Oct. 19, 2013
Head Coach Paul Johnson
“It was good to be back home. I was proud of the way our guys played. They came out and played with a lot of effort. I don’t think we had a penalty which was a big focus during the week. Other than the pick we threw on the trick play, we didn’t have a turnover. So that was good and in the past three weeks we’ve talked a lot about the things we had been doing that had beaten ourselves. I thought we got contributions from everybody. The defense played really well. They got a few turnovers and good field position for the offense. We also got a blocked punt. Then the offense was able to take advantage by grinding it out and putting points on the board. Overall, it was a complete victory. I’m happy for the guys and we will continue to work in order to get ready to go to Virginia for the next one.”
In your opinion, how did the defense perform?
“I thought that we played really well. When a team can’t run the ball it makes it tough. And we knew their quarterback liked to look at one guy and then pull it back down and I thought our guys did a good job of staying in their lanes and not allowing him to hurt us by putting his head down and running the ball.”
Why did you throw the ball so rarely?
“The way they were playing there was really no use. They weren’t supporting that hard out of the secondary, at least not play side. We felt we had a little something going with the option game. We tried to get something going with the B-Back early and did. So as long as your churning out seven or eight yards a play, there’s no use to get behind schedule throwing the ball. Unless the defense is playing you hard and you’re trying to hit the big plays. I think you also saw what happens when you can run the ball well on the play action. The receivers are wide open behind people because you have run them into oblivion.”
On the offense’s overall performance
“I thought that the offensive line played better. We didn’t have the penalties. We didn’t have the motions. We didn’t have all of the things that set us back. The B-backs got it started for us. Then once we got going they were forcing the quarterback to run the ball and we were making first downs and moving the chains.”
Why did you have Coach Roof up in the coach’s booth for today’s game?
“Actually, he asked if I minded if he went up to the box and I said no. When I was the coordinator that’s where I always went. You get away from everybody, it’s quieter and you don’t have to ask people to move. I liked to call the game from the box because you can see better. He thought he could see better up there.”
How big was Chris Milton’s blocked punt?
“It was huge. I’ve coached for over 30 years and I can count on one hand the games you have lost when you block a kick. We were up 21-0 and hadn’t really needed a long drive because we had gotten such great field position. We squandered the first series with field position when we had a guy so wide open but we threw it to the one guy that was covering him.”
How important was today’s win having lost the last three?
“You want to win every game you play. The highs of winning aren’t nearly as extreme as the lows of losing. I’ve been fortunate in my career that I haven’t lost a lot and nobody likes losing. Nobody likes to be around me when I’m losing, I promise.”
Sophomore QB Vad Lee
On the win
“It was really a confidence builder for the whole team just because we have big expectations and we still want to do great things this year. We wanted to get on the right foot this week and that’s (the win) what we needed.”
Junior B-back Zach Laskey
On not having any penalties as a team
“All week we worked on going on two and guys were focusing. If we had mistakes guys were punishing themselves and enforcing it a lot harder on ourselves.
On his three-score game
“It was a great feeling. It was my first collegiate three-touchdown game. The guys up front were blowing off the ball and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Junior LB Quayshawn Nealy
On the game plan defensively
“I think it was that we’ve got to stop the run. We knew that they were going to try to run the ball because it was starting to rain. We just felt like they were going to try to run it down our throat and we took it as a challenge. Day one of practice last week we saw a statistic that they averaged over 300 yards (rushing the last two games) and they were going to try to run it down your throat. Guys bought into it and took the challenge head on and delivered out there today.
Was that his best game at Tech?
“It has to be my best game. I had fresh legs today and it just felt good moving out there on the field. I was having fun. I felt like my old self. That was probably my best game, yes.”
Sophomore DB Chris Milton
On his punt block
“I was just hoping I was going to be free. I heard on the first one that one of the dudes (Syracuse) said they were going to block me. I was thinking we might not get it. Then we came back and it was there.”
Senior OL Will Jackson
On the play of the offensive line
“I think we came out and played with a chip on our shoulder because so many people were doubting us. We took it personally. When we aren’t able to run the football we put it on ourselves. The fact that we came out and dominated for the most part was big for us.”