Citadel head coach Brent Thompson and Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins shake hands after Citadel won 27-24. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Geoff Collins’ comments following loss to The Citadel

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins’ comments following the team’s 27-24 overtime loss to The Citadel Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Opening statement:

“First of all, got to give Citadel a lot of credit. They came out and played really hard. They played really physical, sound football. There were some times that we were playing really good football on both sides of the ball as well.

The thing that I’m disappointed in, and I blame myself, was the penalties. We played two games and only had four penalties and then there were some times today that frustration set in, some chippiness set in and we cost ourselves early in the game when we get third-down stops and that gets added to a first down, get another third-down stop, get another first down, flip the field, David Curry has a chance to flip the field on the interception, we lose 15 yards.

So that is uncharacteristic of what we’ve shown the first two weeks so that’s on me. We will get that remedied, we will get that fixed. Because it was really clean football the first two weeks of the season, and then today for whatever reason, there were some things, costly penalties, that affected the outcome of the game. But again, Citadel deserves a lot of credit and obviously, they celebrated and they had every right to do that.

The story of the game, too, third-down conversions. The game is to get it in third and short for them. They were able to do than then they were able to convert.

We’re building the program. The transition that we’ve gone through, which no doubt is monumental, but every single day is a new experience to get better. This is just one of those times, a bump in the road, that we’ve got to overcome.

We’re going into a bye week and we will get things rectified very quickly. The attitude, the demeanor in that locker room was appropriate. They were upset. They want to get better. They don’t want to put that kind of performance out there. So they’ll be committed to getting better when we go back to work on Tuesday.”

On The Citadel attacking the perimeter:

“So they were doing a good job. Their whole offense is to mess around with the splits on the perimeter, so we were doing some good things. We were actually turning out backs to the guy that was going to block as a crack block because you’re not allowed to block in the back, so we would physically turn our back to the guy blocking us and then get vertical, and for whatever reason, it was still hitting us.

There were some times we got it corrected. … Just the execution of that technique, when the bullets are flying and it’s going (has to be better). But I think the guys played hard. Just some things on the perimeter got us.”

On impact of injuries on offensive line:

“The guys are fighting. It’s a bunch of guys that we’re piecemealing together. There’s some talented young guys in there in that mix, some walk-ons that are out there fighting their butts off for the program. But in those kinds of situations, obviously, when you just look at the loss today, it’s going to hurt.

And it’s going to look bad, and I’ve got to imagine I’m going to look bad. And that’s fine. I can take it. I understand what it program is going to look like. I understand what this program is going to be. And I’m proud of those guys, how had they fight to make it happen.

But when you’re rolling through a whole bunch of offensive linemen and a lot of them are walk-ons, not that that matters but they are competing and they’re fighting. I think we have two returning defensive players and they’re out there fighting and battling to contribute and to make plays and we’re rolling guys in.

So the future’s bright around here. Today sucked. We can be honest – if I can be use that word – it sucked. But we are going to get better from it and I told those guys after we were done, I explained the reason why what happened today happened, and I’m going to leave those reasons in the locker room because they are between me and that football team.

But externally, to the public, it’s all on me. Blame me. I’m good. I can handle it because I understand the inner workings of what’s happening in that locker room. I understand the commitment that exists from top down, bottom up in this program to get better in every single phase of what we do. And it’s going to happen. It is a work in progress and it’s going to be really good eventually. We’ve just got to keep fighting the fight and keeping a great attitude while we do it.”

On linebacker David Curry:

“He was getting us lined up. They did a lot of unique things that they had not done in the first two games and really they hadn’t done a lot last season. Some indicators that they had been giving for two weeks and even into last year, (the Citadel) completely changed those up. So we had to counteract with a lot of different things. (Curry) kept it together, kept changing the calls, kept getting us lined up. So I’m proud of them. David Curry is a battler. He is a warrior. He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever been blessed to coach. Highly intelligent, high-character, high care factor, and it’s a blessing every single day that I walk into this building and get to coach David Curry along with every single other one of our players on this team.”

On the overtime possession:

“So we got in a rhythm. Third quarter, fourth quarter, we were in a really good rhythm. We were moving the ball up and down the field pretty well and then went to those things on the first two plays of overtime, and they gave us a look that we really liked to run the first play.

We took it, the kid made a great play to get it for a one-yard gain, and then another nice play by their player (on second down). But the things that we had were wired. They just made a really nice play against us to stop us and force us to attempt a field goal.”

On his thought process for playing Lucas Johnson in overtime:

“So we were rolling the quarterbacks. What we were going to do in that series was going to do max splits and read the box, make the call from the (coaching) box. We saw the look that we wanted and, again, the young man for Citadel made a really nice play to stop us short and force us into a field goal.”

On if he had a clearer picture of who should be the starting quarterback down the road:

“So again, we don’t talk like that. If you noticed out there today, there were probably six safeties that played in the college football game. I don’t see people sitting here asking me who is going to be the starting safety moving forward.

We don’t think in those terms. The people that can help us play really well on a college football Saturday or Friday or Thursday or whenever we play, if they’ve earned the right to contribute to this team, they’re going to play.

And we will continue to do that, and these guys are battling to earn playing time and however much playing time they get is determined upon what they do in their body of work since we’ve been here, and it will continue that way moving forward.

I do appreciate the question, and I’m not trying to sound rude. I’m just emphasizing that everything matters.”

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