Sept. 9, 2006
POSTGAME QUOTES – Georgia Tech vs. Samford Bobby Dodd Stadium, September 9, 2006 Georgia Tech Post-game Coach Gailey Quotes
HEAD COACH Chan Gailey
[On how Notre Dame game had nothing to do with the rest of the season]
I think they believed it before today. I don’t think this game had to be played for that to be understood. I think that our guys understood that you do play them one at a time and they all have equal importance when you get to the end. So it was good to go out there and have it go somewhat according to plan, and it worked out well.
[On the defense.]
I think Coach Tenuta and his staff do a wonderful job of teaching and coaching and getting their guys to understand their responsibility within the defense. So that part of it has been very successful for us through the years. Whether it be by moving Chris Reis up and back, or whether we’re moving Jamal (Lewis) from corner to safety or whatever we’re doing, they do a nice job of teaching, and I think that works out to our advantage.
[On the secondary]
They had a lot of people going out for passes, and we had to make a lot of tackles. They completed a lot of passes, and we had to make a lot of tackles today. We missed some, but we made the majority of them, and we held them when we had to. But it was a great effort by the defense.
[On the first drive going three-and-out and if he was concerned]
It happens. If you have concerns with each and every drive because it doesn’t work out, then you’re going to end up with an ulcer somewhere. You’ve got to learn what you can learn from that series and go to the next one. You don’t get bent out of shape about one drive, one situation.
[On if Notre Dame did something differently in the second half defensively.]
I think as you continue to add some new things to it, and look at some different things, it’s going to be a little bit new for a few more weeks, probably. But you need to try to win through that period of time.
[On special teams, kick coverage]
Well there were some positives. I think Travis Bell is back. I think that our punt game is going very well at this point. I think our with our punt return, Andrew Smith jumped out there today and made some great catches and then went north and south with the football and made some things happen. It’ll get tougher as the year goes on to do that, but I thought that was a positive. Kickoff coverage is, right now, our biggest issue and our biggest hole on our football team and we’ve got to keep working on that. We keep trying to shore that up and we haven’t done it for two games, but we can get better. I thought we got better through the course of the day today, but it’s going to take more than that to be where we need to be.
[On if Smith was a trial]
Right now, he is the punt returner. We went into the Notre Dame game, and Pat (Clark) was having to play a ton, and was really tired by the time that he got midway through the second quarter. I looked out there and said, `How smart is that of me, to put a guy out there that is playing that many snaps at corner and nickel, and now I’ve got him really tired returning punts. Is that smart? James Johnson is playing a ton of snaps, but there is Andrew Smith and if we can get him some reps and teach him what to do back there, I think he’s got a chance to be a pretty good punt returner before it’s over with.
[On if Dunlap and Grant on kick returns]
We’re alternating those two guys. We will use both he (Dunlap) and Rashaun (Grant) both as time goes on.
[On his using so many underclassmen on the punt return teams]
It was mostly because we had the ballgame in hand. But it was somewhat because we wanted to see who could do some things out there. It wasn’t necessarily picking on someone, taking them out and replacing them, it was who we put in to see what they could do. We will watch the film and check to see if we got better using some of those guys.
[On the depth at running back]
I think we’re very fortunate there. Our first three guys, counting Jamal Evans, we feel very good about. Tyler (Evans) is a guy that came on strong in preseason and did some good things. We had some guys banged up in preseason practice, so we put him in there and he did some nice things. So he earned the right to play in the ballgame. He caught some punts and did some decent things. He’s a guy that we will continue to evaluate.
[On his confidence in the backups at quarterback]
I have confidence, right now, probably more-so in Taylor (Bennett) because he’s taken more snaps with the first and second groups. He’s played in a ballgame before, when it was on the line. But I don’t know if you ever have a great deal of confidence that they can go in and do the job, but they are here for a reason. They were good in high school, and if they get reps, they have a chance to be good in college. They just don’t have the reps right now. So it would be a wait-and-see situation. I think they would eventually be able to get the job done, but I think today, it would be tough on them.
[On how much of an advantage it is to have backups play the entire second half]
It’s big to be able to play those other guys and let them see themselves and let us evaluate and grade them. It lets them understand what it’s going to take to be a winner, win a championship in this league. And you do it incrementally. You don’t just go out there and get in the first ballgame of the year against Notre Dame, you have to take it step-by-step, and that was the first step for those guys. And for the rest of the starters, it was good too.
SAMFORD HEAD COACH BILL GRAY
“I’m not too sure how healthy we are. We lost T.C. Myers early in the ball game, then we lost Houston Holmes. We’ll see how healthy we came out, but we did get some guys banged up, and we do want to learn something about our football team from this. There were some bright spots, some things that won’t show up on the scoreboard. We had some guys take a lot of snaps that we feel like will help us in the [Ohio Valley Conference], there’s no question about that.
“In the first half, we dug ourselves a huge hole, and you can’t make mistakes against a quality football team like we played. There were a couple of huge turning points in the ball game with mistakes we made.
[On the number of Atlanta players on his roster and playing in Atlanta]
“It helps us quite a bit in recruiting. We have this game under contract a year in advance, and we recruit to that. The greater Atlanta area has been good to us, and we’ve got quite a few players that have meant a lot to our football team. Hopefully, we’ll continue that pipeline, so to speak.
“We do think about that in advance and try to bring some of those guys on the trip.”
[How good is Georgia Tech?]
“Pretty good today. They’ve got a defense that puts a lot of pressure on you. Speed is the biggest thing you see on their defensive side of the football. And they’ve got the pieces to have a very successful team on the offensive side of the football. They’ve got a great received, a very good quarterback, and it looks like a couple of tailbacks that can play in the game. It looked like going into the season, the only inexperienced part was their offensive line, but they’ve done a great job there the last two weeks. I think they’ve got a quality football team, we’ll see at the end of the year.”
[Did you watch any of their Notre Dame game?]
“It’s exciting for our kids to play these guys after they played Notre Dame. They definitely showed us, against one of the top five programs in the country, that they can play with anybody.”
[On Tech substituting in the second half]
“They played a lot of people in the second half, and we’re glad they did that. But we needed to come out and establish some things on both sides of the ball. And I’m sure they answered some things on their side by playing their younger kids.”
[On covering Calvin Johnson with wide receiver Jeff Moore]
“We weren’t going to just cover them with a short corner. Jeff is one of the better athletes on our team. He’s not a defensive back, but we put him out there just to see if he could make something happen, see if he could put up a challenge. And he did, but Calvin Johnson’s quite a player.
Georgia Tech v. Samford September 9, 2006 Georgia Tech Players Quotes
It was good to help the offense out, put some points on the board. It felt really good to run back 98 (97) yards.
Talk us through what you saw:
I saw the #2 guy on my side run vertical and I saw the #3 guy on the other side run vertical, so I just stayed in between the both of them and waited for the quarterback to throw it and just intercepted it.
It was pretty much right at you?
Yeah, it was pretty much right at me, cause I was kind of towards, in the middle of both of them, so I just decided when he threw it I was going to pick it off either way.
Did you see any of the blocks you picked up?
Oh yeah, I saw Darrell Robertson, we call him Robo, he was getting ready to block the lineman, so I just speeded up and sprinted past him.
Talking about the secondary in today’s game:
We were pretty solid today as far as the secondary. We had a couple of missed opportunities and interceptions, but I think we were pretty solid.
Talking about success and execution:
I feel we did that, you know, starting offensive line, Reggie making big plays on the offensive side of the ball. That was key. We want to make sure we get better week in and week out, we just want to come out and be the best.
Talking about this game after last week’s game:
Really, either way, you want to make sure you play good opponents, make sure and come out each week and play each opponent like it’s Notre Dame, or like it’s one of the best teams in the nation, so you can continue to be successful week in and week out.
Talk about the 2nd half offense:
Oh, it was pretty cool! We got a chance to see some other players and actually cheer them on. You know, that’s cool, cause they are your teammates and everybody’s supposed to play, so that’s cool.
We took care of business early, and we’ve got the same thing next week. Talking about execution: First drive might now work for us, but not today, everything started flowing smoothly, especially in the 2nd quarter.
Difference between last week’s game and this week:
Yeah, definitely had to go out there and perform my best, every day, every game. So, I just go out there and do whatever I’m told to do.
Discussing the offense:
Definitely, everybody was real comfortable with it today, everybody was moving and we had some new faces out there, and everybody was starting to like it.
Seeing new guys in there 2nd half:
It was cool. I always like seeing those guys second half, it’s all good, I don’t mind it at all.
This week, we could have sat down and said, “oh, we’re playing Samford” and we could have took it a little bit easy, but we didn’t, we sucked it up, we practiced just as hard as we did for Notre Dame and we got better. Of course there are still things we can improve on, and I’d say Samford’s a good team for a Division I-AA school, but we could have definitely easily just try to roll our helmets out there and thought we already had a win, but we didn’t play like that. We still played intense. We still went out there with a little bit of fire, and that’s what we have to have, no matter who we play. If we play soft this week, and then soft next week against Troy, it might sneak up on us and we might get beat by a team that we’re not supposed to get beat by, just from playing soft. Every week we’re trying to play like it’s the Championship.
How’s it feel to get the first win?
It feels a lot better after this game than last game. It’s always good to get those numbers up in the left hand column. So, a win’s a win.
Seeing the guys in the 2nd half:
It was good to see them get some time, get some reps in. Interception – what was on your mind? It was a play and #14 made a good play. That’s about it. He just made a good play, as simple as that.
Is play calling any different?
We don’t worry about it. We go out and we execute things we do throughout the week, no matter who’s calling the plays.
About passes to Calvin Johnson:
It’s execution, we’ve been working on this since last year. When we get the match ups we want, we’re going to try and attack it and execute, and fortunately for us, the past 2 games, we’ve been doing a pretty good job of doing that.