Paul Johnson said Wednesday more time may be needed to get past the Yellow Jackets’ 20-17 overtime loss at No. 15 Virginia Tech on Monday night. He called the loss “gut-wrenching.”
“Losses linger longer than the wins do, and that’s going to be one that will be hard to kick,” Johnson said. “We had a great opportunity and we didn’t get it done.”
Georgia Tech has four straight home games to make up for the loss, starting with Saturday night’s visit from Presbyterian.
The Yellow Jackets, who were off Tuesday, returned to practice Wednesday to start addressing breakdowns on offense exposed by Virginia Tech’s tough defense.
Quarterback Tevin Washington wasn’t complaining Wednesday about the quick turnaround between games.
“I think it’s good,” Washington said. “I’m glad it was scheduled like this. I get a chance to get that bad taste out of my mouth and go out and redeem myself on Saturday.”
Johnson gave Washington credit for giving Georgia Tech the lead late in regulation. But when the Yellow Jackets had the ball first in overtime, it was Washington’s interception that was remembered as the turning point of the game.
Pressured by the Hokies’ pass rush, Washington tried to throw the ball away. His heave was intercepted by Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller, setting the stage for the Hokies’ game-winning field goal.
“It’s not that difficult to move past,” Washington said after Wednesday’s practice. “It was hard to swallow knowing we lost and knowing we had the game pretty much in our hands.
“It’s hard because you’re a competitor. You hate to lose but as far as the interception, it was bad timing on my part. I should have made a better decision. If I could do it again I would just take the sack and not risk trying to throw the ball out of bounds.”
Johnson wouldn’t blame the loss on the one play.
“Somebody asked me what did I say to him after the game,” Johnson said. “I didn’t say anything to him. The guy was trying to make a play. Was it ill-advised? Probably. At the same time, if he’d thrown it up like that and one of our guys had caught it, everybody would be screaming what a great play it was. He certainly made some plays down in the fourth quarter to get us the lead.”
In Johnson’s four years, Georgia Tech has averaged 301.98 yards rushing per game — the nation’s top mark in that span.
Most teams would gladly take the Yellow Jackets’ 192 yards rushing against Virginia Tech. Johnson said the results didn’t meet Georgia Tech’s standards.
“I think you have to give Virginia Tech some credit,” Johnson said. “They have a pretty good defense and we didn’t execute well, especially early. We were better in the second half.
“We weren’t what we have come to expect and what is acceptable, but I think it got a little bit better. The execution just wasn’t sharp.”
Washington led Georgia Tech with 19 carries for 63 yards and completed 10 of 15 passes for 96 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
David Sims was next in line with 13 carries for 42 yards. Robert Godhigh had the Yellow Jackets’ only rushing touchdown. Starter Charles Perkins had three carries for only 5 yards early and didn’t return.
“I only got a couple series, but you’ve got to make the most out of it,” Perkins said. “I was out before everybody got settled in, really.”
B.J. Bostic, Zach Laskey, Orwin Smith, Sims, Perkins and others remain in competition for carries at the three running back spots.
Washington was Georgia Tech’s rushing leader last season. He said it’s too early to predict if a running back will take the lead this season.
“I really don’t know. I feel like the defense pretty much dictates who is going to carry the ball the most,” Washington said. “I feel like we have some great running backs. Given the chance all the guys will have a chance to make a great impact.
“I can’t call who I think will be the rushing leader. Somebody will lead the pack since we’re a rushing offense.”