Gailey Discusses Season Opener

Georgia Tech will open its 2006 season in front of a nationwide audience as it plays host to No. 2 Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets' head coach discussed several aspects of this year's season opener in his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

Georgia Tech will open its 2006 season in front of a nationwide audience as it plays host to No. 2 Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets' head coach discussed several aspects of this year's season opener in his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

On being ready to play a game instead of practice

"Everybody this time of year is in that same mode. Unlike in high schools or pros, you don't have those preseason games or preseason scrimmages. All of our practice has been against each other, so you are really ready for that first game."

What questions are you looking to answer on Saturday night?

"I'm not sure we have enough time to cover all the things that I am interested to see. You've got some guys who have not played extensively in games before, so you are anxious to see how they will react and handle themselves. You are anxious to see how your special teams will play, because that is the hardest area to get quality work on the field against the speed that you are going to see in a game. I think that there are a lot of things that we are looking for - small things on an individual basis and large areas as far as certain teams, packages and groups. You don't know. You have not seen anything, so you are waiting to see how it works out."

On what has caused Georgia Tech's success in early season games in recent years

"I don't know why we have been able to go out and play well early. We've been, for the most part, healthy early in the year. That is always a big part of it. But I can't put my finger on it."

How do you help the players deal with all the hype of this game?

"Things that you can't control, you don't spend a lot of time worrying about. We've got enough guys that have played in big ball games and understand what is going on. I am going to address it with some of the younger guys, but I won't do that until we get closer to the game. All the lead up is nothing, the game is what is important. So you want to make sure that try to control the emotions at gametime."

On defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta looking forward to matchups against high-powered offenses

"I think Jon Tenuta likes to beat everybody. I think he likes to go out there against everyone and compete. I don't think that he picks and chooses."

On what it is going to take to put up better offensive numbers this season

"I think that's all speculation and wait and see what happens. The bottom line is to win the game, it's not statistics. That's the bottom line."

On Notre Dame's offense, everyone talks about the passing game, where does RB Darius Walker fit in?

"He is a big part of what is going on there. We all know that he is a good ball carrier, but you don't realize how many passes he catches until you start looking at the statistics. When you start looking at the tape you realize how many times he catches the ball and makes something happen that way. Charlie is obviously a great football coach, and he is going to get the ball into the hands of people who can make plays. Darius can make plays. Not only are they handing it to him, but they are finding other ways to get him the football. He belongs in the same sentence with all those other great names on their offense"

On Notre Dame's offensive similarities to the New York Jets and New England Patriots

"I see a lot of similarities to what he had been doing in the NFL. I don't see a lot of different things going on. But you have to remember that they did a lot. He doesn't do it all each week, just like he didn't do it all each week at New England. He picks and chooses what he thinks his advantages are, and he does a really good job of creating advantages for his people. That's what made them good last year."

What makes Darius Walker so good?

"Vision. All the great runners have that vision and knowledge. It's like the point guard knows where the other nine players on the basketball court are. A great tailback knows the blocking angles, who's on who, where the creases are going to be and tries to set things up to get there. So it's vision and knowledge. And I think that he does a good job with both of those."

On plans for how much you will use RB Tashard Choice

"Obviously he's our starter and a great back. We'll try to keep him as fresh as possible, but we're not afraid to let him be the main guy. He has earned that spot. We don't have a rotation in mind right now."

Has Tashard Choice surprised you with his leadership?

"I think it surprised me because I didn't expect it. But once he was here a short time you knew it was there. There was no question that it was there. After about a month here, you realized that you had a special young man leadership-wise. But I had no idea he was that way coming in."

What makes Choice a good leader?

"First of all, he works hard. Second of all, he encourages others to work hard. He shows up on time and he does what he is supposed to do on the field and off the field. So he gains a certain level of respect for that. You have to work hard and you have to do things right to be a leader. You can't just run around out there and yell loud on gameday."

On leaders having good timing

"Always. The great leaders that I have been fortunate to be around had that impeccable timing. John Elway had the impeccable timing of knowing when it was time to make something happen. That is a big part of it."

On talking to your offense about Notre Dame being susceptible to the big play last year

"We talk about that every week. We want to try to spread the defense and don't be afraid to take our shots. That's not just this week's game plan, that would be every week's game plan."

On preparing for Notre Dame's Travis Thomas moving to linebacker this year

"We don't know a thing about him at linebacker. We know that he was obviously a very good running back. We'll just have to wait and see how he looks on the field. Obviously he has great speed. Whether he has adapted to that position with the instincts that it takes to play linebacker, we'll just have to wait and see. But they would not have moved him if they didn't think that he could do a great job."

On preparing for Notre Dame WR Rhema McKnight, who played just a game and a half last year

"What you have to do is to go back and look at that position last year and how that position was used. Then you have to go back and look at prior tape to look at that person and how that person may adapt to that position. I don't see them changing a lot of routes just for Rhema. I think they will use a lot of the same routes and same concepts that they used last year. They will just plug him in, and him being a great athlete, he will adapt to those things. You have to do the combination research there."


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