Q&A: Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee

Vad Lee’s first season as Georgia Tech’s starting quarterback hasn’t gone quite as he or many hoped it would — for various reasons He has completed less than 50 percent of his passes, for instance. But he has helped direct the Yellow Jackets to a 17th consecutive bowl and could be a part of an ACC Coastal Division co-championship team if results fall Tech’s way this weekend. In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lee looked back at the season and ahead to Saturday’s meeting with Georgia.

Q: How have things gone for you this year?

A: It could be worse, it could be better. That's how I look at it. There's a lot of things that I would like to do better and a lot of games that I would have liked to have won. If you take the Virginia Tech game, as bad as we played, we still had a last-minute drive in the fourth quarter to go score. And those are the type of moments that you want to have as a quarterback, game-winning drives and stuff like that, even though it's not all on me, but I'm kind of hard (on myself), so I kind of put it all on me.

I’m happy that we’re in this position as a, what, 7-4 team, first-year starter, still learning as I go, happy to just be in this position and to just keep leading. And we’re bowl-eligible, but we also have an opportunity to go 8-4 and then who knows what happens in the ACC.

Q: What do you wish you’d known at the start of the year that you know now, about playing quarterback here or about techniques, or anything like that?

A: That's a tough question because I kind of knew a lot going with (former starter) Tevin (Washington), being behind Tevin (last season). He had kind of been through everything with me being the young guy kind of pushing him. I kind of learned everything about that part and aspect of playing quarterback here.

Q: Has the season been different than what you’d expected, in some ways?

A: Oh, yeah (laughs).

Q: In what ways is that?

A: It's different, obviously, because you want to win every game. I want to win every game. I feel like there's really not that one game that we have on our resume yet that we can look back and be proud of and just be happy and just be like, wow, we did a great job here. So that's definitely one thing.

Q: Tell me one play you’re proud of and one play you wish you could have back.

A: One play I wish I could have back is probably (from) the Miami game, when I threw that interception at the end. We were about on the (Miami) 40-yard line trying to go score and I think either go ahead or tie the game. (Miami led 31-23.) That's one that really stands out, simply because I was just trying to make a play, and it was fourth down and they rolled strong to one receiver and I didn't think that (they would do that).

They kind of baited me. That’s one play, and then one play I’m proud of — probably that long pass play to (wide receiver) DeAndre (Smelter, against Pittsburgh). That’s the main thing that’s kind of sticking out because that was such a big play in the game. We needed that play in order to win the game. But certainly the bad plays stand out more than the good.

Q: You probably haven’t thrown the ball as much as you wanted to or expected to. What’s that been like for someone who loves throwing the ball?

A: It's a challenge. But in order for us to win, I kind of understand that we've got to do things on the ground first before we establish anything (with the pass). That's tough, but at the same time I want to win and I know I want to do what's best for the team.

Q: Has it gotten harder to run the ball as you’ve gotten banged up as the year has gone on?

A: It feels like I can't really get those creases like I used to last year. I guess running the ball more, (B-back) David (Sims) is calling me slow now. (laughs) Last year, I had a lot of explosive runs, but I guess now, through preparation by other teams and keying on me as the main starter now, it's kind of difficult to get those yards. So it's been tough in the running game for me, but also it has opened up other people like our A-backs, Robbie (Godhigh) and (B-backs) David and Zach (Laskey) and all those (running backs), because I guess people are keying on me and doing stuff.

Q: Tell me what you’ve learned about the Georgia rivalry.

A: I've learned that it's a heated rivalry. Our teams, they clash. Our fans are really passionate about this game. Everybody just wants to win this game. You want to rule the state. Georgia's been ruling the state for the past couple of years, so we're trying to get that throne and take over and rule the state for a year.