Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s comments following the Yellow Jackets’ 28-14 loss to Duke on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium:
“Just really frustrated. I’m frustrated we didn’t play particularly well in the first half on offense especially on some short-yardage stuff. We couldn’t seem to convert. I thought we’d made some good adjustments at halftime. Came out to start the second half with a horrendous special-teams play to take the ball over on the 8-yard line and actually got it out of there pretty good. Then we get a penalty, get behind, have to punt, flip the field, put them down on their 5. They make two or three first downs, flip the field, put us back on the 8, so it’s going to be one of those games and then we take the ball, move it out to midfield and lay it on the ground. Then, third and whatever it was, 12, 15, they hit us a for a big play. OK, kick it out of bounds, the very first play, we lay it on the ground, they score, they kick off and we lay it on the ground on the kickoff return and pretty much game’s out of reach. I thought we cleaned that up, but clearly, we haven’t. There’s a small margin of error. We can’t win games where we turn the ball over three times. Start the half with a penalty, start the first drive with a penalty. We stayed away from that and today, we didn’t do a very good job of it.”
On performance of offense:
“We had some chances in the first half and we couldn’t finish when we got in the secondary and we just couldn’t get away. You have to give them some credit. We didn’t finish any explosive plays or any big plays. We’ve got to do a better job, clearly, coaching ball security. That comes back to us. You can’t have the ball out swinging when you’re in a crowd and have it on your hip. And I feel like we try to stress it, but clearly we’re not stressing it enough.”
On calls by offensive line that freed Duke linebacker Chris Rumph to pursue from the backside of plays:
“It was stupidity. It was calls by the offensive line. It was stupidity. And so then they had the receiver turning out and the guy would shoot the B-gap. That’s what it was.”
On chippy play:
“I don’t know. I thought it was a football game. I talked to the officials at halftime. You’ve got to call the thing tight. If you let all the jawing go and you let the pushing go and those things, that’s kind of what happens. I don’t think it was an issue in the second half.”
More on the line’s calls:
“They were making offensive line calls. We were in a heavy formation. We practiced exactly what they did all week. And then we’ve got a guy up there who thinks he knows more about it, so he’s going to make a line call and the receivers don’t know and you tell them, they’re going to turn out. So they were turning out and they were leaving a gap for the guy to run through and he runs through from behind with nobody blocking him.”
On how that happens:
“I don’t know how it happens. Poor coaching on my part I guess is how it happens.”
“We were without (right tackle) Andrew Marshall, we were without (wide receiver) Jalen Camp. And we were without (wide receiver) Steve Dolphus. We had several guys out. It hurts not having (B-back) KirVonte (Benson). He can finish some of those runs.”
On the defense:
“We played well after the first series. We’d done some good things defensively, and then when the turnovers started, it was like we went crazy there, too. We got misaligned and they hit the wheel route and we turned a guy loose on third-and-12. The guy slipped but the guy he was beat by a mile when he fell down. Or it looked like it to me from the sideline. You take the positives and you try to grow from them and you correct it and you go play. We can be a pretty good football team if we don’t turn the ball over and we don’t have penalties. But when we do that, we don’t have the explosive guys to create (big plays).”
On the team’s mental state:
“I think sometimes when we start out and we don’t have immediate success on offense, guys try to do too much and they don’t just kind of go with the flow and go with the system and then it gets worse as opposed to just kind of playing.”
More coverage from the game:
Steve Hummer: If Tech can’t beat Duke (in football), what’s left?
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