That was quite a turnaround after last week, don't you think?
I think it's a tribute to our coaching staff and the players. We didn't get down after Virginia. We knew what we are capable of doing, and we came out and executed.
But it wasn't pretty to start, was it?
It wasn't. We feel like the offense is a strong point, and we feel like we didn't do enough early on, but the defense kept playing, and in the second half we showed flashes of what we can do as an offense.
You reached another milestone tonight. What is that like?
It feels great, especially after a win. Usually, I break records in a loss, so it was a great feeling doing it with a win.
Can you talk about the incredible swing from last week to this week and your thoughts and emotions?
We feel good. We went into practice this week and put the Virginia game out of our heads and focused on Georgia Tech. We knew we are capable of playing with that team and every team in the ACC. It was just about the mentality of this team. We never quit and kept fighting.
What defensive adjustments did you make that made you successful today?
We did a lot of tackling drills this week of breaking down and really knowing how to tackle on the run. On defense, we did the same thing. We just executed better.
How key were the first couple of series when you held them to field goals?
That was a big key for us. That gave us the confidence that we could be a really good defense, and I think that set the tone for us to go out there and play hard and believe.
Tell me about the extra day in full pads in practice this week and what that did for you.
We usually have the first day with 'spiders' [pads], which is a routine day in practice. Then, Wednesday we have one day of full pads. But this week we went Tuesday full pads, Wednesday full pads and Thursday half-pads. Usually, we have Thursday without any pads, but that really set the tone for us. We were kind of mad, but it's a sacrifice you have to make for it to pay off.
Describe what happened on the last play. Tell us what you saw and how it played out.
Actually, I got knocked down on the ground, so I got up and I ran straight to the sideline. I saw him running on the sideline. I guess he saw me in his rear-view vision, and I over-ran him. I stuck my hand out, I knocked the ball loose, and it was right in front of me so I just took it and ran.
What is it like to jump around and celebrate a home win?
It's a great feeling. This is the second game in a row we have won at home. It's been a while since we've done that. Actually, we haven't done that since 2001, my freshman year when I came in and played. For us to get two home games in a row is a great accomplishment for the team and the coaching staff. I think it will give us a lot of momentum going into the season.
How did you make the turn-around from the 32-point loss last week to tonight?
We came out last week a little sluggish. We didn't come out prepared to play. This week we had a great week of practice and came out prepared and ready to go. Even though we got a rough start, we just kept pounding and everything turned on for us and we went on from there.
What was the key to your individual success tonight?
Practice. I practiced hard all week. We came out Monday and from Monday on, Ronnie, Chad, and I were out there running hard every time we touched the ball. We were running just like we were running in a game, and I think that carried on into this game as far as hitting holes and looking at my keys and my reads and just hitting up in the hole.
Could you have imagined a 10-yard average per carry tonight?
I just played hard. I don't even know how many yards I had to be honest. I was just out there running and kept going.
Some of those big runs looked like the same play. Were you running the same play a lot?
It was a mixture of plays. Some of the plays that I ran and broke big yards on were the same plays, but there were several different ones.
How much momentum did you get from the turnovers today?
We got a lot of momentum. What did we have, three picks? There were some close calls when they fumbled, but they said he was down. I think when we got interceptions, everybody was getting hyped, gaining confidence. If you are in your spot where you are supposed to be, everything will be all right. We were trusting what the coaches said, trusting the calls, not playing other peoples' positions.
Hilee said you all went full pads Tuesday and Wednesday and half-pads on Thursday. How important was that this week for this success?
I think it was really important. It enabled us to be more aggressive. In a week of practice we had some fights. We were mad about being in full pads. We had some fights with the scout team, but in the end it all paid off. Our scout team prepared us. They were running plays to perfection. They broke some on us, but we didn’t get down. We picked it back up. I don't think we had one bad practice this week. All practices were up to par. Everybody was upbeat and doing their job. The week of practice was good for us.
What made things click? It seems you were able to accomplish something in one week that you really didn't in all of training camp up until this point?
I think everybody put our faith in Coach Sanders. After we lost the Virginia game, he came to us and was like, 'We are going to be Georgia Tech. We are going to win this next game.' We had to trust in him that we would get the job done. We went out and practiced the scheme had him set for us. Everybody put their faith in him and got the job done.