Sept. 30, 2004
Georgia Tech Head Coach Chan Gailey
Tech seems to play better as the underdog, is that something you feed off of or is that just circumstance?
“I think they enjoy the challenge of games like this. I know I do. I think most anybody does that is a competitor.”
How much in the past two weeks did the North Carolina game come up?
“48-hour rule. Actually, it’s the 24 hour rule, but since we had an open date, it’s the 48-hour rule. It’s over. You learn from it and go to the next one. You mess with any game too long, a win or a loss, and it kills you for preparation for the next game. You can’t dwell on it.”
How has the off week affected the team?
“You are able to get people well. You are able to scrimmage some of the young guys and see how much progress they have made. It really does two things; it lets you get well and it lets you get extra time on game plan for the team you are about to play. That’s basically what an open date does.”
What is it about Miami that makes them different from other teams on your schedule?
“You obviously can look at the talent level. I think the other thing that really makes a difference on their football team is their depth. They have great depth. They can rotate people in almost everywhere and still have really good football players walking on the field. That’s the biggest thing. Their talent level and their depth. They do a good job.”
Do you think the depth is a bigger distinction between the two teams?
“I don’t know about that. I like our football team and our first guys that run out there. We don’t have near the depth that they do. So it does make a difference in the ballgame especially if you get into a game with a lot of plays in it, if there are 80 plays on plays on both sides of the ball or if it’s a hot day. Then, depth does play a much bigger factor.”
Does Miami raise the bar on speed in this league?
“Oh, yeah. From what I have seen from Virginia Tech, they both do. They both are teams that can run and have great speed and quickness on the field at all positions, not just at a couple of positions. They have upgraded the conference as a whole and they have made it tougher to find a way to win another football game.”
Florida State came into the league and went something like 48-2 in their first 50 games. Do you see Miami and Virginia Tech being that devastating in the conference?
“I think our conference is stronger. I have a hard time relating to ’92 and everything that has happened since then. I think our conference is a lot stronger and it would be hard for someone to do the same thing Florida State did. Anybody can do it, but I think it would be harder.”
How much did Miami and this game come up before the season?
“All summer. All spring and all summer. Everyone was talking about the new ACC and playing Miami and Virginia Tech at home.”
Is it a distraction when all the team hears about is the upcoming Miami game?
“I don’t think that was the case for us. Some people may think that. You have to get ready to play each week. I have said that thousands of times throughout my coaching career. It never entered my mind and I don’t think it entered a lot of people’s minds. I don’t think it served as a distraction.”
After last game, you said that the players would watch the film and be able to see little mistakes they made so they would be able to correct them. Do you think they have?
“We will find out if we corrected them. We don’t know that. In practice it all looks good. You have to get ready to play. We will find out if we have improved or not. I have always said I thought that a team gets better from its first loss to its ball game. We will find out if we have gone out and gotten better though the course of these two weeks.”
Do you think you will try to shorten the game as much as possible?
“We always have been a ball control offense. We try to do that every week anyway. Every now and then, we may try to change the tempo a little bit with something, but for the most part we are trying to control the clock, control the ball and have more time of possession. I think right now we are at 31 to 32. We try to do that. That’s part of our philosophy.”
If you had your choice would you like to play Miami every year?
“As opposed to what? Playing the Steelers? The great thing about a conference is you are going to play. The way it is situated now is really good. You have two divisions. You know who you have to beat to win the division and if you win the division, you go to the championship game. If you win the championship game and win it, you have a chance to probably go play for it all as strong as this conference is. That’s what you like about it. It just so happens we are going to play Miami every year. That’s great. Let’s find a way to beat them because they seem to be at the top of the heap right now in our division for next year. That’s what you are trying to do, win that division. I can’t do anything about it so what good does it do to sit about worry about who I am playing and who I am not playing. Whoever is on the schedule we will play.”
Nate Curry made a point to say that the statistic that Miami has only given up one offensive touchdown wasn’t that it wasn’t that important to the offense. Do stats like that, to a coaching staff, mean anything?
“Not really. What you are trying to do is find a way to move the football until you get to the red zone. Then you are looking at red zone defense and how you attack the red zone defense. Then if you get to the goal line situation, how do you attack the goal line? It is in segments. You attack each segment of the field, each down and distance scenario. You are, and this is a phrase coaches use all the time, you are trying to play it one down at a time. Let’s move from here to there and then lets move from there to there. What someone else did or didn’t do is sort of irrelevant for what is going to happen. All you can do is learn from what they did or didn’t do and then you are ready to go to your game. If stats where the key to victories and losses, then every fifth game we shouldn’t even play because we know who is going to win before we go out there.”
When you go into a game do you have a certain number of big plays on offense and defense you would like to get accomplished?
“No, I don’t think so. I think we talk about is how many shots during the course of the ball game or if we are going to run a trick play that we might have. I don’t go out there and say this game we have to throw it deep this many times or for this game we have to have three trick plays. That varies from week to week with who you play and the match ups you have.”
Do you use the fact that you are an underdog and picked to lose as motivation?
“I address that people don’t think you can win the game. It goes back to if you’re a competitor. It gets your juices flowing. You bring it up. You tell them the people who think you can win are in the room and maybe immediate family. Nobody else does.”
Would winning this game elevate your program or is it just another game? What would this win mean?
“It would mean we are 3-1.”
Do you see anything different in Nate Curry’s eyes this week (Curry is from Miami)?
“No. He competes every down he is on the field. You won’t see much different from him.”
How does Eric Henderson look after missing the first three games?
“He looks rusty. Today will be the first day he will be in pads going and doing things full speed. He looked rusty in the walk through and the half speed and three-quarter speed stuff that he has done so far. I’m sure it will be a little different for him to get out there get hit and hit.”
What do you think of Brock Berlin on tape?
“To be honest I have not watched Brock Berlin a lot. I have been watching their defense and their special teams. I have not spent a lot of time watching him. They put a stat up the other day and it’s a pretty interesting stat; what his win/loss record is as a quarterback from high school and college (59-2). That’s the stat. Last time I looked as a quarterback, if you lead your team to victory, you have done well. So he is doing something mighty well.”
Miami has done a good job of scoring on special teams. Do you put more starters on special teams? How do you adjust?
“No, I think you challenge those guys who are on special teams to accept what is getting ready to happen during the course of the ballgame. The thing you always say on special teams is, there is no second down or third down remaining to make some thing happen. It is a one-time shot when you walk on the field. That’s what you have to get them to understand. You have to get out there and play lights out for that one play.”
#22 James Butler:
On his excitement about playing Miami:
“We get excited to play every team but we still take one game at a time and Miami is just another challenge for us.”
Does a team like Miami have a mystique because of their national appeal and exposure?
“Of course. Miami is one of the best teams in the nation. They bring a long tradition of winning and a big game atmosphere.”
What makes you think Georgia Tech can play with Miami?
“We are confident in what we can do. We have enough talent on this team to play against anyone in the country and we’ll find out how good we are this weekend.”
What do you expect to do from your position because of Miami’s strong running game?
“I’m not going to do anything different. I’m going to stick to my assignments because if you cheat a play you will get caught.”
On the Loss of Dennis Davis:
“It’s a big loss because he is one of the fastest guys on the team, and in a game where speed will be a factor, it’s a big loss. It also hurts us because he is a leader on our defense. This just means that some of our young guys just have to step up.”
On matching Miami’s high scoring offense:
“We are not going to try to match their game, we have our own identity. We aren’t scared of Miami and we’re going to go out there and play hard.”
What is your biggest concern when you go out onto the field?
“My biggest concern is having everyone on our team execute. I’m not going to worry about what Miami is going to do. I just want to make sure that our team does what they need to do and everything else will take care of itself.”
On having Eric Henderson back:
“It gives us a big boost and more speed on defense. Our line has done a good job the past three games but with Eric there is so much more experience and it gives us more depth on the line.”
On the loss to UNC and having a bye week:
“I think guys are more eager to get out on the field and prove themselves. After a loss guys are ready to get out and play and especially after a bye week because we want to redeem ourselves.”
Has there been a lot of emphasis on stopping the run during practice?
“We have been focusing on the fundamentals of stopping the run, but that’s anybody’s defense.”
What was your reaction when you found out that Miami would be apart of the ACC:
“We were excited because it’s another challenge for us and it brings more attention to the conference.”
Nate Curry, Senior Wide Receiver
On being a Miami native and playing Miami for the first time:
“You always want to play the good teams. I’ve seen Miami on television a lot and you always think about playing them and what the outcome would be. I’ve been looking forward to it and I’m glad the opportunity finally brought itself to Georgia Tech.”
On his family history and growing up as a Miami fans:
“All of my family were Miami fans until I came to Georgia Tech. Growing up in Florida all you see is Miami, Florida State, and Florida. For me to leave Florida and come to a Georgia school was a big surprise to everyone. I don’t regret the choices I made and I know that Tech is the place for me.”
On the speed match up against Miami’s defense:
“On paper everyone is saying that we are going to be outmatched, but we have been preparing and watching film. We know what we have to do against them to be prepared for Saturday. As far as myself I always want to play against the best people.
What’s going to be the first thing you think about when you step onto the field?
“Scoring a touchdown. When I line up against someone I always believe that I’m better than them because that’s the only way you can play. If you’re not confident in yourself then you can’t make confident plays.”
On his impressions of Antrel Rolle:
“He is an All American. I’ve seen him on film and he is a good athlete. On the same token I think I can beat anyone I go up against. I’m not saying he isn’t what the paper says he is. He is a good player, Miami defense is good, and Miami’s football team is good but Georgia Tech’s football team is also good.”
On Georgia Tech playing better as underdogs:
“I don’t think we purposefully play better as underdogs. I feel like the better competition the better the team plays. We’ve made some mistakes when we see that our competition isn’t as good we’ve played down to their level. We’re always going to see ourselves at the underdog so we don’t even think about that anymore. We just go out there and play.”
On being able to score touchdowns in the red zone:
“Anytime you can get six or seven points instead of three it’s a good thing. It helps the defense. Any offense can drive down the field and kick a field goal but touchdowns are a lot harder to come by. Last year there was a lot of time when we went into the red zone and cam away with nothing. It’s still always better to get a field goal instead of nothing. I think a field goal is good but a touchdown is great.”
On Miami doubling Georgia Tech’s receiver’s:
“Receivers are the strength of our team. I don’t think there is one receiver they can shut down and the others can’t pick up the slack and be successful. I was out one game and Calvin and Levon picked up the slack and we beat Clemson. There is no telling how the game is going to go but if you shut down one the others will step up. If they double it’s to our advantage”.
“I prefer man coverage because you get to show what you can do and you get to see who is the best. As far as doubling someone, if they double up me, I’ll be happy because I know someone else is open. It’s a team game and you can’t win by yourself.”
On the Miami game being a big game in terms of being in the hunt for the conference championship:
“Anytime you have a good team come into your house and they are ranked it’s a big game. As far as the championship is concerned you have to beat the good teams to be on top. This will be a test for us to see how bad we want to be on top.”
On Coach Gailey stressing turnovers and how important they are against Miami:
“We run at practice for each turnovers, we run for turnovers if we win and we run even more if we have turnovers and lose. Coach makes us run so that we know turnovers are a bad thing regardless of the outcome and so you always remember not to do it.
“I think anytime you go out and think about not making turnovers, you make them. We’re going out there to have fun and execute. Everything else should fall into place.”
On feeling pressure to win the game because Miami is highly favored:
“We never feel pressured to win a game. We rarely ever pay attention to the outside media. We watch film and we know what we have to do. If there is any pressure it’s pressure we put on ourselves.”