Weekly Press Conference Video & Quotes: Oct. 17
Oct. 17, 2017

Head Coach Dave Clawson

Opening Statement...
“I thought we had a productive bye week. We got a couple of extra practices for Georgia Tech, but more importantly our guys got some down time. It worked out well that our bye week was during fall break. We were able to give the players Thursday, Friday and Saturday off and got them back Sunday. Our coaches got on the road and we were able to watch some high school practices and games. As much as our guys needed a physical break, they needed a mental break. Sometimes I think halfway through, and this is more than halfway in because of camp started in July, it is good to give the players three days off to recharge the batteries as we get ready for the second half of the season.

“We are headed to Atlanta to play a very good Georgia Tech team, who is really two plays away from being undefeated and ranked in the top 10. They are one-play away in the Tennessee game, the two-point conversion, and if Miami doesn’t convert a 4th-and-10, they are 5-0 and people are mentioning them for being a candidate for the playoff. On offense, they are very talented, extremely well coached and know exactly what they are doing. Their quarterback, Marshall, runs this option excellent. His ability to read the dive, the pitch and throw the football. He makes plays and makes people miss. At times a play can be well-defended and he can turn it into something really productive. Their B back is a load, makes people miss and runs over people. Their A backs are fast and good perimeter blocker. This is a very physical offense line. Sometimes this is an offense that you can run with undersized guys, but their offensive linemen would be good in any scheme. They have guys on the perimeter who can make plays in the passing game as well. They are extremely efficient in throwing it, leading the league in passing efficiency, in addition to rolling up around 400 yards a game on the ground.



“Defensively, they are second in the ACC and are giving up a little over 300 yards per game. That is their style of play. They don’t give up a lot of big plays. They keep things in front of them. What makes them so effective is that they are really, really good on third down. They are the best defense in the ACC on third down. What happens is they have an offense that keeps the ball and they combine it with a defense that gets off the field on third down. So they win the time of possession. This is a game that when you have the ball on offense, you have to make plays and you have to score because you aren’t going to get a lot of possessions. They have pass rushers and it is an older defense. Their top 12 defensive players, seven are seniors and five are juniors. This is an older, experienced defense that knows what they are doing. It will be a great challenge for us, but we are excited to be playing again.”

On Georgia Tech’s triple option offense:
“We’ve played against this style of offense every year. What Coach Johnson does at Georgia Tech is different than what Army does. He’s got his own wrinkles and own mode of attack. Our staff, we have three new defensive coaches. It’s not like you can say ‘hey, we’re going to run our option defense’ because the guys that did that aren’t here any more. You have to mix it up. The challenge of going against these guys is they have so many ways of attack. How do you handle this formation? How do you handle this motion? They’ll try different things and the one thing you aren’t sound against, they’ll run again, and again and again. They’ll bleed you. If you watch the games, as soon as they find something they like that they don’t feel like you have a fundamental, sound answer for, you’re going to see it again and again. Whatever you do to adjust to it, Coach Johnson has an answer. He knows the offense so well. In all of his years in doing it, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen. We’re going to get tested. Again, it’s always a challenge but at the end of the day, every offense has a way they attack you and you have to get off the blocks and make tackles and space. You have to have your eyes in the right place and that’s something you have to do every week.”

On how the Georgia Tech offense attacks certain positions:
“This offense attacks every position. There are plays that certainly attack the linebackers. They have different ways of cutting them, or blocking them, or sealing them, or reading them. You can say that they have a way of reading the three technique or they have a way of reading the five technique. They have a way of trapping the five, a way of loading the five. They switch up their perimeter blocking so at times there are arcing for the safety or at times you’re arcing for the corner at times you’re sealing the linebacker. Then if you get over-aggressive, they have a play action answer. That play action really looks like the run and it’ll be the same blocking pattern. Now it’s a wheel route or a post and if you give those up it’s a touchdown. There’s a lot of run pass dilemmas that they put you in with the course of the backs and the path of the quarter back. They don’t throw it a lot but when they do you’re getting tested and challenged deep. They’ve thrown some more traditional stuff this year. They’ve thrown some quick game and comebacks and things like that. They’re very effective in doing that. It’s hard to protect your corners when you go against an offense like this because you have to get numbers to the run game.”

Redshirt senior linebacker Grant Dawson

On Georgia Tech’s triple option:
“The triple option brings a lot of new challenges. We pretty much run a whole different defense than we do the rest of the year. This bye week we’ve had has helped us prepare for this challenge we’re facing but we’re still going to have to come out on Saturday focused on every single play and play hard. That’s the biggest thing. We have to play hard and tackle well.”

On coming off the bye week:
“I am absolutely ready to get back on the field. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. We had two pretty tough weeks. We had a lot of guys that were banged up. It’s a long season. We’re at the halfway point so it came at a good time. It gave us some time to get some rest, both physically and mentally. We came out Sunday and had a great practice. The energy level was tremendously different than it was our few days off. It really came at a good time. I think everyone is back and ready to go.”

On the timing of the bye week:
“I really thought it was an ideal time. You want the bye week in the middle of the season and we had it exactly in the middle of the season. It was ideally right before Georgia Tech and since they present some new challenges we aren’t used to, it gave us some extra time to prepare for that.”

On how he spent his Saturday off:
“I was posted up on the couch Saturday watching college football all day. We don’t get that opportunity much so it was nice to sit back, relax and watch some other teams and see how other people are doing.”

Junior running back Matt Colburn II

On how he spent his bye week:
“I went home and got some good quality time with the family. I watched a lot of football and napped a lot. I love naps. It was a good chance to catch up on some rest.”

On the bye week:
“I think it’s a nice little break. It was good to get off my feet and recover and rest. All those good things that’s necessary to prolong the year. The season is so long so the bye week was at a really good time.”

On Clemson:
“Clemson was a tough game. We couldn’t get rolling in the beginning. We’ve had some really good practices though. We’re not going to have many opportunities against Georgia Tech. They’re going to hold the ball in the triple option so we just have to make the most of every chance we get.”

On playing Georgia Tech:
“It’s imperative that we start off fast. When we get in the red zone, we have to put up points. We have to get six points every time. We can’t settle for field goals because they’re going to hold the ball. We might have six to eight possession drives the entire game and that’s not a lot when they can hold the ball for 45 minutes so we have to make the most of it.”

On how the team feels coming off of the bye week:
“It’s been going well. Guys have their legs back. They’re feeling more refreshed and there’s more juice you can feel. Guys are ready to get back in the swing of things and not let a two-game losing streak get to them. We need to get back to winning.”

On what he learned from the Clemson game:
“When we get in the red zone, we have to put up points. That’s the biggest thing. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot with a false start or let our quarterback get sacked. The biggest thing is that we need to put up points. It starts with everyone getting on the same page.”

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