“After evaluating the film on Sunday, and really breaking it down, there are some good things and some bad things in all three phases of the game, as usual. There were many bright spots, there were some things that we were able to take from this game and hopefully be able to grow on. We’ll be a better football team because of it. We’re excited about coming home and playing in front of our fans again. Taking on a very good Georgia Tech football team that will totally makes you stop everything you’re doing on defense and change to prepare for the triple-option attack.”
Have you seen a performance like Marquise Williams gave on Saturday with so many different components combined?
“I don’t know how many times… I can tell you the toughness and grittiness, on top of how he performed, was really good. It wasn’t always that he made the best decisions in the game, but he made up for it in heart and want-to, and provided a spark for our football team to give us a chance to win the game.”
After the game you said the decision to keep Marquise in the third series came as the game went on. Leading into Georgia Tech, are you going to make that decision before the game?
“We’ll talk about it on Thursday and we’ll make that decision on Thursday. He had a good feel, we had a good flow, we had a good tempo going [and] we had a good rhythm going. We said if that was going to happen, and we’ve said that before, that we wouldn’t do anything in this game. We did have a good flow going. It’s one of the few games that we’ve had early that we started fast and had some things going well in the first quarter, so that’s why we decided to do what we did.”
You said playing Georgia Tech makes you stop everything that you’re doing on defense. Do you think that could be an advantage this week?
“Defending the triple option is very difficult whether you’re having success or you’re not. It’s a very difficult offense to run and Paul Johnson runs it as well as any offense in the country and does a tremendous job with it. It’s something we worked on all during fall camp. We spent time on it, and on Sunday when we came in, we went immediately to it for our defense and giving them a look. And basically three days to get ready for it, and that makes it tough.”
You guys did a better job of limiting the big plays on defense, but struggled with the long drives. What’s the key to improvement in that regard?
“It’s always tough. It’s a variety of reasons. In this previous game, you had 83 yards just on quarterback scrambles alone, not quarterback runs, just scrambles, which is what that kid can do. The screens just killed us, and that’s just bad angles and missed tackles on those screens. And they broke our backs right there on those screens, whether it was slip screen or the tunnel screen.
“We have to do a better job of retracing with the defensive line. It makes it difficult when you are doing a much better job against the big plays. When you make a team grind it out, and make multiple plays, usually, defensively, you’re going to end up being okay because most offenses are going to make a mistake at some point in there and get behind the chains and you’re going to force them to punt.”
What is it about your team that has been able to capitalize on turnovers?
“We’ve spent a lot of time emphasizing takeaways. Offensively, when you get a quick change of possession, you’ve got to strike. And that is something we spend a lot of time talking about, and a lot of time emphasizing that when you get a turnover like that, you have to strike, and our guys have done a very good job of that.”
Do you have to change your strategy for Georgia Tech?
“The thing that Georgia Tech does is that they do a tremendous job of possessing the ball. They stay ahead of the chains so that they aren’t in long yardage situations in third down, so they can get to their entire offense, which is the triple option. You go from averaging 14 to 15 possessions a game offensively to nine, maybe 10. Last year you looked back and we had 10 possessions and one of those was with 24 seconds left right before the half. So you really had nine possessions. They are very efficient offensively with their possessions, and you have to be, also. You can’t have a guy flinch or get behind the chains or jump offsides, or turn the football over. If you look back at Georgia Tech, when they don’t turn the football over, they are going to win a majority of their games. And that goes for everybody, but it is even more so when you have fewer possessions.”
How long does it take your defense to get acclimated to what they do at the beginning of games?
“There is no way that you’re going to be able to show them the speed of the game with the triple option in practice, you just don’t. We don’t run it. You’re not going to get a scout team to run the triple option as quickly and efficiently as they do. It takes some time at the beginning of the game to get acclimated to the speed of it. Hopefully it doesn’t take long because they’re only going to have so many possessions.”
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