. Going out to practice not worrying about the touches I had the week before, the week before that. It is just knowing that the harder I work the more opportunities gonna come for me. I know my boy James [Graham] is going to put me in the right place and set me up to play the way I know I can.”

On seeing Tobias Oliver get his first touchdown:

“It’s just great. We have been waiting for a game that really just proves what our wide receiver corps can do. With TO [Tobias Oliver] coming from quarter back to receiver. We have been excitedly waiting for him to get his first touchdown at this position. He has been working real hard too so seeing him get that touchdown was just great for everybody.”


On the defense’s resilience with injuries:

“You love to see it. We do the ATL, which is Above the Line, and so everyone who is on that list, we trust to go in. I was glad that some people got the chance to make plays. I think that was good for us, good for the team and good for them personally.”

On NC State’s two-point conversion attempt:

“Coach called safety pressure and they [NC State] did a roll out so he [Devin Leary] was running away from me. As I was pursuing him, he tried to stop and throw it back across the field, but he had no idea I was behind him. As soon as he turned to square up I was right there in his face.”


On how it seemed no one could stop him:

“My O-line, the first two long runs, it was just wide open like butter. All I had to do was run. They built confidence in me running so we just went from there.”

On what is going through your mind during the last bit of the game:

“Only thing that was going through my head was run the ball like beast mode. I mean when someone trusts you with the ball, you got to do what you got to do to be trusted. I just give it to the O-line. They did their thing and they get me to the second level and I just do my thing.”


On coming out fast with the pass and then the running game:

“It was just preparation from practice, and I knew that I could run the ball pretty good but I hadn’t shown it on the field yet so I had seen the hole and threw the ball pretty good had a couple good reads. That first drive we came out tagging through the air, so it was just executed the play. We knew what they [NC State] were gonna come out and do so we just executed what we did in practice.”

On the receivers and QBs being on the same wavelength:

“We feel comfortable together. Coach just has to call it for us and we are going to get it. In practice we look really good. Its just in the games we really just need to execute what is called and if I have enough time it is just showing guys that we can do it. It is just us working on it at practice.”


On how special teams set up the defense to be successful:

“It’s huge. You know special teams is a lot of the time the most important part. To recover that fumble is huge and then Pressley [Harvin III] always kicks the crap out of it, which is awesome and kicking it into the endzone and they fair catch it so they can’t return it for any yards is always a big part of the game. I am very happy about that.”

On the feeling after finally winning:

“We have been waiting for it. We have been grinding, grinding, grinding and the feeling afterwards is a lot better than, ‘God, we were close.’ It is an amazing feeling but we have a lot of stuff to keep working on and we know that. It is how I personally look at things, I am happy that we won its hard, winning a college football game is never easy no matter who you are and I am very glad we got one but I am looking forward to this next week because it is going to be a battle.”


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