Nov. 1, 2008
Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson
“Wow, what a game, huh?… I think it was a great game from both teams. Both teams fought hard and played until the end. I’m proud of our guys for finding a way to make a play. Our two freshmen at the end, that was a great play by Cooper (Taylor) and I was joking with Rashaad (Reid), I’m like ‘he needs to fall on the ball’. I saw him try to pick that ball up and I wanted to strangle him. Then when I saw him roll over with it, I wanted to kiss him. I think our guys played through a lot of adversity and a lot of guys had gotten hurt. I’m not sure people realize how banged up we are. There are some guys playing out there that are really beat up and I’m proud of them for staying out there.”
On Florida State’s Third-Down Conversions
“If I never see another slant route it will be too soon. They completed, it seems like, a lot of slant routes. It may not have even been on third down. It seemed like the whole first drive was slant routes. Our guys in the secondary, I mean, we’re probably playing without three or four of our best guys. But the young guys went out there and played and Mike Peterson played a bunch. That’s the first he’s really played all year on defense. I think he did a good job. And you’ve got the two freshmen, Cooper and Rashaad back there, and DeRon Jasper. I think, when we started, he was just an after-thought on the depth chart when we started the season. So there were a lot of guys out there who haven’t played and it’s like I told the guys, 31 is more than 28.”
On how Nick Claytor did filling in for David Brown
“Well, I think with the offensive line, you never want to jump out and say anything until you watch the tape, because there’s a lot of things, but I know that he fought and he stayed in there. I know that Austin Barrick played a lot too. So they both played and filled in for David. I know that on Jon’s long run, they got a nice block to start the second half.”
On this week’s offense being like night and day compared to last week’s game
“You, know, I don’t know that it was. Last week, we never got the ball much. The first half last week, I want to go back to that again, we scored the first two times we got the ball. We only got the ball twice more in the first half. One was a punt and the other one was a penalty. Today what we did is we stayed away from penalties and we didn’t put ourselves behind the eight ball. Josh (Nesbitt) did a nice job reading. Then in the second half last week, what we did was we turned the dang ball over. If you’ll remember, we took the second half kick and went right down the field and the center hits himself in the leg and that’s over. Then we take the ball on a possession or two later and we go down to the five yard line and drop it and that’s over. What we did today, up until the end, was take care of the ball and finished drives. That part was much better. We finished drives. You’re right about that.”
Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden
“Back in 1992, when we first joined the ACC, we had one of the best comebacks we’ve ever had right here. We were down 14 points with maybe 10 minutes to go or something like that. That’s when Charlie Ward went back in the shotgun, and we came back and won. That’s one of the best comeback wins we’ve had since I’ve been there. Today, I think would have been better. Today I think would’ve been much bigger, if we could have come back today, because today we had to come back time after time. We were down 14 one time, I think, and down 11, and we could’ve come back and won the dadgum ballgame.
“I told Paul before the ball game that the game would probably be decided by turnovers. It would probably be that close. One of us will turn it over more than the other guy. I don’t know what the ratio was (3-2 in favor of Tech). That’s the ole ballgame, ain’t it? For a while, it didn’t look like it would be a factor, but it ended up being a factor.
“I’m proud of our boys for fighting back. We simply couldn’t stop the wishbone. We could not stop it. They just get too far ahead. That’s the last time we’ll see it this year.”
On running Marcus Sims on the last play
“That’s the way we practiced it. (Thomas) is a better open-field runner. We get on the goal line – you remember last week against Virginia Tech, Sims knocked it in there two times, or took it in there pretty good. Next week we’re liable to look at it and go in another direction, because he fumbled last week against Virginia Tech. Remember he scored, and then the ball came out? That’s the last thing I warned him about. I said, `Marcus, you get down on the goal line, don’t you fumble that ball.’ He was fighting to get in there, and they knocked it out. You’ve got to hand that to them.”
How big a spark was D’Vontrey Richardson’s touchdown pass?
“That put us back in the game. We had to have a big play somehow. We didn’t have time to drive. We had to score twice. That was a big play. Jimbo’s been working on that play all week, and I kept asking him, `When are you going to run that play?’ He was waiting for the perfect time. They bit, and thought D’Vontrey was going to run. They get it back and throw an interception, and we come right back and get it to the 2.”
Is it just a matter of outscoring this option offense, or is there a way to stop it somehow?
“There must be, because some do. Unless they’re not any good, and they (Tech) are pretty good, then they’re going to have to turn the ball over. It’s tough. I played against Switzer when he had that wishbone. I played against Pat Dye when he ran it. It’s just a tough offense. Nobody runs it anymore because it’s not stylish. But it’s still effective. Paul (Johnson) probably runs it as good as anybody. He’s a master at it.”
On your offensive line play today.
“Georgia Tech’s pass rush got to us in the second half. We had been winning the second half. But they got to us a few times.”
On going for it on fourth down after Tech’s offsides penalty.
“We were going to punt with 11 yard (to go). I felt like with their quarterback out, we could smother them. Surely, he wouldn’t throw again. Then after the five-yard penalty, we said we’d go for it. We might not see the ball again.”
Georgia Tech Player Quotes
Safety Cooper Taylor
Describe the fumble in the endzone from your perspective:
“It was the last play of the game. We either had to stop them right there. I can’t really explain it, I’m in shock right now. Never give up, that’s the mentality of our defense. We’ve been bending, and not breaking all season. That play kind of defined it – it’s the fourth quarter with a minute left, three yard line. I’m still in shock.”
What did you do on that hit?
“I got it with my helmet. Sedric took on the first lead block and I was able to put my helmet right on the ball, and it came right out. Coach Wommack is always telling us that if we get a shot to get our helmet on the ball, good things will happen. The defensive line and linebackers gave me an opportunity and it worked out well. First thing that went through my head was `get him down’ and then the ball popped up.
Tell us about your interception?
“It was a big play by Mike Peterson. He tipped the ball up, and the coverage we were in gave me the opportunity to get it. I tried to take it to the house, but got tackled a little short. Just a great play by the whole defense right there. We were rushing the quarterback and it allowed Mike to get the tip and that gave me a chance to get the interception.”
Talk about final drive of the game for Florida State:
“We were fighting. It was like I said earlier, bend, don’t break and we just kept thinking `hold them one more time’. We tried to just make something happen. What’s happened all year is our defense has tried to make plays and big plays on their own.”
Cornerback Rashaad Reid
Describe the fumble in the endzone from your perspective:
“It was a good play made by Cooper. The defense as a whole, the defensive line, the linebackers, Cooper and the position he was in. I was just in the right spot at the right time when the ball came out.”
What were you thinking on the fumble?
“I don’t really know what I was thinking. They were right there, and if they had picked it up, they would have scored, so I just fell on it. I don’t know what I would have been thinking right now if they had recovered it for a touchdown. The guy from Florida State never had possession of it.”
What were you thinking when you didn’t pick it up the first time?
“I was just thinking `I hope they don’t pick up this fumble’ because the blame would have been on me for the rest of the year and I would have heard it from my teammates.”
B-Back Jonathan Dwyer
When you got the handoff on that touchdown, how big was that hole?
“One of the biggest holes I’ve ever ran through. The offensive line did a great job and Nick Claytor got a big block on the 60-yard run. The offensive line came out from the beginning and made everything easier for Josh and me and that shows how good this offense can really be.”
How does it feel to be bowl eligible?
“It keeps the streak alive here at Tech and it’s just motivation for us to keep going. Coach Johnson in the locker room talked about this being a good win but that we have two tough conference games coming up.”
Is this the best home crowd you’ve played in front of?
“This is the loudest crowd for me since I’ve been here. They were into the game from the start and we were trying to get them fired up for the defense when they were on the field that last drive. That’s what our team feeds off of, the home crowd. They did a great job and kept us fired up and into the game. At the end, when they stormed the field, I had to put my helmet back on because I didn’t want to take a shot to the head.”