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December 5, 2009

Scott Blair

Jonathan Dwyer

Paul Johnson

Derrick Morgan


COACH JOHNSON: Wow, what a game. I don't think anybody would have left their seat. It was about as exciting an offensive game as you could find. My hats off to Clemson. I thought they came in and played a great game and had a good plan, and C.J. Spiller was magnificent. He lived up to all the hype.
But I'm awfully proud of our football team. We found a way to win. You know, it was very similar to the last game and we got out in front and to their credit they came back and took the lead and we were able to put together a big drive at the end and get them stopped.
Excited about having the opportunity to go to Miami and represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl. The guy up here, we've got Derrick Morgan at the end, Jon Dwyer and Scott Blair our kicker, who had a great game.

Q. Coach, Jon was pretty quiet most of the game, but in the fourth quarter when you needed him, he really picked it up.
COACH JOHNSON: He did. For the most part on the option, they were taking Jon, and we hit a few call gives, zone gives to him, and he made some plays. They were getting a lot of penetration. We were having a hard time trying to trap him to get him the ball. Nobody let us pitch it to him, they all fly out of there. There at the end we made a few little adjustments, and the time out they took we blocked a couple guys down and he bounced it out there and made a guy miss, and I was yelling for him to get tackled on the 1, but he didn't. (Laughter.)

Q. For any of the players, five minutes left in the game, you guys have a job to do, you have to score. Talk about the confidence that you guys have. It seems like a lot of people watching you just assume you're going to score no matter how much time is left on the clock. How is the mindset for you guys during that time?
JONATHAN DWYER: Well, I think we just went out there and just realized that we're not going to lose this game. There's no way that we're going to lay down and give up. Everybody was boosting everybody up, telling everybody we're going to score, we're going to make a play, and we just went out there and did it.

Q. Two questions real quick: You've had two signature wins in the major programs you've been at, Navy out at Notre Dame and this one tonight. Where does that rank?
And second, were you in four-down territory on that last drive no matter what was happening?
COACH JOHNSON: Sure. We usually are in four down territory. If you watch our games, nobody punts. (Laughter.)
You know, this one ranks up there. I think that when we took the job at Georgia Tech, this is the reason we took it, to have a chance to compete and go to BCS Bowl games. It's like I told our guys in the locker room, I'm proud to be their coach. They've worked hard. They deserve it, and now we've got to get ready to go represent the ACC.

Q. On the fourth and inches on the last drive, you sort of scooted way out of the coaching box. Were you just helping the refs with the spot or you wanted to get a good look on that?
COACH JOHNSON: I really wanted to grab Josh to tell him where to go.

Q. Do they allow that?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, they were measuring, so it was like they were measuring to see where we were. I knew we were short because it was right in front of me. They were playing a shade in the two, and we wanted to -- I told him to send a tail motion, maybe they could think it was a toss or something and to sneak it in the A gap, and he did and got the 1st down.

Q. You've talked a lot about the lack of senior leadership or senior experience on the team. Talk about the future of the program now that y'all have won the title and what's coming up?
COACH JOHNSON: I don't think I said anything about lack of senior leadership, we just have a lot of seniors. That's evidenced by our captains that were elected. We have three juniors that were elected captain of our football team. I think we have six scholarship seniors on our team. But we've gotten leadership from a lot of these guys. These guys here on the stage have provided great leadership. I think Josh Nesbitt is a great leader. Hopefully we're building a program that will be here for a while. That's the idea. We've got some young guys. We were able to red-shirt a lot of our freshmen this year, especially on both lines of scrimmage. We've lost two starting offensive tackles and the guards, we didn't have anybody to put in. They just kind of sucked it up. It's going to be a good time to take a few days off before we have to come back and practice, and hopefully we'll get some guys back.

Q. Derrick, if you could talk about trying to stop C.J. Spiller tonight.
DERRICK MORGAN: I mean, I did a really good job of stopping him. He had a really good game. Like I've been saying all year, when you have a guy of that caliber, you've got to try to contain him. He's a really talented player. He's obviously up for the Heisman. He had a real good game. Like I said, all you can do is really try to contain a guy like that.

Q. Scott, talk about what it means to you to come out here on the stage and help your team win tonight?
SCOTT BLAIR: It was a big game. I had a good day. I don't know. I mean, it was huge. We did a good job. (Laughter.)
COACH JOHNSON: He didn't know how to act; I wasn't yelling at him. (Laughter.)

Q. Can you guys talk a little bit about your plans for kickoff to C.J. Spiller? You seemed to vary it up pretty heavily.
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I didn't have a plan until about ten minutes before the game. We worked on a lot of stuff during the week. He's so dangerous, we just wanted to change it up. We wanted to sky kick some, and we were trying to kick deep left move and move the ball around some to where he maybe they didn't know where it was going. You just have to cover them, and for the most part, we did. Our guys went down and covered. He broke some tackles on the kicks, but we didn't give up any huge plays on the kickoff coverage.

Q. For any of the players, could you just describe in your own words how you guys did this so fast? It was just a year ago you had a new offense and new defense.
JONATHAN DWYER: I guess it all started last year's Bowl game. After getting embarrassed in the Bowl game, everybody had the mentality that we were going to go for the next year and our No. 1 goal was to win the ACC and then our next goal was to win a Bowl game. I guess the main thing was we've been training so hard every since last year's Bowl game. That was our mentality and that's what carried on tonight.
DERRICK MORGAN: I think it goes back all the way to our '07 class. We came in here with the mentality that we're going to win a championship and try to take this program to the next level and just piggy-backing on what Jon said, we've been working hard since Coach Johnson got here, the winter workouts, coaches runs, off-season conditioning, all that stuff. A lot of hard work and time went into the season, and it's paying dividends.

Q. Derrick, of course you had the sack that pretty much iced the game. Can you kind of talk about your emotions on that play? And for anyone, what does this do after last week? How does it take away that sting from last week?
DERRICK MORGAN: Definitely after the loss to Georgia everybody had a bad taste in their mouth for the whole week, so it kind of motivated us to have an intense week of practice and get out there and prepare good.
And that last play, I was praying the whole game on that last play, trying to will my way to make a play, and came up with all the effort I could and came up with a good play.

Q. For all three of the players, we had about 24 hours straight of rain until this morning. On offense, defense and kicking, how treacherous were the field conditions for you today?
DERRICK MORGAN: Me, personally, I slipped a couple times out there. I probably could have been a sack and I slipped and just had some bad footing. We kind of expected that. It's been raining since we got down here on Friday. Really we were just trying to get some good footing, but kind of slippery.
JONATHAN DWYER: I would agree with Derrick. A lot of players were slipping on both teams, so I guess that was -- coach told us before that it might rain or something like that during the week, so that was something, our mindset was just get ready to play no matter what condition it is and just go out there and play our game.
SCOTT BLAIR: There were some slippery spots out there, especially for the Clemson kicker. He found one of them. But I guess for the most part, my spots on the field were pretty good and got a firm plant foot.

Q. I was just wondering, the switch to the 3-4 defense for a lot of the game, I know it's precipitated by injuries, but were you surprised that you were able to pull that off and basically one week make a complete change defensively?
COACH JOHNSON: I'm not sure we did pull it off. What we were doing, we had so many guys hurt, and we were trying to do something to shore up against the run because we had gotten the ball run so well on us last week. I think when we took at the tape, we're going to find out that what killed us is we lost leverage in the secondary. Most of their big plays, he was able to bounce it outside when a guy is folding under, and just a lot of it was self-inflicted.
But like I said, we found a way to get them stopped, went back to a lot of our base stuff there at the end, and some guys made plays. But we're really down numbers. The break for the Bowl game is going to come at a great time. We've got to get some guys back healthy. We've lost a lot of guys. With Phil Smith, he broke his leg there in the first half. We're probably down eight or nine starters from when we started the season, who we actually started with.

Q. Everybody knows what you're capable of as a running back, but like coach said, they took the ends away on virtually every single thing you did and you had to grind out. How frustrating was it for you seeing another back who you're obviously as capable of get that type of yardage, and on the last drive, I think that's the hardest I've ever seen you run for that 1st down. Did you feel like that?
JONATHAN DWYER: I wouldn't say I was frustrated. He was just making -- C.J. was making plays. They didn't give him the ACC Player of the Year for nothing. He went out there and played a phenomenal game, which is definitely going to help him with the whole Heisman ballot and things like that. The last drive, I knew I needed to make a play, and if the ball was in my hands I was just going to give it all I had and leave all my energy on the field, just give it all I had and try to make plays.

Q. There were a lot of undefeated teams that are going to be left out of the national title game, obviously something that's very hard to do, but considering the quick success that you've had, is that a realistic expectation for Georgia Tech fans to see in the near future do you think?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, I think it's a goal certainly. As you said, it's hard to get there, but it's certainly the goal when we start every year. That's what you're shooting for is to win the first one and the last one and all of them in between.

Q. Speaking of goals, Jon or anyone up there, your No. 1 goal was to win the ACC Championship. Can you kind of talk about how the idea came about and what it's like to accomplish the No. 1 goal?
JONATHAN DWYER: I guess the fact that last year we had the opportunity to be there but we lost close games, like last year we lost to Virginia Tech and Virginia, really that killed the whole momentum of making it, so we made it a No. 1 priority to reach that goal and make it here.

End of FastScripts

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