Paul Johnson’s post-game comments

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson celebrates after an NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Va. Saturday, Nov. 12 2016. Georgia Tech won the game 30-20. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

Quotes from Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s post-game news conference after the 30-20 win over No. 14 Virginia Tech

“I was really proud of our football team. We came in with a few people out and down, and we needed our defense to step up and play big, and they did. We got some turnovers and got off the field, and offensively, we were able to find enough ways. We hit some plays and found a way to get it done.”

On the depleted offensive line:

“I don’t know that I’ve, since I’ve been coaching football, started three true freshmen on the offensive line, especially on the road. But somebody forgot to tell them they were freshmen. They just kind of went out there and played. Really proud of the team. A lot we can take out of this game and grow from. Got to go home and continue to work and see if we can’t get better next week against Virginia.”

On quarterback Justin Thomas’ availability:

“He was going to try it, but I watched him in warmups, and I wasn’t going to do that to the kid. He wanted to play. He would have played, but he wasn’t capable, and Matthew (Jordan) took all the reps, him and TaQuon (Marshall) this week in practice. It wouldn’t have been right for Matthew not to have played, either. He took all the reps.”

On center Freddie Burden’s availability:

“Freddie actually practiced on Thursday, but you could tell he wasn’t (100 percent), and Kenny took all the reps (in practice), so it wasn’t fair not to let him start and play. When he got out there, he was O.K. Then we started dropping dang snaps in the second half.”

On Matthew Jordan:

“He told me after the game, he said, ‘I know you’re going to yell at me, but I’m going to celebrate tonight. You can yell at me Monday.’”

On the running game:

“Most of our run game tonight was really between the tackles, partly, once we got up, by design. I didn’t want to turn the ball over. It was kind of a game if you could kind of just run clock and do that, (you had a chance to win). (Virginia Tech) do a good job. (Defensive coordinator) Bud (Foster) is a really good defensive coach and they do a good job. They had changed a pretty good deal of how they played us the year before, and so we had to try to change some things, and then when we did, they changed some things back, but most of it was kind of between the tackles.”

On coming back from the North Carolina loss:

“I’m happy for our kids. We played so poorly last week. We didn’t play really good on offense, either. We had a lot of yards, but we didn’t score as many points. It was probably as bad a game defensively as I’ve seen in a long time. I think we’re capable of being better than that, so I’m happy that they could come and play better today.”

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