December 3, 2009
Butler ready to lead the D against Clemson
Mario Butler has been a staple for Georgia Tech at cornerback, having started the last 25 consecutive games. The junior from Nease High School in Jacksonville, Florida has accumulated 37 tackles on the season, including 3.5 for a loss of yards to go along with two interceptions. Butler and the rest of the Tech secondary will be a key this weekend as the Yellow Jackets play a rematch against Clemson, only this time the winner takes home the trophy.
Butler commented on Clemson by saying, "They are a pretty good team. They have a lot of speed on the outside. They have C.J. Spiller and some other great players as well. We just need to come out ready to play."
Speed truly is the name of the game for Clemson as both running back Spiller and wide receiver Jacoby Ford are arguably two of the fastest players in the nation. As a matter of fact, they both run track and took the top two spots in the 100 meter dash at last year's ACC Championship meet. They showcased that ability in the first match-up against Tech as Spiller caught a 63 yard wheel route for a touchdown and Ford caught a 77 yard bomb for another touchdown.
Butler talked about the importance of limiting big plays by the two home run threats. "We need to focus on our assignments and focus on what to do in order to prevent those big plays," he said. "Big plays really hurt us the first time and if we can limit those then we should be alright."
The regular season match-up pitting these two teams against each other was another instant classic for the ACC rival teams. Tech came out strong in the first quarter by scoring touchdowns on an 82 yard run, 85 yard punt return by way of a pooch punt from the Clemson kicker, and finally a fake field goal touchdown pass. Tech jumped out to an early 24-0 lead and it looked like the game was going to be a blow out. Clemson would settle down, however, and score 27 unanswered points to take a three point lead early in the fourth quarter. Suddenly things didn't look too good for the Jackets, but they were able to put together back to back drives the resulted in field goals, including the game winner with 57 ticks left on the clock.
Butler sees the Championship game as being more of the same. He stated, "I think that it is going to be a real intense, hard nosed game. We've gotta come out full throttle and match their intensity. Our number one goal as a team was to be ACC Champs so we've gotta stay focused on Clemson in order to come away with a victory."
Tech's back four will be facing Clemson's much improved quarterback, Kyle Parker. The freshman was playing in only the second game of career in the first go around against Tech and has played much more under control during the last four games of the season. During that span he has nine touchdown passes versus only two interceptions on his way to completing 61 percent of his passes. In his previous eight games, Parker only tossed 10 touchdowns to go along with eight interceptions and a 52 percent accuracy mark.
Butler recognizes the improvement in Parker's game and looks forward to squaring off against a familiar foe. "You can tell that Kyle Parker has grown," remarked Butler. "I played against him in high school and I have seen a lot of growth from then."
When asked about their previous encounters, Butler casually replied, "I came close to picking him off my senior year, but I did get him in the first game this year."
The Jackets will look to intercept Clemson's plans this weekend by taking care of business and achieving their top priority; ACC Championship rings.
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