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Tuesday Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 3, 2006

HEAD COACH Chan Gailey

On Maryland — “You look at their skill level on tape. They have not put together a whole game yet, you can see where there is potential, it just hasn’t happened. You’re nervous that it’s going to happen this week. They had a week off, they can fix some things that they were not doing well, and you hope it doesn’t all come together this week. They’re potentially a very good football team. When you can win against anybody not playing your best game that means you are a pretty good football team.”

On skipping an ACC team one year and then playing them again and the difficulty that brings — “Sometimes it is. If there is continuity in the staff, sometimes it helps. This year Ralph [Friedgen] is calling the plays, which is different, and they have a new defensive coordinator [Chris Cosh], so there a few little changes in there. They’re playing the same schemes, but there are some changes on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. It’s requires a little bit more film study, instead of just being able to stack up years.”

On having a team’s number after beating Maryland the last two times — “Doubt it because you guys thought that Virginia had our number. That’s what everybody wrote, we lost three in a row, and they got our number. No, I don’t think there is anything to that. You have to play each year and each situation.”

On Maryland struggling with turnovers on offense and playing into Tech’s defense — “Only if they turn it over. We try and create turnovers, we bring a lot of pressure and try to give you a lot of different looks to try and force teams to turn it over. Some teams do and some teams don’t. It’s only an issue if they keep turning it over, and if they do, then yes. That would be great and it would play into our hands. If they do a good job of protecting the ball, then it doesn’t do a whole lot of good. We have to go and make it happen.”

On Maryland playing three different running backs — “He [Josh Allen] was real good until he got his knee hurt. The other two guys [Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore] can run the football and are both strong backs. I call them strong backs because they break tackles. They may not be the biggest guys, but they are strong and break tackles. They will play them at any time. I don’t think it creates problems unless they start to get into some kind of pattern. If they start doing certain things when one back is in there, than that’s where you start to draw conclusions about when a certain guy is in there, think this. That’s what we are tying to do, try and see if they have any kind of pattern to what they are doing.”

On Reggie Ball doing a better job after making a mistake — “You probably need to ask him that question. That would be a good question for him. I really don’t see that being an issue. I think he is such a competitor that he wants to go back out there and make a good play to make up for a bad play. That has been his MO since he has been here and that has not changed. Maturity helps and calms you down where you don’t overreact and go out there and try to make such an amends that you mess up even further. Maturity helps you in that regard, but it still makes him mad and he wants to go back out on the field and do something about it.”

On the offense scoring 30 points a game makes it easier — “That probably helps. Yes, that makes good sense.”

On Reggie being the biggest competitor and ever more focused this year compared to last — “He starts focusing in on things earlier. I have seen a difference in him on Fridays this year as compared to two years ago. He is starting to do that more ahead of time. It started at the beginning of this year, more so than I have ever seen it.”

On managing the competitive nature — “Probably knows how to manage it. I don’t think you can real it in, but I think he knows how to manage it better.”

On Durant Brooks — “I knew that he was going to be able to turnover the field like he did against Virginia kicking it from the four-yard line to the 44-yard line and things like that. What he has been able to do, getting the ball inside the 20, has really been special. That stat doesn’t show up on the conference stats, and he has 17 of them. A phenomenal number that we have downed inside the 20, and you have to give credit to our gunners as well. Think about the fact that he is second in the conference in punting average, yet he has been trying to pooch it down there and get them inside the 20, that tells you how good the other punts have been when he has been backed up. You don’t get as many yards when you are trying to get the ball inside the 20.”

“It’s a mental process as much as it is a physical process, and there is some luck in there too. The ball has to hit, bounce and go out of bounds, instead of going into the end zone.”

On TV dictating days and times when teams play — “I’m not sure anybody has the answer. You have this giant over here that needs to eat and this other giant over here that has all the food. Both of them need each other. I don’t know the answer to the question. I’d like to have one Thursday night game. I think Thursday night in college is like Monday night in the NFL. It’s great for the game and great for the fans. All the other nights I am not a big fan.”

“The game would not be where it is nationally, if there was not great exposure. If there wasn’t great demand, there wouldn’t be great exposure. It’s a vicious cycle we go through. Until you get big enough to dictate stuff, you get stuff dictated to you.”

On the game being on ESPNU and not nationally — “You don’t worry about that. We have contracts that we have to make good on with ESPN, and the TV people. It’s good for those who can get it and it’s better than not being on.”

On keeping his players from getting a big head — “I talked to them after the game, Sunday night and again today about staying focused. I think you have to be able to see the big picture. So often we tell these guys to not worry about tomorrow, learn from yesterday, but forget yesterday really, and focus on today and how we are going to get better. This is one of those cases here early in this week where you say, look at the big picture and what do we want to invest in our preparation because of the big picture of where this game is compared to the big picture. I will add a couple of other things, some coaches’ clichés that everybody uses the rest of the week.”

On the big picture — “If you keep winning, you don’t throw it back to tiebreakers at any point. You don’t want to get in that dressing room against Duke and say, I wish we hadn’t.”

On Calvin Johnson producing, despite being a game-time decision — “Probably will be a game-time decision again this week. First of all, if he was a freshman or sophomore that probably wouldn’t happen. The guy has been a two-year starter, and this is his third year, and that allows you to do that. Plus he is very talented and has a very good tolerance of pain, which is amazing. Thoroughbreds sometimes don’t have that tolerance for pain.”

On the offense improving Reggie’s play — “You can’t pinpoint one thing about football. There are so many moving parts, you can’t say its one thing. That’s the easy thing, if you can say well if this one thing doesn’t work, than fix that and everything is good. In some other sports, you can do that. If a pitcher dominates, then this is going to happen, you can’t do that with football.”

On Reggie making better reads — “The one thing that I think has happened is that the shotgun is making him more comfortable. He has gotten much better at feeling the game from that position, rather than going back and forth a whole lot. He is much more in the gun now and that has become a comfort level for him. Patrick Nix and the staff deserve a lot of credit because they have put people in position to make plays. They have spread things out and brought some new things to the offense that have been wonderful.”

WIDE RECEIVER James Johnson

On Playing Opposite Calvin Johnson — “It’s pretty fun actually; it takes all the attention off me. I can just concentrate on making plays and doing my job.”

On the team’s mentality after beating Virginia Tech — “This year, we are just taking one game at a time. We want to go to the ACC Championship, and that requires playing every game as if it were the last game. That game happened to be our biggest game that we’ve played, and now we have to look forward to our next game and put that win behind us.”

How you look at the season after win over Virginia Tech — “We look at the standings now and realize that we have to the chance to actually do whatever we want as long as we go into every game playing hard and expecting to win.”

On difference in playing at Virginia Tech this season and last — “It seems this year we were ready to play this time and maybe we weren’t as ready to come out and play last year. Everybody was just much more ready to play.”

On being Maryland’s first conference opponent — “It is an advantage, but it’s also a disadvantage because they had a week off, so they’ve been resting a little bit and we’ve been playing games on the road. We just have to keep thinking one game at a time and make it to our final destination at the ACC championship.”

LINEBACKER Philip Wheeler

On mentality after win over Virginia Tech — “We just got to stay focused on every thing we do and practice hard and try to make everything as perfect as possible. Virginia Tech was making plays at times, and we just kept them out of the game as best we could by making plays also. We have to do the same thing every game. We just try to be perfect and stay focused.”

On teammates’ reaction to both Calvin Johnson and Wheeler receiving ACC honors this week — “They expected us to do that because we work hard. We come into practice and always work hard and try to perfect everything. If we don’t do something right in practice, we have to do it again. So we expect things like that. I expect for some of my teammates to do it too, and win ACC defensive player of the week.”

On feeling of being ranked — “Of course it’s different now because we’re ranked right now. I liked it like that because we had to come up the hard way, the old-fashioned way not starting out ranked. We played our butts off to get ranked. It’s the old fashioned way.”

On maintaining intensity after win over Virginia Tech — “I’m never satisfied, because there’s always something better I can do. In the win against Virginia Tech, I missed a couple tackles, and we blew a couple assignments. While we’re grateful for the win, we still need to work on being perfect.”

LINEBACKER Gary Guyton

On realizing the strength of Georgia Tech’s defense — “I realized it when I first got here, when I saw all the guys we had in spring ball and summer camp. We have a lot of guys on this team who can make plays and do some things this year.”

On maintaining intensity after big win over Virginia Tech — “You keep up your emotional level by always looking forward to the next game, focusing on the big prize right now. The big prize is going to a game like ACC Championship, national championship. If we stay working hard and stay humble, that’s how we keep our heads down and are able to work hard each and every week.”

On being ranked below Virginia Tech in coaches’ poll — “I don’t know how you explain that, but I guess that’s just the Coach’s pole. I guess at the end every thing will pan our. We’ll just wait till the end of the year and see how everything goes.”

On playing in front of home crowd — “I think we always have good energy at home games. We had great energy when we played Notre Dame. If we give good energy and go out there and play the best we can, then the crowd will give good energy. We have a real good crowd here.”

“I think when you have a week off its always good. You can take that time to rehab and prepare and everything. They had an extra week to prepare so they should be better, well not better but they should be good.”

On preparing for Maryland’s complex offense — “You study film, and you study players. That’s how you prepare. Preparation is key for this game.”

CENTER Kevin Tuminello

On being ranked lower than Virginia Tech in coaches’ poll — “Virginia Tech is a great team, and you can’t take anything away from them. They have a great program and a storied tradition. We just need to continue to play how we’ve been playing, and everything will work itself out. It’s not for us to decide. It really doesn’t matter where we are right now. It only matters where you are at the end of the season, and that stuff will work itself out.”

On returning to Blacksburg a second year in a row — “We had some animosity going back there to Virginia Tech and proving we can play with them. Last week a lot of circumstance affected that game. Every week you have to continue to practice and prepare like every game is the critical game that could make or break your season. You just need to continue to improve and get better as a whole.”

On Georgia Tech’s complex offense — “We have some of the best players in the country and best players in the conference on our team. We have a very explosive offense with the type of players we have. Watching them do what they do is incredible. We just give them an opportunity to do what they can do and give them time to get it done.”

On the offensive line — “The offensive line can bring a lot of schemes and scenarios and the only time the offensive line gets recognition is when something bad happens. We just have different schemes and just prepare.”

“On our offense we do so many different things, they have to defend everything with our backfield and receivers. We have threats from all over, not just one or two players. Our offense tries to do different things to keep them guessing.”

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