@GTPaulJohnson Quotes on #MIAvsGT

Sept. 30, 2014

Full Coach Johnson Press Conference Audio 

Opening Statement
“Good morning. I thought the bye week came at a good time. Anytime you can win the game right before the bye it’s important. We’ve got a lot of bumps and bruises that we’ve gotten healed up for the most part. We’ve still got a couple of guys with some nagging things, but nothing that would hold them out of the game. Getting ready for Miami is a huge challenge. The last few years they’ve really lit us up scoring points. That’s a huge challenge for our team. Offensively we’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball to minimize turnovers and put points on the board ourselves. They’ve got a lot of great individual athletes like they always have. They’re playing really well right now. They probably played their best game of the year on Saturday night. We’re thankful for the Virginia Tech win. We’ve got a chance for another conference game at home and a chance to go 2-0 in the league. It’s a huge game.”

Getting back up to speed after the bye week
“I think we’ve gotten better each week that we’ve played to this point, and we certainly needed to because we haven’t come close to reaching our potential. Hopefully this Saturday gives us a chance to put both sides together: offense, defense and the special teams – really all three sides. It’s a game we are going to need to play well because as I said they are very athletic and very talented.”

If Justin Thomas is playing like a third year starter
“I think he shows a lot of poise, but he’s not like a third year starter. We still miss things in games and checks and some of that, but nothing seems to rattle him that much. He just goes out and plays. That’s a good trait to have for that position because there’s going to be some good, some bad and some indifferent. He just plays along. He doesn’t get too up and doesn’t get too down. He’s got a good skillset for what we want to do. The more he plays, the better he’s going to get. Just in the last couple games he’s gotten so much better at getting downhill on the option and I think he’s getting more comfortable with it. And he’s getting more confidence. The more success he has, the more confident he gets. When he becomes confident and he plays more, he’s going to be a handful. He’s got the skill traits to be pretty good.”

Justin Thomas opening up the offense
“He’s got a quick release and throws. We missed some big plays in the passing game last Saturday. I think he’s the best guy we’ve had skillset wise to run the ball and run the option. And to this point it looks like he wants to run it which is refreshing. So I think he enjoys doing what we do and whatever you want to run he’s good with it. However you want to play. When I say skillset, I think he’s got the quickness and as you saw last week he’s got the speed to turn in some big plays. He had the long run called back, but as you could see he’s pretty good when he gets down the sideline.”

Team’s mindset heading into this weekend
“Well hopefully they understand the magnitude that it’s a conference game and a division game. We’ve certainly talked about it for two weeks. They understand the ramifications when you play a division game and a home conference game that it’s imperative that you win these games. It means that we could be 2-0 in the league against two teams that we’ve struggled against the last couple of years in our division. It’d be a great challenge. Miami already has a loss so we are going to get their best shot. So we better be ready to give them ours.”

Progress of the defensive line
“We played a lot of people last week and our plan is to continue to do that, to roll them. A lot of that will be dictated on how many plays. I mean last year against Miami they ran 56 plays on offense. That was it. Now they ran them for over 560 yards. That’s a lot different than if you are out their 80 plays. If you’re playing 56, you’re probably not going to roll as many guys. We’ve got a plan to play more guys if we can get them out there just like Virginia Tech.”

Smelter and Waller’s impact on offense
 “Anytime you’ve got a big play threat outside, it’s going to help the running game. The running game could help the passing game. A lot of our big passing plays haven’t been on play action. They’ve been on rollout and drop back and some of the other stuff. We’re not happy with where we are running the ball. We need to be getting another 50 or 60 yards per game on our rushing attack. And as we get better with that you will see a lot of big plays in the passing game.”

If the true freshman on defense have matured
“I think so. Once you get halfway through the season and we’re a third of the way through, I’ve always said you’re no longer freshmen. You’ve played half of a season. It’s a big adjustment coming from high school to the speed, the size and the quickness of everybody. I don’t care how good you were in high school when you get on this level there’s an adjustment. And some guys can adhere to it quicker than others and it’s easier at some positions than others. Make no mistake there’s a huge step up. “

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