Oct. 26, 2004
Head Coach Chan Gailey
October 25, 2004 – Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech
There was a lot of talk about the speed and depth that Miami brought to the ACC. Is Virginia Tech in that same neighborhood?
“They sure are. They are a very good football team. They have played good for the last few years. They are playing well again this year. They have lost two ballgames, one to the number one team in the nation and the other a really close ballgame to North Carolina State. They are a very good football team.
What has this break done for you health-wise?
“If we would have played Saturday, we would have been without three or four players. Fortunately, we were able to get them well and now they will be back and ready for this week, in particular Andy Tidwell-Neal, Kevin Tuminello and Gerris Wilkinson. Those guys will all be fairly health, not 100 percent, but fairly healthy.
What’s the status of Brad Brezina?
“Brad Brezina, it looks like, is not going to play anymore this year. He is out for the year. We will make a determination at the end of the year as to what direction exactly he is going to go. There is nobody that likes to play more than Brad Brezina. It hurt him. It hurt him tremendously. He decided it I guess last week sometime. I would say the odds are, he may never play again.
In a situation like this where a kid is trying to decide whether or not he will ever play again, what role do you play?
“I think it is less of a role than people might think. There is so much medical information out there today that supercedes and overrides anything a coach might say or won’t say. I don’t know of a coach out there that would ask a guy to go on the field and risk a potentially debilitating injury when there was some kind of risk, more so than there already is, for that kind of injury.
Virginia Tech has seemed to get their running game on track. Have you seen anything on tape that would explain why?
I think they have settled on Imoh. They weren’t sure what they were going to do at running back. I think they have settled on him. Any time you start to settle on somebody, then you figure out what he does best. Then you are able to adjust and work some schemes to let him do what he does best.
Thursday night football has become a tradition here at Tech. Do the guys still rally and get excited to play on Thursday night?
I think anytime you know you are the national game, you rally to that. The other team rallies to it for the same reason because it’s the national game. I agree that there is some added enthusiasm and excitement around this ballgame.
Has it made a difference in recruiting?
I think it exposes us to people who might not see us, more nationally than regionally. The guys in Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska and everywhere else that don’t get to see us because of regional TV get that opportunity to see us. We have been fortunate to have a bunch of home games so it exposes our campus and Atlanta and what we are all about to all those young men that are out there.
In the past Virginia Tech has had some big name players on the defensive side. Even without big stars, they are a very solid defensive unit, aren’t they?
“Very much so. No weaknesses. Seriously, no weaknesses on their defense. They are all very good football players. They make you earn it. They don’t do `junk’, they make you earn it. They have good athletes and they have a good scheme. We will have to work at scoring points on these guys.
How do they compare to Miami?
“They are not as big. They are as fast, but not as big. Their defensive line, instead of being 300 and 290, they are 260 and 255. They are a little bit different. I think they have one defensive tackle that is 290. That is not what they are built on. They are built on speed. They are very aggressive and are great tacklers. That’s what they are built on.
Can you comment a little on Virginia Tech’s special teams?
Their schemes are good and their attitude is good. They have an attitude that they want to be good on special teams, and that is evident by the way they play.
What does rotating six guys on the defensive line allow you to do?
“I think if you look at it, we have stayed fresher throughout the entire ballgame. You can remember last year, we had four guys and they played all the time. One of those was a true freshman. This year we have a six-person rotation that has been able to go into the ballgame and keep people somewhat fresh. I think it has helped us both in pass rush and run defense for the whole ballgame. We would like to be able to continue that. Most of the good football teams do that. They have that rotation in the defensive line, because you are rushing the passer and chasing screens down and things like that.
Coming off of two impressive defensive performances, what is the attitude of the defense right now?
“I think our guys have a great deal of confidence right now. I think we are not to the point where we have any kind of cockiness about us. I think we have a lot of confidence about ourselves. It’s not too hard to reach back to North Carolina and remember we didn’t play well. I think our guys understand that if we do our job and everybody plays to their ability and does what they are suppose to, we have a chance to be a very good defense. They get excited about sacks. They get excited about tackles for loss. They get excited about those types of things.
Have you thought about what a win would mean to this team and for the entire season?
I haven’t thought about what it means down the road, but I have thought about what it means for the immediate future. I know it would give us another win in the ACC and it give them another loss in the ACC. That is a positive for us. It takes your overall record to 5-2. I don’t look at it as far as the overall. You start looking at that the last two weeks of the season. You don’t think about that now.
Bryan Randall seems to be one of the more underrated players in this league. People don’t seem to really talk about him…
That’s the media not talking about him. Defensive coordinators talk about him. First of all he is a very savvy quarterback. He is smart. He doesn’t make mistakes. When he pulls it down and runs, you have to tackle him. This guy is an excellent runner. You have to tackle the quarterback at Virginia Tech. When you cover them, you just solved half the problem.
How does that compare to Darian Durant?
“I’m not so sure he isn’t even harder to tackle than Durant.”
Are you more worried about his running ability or his arm?
I think you have to worry about both of them. You certainly don’t say, `well, if we cover them, then there is a quarterback that is not a threat.’ You still have to worry about your lanes and who has outside containment is in the right place, and if you have a spy, that he is on top of things. All those types of things.
The teams that Tech will be going up against in the next few games feature their tight end pretty frequently, does that give you and your coaching staff something else to ponder?
Every time you have a tight end that can go and make things happen, I think it adds to the problems for a defensive coordinator, especially if they put two receivers in on one side of the field and you have the guy on the backside of the field. Either he is a threat or he is not a threat, and that opens up a whole other can of worms for you. I think it’s certainly something that we are having to deal with now that hasn’t been that much of a factor. Maryland’s tight ends were pretty active, but other than them, we haven’t really had any that were that active.
What is the difference between your defense now and the beginning of the season?
I think there have been a couple of factors. We have been able to get some people healthy, especially Eric Henderson. I think we have had some young players that have started to learn to play their position; Chris Reis at linebacker, Gerris Wilkinson at linebacker, KaMichael Hall at linebacker. They were all new this year. Kenny Scott is learning to do his job a little bit better. I think it is a combination of getting people on the field that are impact players, everyone playing their scheme and getting experience for the new guys.
Andy Tidwell-Neal, Senior Center
On Virginia Tech’s defensive linemen:
“They are probably the second best, if not the best, line we’ve faced all year. They’re really active inside. All four of their guys do a real good job of moving around. They don’t stay blocked for very long. They’re the kind of guys that really make you focus and stay on your blocks.”
What impact did Georgia Tech playing on Thursday night have on your decision to come to here?
“I always watched Tech play on Thursday Night. In 2000 I watched Tech play Virginia and win 35-0. I think Thursday Night is big for recruiting. The game is nationally televised so everyone gets a chance to see you play. It great exposure for the program and the players.”
What stuck out in your mind about watching them [Georgia Tech] play on Thursday night?
“Most of what I remember is that it was downtown, right in the middle of the city. Everyone stops and pays attention to the game even though it’s on Thursday Night and still mid week. People have to go to work the next day, and they’re still showing to the stadium.”
How many other nationally televised Tech games did you see before coming here?
“We didn’t get to many of them. We got ESPN GamePlan my senior year, so I was able to see them all by them but before that we really didn’t get many.”
On playing on ESPN Thurday Night:
“I love playing on Thurday night. It’s a lot of fun for everyone. You sit around all day on Thursday and anticipate how much fun it’s going to be. You have a lot of time to mentally prepare and it just gets you that much more fired up about the game. Knowing that you’re going to be the only game on is great and we all love it.”
On Brad Brezina:
“I think everyone really wishes him the best and we’re all keeping him in our thoughts. He is a great guy and he really made a huge impression on everyone he played with this year. His work ethic and passion for the game is something I think everyone should try to emulate.”
“He has been just as enthusiastic as ever, encouraging everybody. He’s a great guy to have around the program and I hope we can find a way to keep him involved. I know that he would love to be involved and eveyone would love to have him around.”
On Georgia Tech’s response to all the injuries on offense:
“Offensively, I think we’ve done a great job responding. With all the injuries to the offensive line, some of the young guys have stepped in and done an admirable job. I don’t think we’ve given up a sack since Miami.”
On backup center Travis Kelly:
“I don’t envy his job right now. He takes a lot of reps at practice. He is the kind of guy that loves to work hard. He is a team player and whatever he can do to help he is always willing to do it.”
On Georgia Tech’s defense the last two games:
“It’s great to see the defense playing well. It takes a little bit of pressure off, whether it should or not, it does. To see our guys frustrating the other teams offense to the point where they can’t get anything done is great.”
“I didn’t play in the Maryland game but it was great to watch. Our defense really stopped a team that is known for their offense. Maryland has one of the best offenses in the conference year in and year out and it was good to see our defense shut them down.”
On the importance of the Virginia Tech game:
“It’s a huge game. They’re a great opponent, nationally ranked and it’s going to be on national television. It’s a must win for us and at this point it’s the biggest game of the season.”
On watching film during bye weeks:
“I watch a lot of film on off weeks. I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not praticing. I just sit around my room bored, so I try to come in and watch at least an hour of film a day when we’re not practicing.”
“I try to watch games of teams we are going to play on television just to get a feel for how they play, their emotion, and how they play together. I watch and take mental notes.”
On Virginia Tech being in the ACC:
“It Virginia Tech’s first year. We would like to think we’re just as ready as anyone else to play them. We want to show them that it was good before they got here as I’m sure evey other team in the conference does.”