ATLANTA (September 5) – As Georgia Tech prepares for its second game of the season and Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday night against No. 2 Florida State, head coach George OLeary looks to improve on a number of mistakes that he saw in last weeks 21-17 win over Central Florida.
“I thought last week was a good character game for us, but I was disappointed with the number of penalties,” said OLeary. “When I looked at the game, we had nine penalties that cost us over 100 yards in field position. You dont normally win ball games with two turnovers and the amount of penalties that we had. I give credit to the players for coming back and staying in the game.”
The Yellow Jackets host the Seminoles on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. The game will be regionally televised live on ABC (WSB-TV channel 2 in the Atlanta area). Live radio coverage will be available on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network (WGST 640 AM in Atlanta).
“Penalties and turnovers are two of the quickest ways to get beat, and thats what Im stressing this week,” said OLeary. Tech was flagged nine times for 90 yards in the season opener against UCF, and the Yellow Jackets gave away two fumbles deep in their own territory.
OLeary was impressed with his teams defensive effort against Central Florida, but he wants to cut down on the big plays that they allow.
“Were still giving up big plays, and that has to stop,” said OLeary. “I thought we played better up front. We had three sacks and we put more pressure on the quarterback than we had in the past. We played the point of attack better, but I still continue to impress on the secondary that they need to improve their tightness and their coverage.”
OLeary intends to continue his rotation of two quarterbacks this week against Florida State. Both junior George Godsey (Tampa, Fla.) and redshirt freshman Andy Hall (Cheraw, S.C.) saw significant action in the season opener, and the two accounted for 262 yards of total offense.
“George Godsey is the starter and Andy Hall will play,” declared OLeary. “Thats something that I made a commitment to before the season started. And until one shakes out where I think that hes the guy that I want to go with for the rest of the season, I will continue to play both. What I like is that they are two different quarterbacks as far as how they attack things. You have to have two quarterback that are ready to play, and I dont want to go into the season without two quarterbacks who know the gameplan and the system.”
One change OLeary plans to make, however, is with the running game. Tailback Joe Burns (Thomasville, Ga.) led Tech with 73 yards rushing on 22 carries against UCF, but OLeary intends to get more players involved in the rotation.
“I thought Joe Burns was very good, but he played too many plays,” said OLeary. “We have a bunch of running backs and we need to play a lot more people there. Sean Gregory (Homewood, Ill.) needs to play more ” he only played 15 plays last week. Joe Burns is not a guy that can run 70 plays, and thats something that has been addressed. Its a long year and we have some other backs that need to play.”
Florida State comes to town with a 1-0 record after a 29-3 win over BYU in the Pigskin Classic two weeks ago in Jacksonville. Quarterback Chris Weinke completed 32 of 50 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns against the Cougars, while the Seminole defense held BYU to -2 yards rushing.
“For us to have success against Florida State were going to have to make plays on offense and defense, as well as not give up the big plays,” said OLeary. “Florida State shortens the field on you, so we have to have some consistency on offense with maintaining the ball and moving for first downs. Defensively, we cant give up a lot of sustained drives. Last year we got into some situations of getting into third and 10 or 12, and they were consistent in completing things for first downs. Thats one area that we need to improve on if we are going to be successful this week.
“Everybody strives to win your conference,” OLeary said. “Florida State the team that you have to go through to win it.”