Oct. 7, 2004
Head Coach Chan Gailey
October 5, 2004 – Maryland
What is the morale on the team right now after two losses?
If you don’t hurt when you lose, something is wrong with you. You’re not much of a competitor if it doesn’t hurt. If we had a bunch of guys that were joking around in the meetings and the walk through on Sunday and all that kind of stuff, I would be worried. Nobody is going about business as usual, that’s for sure.
How do you turn this negative into a positive?
Well, as I told them Sunday night, I said, `you have a choice, you can either sit around, mope and pout or we can make up our minds to go do something about it.’ Those are your choices. Each week, that’s your choice. Win or lose, that’s your choice. As competitors, the competitors find a way to get better. No, make a way to get better. You don’t find a way. That’s like if you look in enough garbage cans you’ll find a win. You don’t find a way to win; you make a way to win.
This game was always a big game, is this game a turning point for your team?
No, this is just the next game.
What is your thought process going into this game about quarterback?
Reggie [Ball] is the starter. There is no question on that. As we look at game plan, if we can find a way to use and get [Damarius] Bilbo hands on the ball we will continue to use that option for us. That may be in several different ways. It may not just be taking the snap. It will be in several different ways. He is a good athlete and we would like to try to get his hands on the ball. We are going to make plans to have someone ready to go this week and put somebody in just to give some else the opportunity if that situation arises.
What was your motivation for putting Bilbo in the game? And what are your thoughts on Mark Logan?
I think I explained the motivation of putting [Bilbo] in the game. He is a good athlete and he needs to get his hands on the ball. Mark is a very good athlete and a `Jack of all trades’ and is valuable to our football team and can do a lot of things pretty good. That’s how he is a value to our team. He is a leader in that respect. He is a commited team player. He will do whatever you ask him to do whenever you ask him to do it.
You talked about getting someone else in at quarterback, will that be win or lose, if the game is going well or poorly?
We will probably, but as was stated a moment ago, things are subject to change. We may play a guy in there for a series. That’s may. That’s not locked, but we may.
Is the most disappointing part of the offensive side of the ball the execution?
I think that execution is a broad term, and I think that execution is made up of a lot of little things. If I had to pick one most disappointing thing, it’s turnovers. That’s the thing. Nobody plays perfect and no one is going to have a perfect game. Everybody makes mistakes, and you try to make less mistakes than the other team on each given day. Execution is a broad term for saying that everybody’s not getting the job done enough at the same time. That’s what that’s saying. The turnovers are the things that break your back. That’s what we can’t have. We have to eliminate turnovers or we can’t expect to win. That’s the bottom line.
Is there something you can point to as to why Reggie has struggled so much?
No, if I could find out whatever that thing is to point to, we could solve the issue. We keep talking to him about things. The importance of issues of the little things ant thought processes. We know he is capable. We all know he is capable. We have all seen him do it. We have all seen him do it in big games. We have all seen him come from behind. We have all seen him do it when he is ahead. We know he can do it, but the consistency factor has got to become involved to be a very good quarterback. And that’s the one thing we are trying to get him to do is play consistent. That’s the best term I can give to you now without going into specifics about reads and thought processes and situations and playing the overall position of quarterback.
You have dealt with a lot of quarterbacks in the past. Is it hard to remember that he is just a sophomore?
That’s the one thing people keep forgetting. I think someone asked the other day about a knee jerk reaction; I have got to make sure we don’t do that. The guy has started 17 games and he has won nine of them as a true freshman and the first four games of his sophomore year. It’s not like the guy is nothing. He has done some very good things like I said earlier. At what point do start to expect consistency instead of expecting inconsistency, that’s what we are struggling with to try and decide where that point is. You get to a point where you say if consistency is not going to show up, then when do you start making plans to start going other directions. I am not saying anything to you that I haven’t said to him.
Why does Reggie seem to inspire such confidence from the rest of the team?
First off, I think our team is very team oriented. I think they pull for whoever is out there at the time. I think they do believe in Reggie because like we said earlier, Reggie has done it. We got the second victory of the season because we did some unbelievable things in the last six or seven minutes of the ballgame and he was a vital part of that. I think that everybody believes Reggie can do it and everybody is pulling for him.
Reggie seemed to try to go deep a lot of times and not dump it off short. Was that part of the game plan?
In this game plan, there were some underneath and short throws. There is every game. Jimmy Dixon caught two passes in the ballgame. [Darius Williams] caught two passes in the ballgame. It’s not like those things were devoid of the game plan. There were some times when we wished the ball had gone underneath rather than down the field. That’s all part of the process. We don’t every have the game plan of everything is short or everything is deep. There is always a mix because you don’t ever want them to draw a bead on what you are trying to do. You have to take shots down the field, that’s part of the game. You have to be able to do that.
How many different things has Calvin [Johnson] seen in the last couple of ball games?
A lot. Nothing until Clemson. Then the last two ballgames, he has seen a lot more double coverage. They’re rolling over the top. They are doing a lot of that bump hard and jamming him. He has seen a lot more looks than he thought he would see in the first four weeks of his career. I can promise you that. When you have a game like he had in the second game of his career, you are going to start getting that type of attention.
Do you have to do anything to adjust or is that something he is just going to have to deal with?
A little bit of both. If they double cover him, then we have to be good enough at the other spots to win. If they roll over the top, then we have got to be able to do some of those things that create openings for the other guys. And he has to learn how to do that. To me it was the ultimate compliment to him they put [Antrel] Rolle on him. That’s a pretty big compliment. Rolle never played outside of nickel one time until this ballgame, and he played outside of nickel on him. Him and 19 went over the top too. [Brandon] Meriweather went over the top too. That tells you something. And they hadn’t done that all year.
Is Eric Henderson at 100 percent?
Coming into this last game, no. I thought he was between 80 and 90. I think he gained a ton of confidence going through the ball game. I think he will be a lot closer to 100 than he was last year. He came out of it fine. We tried to substitute for him, but he wanted to play. Really when you look at it, even just his presence in there, all of a sudden the other side, here comes Chris Reis off the corner to make a couple of sacks. Even though he didn’t have the sack totals, he helped our sack total.
Do you think P.J. [Daniels] and the missing linemen will play this weekend?
I think P.J. has a very good chance to be back this weekend. I would say he is probable. He will not go through a full practice today. We will limit what he does in practice, but I think he can be full speed by tomorrow. I think we are going to let him test it today. If everything goes well, we will have a chance to let him go more full speed tomorrow. [Brad] Brezina is out. [Andy] Tidwell-Neal is still questionable. I couldn’t move him up to probable right now.
Could you talk about how good Maryland’s defense is?
They lost eight of eleven starters off of last year’s team and they are pretty good again this year. I think [Shawne] Merriman is one of the better players in the conference. I think he is a really good football player. Obviously [Domonique] Foxworth is a very good football player. But they have taken other guys and put them on the field and are making things happen defensively and are doing a good job.
What is your biggest concern going into this week?
I think each week every week I have the same concerns. Can we stop the running game? Can we control the football and not turn it over? Can we continue to improve our special teams? We are so green at those special team positions. We are growing. Those are not as obvious some times as some other situations. I thought our special teams held their own last week against Miami. For the young guys we have, that was good and we need to keep working at that. Those are the three areas for me that are always the concerns. If we can handle those then we should go up there and play well.
To be honest, I thought he handled things very well. He made the adjustment. He is an ex-quarterback, good athlete. There are a lot of good things. There are a lot of things he can adjust to real well, and he adjusted to that very well.
He knows that. He is a pretty conscientious guy. He is still a sophomore, but he is getting better. He has got to understand how good he could be. He is out there on an island by himself. And that’s not an easy place to be by yourself. So he has just got to keep working and realize how aggressive and how good he can be.
Playing on the road, with your tailback listed as questionable and you may have a quarterback change; do you think the team feels there is a lot stacked against them?
I don’t know that players sit around and think about that. I think players sit around and look at game plan and opponents and challenges and line up to play as good as they can play. I think that all the big picture stuff gets heaped on them when they are more involved in their own individual position, responsibilities, side of the ball, all of that. I think they take a lot of pride in their play individually and understand what’s at stake for the team and care about that deeply. But don’t get bent out of shape about stacked against us, stacked for us. I’m not sure they get carried away about that.
How do you think Kevin [Tuminello] and Matt [Rhodes] played in that game?
They played a little above average. They didn’t play great, but they played a little above average. They played like you would expect them to play for not having that many reps.
Kyle Wallace, Senior Tackle
How is the continuity of the offensive line after so many injuries?
“It affects us a little bit, but we have a whole week of practice to get things down and get Kevin ready for the next game.”
On Kevin Tuminello’s play against Miami:
“He did really well. He stepped in and did a good job. I don’t think he expected to play that game, but he came in and made all the right calls. He stepped in and played just like a starter.”
On the quarterback position and how it effects the offensive line:
“It doesn’t really affect us because we have blocking schemes that we do regardless of who plays quarterback.”
After a two game losing streak, is the Maryland game a must win situation?
“We have to get our flow going. We need a great week of practice and a win this week.”
On the team’s moral after two loses:
“The team’s moral is higher than you would think, people are excited to get back and play another game. That’s how it has to be.”
On having PJ Daniels back for the Maryland game:
“Having P.J. Daniels back definitely gives us more confidence. He is our starting running back and that’s who we’re more comfortable with. Also we know his running style better than any of our back ups.”
“Andy is a little bit more of a physical player. Kevin is a little bit smaller, which makes him have to work harder to be able to do all the things Andy can do. Kevin has a great work ethic so filling in for Andy shouldn’t be a problem.”
“He (Kevin) makes his calls just as good as anyone and I have nothing but confidence in him.”
On transitioning from right tackle to light tackle:
“It took a while to get used to left tackle. The way I put it is it’s like going from right handed to left handed. I’m was more comfortable on the right but now I feel I can play both positions equally well.”
On practice this week for the Maryland game:
“I expect the players to come out and have a more intense week of practice than we normally do. As senior I will be more vocal than normal to make sure things go the way we want them to go.”
On Reggie Ball’s mindset:
“Reggie is a very energetic person and he can bounce back from anything.”
Travis Parker, Junior Defensive End
On Tech’s defensive performance in the Miami game:
“Obviously in the first half we didn’t do what we needed to do, but after their first drive in the second half we played better and stopped them. The main point is that we lost. We lost as a team but our defense didn’t do what it needed to do for us to get the win.”
On the rest of the season:
“I feel good about the rest of the season. I think we need to put a string of wins together like we did last year and it will boost our confidence again.”
On Maryland’s offense:
“They have a really good offense. I’ve watched them on a tape a little bit and they run a very similar offense to what we ran at Georgia Tech my true freshman year. I expect our coaches to have a good game plan again this year.”
On this weekends game being a turning point of the season:
“I think we’re almost at the same point we were at last season. We started off with a few loses and then turned it around to win four straight. I think we really need something like that to get us going again.”
On moving inside on passing downs:
“I’m still working on my rush especially at the end. It’s a little bit harder for me, but I had two tackles playing inside in similar formations. I’m just going to play the way I’ve played it the last couple of years.”
“The hardest part is having to cover more ground than you do at defensive tackle.”
” I played defensive all through high school and my true freshman year.”
On Reggie Ball’s performance against Miami:
“That game wasn’t Reggie’s fault. We all lost the game. Reggie is a good quarterback. When we win everyone pats him on the back to says good job, but when we lose he gets a lot of pressure. He is definitely our leader and he is going to help us win these next few games.”
“Reggie is my quarterback. I think he is going to win our football games for us. He has the ability to run the ball and pass the ball for us. We had some problems last week, but that was last week and it’s over. We have to focus on the next game now.”
“He is not afraid to run with the ball and hit someone. If we need that extra yard Reggie is not afraid to put his head down and run through somebody. That’s what you need in a quarterback, someone who is will to go that extra yard for you.”