Here are a few quotes from Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh's appearance before media Tuesday afternoon. He spoke about his current defense, as well, but for the sake of this post, these are quotes about Saturday's game and his first appearance against Virginia since his controversial ouster at the end of last season.
(On if Groh feels anything different about this game) Every Saturday night, there’s only two ways you can feel if you’re in competition. You can feel the sense of satisfaction because of the accomplishment you get because the result was in your favor. Or you can have that haunting feeling of loss that everything you did all week brought you no satisfaction. So when you’re in competition, or let’s say, you’ve been in it for a while and you’re a veteran of competition, then it really doesn’t make any difference what color jersey the team you’re coaching for wears. All that matters is the result. That’s what I work for every week.
This will be the same as it’s been for 41 years, getting ready for the game.
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(On if Tech or Virginia has a leg up since both sides may have an idea of what is coming defensively and offensively because of his past relationships at Virginia) We do what we do. Especially since we’re in the process of installing our system to make a radical change right now. Clearly the advantage is on the Virginia side. I say that for one, because I taught our defense that we’re playing here to the secondary and head coach. They’ve got all my playbooks, all my cut-ups, and those two coaches and the linebackers coach. Three of their coaches have sat through endless hours of meetings with me discussing defense, making gameplans and analyzing our performance. There’s no dilemma up there of figuring out how Al Groh thinks.
(On his emotions playing Virginia again) I’m not sentimental towards institutions. Whether they’re NFL institutions or NCAA institutions. My sentiments and my emotions and my affection and my appreciation is for individuals. As a result, most of my best friends in this world are people that I’ve coached or coached with. There’s a lot of players they’re now playing for teams in St. Louis and Houston and New York and San Francisco and Atlanta, and they’re still amongst my best friends even though they’re not on my team anymore. That’ll always be the case. And there are still many players on the current Virginia team that I’d look forward to having that relationship with in the future. I’ve really appreciated the good number of them who have chosen to stay in touch with me over the last few months. And that’s why I look forward to the development of that relationship as they move on to other circumstances.
(On specifically which players he keeps in touch with) Quite a few. But I think it’s best at this present time (to keep it private), it probably might not be well-received in certain circles up there.
(On if he's telling Tech players about his past Virginia players' tendencies) Everyday for nine years—really, every day; on vacation, Thanksgiving, Christmas—everyday I thought about my team and how I could do my job better, and what I could do for the players to bring the best out of them. And now, these players here, deserve the same thing. That’s my responsibility to do the very best job for them to bring out the very best effort and best result for those players. Whatever position you’re in, what field you’re in, you’re a professional, that’s what you do. I’m sure that you guys are going to take your laptops and if you went to another media outlet tomorrow, you’re going to take your laptop over there and you’re going to be the same guy and write the same story. They’re just going to put a different name on the front of the paper. So to a large degree, that’s how coaches are, too. You’re going to do the same professional job if you move on. That’s what the players expect from us.
(On why he couldn't stop coaching and came to Tech) That’s what I do, that’s who I am. It lets me be the person that I am. Ann and I spoke, as you can imagine, very quickly afterwards, and despite what people were saying—and they really were trying to give good advice. (They said) You’ve had a lot of time in the NFL, you’ve been to Super Bowls, you’ve been the head coach in the NFL, you’ve been the head coach in college, you’re well set financially, why don’t you take a little time off and see what you want to do. Go to Europe. Why go through all this some more? And I very quickly said to Ann, ‘I appreciate that advice. I could probably retire from football right now, I’m just not ready to retire from me.’
(On if he still feels like a 'Virginia Man' -- he and two sons are UVa graduates) That’s what we are. We’re Virginia graduates. That’s history. You can’t change history. Some people might try to erase history, but that’s what it is. I’m proud to acknowledge it, but that’s history. It’s history that it’s fact. During the last nine years, we had some of the best wins and best seasons and best players that the school has ever had. Somebody might want to change that, but that’s fact. But as I say, myself and other members of my family, we’re Virginia graduates, but right now, I’m a Georgia Tech man. This is my team. This is the team that’s going to give me my sense of satisfactions, and my sense of relationships, or my sense of loss on an on-going basis. I’m a Virginia graduate. When I coached for the Patriots, I was a Patriots guy. We went to the Super Bowl and 10 days later, we were with the Jets, getting ready to play the Patriots two times in the next year. I was a Jets guy then.