Following a crushing 25-24 loss to No. 11 Miami last Saturday, Georgia Tech faces Wake Forest at Bobby Dodd Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. matchup. In the wake of the last-second defeat, the question of the week is: Can the Yellow Jackets rebound?
Tech players, at least, were saying the right words - that they can’t let Miami beat them twice and that their focus needs to be on the Demon Deacons.
“I feel like we’re definitely (ticked), but it’s a new week, it’s a new day,” defensive end Anree Saint-Amour said. “That was last Saturday. This is Tuesday. We’ve got to get ready for Wake Forest and just focus on getting this next win. That’s all we can do right now.”
Coach Paul Johnson has sought to keep his team looking forward, reminding players that all of their team goals (save winning the national championship, which looks out of the picture with two losses) are still achievable, particularly winning the Coastal Division and playing for the ACC title. It will require some help now, but it’s not inconceivable.
Players have also said they’ve seen good spirit on the practice field. A-back Qua Searcy said that players have a chip on their shoulder after losing to the Hurricanes in a game where one play could have made the difference in Tech’s favor.
Saying the words is one thing, though. The results on Saturday evening will provide the most tangible evidence. It may well be that such a frustrating loss has caused the Jackets to redouble their efforts and attention to detail. The loss to North Carolina seemed to have that effect for the Tech defense last season.
It’s easy to forget that losing to Miami doesn’t necessarily make Tech a weak team. Quite the opposite, the Jackets went toe to toe with the No. 11 team in the country on their field. The challenge now will be to continue to improve when perhaps motivation is flagging.
Further, Wake Forest won’t lose simply because Tech is focused and angry. The Demon Deacons are a pretty good group with a strong defense and will be playing with extra prep time for the Jackets, having had their open date last week.
“It definitely hurts because you lose two games in less than five seconds,” Searcy said, referring the opening loss to Tennessee. “It’s just something (where) we’ve got to move on, get better.”
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