Football

Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

GoJackets Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets have had an extra week to prepare for Duke.
GoJackets
Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets have had an extra week to prepare for Duke.
GoJackets

Sept. 10, 2013

Opening Statement:
"It's good to be back in game week and to try and get on some sort of a routine or pattern. The bye week has been productive. We got a couple of good, physical practices in early last week. We've had some extra prep time for Duke. We were able to let our younger guys scrimmage on Saturday morning. We're also going to pick up a couple of guys injury wise including Morgan Bailey and Tremayne McNair as well as the two receivers that were suspended for the first game. So we pick up a total of four. We did lose Deon Hill. He's not going to play this week. He's out, but he should be fine. He's had an illness that he needed to take care of that wasn't related to football. Other than that, we're getting ready to go up and play a Duke team that is 2-0. Certainly if you look at the stats defensively, they jump off the page at you. They have only given up a little over 200 yards per game. The third conversions are in the low 20 percents against them. They've only given up seven points in two games. Offensively, it's been a change of systems they've gone to more of a spread option attack. Their starting quarterback, Boone, is out with a broken collarbone, but Connette has been splitting time at quarterback through the first couple games anyway. He played against us at quarterback in 2010. So he's been in the program for a long time. I'm sure he will know a lot of what they do. Our big challenge this week is to go up there and play like Georgia Tech can play and we've got to take care of the ball. We'll find a little bit more about where we are this week. I think the competition level matches up."

On balancing Tech improvement and Duke preparation...
"Well, I think you do both. We do what we do every week and you do the preparation for the other team as well. We took Monday and Tuesday off last week. Wednesday was our last day where we finished up the Elon game and began to focus on Duke. Our last pads practice will be today and then we will go in shells for a couple days and then be ready to go play."

On what to take away from the Elon game...
"It's like any team early in the season. I don't know how much you can take away from any of the early season games. I don't care who you play. You may think somebody's going to be very good and they may not be. Or you may think that somebody's not so good and they may be good. You have to play two or three or even four games before you really know. Clearly the competition level, if you look at the tape, is going to be much better this week than it was last week. It may be a couple weeks before we really find out where we are. Certainly if we don't play well, we could lose on Saturday that's for sure."

On starting out strong...
"We've talked to the team about the importance of the game. It's a conference game. It's a division game. It's a road game. And anytime you can win a division game on the road, that's a bigger plus. Then you've got the tiebreaker over that team. You've got the division record. You've got the whole nine yards. Our guys understand it's a big game and they've set goals that they want to get back to Charlotte. And we need to win this game if that's going to be one of the goals."

On Duke's running backs...
"They're experienced. With what they do with the zone scheme, it puts them in space. Snead's a little bit different than Thompson from Woodward Academy who's more of a power runner. That's something that we need to limit. We've got to limit them running the football and see if we can make them try to beat us throwing. But we do that every week, that's what we try to do."

On motivating the players...
"I hope that our guys would be excited to play. It's our first conference game and it's our second game of the year. We've got a lot to play for. But who knows what the atmosphere's going to be? They're 2-0. Maybe they'll have a huge crowd and it might be wild. But you've got to get ready to play and you've got to take care of yourself. It's a big game, but we've got a lot of guys who have played a lot of football. We've got some experience. They know what it's like. We've got a ton of guys who have played up there they know the environment and what they're getting into."

On feeling better about the defense this year...
"If you look when everybody's healthy on defense we could have as many as seven senior starters and those guys have played a lot. Just by repetitions they should be better. They're older, they're more physical, and they're stronger. I'm excited about our defensive staff and the scheme that we have. It's more in line in what we're doing offensively in that we are not trying to rocket science anybody. We're just trying to be sound, play fast, run to the ball, and play with a lot of effort. So with all those things combined, I believe that we should be better. Plus, it shouldn't be hard to be better. So we  should be better than we were. And in the first game I didn't see anything that changed my mind. I would have liked to have gotten off the field a little better on third down. But when you score twice on defense and don't give up any points, I don't care who you're playing that's pretty good. We're optimistic that that's going to be one of the strengths of our team.

On true freshmen traveling with the team...
"I think that P.J. Davis and Harrison Butker will be the only two. We've also got long snapper, Trevor Stroebel. But I would think that it says more about the fact that we've got seven seniors starting on defense and offensive lineman that have more career starts than probably more than 95% of the teams in the country. We've been able to redshirt the classes in the past as we've started to build depth. To me, that's the way you're going to have a football program here. You're probably not going to sign top five and top ten classes here. Again, historically, has it ever happened? Go back and look. So the best way that you build depth is that you bring in good, solid people and good, solid classes. Then hopefully you build enough depth that you can redshirt them. And then by the time that you play, you've got seven seniors that are starting on defense, three more on the offensive line, another at B-Back, and another at A-Back makes five. So there are a lot of seniors that are playing. And historically, when you have that, you usually have better teams. As I've said before, most of the time 22 and 23 year old men are going to be better than the guys who are 17 and 18. That's just kind of the way it is."

On Harrison Butker's performance against Elon...
"I think that that's something that is pretty normal for Harrison. That's what we've seen in practice and that's what we saw in high school. We think he's very talented. But a lot of team's have that. And there are going to be games in which he's kicking into the wind and that might not happen. But again he's a very talented young man. If he continues to progress like he did in high school and all the way up, then we will probably see him kick on Sunday. He's got that kind of ability, but he's got to keep progressing and keep getting better."

On other injuries...
"Shawn Green is back in practice, but we probably won't play him this week. He'll be back in there next week against North Carolina. As for Isaiah Johnson, I've answered it every week and I don't know how else to answer it other than he has been cleared by doctors and it's whenever he is ready to go."


 

 

On Vad playing with an extra edge in his home state...
"I haven't seen anything in practice. Vad loves to play. And he's a hard worker when it comes to film study and getting ready to play. I'm sure he's excited to go back home. I was joking with him yesterday in practice by asking him how many tickets he needed and he said that he was at 30 and probably going to end up at around 40. I can imagine that he's excited to go back and play. I get excited to go back to North Carolina and play. It's always fun to go home and play.

On Ross Cockrell being the best player on Duke's defense...
"I don't know if he's the best player, he's certainly a good player. The linebacker #59 Kelby Brown is a good player, but he's been out. The guy who really caught my eye in the Memphis game was the defensive tackle #91 Jamal Bruce. He's a Georgia kid. He played pretty physical. But overall, defensively they run better and may be little more physical. I know David has said that this is the best defensive line that they've had since he's been there. With everything that we've seen so far, they look like the old Pittsburgh Steelers. I mean they've shut everybody down and nobody's had much success. So that's what we've got to get ready for."

On close games with Duke in the past...
"Our guys who have played know that every team has got good players and is physical. The games are hard fought and every game is that way. We talked about the last two times we've been up there and how we got behind both times. Even in 2009 when we won the league, we fell behind. Then I think we scored 35 in a row, but we were behind. And the game that was a real nail biter was down here in 2010 where we got a big key interception that turned the game. And then up there two years ago, it went back in forth and the final was 38-31. They haven't been blowout games; they've been tough. But again we're going into this game not with the expectation to win by ever how much, but our expectation is to win the game. That's what we want to try to do. 6-3 or 46-43 whatever it might be. We've just got to try and win the game."

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