Q: (Continuing questions about improving pass rush) Is this a matter of getting the right fits for the 3-4?
A: Maybe as guys get older. The thing I said last year, we don’t have very many seniors. We’ve got nine this year. … We’ll be into our own guys. This senior class will be the transition class. The junior class has 23 in it. Then we’ll kind of be back on norm. Now, you’ll lose a few of them. (But) the more seniors you’ve got, the better.
This class would have had a few more seniors, but we’re going to have a couple that graduate, but not guys who were playing. If Julian (Burnett) doesn’t play, that’s another one of the seniors. Stephen Hill would have been another senior. But it’s the transition. And what happens when you get so young is you get classes where you can only sign 15, 16, 17 and then if you have any attrition, you’re not going to have any seniors. So we’re still working our way into that.
Q: To what degree did youth impact the season?
A: You go back and you look at the last four years, we’ve probably won more games than anybody since Coach (Bobby) Dodd, so they’ve actually performed well. (Ed. note: Tech won 43 games from 2008 to 2011, third most since Dodd’s retirement for a four-year span since 1966. Tech won 46 between 2006 and 2009.) Fans are like everybody else. They just want to win once a week. And sometimes they have selective memories about how it used to be. We’d like to win every game, too. That’s the goal. If you go back and look, Georgia Tech has not won the conference championship every year.
Q: Or most years.
A: Twice, and they took one away, in 30 years. And the other one they won was a tie. They actually would have lost in today’s standards because they would have went to the tiebreaker. We haven’t finished a season as strong as you’d like and I think that leads into people’s minds.
It’s like last year. We only won eight games. Nobody thought we could win six. And then when you win eight, (so) you should have won 10. … How many times have we won 10 games here? Maybe four in the last 50 years. So there you go.
Q: What did you think of the schedule?
A: We’re going to know where we stand in our division pretty early. We’ve got three games in 13 days again. We’re playing some teams that beat us a year ago, all of them right on the front end. We’ll have to get ready to go. And all division games.
Q: What are the pros and cons of playing the Virginia Tech game so early?
A: I think you’ll get exposure excitement for the kids trying to get ready for the big game early. That’s been one of the biggest games in our division and that’s over with the first game. It certainly puts one team dead behind the 8-ball. We’d prefer to have maybe your bigger games later in the year. Same for both teams.
Q: What was your reaction when you first heard about moving the game to Labor Day?
A: I really didn’t have a reaction because I don’t have any say in it. It’s the conference. They set the conference schedule.
Q: Don’t they need your permission to move the game?
A: They don’t need your permission.
Q: But you had a non-conference game already contracted for that week.
A: It doesn’t matter. The conference schedule trumps. You just have to move around.
Q: One thing that jumps out is that you play six of the first eight at home and then three of the last four on the road.
A: I hadn’t really thought that much about that, honestly. My focus will be on the first game and then we’ll go from there.
Q: About playing the three division games early, I guess you’ll only know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing after those games are over.
A: I think you’ll have a good idea where you stand whether you control your destiny or whether you’re going to have to have a lot of help. I haven’t looked at the overall ACC schedule. I don’t know who they play. I think Virginia Tech plays Florida State on Thursday night, Miami and Florida State or somebody like that. (Virginia Tech plays Miami and Florida State on back-to-back Thursdays)
I think they play Clemson again. (Correct)They’ve got a pretty rough row to hoe, too. It’s not like that (season-opening) game is going to decide who wins, but certainly, if you can win a division game, it’s like winning two because then you’ve got the tiebreaker.
Q: I’ve heard (Chick-fil-A Bowl president) Gary Stokan say that coaches playing in the kickoff game have said that it has made players practice harder in the spring and over the summer because they know they’ve got such a big game in the opener.
A: Maybe. You hope that guys are going to work hard to get ready no matter what. Certainly there’s a sense of excitement. There’ll be a lot of hype around the game and you’re going to get a lot of exposure because we’re going to be the only game on that night, so we’ll get some exposure that way.
Thanks for reading. Another post Tuesday morning.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog