Tuesday Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 20, 2011

ATLANTA

Coach Johnson Quotes

Dan Radakovich Quotes

Head Coach Paul Johnson’sQuotes

Opening Statement
“It was good to be home again last week and I’m pleased with the outcome of the game. While I think that we won the game handedly, certainly there are a lot of things that we can work on. Third down on defense continues to be an issue, especially in the first half. I think we got it corrected a little bit in the second half. And, just little things. Our return game… we’ve got a lot to work on [with] kickoff return, punt return. There were some things fundamentally, offensively that we need to do better. Hopefully, we can just continue to gradually get better. Certainly the competition will ratchet up again this week. First conference game, division game at home, national game on ESPN, hopefully we can get a great crowd and make this place a great atmosphere to play on Saturday at noon. I know our players feed off that a lot.”

On improving specific fundamentals on offense
“I think that blocking on the perimeter at times out of the A-backs can be better. Just steps. When I’m talking about fundamentals I’m talking about angles, steps, things that you have to do on every play that weren’t as clean as they could be or need to be. There’s always something that you can work on to get better at.”

With the offense being so productive, any danger of them being overconfident?
“I would hope [they are not overconfident]. If they watched the tape on North Carolina they certainly shouldn’t be overconfident. It’s been a straight dogfight for the last two years trying to score points. They’re big and physical and strong and if we don’t play well we’ll get embarrassed. We don’t have anything to be overly confident about, that’s for sure.”

On North Carolina’s defense
“Well, they’re just huge. They’re big guys that are strong. I think the Coples kid [Quinton Coples] no question is probably a first-round draft pick. Athletic at 6-6, 290 [pounds] and you look the other defensive end is 6-5, 6-6. Tydreke Powell there has played there for three years. He’s a heckuva player. They’ve got a couple of junior college guys in there and in every year they have a really strong linebacking corps that’s probably as good as anybody in the league. They’ve got good, physical talent on defense and they’ve got big guys that are strong and can run.”

On stopping the run
“That’s always a key and the big key is going to be us stopping them from running the ball. They’re going to come in here I’m sure trying to run the clock and control the ball. That’s what most people try to do. If you look, the last couple of games I think have been like 10 or 12 possessions in the game for both teams, where a normal game is probably 16 or 17 possessions. What we’d like to do is stretch that. We only ran 57 plays on Saturday. And part of that is hitting a lot of big plays and scoring quick, but the other part is getting the other team off the field. Both teams running the ball is going to have a big part in this game, it always does.”

On Orwin Smith’s production
“It’s the nature of what we do. Everybody gets hung up and carried away with average per carry. If we wanted to lower his average per carry we’d just turn around and him the ball. I think the key to it is you get him the ball when it’s time to get it to him in the proper place to get it and he does a nice job with it. He’s certainly made some plays. He needs to do better blocking. As far as having the ball in his hand, he’s been pretty good. Hopefully this week he’s going to focus in and get better blocking.”

On UNC quarterback Bryn Renner
“Hopefully you don’t let him have the little dink and dunk short passes that they throw. You’re going to complete a high percentage if you’re not throwing more than three or four yards downfield, so you’ve got to try to take some of that away. I think he’s a very talented guy; hopefully you can put some pressure on him. Hopefully he’ll make a mistake somewhere along the line. He’s very accurate and they’ve got good receivers and they’ve got a good idea of what they want to do on offense.”

On the return of J.C. Lanier
“We thought he could contribute coming out of spring, but we’ll see. We’ll have to see what he can do in practice this week. We’re glad to have him back. We’ve got JC and Phil [Smith] it gives you more depth. Still waiting on Morgan Bailey. The more to the party the merrier, so hopefully he can come in and carve out some playing time.”

On Synjyn Days
“Anytime as a young player that you can get out there and play it’s invaluable, and I thought he played a lot better in the last game. He took better care of the ball and he’s a good runner, there’s no question that he’s hard to tackle and a good runner, and he’s got a good enough arm. I think just experience and being consistent and the more he gets to play the better he’s going to be, you hope.”

On Kansas’ defense
“You figure when they win (Kansas won last year’s meeting 28-25) they usually don’t change much. They played differently than they played a year ago. We spent a great deal of time getting ready for something we never even saw. But as soon as we saw what we saw on the first play then you transition into that. We had worked some against the eight-man front but I didn’t think they were going to play that. That’s not the only defense they played a year ago, they played all kinds of stuff. Now a year ago they fired guys and did some of the same stuff and we were just going to sleep walk through it and we didn’t make plays and missed them. This time we weren’t. Our guys were aware of what was going on and I think we were more in tune into playing. I would say the way they lined up in our game they probably played maybe half the snaps last year or a third of the snaps the same way. We did work on it some but not as much as we worked on the other stuff. The nature of what we do is that we’re going to do the same things pretty much every week, so we’re getting ourselves ready to play more than we’re preparing for…this defense.”

Athletic Director Dan Radakovich’s Quotes

Opening Statement
“It’s good to be here today. I just wanted to take a few moments after Paul [Johnson] was done to ramp up the enthusiasm about the matchup this weekend. We have two top-25 teams coming in. I just checked the weather and it should be sunny on Saturday. I’m looking forward to having a great crowd on Saturday. I know Coach Johnson talks all the time about how that affects the team. It’s a real positive, and we’re looking forward to having that opportunity. To those folks who may not have tickets right now we do have tickets available. We have various packages for people to look into. You can call our ticket office at 1-888-TECH-TIX. We have the previously announced Triple Option Package for three of the last four games for $99. We have some family plans available as well for games upcoming this season.

It should certainly be a great afternoon here on Saturday. We have a lot of great traditions and a great atmosphere for people to come watch a college football game.

From the standpoint of Georgia Tech, we’re very excited about the addition of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University into the Atlantic Coast Conference. They certainly bring a lot of history and tradition into the ACC, and I think those are both valued additions. As Commissioner Swofford talked about, we have created an internal committee of presidents, faculty representatives and athletic directors to review this process. It’s been an ongoing process for a year and a half. Over the last three to five weeks they’ve really looked at the landscape of college athletics and said that it’s a good time to ramp up and see if it’s time for the ACC to make a move. Our presidents who met for their fall meeting made it a priority on their agenda to approve the applications of those two schools over the weekend. We’re excited about have the Panthers and Orange in the Atlantic Coast Conference whenever that happens to come to fruition. I’m looking forward to competing with them in all the sports in which we have the opportunity.”

On having any knowledge of Pittsburgh and Syracuse’s interest in the ACC
“The conference group that were studying these for a year and a half, and especially in the last three to five weeks, had a lot of the information about those schools. They were the ones who were able to make the recommendations to the presidents that they accept those applications. While I didn’t find out about it at breakfast on Saturday, it was a very quick process. It’s a circumstance where I think the conference did some very good things internally. They empowered the presidents, this small committee, and the commissioner to really look at the landscape and make the decisions quickly and in the best interests of the conference. I think the process that was put together by the ACC was very good.”

On how the addition effects the series with Syracuse in 2015 and 2016
“We looked at that this morning. I’ve asked Ryan Bamford, our Assistant Athletic Director who is in charge of football scheduling, to put a call in to Syracuse. Even if the Big East decides to keep them in the conference for the mandated 27 months, the ’15 and ’16 seasons fall outside of that window. It would seem prudent for us to look at another opportunity for games in 2015 and 2016.”

On the relief of knowing that the ACC remains in tact
“There was always a lot of solidarity within the conference. Maybe not out in the media, but the conference had a lot of solidarity. That’s why the increase of the exit fee, while one person might look at that as a set of golden handcuffs, it really isn’t. It was something that was driven internally through the conference offices. We felt as a conference that we were always together and wanted to make sure that the main focus was to make the conference better. What moves could we make and what teams could we add to make to ACC a better conference, not only right now but also for years to come? That was really the thing that drove this process.”

On ACC division realignment
“None of that has come in to play. The ACC athletic directors will have their normal fall meeting this October and I’m sure we’ll just touch on that subject at that point in time. The notion of when the teams come in is still rather iffy. I’m sure a lot of work will begin to happen, but no resolution is imminent on that.”

On the conference adding two more teams in the future
“I would have to agree with what Commissioner Swofford said that we would not be averse to looking at that. This landscape continues to evolve and I think that the main goal is to continue to make the ACC a viable national player for years to come and if those opportunities present themselves, the process that we have in place will allow us to take advantage of that.”

On having nine conference games in a season
“We talked about that the past 12 to 18 months and I think people were split down the middle. I happen to think in our circumstance that playing nine games would in some ways be very positive. We’re going to have to look at the larger conference, be it at 14 for 16 teams, if having nine games makes a lot of sense. Certainly for us, if they schedule nine games then we will have to find two because of our longstanding commitment with the University of Georgia to play that game.

We think it would be a positive for our fan base. Over time we have seen that ACC games for the most part have been very good draws for us as opposed to some out of conference games. Not in every circumstance, but for the most part games that matter towards playing for a championship get the fan base very excited.”

On the changing responsibilities of athletic directors in college athletics
“I don’t know that we’ve completely wrapped our arms around it. This has been such a new circumstance, especially for us with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. I think on the whole, there will be some increased expenditures as you travel. But we also hope that there are more opportunities for increased revenue. You certainly don’t want to go into this situation thinking that this is going to be a detriment to your overall revenue. I really don’t feel like that is going to be the situation. It can be a huge positive, not only for Georgia Tech but also for everyone in the ACC.”

Responding to the concern of the impact on the student athlete in conference expansion
“I think you have to look at it in points in time. Years ago travel from one part of the old Big Eight Conference was pretty treacherous. We weren’t making that argument then. I think now as you look at the ways we’re going to move our Olympic sports student athletes in particular, it is going to be a challenge. But I think there are many opportunities through creative scheduling, travel partners, sending academic personnel on the trips, and new innovations on how class material is received by our students. There are a lot of different ways that students today get information from their class than there were 10 years ago. All of those things have to work in concert to make sure that the life-sport balance of our student athletes is taken into consideration and kept very much in the forefront.”

On the appeal of the ACC to Pittsburgh and Syracuse
“I don’t think that the mainstream media picked up on how cohesive the conference was and is. There’s a lot of understanding internally of how positive the conference is to their student-athlete experience. I think we share common goals and understand that student athletes are important, that the academic missions of the institutions are well aligned. I think that says a lot about how our presidents and faculty reps do their business within the conference. It’s a league of like schools and like-minded individuals. I think that’s very important as we move through this period of conference realignment. There’s also one other very important principle within the conference in that we share revenue, and that’s been a guiding principle within the conference for a long time.”

On remorse for the BIG EAST
“I think in this business you understand that change is inevitable in some way, shape or form. I think certainly the schools that remain in the current Big East have opportunities available to them, they’re just different opportunities than maybe a week ago. Our feelings here at Georgia Tech are to look at the new member, welcome them in, and make sure we make sure the experience for them and their student athletes is a positive one.”

On the challenges of maintaining attendance in college football
“I think that college football remains the most popular sport in the United States outside of the NFL through whatever survey mechanism you want to look at. What we would try to do here at Georgia Tech would be very different from what you might try to do at Cincinnati or Miami or Boston College. It’s important for us and it’s something we think about every single day. The only marketing plan that works is the one that succeeds. If you have empty seats, everyone has great ideas on how to get those seats filled. We are not averse to trying a lot of different ways to get people to experience Georgia Tech athletics, and football in particular right now. There is not a Monday that goes by that someone who has come to a Georgia Tech football game for the first time will seek me out either by letter or email to tell me what an incredible experience they had on our campus. Most people have the opportunity to walk around our campus and see what a nice place it is. There’s a lot of green on this campus, there are a lot of places for people to come and enjoy in the festivities before a football game. We encourage folks to do that. Because of our location on the world’s busiest road, the 75/85 connector, people don’t always see that. They see Georgia Tech as the place outside of their passenger window. I would encourage people to just drive through our campus, whether it is a game day or not, just to understand what a really welcoming environment Georgia Tech is. We do want people to come and experience a college tailgating environment. We hope they start that process this Saturday when we play North Carolina at noon.”

On ticket sales for the GT/UNC game
“We have probably distributed about 46,000 tickets. So we do have tickets available for this game. We are trying every method and one of the reasons I’m sitting here is to use all the means at your disposal to help us do that. It’s important for our football program, it’s important for Georgia Tech, but it’s most important for our student athletes. I know we have a lot of fans out there. They let me know. We need to have some folks come to our ball games and really help our student athletes. It really is a difference-maker when you have the crowd on your side.”

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