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“Sorry I’m late. I got a call from my buddy Al Everett with the [New Orleans] Saints. I’ve been waiting for calls and I’m trying to reach people down there. I’m glad to hear that they’re OK and they’re homes are OK. I haven’t heard back from Paul Houlihan, who is a former teammate of mind and executive director of the Sugar Bowl. So we don’t know what’s going on with him. The Saints have relocated to San Antonio and they’re trying to get their games scheduled. Our hearts still go out to those folks and we’re trying to get our best to get things organized in this football program to help them. We’ll be doing something this weekend to try and help.
“The opening game is coming up and we’re all excited about that. I could sense the energy and enthusiasm on the field last evening. We get to play a real game. We get to play somebody else. That’s always exciting. We know the opponent had a big win against Auburn – a ranked team. I’ve ranked them also – Georgia Tech that is. They play hard. That game was fierce. That was the most noteworthy thing in my book – how hard Georgia Tech played in every aspect of the game – offense, defense and special teams. They certainly will be a difficult team to play against down on their home turf. But we’ve got to take care of our business and try to play a little bit like the way they played – force the issue, make some plays and don’t turn the ball over… hat’s what we need to do to be competitive in this game.
“We elected captains yesterday and I’m really excited about whom the team selected on offense; they selected Matt Baker. We’ve talked enough about him. I don’t have to say how much he means to me and to this football program and this football team this year. They elected Tommy Richardson on defense. I think that’s a great story. Tommy has overcome some difficult time and I don’t need to dwell on those. I just want to accentuate the positive that he brings to this team and all of the leadership that he has provided throughout the spring and throughout the summer. He’s played very well and I’m excited they selected him. The other guy is a guy who has become very dear to me in the last couple of years. He’s was a walk-on player who earned a scholarship. Wallace Wright, the special teams’ captain, is perhaps our fiercest competitor out there. He’s all for the corps of special teams. He makes plays and has really also developed into a terrific receiver through having some tools to work with. (He has a) tremendous work ethic and I’m really, really proud of him.
“So we’re looking forward to this game. Give Georgia Tech and awful lot of credit. They played extremely well. We expect to have our hands full when we go down to Atlanta.
Could you talk about your impressions of Reggie Ball?
“(He’s a) terrific athlete with an incredibly strong arm. We have Bobby Rome right now trying to imitate throwing his deep ball. He throws that ball about 100 miles down the field and about 100 miles up in the air. He’s extremely physical and very, very competitive. And they do enough things with him between his bootleg passes and his quarterback runs – drive or dart plays, whatever you want to call them. He is a factor. In order to win on defense, you’ve got to tackle him, you’ve got to tackle [P.J. Daniels] and you have to stop those big plays to Calvin Johnson.”