Nov. 17, 2004
Head Coach Chan Gailey
Georgia Tech vs. Virginia
What are your impressions of Virginia?
They are good. You don’t get to be 7-2 if you aren’t good. They can run the football and stop the run. They do a good job overall. I think [Marques] Hagans is the leading percentage passer in the conference. If you look at statistics they do a lot of things very, very well and that’s why they are a good football team.
How are they different from other teams you have faced?
Their scheme is totally different than anybody else we have played. They play a 3-4 defense. They are one of the few that are playing a three man front and using a pure 3-4 defense. They have big strong physical guys. They do a good job of stopping the run with their front seven. It allows them to play umbrella coverage in the back. That’s why they are so good defensively. They double receivers almost every time.
What is the advantage of the 3-4 defense?
The advantage is versatility. It allows you to bring different people from different positions. If you have a four-man front defensively, that’s three linebackers and a lot of people incorporate a secondary player to be the fourth blitzer. In the 3-4 you have the luxury of having a guy that plays up and back to be the fourth blitzer to either side. When it is a big strong guy coming at you, you look at a [Darryl] Blackstock or somebody like that, [Ahmad] Brooks, those are some big guys coming at you. They are like defensive ends rushing you. The versatility is what the advantage is if you can hold up on the run and they have done a great job at that.
How does this Virginia team compare to Virginia from two years ago when they came to Atlanta?
It is totally different. They have gone out and recruited guys to go and play those spots and they have done a good job of filling those spots with first teamers and backups. Their two deep now on defense is very strong with the front seven.
Have you seen any advantages coaching in the NFL and then going back to college?
I have seen a lot of things, but I think that if you coach long enough you see most anything anyway. I don’t care what level you are at, whether it is high school, college or pros. I think the only advantage is, I have done it for a long time and happen to be able to see a lot of things. I also coached on defense for a few years when I first started and that probably gives you a little bit of a leg up as far as trying to understand what things are doing. When they are big and strong and fast, sometimes the schemes don’t matter.
Do you think winning late in the season helps your team?
I think early in the season you can learn from losing. You have new players in new spots with new situations. The longer the season goes, you try to build some momentum in some way shape or form. I think winning late is important for your football team. I think it’s a lot easier to build on that momentum late in the year than it is early in the year.
With as up and down as your season has been this year, how important are these last two big games?
If we were 3-6 instead of 6-3, you go win the last two and things are looking positive. If you lose the last two it is tough. I don’t care what point in the season it is. I hate to put too much on one ballgame or two ballgames. This is a big ballgame for us. It is a big ballgame for them. That’s what makes it so much fun.
Your senior class has a lot of role players on this team and not many really big name players. What has that meant to your team?
I think over the course of the last couple of years we have had high character guys that are team guys. Guys have a choice when they are not starters. They can be glue guys that help hold things together or they can be disruptive guys that help split things apart. To be honest with you, I think we have been very blessed here to have guys who are glue guys. They are for the team. They try to hold things together. They are positive. They understand, that they are not able to play but they are going to do the best they can at where they are and help other guys get better and help our team be the best they can be. That used to be the norm. That’s not the norm at a lot of places nowadays. Guys that aren’t playing are griping and moaning and causing a distraction rather than trying to help your team find a way to win. We have been very fortunate to have those high character guys here.
Would Mark Logan be a good example of that type of guy?
He might be the most prime example of the kind of guy who does whatever he’s asked to do to help your football team win games. He has never really found a home, but he has made some big plays around this place though. The catch he made against Auburn last year to seal the victory. He has made some tremendously big plays. Who knows, he may make the big play to win this ballgame this week. I don’t know.
The guys that are seniors now were here when Tech went through its coaching change. What does it say that those guys stayed instead of transferring?
I think it does speak to them and I think it speaks to our institute as a whole because of who we are. They are not just running off to play football somewhere else, they understand the value of the overall process.
What is the status of P.J. Daniels?
I wish I could give you that, but I can’t. He could come around and play some this week, maybe. We will wait and see how he goes on the practice field this week. If this not this week, then we will wait and see if it’s the next week. I don’t have an answer for you.
Do you know if P.J. is frustrated about not being able to play?
He is probably never experienced something like this. It has been a roller coaster ride for him. In general, he is a great competitor and competitors that can’t compete get frustrated. I am sure there is a certain level of frustration, but you can only do what your body will allow you to do. Nobody knows his body better than he does. We can help him understand what is going on, but he has to be the judge of when he is well enough to go play. Some guys handle that differently.
How have the injuries to the offensive line and even the running backs affected the offense?
Again I go back to a previous question, we have guys that find a way to get on the field. Leon Robinson didn’t practice the whole week of the North Carolina State ballgame and he goes out there. Nobody was as happy to see him out there as Brad Honeycutt. He was going to have to play left tackle in that ballgame. But with Leon in, he was able to go back to right guard where he felt more comfortable. It was a good experience for him to practice out there and for him to move back to right guard. For us to go out there and run the ball the way we did against North Carolina State is a tribute to those guys. The way they executed and fought, with all the calamities that have gone on since training camp, it has been amazing that they have played that well together.
How do you explain teams playing inconsistently throughout college football?
If you can explain that, you will have the attention of every coach in America from pee-wee to pros. I can’t explain it. I don’t know if anyone can explain it. That is part of the game. Learning to play with consistency and learning to win when you don’t play your best, there are lots of things that go on during the course of a ballgame, not only during the course of the ballgame but during the course of a week and during the course of a season. I think that’s why you don’t get too high during the season or too low during the season. You wait to get to the end of the season and then evaluate what kind of season you had. You can look at Green Bay. Green Bay lost four of their first five and they have won four in a row and are sitting at the top of the division. You just keep playing. You keep getting ready and prepared and you play. Then you evaluate at the end and see what has happened.
There is an article in the paper about coaches going from the pros and then going back to college. Do you have any opinion about that?
Every personality is different and everyone has their opinion of good and bad. That’s why Baskin-Robbins stays in business, everyone has a different opinion of what is good. I think you can’t make a blanket statement about why guys do that, why guys make the change. I don’t like that term `back’ to college. You go over to college. You don’t go back to college. It’s just a different job. It’s not a lesser job.
Is there anything about Virginia that sticks out to you?
Yes. Their ability to run the football and their ability to stop the run. Those are the two things that concern me the most.
Virginia likes to move their guards and their center. What kind of problems does that create?
It is something where you have to read pad level and angle. A guys starts to the right in normal offenses and you know he is coming with a reach block or he is coming on an angle block. You know it’s coming down hill. Now a guy goes to the right, you have to read pad level. Is he up? Is he down? Is he pulling? Or is he reaching? Sometimes there are some very slight differences in the two and you have to know the difference and you have about half a second to make that decision and react to what you have to do.
Can you talk a little bit about KaMichael Hall?
He is a great blitzer as we have seen. He times things up very well. I have said all along, I think Coach [Jon] Tenuta and his staff does one of the best jobs in the nation at getting people in position to use their talents. They do a great job at that. The one thing about that is, you notice KaMichael when he blitzes, but they don’t blitz him all the time so you don’t draw a bead on that. John Q. Public just happens to see when he does because he is very good at it. You can’t do it all the time or they will just turn everything towards him when he is in the ballgame. They do a good job at mixing it up and disguising it enough to where they can’t draw a bead on him.
Do you think that Reggie Ball is getting better?
I think it is consistency. If you are growing, then you get better consistently. You don’t go up and down. We will find out. Time will tell.
Virginia goes with their tight ends a lot. Have you seen anyone else this year that does that?
I’ll tell you who was throwing to the tight ends a lot before we played them was Maryland. Maryland was using the tight ends a lot before we played them. I would have put them in the same category with the way they use Heath Miller. Miami traditionally has been a good tight end school, maybe not as much this year. I don’t know. I would have to look at stats. This guy [Heath Miller] is unique. He would get my vote for all-ACC tight end. I know that.
How different is Virginia compared to any team you have faced this year?
They are similar to what they did last year so it’s not like it is totally new for us. [Matt] Shaub and Hagans are so totally different and they use them in different ways. They do have a few more play actions and runs that involve the quarterback. He has been a threat for that. I don’t think they are drastically different from as far as schemes go than any team we have played. The biggest thing is their offensive line is massive.
Joe Anoai, Sophomore Defensive Tackle
On his assessment of his play this season:
“I try to come out and play as hard as I can and to contribute to the defense as much as possible. I would be a great thing to get All ACC and be recognized with some of the other great defensive players in this conference, but right now I just want to beat Virginia.”
On the Virginia running game:
“They’re a great team with a great offensive line and some great running backs. We have played some other teams with very good running games like Miami and North Carolina. Virginia has a massive offensive line that’s full of guys that can move and we’re going to have to bring our `A’ game.”
On ending up at Georgia Tech:
“I’ve always followed GT on television and Coach Gailey. This program boasted the most opportunity for me.”
On Georgia Tech’s recent domination of their opponents:
“That’s all due to comm. We’re all on the same page and we’re finally starting to understand Coach Tenuta’s defensive scheme. He comes with a great defensive scheme week in and week out. Finally we’re coming together and its opening up space for all of us [the defense] to make plays.”
On his family’s wrestling history:
“It started with my dad and it’s gone from there. My brother now wrestles in the WWE. My father and my uncle were a tag team called The Wild Samoans. They held the tag team title a few times.”
“My brother goes by Rosey but his name is the Super Hero in Training. He mostly tag teams with The Hurricane.”
On pursuing a career in wrestling after football:
“I would like to pursue a career in football first and it that doesn’t work out I can always fall back on wrestling.”
On Georgia Tech’s focus on improving it’s bowl standing:
“We’re playing two really great teams and if we get wins against them it’s going to look really good. That’s what we have our mind focused on coming out and dominating the football game.”
On playing as a true freshman:
“It helped a lot me in regard to the college game as a whole. I learned how to manage a football game. There are a lot of snaps and things going on out on the field that people can’t see. You have your personal battles going on with the lineman on the other team. Being out there as a freshman like Darryl Richard this year it helps tremendously. I think I had most of my progression in the spring going against Brad Honeycutt. We battled all through spring and I think I made me a lot better.”
On the ability to make big plays with limited playing time:
“Adamm Oliver came in against NC State for one snap and made a big play. I was dead tired out there and then I look up and I see Machine (Adamm Oliver) out there harassing the quarterback. It definitely helps when you can have a guy with fresh legs come in and make some thing happen.”
Brad Honeycutt, Junior Guard
On getting fired up before every game:
“That’s how I’ve always played and that what I’m used to. I can’t start the game calm because I won’t feel normal out there. After I play a couple series I start to get a feel for things and then I relax.”
“Usually I don’t really like to talk to people when we’re on our way over to the stadium. I like to be by myself and think about what I’m going to do in the game.”
On following Coach Gailey while he was in high school:
“I followed the Cowboys but not too closely. If I would have known he was going to be my college coach I would have followed them a lot closer.”
“I saw the Cowboys play against Minnesota. I was sitting at the back of the end zone, and Randy Moss made one of the most amazing catches I’d ever seen until I came here and saw Calvin Johnson.”
On how he ended up at Georgia Tech:
“I have family here and my parents have always been interested in Georgia Tech. When I started to get recruited by Georgia Tech, we responded with some interest, they got my film and then things took off from there.”
“I love the city and I was familiar with the city as a little kid. I really like the environment and the school speaks for themselves, so it was an easy decision to make.”
On the number of players from Texas that are now at Georgia Tech:
“That seems to have picked up since Coach Gailey has been here. I think part of it is the recognition of Coach Gailey from the Dallas Cowboys. Also Coach Modkins was a great running back at TCU and that where a lot of the Texas connection comes from.”
On the offensive line playing well with younger players after all the injuries:
“Early in camp we had injuries across the line. The younger players that are playing now have played in camp. I think to a certain extent that helped because those guys got to step in and play in camp situation for a number of practices. They had the opportunity to have a starter’s type practice for several practices. It seemed like a negative thing at the time but now it has turned out to be a blessing.”
On taking it personally when teams assume Georgia Tech can’t run the ball because P.J. Daniels is hurt:
“I really don’t really think about what others say you. As an offensive line we have to go out there and execute. The running back goes out and executes the same way we do. That was shown when P.J. Daniels went down and Chris Woods stepped in, then he went down and then Rashaun Grant came in and rushed for 120 yards.”
“As far as we’re concerned you can only worry about what you can control. The running back, who ever it is, will take care of his job.”
On Georgia Tech’s season:
“These two games are huge, but you really can’t be concerned with what the other team is going to do past a certain point. We have to be focused on what we can control. We can’t control who we play or what they do. We can only control what we bring to the table. We’re going to work hard on our game plan against Virginia and that’s what we are focusing on now. If we execute like we should, we’re confident that we can come out on top.”
On Virginia linebackers:
“Their defense as a whole is very solid. They’re all great athletes. They run a different defense which makes things interesting. Their linebackers are good and that just makes it more important to prepare and come out ready to play.”
On Georgia Tech’s focus on improving it’s bowl standing:
“These two games are important for that but a bowl game will take care of itself if we you take care of business on the field. The idea around our team is we focus on this team this week and the next team next week.”
On the senior emotion for the Virginia Game:
“There is a certain level of emotion with this game because it is considered to be the most important game for us especially at this point in the season. With this being the seniors’ last game, there is a certain amount of emotion that goes with that. Also there is a certain level of emotion among the younger players, such as my self, to give them the maximum effort for their last opportunity to play here.”