Transcript from Al Groh's Weekly Press Conference
COACH GROH: About as good as challenge as we could look for this week in an opponent. Sure could make a pretty strong argument, the hottest team in the ACC with a unique system of play in two of the three elements of their team. Much is made of the uniqueness of the Georgia Tech offense, but they do some very, very creative things with their special teams that makes their special teams amongst the very most effective and the most difficult to prepare for any particular year. We had the same issue last year, and they were really kind of ahead of the curve on a lot of things that they’re doing with their special teams, and as a result they frequently gain a big field position advantage in each one of the turnarounds, which then puts this ground eating offense in a very advantageous position to start with.
So it’s clear to see how they’ve tried to link the two of them up together, and it’s worked very effectively. So they’ll make it quite a bit of a different type of a week for us in many respects.
QUESTION: Can you talk about their different formations?
COACH GROH: Well, as you have seen from some of these other teams now as we’ve spoken frequently with the development of really I would say if I use the word alternative punt systems, that would be incorrect. Innovative and progressing punt systems. In other words, it’s a new era in terms of punting the ball. And it continues to grow that way, just as with many of the different offenses.
Let’s say a few years ago when different elements of, A, the West Coast offense came up, it was one offense. Now there’s all sorts of things that fall into that category. We saw the spread offense; that was an offense. Everybody did the same thing that was in it. Now it’s really inaccurate to try to classify something just based on being a spread offense or a West Coast offense.
It’s the same thing here now with that shield punt. It’s inaccurate just to say they’re in a shield punt. It can go so many different directions based on the personality and the philosophy of the team, and they have been very creative and progressive with what they’re doing with formations, and as a result of what they’re doing they have a very good idea how to deal with it on the other side. So it’s not just the punt team but things they’re doing with their punt return and punt block teams to combat those other teams that have it. They have some answers to those situations while other people are still searching for them.
QUESTION: A coach that faced them last year talked about how they use the fullback in a different way and that they’ve tweaked their offense.
COACH GROH: It certainly is, but the core plays remain the same. That’s like saying that I would say that they got a new set of shutters, maybe painted the front door, but the foundation is still the same and the structure of the house is still the same.
So without the effectiveness of the lead back inside, Dwyer, who clearly is a terrific player, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year last year, they’ve been very smart in what they’ve done with their offense, so I would say they’re certainly bright enough not to diminish his effectiveness in the offense.
What has increased is the overall contribution and effectiveness of the quarterback.
QUESTION: How much of an advantage is it to use the film from last year when you won in Atlanta?
COACH GROH: Well, certainly it is a smoother week than it was last year. At least we have a set of ideas going into the week, whereas last year it was really well into the week before, one, we had to just go to the practice field and see it. Well, now we can watch the game video and see things that worked, and we can also see things that were really an issue. It wasn’t all perfect. We had a lot of issues during the course of the game.
Some of those issues were solved frankly because we had an effective offense that day and cut down on time of possession. So we’ve looked at those things. We know where our problems are, and clearly they’ve got projectors, too, so we would expect a counter move on their part.
QUESTION: How much did turnovers help last year?
COACH GROH: Well, one, as happens, it’s the story of a lot of games, but we were the beneficiaries of some turnovers during the course of the game that clearly helped us out in some circumstances.
But as I say, that’s the story of most games. Most teams that win are the beneficiaries of such, and most teams that lose, that’s part of how your team plays or standards or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a question of good fortune. So that was one of the real big factors, and that cut down on the amount of plays that they had, and then we were very productive on our end offensively, particularly in terms of ball movement, which allowed us to have the ball quite a bit.
We’re pretty decent in the points scoring area, so those two things combined gave us a good result, which is to say other than that we stonewalled them.
QUESTION: How about Nesbitt?
COACH GROH: Clearly that was a pretty as in any system, the quarterback position is the key, and decision making is one of the significant talents. Those things that are evident to observers from a distance, whether they’re throwing it overhand or throwing it underhand on options, people from a distance just see the physical skills. But the decision making process is one of the primary skills in being a really good quarterback, and the decisions that the option quarterbacks have to make come so quickly, frequently within a split second of the ball being snapped, and right at the line of scrimmage as opposed to further back, I’d say that one is more difficult than the other, but one happens faster than the other.
And so accumulated experience in that type of system, fast decision system, option offense, it’s really critical to a player being able to play well. So it’s very, very evident that Josh is now a season and a half into this offense as opposed to a half season the last time that we saw him.
QUESTION: Who gets to be Nesbitt in practice and is it particularly important this week that the scout team gives you a good week?
COACH GROH: Yeah, it is. It’s not only different plays, but it’s a different blocking style. We have to get accustomed to not only the schemes, the tracks that the blockers are going on, but how they’re trying to block us when we get there. The players have been priming for it. They understand that they’re vital to the overall performance of the team, and we tried to get them started on it last night. So we have to teach them about these defensive players. Riko will be one of them, yeah, for sure.
QUESTION: How do you go about teaching something that’s not necessarily a play? Turnovers have been such a big part of the last few games. How do you go about teaching something like that?
COACH GROH: Well, it’s a fundamental. We’re a fundamental based team. We drill fundamentals all the time. There’s fundamentals of block protection, there’s fundamentals of downfield blocking, and there’s fundamentals about how to secure the ball. We’re very resolute and determined in those things.
We try to coach it on every play. Every coach is responsible for it, but typically within a position coach coaching his players how to handle the ball, we’re as interesting in coaching how the ball is secured to how the player is running the play. You could run those plays beautifully, and those tracks, everything is real pretty. Fumble the ball at the end, then not only was the play not as good as it looked, it now becomes what was a well run play becomes a detriment to winning. So our attitude is why wouldn’t anybody be resolute and diligent?
We went through a stage there, I think it was either a two or three year span where we had less fumbles than any team in the country, Wali Lundy, Alvin Pearman, Jason Snelling. But we haven’t relaxed our diligence, but in some cases we didn’t get as much compliance as we needed. But we’re always working on that, and there’s some players here in the past that have displayed a significant running skill that we couldn’t play Russian roulette with. So we just couldn’t afford to put them out there where they could do something that might cause us to lose. The players understand that.
I know one particular year, I guess it was ’91, when the Giants won the Super Bowl, it was a very good team obviously to win the Super Bowl, but also had less turnovers than any team in the NFL. So those teams tie in they don’t compensate for not having talent, but they certainly enable you to maximize whatever talent you have on your team.
QUESTION: Your front seven does not have some of the big names that it has in the past but it has been playing very well. What has been the key to their success?
COACH GROH: Sure. Well, that’s only with we play definitely with that group, Zach and their predecessors, and that included another very athletic member of that front line, which was Jeffrey Fitzgerald. So we played in a different fashion with those players as opposed to when we had guys like Chris Canty, Andrew Hoffman, Brennan Schmidt outside. Copper inside, Brooks inside. That was a different type of looking front seven, not just in skill level but in body types and the different skills that they had. When we had these other kids we played in a different fashion with them, now we’ve adjusted to the players that we have right now.
So it’s just as Jay mentioned earlier about a coach that Georgia Tech has made changes in their system, probably without dramatic philosophical changes, you probably could say that about our team on a regular basis.
QUESTION: If Zane Parr moves into the first group, do you have to give him relief in some of the sub-packages?
COACH GROH: Yeah, he’s been such an effective player on the dime team, really inside, helped that be a more effective unit. We had some concerns about it coming in, and he’s helped it to be a much more effective unit. I’d expect at least the early part of the season he’s going to be really productive. We thought it would take a little bit of time for development because all of them except for Collins are really new in their roles, but it has come on pretty nicely. He’s been a good part of it. He did a very nice job the other day throughout the second half.
QUESTION: Are you using the dime more than the nickel?
COACH GROH: Well, we’re all dime this year, again, because of the personnel on hand, different guys to do different jobs.
QUESTION: Two of your last three games have been real defensive struggles. When you play a team like Georgia Tech what is your strategy?
COACH GROH: Sure, that’s part of the MO. You have to be pretty efficient with the ball, and that’s happened to a lot of those types of teams. The team might be having a fairly decent day with their offense, they just don’t have it long enough to outscore them, whatever that means, whether you need 17 or 47. You just don’t have it enough to outscore them. So you have to be very efficient with your offense, and this is every game. Try to get a pulse of the game, and it’s a matter of matching the other team’s efficiency with the efficiency matching the other team’s explosive plays with your explosive plays. But it is a matching of those things that frame the game.
QUESTION: How long does it take you to get a pulse for the game?
COACH GROH: Everyone is different. Each one is different. Yeah, obviously you try to latch on as quickly as you can and make all the input. It’s certainly not a singular function. Take all the input from everybody who is watching, which is all the coaches on the sideline and up in the press box. Frequently we get some good information from the guys who are actually out there playing.
But sometimes when we’re talking to the players in between series, we’re getting input from them as well as giving them some instruction, or if we’re not doing that, we’re always getting some degree of input from the other coaches, not just standing there watching. We’re always getting input, and that’s why it’s a three and a half hour thinking session Saturday.
QUESTION: It doesn’t seem as if Nate Collins has any adjustment moving from nose tackle to defensive end. How much is it similarity to both positions?
COACH GROH: There certainly is a similarity. A lot of techniques. There wasn’t significant similarity. We would have to have a nose tackle coach and a defensive end coach. For example, you see that with some 4 3 teams. They have a defensive tackle coach, those guys who play over at guard and center, defensive end coach. Those players who play at tight end frequently play out in space. Big difference between playing out in space on the split end side and playing at guard and center, techniques, assignments and whatnot.
For us, block protection is the same, blocking schemes that the player gets have enough overlap that are unique to each position. But there’s a good carryover there. There are often players who play and do a good job at nose but not that many players, because of the uniqueness of the nose tackle position. But Nate is one of those. But he’s always had that type of overall athletic skill, because we have discussed that had the personnel situation been otherwise when he came here, he might have started at end.
QUESTION: As a receiver, Vic seems to view each pass as a responsibility?
COACH GROH: No, that’s a very good way to profile because when he playd corner, and he saw every pass as his responsibility to get his guy covered, not just to run the coverage. He did that on a couple of occasions the other night where when he played, he made a couple real good plays for us at safety or made a couple good match ups that kept the ball from going in the first place. Vic is not when he’s playing safety on the dime, he’s not over there as his other job and dictates his responsibility that that’s the most important job that he could have when he goes over and plays and does that.
Vic has held on extra points and field goals, he thinks that’s the most important job that he’s got. You described him very well. That’s why he’s so respected.
QUESTION: Nate said at Southern Miss the physicality was something they had not seen yet this year and they knew it was something they had to match.
COACH GROH: Well, if he said it, I’m sure it’s accurate. Played in some pretty physical games over the years. But sometimes players and teams have to get reminded of that year after year. There’s just nothing that approximates it until you play against the first one and some teams are more physical than others. Until you play against the first one of those each year certainly I remember that we always used to talk to players about there’s a difference between playing in the preseason and regular season. Preseason was different than training camp. Regular season was different than preseason. Playoffs were different than regular season. It does get ratcheted up, and it’s important for coaches, players and teams to understand that don’t get left behind.
QUESTION: Verica had a great game against Georgia Tech last year, does that give you comfort should you need to call upon him on Saturday?
COACH GROH: Sure, no, we would be very comfortable with Marc, we are very comfortable with him in any circumstance.
QUESTION: At this point in the season where the injuries are setting in do you change the way you practice and what is the value of depth?
COACH GROH: Well, one, whether we change it or not, we assess just what are our circumstances, because the week that precedes the game, the word practice is certainly accurate, but it’s not just practice like going and practicing the piano. It’s preparation for what’s coming on Saturday. So we’re trying to do whatever has us best prepared on Saturday. That might mean scrimmage every day. That might mean go bowling. I’m not trying to be smart, but whatever. But sometimes it might mean more contact, take 15 minutes off, add another period in and blitz protection, whatever the case may be. So we definitely do. We have a little bit of that circumstance on our hands right now.
And while every game has to be addressed, it needs to be addressed to try to keep in mind that you want to be playing well at the end of the season, and there’s some things that have to be factored into the weekly routine to give a players a chance to be there at the end of the year.
Depth is very important. It’s one of the reasons why in order to try to replenish your depth, that’s why we continue to actively coach, do things at practice with lots of players who we don’t anticipate to play that week, because as the season goes on, if their development can keep up with the events, then they might very well be your new depth. We’ll see that with some players, some of those young players who are seeing some substantial time early, they’re moving into the stage of being a little bit more veteran players.
This deal of being young players, young team, first of all, in college football, 50 percent of your team is freshmen and sophomores. So everybody is a relatively young team. But that can only last so long. After a while guys got to grow up and move up. When do you become a sophomore? On the first day of classes your second year, or should you be playing at a higher level than true freshmen, or when do you become a senior veteran, the first game of your senior year, or should you be evolving into that during the course of the preseason? Certainly the team progresses because players get better and they move out of that classification that they have.
So those guys who play, they ought to be moving into more established circumstance. Those guys who haven’t, hopefully they’ll move into a circumstance where they can go in the game and then be more on a college level. So we’re moving into that stage, and we’ve addressed that with some players, hey, we’re looking for more out of you, than what you’ve done.
QUESTION: Could you talk about the origin of the Next Man Up philosophy?
COACH GROH: We have pretty much. I think the players that really kind of links on to what Zach and I were talking about there. It’s a reality of the season. It’s going to need to be the case. Like so many things that we think that we do that are positive for the team, very few of them are internally created. We’ve learned all these things from somebody else who has exposed them to us or have been willing to share them.
I guess the first time I was really deeply involved in this type of team attitude, I don’t remember the next man up or the words that we used, but it was certainly the attitude. Coach Parcells with the Giants and progressively through the other stops that we made, and we understood that everybody on the team was expected to perform and be ready to do so.
We had some good examples of that the other night.
QUESTION: You don’t take the whole team to road games. Do you do anything with them on Fridays or Saturday or is that not allowed?
COACH GROH: No, we’re allowed to as long as it fits within the NCAA allowable practice hours, which because we’re doing some things with the guys that we travel with that morning or that afternoon and whatnot, it could possibly do so. But our major event is a little weekly Friday program that we call Freshman Fridays. That’s more of a not completely so, but more of an off season type strength development program than what we’re able to do on one of those days during the course of the week. So those players who need more physical development for next year, we’re trying to get a head start on the off season program.
QUESTION: The last three weeks you have shut down some dangerous receivers and kick returners. Could you talk about how you have done that?
COACH GROH: Well, this defensive secondary is coming together nicely, so they certainly deserve a great deal of credit. Their skills and how they go about preparing for those type of players then gives us the latitude and the confidence to try some things, scheme up, do that, realizing that most levels, that’s where your home run hitters are.
I didn’t have time to pay attention to it, but I learned from watching how very successful managers or coaches handle their teams and deal with situations, and obviously Joe Torre has had a remarkable level of success. So however he goes about things, I try when I can to learn a little something and notice how I didn’t have a chance to watch any games, I just try to keep up.
The series with the Cardinals, it didn’t matter what the trade off was, Albert Pujols wasn’t going to take the series over the Cardinals. A lot of people say he’s the best hitter in baseball, so you have to always determine who and what could cause a game to go the wrong way. You have to address those things specifically. Clearly the Dodgers did that. They addressed it specifically, and as I understand it Pujols wasn’t a factor in the series, so the Dodgers are still playing.
I can’t tell you exactly what he did, but I asked somebody who’s been following it and he kind of told me what was going on. But I guess there was one circumstance where they were willing walk him and to load the bases just so he couldn’t empty the bases. So that type of mentality.
And again, I learned that just from some of the people that I got all this idea about next man up and depth and developing players, and we got some ideas from the same people.
QUESTION: You talked a little about Robert Randolph and getting the ball up quicker. Is that something you can see progression on?
COACH GROH: It’s pretty easy, either the ball is down here or the ball is up there. You can see the arc of the ball.
QUESTION: But how do you teach someone to do that?
COACH GROH: Get it up higher. It’s like a guy with his golf shot. You’re either going to hit line drives or you hit the ball with a little bit of an arc on it. It’s to your benefit to get a little bit of a trajectory on it, then unless a golfer is stubborn or a kicker is stubborn, they’re going to change to what’s effective.
QUESTION: But golf you have multiple clubs to use.
COACH GROH: In that case if they give you one club to go around with then you’ve got to hit it differently for what’s required. Mike knows about all that stuff, right, Mike?
It’s a kick by kick thing with all kickers. But so far the results say yes.
QUESTION: Rashawn Jackson seems to be a guy who embraces the Next Man Up philosophy. Could you talk about your confidence in him?
COACH GROH: Well, Rashawn, we’ve been able to we talked about this last night. We had a little break in the action when he got hurt. But his role going into the season was probably as clearly defined as it has been. A lot of that is as a result of Rashawn defining that role for us with his performance. Through the course of the game the other night and then as we went through those final five or six minutes, it was very apparent that he had that “give me the ball attitude.” So they factored into the thinking there. It wasn’t so much about the plays first or run this play; it was, hey, this guy wants the ball, and he wants the game, so give it to the guy who wants it.
QUESTION: Does his size factor in as far as his ability?
COACH GROH: Well, it does make him unique, to have that kind of size. When you try to combine the two, ability and size, that’s why there are less big people who are really athletic. He’s got a real nice combination. I still remember standing in the gym at St. Peter’s prep, and as I walked in, all the gym, they’ve got one of those tracks around it, and he was downstairs and I was in there for one of our recruiting visits, and he was waiting for us and he was playing some baseball and didn’t really know we were there, and he did a little 360 and went up and dunked it, and that’s pretty good for a player that size; it’s not as if he’s 6’4″. That gives you a good idea that he’s got really good overall athletic skill. He’s really grown into his position and grown into his role.
QUESTION: It seems the moves you made prior to the Southern Miss game have benefited him.
COACH GROH: It is. I wanted to get him in the game. I wanted to get him in the game. As I said, starting training camp and we were thrown off a bit when I think before he even went to the full pad stage, somebody fall on the side and he missed quite a bit of time at training camp, so all that time that was really there to get Rashawn in had to be set aside, and that was a big factor. So getting him back, we’re real anxious to get going with things, and he’s really come on very nicely, had two real productive days, and now we need six more from him.
QUESTION: It looks like the guys are hitting harder. How much of that is Anthony Poindexter’s influence?
COACH GROH: Well, I think the players, certainly Anthony’s attitude back there is beneficial to have. But a player has got to be a hitter on his own. Probably have a few back there that given the opportunity wouldn’t hit as hard as some of the ones that are.
But that is an area clearly different than any other place on defense. They get a chance to run the furthest. They can generate the most speed. They get the most open shots. So they have that opportunity.
I wouldn’t say that there’s anybody back there that’s any tougher than Nick Jenkins or Matt Conrath, but the positions they play, they don’t get the opportunity for too many of those. These are players who play in that fashion. They enjoy the contact level. They can generate some speed, but we spend a lot of time working on the proper way to tackle. That’s all well and good. But when you’re tackling in the open field, the job is to get them to be a good open field tackler. We don’t ever say be a hammer; be a good open field tackler because the misses there is when things are going to be very traumatic. They understand the importance of it, had a couple of guys who had some issues with that, and they’ve worked hard to improve those things. And as a result now here of late our tackling has improved.
QUESTION: A couple players were talking about team attitude and were fed up after the Southern Miss game. How have you seen them change and really unite as a team?
COACH GROH: Ultimately on every team players have to take ownership ultimately. Some teams do it earlier than others. There was a circumstance that characterized what was the ’07 team, but they made that step in March. That’s very early. That’s very early.
But they made that step and took ownership of that team in March.
I think back to ’02, I think players took ownership there about the second or third week. It doesn’t mean everything got perfect, but they just said, okay, this is the way it’s going to be. We’ve had enough instruction, direction. We can see where the coaches want us to go, but ultimately the players have to take ownership. It’s a collaborative thing out there, give them direction and take your form and articulate with the model is supposed to be, and eventually they have to buy in.
We’ve been very appreciative of the fact that we talked about Zach and Nick, just reflective of their teammates and their predecessors and being unselfish and giving. Teams along the way, teams have been willing to embrace what was asked of them and buy into it and eventually take ownership of it. It comes at different stages with each team, but in any respect it’s vitally important.
QUESTION: Is that something coaches can’t prompt, where somebody just has to stand up and do it?
COACH GROH: You can promote it. Sometimes nobody stands up. Sometimes nobody stands up, it just happens. Yeah, you propose all those things, you promote all those things, reinforce all those things, teach them. That’s the coach’s job. But in circumstances where you have that collaborative attitude, or as it’s sometimes referred to as team chemistry or unity or whatever, there’s always a leadership followership circumstance. Those roles go back and forth for people to be to have success in the leadership capacity. It’s not all about the leader. It’s a lot about the followers, too, that they have equally good at grasping what’s being put forth there and buying into it and doing it because they’re the ones that actually they’re the doers. You look at military leaders or industrial leaders or for that matter parents, and certainly football coaches, people who try and lead, they’ve got to believe, they’ve got to believe in leader, they’ve got to buy in, they’ve got to see the value to them. That’s why if you go down to Barnes & Noble, you can probably spend the next three or four weeks just walking up and down the section of the stores that have books on leadership and management. Many people recognize that the best secret to increased performance, that’s what we’re interested in, performance. So it’s about a lot more than just the schemes that you put out there.
QUESTION: On Saturday night, several of Virginia Tech’s players said Georgia Tech switched a lot of their blocking assignments. In your early studies, have you seen anything that is particularly deceptive?
COACH GROH: No, they were giving you a pretty good clinic on what happens with this. There’s a lot of plays where the backfield action so if you’re trying to watch it initially, if you’re just watching a video or you’re watching from the press box or the stands, you say, oh, well, they ran that play six times already today. So the backfield action looked very similar. What gets switched up is the tracks and the patterns that the blockers run, and that’s the really tricky thing for defensive players.
Over a long period of time, Coach Johnson and his staff have run this offense. There’s only so many things that defensively you can propose to them, and so it’s almost as if, get the manual out. Oh, yeah, we saw that in 1998, and this is the scheme that we ran against it, so let’s just dial that one, just go to the formula and pull that one, whichever one is there, because they’ve had such experience with it on a multiple game basis per year, those things keep recurring, whereas it’s always a one time a year experience for the team that’s playing against them. So that’s the really tricky thing is their ability to stay one jump ahead.
And then the defensive team is always trying to counter. They ran this play with this scheme for a quarter and a half, then they changed the scheme. Okay, how are we going to counter that? No sooner do you counter it and they’re countering again. Those players told you very accurately, and that has a lot to do with it.
QUESTION: Obviously they are based in the run, but could you talk about Thomas and his big-play ability on the outside?
COACH GROH: Yeah, he’s really almost tight end size. He’s in the 230 plus range, has good jumping ability so he plays high, and with the size of his body and his natural height of 6’3″, the ability to jump high, there’s been a lot of plays where he’s boxed that defender out. Clearly a lot of teams are playing with corners that certainly aren’t 6’3″, so he just they can be pretty close, but not close enough to make a play. They have a high number every game. Every game they’ve had a real long pass play for a touchdown. Or if not for a touchdown, to take them way down there on a much more frequent game-to-game basis than teams that throw the ball a lot. He really gets lost. He’s caught almost 75, probably 70 percent of all their passes this year. He caught over 50 percent of their completions last year. So that’s an issue unto itself.
QUESTION: You are perfect in red zone scoring this year, can you talk about that value to the team?
COACH GROH: Well, the way red zone statistics are compiled, there’s a little bit of an inaccuracy because field goals are included in that. That’s not to say that that’s a bad thing; that’s a good thing because you got points and that says that your kicker is giving you a good year.
But the telling statistic in there is red zone touchdowns. It’s a little bit more telling if you take that number and say possessions between the 20 and 30. You’re not quite in scoring territory yet, so maybe your kicker has gotten you three more points than what you otherwise might have gotten. But when you’re down there on the 12 yard line and that field goal adds to your red zone thing, that’s a little smaller victory than you would like to have.
To answer your question directly, the fact that Robert is doing a nice job for us is certainly part of it. But we would like to add to our touchdown scoring percentage down there, I think, as every team would.
QUESTION: Where is Torrey Mack fitting into the run game?
COACH GROH: Just the fact that he’s eligibility wise a freshman, been in six games. One of our really favorite players and one of the best players we’ve had, Alvin Pearman, was an All ACC choice his senior year. He wasn’t that same runner early in his career. He shared time with other runners, and by the time we got to his senior year there, he was the feature guy. Probably part of the same process, back to the conversation about Rashawn earlier. If Rashawn had been running like this three years ago, then Rashawn probably would have about 450 career carries at this point. So it’s a developmental thing for carries. It comes sooner for some than other others.
QUESTION: Is the team’s development where you want it to be at the midway point of the season?
COACH GROH: I wouldn’t put it up against the scales yet and say we’re there, but I’m pleased with that’s what teams are supposed to do. Teams are supposed to get better. Players are supposed to get better. That’s what we go out there every day for. Practice and preparation is part of every week, but also obviously practice, development of skills. That’s what players are supposed to do, that’s what coaches are supposed to do for their players.
I was thinking about — there was a topic of question last night, which seems to be the current question, to what do I attribute the team playing well here the last three weeks and during this time span last year and during the time span the year before. I’ve got to say, well, it’s very simple. The team is doing what it’s supposed to do; it’s getting better. So we’re a lot better each one of those years than when we started. Maybe we’re exactly where we should have started. So the players deserve a lot of credit for practicing and training and going forward and getting better. If we can continue to do that, then maybe we can then I think the players understand that the results that we’ve gotten are a direct result of what we’ve done. What we’ve done Sunday through Friday put us in a position on Saturday. If we continue to do that, then hopefully we’ll continue to develop and show progress. That’s what teams are supposed to do, and the players have done a real nice job with it.
QUESTION: At the halfway part of the season, where do you go from here?
COACH GROH: Well, I think we look forward I think the team this year and the teams preceding them, and the reason I cite them is because a lot of things that go on with a team, you don’t do it this year. It’s a result of the overall culture and environment that’s created around the team. And then players grow into that as they become part of your organization. And you’re older players help send that message down. That’s what you get through continuity in a program.
Teams here and the players that have made up the teams I think are pretty strong believers that this is about one week at a time. And if you do the right things during the course of the week to really prepare yourself for a peak performance, you’ve got your best chance to get the result you want. So in that respect there’s a lot of continuity. It’s a lot the same. There’s a new challenge every week. There’s a different mission that we have to be on.
As we have said, the reason why God put eyes in the front of our head and not in the back. So you can make progress by looking forward.
QUESTION: Do you look at the standings? Georgia Tech has played five ACC games already.
COACH GROH: I didn’t know that. No, I don’t. Again, I learned that from I learned the value of that from some people who used to be pretty successful. I didn’t even know they played that many games.
I know that we haven’t lost any games, but I don’t know if there’s I don’t think anybody else has, but then again, they’ve passed a lot more tests than we have.
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