Originally created 09/21/00

Teams face short week of preparation



ATLANTA -- The celebration after last Saturday's 40-13 win over Navy was dampened when Georgia Tech was back on the field less than 24 hours later.

Although school only has been in session for a month at Georgia Tech, the entire football team has been involved in a cram session preparing for tonight's Atlantic Coast Conference game at North Carolina State.

With only four days between games, both teams had to compress a week's worth of work into a handful of days. That means no off days and a practice in full pads last Sunday.

"It's disruptive because Sunday is Monday, Monday is Tuesday and Tuesday is Wednesday and Thursday, if you can understand that," Yellow Jackets coach George O'Leary said. "I think it's disruptive if you let it be disruptive. It's disruptive if you're trying to work on from a fundamental point of view.

"You pretty much go into it hoping your base stuff is the right thing to do, then you add stuff to basically attack their offense or attack their defense. You have to condense things."

The game is important for both teams. Georgia Tech is 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the conference. The Wolfpack are 3-0 overall. Tonight's game (8, ESPN) at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh will be N.C. State's conference opener.

The winner will remain within reach of perennial ACC leader Florida State, while the loser is likely to be too far behind in the conference race one month into the season to contend for a spot in the Championship Bowl Series.

"I think it's pivotal because it's an ACC game, and you want to stay in the hunt," O'Leary said. "The only concern I have is how well our young players will handle the scene up there. It should be a heck of a game.

"We've always been a pretty good away football team. It's a Thursday night game, and it's the only game in the country. It gives you exposure, but you want it to be good exposure. Anytime you can get to a Thursday game, and we've been fortunate to play a lot of Thursday games, it's good."

Georgia Tech has played more Thursday night games on ESPN (nine) than any other team in the nation. The Yellow Jackets, who are 5-4 on Thursday night telecasts, also will play Virginia on Thursday night later this season.

Georgia Tech usually has refrained from scheduling a game on the Saturday before a Thursday appearance. Tonight's game will be the fifth time in school history the team had only four days between games, counting 37 other Thursday games -- including 35 appearances on Thanksgiving.

The Yellow Jackets are 3-1 on Thursday games immediately following Saturday games.