Jan. 1, 2007
Georgia Tech Head Coach Chan Gailey
Comment on the onsides kick, and if they had pre-planned to do it
“We had put that in and practiced it. Coach Kelly, our special teams coach, did a good job on recognizing that we had that opportunity. It didn’t go exactly like we planned, but [we still got the ball].”
You said the other day at the press conference was that the biggest mistake was to feel that you are comfortable [in a game], did that happen today?
“No. Never. Everyone that just watched these guys realizes that you can’t relax, and you can’t be feeling comfortable. [West Virginia] is a very good football team with a lot of weapons, and they did an excellent job of taking advantage of their opportunities. There were a lot of crazy bounces of the ball out there today, and they took advantage of their opportunities.”
Comment on Taylor Bennett
“I thought that Taylor played extremely well for the situation. I thought he played extremely well. The first half was phenomenal. He moved around and made some things happen. In the second half, he played good. Not as good as he did in the first half, and you look at that. But you take the whole game into perspective, and he did an outstanding job. He learned something today. He learned that, when you’re in the fourth quarter and within three points, you don’t take the chance down there. We talked about it when he came off the sideline. But he has a bright future.
“I expected that, when he got his opportunity, he would go out there and play well. So no, he did not exceed my expectations.”
Comment on the field goal attempt late in the game
“It’s fourth-and-nine and you’re sitting there at the 34-yard line or so, and if it had been fourth-and-four or fourth-and-five, I might have gone for it. But fourth-and-nine, that is a lot of pressure to put on Taylor to try to make the play there. The play before, we tried to throw it in the flat and get part of it, which was a smart play on Taylor’s part, but we just didn’t get it executed. So I decided to try and give it a shot. He’d been kicking well at practice, so I decided to give him a shot.”
Are you having second thoughts on not playing Taylor more this season?
“I think what happens is you evaluate each situation as you go through it each week. I would not have changed anything this year in that respect.”
Comment on Calvin.
“His play today was typical. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Calvin Johnson. I think I saw a trophy in the dressing room, and he must have been selected as the most valuable player, and I can’t think of anyone that deserves that award more than he does. He’s had a phenomenal season, and he deserves all of the accolades that he gets. I get to say it one more time: he’s a great player, and he’s an even better person than he is a player.”
On the interception, it looked like the receiver got blocked off.
“He did. He got jammed.”
On what West Virginia did in the second half with their defense to slow down Tech’s offense.
“You look at it, and there is a drive where we get a delay of game and get behind. We barely drop a pass on the side over there. On Calvin, they called it incomplete…they could have called it complete. There were a lot of little things that happened, and that’s the difference between getting the ball down the field and scoring touchdowns in the first half and not doing it in the second half. We had our chances in the fourth quarter. We had the ball down inside the 40-yard line twice. We had our chances. We couldn’t execute and take it in the enczone. Hopefully as we mature as a football team and get better, we’ll finish those games.
Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson
(on whether this was his last game at Georgia Tech)
“I’m not even thinking about that right now. We just lost the game. That’s far from my mind, I’m not thinking about anything else right now. I’ll have to make a decision, the deadline is coming up pretty soon, so, it won’t be long off.”
(on the play of Taylor Bennett)
“He had a hell of a game. His first big start. He’s going to be a great quarterback. We’ve been going with him for awhile, he’s my roommate, we’re always throwing.”
(on what happened in the second half)
“Basically, we just didn’t put up points on the board. I’m not going to speak for the defense, I just know for the offense we just put up one touchdown.”
(on losing the final three games)
“It hurts to drop three games in a row, as we did the last three games, but, it’s our last game, so we have to look forward to next year.”
Linebacker KaMichael Hall
(on not being able to hold an 18-point lead)
“You’ve got to learn how to finish. It’s all about finishing. If you can’t finish a game, you’re not going to win it.”
“When you’ve got Pat White in the backfield, a lot can happen. #35 had a very good game, and it’s a very good team and I can’t take anything away from those guys.”
(on West Virginia’s speed)
“It probably caught us off guard on the first series, but, we’ve faced fast quarterbacks before and it’s all about keeping them contained.”
Wide Receiver James Johnson
(on scoring 35 points and not winning the game)
“You’ve got to win every aspect of the game. The offense can score a lot of points and the defense can give up a lot of points. It’s a great team in West Virginia and a great game.”
(on disappointment of losing an 18-point lead)
“Any loss is difficult whether you lose by three or 40. You just practice hard and prepare for it. Everybody’s going to come out with their heads down, but, when it comes to the spring season, we’re going to have to forget about it and start next season all over again.”
Running Back Tashard Choice
(on West Virginia and missed opportunities)
“They are a great team. You have to give West Virginia a lot of credit. Pat White and those guys, they played a heck of a game the second half. We had some plays here and there that offensively we could’ve had a chance to capitalize and put up some points, but we didn’t.”
(on Taylor Bennett’s performance)
“Great job. He made one little mistake, but he gave us a chance to win the ballgame, that’s all you can ask for someone in their first start of the season. Everyone in the locker room understood he was going to play a great game.”
Quarterback Taylor Bennett
(on the offense putting up points)
“It was exciting. You put up 35 points on the number 12 team in the nation. We played hard. We gave it everything we had, we just came up short. If we give it all we’ve got, that’s the most you can ask for.
(on evaluating his play)
“It was nice. We started out with a number of completions. It was nice to hit a couple of short routes and get in the groove of things. We played good. The offensive line played great. They picked up everything. It was a team effort today, that’s for sure.”
“As you complete balls and move the offense down the field, you start to build up confidence and everyone has that confidence, and that’s what we did today.”
(on Calvin Johnson returning to school)
“I hope so. After this, it’s going to be a hard decision, I know that. Whatever he decides, it’ll be the right decision for him. Everyone wants him to stay. It’s definitely a plus to have him on the field.”