Fantastic... in fact, Wolfpack fantastic and there is a difference.
What is the difference between fantastic and Wolfpack fantastic?
The word Wolf! Wolfpack... and that's not hard to figure out.
Can you give a basic scouting report of Georgia Tech?
A basic scouting report... I don't know where you want to start dagonit. They are No. 1 in America in interceptions with ten if I'm not mistaken. They have got ten sacks. Where they rank in the conference, total defense wise, is not an indication of how good they are on defense because they come at you from every angle conceivable. They try and disrupt offenses, and they do an outstanding job of it year-in and year-out.
Offensively, their quarterback was Rookie of the Year three years ago. Their wide receiver was Rookie of the Year last year. Their running back was all-conference two years ago. That's about as good as it gets. That's about as good as it gets. The keys to the game, we must win the kicking game. We must win the kicking game. Then we must fundamentally do the things right. There are six musts of football that every coach usually talks to their kids every week about doing. You have got to win the kicking game. You have got to play great goalline offense and defense... you've got to. You can't have penalties. You can't have turnovers. You can't long runs for touchdowns, or passes for touchdowns. You've got to make them snap it again. This game isn't that difficult. It really isn't. It's not a difficult game.
When you lose, I learned from two of the best, two of the best, that you don't change anything, you go back to fundamentals, and you let those young men realize it's fundamentals. Penalties are fundamental, whether it's focus, whatever it is, they are fundamental. After the first game we were minus three in turnovers. After the third game, we are minus .66666666 and you can all the way down to wherever you want to put that seven and put it in. So we've gotten turnovers, and we haven't had as many obviously. Those are the things that you have got to do to win, to beat anybody, to beat anybody, no matter what the color of the uniform is.
How much of Georgia Tech's success on defense is physical talent or schemes?
It's both. There are a lot of people trying to do those schemes that coach Jon Tenuta puts in, and he has done an outstanding job with it against everybody. You can't take that game last week against Virginia Tech because what did Virginia Tech do? They scored three times and Georgia Tech's defense was never on the field, two against the offense and one in the kicking games. That's 21 points. He knows that scheme so well, and he'll always have something different... a little sidebar. You know what, just like two years ago down there. When you have first and goal at the three-yard line and first and goal from the four-yard line and you come away with three points, you come away with three points. Not six, not ten, not 14, just three. They've got both. I didn't mean to get off on a tangent. They have got good players. They have got players that believe in it, and they have got a man that does an outstanding job of coaching them.
What are the trademarks of his defense?
Confusion and aggression.
How do you rate the performance of Jay Davis so far?
His play so far has been much, much, much improved... much, much, much improved. Now the critical mistakes that he's made, were all of them his fault? Just remember this, and you know it, you writers know this, that the quarterback gets too much credit when you win, and the quarterback is overanalyzed when you lose, but that's just the way it is when you are a quarterback.
Is there a common theme in the last four losses to Georgia Tech that you see?
We have to score in the redzone. We got to score touchdowns in the redzone. The first year I was here we went into overtime... we went into two overtimes, and we scored touchdowns, and that's why we won it.
Obviously you have to score, but you need to score touchdowns so that you can change the tempo of the game. You can get a lead and maybe they become one way or the other, but we moved the ball two years ago down there. I think we threw for almost 400 yards. That doesn't mean anything. The object is to get a cross that goalline.
Defensively you cannot give up the big play. You cannot give up the big play, and they've got great big play capabilities, there is absolutely no doubt about that.
How do you prevent the big plays from them in the passing game?
We just got to hold it to a minimum. It's not easy. It's absolutely not easy.
Can you assess the offensive line?
I've answered that question this week. We're not making any changes right now. James Newby had some back problems in that last week's game, Dwayne Herndon didn't practice most of the week, and Derek Morris didn't practice most of the week. When you don't practice, I don't care how good you are, I don't care how good you are, you are not going to be efficient. You're not going to be efficient. You really, really, really aren't. It's that simple. It's hard for young men to understand that, and it's harder for coaches to realize that if a young man doesn't practice, we are doing him an injustice to play him a ton of snaps in the game that he wasn't able to get those reps going into it. That's why you practice. If you could go a week without practicing it and playing you're maximum we'd never have practice, and those kids would love it and the coaches would too. The coaches would too, and you guys would also. Then you wouldn't have to ask if somebody got hurt today.
What are your thoughts on Tramain Hall and his productivity during his three years here?
Tramain has been every bit of what we thought he could be. His first year he made a lot of good plays for us. Last year he was injured, he had so many different injuries, and he wouldn't tell people because he's that kind of person, such a competitor. Knock on wood right now he's been healthy, and you talk about somebody that is like a sponge and just wants to absorb how he can get better. Dwayne Dixon has done a great job, not only with him, but with somebody like [the player] sitting behind you... a Sterling Hicks. He taught these people technique as well.
He will always be dear to this program because most people, most people probably, what happened to him, would've signed with Southern Cal, could've... Tennessee, could've... Miami, could've... UCLA, could've... and the list goes on when he had to leave here to go to junior college. It shows you the kind of character he has, and he really is a team player.
You talked about perception a few weeks ago. How is the perception these days?
That was a different perception I was talking about, and you know what, these guys, they know. They know, and therefore there is no perception in their mind. They know we are so close, but we're not playing horses. They also know we have got to win a football game. They know that too, and they know they are a daggone, good football team.
I wonder if Lloyd Carr is getting that question asked of him up there in Ann Arbor? First time that I can remember them having two losses losing in the month of September. This game of football, it's going to continue to come down to who makes the least mistakes, because we are all getting good players. We're all getting good players. They know they played the No. 3 team in America in this stadium, shoe-to-shoe, shoe-to-shoe, and the only thing they won is statistics. That's why I don't like those things. That's the only thing they won, statistics. They know that if they would have had less in one statistic or another that they would have probably won the football game, and that's fundamentals. You know what? They've just practiced their fannies off. I couldn't be more proud of the way they have practiced because they know.
You're telling the players they are close. What do you do to keep them away from negative things that they may be hearing when they are not around you?
I appeal to their maturity. I appeal to their maturity, and consider the source because no one knows better than these young men that dress underneath where we are standing right now and practice than them. I showed them the other day... I did up-downs for them. I made mistakes, so I did them, the right way, the right way.
How many did you do?
It still has to be tempting to get frustrated at some point.
It is, if you have never put a jockstrap on in your life. But people that compete and know how to win, and know what this game is all about... and it's a game of life. There is another quote... that I told these kids. A very dear, personal friend, I didn't know him well enough, and one of the greatest people in this university said, 'never, ever, ever quit... never quit.'
He also had another quote he said many times, if you would do three things everyday. Laugh, and everyone knows that I do laugh, and it kills you people that I do, I really think it does. Think, and contrary to popular belief, I do think. And cry, and I'll do my share of that now, and they can tell you that. That's what life is all about. That's what life is about, and believe me, they know it.
It's not hard. It can be. It can be if you don't have the character, if you don't have the winning attitude. There are people that are great athletes that aren't winners, and there are people who are not great athletes that are winners. But if you are a winner, if you've got that attitude, let's live to fight another battle.
What day did you do up-downs?
Geez, I don't know. What day did I do up-downs? Was it Tuesday or Monday? Tuesday... yes it was Tuesday. [At the] end of practice... end of practice, and don't believe Annabelle I wasn't breathing at all when I got done doing mine. I wasn't breathing at all, and I did them right.
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