GT Head Coach Chan Gailey on Clemson Game

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Quotes from Georgia Tech Head Coach Chan Gailey's Weekly Press Conference

How difficult is it to play at Clemson as oppose to other places you have played?

It’s like all the other places.

What did Clemson do last year that took you by surprise?

They changed a couple of positions where people played. That created some issues for us as far as identifying blocking assignments. They created problems for us. They did a good job.

Seeing the Clemson/Wake Forest game and your game [Samford], how did that help you prepare for this week?

There are some similarities for what they do scheme-wise offensively and defensively. I’m talking about how Samford is similar to Clemson. Wake Forest, they don’t do some of the same things defensively that we would do, but they do some things offensively that are similar to what we would do. We are a little bit different in our approaches, but there are some formations that were similar and some personnel groupings that were similar.

Do you know of any of the guys that were not available last week that will be available this week?

Eric Henderson is still questionable whether he will play. He will try to practice at the end of the week and we will see his availability at the end of the week. Nate Curry is more doubtful than he was, now. Chris Woods probably will be back. [Tabugbo] Anyansi probably will practice this week and be available.

What specifically did you hear about Curry?

I don’t talk about specifics, but obviously he took a turn for the worse. We will have to wait to see if he can clear up by this weekend.

How many unknowns do you still have?

There are a lot. I think we have a feel for our scheme, for our players that have been around the scheme. It is really for the new people that are playing now that haven’t played that position before, especially in a big ballgame. Offensive line, [Brad] Brezina and Salih [Besirevic] have not played in a game like this yet. They’re new people lining up, so we will have to see how they handle it. The freshmen that have played and will play, Calvin Johnson, Darrell Robertson, Darryl Richard, those guys are going to have to contribute and be a part of it like they were last week. There are some guys that have to go prove. We saw a glimpse of what can happen, but you have to go out and prove it for it to be classified as a known rather than an unknown. But I think it’s more in individuals rather than schemes.

Is the step up in competition more of a shock for the younger guys than the older guys?

Yeah, it will be. The whole atmosphere will be a change for them.

Opening up your ACC schedule at Clemson, is there anything you have to do to keep your players focused?

This is really not one of those games where you have to do special things like bring out a visual aid to get them to focus. This isn’t one of those games. They will focus on this one.

Clemson is the one team that has seemed to success against your defense, how do you account for that?

I think it is a combination of things. That first year, they returned a punt on us. That’s how they scored 21 on us the first year. Is that right? It was because of a punt return. It’s not like they lit it up. Last year they scored points because we didn’t get anything going offensively and then they hit two big plays, and that hurt us. We lost any kind of momentum that we had. If you lose momentum, your fighting an uphill battle when you get way behind. Then you take chances to get back in it, that’s when you fall further behind.

How prepared to you think Reggie [Ball] is for a game like this?

He played in some big games last year. I think there is not any awe factor for him anymore. I think he is beyond that. I think its now focus on ‘what my job is’, ‘what I have to do’ and understanding the magnitude of the game and then go play it. I think he is much better prepared this year than he was last year to play in games like this.

How often will you use the shotgun and did you implement it to help Reggie with the pressure?

I think you use it to when it’s to your advantage. And those percentages will fluctuate week-to-week depending on what we think is good for our team and the way to use it. I have used the shotgun everywhere I have been. I have used it for 20-year vets. No, I never coached a 20-year vet. I have used it for guys that have been in the league a long time. So it’s not like it’s specifically for him for something he can’t do. To me, it’s an advantage when you can use it and use it to benefit your team in that game. Some games we will use it more than others. So it is really game plan more than anything.

Are you happy with the way the offensive line played this past weekend?

Coaches are never happy and I fall into that category of coach. I’m not happy about that. We made progress, but we have a ways to go. I think maybe Tuesday was probably the first day we had our starting line on the field in tact the whole summer. I think they did pretty well under the circumstances, but we have to get better.

Can you talk about Leroy Hill?

Better know where he is, because that guy can find the football. He is really good.

They said he sprained his ankle against Wake, did you tell?

Wow, I hope he is not totally healthy this week then.

What did you think of the play of Chris Reis?

Chris did a really nice job considering it was his first ballgame. He will learn so much from watching that tape and walking into the next game. It’s not even funny. I think guys that are new at a position and play it for the first time live for about fifty snaps learn so much knowledge and are able to go into the next game being much more effective. He is the type of guy that will watch that film critically. He won’t pat himself on the back for the tackles he made. He will look at it critically and say ‘how can I get better?’. He will continue to get better. He is around the football now. That guy is going to be around the football. He’s not the biggest and the strongest or the fastest, but he is going to be around the football.

Is he a quick study?

Very quick. Gerris [Wilkinson] is too. That’s the thing about both those guys. They are highly intelligent. They can learn in a hurry. They have had to. To get where they are now, they have had to.

Is becoming a physical superior on the line and running the ball becoming a lost art?

I know everybody does that. To answer your question, yes, in my opinion. It’s harder to do that. I’m an old school guy; you stop the run, you run the football, play good special teams, don’t turn it over and you will win a lot of football games. I firmly believe that. If you get too pass happy, sometimes, your team can become soft. I’m not saying teams that throw the ball a lot are soft. What I am saying is, over time, over years and years and years, throwing the ball sixty times a game, fifty times a game and running it ten, that’s what makes you soft.

Last year they said they were going to run the ball to develop some toughness…

How many times did they run it the other day? They ran it about thirty times the other day. They ran it 35 times. It’s not like they are just throwing the run out the window. They are still running the ball. They don’t fall into that category. We are talking about the old run and shoot teams that didn’t last because of becoming soft.

What is it about Clemson that makes them so effective?

They spread the field out very well. They put their guys in positions to be successful. They use all their weapons, Coleman, Stuckey, Curry. They spread them out, give you different formations. And [Charlie] Whitehurst is able to handle it. That’s the best thing. He is able to figure out where they all belong and throw it to the guy that is open. You can put in a ton of plays, and if your guys can’t execute them it’s not going to do any good.

Is their personnel as interchangeable as it looks?

I’m not sure if interchangeable is the right word, but they are very multiple. Their guys will line up in a lot of different spots. It may look like the same formation but you have a back playing at a wide out spot and a wide out playing at a back spot. It’s interchangeable in that respect, but they are so multiple you have to play attention to where everyone is lining up or you will get confused easily. If you get confused, that’s where you give up the big play. They do a good job of moving their guys around to create mismatches and create indecision.

Can you give us an evaluation of Brad Brezina and how he only had a week to work with the offensive line?

He did very well considering the circumstances. We graded him out, and he graded out a little above average. But considering he hasn’t played there but a week, you have to say ‘wait a minute, that’s pretty good’. I think everybody has high hopes, for what Brad can be when he gets more work. You hope a guy can go to another position when he needs to for the team and go make something happen. And he certainly did that.

How do you feel about playing Clemson at 8 o’clock?

You have to play them sometime that day, unless you are Florida State and Miami last week. But you normally have to play them sometime. I normally am in favor for earlier games normally. The old Monday Night games in the NFL were awful. You waited until 9 o’clock and there is nothing on TV. So it was an awful day on Monday. Saturday is a little easier; at least you have some football games on TV to watch.

Do you worry about the guys lying around too much during the day?

Yeah. When we have a night game, we will normally get up and take a walk. Do something to get the blood flowing rather than just laying in the bed all day.

If they let you schedule the games, what time would you play?


What about 10 a.m.?

No, that’s too early. We have too many guys that are not morning people.

You can turn on the TV now and just about any night of the week see a game, that helps teams get on TV, but do you think it’s good for the game?

I am not for mid week games. I thought the Thursday Night game was a special unique idea and good for college football. Playing all these other nights of the week, I’m not for that. It’s sort of saying playing on TV is more important than school some times. If we say we are amateur athletics, if we say we are student athletes, then it’s like running the football. I’m old school.

What do you think of the Florida State/Miami game being on Friday night?

That’s hard if they have Friday night games scheduled. Maybe they had to move a couple out of the Orange Bowl. I don’t know. I don’t know all the political ramifications for all of that stuff. I am a purist. I like the game on Saturday night and I thought Thursday night once a year was okay. I think that’s not so bad. It’s a unique opportunity for your program and your players. But all this Tuesday and Wednesday and Friday, I’m not too fond of that.

How do you think playing on Friday night affects recruiting of high school players?

If I was Florida State, it would be fine with me because it’s Miami’s home game.

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