Raiders set for Saturday game at Georgia Tech

Kickoff is 11:08 AM Central

September 25, 2012 · @MTAthletics

COACH RICK STOCKSTILL: Coming off a bye-week, we gave the players the weekend off and came back yesterday (Monday). We had a great practice yesterday, and got a chance to re-charge our batteries. 

Georgia Tech presents a great challenge, not only what they do schematically on offense, but also because they are a really good football team. They have an experienced quarterback, and they are 3rd or 4th in the country in rushing. Offensively, they are averaging over 350 yards a game, so that's a great challenge for us defensively. 

What makes their offense so dangerous is their big-play capabilities. Last year they threw a 71-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game, and that is what you can't give up on defense. The big thing is that we can't give up explosive plays. 

Defensively, they are really big in the front seven. Their linebackers and secondary are really active. They had two 40-yard punt returns against Miami, they had a couple of explosive kickoff returns, so they are really good in the kicking game, and we have to be sound there. 

We have to protect the ball on offense, we have to convert on 3rd down, and we have to keep their offense off the field and sustain drives. Defensively, we have to tackle well, play assignment football and not give up explosive plays. 

On playing against GT's triple-option offense: It's more of a challenge in the sense that we only see it once a year. Navy and Georgia Tech are the only two teams that run it, and most teams outside the ACC never see it. Most of the other teams we play are spread teams like Mississippi State, or a two-back team like Western Kentucky. 

On preparing to defend the GT offense: You almost have to retrain your defense. Last game we were in pass rush mode against Memphis on almost every snap, and now they have to go to playing the run first. We've got to be extremely sound in our assignments, and we have to play defense with our eyes. You can't say "I thought I saw him pitch the ball", or "I thought I saw him pull the ball". As soon as you do that, they are going to split one up the middle, or the quarterback is going to keep it for a big play. 

On Stopping the GT offense: Last year we gave up two 1-play drives for touchdowns. They had three scoring drives of 75 yards or more, and we can't let them do that. We didn't do a good job of stopping them or creating turnovers, and that is what you have to do. 

Our job is to worry about what we are going to do more than what they are going to do. We can't control what they are going to do. We can't control whether the quarterback keeps it or gives the ball to the fullback, but we can control if I've got the fullback, then I'm going to be there to take him. We can't control if the QB is going to pull it and pitch it, and I've got pitch, then I'm going to be there to take it. 

On Tempo of The Game: We'll try to change our tempo from going fast to slowing it down to mixing it up, basically what we have done all year. 

QUARTERBACK LOGAN KILGORE (On beating Georgia Tech): It would be big, getting that third win. Regardless of who it is, that would be big for us. As far as the conference is concerned, it would be big to go down to Atlanta and beat an ACC school. College football is different from any other sport. We work all year, and we only have 12 opportunities to win a game. We get excited to play anywhere, to have a chance to go out and compete against teams like them.

Obviously, there will be more people there on Saturday. Most of us have played against Georgia Tech either last year or the year before. There are things we can do against them that we could not do against McNeese State, and other things that we can't do against them that we could against McNeese. 

It's another team, another defense. We are a completely different team, they are a different team. We just want to keep improving, and keep executing, to minimize our mistakes, offensively and defensively, and everything else will take care of itself. 

DEFENSIVE END OMAR MCLENDON: Defending Georgia Tech is assignment football. The ends and tackles take the dive. Pitches are on the linebackers, safeties and corners. This week you have to be really disciplined, play with your eyes, play off your keys and we'll be successful. 

(On coming off of a bye week): We have had time to look over their offense, study their plays, their formations, and really just focusing on what our assignments really are as individuals. We are really excited, and we are going to come out and play with a lot of enthusiasm. 

(On going back to Atlanta): I'm glad to be going back to Atlanta to play. That's huge for me, being from Georgia. Every game is special to me because this is my last year. It feels great to be able to go back home and play. Your whole family gets to come out and watch you play.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.